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Milliyet , Turkey

Obama’s in Trouble: While Hosting
Erdogan, His Mind Is Elsewhere

By Güngör Uras

Prime Minister Erdogan's trip to the United States coincided with a troubling period for Obama.

Translated By Matthew Vallo

20 May 2013

Edited by Daye Lee

Turkey - Milliyet - Original Article (Turkish)

“Today I'm in trouble like you can't imagine/ I'm backed into a corner/ On top of that it's raining/ It doesn't add up/ I'm in trouble/ It is complete uncertainty/ It's totally idiotic/ I'm in trouble/ I can't get a good night’s sleep/ I'm in trouble/ There's no solution anywhere, I'm in trouble.”

If Obama knew this great ballad by Ahmet Kaya, he would keep singing it. He would finish off the last lines of the classic by looking in his wife Michelle's eyes and singing, “I loved you more than you can imagine, my tawny girl.”

Yes ... Obama's in trouble. The Republicans open a new line of attack everyday. Obama is completely worn out from defending himself on all fronts. In fact, he is showing an incredible lack of skill in responding to assertions, which are, for the most part, trivial.

It All Amounts to Nothing

The Republicans are dragging out the House Intelligence Committee investigation of the Sept. 11 attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi. The investigation was initially held to address security problems, but turned into a political witch hunt.

Republicans claimed that the Internal Revenue Service raised difficulties for groups opposed to Obama. When it became apparent that the IRS had indeed raised difficulties for groups in opposition to Obama, such as the tea party, Republicans characterized this event as a scandal.

An investigation of a leak to the Associated Press concerning a double agent working in Yemen revealed that the Obama administration requested reporters' telephone records from telephone companies. While Obama is saying that he did this for reasons of national security, the media is criticizing the secret request of records. These may seem like simple topics for us Turkish readers, but they are the reasons Obama isn't smiling.

Extreme Interest in the Prime Minster

Prime Minister Erdogan's trip to the United States coincided with a troubling period for Obama. Despite the problems he and his administration are facing, Obama put forth an extraordinary amount of effort in hosting Erdogan and those accompanying him.

Yet another unlucky situation for Obama is that the topic of Syria weighs heavily for Erdogan. The president, while dealing with his other problems, is in no position to add a Syria-related burden on the U.S. The next topic on our agenda, after Syria, is pursuing the ability to make a free trade agreement with the U.S. This important and long-term initiative has been “sent to commission.” In the short term, uncertainty will persist for two other issues related to the economy: Whether gas and oil purchases from Iran will continue, and whether the oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq will be brought to the market through Turkey.

The result: Erdogan is not going to speak with Obama and get our desired answer from the American president on every issue. The important matter is that this relationship continues and the door to dialogue remains open. The parties will be able to arrange their future policies after learning the other side’s wishes.



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