I call the US public to be understanding of what Turkey has been going through. The US-Turkey friendship should not be made an instrument of mundane politics and self-interests
"Based on my 35 years of experience, if you do not keep your promises to Turks, you will regret it."
The words above belong to James Jeffrey, the US former Ambassador in Ankara. The Ambassador continues his words as follows:
"In Ankara, the Vice President Joe Biden gave an unequivocal commitment to the Turks that 'the PYD would stay east of the Euphrates River and not try to seize the territory on the west of it'. The Turks are okay with that, but they (the PYD) have to move east and they haven't."
These statements give voice to an opinion that has actually been asked lately by many sensible Americans and frequently discussed at many think-tanks. Today, political analysts are trying to find out the cause of the cold winds that blow between the long-term allies and strategic partners, the US and Turkey. As a matter of fact, this hidden tension has been gradually escalating for the last few years. And it reached its peak with the coup attempt of July 15th and the events in its aftermath. With this article, I call the US public to see through the eyes of the Turkish people and strengthen this long-time friendship.
At this point, it would be better to first mention another subject. The Turkish Nation and the American people are two nations that are very much alike. Both societies consist of religious, God-loving, hardworking individuals that are deeply attached to their national values and families, cast in the same mold of hardship, and hold love and respect in high regard. The American people and the Turkish nation have a lot in common. And a possible tension between the USA and Turkey will only benefit our common enemies. It is the third parties that introduced, fostered and keep alive this alienation between the two countries. It is those who believe that their interests lie not in friendship, but war.
The US citizens that wish to understand what the Turkish people went through in the night of July 15th should remember the emotions they experienced in the wake of September 11th. While the people of the US watched live the planes that hit World Trade Center in terror, the Turkish people had to watch their fellow citizens getting killed by the warplanes, helicopters and tanks that belong to their own army. The people of Turkey witnessed a scene similar to the plane that attacked the Pentagon during the bombardment of the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace and the General Staff by warplanes in Ankara.
The Turkish nation felt in the morning of July 16th what the people of the US felt on September 12th. The victims of September 11th and the martyrs of July 15th are commemorated with similar emotions. Following the coup attempt, with a deep devotion to their homeland and their flag, our nation kept democracy watch on the streets until morning for 25 nights. It is again the people of the US who will best identify with this wonderful state of mind that is ready to sacrifice anything for the sake of homeland, flag and nation.
However, there is a considerable difference in what the Turkish society went through. Unlike the US, our nation did not suffer a one-time attack. The coup attempt of July 15th is a new phase of the ongoing process of separating Turkey for the last 10 years. As it is known, from Libya to Ukraine, many of our close and distant neighbors were either divided or dragged into civil war. Today, every Turkish citizen is aware of the fact that the turn has come to our country and believes that, at heart, the coup was an invasion attempt.
In the night of the coup attempt, those who followed the social media came across the false news that "The coup was successful and the President Erdoğan fled to Germany" reported by certain American news channels and it took a while before the news was corrected. No official statements were made by any US authorities in the first most crucial hours of the coup attempt, and in fact, only after a few days did we begin to receive messages supporting the Turkish democracy. And it took more than a month before the first top-level visit was made and condolences were offered. These erroneous policies definitely have a harmful impact on the Turkish-American relations.
In addition to all these, the recent misguided US policies on Syria also cast a shadow on this long-standing alliance. The support the US provides to the terrorist organization PKK, which is responsible for the death of 40 thousand of our fellow citizens in the last 30 years, and its Syrian branch, the PYD is indeed perplexing. Several days ago, the PYD opened fire to the Turkish tanks with the US-made anti-armor weapons and martyred one of our soldiers. PYD/YPG or whatever name they use, these terrorist groups enjoy both political and military support from the US. Spoiled by this support, they do not allow any Turkish, Kurdish or Arabic groups that are not affiliated with them dwell in the region. And the statements of certain US authorities that equates the Turkish state to the terrorist organization branch, the PYD give rise to disquiet among the Turkish public opinion.
This concern is not true for only the people of Turkey. The number of those in the US public opinion who call for a change in such policies increases with each passing day. The former ambassador James Jeffrey, whom I quoted above, is not the only person to have these thoughts. As a matter of fact, the media organization Newsbud and Sibel Edmunds launched a substantial campaign regarding the false news about Turkey that had spread in the US in the night of the coup. Criticizing the policies of the US on Syria, the Republican Party member South Carolina senator Lindsay Graham asked the Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter "whether or not the PYD/YPG is a branch of the terrorist organization PKK." In the face of this question in the senate session, the Secretary of Defense had to admit that these two organizations are in fact affiliated.
What the Turkish Nation wishes is that the opinions such as of Jeffrey, Graham and Edmunds who represent the commonsense of the people of the US play a more effective role in the Washington politics. And what the world peace needs is the preservation of this crucial alliance.
The region of Middle East is not an island amidst the ocean away from the world politics. It has been the cradle of the civilization for 5000 years. Be it Christian, Jewish or Muslim, every American can find a familiar trace from themselves in this region. And Turkey is at the heart of the region. It is the last bastion that keeps the Mideast away from sliding into total chaos. The USA and Turkey should assist each other in every aspect. The bright future of the region, and thus, the world depends on this alliance. This friendship is too vital to be sacrificed for mundane politics and trivial interests.
Adnan Oktar's piece in American Herald Tribune: