Entries in Turkey (5)


PETA Asks Obama to Opt Out of Turkey Pardon

Digital Vision/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- It’s a White House tradition with a century and a half of history behind it, but PETA is asking the White House to skip it this year.

Wednesday President Obama is set to pardon two turkeys – Cobbler and Gobbler – just as every president since George H. W. Bush has. The tradition finds its roots in a moment of sympathy Abe Lincoln’s son, Tad, had for their table’s turkey back in the 1860s.

Now Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says the turkey pardon has got to go.

“It makes light of the mass slaughter of some 46 million gentle, intelligent birds and portrays the United States’ president as being in some sort of business partnership with the turkey-killing industry,” Newkirk wrote in a letter sent to President Obama Tuesday. “Turkeys do not need to be ‘pardoned’ — they are not guilty of anything other than being born into a world of prejudice. They are innocents who should be respected for who they are: good mothers, smart birds, and interesting animals.”

“You understand so well that African-Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community have been poorly served throughout history,” Newkirk writes, “and now I am asking you to consider other living beings who are ridiculed, belittled, and treated as if their sentience, feelings, and very natures count for nothing.”

Those are turkeys she’s talking about.

When asked if the comparison of turkeys with minority Americans was a little extreme, PETA spokesperson Ashley Byrne answered that turkeys feel pain and fear, just like humans.

“Everyone deserves to be free from suffering, and that includes turkeys,” Byrne said.

So will the White House forego the fowl tradition and opt for Tofurkey? Not likely.

Last year PETA similarly took issue with the term “pardon,” asking the White House to say “spare” instead. But the White House went along with its usual use of the p-word.

Byrne said this Thanksgiving gives Obama a new opportunity to connect with his constituency and go vegan like another Democratic president -- Bill Clinton -- who gave up his beloved hamburgers, all meat in fact, for health reasons after leaving office.

“With more Americans than ever cutting meat out of their diets, we hope that the president could see this as a way to get with the times,” Byrne said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


On Armenian Remembrance Day, Obama Again Avoids ‘Genocide’

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- On the fourth Armenian Remembrance Day of his presidency, President Obama has for the fourth time in a row broken his promise to the Armenian community to use the word “genocide” in describing what happened at the hands of the Turks roughly a century ago.

As a senator, and then as a presidential candidate, Obama often talked about how bold he was to call the slaughter of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire just what it was: a genocide.

“America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides,” he said.  “I intend to be that president.”

In a January 2008 letter to the Armenian Reporter, Obama said he shared “with Armenian Americans -- so many of whom are descended from genocide survivors -- a principled commitment to commemorating and ending genocide.  That starts with acknowledging the tragic instances of genocide in world history.”

In 2006, Obama noted, “I criticized the secretary of state [Condoleezza Rice] for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans, after he properly used the term ‘genocide’ to describe Turkey’s slaughter of thousands of Armenians starting in 1915.  I shared with Secretary Rice my firmly held conviction that the Armenian Genocide is not an allegation, a personal opinion, or a point of view, but rather a widely documented fact supported by an overwhelming body of historical evidence.”

Obama asserted back then, “The facts are undeniable.  An official policy that calls on diplomats to distort the historical facts is an untenable policy.”

That was then, and this is now.  As previous presidents have concluded, Obama has decided that distorting the historical facts is better than alienating ally Turkey, which disputes that term.  And that policy has been, at least in the short term, quite tenable.

The president in his statement on Tuesday said: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915.  My view of that history has not changed.  A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests.  Moving forward with the future cannot be done without reckoning with the facts of the past. …Some individuals have already taken this courageous step forward.  We applaud those Armenians and Turks who have taken this path, and we hope that many more will choose it, with the support of their governments, as well as mine.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Perry Camp Explains Suggestion Turkey Is Led by ‘Islamic Terrorists’

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) -- In response to a question about whether or not Turkey should still be a part of NATO, Rick Perry suggested Monday night that some consider the country to be ruled by “Islamic terrorists.”

“Obviously when you have a country that is being ruled by what many would perceive to be Islamic terrorists,” Perry said during the GOP debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Victoria Coates, foreign policy advisor to Perry, further explained the governor’s remarks, saying that some view the leaders of Turkey as Islamic terrorists due to their support of Hamas and the flotilla against Israel.

“The governor was responding to the questioners references to violence against women and to association with Hamas, I think both of which are things that many people do associate as he said with Islamic terrorists,” Coates told reporters in the spin room.  “He was referring to those things, and while he would welcome the opportunity to work with Turkey on regional issues like Syria or Iraq, this kind of behavior on the part of that country is disturbing and I think we should concerned about it.”

Asked if the leaders of Turkey have performed any actions which place them in the category of Islamic terrorists, Coates responded: "What he said was that many people associate that kind of behavior with that of Islamic terrorists.  I think also their support for the flotilla against Israel this fall.  It’s deeply concerning, and I think it’s something any future American president needs to be aware of.”

Coates said Turkey is an important country as the country serves as a “hinge point between east and west,” and is a NATO ally.

“It is certainly a topic he would cover in debate prep, particularly in terms of Syria.  I believe what he’s mentioned it before its been in terms of coping with the Syria crisis and then also as I said as a NATO ally,” Coates said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Following Turkey Earthquake Reports With ‘Great Concern’

Official White House Photo/Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- Although the extent of casualties from the powerful earthquake that shook Turkey on Sunday are unknown, President Obama expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

In a statement released by the White House on Sunday, the president said the U.S. has been following reports of the earthquake in Turkey’s eastern province of Van with great concern.

“On behalf of the American people, I express my deepest condolences to the families of the victims,” said Obama. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women who are working to bring assistance to this stricken region.”

The U.S. stands ready to assist Turkey, Obama said.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed the president’s vow to help authorities in Turkey, if needed. Turkey has been an important U.S. ally in the war on terror.

The 7.2-magnitude earthquake collapsed about 45 buildings and left at least 85 people dead, according to local media reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Working the Phones: Obama Calls Turkish, Qatari Leaders on Libya

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (file)(SANTIAGO, Chile) -- As President Obama continues his five-day South American trip, so do his calls with international leaders on the conflict in Libya. The president, traveling on Air Force One, called the Emir of Qatar to thank him for contributions to the international coalition in Libya.

President Obama also called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Monday evening “to continue their consultations on the situation in Libya,” the White House said, emphasizing appreciation for Turkey for facilitating the release and safe passage to Tunisia of four New York Times journalists who had been detained in Libyan custody.

The White House said that both leaders reaffirmed their full support for the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, in order to protect the Libyan people.

Turkey, the only Muslim nation in NATO, has expressed concern about the military action against the Libyan government.  The Turkish foreign minister said the objective should be "not to launch a large-scale war.” But Turkey is helping the U.S., U.K., Italy and Australia with diplomatic functions within Libya.

Edrogan on Monday told deputies of his party that Turkey will not be a part of the military operation and “would never ever be a party to pointing weapons at the Libyan people."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio