Turkish leader's visit

ignored by Americans

The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, perhaps the world's most dynamic leader, visited President Barack Obama last week. At their press conference, little was said about Turkey's rise to prominence in the Middle East. The White House press corps showed its astounding level of ignorance by throwing every question at Obama, asking about the latest scandals. This was nauseating to anyone with any knowledge of why Erdogan was visiting.

In the past 30 years, Kurdish rebels and Turkey's military have fought a bloody war. Erdogan put an end to this - as well as to Turkey's past enmity toward the Kurdistan region - through compromise, dialogue and pardons for former enemies who were imprisoned. Working together, Turks and Kurds will forge an economic powerhouse that will rival the Saudi peninsula.

But the American public only cares about American news.

Turkey, the Kurdistan Regional Government, Chevron and Exxon have signed an agreement to explore the oil fields of Kurdistan. Pipelines will take the oil to ports in the Mediterranean, and oil and natural gas will be sold to Europe, eliminating Russia's monopoly on natural gas and supplanting Iran as an energy supplier. Some estimates of the Kurdish oil reserves say they are larger than what Saudi Arabia has left.

Obama opposes this project on the grounds that it will weaken the perceived power of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the man who lost recent elections but refused to leave power and the man who allows truckloads of arms from Iran to cross his country on their way to Syria.

But Americans and their media only care about events in the United States.

WILLIAM LEES

Ocean City

More rehab facilities

•eeded for addicts

Regarding the May 6 story, "South Jersey losing war against heroin/

Penalties less severe than those for cocaine":

Efforts to make the penalties for heroin sales more severe are just putting a Band-Aid on a large wound. The suffering addict receives little help. Unless you are an addict with health insurance - and most do not have it - there is insufficient help in South Jersey.

If you are lucky enough to make it through the long waiting list to get into one of two county-funded rehabs, you are likely to find yourself there for two weeks after a three- to five-day detox. This is not enough.

The article states the number of people seeking treatment is up more than 100 percent. Our system is deeply failing those seeking help. Recovery from addiction is possible with the proper support. Addiction is a disease, just like cancer.

Years ago, Shore Memorial Hospital had a fantastic detox center. It was seven days, and from there the addict was sent to a 30-day residential program. The doc in charge was terrific; he was a recovering addict himself, as was one great nurse. The empathy and understanding of these two significant people made a huge difference. They understood the needs of the addict/alcoholic, and those needs were met. What we have to offer today is not enough. I am so happy I got clean 27 years ago. I would hate to be an addict now.

It would be wonderful if a group of doctors and nurses in recovery designed detox centers to be in all of our hospitals. Imagine four hospitals detoxing 100 people a week. What a positive difference it would make to so many lives. We need, as a society, to figure this out.

TARA GILLETTE

Atlantic City

Christie, Van Drew

set politics aside

A recent Gallup Poll gave Congress an abysmal 16 percent approval rating with the American public. Believe it or not, those elected to serve in Washington would be wise to look at New Jersey as an example of bipartisan excellence.

Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, recently praised the state's plans to set aside usable piles from the upcoming demolition of the Beesleys Point bridge to be used as a walkway for saltwater anglers and nature enthusiasts who have enjoyed access to Drag Island for more than 80 years. In the original project, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority offered no such public access.

At the behest of several local groups, including the Recreational Fishing Alliance, Van Drew consulted with the state Department of Transportation and the Department of Environmental Protection on possible improvements to public access at Drag Island.

Enter Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Proving himself a friend of fishermen and a champion of government transparency, Christie intervened on behalf of saltwater anglers and conservationists, helping facilitate an agreement between the DOT, DEP and NJTA that would expand the project into what Van Drew called "a wonderful recreation area."

What's truly remarkable is that Christie and Van Drew are up for re-election in November. The purely partisan strategy - from the Washington playbook - would have been for the Republican governor to simply ignore the Democratic senator. But Van Drew and Christie have proven once again that good government can work for the benefit of the people, regardless of party lines, polling and politics.

JIM HUTCHINSON JR.

Recreational Fishing Alliance

New Gretna