At Gul’s May 27 press conference with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev, the Turkish leader said that “the most important issue of our discussions was the stability of Afghanistan.”
He added that talks were held about how the two countries “could give our support to improve the situation” in Afghanistan.
Gul and Bakiev also signed an agreement in which Ankara and Bishkek pledge to participate in the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Such strong statements about Afghanistan raised suspicions among some experts that Turkey may be trying to persuade the Kyrgyz president to allow U.S. forces to continue their operations at Manas International Airport outside of Bishkek. …
Turkey already exerts great economic and social influence in Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University has the best facilities and is one of the largest campuses in Kyrgyzstan.
The Turkish-owned Demir-Kyrgyz International Bank is the largest in Kyrgyzstan, and the immense Coca-Cola Company in Kyrgyzstan is also Turkish owned, as are Bishkek’s two-largest shopping complexes.
It is also worth noting that this week’s violence in the Uzbek town of Khanabad — which straddles the Kyrgyz border — and the threat of instability it brings to the region gives Gul’s visit and any possible talk about U.S. forces staying at Manas greater importance.
Gul would be able to tell Bakiev some of the advantages to having a U.S. military base in your country and is likely to warn him about the disadvantages of relying too much on Russia.
Confucius* says, as he wrote to a friend…
Hmm. Interesting. the Volgi would quibble with “strong Washington ally,” given the last few years, but this could mean that the AKP folks have finally come to terms with the fact that anti-Westernism has its limits (like empowering the psycho-fascist-nationalist MHP and hardcore-Islamist Saadet, as the last election has showen) and a realistic reassessment of the geopolitical reality that a resurgent Russia is a much bigger threat to Turkish interests than the U.S. ever could be. Your Œc. Vol. would love if they turned some diplomatic fire on Iran, as well, but I guess it’s baby steps…
*For those who came in late: Confucius (孔夫子) is the given name of the Gormogons’ Œcumenical Volgi.
Picture: KC-135 on the flight line at Manas. Mostly for the Mandarin, who loves him some big-ass aircraft. (Credit: U.S.A.F./Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford, via Wikipedia.)
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.