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July 16, 2003

THIS REPORT makes it sound as if the Turks are still in denial:

The message to the delegation of the Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA), a U.S.-based lobbying group, which visited Turkey in June was blunt. "The Turkish authorities clearly want us to go back to the U.S. and tell people that Turkey made no mistakes and to defend Ankara's policies before the Iraqi war," one Turkish-American leader complained. A member of the ATAA delegation declared that the moderate Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan preached to the delegation about the merits of promoting peace in Islam as a way to go to heaven.

Behind closed doors, however, Turks bitterly complain to each other that the Erdogan government committed a monumental mistake and destroyed decades-old strategic relationship with Washington.

I'd say "seriously damaged" but not quite "destroyed." But I tend toward optimism, and this degree of denial may make that optimism misplaced. Still, as the article suggests, there are lots of reasons for cooperation.