U.S.-Turkey Relations: A New Partnership http://www.cfr.org/turkey/us-turkey-relations-new-partnership/p28212
Please also -- well, join me in congratulating Secretary Albright on her latest book, Prague Winter -- we're glad that you're taking the time from your busy book tour -- and also the recent announcement that she will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama. Congratulations. (Applause.) Turkey has made significant strides over the past decade, becoming more democratic, more prosperous and more modern. Prime Minister Erdogan is popular at home and abroad, and Turkey now plays a greater role in the Middle East and beyond, as the Arab uprisings continue to unfold. The U.S.-Turkey relationship is strong, but there is room for deepening and solidifying ties. ALBRIGHT: All right. David, thank you very much for being here to question us, and I really would like to thank Stephen and Steve for all the work that has gone into this. I think we've had a very good time doing this and learned a lot and the other members of our task force. So thank you.You have framed it in a way that what we wanted to talk about -- we obviously have been NATO allies with Turkey for a long time and have been involved in a variety of of relationships with them. But it became very clear to us in looking at the international scene that we have to look at Turkey as a new Turkey. It is different from the ones that many people in this room and others have dealt with over the years and that that significant change in Turkey allows the United States to develop a new partnership. And the partnership is very, we felt, quite broad-based. We can't expect them -- and you've asked the question -- that everything we do will always be in sync and that we are in complete agreement on issues. But what we had felt was that there were increasing areas of confluence where we should look for ways to partner together and to change. And when you say, what to do -- is in some ways change the tone of the relationship. Turkey was never a client state. But I think that we need to be in a relationship now where that asymmetry has disappeared or is limited and that we have to see them from a perspective of being a true partner. I think the things we have to do and -- are ones that, first of all, in which we recognize what the areas are that we do have commonality on. I think stability in the Middle East is obviously one of the big ones, and in terms of relationships with Europe, I think issues also on -- energy issues. They are sitting in a geographically amazing place, in terms of various connections of pipelines, discoveries of new fossil fuel, a variety of different aspects, and then also, I think, on a variety of political relationships as a country that has a Muslim majority party, I think, and a secular one -- that it has a role to play in terms of how it operates within the Arab Awakening. And I also think, in terms of looking at more global outreach, I believe, that the United States is better off if we are operating in partnership with other countries. And in terms of the areas that are important -- of how to deal terrorism, how to deal with nuclear proliferation, how to deal with that growing gap between the rich and the poor, energy and environment -- those are all areas in which I think we can have a good relationship with Turkey.
IGNATIUS: I want to turn now to one of the urgent foreign policy issues of the moment, which concerns Turkey's neighbor to the south, Syria. Turkey has gone from being Bashar al-Assad's best friend, to working with them, supposedly, on economic and political reforms, to being a quite bitter, I want to say, antagonist. And Steve Hadley, if you would start us off talking about the way in which you and Secretary Albright in particular have come to view this question of what's appropriate policy for dealing with a Syria that's being torn apart by violent fighting, please.
HADLEY: Well, the task force goes so far as to say that Syria is an issue where Turkey and the United States have to cooperate. It's important to each of us, but neither of us can point the way towards a solution on our own. And that's what the task force report says. The secretary and I had a running conversation over the last couple days about what that means operationally, and this is sort of what we've come to, and she can speak for herself.But the two of us have though, well, what does that probably mean? And we would sketch it out this way: It means Assad has to go, sooner rather than later. The longer he stays, the more militarized the conflict, the more opening it provides for al-Qaida.
Secondly, that means the international community needs to accelerate and intensify its diplomacy and the sanctions. But third, you know, why is he still in power? He's in power because he still has the support of the army, the business community and the minority groups: Christians, Kurds, Shia and the like. So you've got to somehow find a way to break those pillars away from Assad. How do you do that? We've talked about, as the administration is trying to do, strengthening the opposition, organizing it, making it more inclusive of all groups in the society, have a cross-sectarian message so the opposition is saying to the army and to the business community and to those minorities, break with Assad and there is a role for you in a new Syria. Go down with Assad, and it makes it harder.I've talked in print about how we need, once -- as we set up that kind of opposition, to be willing to arm the resistance through the opposition so that you are arming people who are committed to a cross-sectarian outcome, so that in the end the future of Syria is dictated by who has the most votes, not just who has the most guns.But I think the thing that -- where the secretary and I have now come to is that we also need to begin to prepare now for some kind of intervention. Why prepare now? One, because operationally it's going to be difficult. It's not going to be as easy as Libya was. It's going to be operationally difficult. And secondly, it's going to need the support certainly of the Middle Eastern and the Arab neighbors of Syria, and it's going to take time to arrange that support.Do it now; be making those preparations now. That will give leverage on the situation. It may be, in fact, those pillars will break away from Assad even before the intervention, but we need to prepare the intervention now, because if at the end of the day the choice is between Assad surviving this or -- or an intervention, we're going to have to do an intervention, because the lesson or the example of an Assad that survives by attacking his own people is one that is a disaster for the future of freedom and human dignity, which brings you back to Turkey, because any kind of intervention is going to be possible only with close cooperation between the United States and Turkey. It's going to have to be staged out of Turkey in some way. Jordan and Libya (sic) are not strong enough to sustain it.So again, this is -- this is where, personally, we've come to, but what it does is it underscores the -- in our report, how critical that U.S.-Turkey relationship is to solve the problems in that region.IGNATIUS: Secretary Albright, are you in that same place? That's a significant statement: We should prepare for military action in Syria. Are you there?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think the way that I would phrase it is that we -- I happen to have one, as a decision-maker, now as a wooly-headed professor -- (laughter) -- talked a bit about what kind of tools one has in terms of trying to affect the behavior of a particular leader or country. And what I think is going on here, that -- from the perspective of the administration, is very important to look at.There is no question that there's a lot of diplomacy going on and that there is a really determined approach to not doing things unilaterally, that that has gotten us into trouble at various times and that it's good to gather the international community. And I have been very impressed with how that has been going on, first of all, within the Security Council itself, but then Secretary Clinton is part of this Friends of Syria, which is a very large group, in which there is a recognition that what is going on is outrageous and that Assad had to go, and what are the different ways that the multinational, multilateral community can put some pressure on through diplomatic means.The second thing in the toolbox is the use of sanctions. And I think those have a lot to do with the pillars that Steven -- Steve has been talking about in terms of separating the business community from Assad, understanding what the long-term effect of the military could be if they keep sticking with him. So there's a very set set of sanctions that are operating, and they are multilateral, which also -- they are always more effective than when they're unilateral. And getting that support for it, I think, is essential. So those kind of movements are going on.I -- what has happened -- the president -- Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey have said that they have been tasked to look at contingency plans. I think that there -- that is in the process of being done. The intervention word is -- there are many varieties of intervention in terms of whether you do humanitarian assistance, nonlethal assistance, a variety of different things. But I do think that what is important in terms of the tools that the administration is in fact -- has asked the Department of Defense for a number of contingency plans so that there are an awful lot of options. And I think -- we've talked about this part -- is that simply often by saying that, that in some ways, it acts as a -- one might call it an incentive for some kind of different behavior.I do think that one of the issues out there that is of huge import is the behavior of the Russians. For whatever reasons, they have been supportive of Assad. And with -- I don't know whether we have a new President Putin or an old new President Putin, but the bottom line is he is there now. They are getting ready for a G-8 meeting. I think he has to assess what his internal situation and external situation is. But I think that this is part of the diplomatic aspect that is very important.I think everybody recognizes that Syria is a crucially important area. I know everybody gets sick of hearing it's not like Libya. It's not. It's located in a different place, very different place. The opposition is different. The geographical access is different. And I think what people are concerned about is the spreading outward of whatever is going on in Syria. So whatever discussion one has about whatever involvement the U.S. should have has to be cognizant of the area in which it is.But to get back to the subject, Turkey is very much a part of this. And there's no question that a lot of the humanitarian aspect is affecting Turkey in terms of refugees that have crossed the border, the dangers involved with that. And generally, it fits in with what we're talking about of the partnership with Turkey and with Arabs. I think, as one studies what the success has to do -- in Libya was the Arab League. That really -- and then there is the question about international legitimacy of any action. I've been there, done that, and the bottom line is -- the question is to what extent does it have to be a United Nations resolution -- that's where the Russians come in -- to what extent are there other ways to do this? But I think, from the perspective of somebody who's watching this pretty carefully, I am very impressed with the way that the Obama administration is using the toolbox in a very sequenced and appropriate way, and planning through this contingency planning.
IGNATIUS: Yes.HADLEY: The secretary -- just one thing: The secretary had said something very important I think, and that is there's a lot of hedging going on by various actors in the region, because they think Assad might survive. And if it's clear that he is not going to survive, and we're prepared to think of an intervention to make sure he does not survive, suddenly that hedging behavior may change. And you may find that some of these other tools that the secretary was talking about become much more effective.
IGNATIUS: Secretary Albright, one more comment on Syria --ALBRIGHT: No, I mean -- no, I really do think the -- you know, we've all been kind of in the business of decision-making in one form or another. It is very significant when an administration begins to look at contingency planning. That is a big deal. And when the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs are tasked to look at it, I think that is a very strong signal.I do think, however, we are in a democracy, and I -- thanks to being out with my book, I have had a very interesting time answering people's questions about a variety of things. And the American public is really tired. Afghanistan and Iraq have made Americans very tired. And there's also -- I get asked the question about how do you feel about overthrowing one more Muslim country, what are the effects of that, how do you know if you've done a good job. I think that -- we all that were involved in previous issues I think are always asked: What's your exit strategy? Is this worth doing? What do you -- will you make things worse?So I think that when the administration talks about contingency planning, I think they are taking all that into cognizance and then also fitting it into the way that they are using the other tools.I think actually -- this will not surprise you -- I think they are doing a very good job in terms of pulling the story together and trying to sort out what is the best thing to do, given the circumstances in a truly difficult situation, while they are being asked what we are being asked, is, is there some number where how many Syrians are killed -- I mean, I keep being asked that -- you, Madeleine of Bosnia, you know, or Kosovo, what -- and the tipping points are different. And I do think, as clinical as this sounds, if you're a decision-maker you have to take all those things into cognizance. And contingency planning, that is a very big word.COOK: Stephen, do you want to -- I want to have the last word, if the co-chairs will allow me. To bring it back to the issue at hand, I think the point that the task force would like to make, and I think the co-chairs would agree, is that whatever it is that the United States decides to do, it can't do it without the critical assistance of Turkey. And whatever Turkey wants to do in Syria, it can't do it without the United States. And that is critical through this new partnership that we've been talking about.
And whenever Prime Minister Erdogan is here, he's always calling for American investment. We, in turn, have been saying, and whatever hat we all have on at the moment, is to say: It does mean that a lot of your bureaucratic approaches to things have to be modernized, that the rule of law generally has to be more predictable, commercial codes more predictable.
So there's a lot of give-and-take on that. And I think that's part of one of the things -- that we didn't just say everything is perfect there, that there are certain aspects in terms of democracy legislation that has to take place.
[ED NOTES:SORRY IM PRESSED FOR TIME,SO I POSTED JUST A FEW EXCERPTS,THIS DISCUSSION WAS ACTUALLY MUCH LONGER IN LENGTH...CLICK LINK ABOVE TO READ TRANSCRIPT IN ITS ENTIRETY...ANYWAY,SOME POINTS AND ADMISSIONS MADE..UTILIZE ARAB LEAGUE AS WAS DONE AGAINST LIBYA ,TO REMOVE AL-ASSAD... ..THEY ADMITT THERE IS INTERVENTION PLANS,AND THESE SHOULD BE FOLLOWED IN ORDER TO REMOVE BASHAR AL ASSAD...SECOND POINT IS THEIR ADMISSION THAT THE LONGER THEY DELAY THIS INTERVENTION,THE MORE OPENLY EXPOSED ELEMENTS OF ALQAEDA BECOME(CIA BACKED TERROR GROUP ALIGNED W/ REGIONAL PUPPET MONARCHIES),SOMETHING THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN WITNESSED AS ALQAEDA CELLS WERE CAUGHT NEXT TO UN OBSERVERS AT OPPOSITION GATHERINGS IN SYRIA..NOT TO MENTION FREE SYRIAN ARMY POSING IN VIDEOS W/ AL QAEDA(CIA) FLAGS..SEE MY POSTS BELOW AFTER THIS ONE....