Rarely are a politician’s words and deeds in such harmony as those of Barack Obama recently, regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a sensational interview in the Atlantic, in which President Obama discusses his foreign policy thinking in depth, the author wrote that Obama now considers Erdogan “a failure and an authoritarian.”
These are unusually harsh words about a foreign head of state that is a chief U.S. ally in NATO in the war against ISIS – even as in the latter case there are many questions about Turkey’s role.
One can only imagine how Erdogan reacted to Obama’s characterization of him; the Turkish press certainly shed no light on it.
Nonetheless – obviously to gloss over the matter – Erdogan invited Obama to accompany him to an opening of a mosque in Maryland that Turkey funded.
Obama not only refused Erdogan’s invitation, but he also refused the Turkish leader’s request for a special meeting during the March 31 Nuclear Safety Summit in Washington, in which 51 nations will participate, arranging instead for Vice President Joe Biden to meet with Erdogan.
Compare Obama’s actions vis-à-vis Erdogan with those of various European leaders, note the recent agreement regarding the refugees, and draw your own conclusions.
Regarding all of this, there is another point worth noting: Turkey’s funding of the Maryland mosque evidences its investment in the Turkish Diaspora in America. To emphasize the importance of that investment, none other than Turkey’s President will be on hand for the mosque’s inauguration.
Compare that attitude with that of Greece – and Cyprus – toward Hellenes abroad. Never mind the present – when both of those countries are mired in financial problems – but consider the past, when they had bundles of money. What long-term projects did they undertake? Who funded our community’s institutions?
And did they even give us a right to vote, as Turkey did to its own who live in the United States?
They say American Presidents actually govern during their second terms, when unlike their first, they are free from the burden of winning reelection.
That is very telling in light of Obama’s refusal to see Erdogan. It also shows that, in the end, the United States does not consider Turkey to be an important ally.
And it means that the United States is developing a foreign policy founded on principle, not illusions.