Michael Ledeen explains Turkey’s sudden refusal to allow the US military to use Turkey as a base for land forces: turns out France and Germany applied the thumbscrews.
Everybody knows that Turkey did not permit America to stage operations from Turkish bases, but hardly anybody realizes that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, the vote was not an Islamic protest against the American-led coalition,but an act of anti-American intimidation by France and Germany.This stabs me straight through my Jacksonian little heart. If true—and I want to stress that I do not discount the possibility that the Turks are just trying to shift blame to a country we’re already disgusted with in an attempt to weasel out of the opprobrium being cast their way for their shoddy behavior—France is even more perfidious than previously thought. As Ledeen notes, this amounts to an act of deliberate sabotage. It’s one thing to disagree on the utility of diplomacy over military intervention, it is quite another to deliberately undermine the US military. And then to subsequently have the gall to demand a share in the post-war rebuilding efforts—it’s not supportable. We can’t deal honorably with nations sworn to oppose our every move.
The Turkish government, which for the first time since the fall of the Ottoman Empire is based on an Islamic party, fully expected that Parliament would approve its proposal that America be given the use of Turkish air bases in the Iraqi war.The government was so confident that the party failed to demand internal discipline, and thus several deputies voted against the resolution.
But that does not account for the failure to approve the government’s proposal.
Primary blame for the defeat of the measure lies with the opposition — the secular, Kemalist parties that have governed the country since Ataturk.
Contrary to expectations, the opposition, responding to orders from party leaders, voted unanimously against the government’s position.
The leaders insisted on a disciplined "no" vote because of pressure — some would call it blackmail — from France and Germany.
The French and German governments informed the Turkish opposition parties that if they voted to help the Coalition war effort, Turkey would be locked out of Europe for a generation. As one Turkish leader put it, "there were no promises, only threats."
[Link via Instapundit .]