Published on Monday, March 3, 2003 by the Times/UK
'Serves Rude America Right'
by Suna Erdem

NESRIN ALOGLU, a bank clerk, is delighted that Turkey’s parliament has thrown Washington’s plans for an attack on Iraq into disarray by blocking the deployment of US troops. “Serves them right. Now they can apologise.”

Apologise, she said, for the way in which the United States so rudely took Turkey for granted and issued threats, insults and ultimatums when it did not get what it wanted.

In rejecting Washington’s demands, the recession-hit country is turning its back on US aid worth more than $20 billion (#13 billion).

But Turks still support the parliament’s decision. “At least it’s cleared Turkey’s name and dispelled the image abroad that Turkey can be bought,” Zafer Dorttas, a 27-year-old customs official, said.

Ordinary Turks were incensed by US media references to haggling in a carpet shop and by what they saw as insulting American behaviour.

The final straw came when a series of American newspaper cartoons were broadcast. They depicted Turkey as a money-grabbing belly dancer, or a prostitute bargaining for the price of its favours.

“I can’t tell you how awful I felt when I saw the cartoons,” Ayse Akin, a student, said. “They were so deeply insulting. America can stick its money and its troops up its backside.”

Copyright 2003 Times Newspapers Ltd