Reports highlights challenges of US missions in Turkey
A US report prepared after inspection visits to US diplomatic missions in Turkey early this year underlines the increasing challenges facing diplomats as Turkey takes on a larger and more complex role in the world. "Turkey has grown in complexity and importance for the United States at a faster rate than the missions' public diplomacy resources, especially people," said the report, prepared after inspections in Washington, Ankara, Adana, Istanbul and Izmir. "A continuous balancing act between competing priorities is required." According to the document, released on Friday, US diplomatic missions in Turkey manage "the complex and very important relationship between Turkey and the United States at a time when the Turkish government is demonstrating a new level of activism, both regionally and on domestic issues." It added, "Understanding Turkey's motives and goals for this activism is critical to the success of the (overall) mission's work as it guides the Washington interagency process towards effective ways of dealing with Turkey." It said Ankara's commitment to working toward regional stability manifests itself "sometimes in ways that please the United States and other times not" and emphasized, in particular, that Turkey's future links to Israel and Armenia remain important to the US. Public diplomacy is also a challenge, said the document, because public opinion toward the US is largely unfavorable. Other challenges concern the media, where "sensational treatment of issues having to do with the United States is a constant risk," and with a Turkish society that has been undergoing a transformation. These changes have implications for US missions' outreach, which must go more broadly, more deeply, and farther afield to inform and influence Turks, it said.