America’s new boy king, Barack Obama, has brought his charm offensive to Turkey. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that he was posing for cameras at the G20 and offering half-baked ideas about rogue capitalism and stimulus packages, European cooperation and more NATO troops for Afghanistan? Later, to a swooning crowd, he offered a John Lennonish imagining about a nuclear free world. Only not yet, he hastened to add. That’s a lot on a plate for a boy king.
Before his detractors could scratch their groins and mumble WTF???? And even before his devoted followers could murmur “where in the world is Carmen San Diego? the boy king popped up on the red carpet in Ankara. With great fanfare, and many more photo-ops he rejoiced that, unlike his first magical mystery tour to Pakistan in 1981, he could he could enter an Islamic country with an American passport.
It’s easy to see why, like Bush before him, Obama is currying favor with the Turks. The military and the oil men want him to. Israel wants him to. And why shouldn’t he smooth over the rift Bush opened with his disingenuous and poorly managed attack on Iraq? There is still much to be gained in a Turkish deal: NATO airbases for an attack on Iraq or Afghanistan or western Pakistan, the re-supply of our permanent troop support to protect the pipeline, and water, the watershed of the Tigris and Euphrates as it flows downstream from Turkey and through Iraq and Syria. Perhaps a new water deal with thirsty Israel will be possible.
Turkey can be an interlocutor among Egypt, Hamas, Syria, Israel, Palestine. Then, there’s pesky Iran. Operation pincher. Iran between the nutcrackers of Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan. How long will it be before someone insists there, too, are weapons of mass destruction.
What does King Obama offer Turkey in exchange for her delights? Entry into the European Union. Obama has offered Turkey, in his churlishly arrogant way, Europe’s hand in marriage; whether the Europeans like it or not. Europe has strongly intimated that it does not want a shotgun marriage. Turkey is not Western enough and certainly not Christian. Being tacitly secular, for a former Islamic state, is not enough. Europe is full to the gills with undigested Muslims. Why doesn’t Obama offer the Turks American citizenship?
One other pesky problem: the Armenian genocide, which the Turks deny and the Armenians and the rest of the world avow. During the campaign for the presidency, Obama’s website stated the the Armenian genocide was an “admitted fact”. A House resolution is slated, yet again, to deal with the question of the massacres that cost 1.5 million Armenian lives during WWI. But it is currently being reported that “no one can predict” what the little king’s expedient stance will be now that he as been elected.
We all know how pretty little Obama can change his mind on matters that he used to be certain about. He can keep mighty quiet about things like genocide-recall Indonesia 1965-1968 and East Timor 1975-1999.