Leave Turkey’s bid to join EU to us, Nicolas Sarkozy warns Barack Obama

Leave Turkey’s bid to join EU to us, Nicolas Sarkozy warns Barack Obama

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The love-in between Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama proved short-lived after the French President warned his US counterpart yesterday to keep his nose out of the issue of Turkey’s membership of the European Union.

President Obama used his first EU-US summit, on the eve of his visit to Turkey, to encourage European leaders to embrace the Muslim country and “anchor it in Europe”. However, Mr Sarkozy, a long-standing opponent of full membership for Turkey, rebuffed the US leader in language that seemed to sour the revival of Franco-US relations.

Support for Turkey in joining the EU, a process that it began formally in 2005 and hopes to complete before 2020, has long been an American foreign policy goal.

Mr Obama, who flew to Turkey last night, clearly wanted to leave on a positive note. He told EU leaders: “The United States and Europe must approach Muslims as our friends, neighbours and partners in fighting injustice, intolerance and violence.

“Moving forward towards Turkish membership in the EU would be an important signal of your commitment to this agenda and ensure that we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe.”

Mr Sarkozy, who has talked of offering Turkey a privileged partnership rather than membership, did not wait to hit back. “I have been working hand in hand with President Obama but when it comes to the European Union it is up to member states of the European Union to decide [on membership],” Mr Sarkozy said in an interview on French television. “I have always been opposed to this entry and I remain opposed,” he added.

His comments laid bare the continuing EU split over Turkish membership, with France and Austria openly opposed and deep reservations in Germany and the Netherlands. Turkey would become the most populous EU country and Germany in particular is said to have concerns about the shift in power that this would cause, with the largest number of MEPs coming from Turkey, along with strong voting rights in European Council decisions.

José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President, sought to paper over the cracks as he welcomed Mr Obama’s comments. “We have started a process of negotiations with Turkey for membership of the European Union and that was a unanimous decision of the European Union, all 27 member states,” Mr Barroso said.

“Of course we have to go on with the negotiations and at the end, we have to see if Turkey is ready to join and if the European Union is ready to integrate Turkey.”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, reiterated his country’s desire to join the EU when he visited Brussels this year.

Olli Rehn, the EU Enlargement Commissioner, called last week on Turkey to renew its focus on reforms to meet Union entry criteria for democracy and workers’ rights. “The pace of negotiations depends on the pace and intensity of the reforms in your country,” he said.

The Turkish press said yesterday that the country had secured concessions for dropping its objections to Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish Prime Minister, becoming the next Nato Secretary-General.

Ankara had argued that Mr Rasmussen was not suitable because he did not offer an apology for cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in a Danish newspaper in 2005, which led to violent demonstations across the Muslim world. Turkey expects to secure several key Nato posts, including that of assistant secretary-general.

Mr Rasmussen insisted in the Danish media yesterday that he had not sacrificed his defence of freedom of expression in order to secure Turkey’s support of his nomination.

Turkey also objected to the hosting by a Danish satellite of a Kurdish television channel that is regarded by Ankara as a mouthpiece of the outlawed PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). Speaking to the Danish daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Mr Rasmussen added: “If it can be proven that Roj TV is participating in terrorist activities, then we will do what we can to close the television station . . . within the framework of what Danish legislation allows.”

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Obama; “US Will Never Be At War With Islam”

Obama; “US Will Never Be At War With Islam”

April 6th, 2009 Posted By Pat.

Obama US Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey – Barack Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam.”

Calling for a greater partnership with the Islamic world in an address to the Turkish parliament, Obama called the country an important U.S. ally in many areas, including the fight against terrorism. He devoted much of his speech to urging a greater bond between Americans and Muslims, portraying terrorist groups such as al Qaida as extremists who did not represent the vast majority of Muslims.

“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama said. “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical … in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”

The U.S. president is trying to mend fences with a Muslim world that felt it had been blamed by America for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

For instance, at a news conference earlier with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, he dealt gingerly with the issue of alleged genocide committed by Turks against Armenians during World War I, urging Turks and Armenians to continue a process “that works through the past in a way that is honest, open and constructive.”

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyia, two of the biggest Arabic satellite channels, carried Obama’s speech live.

“America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaida,” he said. “We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”

“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country,” Obama said.

The president spoke for about 25 minutes from a small white-marble-and-teak rostrum in the well of a vast, airy chamber packed with Turkish lawmakers who filled the sea of orange leather chairs.

Except for a couple instances of polite applause, the room was almost completely silent throughout his speech. There was a more hearty ovation toward the end when Obama said the U.S. supports the Turkish government’s battle against PKK, which both consider a terrorist group, and again when he declared that America was not at war with Islam.

Obama also heard applause in response to his statement that the U.S. supports Turkey becoming a member of the European Union.

Earlier, Obama said he stood by his 2008 assertion that Ottoman Turks had carried out widespread killings of Armenians early in the 20th century, but he stopped short of repeating the word “genocide.”

Gul said many Turkish Muslims were killed during the same period. Historians, not politicians, Gul said, should decide how to label the events of those times.

In his 2008 campaign, Obama said “the Armenian genocide is not an allegation,” but rather “a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”

Now that he is president, the genocide question may not be Obama’s best issue for taking a tough stand that antagonizes a key ally. It is important in U.S. communities with large numbers of Armenian-Americans, but it has a low profile elsewhere.

In his speech to the parliament Monday, Obama said the United States strongly supports the full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.

Obama’s visit is being closely watched by an Islamic world that harbored deep distrust of his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In talks with Gul, and Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Obama hoped to sell his strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He hoped to find welcoming ears given the new U.S. focus on melding troop increases with civilian efforts to better the lives of people in both countries.

Obama recognized past tensions in the U.S.-Turkey relationship, but said things were on the right track now because both countries share common interests and are diverse nations. “We don’t consider ourselves Christian, Jewish, Muslim. We consider ourselves a nation bound by a set of ideals and values,” Obama said of the United States. “Turkey has similar principals.”
Obama’s trip to Turkey, his final scheduled country visit, ties together themes of earlier stops. He attended the Group of 20 economic summit in London, celebrated NATO’s 60th anniversary in Strasbourg, France, and on Saturday visited the Czech Republic, which included a summit of European Union leaders in Prague.

Turkey is a member of both the G-20 and NATO and is trying to get into the EU with the help of the U.S.

Turkey has the largest army in NATO after the United States. It and tiny Albania, recently admitted, are the only predominantly Muslim members of NATO.

Turkey opposed the war in Iraq in 2003 and U.S. forces were not allowed to go through Turkey to attack Iraq. Now, however, since Obama is withdrawing troops, Turkey has become more cooperative. It is going to be a key country after the U.S.

withdrawal in maintaining stability, although it has long had problems with Kurdish militants in north Iraq.

Turkey maintains a small military force in Afghanistan, part of the NATO contingent working with U.S. troops to beat back the resurgent Taliban and deny al-Qaida a safe haven along the largely lawless territory that straddles Afghanistan’s border with Pakistan. Turkey’s participation carries enormous symbolic importance to the Muslim world because of its presence in the fight against Islamic extremism. Albania, one of the poorest nations in Europe, has a small contingent in Afghanistan.

Turkey has diplomatic leverage with both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Obama to Korea: About that Nuclear Bomb Thingy

Obama to Korea: About that Nuclear Bomb Thingy

Larrey Anderson
I have been reporting on American Thinker for weeks that North Korea was going to launch a rocket that could carry a nuclear warhead — possibly as far as Alaska or Hawaii.

President Obama seems to have just gotten that message. And his response to the North Korean nuclear threat should scare the living daylights out of rational thinking people everywhere.

Here is how the UK Times reported Obama’s reaction to the North Korean missile launch:

President Obama faced his first big test on security yesterday after North Korea launched a missile designed to carry a warhead as far as Alaska.
He said that such provocation underscored the need for action against the defiance of a rogue nuclear power and the spread of weapons across the world. The threat of North Korea acquiring nuclear missile technology, he said, “matters to all people, everywhere.”

He told a crowd in Prague: “We cannot succeed in this endeavour alone but we can lead it, we can start it.” The US President promised to seek immediate Senate ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, begin talks with Russia on cutting warheads and call for better controls to prevent terrorists or rogue regimes obtaining fissile material.

Did you read that last paragraph?  Obama will stop North Korea from building and launching nuclear weapons by signing a new treaty with the Russians that will limit the number of our own nuclear weapons.

Sometimes naïveté starts to slip slowly towards madness. If limiting our own nuclear arsenal is Obama’s idea of “smart power ” diplomacy … the United States is in deep, deep trouble.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/04/obama_to_korea_about_that_nucl.html at April 06, 2009 – 10:17:28 AM EDT

President Obama, King Abdullah, and the end of Israel

President Obama, King Abdullah, and the end of Israel

By Leo Rennert

During the G-20 summit in London, Barack Obama took time out for a brief meeting with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia caught on video by two cameras, and by a still photographer, where the U.S. president bowed deeply in greeting the Saudi monarch. No major American media paid any attention to the startling, unreciprocated bow, gesture of subservience.

In tandem, there was scant paid attention to a disquieting comment by Obama when he spoke effusively about a 2002 Saudi peace initiative for normalization of relations between the Arab world and Israel.  The Saudi initiative, which would end Israel as a Jewish state, is now also the official position of the entire Arab League.

 

In a brief press statement, the White House said “the President reiterated his appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s leadership in promoting the Arab peace initiative.”

Later, President Obama’s Middle East Special Envoy, George Mitchell, said the U.S. intends to “incorporate” the initiative into its Middle East policy

That stops short of an explicit endorsement of the Saudi-Arab plan, but it comes uncomfortably close.  Either way, Obama’s gushing over the Saudi initiative hardly can be reconciled with his oft-repeated assurances that Israel can count on U.S “unwavering support” of its basic security interests.

 

The Saudi initiative usually is presented in mainstream media as a pretty good deal — Arab nations would normalize relations with Israel in exchange for Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 line and a “just” solution to the refugee problem.

 

But there’s far more to the plan, and the devilish details can’t be swept away or ignored.

 

For starters, the plan would grant millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants a “right of return” to Israel — a demographic bomb in the megaton range that would end up creating two states — both Palestinian.  The Saudis pull off this feat by defining a “just” solution to the refugee problem as having to be “in accordance with” UN General Assembly Resolution 194 — a non-binding 1948 measure that vainly pleaded for an end to Arab aggression against the nascent Jewish state. In the midst of the war, the resolution also  pleaded for return of refugees — not just for Arabs who were displaced but for all refugees, including a greater number of Jews who were being driven out of Arab lands.

 

Significantly, all Arab nations voted against Resolution 194 — after all, they weren’t ready in late 1948 to halt their war against Israel.  But in later years, in a revisionist twist, they adopted Resolution 194 as a legal warrant for a “return” of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants.

 

As if this weren’t enough, the Saudi initiative — with its absolute insistence on Israeli withdrawal to the 1949-1967 armistice line — would require Israel to pull back from all of Gaza (which it already has done), from the entire West Bank, from all of East Jerusalem, and from the entire Old City of Jerusalem, the site of Judaism’s most sacred shrine — the Western Wall.

 

Jewish worshippers again would be beholden to an Arab regime for access to the Western Wall, having tasted the bitter experience of not being allowed to pray there during Jordan’s 19-year-old occupation of the Old City.  Jordan destroyed numerous synagogues there and used Jewish tombstones from the Mount of Olives to build a road.  It doesn’t take much imagination to project a repeat of this tragic episode if Palestinians ruled the entire Old City since, in areas already under their control, they have fired on Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem, demolished Joseph’s Tomb near Nablus and desecrated an ancient synagogue in Jericho.

 

To comply with the Saudi initiative, Israel would have to uproot more than a half million Jews from the Old City, East Jerusalem, and close-in Jewish settlements that George W. Bush pledged would remain on the Israeli side in any two-state peace deal.

 

Prior U.S. and Israeli governments offered a cordial but nuanced reception to the Saudi plan over the last seven years.  The diplomatic term usually was that the Arab initiative had some promising elements that could form a “basis” for productive negotiations.  But neither Bush, nor Ariel Sharon or his successor Ehud Olmert, ever embraced it in its totality.  King Abdullah and other Arab rulers, however, insist on full acceptance of their initiative — take it or leave it.

 

Now comes Obama in his debut on the world stage and gets ever so close to a full endorsement of this Saudi “gift” to peace. 

 

One is left to wonder if the President is aware of the full implications of the Saudi-Arab peace initiative, or how he’s put Israel behind the eight ball by praising King Abdullah’s efforts to put it front and center in future peace negotiations.

 

Since Obama previously was quoted as saying that “the Israelis would be crazy not to support this initiative,” it is past time for him to explain how he reconciles the real Saudi plan with Israel’s real security challenges.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/04/president_obama_king_abdullah.html at April 06, 2009 – 10:05:43 AM EDT

Obama expresses ‘deep appreciation for the Islamic faith’…

 

Obama declares US not at war with Islam
Apr 6 08:58 AM US/Eastern
By TOM RAUM
Associated Press Writer

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Barack Obama, making his first visit to a Muslim nation as president, declared Monday the United States “is not and will never be at war with Islam.”Calling for a greater partnership with the Islamic world in an address to the Turkish parliament, Obama called the country an important U.S. ally in many areas, including the fight against terrorism. He devoted much of his speech to urging a greater bond between Americans and Muslims, portraying terrorist groups such as al Qaida as extremists who did not represent the vast majority of Muslims.

“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama said. “The United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical … in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.”

The U.S. president is trying to mend fences with a Muslim world that felt it had been blamed by America for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyia, two of the biggest Arabic satellite channels, carried Obama’s speech live.

Obama said the partnership between the U.S. and the Muslim world is critical in rolling back what he called a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject.

“America’s relationship with the Muslim world cannot and will not be based on opposition to al Qaida,” he said. “We seek broad engagement based upon mutual interests and mutual respect.”

“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over so many centuries to shape the world for the better, including my own country,” Obama said.

Obama also said, to a round of applause, that the United States supports Turkey becoming a member of the European Union.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.