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The country of Turkey is at the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea, the western 5% considered to be in Europe (which contains Turkey's largest city Istanbul) and the remainer in Asia. On its southern border, it touches Syria and Iraq. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and supported the U.S. against Iraq in both 1990 and again in 2003 when it allowed the U.S. use of its air space in the Iraq war. Turkey is a candidate country for membership in the European Union. [1]

Although Turkey's major religion is Islam, the powerful military sees itself as the guardian of the secular state and has long been involved in politics. [2]

Turkish Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq

On July 18, 2006, Turkish officials "signaled" that "they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there - a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States." [1]

Turkey-Israel-US "trifecta"

To Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, and "other hawks, the importance of Turkey not just to the United States but to Israel is self-evident," Jason Vest wrote August 23, 2002, in The Nation. "As a secular Muslim state, Turkey has always been an attractive political and military ally to the Israelis; respectful of the close relationship between the US and Israel, over a decade ago the Turks began to appreciate the value for Turkish-US relations in being close with Israel, and have also grown to appreciate how useful an ally the American Jewish lobby can be against the Greek- and Armenian-American lobbies.

"In fact, the idea of a strong Turkey-Israeli-US trifecta is nothing new. It was a cherished idea of Perle mentor and Committee on the Present Danger principal Albert Wohlstetter, the University of Chicago mathematician and RAND Corporation consultant who was key in drawing up the Pentagon's strategic and nuclear blueprints during the cold war. In classified studies written at the Pentagon's behest over the years, Wohlstetter was a serious Turkey booster; when Perle ascended to his post in the Reagan-era Pentagon, he began implementing Wohlstetter's vision, conducting regular meetings in Ankara and, in 1986, closing a deal for a five-year Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement with Turkey which the Financial Times characterized as 'something of a personal triumph' for Perle. It wasn't so bad for Turkey, either: After Israel and Egypt, Turkey became the third-largest recipient of US military aid, and got a nice break on debts owed to the United States."

For Turkish Government, Genocide = Defamation

"What happens when you refer to Turkey's 1915-1923 genocide of Armenians, accurately, as 'genocide'?" asks the Los Angeles Times. "In Turkey, you face a possible three-year jail term, even if it wasn't you using the term but a character in your novel. [2] In the United States, you just lose your job as ambassador to Armenia."


The BBC says of the country's media:

Powerful businesses operate many of the press and broadcasting outlets; they include the Dogan group, the leading media conglomerate. For journalists, the subjects of the military, Kurds and political Islam are highly sensitive and can lead to arrest and criminal prosecution. Media watchdogs and rights groups report that journalists have been imprisoned, or attacked by police. It is also common for radio and TV stations to have their broadcasts suspended for airing sensitive material.
Some of the most repressive sanctions against journalists have been lifted as part of reforms intended to meet EU entry requirements. But the Paris-based watchdog Reporters Without Borders noted in 2006 that journalists were "still at the mercy of arbitrary court decisions". An article in the penal code makes it a crime to insult Turkish national identity.[2]

Examples of public relations in Turkey

  • The Turkish Public Relations Association website states:
The growth of public relations continues to increase in Turkey and it is developing at a fast rate especially in the recent years. Turkey is more integrated to Europe and United States than in the past and this increases the need for public relations. There are many indications of that growth, but by looking at looking at two things; the evolution of national association of public relations in Turkey and public relations education, it is possible to understand briefly what public relations mean in our context.
Public relations in Turkey first emerged under the role of the government in 1960's and with the multinational companies entrance to the Turkish market, public relations efforts shifted from the public sector to the private sector. First public relations practitioners were former journalists; now we see more public relations people trained in public relations occupying these posts. Public relations is not interpreted in a narrow context as media relations or dissemination of information any more ...[3]
  • Barbara Gamarekian reported in the New York Times back in 1987:
Turkey is concerned about its image in the United States. It is worried that too many Americans tend to see it only as aggressive, with a chip on its shoulder, instead of as a country with a great cultural legacy, modern diversity and a geographical location that is of increasing strategic importance to the West.
So Turkey is embarked on an attempt to improve its image and cultivate new friends in Washington.
It has a high-powered public relations concern working to promote its points of view on trade, military aid and its running feud with Greece.
On another front, the public relations specialists will help start a festival of Turkish culture here this week featuring a glittering exhibition of Turkish treasures from the Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire. The Turkish Government changed its laws to permit many 16th-century works of art to leave the country for the first time.[4]
Record economic growth in Turkey, 9.9% according to the OECD in 2005, is having a dramatic effect on the development of the public relations industry in the country. The significant progress Turkey has made in overall economic and political modernisation combined with the vision of entering the European Union have opened new horizons and major opportunities in the fields of communications and marketing.
Following growth of 20% on 2005 the PR sector is predicted to grow by a staggering 60% in 2006. It is apparent that companies on the Turkish market have truly begun to understand the need for and the importance of a clear PR strategy as part of their overall businesses development.
Until recently, the local perception of PR activities has been purely in terms of media relations. This has now changed as many leading companies in the market have launched major investments into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects, CEO and corporate reputation management programs as part of wider strategic communication plans.[5]

More U.S. Lobbyists Talking Turkey

The government of Turkey is increasing its spending for lobbying and public relations in Washington, DC, U.S. See PR Watch article.

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Turkey, National Geographic, accessed January 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Country profile: Turkey, BBC, accessed January 2008.
  3. Serra Gorpe, PR In Turkey, Turkish Public Relations Association, accessed January 2008.
  4. Barbara Gamarekian, "Turkey Focuses on Its Image", New York Times, January 20, 1987.
  5. Sconaid McGeachin, "Turkey Heads Upwards", International Public Relations Association, accessed January 2008.

External articles




External resources