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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/8/17

Enemies of Turkey in Washington: possible and real

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While Turkey is trying to support Qatar in its confrontation with other Persian Gulf countries and blames Donald Trump for provoking this regional crisis, the Greek-American elites in alliance with the Israeli lobby are hitting Ankara once more, this time in the religious sphere.

Concordia Europe Summit in Athens Highlight: Keynotes by Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden and Remarks by Patriarch Bartholomew
Concordia Europe Summit in Athens Highlight: Keynotes by Fmr. Vice President Joe Biden and Remarks by Patriarch Bartholomew
(Image by YouTube, Channel: Concordia)
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Perhaps, in spite of the magnitude of the situation that has arisen as a result of the bold statements of the US president, Recep Erdogan should consider who poses a bigger threat to Turkish interests, and what challenges actually require a harsher response on his part.

On the one hand, if you look at the anti-Tramp hysteria in Turkish pro-government media, it may seem that the current US Administration is the main adversary of Ankara. Trump's sharp statements and accusations of supporting terrorism levelled against Doha seem to be almost an "attack command" for the Gulf States. Observers even write that "Americans are back in play". However, in fact, Trump's statements during the Riyadh summit were just a trigger to start the blockade of Qatar, because the real causes of the conflict arose long before that. Most likely, this decision was driven mostly by economic motives and domestic political considerations.

Lobbyism has deeply rooted into US politics. So, the Democratic Party somehow receives funding from Qatar, and from Israel, and from the Greeks, and from the Gulenists. Each group has its own interests, and the final decision largely depends on the ratio of contributions from different sources. Thus, Trump could give a go-ahead for bullying Doha in order to weaken the Qatari lobby, and pacify the Israelis. In any case, Israel seems to be the only Middle East country benefiting from the current crisis. So perhaps Trump's meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem at the height of the Qatari crisis was not a mere coincidence.

Moreover, on the eve of his trip to Riyadh, Donald Trump hosted President of Turkey to discuss issues of regional politics and cooperation in fighting terrorism. One can assume for sure their conversation was straightforward and to the point because Recep Erdogan was one of few world leaders who greeted Trump's inauguration and US President in his turn, unlike other European leaders, did congratulated his Turkish counterpart on the successful referendum.

On the other hand, bilateral relations sank to the lowest point at least three times just in the last five years of Obama's Administration. Despite of all the sweet words about democracy, "religious freedom", "a sense of global responsibility" America has brazenly interfered with the internal affairs of Turkey and tried to use Turks for its own geopolitical purposes, ignoring Ankara's interests.

Even after losing the majority in Congress, Democrats continue to trample on the interests and laws of Turkey. It is known that Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of terrorism and plotting of a coup, funds the Democratic party. In their turn, such long-standing donors of the Democrats as Bloomberg L.P., Coca-Cola Co., Libra Group Inc. are sponsors of the Greek-American NGO, The Hellenic Initiative (THI). Among its contributors are lobbyist Andy Manatos, who actively influences Washington's policy on the Cyprus issue, and Anthony Limberakis, National Commander of the Order of St. Andrew. Honorary Chairman of THI executive committee is Bill Clinton, the executive director is the former cleric of the Ecumenical Patriarchate (EP), Mark Arey. The NGO's executive committee also includes CEO of the Libra Group, George Logothetis, Chairman of the Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent (a longtime friend of Patriarch Bartholomew), and the influential Public Affairs assistant to the Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOArch) and the spiritual adviser of the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, who has submitted a letter in support of Gulen's Immigrant Visa Petition.

Then, in early June, many US Congressmen received emails with another Limberakis' tough statement, apparently in response to Erdogan's accusations of discrimination against Muslims in the United States. The same text was sent to news media, including on behalf of the GOArch. One would think that Orthodox Greek-Americans pursue only their own interests by showing their loyalty to the White House in order to facilitate reopening of the Theological School on Heybeliada Island. However, that's not true. They just took advantage of the ongoing uproar for purely political reasons: to inflict the long-awaited blow to Turkey, while remaining in line with the usual Washington's political posture.

According to the American Greeks close to the White House, there is extremely strong criticism towards Trump in the Order of St. Andrew, which unites influential Greek lobbyists, particularly since the present US President is concerned about the real problems of Americans, and not about all vague threats "of global warming", the main hobby of the "green patriarch" Bartholomew. Thus, some of the Order's members do not miss the opportunity to take advantage of their connections and influence lawmakers and Administration staffers. As to the above-mentioned statement, it is said to be written by Mark Arey at Fr. Karloutsos' request. Interestingly, its author was not just disfrocked long ago but apparently has also ceased to understand what he likes more -- Christianity or Buddhism. That is, these people simply hide behind religion while selling themselves for Gulen's money and donations from the Clintons, Cypriot businessmen and the Israelis. There has already been multiple articles on the media about the formation of an anti-Turkish axis between Athens, Nicosia and Tel Aviv.

It is unlikely that Ankara can come to any agreements with the Greek-Israeli lobby in the US Congress, at least until they stop playing ball with Gulen. And even more so, it is questionable whether it's now worth talking to anti-Turkish forces after they were pushed aside from many levers of government.

Perhaps the only thing that President Erdogan should do in present situation is to neutralize the Greek-American resident agency settled on the Fanar and Heybeliada, i.e. in Turkey itself. And only after this an agreement can be attempted with those who really define US foreign policy and are capable of a fair dialogue.

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Gizem Akbash Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Gizem Akbash holds a B.A. degree in International Relations from the Cleveland State University. Currently, she is studying a M.A. in International Relations at the same university. She is proud American of Turkish descend and aspires to get a (more...)

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Enemies of Turkey in Washington: possible and real

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