Kevin Myers: The peoples of Turkey and Ireland both suffered from the war-mongering of Winston Churchill
The President's blunder over the mythical tales of food shipments to Ireland from the Ottoman Empire is relatively unimportant; it's what happens when goodwill outruns common sense.
It's also a useful example of how an anecdote exists simply because it suits the current needs of the teller. Last week it was time to be nice to the Turks, but without losing any British friends in the process. So what Mary McAleese did not say, and what the Turks would probably have preferred her not to, was the inconvenient truth, as in the following speech:
'The peoples of Turkey and of Ireland have much in common; both suffered around the time of the Gallipoli invasion from the war-mongering belligerence of Winston Churchill. It was he who peremptorily ordered the confiscation of two battleships, the 'Sultan Osman I' and 'Reshadieh' that were building in Tyneside shipyards, in 1914, for the Ottoman Empire.