Washington briefing: Major U.S. dailies raise concerns with Turkey

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Thursday November 26, 2009

Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ahead of a summit between Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Barack Obama on December 7 in Washington, leading U.S. newspapers outlined concerns with Mr. Erdogan's policies.

A Washington Post's editorial for November 22, "Slipping in Turkey," argued that the Turkish "government's foreign policy has taken a nasty turn" and that the country's previously positive image was "rapidly darkening."

The newspaper noted in particular that under Mr. Erdogan, Turkey has sharply criticized Israel while establishing close ties with the regimes in Iran, Sudan, and Syria.

Domestically, the Post noted, Mr. Erdogan was seeking to consolidate control over mass media and strong-arming political opponents charged with coup plotting.

On the same day as the Post editorial, a New York Times story titled, "In Turkey, Trial Casts Wide Net of Mistrust," suggested the Erdogan government was using an attempted coup plot by the ultranationalist Ergenekon group to crack down on the secular military establishment.

Significantly these developments come amid what the Post termed "historic reforms of Turkey's treatment of its Kurdish minority and a major step toward opening the country's border with Armenia."


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