Yesterday, Secretary Rice attended the 27th Annual Conference of the American Turkish Council on US-Turkey Relations. Eternal Remont was on the scene for every self-congratulatory session.
Some high-level Turkish officials declined to attend, in a huff. Otherwise, both US and Turkish representitives did everything possible to paper over their differences.
In one rare exception, Minister of National Defense Vecdi Gonul only briefly let slip his frustration that the US would not grant Turkey export licenses for some of America's latest high-tech weapons. Even more, the US would not explain why.
The Turks also noted with frustration that the Senate is poised to give the UK and Australia access to these weapons by way of a special new treaty. Why not Turkey? Well, apparently the Administration wants to recognize America's special “historic, cultural, and military” ties with the UK and Australia.
Eternal Remont would be horribly cynical if it noted that the UK contributed 45,000 soldiers for the initial phase in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Australia sent 2,000. Meanwhile, Turkey blocked the US from staging in the North in the last hour of the pre-invasion and declined to contribute a single soldier to the ground war. Certainly, this has nothing to do with the treaty.
Also, there was no mention of Turkey’s intention to flagrantly violate the Iran sanctions through new energy investments in that country. This will force the President to formally recognize America's closest NATO ally in the region as an official supporter of terrorism and WMD proliferation under US law.
But, in the echo of applause for her keynote address, Secretary Rice only noted that, “The United States and Turkey will from time to time disagree on how best to pursue our goals on all the issues I have mentioned today. It happens among friends.”
How true. Now, who wants more yaprak sarma?