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Bias against DoD subcontractors in Turkey

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Going Islamist?

Submitted by 'James' (United States), Jun 7, 2005 at 12:28

I concur with this opinion of Turkey. Further, as I travel through Turkey on my way in and out of operational areas in Kurdistan and Iraq, I am aware of a distinct bias against Westerners of the 'military look'. The ones of this look would be those doing the 'security' contracts for DoD. Turkey is part of NATO and they are supposed to be our 'allies'. Remember when our military was not granted passage through Turkey for a Northern offensive in the war? While moving through the Turkish airports, say in Ancirik, and Istanbul, all Western white males with the military look are given intense scrutiny at each security checkpoint. I have been known to comment to those that overscrutinize Westerners, "You guys are paying this kind of attention to the wrong crowd of people, are you not aware of the type of individuals who perpetrate terrorist acts on society as a rule". My comments result in scowls by the security staff at the airports. Diyarbakir is not as biased against Westerners however.

At actual border crossings, I have witnessed actual theft of items from my team members luggage by Turkish border inspectors. Upon witnessing these thefts, I simply alerted my teammate whose bags search was underway and the articles were reluctantly given back by the border guard. It is absolutely necessary for a group of at least three team members to collectively observe the guards actions for each bag that is searched. I am not exaggerating or embellishing here.

If our Department of State would grow a spinal column perhaps such unacceptable incidents would diminish, at least among our noted allies. Know the travel by military types from the West through Beirut are even worse. Someone once said, "It is better to be respected than it is to be liked. It is better to be feared than it is to be respected". Whoever said that is precisely correct. With the exception of our ally the State of Israel, more intimidation would be the best medicine that the U.S. could serve up to all Islamic nations on the planet. That would be a start. Thanks very much for providing us with such accurate information about what is going on.

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