Gordon Rules Out Shift in Turkey’s Commitment to US, NATO

WASHINGTON (Today’s Zaman)—Suggestions that Turkey has turned away from its allies in NATO and Europe are based on an “incorrect perception,” a senior US State Department official said Tuesday.

Phillip Gordon, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, spoke at a hearing of the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Europe Tuesday where he insisted any notion that Turkey had turned its back on the West was unfounded, particularly in the wake of a high-level meeting between US President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During the hearing, Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), also co-chairman of the US Congressional Caucus on US-Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans, said numerous articles have recently suggested that NATO member Turkey is turning away from the West.

“For me, it’s very clear that Turkey is assuming a regional policy. If someone would [have] come up five years ago and said that Turkey would drive a great rapprochement process with Armenia or would implement a democratization process concerning its Kurdish population, few among us would have believed that. In my opinion, the benefits of Turkey conducting equal relations with its neighbors for the US and the West outweigh its harms,” Wexler was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

Wexler, who chaired the subcommittee hearing, asked Gordon if he believed Turkey’s foreign policy orientation was shifting away from the West. Gordon responded, saying that Turkey has been playing “a more active role in its region and seeking a very important role.”

“I believe that thinking that Turkey has turned its back to its decades-long cooperation with NATO, the US and Europe is an incorrect perception,” Gordon was quoted as saying by Anatolia. Highlighting that the meeting between Obama and Erdogan took a few hours, he said, “This is not a sign showing that a country is moving away from the US.”

Ankara and Washington may have different views on certain issues, Gordon said, adding that Obama and Erdogan discussed a series of issues including the two countries’ approaches to Iran, Israel and Syria during their Dec. 7 meeting at the White House.

Gordon continued, saying that it is also not possible to say that Turkey, which is continuing its bid to become a member of the EU, is moving away from Europe. “However, it is a fact that Turkey is continuing to be a close partner for us with its […] big and important cooperation on a regional and global scale.”

Following his meeting with Erdogan earlier this month, Obama voiced his appreciation of the role played by Turkey in contributing to the maintenance of global peace.

Erdogan’s visit was also used as an opportunity to launch a joint initiative aimed at boosting trade and investment ties between the two countries. The initiative is being touted by supporters of Turkey in Washington as another concrete sign of the mutual desire to diversify the strong political and military cooperation between the two allies and make their partnership more substantial.

Commentaries in Turkish newspapers widely described the White House meeting as a meeting that strengthened Erdogan’s political position inside Turkey due to Obama’s clear remarks in support of the Erdoğan government’s democratization initiative and of Turkey’s fight against terrorism.


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  1. Sarmen said:

    Ya sure! What a pathetic attempt at trying to save face for a foreign country. You keep telling yourself that and we’ll keep trying to understand your pain… LOL!
    The only “incorrect perception” Gordon is the erroneous notion that Turkey is a supposedly reliable ally. What a farce and America knows it. Stop trying to cover for Turkey.

    • Zabel said:

      I could not have said it any more precisely than this – “STOP TRYING TO COVER FOR TURKEY.”

    • sam said:

      Well said Sarmen. Perhaps repeatedly backstabbing allies is the new way of winning their hearts and minds. Perhaps Armenia should also adopt this strategy in its relations with America. It seems to yield a lot of benefits for turkey.

  2. Jacque armoudikian said:

    What democratization?
    Does this guy even knows what he’s talking about?  Democratization and Turkey can not be in one sentence. The American Government has to STOP the BS. No one is buying it anymore.

  3. Frank said:

    Erdogan said that Turks have tried to join the EU for 50 years and it didn’t work.
    As for NATO Turkey is not fulfilling its duties because they see no future their for them.
    The new Turkey has different plans.
    It wants to be a Super power without the US and the EU in the middle east.
    They want to join the Turkish states in Russia like Turkmenistan and so on.
    This is the path they have chosen.
    A smart plan for US and EU is to do whatever the Armenians want because they will benefit from our decision.
    Armenians are not asking for much
    Our empire during the time of Dikran the great controlled all of Azerbejian and most of Turkey.
    We were there for more than 12,000 years as Mr Haro said. The Turks who are the dirtiest of all kinds came from Mongolia and attacked us over and over again.
    We were reduced to nothing because of the Turks.
    Now we are strong.
    We have nuclear power .
    We can blow up Azerbaijan with 1  bomb.

  4. katia K. said:

    Such a charade!.. The US knows about the Genocide first hand, knows about our lost lands first hand since it was President Woodraw Wilson who awarded us Western Armenia in the Sevres Treaty, knows about how the Kurds, the Greeks and the Cyprisians were treated, knows how human rights are abused inside Turkey… and yet it is willing to hug a snake to keep a foothold in the Caucasus… maybe the US thinks it is easier to deal with Turkey because it holds all the above bargaining chips against it… it has nothing to negotiate with Armenia with… we have not massacred any people, we do not occupy anybody’s lands; Karabagh is historically ours and the Karabaghzis have legally applied for self determination, what are they going to bargain with?…
    What a shame… I hate to say this, but it sure feels like the fall of the US empire is upon us… The US has steared so far from its Constitution’s moral compass!

  5. Random Armenian said:

    “We have nuclear power .
    We can blow up Azerbaijan with 1  bomb.”
    eh?! You do know it’s the non-explosive kind right? And you do know Azerbaijan is right next door where the wind could blow radioactive material back to Armenia?
    “They want to join the Turkish states in Russia like Turkmenistan and so on.
    This is the path they have chosen.”
    Yes and Armenia is once again in the way. Armenia needs to be careful.
    As for Turkey, I’d like to see a more democratic Turkey. The last time it went down the tubes many in my family was killed off.

  6. Alex Postallian said:

    Someone better check Philip Gordon bank accts,I smell baksheesh from the turks, or the guy needs rehab.Bring him back home,give him a broom…

  7. manooshag said:

    Hye, Gordon speaks with forked tongue… whose side is he on?  State Department has been
    so off the wall in foregn policy with the likes of a Turkey – what is Turkey holding over the heads in the State Department?  Such allegiance to a non-ally is obscene! 
    Turkey is using ploys and agreements – which they use for the moment and then discard just as easily… Turkey has agreements, for years, unsigned and awaiting…  Turkey is an ally, then Turkey is not an ‘ally’, i.e. US access to Iraq via Turkey is denied – US had to find other routes to
    pursue  – this is an ‘ally’?  And with Israel? 
    A Turkey today is acting as though they are coming out of the last several hunderds of years – all of a sudden!  Even to the extent of appointing itself, Turkey, to be the arbiter between nations – nations who have been at odds.  What a lot of bull!  Turkey has, of all nations, the least experience in ‘how to win friends and influence nations’ – and NOW its latest ploy is to become an arbiter?? PULEESE.  This is as obvious as the nose on your face – or – clear as looking through a clean plate of glass… etc.
    Turkey is not a democracy… neither to the non-Muslims citizens, neither to its own Turkish
    citizens… Turkey lies (like a rug) to its own peoples – educates their students with huge omissons of Turkey’s own history in their history books – thus misleading their youth, their own future generations…
    With an ‘ally’ like a Turkey – who needs enemies?  Manooshag
    P.S. Theodore Roosevelt in 1918 said:  ‘the Armenian massacres was the greatest crime of the war (WWI) and failure to act against Turkey IS TO CONDONE IT.” 

  8. Peter Parker said:

    Democritization? Has this guy been watching the news? Since when do democratic governments shut down political parties within their own parliament the way these Turks did with the Kurdish party just last couple weeks?
    Iran is on the verge of going Nuclear, Turkey knows this and wants a slice of the pie. As soon as Iran goes Nuclear, which will happen inevitably regardless of what the US and Israel threaten them with, Turkey will complete abandon the US and the EU. Turkey is realizing that there is a good chance that the West is going to lose its stranglehold on the middle east, and once it does, Turkey wants to be there to greet its Muslim “brothers” with open arms in order to get in on the Nuclear action.
    Tisk tisk tisk, this is what happens when a Christian based US turns its back on its own religious heritage in order get in bed with a pseudo-secular Muslim state.

  9. areg mansuryan said:

    Why worry and make a fuss! Noboby needs Turkey! Turks are blight os Asia anyway.

  10. Frank said:

    Parev Ingerner
    In the last part of my sentence I wanted to say this
    They want us to stop being Anti- Turk