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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Turkey taking new direction in foreign policy unnerves Americans ( American ambassador)?

As I reported recently that Turkey ( the present government) was heading for confrontational course as it turns apparently towards Islam away from EU, America and Israel had the US ambassador to Qatar loose his nerves. Especially after Iran announced a nuclear fuel agreement between Turkey and Iran things might get more complicated in the middle east as Iran tries to present Turkey as an ally. Since the Gas deal between Turkey and Iran in the magnitude of 23 bil. made back in 1996 by the first Islamic PM, who was taken from power by a Supreme court ruling the ties have become closer as the new government comes from the same source as the ruling party is a split off of the party closed back then.
The US ambassador interrupting the meeting is a Bush sen. man (see last excerpt) which makes the whole thing even more obscure. I doubt that Ms. Clinton was fond of this intervention and behind curtains it will have caused some outrage in DC - he soon may be released from his duty but I rather wonder what did make him do what he did ( probably Bush sen. asked him for a favor). Update - it seems to be clear that the mission of Mr Untermeyer (ambassador) was to provocate a diplomatic afront as he seems to have used Kurdish in his verbal attack before it got physical in front of a Turkish PM seems to be very odd to say the least.
Financially it could be a disastrous game for Turkey as 2 money flows have made Turkey currency and stock market rise one was from Arabic sources investing heavily into Turkey the other was Israel and America. Some money has been pulled out already but the overvaluation of the currency and stocks shows me one leg still to pull. The rising tensions within and around Turkey makes it rather more vulnerable than other countries going forward is my assumption.

excerpt 1

US, Turkish officials get physical in Qatar

Mon, 15 Feb 2010 18:06:21 GMT

Hillary Clinton (L) and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed regional issues in Doha.
A fight broke out between high-ranking US and Turkish officials at a meeting held between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Qatar.

The fight was reported between the US ambassador to Qatar and an advisor to the Turkish prime minister at the end of a 20-minute meeting between Clinton and Erdogan on Monday.

The altercation took place after the US envoy entered the room to remind those present to close the meeting as the time was over.

In response, Erdogan's adviser said, "It is not for you to judge the importance of our meeting, you offend our country," the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported.

The quarrel led to physical confrontation and the two diplomats were separated with difficulty.

excerpt 2

Mottaki, Erdogan discuss expansion of Iran-Turkey ties
Wed, 03 Feb 2010 01:07:38 GMT

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R)
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have held talks in Ankara that focused on the expansion of ties between Iran and Turkey.

Mottaki travelled to the Turkish capital on Tuesday to attend the 21st meeting of the Iran-Turkey Joint Economic Commission and met Erdogan after his arrival.

During the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister highlighted the importance of the agreement between Iran and Turkey to set up joint industrial towns and said the move could lead to a great enhancement in their bilateral relations.

The Turkish prime minister said that relations between the two countries are already at an excellent level.

Erdogan noted that trade between Iran and Turkey surpassed $10 billion last year and stated that the two countries are determined to increase it to $30 billion.

During his two-day visit to Turkey, Mottaki is also scheduled to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

excerpt 3

by: Nichole Sobeki | GlobalPost

Istanbul, Turkey - American, Russian and Chinese companies vying to sell Turkey high-altitude anti-missile air defense systems will have to submit their best offers by Tuesday if they want a shot at this billion-dollar contract.

The program — Turkey’s first long-range missile defense system — is meant to protect the country from potential ground-to-ground ballistic missile strikes, but the controversial purchase is raising questions about whom Ankara sees as a threat.

Two U.S. companies, the Patriot’s manufacturer Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, as well as Russia’s Rosoboronexport and China’s CPMIEC, have been invited to submit bids in the tender, which has already come under fire from critics questioning Ankara's motives for the costly purchase.

In a move to bolster its only NATO ally that borders Iran, the Pentagon has made it clear that it is ready to sell Turkey a Patriot anti-missile system worth $7.8 billion, which would be the largest single Turkish purchase of military equipment to date. The Turkish military, however, has said that its purchase won’t exceed the more modest $1 billion mark.

Amid ongoing tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program it’s easy to understand Washington’s interest in stationing a missile system in a country bordering Iran. Here in Turkey, however, many are questioning why their country is making this decision at a time when it has vastly improved its once fragile ties with its eastern neighbor.

A month ago Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made waves by calling Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a friend and accusing the West of treating Iran unfairly. If Israel is allowed nuclear weapons, he insinuated, why not Iran? Turkey was also the first country to congratulate Ahmedinejad on his re-election in June — a bold move considering the protests that were happening at the time.

Positive words aside, a nuclear-armed Iran would be alarming for Turkey and could upset the balance of power in the region.

“It’s clearly not in Turkey’s interest to see a nuclear Iran; they don’t want to see a nuclear-armed competitor on their border,” said Ian Lesser, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “But they do fear that this can happen. And modernizing Turkey’s air defense system looks pretty important from that perspective.”

Ankara denies that its defense plans are aimed at Iran.

"It is wrong to draw links between the Patriot and Iran," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN Turk last month. "We neither have a perception of threat from any of the neighboring countries, nor have any military- or security-related preparation against them."

Others, like Mustafa Kibaroglu, an expert on nuclear non-proliferation issues at Bilkent University in Ankara, argue that Turkey will be judged on its actions, not its words.

“You cannot lift visa requirements for Syria and make supportive comments about Iran’s nuclear program, while at the same time deploying U.S. missile defense systems, which will be seen by them implicitly as a threat. That would be hypocrisy, and there is no room for hypocrisy in Turkish foreign policy.”

Turkey does have deep economic interests in Iran. Trade between the two countries hit $10 billion in 2008, compared to $1 billion in 2000. Iran supplies one-third of Turkey’s gas supply.

While plans to update Turkey’s defense systems have long been in the works, the announcement of the country's intention to purchase a missile-defense system coincided with the Obama administration’s decision to abandon a missile shield planned for Eastern Europe. That timing led to speculation over whether Ankara will play a role in the revamped U.S. missile-defense network.

The new U.S. approach to an anti-missile system envisions an initial reliance on a sea-based system deployed in the Mediterranean, with an additional shore-based network to follow.

For now there is no sure linkage between the Obama missile defense architecture and the plans by Turkey to acquire more sophisticated air defense systems, but experts say Ankara could benefit by being involved — especially if that involvement were couched within the NATO defense system.

“Turkey has been pursuing a zero-problem policy with our neighbors recently, and the issue of missile defense has many problems,” said Cem Birsay, an academic in the International Relations department at Isik University. “But if it became a joint-NATO policy that would somehow ease Turkey’s hand.’

Thus far Ankara has managed to avoid directly addressing the contradictions between its friendly relations with neighbors and purchasing missiles that may be seen as an inherent threat to Iran. But as bids for the defense system come in, it seems that Ankara’s time to perfect this balancing act may be running out.

“If the military stance gains more weight it could damage the political advances that have been made since recently. But in the long term, if military concerns are ignored it could be equally detrimental, because the Middle East is a very volatile region where regimes are not stable,” said Kibaroglu.

“This is the hot potato, being handed off from politicians to the military and back; apparently no one wants to make the final decision.”


Chase Untermeyer

Chase UntermeyerAKA Charles Graves Untermeyer

Born: 7-Mar-1946
Birthplace: Long Branch, NJ

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Diplomat, Government
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: US Ambassador to Qatar

Military service: US Navy (Vietnam)

Worked on George H.W. Bush's congressional campaign in 1966.

Wife: Diana Cumming Kendrick (former executive assistant to C. Boyden Gray
Daughter: Ellyson (b. Sep-1993)

University: BA Government, Harvard University (1968)
Professor: Public Policy, University of Texas Health Science Center (2002-04)
Administrator: Vice President, University of Texas Health Science Center (2002-04)

US Ambassador to Qatar (2004-present)
Board of Education Texas State Board of Education (1999-2003)
Voice of America Director (1991-93)
US Official Director of Presidential Personnel (1988-91)
US Defense Department Asst. Secy. of the Navy, Manpower and Reserve Affairs (1984-88)
US Defense Department Deputy Asst. Secy. of the Navy, Installations and Facilities (1983-84)
US Official Executive Assistant to VP George H.W. Bush (1981-83)
Texas State House of Representatives Houston (1977-80)
Compaq Director of Government Affairs (1993-2002)
Texas State Official Executive Assistant to the County Judge, Harris County (1974-76)
The Houston Chronicle Political Reporter (1971-74)
Bush-Cheney '04
George W. Bush for President
Kay Bailey Hutchison for Senate
Tom Delay Congressional Committee

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