SUAT – Downgrading ErdoIan

Downgrading ErdoIanWhen I was in Parliament I served as chairman of the Turkey-US Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group. This is the most prestigious friendship group in our Parliament.

Its counterpart on the American side is the Turkey Caucus in the House of Representatives. The Turkey Caucus is one of the many caucuses in the US Congress.

In response to the detentions of journalists the Turkey Caucus issued a statement last week. The statement refers to the detention of journalists as a andldquoretaliation against perceived dissentandrdquo and notes that andldquojournalism is not a crime.

andrdquo Through the statement the Turkey Caucus andldquostrongly condemns any attack on press freedom and believes such actions constitute an assault on democratic principles.andrdquo Worse, it reminds the Turkish government about shared values and calls on it to andldquodemonstrate its commitment to this longstanding relationship and its democratic principles by immediately releasing any journalists who have been unjustly detained.

andrdquo This is harsh language.I remember the years from 2008 to 2010 when we would visit Washington as a delegation.

There would be all sorts of rivalries to get us to speak at think tanks, the Turkey Caucus would host us for luncheons and the media would eagerly follow our visits. Those were the days when Ankara commanded a certain level of democratic and moral authority.

The friendship group would engage in parliamentary diplomacy, and we would have great access to US decision-makers. Turkey was taken seriously.

These days are gone. Turkish parliamentarians have not been going to Washington for a very long time, and there is little parliamentary contact between the two legislatures.

The reason is quite obvious. Nowadays Turkish parliamentarians will have to face some very difficult questions from their US counterparts.

Unlike in Turkey, journalists in the US actually get to ask questions and they can write about it in their newspapers. As the statement of the Turkey Caucus in the House of Representatives indicates, there is a pernicious mood about Turkey in the US Congress.

One can only hope Ankara will not need the assistance of the US Congress these daysandhellipNot many are aware in Turkey but the US has effectively downgraded its relations with Turkey. Barack Obama, Joe Biden and John Kerry do not bother to respond to Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s hysteric remarks.

They simply ignore him These days one hears from the State Departmentand#39s spokesperson what the sentiment about Turkey is. This is of course in stark contrast to the image the pro-ErdoIan media in Turkey has made of him The administration that came into office with great hopes for Turkey and invested considerable political capital in its relationship with Ankara has given up on ErdoIan.

The Turkey story is simply too bad. No one has time for this.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman