Tales from the Trail

Perry stands ground on Turkey

Given an opportunity to revise (back down or retract) his comments he made in Monday’s Republican debate linking Turkey to “Islamic terrorists,” Texas Governor Rick Perry stood his ground on Tuesday.

The Republican presidential candidate made no apology for nearly touching off an international incident with his take on the long-time U.S. ally. Perry defended his view in a CNN interview, hours after Turkey’s response.

Here’s the video:

from Reuters Investigates:

In case you missed them

Just because it was summer, doesn't mean we weren't busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran's nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau -- who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters --  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey's president about it.



USA-ELECTION/JOBSBlue-collar, unemployed and seeing red -- Chicago correspondent James Kelleher went on the road for this story about the long-term unemployed and what that means for Obama and the Democrats at November's midterm elections.

U.S. lawmakers wonder, where did our love go? with Turkey

It almost sounded as if U.S. lawmakers felt jilted by Washington’s long-time NATO ally Turkey.

“How do we get Turkey back?” demanded Representative Gary Ackerman at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing exploring “Turkey’s New Foreign Policy Direction.”

“Why is Turkish public opinion … perhaps one of the most anti-American of any of the countries of the world?” asked the committee’s chairman, Representative Howard Berman.

Talkin’ turkey on the duties of a president

After an evening of high-level state diplomacy, President Barack Obama came face-to-face with the other side of his job Wednesday and found himself speaking a little too candidly.
Talking turkey, you could say.
“There are certain days that remind me of why I ran for this office,” the U.S. chief executive said OBAMAas he studied a large Thanksgiving bird nearby.
“And then there are moments like this,” he said to laughter, “where I pardon a turkey and send it to Disneyland.”
The annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning came a day after a glittering state dinner at the White House for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — the first state visit of the Obama presidency.
But duties of another order beckoned Wednesday and this time Obama found himself staring across a table at a large white bird.
The turkey, whose name is “Courage,” was provided for the White House event by the National Turkey Federation, which has been doing the honors for more than 50 years, Obama said.
“I’m told Presidents Eisenhower and Johnson actually ate their turkeys. You can’t fault them for that,” he said. “That’s a good-looking bird.”
Kennedy declined to consume a turkey given to him, despite a sign around its neck saying “Good Eatin’, Mr. President.” But it was President Bush who 20 OBAMAyears ago issued the first official presidential pardon for a turkey, Obama said.
To hear the president tell it, that tradition almost didn’t survive this year.
“I am pleased to announce that thanks to the interventions of Malia and Sasha — because I was planning to eat this sucker – ’Courage’ will also be spared this terrible and delicious fate,” he said.
Turkey pardoning duties aside, Obama said he was thankful for the “extraordinary responsibility” voters had given him, and he paid tribute to U.S. troops abroad and their families. He acknowledged many are suffering because of the recession.
“There’s no question this has been a tough year for America,” Obama said. “We’re at war. Our economy is emerging from an extraordinary recession into recovery, but there’s a long way to go and a lot of work to do.”
And with that, he had some formal turkey pardoning to do.
“Before this turkey gets too nervous that Bo (the dog) will escape and screw up this pardon or before I change my mind, I hereby pardon ‘Courage’ so that he can live out the rest of his days in peace and tranquility in Disneyland.”
Don’t think every turkey’s going to get off so light.
Later in the day, Obama said, his family was taking two of Courage’s “less fortunate brethren” to Martha’s Table, a Washington group that provides meals for the hungry.
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama attempts diplomacy with turkey)

First draft: If it’s Monday, it must be Turkey

President Barack Obama is on the final leg of his first European trip as president, traveling to Turkey for a two-day visit. On his first stop in a predominantly Muslim country, Obama sought to rebuild ties with Turkey – a country spanning Asia and Europe which the United States needs to help solve confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.

OBAMA-TURKEY/He vowed to help Turkey resolve its differences with Armenia and said the United States was willing to provide further support against Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq.

In a nod to Turkey’s regional reach, economic power and diplomatic status Obama will spend the day in Ankara speaking to parlaiment and meeting with Turkish leaders before traveling to Istanbul in the evening.

from FaithWorld:

If Hillary goes to Jakarta, can Barack be far behind?

Is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Jakarta a hint that President Barack Obama will pick Indonesia as the first Muslim country he visits in his drive to improve U.S. relations with the Islamic world? There were lots of other suggestions when he first mentioned this back in December, including Egypt (the New York Times pick) and Morocco (judging by what might have been a write-in campaign on our comments page).

My tip at the time was either Indonesia or Turkey. In recent weeks, Turkey's star has probably faded as its relations with Israel soured recently. Those strains came after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan angrily accused Israeli President Shimon Peres of "knowing very well how to kill" in Gaza during a debate at the World Economic Forum in Davos and then stormed off the stage. (Photo: Hillary Clinton with Jakarta schoolgirls, 18 Feb 2009/Supri)

Clinton said all the right things today, like telling the country where Obama spent four years as a boy that it was proof that modernity and Islam can coexist. "As I travel around the world over the next years, I will be saying to people: if you want to know whether Islam, democracy, modernity and women's rights can co-exist, go to Indonesia," she said at a dinner with civil society activists. Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda reciprocated by telling her Indonesia shared the United States' joy at Obama's election and she should tell the U.S. president "we cannot wait too long" for a visit.