In handling the Turkish President’s visit to Syria, the Bush administration went way too far and forgot that the management of the relation with Turkey was 80% representative. However, the visit to Syria was not at all determining and seemed to be purely formal. It was about the answer to Bachar El-Assad’s visit to Ankara in January, 2004. Nevertheless, though powerless, the Turkish advocate respect for their president.
The Turkish did not send their president as a proof of solidarity with Damascus, but as an expression of Ankara’s concerns regarding the situation in Lebanon, preserving at the same time convenient bilateral relations. It is deplorable that Washington publicly demanded that Turkey did not go on that visit - a public announcement that gave the Turkish no diplomatic choice to renounce the trip. From that moment on, the 70 million Turkish wanted that visit to take place at any rate. So there was no reversing it any longer. The relations between Ankara and Washington have been deteriorating.
The United States should always remember that treating Turkey requires an exaggerated respect for Turkey’s national sovereignty and dignity. This lesson is applied to other countries as well and the United States keeps forgetting about it more often than not.

Daily Star (Lebanon)

Bush’s warning to Turkey was stupid”, by Philip Robins, Daily Star, April 19, 2005.