ISTANBUL (Marmara/CSM)–The United States no longer considers Turkey a strategic ally–according to a report released recently by the "Eurasia Group," which was publicized by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during a television appearance.
Rumsfeld justified the war in Iraq–but added that several obstacles were created due to Turkey’s refusal to cooperate with the US. The defense secretary said if Turkey allowed American troops to enter Iraq from the north–the situation would have been much different–holding Turkey directly responsible for a series of failures in the Iraq operations.
In just a little over a weekend–the relations between the US and one of its major allies in the Middle East region have gone from bad to worse.
On Friday–the Turkish government said it supported the plans of the Turkish president to visit Syria in early April–despite the US warning that he should not go. On Saturday–the US ambassador to Turkey resigned–following a tumultuous two-year appointment. And on Sunday–US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that by "blocking" US efforts to get into Iraq from the north two years ago–Turkey had allowed the insurgency there to "flourish."
Earlier in the week–US Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman called on Turkey to "join an international coalition concerning Syria." But Mr. Edelman’s commen’s were not well-received in the Turkish press–which opined that he was trying to force Sezer not to go–and "meddling in Turkish domestic politics." One columnist accused him of acting "more like a colonial governor than an ambassador." A well-known Turkish newspaper reportedly collected several thousand signatures calling for Edelman to be expelled from the country.