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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Obama's Middle East Policy: The Big Lie (I)

The revelations resulting from the publication of U.S. State Department documents by WikiLeaks as they pertain to the Middle East have proven an eye opener. Although some of what was disclosed by WikiLeaks has already been hinted at here, WikiLeaks has provided the hard evidence.

Among those leaders from the region with egg smeared all over their faces is Turkey's Prime Minister Erdoğan. As reported by Hürriyet Daily News, there have been allegations of eight secret bank accounts in Switzerland:

"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s financial assets and the way he made 'his fortune' were the subjects of two of the cables sent by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, documents leaked as part of a release late Sunday by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

'We have heard from two contacts that Erdoğan has eight accounts in Swiss banks; his explanations that his wealth comes from the wedding presents guests gave his son and that a Turkish businessman is paying the educational expenses of all four Erdoğan children in the U.S. purely altruistically are lame,' Eric Edelman, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, wrote in a cable sent to Washington on Dec. 30, 2004.

Edelman, who has been outspoken in his criticism of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, argued that the widespread corruption would be an important factor that could degrade Erdoğan’s ability to run the country.

In a separate cable sent in July 2004, Edelman claimed that 'an anonymous source told [him] that Erdoğan and [the source] benefited directly from the award of the Tüpraş privatization to a consortium including a Russian partner.'”

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=us-cables-argue-erdogan-has-eight-accounts-in-swiss-banks-2010-11-29

If this is not enough, according to Der Spiegel the cables leaked by WikiLeaks warn of the tendencies and dependability of Ankara's policy makers:

"US diplomats have grave doubts about Turkey's dependability. Secret or confidential cables from the US Embassy in Ankara describe Islamist tendencies in the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The US diplomats' verdict on the NATO partner with the second biggest army in the alliance is devastating. The Turkish leadership is depicted as divided, and Erdogan's advisers, as well as Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, are portrayed as having little understanding of politics beyond Ankara.

The Americans are also worried about Davutoglu's alleged neo-Ottoman visions. US diplomats quote one high-ranking government adviser as saying that Davutoglu would use his Islamist influence on Erdogan, describing him as 'exceptionally dangerous.' According to the US document, another adviser to the ruling AKP party remarked, probably ironically, that Turkey wanted 'to take back Andalusia and avenge the defeat at the siege of Vienna in 1683.'

The US diplomats write that many leading figures in the AKP were members of a Muslim fraternity and that Erdogan had appointed Islamist bankers to influential positions. He gets his information almost exclusively from newspapers with close links to Islamists, they reported. The prime minister, the cables continue, has surrounded himself with an 'iron ring of sycophantic (but contemptuous) advisors' and presents himself as the 'Tribune of Anatolia.'"

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,731590,00.html

In short, with friends like Turkey, who needs enemies, but this didn't stop Obama from embracing his friend Erdoğan at the recent G-20 summit in Seoul (observe the picture in Der Spiegel).

Note the special warmth that Obama reserves for the likes of Erdoğan, Chavez (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30271562/ns/world_news-americas/) and Qaddafi (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2009/07/09/obama_shakes_hands_with_gaddaf.html). You will never see him in a picture hugging with Netanyahu, although you will see him bowing to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fd425zfw5Ew).

Erdoğan's response to the WikiLeaks disclosures? You guessed it: Blame it on Israel:

"Israel could have engineered the release of hundreds of thousands of confidential documents on WikiLeaks as a plot to corner Turkey on both domestic and foreign policy, according to a senior ruling party official.

'One has to look at which countries are pleased with these. Israel is very pleased. Israel has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents,' Hüseyin Çelik, deputy leader of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, and the party’s spokesperson, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday.

. . . .

Though government officials like Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek avoided naming Israel in their public statements Wednesday, Çelik, a close aide to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, singled out the country with his comments Wednesday.

'Documents were released and they immediately said, ‘Israel will not suffer from this.’ How did they know that?' Çelik said.

Turkey and Israel have had bitter relations since the flotilla crisis, in which Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish and one American-Turkish citizen. 'Turkey, with its efficiency and foreign policy, has treaded on someone’s fields. The prime minister is known as a dominant leader not only in Turkey but also in the world,' Çelik told reporters.

Yasin Doğan, a columnist for the pro-government Yeni Şafak newspaper, also named the Israeli lobby in the U.S. as the source of the cable leaks. 'Some people from the U.S. want to drive the [Barack] Obama administration in a different direction. They also want to adjust the relations of many governments with the U.S.,' he said in his article Wednesday. Doğan is the penname of Yasin Akdoğan, who is one of Erdoğan’s political advisors."

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=akp-hints-israel-as-8220behind-the-wikileaks-conspiracy8221-2010-12-01

Obama wants to cuddle with a vain, self-serving Erdoğan, who is creating a special relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran while steering Turkey away from the West? The U.S is headed for an iceberg.

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