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Turkey is the most anti-American country

Soner Cagaptay writes a letter to President-Elect Obama in Newsweek warning that Turkey, a NATO ally, is The Most Anti-American Nation:
Dear President-Elect Obama: As you take office, I am enthusiastically watching your desire to win hearts and minds around the world. But I am concerned in particular about Turkey. This nation is the embodiment of what the United States and the West want to achieve around the world. It is predominantly Muslim, yet Western and democratic. But the Turks are vehemently anti-American, so much so that they consistently rank in polls as the most anti-American country in the world. According to the Pew Center's latest poll, only 12 percent of the Turks like the United States—fewer, even, than the percentage of Pakistanis. Obamania in Turkey will help you change America's image, but given the dismal numbers, I am afraid that might not be enough. Despite the close cooperation with the United States on Iraq, Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has taken the easy way, bashing America at home in an attempt to boost its own popularity. But you should not ignore Turkey. Because of its strategic location, Turkey is a key partner to the United States in tackling many foreign-policy challenges. You will need Turkish support and the Turkish base at Incirlik to achieve many of your goals, such as withdrawing troops from Iraq.
Turkish frustration with the European Union is understandable considering Europeans have been teasing Turkey with the prospect of EU membership for decades.  A series of essays on Turkey - EU relations is available in the most recent issue of Re-public journal titled “Turkey – European Union: A long-standing misunderstanding” (HT: Kevin Hilke)

On the other hand, anti-US sentiment is a little more surprising. Cagaptay’s argument that Turkey is the most anti-American country (or at least very close to it) is further corroborated by polls from the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, which show Turks as having one of the lowest “very favorable” views toward the US at about 2% and the highest “very unfavorable” rating at 75% (PDF: poll on world perspective toward the US on page 6).  

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Joe Noory on :

Soner Cagaptay to America: [i]Enough of you talking to one another about you, why don't you talk about me?[/i] Only on a very limited level does the regard a population somewhere has for one personality have any sort of relevance to international relations. Even if it did, it's fickle, temporary, and useless. Cagaptay's angle is a disappointing thing to hear coming from the Senior Fellow of a think tank hosted by Georgetown University.

pen Name on :

Your allies uniformly despise you - Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, UAE, Turkey. Ironic that you sanction Iran whose people do not hate you while your allies do.

Joe Noory on :

How do you know that people don't also dispise the Turkish government as well? Even on an individual level, Turks don't travel a great deal, relocate to, or get that close to people in Arabic-speaking societies. Or doesn't that count?

John in Michigan, USA on :

pen, We don't sanction the Iranian people, we sanction the government. Are you saying that the US is less unpopular in Iran based on your personal experience? Is America popular with you and your friends? What do they feel when the leadership chants "death to America", teaches it in the schools, etc? Iran isn't listed in the Pew study. So, how are you making the comparison between Iran and US allies?

pen Name on :

Ask any Westerner who has been to Iran recently; from Europe, form US, or elsewhere. Iranian people are viscerally against Americans or Westerners. As for US - you have hurt Iran a lot.

quo vadis on :

Results like these only reinforce my position that world opinion regarding the US is, for the most part, irrational and is subject to all kinds of distorting influences. This applies to the over-the-top Obamania as well as anti-Americanism. The US is "big" enough to bear the blame for just about anything and therefore makes a ready foil for a populist or scapegoat for whatever social ill or domestic problem a government, society or NGO can't or won't solve. This seems to apply everywhere to some degree, including within the US itself. I recently participated in a comment thread where several Swedish commenters asserted that rising Swedish anti-muslim sentiment was caused by Americans. The irony of blaming domestic xenophobia on other foreigners was entirely lost on them. I'm starting to believe that it would be in our national interest to focus more on marketing and PR and less on programs that are intended to actually do something positive. We seem to get so little credit for the latter.

Pamela on :

I'd really like to know how much of this is due to the Iraqi Kurds and the PKK incursions into Turkey. I'd be royally pissed off if I were a Turk, too.

Zyme on :

This probably plays the absolutely main role. If a foreign power you used to like destabilizes a neighbour of yours so much that militant minorities can easily raid across your border and quickly retreat to safety again, then it is hard to imagine what might coin public Turkish opinion on the US even more.

Joe Noory on :

Impossible. The Turks were reflexively anti-american in the 1980s.

Pamela on :

Joe, is there any reading you would recommend vis a vis Turkish political/cultural development? I have met exactly one person from Turkey in my entire life - and that was 10 years before God started making dirt.

pen Name on :

This also applies to Iran and her Eastern border. Assorted terroristic groups (funded by US & EU according to the Iranian Government) enter Iran, kill & kidnap people, and then retreat to Pakistan or Afghanistan. This is true to a lesser extend of the Ian's Western border.

John in Michigan, USA on :

I am sure the Kurdish issues play a role in Turkish anti-Americanism. However, the burgeoning Islamist movement in Turkey also plays a large role.

pen Name on :

Reposting: Ask any Westerner who has been to Iran recently; from Europe, form US, or elsewhere. Iranian people are NOT viscerally against Americans or Westerners. As for US - you have hurt Iran a lot. You expect us to like you?

John in Michigan, USA on :

"Iranian people are NOT viscerally against Americans or Westerners." I agree that elements of American or Western culture are popular in Iran, as are visitors from these cultures. But the same is true for many of our allies in the region. For example, Turkey! Even Turkey's leaders don't normally lead chants of "Death to America", a point you conveniently ignore when you claim that Iranians don't have these visceral feelings. If Iranians don't have those feelings, why do they participate in the chants? "As for US - you have hurt Iran a lot. You expect us to like you?" I expect you to like us when we do good things for Iran. Iran has had a number of earthquakes but the one in 2003 near Bam was particularly bad. When you had that earthquake, we immediately forgot all grievances. We saved Iranian lives and eased the suffering of many more. We didn't ask a thing in return. Where was Iran when New Orleans flooded? On 9/11? Too many Iranians were chanting "death to America" and celebrating in the streets. Are we the Great Satan? Calling us that, as your leaders routinely do, goes a little bit beyond normal complaints about sanctions, or our past support for the Shah, don't you think? My other point was, it is hard to compare personal reactions with responses to a survey. For example, when you react to a person, you usually don't consider their government's foreign policy. When you react to a survey question, you probably do consider foreign policy and many other factors that you wouldn't consider on a personal level. The survey asked people in other countries questions about their opinion of Iran. I don't know why the survey didn't ask Iranians their opinion of other countries. Perhaps because the researchers couldn't get permission to conduct the survey?

pen Name on :

In regards to "Death to America": undoubtedly that is an expression of anger towards US Government. US killed Freedom in Iran in 1953. US condoned the usage Chemical Weapons in Iraq-Irqn War and aided and abetted Iraq. How would you feel and behave in a similar situation? In Bam, the country that was most helpful was Ukraine. In New Orleans, Iran offered to give crdue oil to US; US declined. In 9/11, there were hundreds fo people who spontaneoulsy held a candle-light vigil for the victims. The President of Iran expressed his condolences. During the same, there were days of jubilation in UAE cities (your allies) for the harm done to US. And in January of 2008, Mr. Bush was in UAE haranguing Iran for not being "democratic" and threatening her with "all options are on the table"; supporting despots and a population who enjoyed every minute of 9/11. Great Satan and Axis of Evil seem to be equivalent; not worth discussion.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Well now apparently we are going to debate the entire history of US-Iranian relations. "US killed Freedom in Iran in 1953" It seems you have now abandoned your earlier position, that "the Iranian people are NOT viscerally against Americans or Westerners." After all, if we "killed freedom" then the Iranian people would be fools not to viscerally dislike the US. But we didn't "kill freedom". Mosaddeq had already turned against the very people who elected him. Mosaddeq turned out to be about as democratic as Putin or Chavez. Meaning he used an election (no doubt rigged with KGB help) to seize power, then changed the rules so that he would never have to face the people again, except on his terms. Like Chavez, Mosaddeq's nationalization of the oil fields was a disaster for Iran, since Iran needed the money, but no-one knew how to keep them running. We did not intervene to prevent his election. Even Mosaddeq's eventual failure to obey the Shah's lawful order to step down doesn't necessarily justify the US and British intervention...but if you think Mosaddeq = freedom you have a strange concept of freedom. But lets get real. When the Iranian government leads the people in shouts of "Death to America", they are not just talking about 1953 or Saddam's atrocities (I'm glad you agree he had chemical weapons, though. Tell your everyone you meet, as there seems to be much confusion on this point.) "Death to America" is mostly about the international conspiracy of child-cannibal Jews, of which the Great Satan is one manifestation. They are talking about hastening the day the snoozing Imam awakes, or stops playing hide-and-seek, which will usher in the End of Days. If the Iranian people had the benefit of a free press, they would quickly realize that we would be willing to leave you in peace if IRAN WOULD JUST STOP THREATENING TO END THE WORLD. It isn't an unreasonable request, is it? "Great Satan and Axis of Evil seem to be equivalent". How funny. In an earlier discussion you accused me: "[url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/1189-WSJ-Berlin-Hearts-Iran.html#c16968]your claim is that among you there are no Evil people or Good people, just plain guilty and not guilty[/url]". So it turns out that our claims to good and evil are the same as Iran's...or at least, that is your position when you can't think of any better form of Taqiyya. Oh, I forgot. We "kill freedom" but managed to do so without threatening Islam, so you couldn't possibly be practicing Taqiyya. So Islam doesn't require freedom? Back to this question of evil. As I've discussed before, our claims are more humble, and take into account the long record of human frailty. Axis of Evil is a reference to an earlier Axis, meaning a human institution that actually existed on this earth. The Great Satan is a reference to an alleged supernatural being. An Axis can be defeated by normal, flawed humans in normal time and space. Better still, an Axis can have a change of heart and become less evil (USSR). On the other hand, those who believe in Satan, believe that no human can ever defeat him, and he cannot become any less evil than he is. He can only be defeated at the End of Days. The Axis of Evil was a rhetorical device, a sound bite. Bush never led any chants, children were not brainwashed with it, and it did not form the core of the state-sponsored curriculum for students. So you see our claims are not equivalent at all -- ours is much more realistic, and much less of a threat to world peace.

pen Name on :

Thus we arrive at a place where we can begin a process of dialogue without mutual recrimination - forget the past and construct a mutually beneficial present and future. But I do not think US Government is interested in dialogue - only in domination.

Marie Claude on :

For example, when you react to a person, you usually don't consider their government's foreign policy kidding ???? bizarre, each time I surf on a Conservative place, I am recalled that the Americans saved our as...s more than twice, that we are surrender monkeys, vichysts... OK, a bit less the past year, but if Sarko pronounces any discourses that doesn't go into the "allowed" policy, there we go again with the remnent anathems

John in Michigan, USA on :

"when you react to a person" Yes, I agree sort of reaction that happens too much on some blogs (not just Conservative...) but what I meant when I was responding to Pen Name is, when you react to someone on the street or in a cafe or something, you don't normally consider foreign policy. In fact the general rule is to avoid politics unless everyone is confortable talking about it. Blogging is a strange social situation, because it is never quite clear what the rules are unless you spend time on a particular blog (and sometimes not even then!)

Joe Noory on :

And Iran's government hasn't done any harm to anyone anywhere? Their support for Hizballah has turned Lebanon into a war zone again. They've wrecked the prospect for a peaceful agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians by re-engineering Hamas into an instrument they can have at their disposal. They are building a nuclear weapons infrastructure that can neither produce power, not material with the purity to be used for medical purposes. If you want to accept without questioning every one of the Ahmedinejad government's press fairy-tales, then good for you - but the reality is far different and deserves more honest scepicism. I find the idea that the US having unjusty hurt Iran laughable. The US eradicated both of the tangible threats to Iran: Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, and the influence of the Taliban. America has also for many years guaranteed the security on the seas of Iran's only viable export. Teheran had the opportunity to approach the US, but instead tried to destroy the developing pluralism in Iraq by supplying training, weapons, and explosives to various factions. THEY are the ones who threw away every opportunity at peace and stability at every turn. I know you will be able to find an array of canned rationalizations and so forth, but ask yourelf first if that's really you doing the reasoning.

pen Name on :

US killed Freedom in Iran in 1953. US condoned the usage Chemical Weapons in Iraq-Irqn War and helped Iraq get away with that. US aided and abetted Iraq in that war. Hizbullah was created in response to Israel's attack and invasion of Lebanon in 1982. US was, as far as I could tell, a co-belligerent in that war. Iran was not about to let a people with whom she has had a 500-year connection and history, to be destroyed by your Israeli friends. Hizbullah has not been responsible for the collapse of so-called peace-talks between Israel and the Palestinians. You are. The tangible removal of Saddam Hussien was aimed into turining Iraq into a US bastion against Iran and Syria. It was God that thwarted your designs. The developing pluralism of Iraq is a figment of your imagination. The best you can say that in larger Iraqi cities, during the years of Ba'ath dictatorship, a sense of Iraqi idenity emerged. That sense was severaly tested during the Iran-Iraq War and was damaged further during the period of sanctions put in place by US. Your illegal war of choice in Iraq destroyed what had remained of it. And now, as they say, all of that is gone with the wind. And I ask you, why are you fighhting thousands of miles from your shore? And I ask you, why do you care about Israel? It is NOT your country. Now, undoubtedly US & Iran could come to agreements, in principle, on common and shared interests - some of which you have alluded to. But I do not think US is capable of doing so on basis of local strategic parity. I think you are desirous of Iranian capituation and not a process of Hegelian dialectical bargaining.

Joe Noory on :

So the symbolic offers of aid were benevolent, and not pulicity stunts (just like Chavez' and Fidel's), anything the US does is negative, and you belive that God picks winners and losers on this earth. You can't tell the difference between Hamas and Hizballah, and you believe the fairy tale about Hizballah, who most Lebanese people (of which I am one) fear and detest. How cute. Everything that happens on earth proves to you the virtue of your opinions. I'll bet you feel the same way about hanging homosexuals. The social climate pushes young women to bose as boys for as long as they can in order to have some individual freedom. But I;m sure you will convince youself that those things are virtues too. I would think it has more to do with widespread insecurity about your manhood, but I'll let you just think about that one. While you make your little list of anything on the distant past that makes you feel comfortable (i.e. a coup 55 years ago)? ask yourself about the virtue of the many Iranians who wanted and went along with that coup, or don't they exist? Usually when you see people trying that hard to dig selectively into the past, they're usually rather needy and unconvinced.

pen Name on :

And I recall in 1984, a young Shia from South Lebanon who had studied in US, who drank alcohol, who had American lover, told me this: "Khomeini saved us!"

Marie Claude on :

Hizbullah was created in response to Israel's attack and invasion of Lebanon in 1982. US was, as far as I could tell, a co-belligerent in that war. Iran was not about to let a people with whom she has had a 500-year connection and history, to be destroyed by your Israeli friends. Hizbullah has not been responsible for the collapse of so-called peace-talks between Israel and the Palestinians. You are. HBZ zxists and only exists because of the Mullahs support. HBZ is a paw in their hand to get discussions with the Americans for their arbiter position of the ME. They will use that annoyant tool until they reach their agenda

Turkish Regent of Turkfornia on :

Well if I have to talk about the actuality, I should say that there was a fastly growing anti-Americanism in Turkey which has been slowed down with the cooperation btw US-Turkey on PKK issue. Cagaptay is right about the danger anti-Americanism poses for the relations but he is a bit exaggerating the situation. First, he overlooked the importance of the impact of cooperation on PKK. I believe a more careful approach and absolute incorporation of Northern Iraqi Kurds in fighting PKK would affect things seriously. Second, though he is right to some extent he is putting too much emphasis on AKP government. Yes it is not quite possible for AKP to love US because of their inherent logic - their roots in Islamist National Outlook Movement. Their perception of other Middle Eastern countries clashes with that of US' (Iran, Syria etc.) and Israel-Palestinian conflict is hard to swallow for these guys as you can predict. Still I don't believe the main determinant is AKP in this situation though I admit the important role they play. I think the main reason of the rapid increase in anti-Americanism after Clinton administration is Bush government's policies and haphazard comments. You can guess these I believe. Iraq case is obvious, increased PKK activities which were originated from US-controlled Northern Iraq, Armenian issue is very important, the speech of Powell praising Turkey as a moderate Islamic country etc. Anyways I am positive about Obama can decrease anti-Americanism in Turkey but US should be a bit more careful in the issues with Turkey. You need more people in DC who understands Turkey, I can see no one there but only several people. AKP case is also very important as Cagaptay noted, but again it should be dealt with grat care since we do not have any real alternatives for AKP in Turkish political arena (Though we all criticize them-ironically).

Turkish on :

I can say US is the most hypocrite country in world, i have lots of reasons. I'll just wont bother wasting my time explain it one by one.

John in Michigan, USA on :

To Turkish and JK, To those who are unable to think freely for themselves, or are prevented from doing so, integrity and self-reliance often seem like hypocrisy. A great American philosopher once wrote about the virtues of this sort of hypocrisy: "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. ... "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do." [url=http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm]His name was Emerson[/url].

John in Michigan, USA on :

"He provides us with so many facts that USA is not so honourable as it claimed" Where? His posts is only 28 words long! Maybe you think that Turkish = Turkish Regent of Turkfornia. How do you know this? Wouldn't it be so much easier if each person posting picked a single name and stuck to it? Most web browsers will remember your name and email so you don't have to type it each time.

Pat Patterson on :

Pen Name(sp) is Iranian not Turkish! Your posts disappeared that one time because of two things, posting in a variety of colors and quoting without attribution huge amounts of text. Unless you become insulting Joerg will not censor your posts. But one name would be the polite thing to do!

Pat Patterson on :

As opposed to the ludicrous sight of the real SC interviewing the fake SC, or vice versa? Remember your commentary from the nonexistent professor in a nonexistent department at the very real University of British Columbia? Considering that no one, including me, has called for any of your posts to be deleted or blocked I find your willingness to delete other contrary opinions not very surprising.

SC on :

Pat, This is SC in Missouri: do I need a new identifier? What's this all about? I've been away for a few months and returned only last week, I believe.

Pat Patterson on :

Sorry, I believe at one time the above referred to himself as SC and now seems to flit around JK CS. Just in the last comments he has used JK_Morgan, JK CS, Tartasha JK et al. I should have checked but I wouldn't change yours as he rarely keeps the same pseudo for very long.

SC on :

Ok. If some else had come along while I was gone, I'd make way by changing. But if there's a changeling among us, well, then I'll stay put.

Kevin Sampson on :

Moderator(s), why do you tolerate this crap?

John in Michigan, USA on :

We need to start ignoring the troll(s). Which would be anyone who keeps changing their user ID.

Pat Patterson on :

Friday was not African nor a slave but a Carib Indian. Bertholt Brecht had nothing to do with pulling your leg about a nonexistent referendum in Tibet. Are you referring to Neville Maxwell again but confusing him with the playwright Brecht?

Pat Patterson on :

Obviously two things spring to mind. The first that Defoe describes Friday as being Carib. You might want to actually read the book. Not the manga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_Friday And surprisingly Rene Descartes, the French mathematican and philosopher was born in what is now known as Descartes, France. Whose most famous saying, though written in Latin, was cogito ergo sum. Where did Descartes describe European settlers in the New World? Citation please!

Pat Patterson on :

So in other words Defoe did not describe Friday as a slave at all.

Pat Patterson on :

You can insist the moon is made of green cheese but that does not make it so. There is a huge difference between being a servant(a contracted employee) and a slave(chattel).

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