Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Turk on Obama's Visit

After posting about Ralph Peters' harsh criticism of President Obama's Turkish trip, I thought I'd see what Turkish papers had to say about it. The English edition of Hurriyet Daily News has several editorials up about Obama's visit, all pretty favorable. One article in particular caught my attention: "An inventory of the Obama visit," by Sedat Ergin. He lists ten points that he considers important, and offers analysis on each.  A couple of them directly conflict with Peters' interpretation.

Ergin praises Obama for his statements about Attaturk, and argues that he successfully reinforced the linkage between his legacy and democratic rule. He also says that Obama clearly promoted secularism, as a "vital component of democracy." Where Peters says that Obama helped support an Islamist-oriented regime, Ergin states that Obama's meetings with opposition parties prevent the prime minister from claiming the visit as personal support for him or his party.

Basically Ergin sees the visit as a major boost for Turkish-U.S. relations, and something that will improve Turkish influence in the region. Interestingly, he thinks that the U.S. will expect Turkish troop commitments for Afghanistan as a sort of quid pro quo for the visit.

The rest of the article also has other interesting points and is worth reading.

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