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Barack Obama has announced his vice presidential nominee as Delaware Senator Joe Biden, head of the Foreign Relations Committee of the 110th Congress. Joe Biden is well known in Turkey for having taken an anti-Turkish stance on all occasions and creating problems for American-Turkish relations.

Reaction In The Turkish Press

Turkish newspapers have indeed taken a very negative stance towards Barack Obama’s vice presidential pick. http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=151110&bolum=102 The Turkish daily Hürriyet’s Sunday edition headline read, “Obama’s “Inconsiderate” Partner”. Both Yeni ?afak and Star have focused on Joe Biden’s proposal of dividing Iraq into three regions by labeling the Senator as “Separatist” and “Divisive”. Milliyet wrote that “Obama Chose someone who consistently supports Greek Cypriots over Turkish-Cypriots and is a favorite senator amongst Armenian Lobbyists”. But perhaps the harshest headline came from Posta, who dubbed Obama’s vice presidential pick plainly as “Turk-Hating Joe Biden”.

Nüzhet Kandemir, a former ambassador to the United States, has spoken to Milliyet regarding Joe Biden’s “ossified” anti-Turkish stance. It is true that Joe Biden has taken an anti-Turkish stance on all possible measures, votes, and movements.

Joe Biden is Weak on Foreign Policy

Joe Biden may be interpreted as a choice of desperation for Barack Obama who has weak foreign policy credentials. The latest conflicts with Russia over Georgian territory have brought national security concerns to the top, yet again, to counter a very decisive John McCain who was quick to seize the "3 AM moment".

Joe Biden’s recent involvement with the current Caucasian Crisis is thought to complement Obama’s weakness in the same area.

However, given Joe Biden’s record of straining US–Turkish relations on various occasions, Americans should think again before passing the judgment that Joe Biden will be an antidote to Obama’s weak foreign policy credentials. Alienating Turkey, a nation that is a very important strategic US ally and NATO member since 1952, does not serve well for strategic and geo-political interests of the United States in the Caucasian region or throughout the Middle East. http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2007/10/12/turkey_swift_to_admonish_us_over_vote/

In fact, giving into the demands of Greek Lobbyists regarding the issue of Cyprus and pleasing Armenian Lobbyists, who spend a fortune to pass legislation in the US with an eye to demand land and cash reparations from the Turkish government, will severely damage Turkish-American relations. Such miscalculated pandering to lobbyists will move Turkey closer to Iran and away from the United States.

America will find a less cooperative ally in the Middle East which may not continue gratuitously allowing the country to use bases to provide supplies to troops in Iraq (70% of logistics are transferred to Iraq through Turkey).

America may also encounter many problems in the future in a possible Caucasian conflict with Russia because her free use of the inter-continental straits towards the Black Sea Route may be hindered by the Turkish government that is already angered by some recent legislation like the Armenian Genocide Resolution which tried to pass historical judgment via congress on a 93 year old series of complicated rebellions and relocation.

Ironically, Joe Biden will indeed serve to weaken US interests in one the most volatile regions of the world. Biden’s presence alienates pro-American sentiment in Turkey while providing a free gift to the nationalistic elements in search of new pacts and alignments with the emerging Russian Empire as well as a uranium developing Iran and the Middle East.

Further Details On Joe Biden’s Stances

Biden's Position on Barack Obama's Experience

George Stephanopoulos asked Joe Biden during a 2007 Democratic Debate about how ready Barack Obama is to be president:

George Stephanopoulos, Joe Biden wrote:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You were asked, “Is he ready?”

You said, “I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the- job-training.”

BIDEN: I think that — I stand by the statement.
http://www.obamascon.com/2008/08/22/biden-obama-not-ready/ http://thefeldmanblog.com/2008/08/22/obama-picks-biden-goes-back-in-time/

Support for the Iraq War

Joe Biden voted to support

On the Issues reports about some of the statements Joe Biden has made in the past:

  • Accept NIE conclusion that Iran stopped nukes in 2003. (Dec 2007)
  • Patraeus report is wrong strategy; draw down troops now. (Sep 2007)
  • A military action resolution on Iran is a bad policy. (Oct 2007)
  • It's already US policy to go into Pakistan to get al Qaeda. (Aug 2007)
  • Start to draw down troops immediately and all out by '08. (Jun 2007)
  • Do away with the policy of regime change for Iran. (Jun 2007)
  • In 2002 Saddam posed a threat of purchasing a nuclear bomb. (Apr 2007)
  • US worse off than before Saddam because US lost credibility. (Apr 2007)
  • Partitioning Iraq is inevitable, as shown by history. (Apr 2007)
  • Introduced legislation barring US Military bases in Iraq. (Apr 2007)

Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, even though Barack Obama led a campaign against Hillary about how his good judgment was being against the war in Iraq in 2002:

  • Voted YES on authorizing use of military force against Iraq. (Oct 2002)
  • Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Oct 2003)
  • Voted NO on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists. (Sep 2007)

Support for Internet Taxes and Internet Monitoring

Joe Biden has expressed support for anti-Net-Neutrality laws, support for anti-encryption, internet taxes, and other laws that are against the freedom of the internet. This article details those laws Joe Biden supports.

Support of the Armenian Genocide Resolution

Joe Biden’s anti-Turkish stance includes supporting the Armenian Genocide Resolutions in the House and the Senate, which, if passed, will create considerable tensions between U.S. – Turkey relations. http://www.anca.org/press_releases/press_releases.php?prid=882 Turkey proposes to form a commission to discuss these complicated war-time events with historians, human rights groups, as well as lawyers to determine the outcome of events that Armenians paint as “genocide”.

It seems absurd that American tax-payers are wasting their money on legislation on a debated 93 year old event that blames a non-existent Ottoman empire and its successor state for genocide, based on the treatment of Armenians in the relocation laws that were enacted after consistent Armenian revolts.

It's even more absurd that the people conducting the judgment on whether the events were genocide or not, are US senators rather than Ottoman-Armenian historians.

It's a mistake to politicize humanitarian concerns such as determining guilt for genocide. The proper channel should be to defer the matter to the Judiciary System to determine guilt via giving due process to the accused party, as has been the case for Holocaust, Bosnian Massacres, Rwanda, and finally Darfur, Sudan. If America allows this process to get politicized, as both Obama and his vice-presidential pick Biden choose to do, it causes real geo-political consequences in the Middle East and the Caucasus region.

Armenian crimes against Turks are often times ignored and those voices are silenced during the same time period. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/oct/16/armenian-crime-amnesia/ If this were truly a humanitarian concern on the part of Armenian lobbies along with the Congress, Turkish suffering of tremendous proportions would also be duly noted, but of course hundreds of thousands of Turks died and no one speaks for them.

Favoring Greek Cypriot Lobbies

Regarding Cyprus conflict, Joe Biden is consistent in his support for Greek Cypriot side although they were the ones to refuse the Annan Plan to resolve the dispute. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Annan_Plan_Referendum Joe Biden is known to be very vocal in his objection to the presence of Turkish troops on the island, while siding with Greece on innumerable other issues with respect to conflicts in the region. http://www.voanews.com/greek/archive/2007-05/2007-05-20-voa1.cfm?CFID=30726919&CFTOKEN=31090787

Authoring Rejected Proposal To Divide Iraq Into Three Regions

Joe Biden has supported dividing Iraq into three different autonomous regions ruled by Shi’ite, Kurdish, and Sunni factions in order to resolve sectarian conflict. He has published an op-ed two years ago in New York Times when violence in Iraq was at its height. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/01/opinion/01biden.html The proposal was immediately rejected by all Iraqis on the ground, including the Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish groups. In fact, this was the only proposal that all groups on the ground agreed to disagree on.

The reason for the refusal of this plan was that dividing up communities and partitioning land would encourage further conflicts rather than resolving them. Salih Al-Mutlaq, head of National Dialogue, which is a Sunni Arab coalition of the parliament, has told Reuters the following: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLN9698420080823

Salih Al-Mutlaq wrote:
We rejected his proposal when he announced it, and we still reject it. Dividing the communities and land in such a way would only lead to new fighting between people over resources and borders. Iraq cannot survive unless it is unified, and dividing it would keep the problems alive for a long time.

Given that the situation on the ground in Iraq is continually getting better as a result of the troop surge that he did not initially support, Joe Biden’s plan now looks like a very serious judgment error in retrospect.

Therefore, the assumption that Joe Biden is a foreign policy powerhouse is suspicious on all fronts, and the worries are not limited to relations with Turkey. It thus appears more ironic that Biden was chosen to complement Obama on weak foreign policy.