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Wikileaks Turkey

Wikileaks Turkey - U.S. officials had scrambled to keep two allies from airing their growing differences in public — again.

Hours before an annual joint military exercise was to begin in June 2009, Turkey booted Israel from the event. But American diplomats persuaded Turkey to paper over the differences, mainly involving Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip several months earlier, and officially describe Israel's absence as a mere delay.

"Through some remarkable work with allies … we engineered a public 'postponement' of the international portion of the exercise," the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the Turkish capital, reported. "But, the relationship is souring," it said of ties between Turkey, the only Muslim nation in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and longtime U.S. ally Israel.

The embassy's secret account was among the trove of documents about America's complicated relationship with an increasingly independent and ambitious Turkey that were released this week by the website WikiLeaks.

The documents underscore the importance of Turkey, a moderate Islamic country bordering Iran, Iraq and Syria. The documents show that U.S. officials use Turkey as a base to gather intelligence on Iran and value the massive U.S. airbase at Incirlik as a location to ferry supplies to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The reports span much of the period since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party, or AKP, came to power, and show that U.S. diplomats cheered the new government as it instituted democratic reforms.

But they also show how Americans grew frustrated and even angry over a foreign policy out of sync with the U.S. vision.

U.S. officials often blamed Erdogan, and said they were seeking to sway deputies they considered more moderate into adopting positions closer to those of the U.S., especially regarding Iran and Israel.

Wikileaks Turkey


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