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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Another flub? Bush vowed Navy aid to Georgia too soon

Is Turkey really an ally of the United States? Why do we only speak to the government when we need something? Furthermore, with Turkey fighting Kurds in Northern Iraq, how is this different than Russians fighting Georgians in South Ossetia? Finally, what exactly has Turkey, a NATO ally, done for the United States of late? Here is an excerpt from the article above:

U.S. officials said the Turks hadn't cleared U.S. naval vessels to transit the Bosporus and the Dardanelles.

"The Turks haven't been helpful," said a State Department official. "They are being sluggish and unresponsive."

The Russian invasion of Georgia has almost certainly unnerved Turkey because it has huge energy and trade interests in adjacent Central Asia.

Turkey also may be reluctant to jeopardize the $24 billion in annual trade it does with Russia, which provides around 70 percent of its natural gas supplies. The Turkish Navy also shares the Black Sea with Russia's powerful Black Sea Fleet, which in part has prompted Ankara in recent years to restrict U.S. and NATO naval operations and exercises there.

The current situation echoes the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, when the Bush administration tried to send thousands of U.S. troops into northern Iraq through Turkey — a Muslim nation where most people opposed the war — without first obtaining Ankara's permission.

The Turkish parliament refused to allow the United States to use its territory.

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