THOSE LOW-DOWN DIRTY BLUES

The thrill is gone
It’s gone away for good
Oh, the thrill is gone baby
Baby its gone away for good
Someday I know I’ll be over it all baby
Just like I know a man should
~ B.B. King

Ouch! Did the US just backhand Erdogan, or what?

For the last few weeks there had been mentions in the Turkish press of Erdogan’s desire to visit Washington, and speculation had it that the outcome of requesting a visit would show where the US stands in relation to the AKP. On Tuesday, commentator Cuneyt Ulsever made the following remarks, from TDN:

In recent times Turkey has been playing a very active and guiding role in both Iraq and Iran.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who justifiably wanted to utilize this state of affairs, wanted to visit U.S. President George W. Bush.

The Foreign Ministry told the United States, Our prime minister would like to visit at the first opportune time.

[ . . . ]

However The urgent visit Erdoğan wanted to make to discuss Iran, Iraq, Israel and Palestine was postponed until the autumn due to the failure of the White House to send an invitation. When asked by journalists yesterday at Parliament whether it was possible for him to go to the United States sometime in July, Erdoğan said, As of today, it doesn’t seem possible.’ When asked about the timing of the visit, he said, In the autumn at the latest’. (Hürriyet, June 7, 2006)

Erdogan has been rejected, something that was foreshadowed back in the spring, at the American Turkish Council (ATC) conference in Washington, from MEMRI:

Two emissaries sent by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a fence-mending mission to Washington following the ATC conference also failed in their mission. The emissaries, PM Erdogan’s personal advisor Cuneyt Zapsu and AKP Party Deputy Chairman and MP Saban Disli, came under fire from senior U.S. officials with whom they met on April 7, 2006 at the American Enterprise Institute. During the meeting, the U.S. officials expressed their anger regarding several issues: the AKP government’s unpredictable policies, Turkey’s February 2006 hosting of a Hamas delegation, and the release of the anti-American and antisemitic Turkish film Valley of the Wolves – Iraq, which had the endorsement of high level AKP figures at the level of the wife of the PM, cabinet ministers, the parliamentary speaker, and other dignitaries who attended the film’s festive opening gala.

The U.S. officials also told Zapsu and Disli that the U.S. had considered the AKP government unreliable since March 1, 2003, when it had rejected a parliamentary motion to allow U.S. forces passage to northern Iraq through Turkey – which damaged the U.S.’s war plans and resulted in U.S. losses. Zapsu argued in response that since there was no alternative to the AKP in Turkey, the U.S. would just have to live with it for the next six to seven years – and that it should utilize PM Erdogan instead of trying to have him removed.

It looks like old Cuneyt and Saban really did fail, but that seems to be something consistent with the AKP. Remember Erdogan in Amed? Remember Erdogan after Semdinli?

Condoleeza Rice doesn’t appear to have been a failure, though. Her April visit was preceded by a number of other visits between Washington and the pashas since December, 2005. Even Brent Scowcroft and the ATC got into the act, a fact noted here on Rastî at the time. By late April, the stage was set for Condi’s appearance, which happened to coincide with the deployment of TSK on the border with South Kurdistan. This led to speculation that the US had given the green light for the Turkish deployment, a deployment which appeared to be coordinated with Iran’s deployment at their border with South Kurdistan.

Perhaps one of the most important outcomes of the meeting between Condi and the AKP government was the proposal of a Common Strategic Vision (CSV) document, an agreement of understanding between Ankara and Washington over certain key issues, among them the fight against “terrorism,” relations with the EU, and the Greater Middle East Initiative. This matter of the strategic vision agreement was discussed, along with a number of other things of importance to Kurds, in the Russian press.

Pravda is now reporting that the official invite went out, and Foreign Minister Gul will be going to Washington, instead of Erdogan. Both Pravda and a Greek news agency, Reporter.gr, state that the object of Gul’s visit will be more discussion on the production of the CSV.

So, the work that was actively begun back in December continues, but let’s not forget that the initial work took place between the Americans and the pashas; Gul’s visit will serve to carry the pashas’ will to Washington. In August, the month following Gul’s visit, Buyukanit will take over as the new chief of the Turkish General Staff. As such, it would be naive to suggest that Buyukanit does not have a strong hand in crafting the CSV. When, or if, Erdogan does come to Washington later this year, he will not be adding his own vision to any of this business. He will be confirming Buyukanit’s vision.

What does it all mean for Kurds? Nothing good. Condi issued no public statement that would have indicated US displeasure at Turkey’s massive deployment to Kurdistan, a deployment which also signaled that the pashas had had enough of the civilian AKP government’s antics. In Baghdad, Talabanî was left bleating in vain against the renewed Turkish threat. Within weeks of the deployment, an attack on the Council of State occured, an event which the pashas used to drum up public support for a much purer expression of Kemalism than has been seen under AKP’s watch.

Meanwhile, Ferhat Sarikaya is still out of work, Erdogan’s singing the blues, and Buyukanit waits in the wings. Will Ali Kaya be reunited with his old commander after the trial?

By the way, if anyone is interested in Turkey’s and ATC’s connections to the Plame scandal, take a look at this archived post from Strata-Sphere.com. Take some time to check out the links in the post as well. I have previously suggested that Turkey is not interested in “peaceful” nuclear acquisition, but rather in acquiring something a bit more . . . terrifying. We all know how important it is to keep up with the neighbors, right? You can find more info on that subject at the post and at its links.

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