Posted by: Lister | November 1, 2007

Why Turks no longer love the U.S.

From CSMonitor:

[…] as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives in Ankara Friday to defuse tensions over Kurdish rebels operating in Iraq, she faces a nation that is now the most anti-American in the world, according to one survey.

[…] In a recent global survey by the Pew Research Center, only 9 percent of Turks held a favorable view of the United States (down from 52 percent in 2000), a figure that placed Turkey at the rock bottom of the 46 countries surveyed.

“People have become accustomed to this plot line of America being a threat to Turkish national security. This was inconceivable five years ago, but now it has come to be the prevailing view,” says Ihsan Dagi, a professor of international relations at Ankara’s Middle East Technical University.

That perception has been reinforced in the past two years by some of Turkey’s most popular books and films which portray the US and Turkey at odds – if not at war. Turkey’s all-time box office champ, 2006’s “Valley of the Wolves,” saw a ragtag Turkish force square off heroically against a whole division of bloodthirsty American soldiers in northern Iraq.

“Metal Storm,” a bestselling political fantasy book from the year before, went even further, describing an all out war between Ankara and Washington in the not so distant future (the year 2007, to be exact), in which Turkey ultimately prevails with the help of Russia and the European Union.

[…] Real life events have also done little to improve America’s image in Turkey. The recent passage by a US congressional committee of a resolution recognizing the mass killing of Armenians in the final days of the Ottoman Empire as a genocide – something Turkey strongly rejects – set public opinion aflame.

At the same time, the renewed attacks on Turkish forces by PKK guerrillas have only strengthened the widespread belief that Washington is doing little to get rid of the PKK in northern Iraq.

Eight Turkish soldiers have been captured and are held by the PKK.

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