Turkey is our most under-appreciated ally. Its eighth president, Turgut Ozal, was a great friend of America, once referring to his nation as, “little America.” When Ozal died suddenly in 1993, neither President Clinton nor Vice President Gore went to the funeral, an insult the Turks remember. Europe has been even less appreciative. Turkey has practically begged to become a member of the European Union, but its applications to what some Turks call the “Christian club” have been stalled again and again because of European criticism of its human rights record.
There is a deep-seated cultural sensitivity among the Turkish people and their government on the issue of the Armenian massacre nine decades ago. Amb. Sensoy may have been thinking about the far-reaching effects – including on Turkey’s application for EU membership -- of the House genocide resolution when he told us, “No nation would like to be labeled with that greatest of human rights violations.”
House Republican leaders are very concerned about the effects the Democrats’ resolution could have. House Minority Leader John Boehner told me, “If the Turks cut off our ability to use Incirlik, there’s no question that this could jeopardize our troops on the ground in Iraq. And frankly, if this is just the latest in the Democrats’ string of back-door attempts to force a retreat from the war against al Qaeda, it’s certainly the most dangerous.”
Speaker Pelosi is apparently so intent on forcing an end to American involvement in Iraq that she is willing to interfere in our tenuous friendship with Turkey. When she does, it will be an historic event: the House of Representatives will be responsible for alienating a key ally in time of war and possibly interdicting supplies to US troops.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Jed Babbin: Pelosi’s Most Dangerous Ploy
Babbin deconstructs Pelosi's ploy,