Obama’s Sympathy towards Armenian, Kurdish Lobby can Harm US-Turkey Ties

Politics Materials 7 November 2008 12:20 (UTC +04:00)
Obama’s Sympathy towards Armenian, Kurdish Lobby can Harm US-Turkey Ties

Azerbaijan, Baku, 7 November/ Trend , corr B. Hasanov/ If Barack Obama's pro-Armenian position he demonstrated during election campaign and his sympathy for Kurds influences his political decisions during his presidency, it can harm US-Turkey relations to a great extent.

"During Obama's term of office, serious contradictions can appear in foreign policy of the United States and Turkey," well-known Turkish expert Husnu Mahalli said to Trend by telephone from Istanbul.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has sent a congratulatory letter to the newly-elected US president Barack Obama. In his letter, Gul expressed his hope that US-Turkey ties will strengthen, CNNTURK reported.

Turkey-US ties strengthened after World War II. During cold war, Turkey became one of the major allies of the Unites States in a fight against enlargement of the Soviet Union and socialist bloc to West. At that time, US rendered economic and military assistance to Turkey. Instead, Turkey took part in the Armed Forces in Korean war in 1950-1953. In 1952, Turkey was admitted to NATO, military wing of Western bloc led by US. In 1954, Turkey permitted US to build Injirlik military base in its territory. This base played a great role during cold war, first war in the Gulf and the Iraqi war.

In 1980s and 1990s, Turkey-US relations further enhanced and in 1991 Turkey supported US to a great extent in the first Gulf war. However, so-called claim of "Armenian genocide" that appeared during these years caused political tension in US-Turkey relations. When US wanted to use Turkish territory for intervention into Iraq in 2003, Turkey answered in the negative which evoked a big tension between the two countries. However, there has been a thaw in Turkey-US relations since 2007. Kurdish Labor Party and so-called Armenian genocide are the most vulnerable issues in Turkey-US ties. 

Turkey is concerned over certain statements made by US President barrack Obama during election campaign. In particular, Turkey is concerned over Obama's pro-Armenian approach to the issue of "Armenian genocide". Mehelli said there is a reason for concerns. "During election campaign Obama said he recognizes "Armenian genocide" and gave consent in a written form that he will raise this question in the Congress.

Obama's Political position does not coincide with that of Turkey not only is the issue of genocide, but also in the issue of Kurds, he said. Mehelli attributed Obama's different position to the people around him. "Vice President Joseph Biden has good relations with Armenian lobby and has a great sympathy for Kurds. His position can cause problems in US-Turkey relations in future," Mehelli said.

Shanli Bahadir Koch, Strategic Studies Center for the United States said Obama's attitude towards Armenian and Kurdish lobby can lead to a political tension between then two countries. The most alarming issue is Obama's position towards the so-called "genocide". There are some alarming points in Obama's position towards Kurds as well. If Obama pulls out US troops from Iraq in a short-term period as he promised, in order to hinder Turkey to intervene into North Iraq, he will demand Turkey to recognize Kurdish administration in Iraq and establish good relations. Excluding "genocide" and issue of Kurds, there are many points in Obama's foreign policy coinciding with that of Turkey. "Obama's efforts to solve Near East and Iraq problems through dialogue fully coincide with the political position of Turkey, Koch said to Trend by telephone from Ankara.

European expert Svante Cornell believes that Obama's foreign policy line will depend on a team he will choose. "One can analyze Obama's foreign policy after he appoints the secretaries of departments," Kornel said to Trend by telephone from Stokholm. He said US presidential candidates always make such statements during election campaign. However, they act on the base of realities after they assume office.

Newly-elected US President Barack Obama will assume office on 20 January 2009.