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News, 26/02-05/03/03 (2) IRAQI/TURKISH RELATIONS (2 - after the vote) * Turkish vote on troops a stunning blow to U.S. * Turkey Rejects U.S. Use Of Bases * U.S. Clings to Option Of Turkish Bases * U.S. Forced to Rethink Iraq War Strategy * Troop Vote Strains U.S.-Turkish Ties * Turkey Will Seek a Second Decision on a G.I. Presence * 'Serves rude America right' * Turkish Stocks Plunge on U.S. Troop Vote * War may be slower, riskier without Turkey * An ally we're better off without: Why President Bush should turn his back on Turkey * Erdogan calls for rethink on deployment of US troops * Turkish vote shocker: Why … and what happens next? * Turkey gives Europe a lesson in democracy * Powell Interview by Turkish TV IRAQI/TURKISH RELATIONS (2 - after the vote) http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/world/1801055 * TURKISH VOTE ON TROOPS A STUNNING BLOW TO U.S. by Dexter Filkins Houston Chronicle, from New York Times, 1st March ANKARA, Turkey -- The Turkish parliament on Saturday dealt a major setback to the Bush administration's plans for a northern front against Iraq, narrowly rejecting a measure that would have allowed thousands of U.S. combat troops to use the country as a base for an attack. More Turkish lawmakers supported the measure than opposed it, but the resolution failed because the combined total number of no votes and abstentions exceeded the numbers of favorable votes. Under the Turkish constitution, a resolution can become law only if it is supported by a majority of the lawmakers present. The final tally was 264-251, with 19 abstentions. The defeat stunned U.S. officials, who had been confident that Turkey's leaders would be able to persuade the members of their party to support the measure. U.S. ships had already begun unloading heavy equipment at Turkish ports in anticipation of a favorable vote, and more than a dozen vessels were idling off the coast. In the turmoil after the parliamentary session, U.S. diplomats said they were requesting a "clarification" of the vote. Private NTV and CNN-Turk television stations quoted unnamed officials as saying the government was not planning to resubmit the motion to parliament. The leaders of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul's Justice and Development Party are expected to meet today to discuss what action to take. The vote came after weeks of negotiations between U.S. and Turkish officials, largely over the economic assistance for Turkey in the event of a war with Iraq. The defeat posed immediate military problems for U.S. officials, who have been counting on Turkey's support to help with a northern front. A senior Pentagon official said the U.S. military would be able to stage the operation without Turkey's help. The defeat of the resolution was a stunning political blow as well. Turkey, one of America's closest allies and a member of NATO, is a secular Muslim democracy whose support in the region the Bush administration has craved. U.S. officials have called Turkey a model for the type of system that they are hoping that an invasion of Iraq will help bring about elsewhere in the Middle East. The defeat was not expected by Turkey's leaders, who only hours before the vote had predicted the parliament would approve the measure. Gul and the chief of the governing Justice and Development Party, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had endorsed the measure, and had urged their party, which controls a large majority of the parliament, to support it. The resolution failed in large part because nearly 100 members of the party apparently voted against the measure or abstained. The U.S. request had placed Turkey's leaders in a difficult situation, as polls here indicated that an overwhelming majority of the Turkish people opposed their country's involvement in a war against Iraq. Gul said Turkey's democratic system had spoken with finality. "Turkey is the only democratic country in the region," he said. "The decision is clear. We have to respect this decision, as this is what democracy requires." The vote cast a shadow over the U.S.-Turkish relationship, which Turkish officials said had come under great strain during the negotiations. As the discussions wore on and tales of U.S. high-handedness spread, Turkish lawmakers and the Turkish public appeared to become more and more alienated. "The relationship is spoiled," said Murat Mercan, a member of parliament from the majority party. "The Americans dictated to us. It became a business negotiation, not something between friends. It disgusted me." The Associated Press contributed to this story. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23284-2003Mar1.html * TURKEY REJECTS U.S. USE OF BASES by Philip P. Pan Washington Post, 2nd March ANKARA, Turkey, March 1 -- In a stunning setback for the United States that could require the Bush administration to alter part of its war plans, the Turkish parliament rejected by three votes tonight a motion that would have allowed U.S. troops to use Turkish bases to open a northern front against Iraq. The leadership of the governing Justice and Development Party, which had endorsed the U.S. deployment, could seek another vote when parliament reconvenes next week. But its failure to win approval of the resolution tonight, despite a sizable legislative majority and weeks of preparation, raised questions about its ability to hold on to control of the government if it tried and failed again to authorize the U.S. deployment. The Pentagon has been waiting for weeks for permission to begin moving its forces toward Turkey's 218-mile border with Iraq, and warned last week that it was running out of time to decide whether an armada of U.S. ships carrying tanks and equipment, including several cargo vessels already in Turkish waters in the eastern Mediterranean, should change course and sail through the Suez Canal to Kuwait. A senior administration official in Washington described the Turkish vote as "absolutely a big deal," and said the administration must now decide whether to wait and see what the Turkish government does next, or immediately move forward with a backup plan to deploy the Army's 4th Infantry Division to Kuwait instead of Turkey. The defeat in the Turkish parliament was another setback in U.S efforts to win international support for a war against Iraq. The U.S. push was further complicated today as Iraq began destroying its banned Al Samoud-2 missiles under the supervision of U.N. inspectors. The Justice and Development Party, which took power in elections less than four months ago, holds 362 seats in the 550-member parliament, but managed to muster only 264 votes in favor of the U.S. deployment. The unexpected defection of more than a quarter of its deputies and a unified stand by the opposition resulted in 250 votes against the proposal and 19 abstentions. The other 17 legislators did not attend the session. The closeness of the vote, which took place in a closed session after a three-hour debate, threw the legislature into confusion for several minutes before the parliamentary speaker, Bulent Arinc, ruled that the government's motion had failed because it had not won a majority from the 533 legislators present. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, his face drawn and weary, told reporters after the vote that the party was evaluating its options, but he refused to say whether it would pursue another vote. "We all have to respect the decision of the parliament. This is the requirement of democracy," he said. "We will evaluate all this as a party and a government, and do whatever is required. The government is no doubt aware we are in a critical period." Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the ruling party, described the parliament's decision as "a completely democratic result." "What more do you want?" the Anatolian news agency quoted him as saying after a meeting with party leaders. "May it be for the best." A senior member of the government, who asked not to be identified, said Erdogan has called an emergency meeting of the party's governing board for Sunday. "We haven't come up with a strategy yet," the official said. "We will either renew the resolution and try again, or we will say this is the view of the Turkish people, and we will not be able to take foreign soldiers on Turkish soil. We'll be talking about it very carefully." The official blamed the outcome of the vote in part on the U.S. government's refusal to grant more concessions in talks over what economic aid and political assurances Turkey would receive in exchange for allowing its territory to be used as a staging area against Iraq. Negotiators are near a deal involving guarantees about the future of Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq and $6 billion in grants, which could be leveraged into as much as $24 billion in loans, but the agreement has not been finalized. U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, had pressed the Turkish government to go ahead with a vote. "It's hard to speculate about what happened," the senior Turkish official said, "but it's partly because the Americans have not come up with a sound agreement that could be signed by everyone and then presented to the parliament." Other analysts argued that the Justice and Development Party had been outmaneuvered by a Turkish political establishment -- including the military, government bureaucracy and other state institutions -- that is wary of the new party because of its popular appeal and roots in political Islam. These institutions normally might have backed a U.S. deployment, the analysts said, but instead have remained silent and sought to use the issue to weaken the party. "Do not take part in this disgusting war. Do not get crushed under the weight of this misery," one opposition lawmaker, Onder Sav, said on the floor of the parliament. "If only one soldier's corpse must be carried on shoulders [to a funeral], then we will not forgive you. The voters will not forgive you either." Turkey's cooperation is important to the Pentagon's plan to divide the forces of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by simultaneously attacking from the south, through Kuwait, and from the north, across the Turkish border. Troops based in Turkey would play a critical role in securing oil fields in northern Iraq and keeping the peace between Kurdish factions, and between Kurdish and Turkish troops. If the 4th Infantry Division is diverted to Kuwait, the U.S. military is likely instead to build any attack from the north around lighter forces that are more easily deployed by air. But the loss of Turkish bases could also make it more difficult to resupply U.S. forces with ammunition, food and fuel. Speaking after a meeting at the Foreign Ministry tonight, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Robert Pearson, expressed disappointment in the vote but said the United States would continue to consult with the Turkish government. Months of delays and tough bargaining by Turkish leaders have already strained relations between the United States and Turkey, a historic ally and a member of NATO. Fehmi Koru, a political analyst who writes a column for the Yeni Safak newspaper, predicted that the government would not risk submitting the resolution for another vote, in part because so many members of the cabinet had opposed the U.S. deployment. Though the party leadership failed by only three votes, "if they tried again, and they get the same outcome, it would mean the end of this government for sure," he said. "They've already seen almost half the parliament vote no." Opposition leader Deniz Baykal urged the government to abandon plans for a U.S. deployment. "I hope the government will respect the will of the parliament," he said. "This situation shows Turkey is not willing to join this war." Turkish leaders have only recently begun trying to convince the public that their country might benefit by cooperating in a U.S.-led war against Iraq, by preventing the emergence of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq and restoring trade with a friendly Iraq freed from international sanctions. But public opinion in this predominantly Muslim nation of 67 million people remains strongly against a war. Many people fear it would be a repeat of the Persian Gulf War of 1991, when Turkey was swamped with half a million refugees and its economy was devastated, ushering in a decade of financial instability that culminated in 2000 with a crisis in which the currency collapsed and unemployment skyrocketed. Even as lawmakers debated the U.S. deployment, tens of thousands of antiwar protesters massed in the streets of the Turkish capital, their path to the parliament building blocked by riot police and armored cars. Many demonstrators said they expected their government to ignore them and give in to the U.S. request. "The Turkish people are against a war, but the government won't listen to us," said Yasemin Karaoglan, 24, a graduate student among the crowd of chanting, singing protesters. "They can't resist the power of the Americans." Staff writer Karen DeYoung in Washington contributed to this report. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A30904-2003Mar2.html * U.S. CLINGS TO OPTION OF TURKISH BASES by Bradley Graham Washington Post, 3rd March U.S. officials continued to hold out hope yesterday that Turkey will agree to let U.S. ground forces use its bases for an invasion of Iraq, even as military planners prepared to shift to an alternate plan for occupying northern Iraq. With about two dozen military cargo ships in the eastern Mediterranean standing by to unload tanks and other weaponry in Turkey for the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, Pentagon officials have been saying for days that virtually no time remained before the ships would have to be redirected to Kuwait and the war plan changed. But no such order came yesterday, according to several military officials, suggesting some slight flexibility still existed in the Pentagon's timetable. The delay also appeared to reflect the reluctance of the Bush administration to give up on the Turkish option, for both military and political reasons. Militarily, while alternatives exist for placing U.S. forces in northern Iraq -- essentially by airlifting lighter Army and Marine units to key locations -- these options pose greater logistical challenges for American troops and carry heightened risks of U.S. casualties, officials and analysts said. Politically, too, a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq without Turkey would not only substantially weaken administration claims of international support but also do critical long-term damage to relations with an important NATO and Muslim-populated ally, analysts said. Several U.S. officials portrayed the administration as still evaluating Turkey's political situation after Friday's parliamentary vote that failed to approve access to Turkish bases. Although expressing deep disappointment and frustration with the lack of Turkish approval, they noted the possibility that another vote could open the way to U.S. troops, although no new vote has been scheduled. Gen. Tommy R. Franks, the head of U.S. Central Command who would lead any U.S. war in Iraq, was reported by aides yesterday to have not yet ruled out the use of Turkish bases. Under his preferred war plan, U.S. ground forces would enter Iraq both from Turkey in the north and Kuwait in the south, opening two fronts and stretching Iraqi defenses. But one defense official said more intense work had begun on other options -- the kind of detailed preparation that usually precedes new orders, the official added. Several senators, speaking on television interview shows yesterday, expressed shock at Turkey's vote and sounded pessimistic about the prospects for a reversal. "It's a huge setback for our purposes. It stunned me," Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (W.Va.), the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, said on CNN's "Late Edition." "We spent the last 50 years defending them in NATO. And along comes this opportunity, and by three votes they decline the opportunity to allow us to come in through the north." Northern Iraq is critical to the U.S. plan because it contains major oil fields. It also is home to a sizable Kurdish population that already has a substantial measure of local autonomy and has clashed with neighboring Turkey for years. U.S. authorities want to ensure the Kurds stay largely out of the fight and remain a part of any new postwar Iraq. If the 4th Infantry Division were redirected to launch from Kuwait instead of Turkey, the cargo ships now in the Mediterranean would require about a week to sail to the Persian Gulf, officials said. But there is some concern that such rerouting could interfere with passage of other military cargo vessels through the Suez Canal -- notably ships with equipment and supplies for the 101st Airborne Division -- and then overwhelm port facilities in Kuwait, which already is hosting several Army and Marine divisions. Reaching northern Iraq from Kuwait would take an armored force days of hard travel over desert terrain and present a predictable and exposed line of advance. While airlifting a lighter infantry force into the north would provide some U.S. military presence at the outset, the troops could find themselves stretched thin by the multiple challenges of overcoming any Iraqi resistance, securing the region's oil fields and holding Kurdish factions in check. Being blocked from sending a large armored force into Iraq from Turkey "will not fundamentally affect our ability to succeed militarily, but it will alter our ability to be, in effect, interspersed and be the interlocutors between the Kurds and the Turks," Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday." Retired Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, who stepped down earlier this year as NATO's top commander, told CBS's "Face the Nation" that "instability in the north is something that is very bad for Turkey, and I believe the best way to keep the instability from occurring is to have U.S. forces on the ground in northern Iraq." Ralston said that although Turkey has been a "good friend" to the United States and a reliable NATO ally in the past, it now has "a very inexperienced government" that was elected in November. "I do believe that we've got to make sure that Turkey understands that this is more in their interest than it is the U.S.," he said. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/mar/02/030209972.html * U.S. FORCED TO RETHINK IRAQ WAR STRATEGY by Louis Meixler Las Vegas Sun (from AP), 2nd March ANKARA, Turkey: Turkey's surprise rejection of a U.S. troop deployment is forcing American planners to rethink a strategy that called for attacks from two fronts to hit Saddam Hussein's army so ferociously his forces would have quickly collapsed. Turkey's parliament rejected the U.S. request on Saturday, leaving the U.S. plan to base 62,000 U.S. soldiers on Iraq's northern border in disarray. Washington was so sure that it would gain Turkey's support that cargo ships carrying U.S. armor are waiting off the Turkish shore and hundreds of jeeps and trucks have already been unloaded in southern Turkey. Turkish leaders gave conflicting signs about whether Parliament will reconsider its decision. A top official in Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party, Eyup Fatsa, said Parliament isn't planning to take up the issue in the "foreseeable future." But Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis appeared to leave the door open for a new vote, saying leaders will conduct a "process of evaluation." Basing troops in Turkey, on Iraq's northern border, is so crucial to U.S. war plans that American negotiators offered some $15 billion in aid to try to win over Turkish approval. U.S. and Turkish generals agree that a northern front would lead to a shorter and less bloody war, but Turkish public opinion is overwhelmingly against a war. Legislators failed to approve the measure by just three votes, despite lobbying by Secretary of State Colin Powell. The northern front was also considered vital to maintaining stability in northern Iraq. Turkey has said it will send troops into the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq if there is a war, a move that Iraqi Kurds who have autonomy there have vowed to resist. With a northern front a war "would be quicker, there would certainly be far fewer casualties ... and far less risk of civil tensions in Iraq," said Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The northern plan called for the 4th Infantry "Ironhorse" Division and parts of the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" Division to seize the oil-rich cities of Mosul and Kirkuk and drive toward the south when war started, experts said. Taking the oil cities would be a sharp blow to Saddam and would also be politically important. Both Kurds and Turks have claims to the cities and each side wants to make sure the other does not gain control. Meanwhile, the 255 U.S. strike fighters that would be based in Turkey would fly bombing missions in Iraq. Aircraft including attack helicopters carrying anti-tank missiles and machine guns would fly out of Turkish border areas to strafe Iraqi troops and paralyze transport on Iraqi roads, experts said. "The idea is to seize as much territory as possible," said Toby Dodge, a Middle East specialist at Warwick University in England. "All of this is designed to ... break the command and control of the army and lead to a coup." After seizing the oil cities, the northern troops would be poised to start moving south toward Saddam's hometown of Tikrit and later Baghdad, experts said. Without the northern front, an attack could only take place from the south, giving Iraq's army a chance to concentrate its resources and leaving the Tikrit area, a heartland of support for the Iraqi regime, out of reach of U.S. forces until late in the war. "If the U.S. could not launch from Turkey it would be a major although not fatal blow," Dodge said. Turkish cooperation would have a large price in addition to the billions of dollars in aid and grants. U.S. war plans are already leading to serious tensions between Turkish and Iraqi Kurds, and Ankara wants to make sure that if it gives its support, Washington guarantees that there will not be a Kurdish state in Iraq after a war. Turkey has also demanded that any Iraqi Kurdish fighters who are armed by the United States during a war are disarmed afterward in the presence of a Turkish military officer, reports said. The United States was looking to use the Kurds as scouts, reports said. Without a northern front, however, tensions could be even greater with less coordination between the sides, in part because Turkey is likely to still move its forces into Iraq if there is a war. "In the north you have the prospects of a three or four cornered fight between the Iraqis, the Kurds, the Americans and the Turks," said Dan Plesch, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in London. "Without (U.S. tanks) on the ground it would be very risky to control that," Plesch said. Kurdish factions in the north can mobilize about 70,000 lightly-armed guerrillas. A revised war strategy is likely to call for a far reduced northern front. During the 1991 Gulf War, the United States based hundreds of aircraft and commandos in Turkey, forces that might be acceptable if a new, scaled back agreement is adopted. There are also reports that Washington is looking to fly commandos into the Kurdish autonomous regions of Iraq if there is a war. Those forces would likely aim to maintain order in the Kurdish areas and could possibly seize the oil cities. But they would not pose the same threat to Iraq as the heavy armored troops. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/mar/02/030209894.html * TROOP VOTE STRAINS U.S.-TURKISH TIES by James C. Helicke Las Vegas Sun, 2nd March ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP): Turkish leaders grappled Sunday with whether to ask parliament to reconsider its decision blocking U.S. troops from using the country in a possible war against Iraq. A top member of Turkey's governing party rejected a quick new vote on the proposal, which would be another harsh blow to U.S. war planners. But Turkey's Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis appeared to leave the door open for a new vote, saying leaders will conduct a "process of evaluation" first. Asked if the proposal would be back on the agenda this week, Yakis said, "The process (of evaluation) will be completed, then it will come." He did not elaborate. Islamic-rooted ruling party is in disarray, torn between popular opposition to war and fears of possible lasting damage to the historically close ties with Washington. Eyup Fatsa, deputy head of the governing party's parliamentary group, said there would be no quick revote after Turkey's parliament Saturday failed to approve a government-backed motion to allow 62,000 U.S. combat troops in the country for a possible war against neighboring Iraq. The move was rejected despite the party's overwhelming majority in parliament. Parliament's decision stunned Washington and seriously jeopardizes U.S. planning for a northern front against Iraq, a crucial part of the American war strategy. The ruling Justice and Development Party placed its prestige on the line, with leaders pressing legislators to vote for the motion. But almost 100 of the party's 362 legislators defected, raising the possibility of disunity and political instability as the United States prepares for a war in neighboring Iraq. "The proposal has been delayed to an open-ended time. There is no proposal for the foreseeable future," Fatsa told reporters at a Justice party meeting Sunday on whether to resubmit the motion to parliament, which convenes Tuesday. It is not clear why the government was delaying a new vote. Some legislators may fear that pushing forward with a vote could split the party between hardline factions that oppose the war and the more pragmatic legislators who believe that not supporting Washington could have devastating consequences for Turkey's economy. The Justice party, which is rooted in Turkey's Islamic movement, unites factions that are more traditional and religious with a more pragmatic group. The impact on Turkey's economy could be swift. "There could be a mini-crisis Monday morning when markets reopen," warned Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Washington had been offering Turkey $15 billion in loans and grants to help cushion the Turkish economy if there is a war. The critical economic pad could be lost now, although neither side has discussed the future publicly. Ships carrying equipment and some of the 62,000 U.S. troops who would be based in Turkey are already off the Turkish coast, a sign of how sure Washington was of Turkish support. For the United States, parliament's failure allow deployment of the troops leaves in question the U.S. war strategy, which called for a northern front against Iraq to divide Saddam Hussein's forces. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul spoke with Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday about the deployment of U.S. troops. According to a written statement from the prime minister's office, Powell thanked the government for its efforts on the motion and "emphasized that relations between friends Turkey and the United States were solid." The two leaders also "agreed to keep the lines of communication open," the statement said. For Turkey, in addition to the possible loss of a huge tranche of U.S. funds, Ankara could lose a say in the future of neighboring Iraq if there is a war. That is a critical issue for the Turks, who fear that a war could lead Kurds in northern Iraq to declare an independent state and in turn inspire Turkey's own Kurdish minority. Turkey is also likely to lose the U.S. goodwill that Ankara had counted on to help lobby European nations in its bid for membership in the European Union. Also at stake is U.S. backing with the International Monetary Fund. "Trust between the United States and Turkey is in breakdown," said Huseyin Bagci, professor of International Relations at Ankara's Middle East Technical University. "The decision is good for Turkey's democracy, but bad for the U.S.-Turkish strategic relationship." Turkish leaders Sunday sought to downplay such concerns, emphasizing instead the strength of ties between the five-decade-long NATO allies. "We will continue these relations with mutual friendship and mutual understanding. These (relations) shouldn't be bound to a motion," Gul said. Justice Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan also sought to ease concerns that a crisis was brewing within the governing party. Among the dissenters in Saturday's vote was Deputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir. "By our party not taking a group decision on this critical issue, we carried out democracy within the party," Erdogan said. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/03/international/middleeast/03TURK.html * TURKEY WILL SEEK A SECOND DECISION ON A G.I. PRESENCE by Dexter Filkins New York Times, 3rd March [.....] Only hours before the vote, Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gul held a straw ballot of the 300-plus Justice and Development Party members who dominate the 550-seat Parliament. Only about 50 members, the party's core of Islamist-minded politicians, said they would vote against it. That should have given the resolution a comfortable majority. "At that point we thought it was going to pass," said Mehmet Dulger, a member of the Parliament from the Justice and Development Party who supported the measure. Only later did it become clear that Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gul had miscalculated. With the measure on the floor of the Parliament, one Turkish legislator said he felt the mood shift when the word went around that the Iraqi government had begun destroying its illegal missiles that day, as one of the United Nations' chief weapons inspectors had demanded. But as legislators discussed the vote, it became clear that the reasons were more complex. The biggest unresolved issue was Washington's insistence that Turkey adhere to its agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which has imposed strict austerity measures on the government. Turkish officials were hoping to obtain a $6 billion grant from the United States before reaching an agreement on the next installment of the fund's multibillion aid program. Several Turkish legislators complained of what they described as the United States' overbearing and sometimes petty approach to the negotiations. Turkish officials said American diplomats sought to avoid paying taxes on everything they bought in Turkey, from fuel to food. One dispute, which Turkish lawmakers said lasted more than a week, involved the question of who would pick up a roughly $30,000 tab for identification labels intended for American troops in Turkey. But the overwhelming reason that the measure failed, Turkish leaders said, was the demand of the Turkish people to stay out of the war. "I hate romanticism in politics," said Mehmet Fehmi Uyanik, a legislator who voted against the measure. "I'm a realist. And every day, I'm not kidding, I got 60 or 70 messages from people telling me to vote against." http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-597684,00.html * 'SERVES RUDE AMERICA RIGHT' by Suna Erdem The Times, 3rd March NESRIN ALOGLU, a bank clerk, is delighted that Turkey's parliament has thrown Washington's plans for an attack on Iraq into disarray by blocking the deployment of US troops. "Serves them right. Now they can apologise." Apologise, she said, for the way in which the United States so rudely took Turkey for granted and issued threats, insults and ultimatums when it did not get what it wanted. In rejecting Washington's demands, the recession-hit country is turning its back on US aid worth more than $20 billion (£13 billion). But Turks still support the parliament's decision. "At least it's cleared Turkey's name and dispelled the image abroad that Turkey can be bought," Zafer Dorttas, a 27-year-old customs official, said. Ordinary Turks were incensed by US media references to haggling in a carpet shop and by what they saw as insulting American behaviour. The final straw came when a series of American newspaper cartoons were broadcast. They depicted Turkey as a money-grabbing belly dancer, or a prostitute bargaining for the price of its favours. "I can't tell you how awful I felt when I saw the cartoons," Ayse Akin, a student, said. "They were so deeply insulting. America can stick its money and its troops up its backside." http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/w-me/2003/mar/03/030301846.html * TURKISH STOCKS PLUNGE ON U.S. TROOP VOTE by Harmonie Toros Las Vegas Sun, 3rd March ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP): Turkey's stock market plunged more than 12 percent Monday as investors worried the country may have lost $15 billion in much-needed grant and loan aid from the United States because parliament refused to allow tens of thousands of U.S. troops on Turkish soil. The dive came as the government showed no signs that it would ask legislators to reverse Saturday's surprise vote, which denied the United States a crucial northern front in a war against Iraq. In Washington, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said "no final judgments have been made" about the aid package. But State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said most of the package was predicated on compensating Turkey for the costs of facilitating the deployment of more than 60,000 troops. "If those activities don't occur, the costs won't be incurred," Boucher said. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said his government was still analyzing the situation. "We will see what happens in the next few days," Gul told a news conference. But even if the Turkish government does submit a new motion, analysts say, the process could take up to two weeks - perhaps too long for Washington, which hopes to use Turkey to attack Iraq from the north. The market fall is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the government as the Turkish lira held up well Monday, analysts said. But traders warned the market could continue to fall and may even plummet if it becomes clear that Turkey will not get the aid package. If a motion is presented, many analysts believe the ruling party - which is split over the issue amid strong public opposition to any U.S. deployment - will wait for Sunday by-elections in the southeastern city of Siirt. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the popular leader of the governing Justice and Development Party, is running in those elections and he is widely expected to win. Once a legislator, he is expected to become prime minister and shuffle the Cabinet, replacing Gul in 10 or 15 days. That could eliminate some ministers in the existing government who have spoken out against the deployment and are unlikely to sign the unanimous Cabinet decision needed to resend the motion to parliament, said political analyst Fehmi Koru. But Erdogan is likely to want to avoid being seen as pushing through the unpopular U.S. deployment just days before the election, said Ilter Turan, political science professor at Istanbul's Bilgi University. Fears the aid package could be lost sent Turkey's stock market tumbling 12.5 percent Monday, while the lira lost 3 percent to the dollar, trading at 1,643,000 at closing. The lira held firm after the Central Bank announced it would intervene to protect Turkey's currency if necessary. There are also concerns that the failed vote could exasperate tensions with the United States, whose support for Turkey has been crucial with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The upset was not as bad as many feared, in part because the government said its long delayed 2003 budget was ready and included stringent austerity measures. Economist Asaf Savas Akat underlined that Turks had not made a run for dollars, sparing the Turkish lira a sharp devaluation. "This was the man in the street's way of supporting parliament's decision," said Akat. But traders warned the fall in the markets was cushioned by the hope among participants that parliament would approve a resubmitted motion. "If we see any convincing positive statement from the government regarding the authorization and the United States continues to be patient, I think there's a chance that the market recuperate," said Tevfik Aksoy, economist at Global Securities. It is not clear how long the United States is willing to wait before it abandons the northern front option. Washington says a northern front would lead to a shorter and less bloody war, but has said it can wage war even without Turkey's assistance. If Turkey's government fails to reverse parliament's decision, Ankara would also lose a say in the future of neighboring Iraq. Turks fear the fall of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein will prompt Iraqi Kurds to create an independent Kurdish state. That in turn would boost aspirations of Turkey's autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels. http://www.dawn.com/2003/03/04/int16.htm * WAR MAY BE SLOWER, RISKIER WITHOUT TURKEY by John Chalmers Dawn, 4th March [.....] Tim Garden of the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College, London, said that even if approval for deployment had come this weekend the United States would still have needed 45 days to get these troops up to operational readiness. [.....] Cirincione said time would be lost be moving troops down to bases in Kuwait which have not be set up, and time would be lost sending ground forces all the way up Iraq from the south. It is time that could aggravate public disapproval of the war in the United States and, militarily, it is time planners may have been counting on to occupy Iraq's western oilfields. If there is a vacuum in these areas once fighting starts, Cirincione said, Kurdish militia might move in to secure then. Thousands of forces could be airdropped to hold northern areas of Iraq while they wait for heavy equipment to arrive. "It would be a risky operation. You would only do it if you thought that the opposing forces were going to fold simply from seeing you drop from the plane, and that's a dangerous assumption," Cirincione said. Loren Thompson, a Lexington Institute analyst with close ties to the US military, said last month that one strategy being planned involved the insertion of about 5,000 US ground troops using the rugged C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft. In the Kurdish northern areas of Iraq, there are large tracts of land that President Saddam Hussein has no control over, and many boast airstrips suitable for landing a C-17. Thompson said US forces first could airlift a very small ground force via helicopter to seize these airstrips and secure the area before bringing in the C-17s. [.....] But Garden said the Turkish parliament decision could avert an "unholy mess" of Iraq, American, Turkish and Kurdish forces. "It may be, in terms of tidiness, that this wouldn't be too bad a thing," he said. "If the Turks secure their borders, the Kurds keep their heads down and secure their enclave area and the rest of the battle goes on in the rest of Iraq." http://www.msnbc.com/news/880574.asp?0si=- * AN ALLY WE'RE BETTER OFF WITHOUT: WHY PRESIDENT BUSH SHOULD TURN HIS BACK ON TURKEY by Christopher Hitchens MSBNC, 4th March The slander of the Iraqi and Kurdish opposition, and of their friends, as little better than puppets of the Bush administration is an idea that is half-alive in the minds of those who are knowingly trying to buy "more time" for Saddam Hussein. Every now and then one gets a sneer about it. So, it's good to step aside from the everyday arguments with the regime preservers and point out that proxies and mercenaries seldom express themselves as forcefully and publicly as the Iraqi opposition has been doing recently. THE FIRST POINT of disagreement — about the role of American officers in the aftermath — is a matter of principle but still somewhat contingent, since nobody can know in advance what conditions will be in the post-Baathist republic. Many of the supplies required for rebuilding may be deliverable, for example, only by military transports. Nonetheless, a strong presumption has been established against any uniformed tutelage; the Iraqi National Congress, the Shiite forces, and the Kurds have united forcefully on the issue of self government. A second point of dissent hardly admits of any negotiation at all. Turkey has no rights in any part of Iraq and least of all does it have any right to involve itself in the Kurdish areas, emancipated for a dozen years from Saddam's rule, which adjoin its own borders. The Bush administration has been entirely too lenient with Ankara, not just on this point but on many related ones. 1) Kurdistan itself. It has taken decades for the Turkish state even to acknowledge that another people with a distinct language and culture lives within its borders. It's sadly true that a Kurdish rebellion in southeastern Turkey was led by a "Shining Path"-type leader named Abdullah Ocalan (believe me: I interviewed him in Lebanon and found a Kurdish Pol Pot), but this in itself expresses the desperate conditions that obtain. Under steady civilian pressure from within and without, Turkish authorities are now prepared to concede on the Kurdish right to exist — principally because the European Union has insisted on the point. The time for Washington to make a statement about Kurdish rights in Turkey would be right about now. (We have only been waiting since Woodrow Wilson first murmured on the same point.) 2) Cyprus. If any regime in the world has collected a bigger sheaf of resolutions condemning its international behavior than the Iraqi one, it must be the Turks (followed perhaps by the Israelis). Since 1974, Turkey has patrolled a line of forcible partition drawn by its own troops — the first occupation of the territory of another European state since 1945. It has expelled almost one-third of the original Greek inhabitants and further violated international law by importing settlers and colonists from the Anatolian mainland. It has been condemned for murder, rape, and theft by innumerable European court rulings. So abysmal are conditions in its sweatshop colony in northern Cyprus, policed by the notorious thug and proxy Rauf Denktash, that the majority of Turkish Cypriots have recently joined vast demonstrations calling for an end to his rule and a federal brotherhood with their Greek co-citizens. Turkey could not hang on to Cyprus for a day without vast tranches of American military aid that shield it from the real cost of the annexation. This aid should be cut off without any further shameful delay: It makes the United States an accomplice in a gross violation of international law and human rights. 3) Armenia. The destruction and dispossession of the Armenian people, in the first ethnocide of the 20th century, is not the responsibility of Turkey's present-day elected government. Nonetheless, the Turkish authorities continue to deny historical responsibility and even to deny that the massacres occurred at all. Repeated proposals in the U.S. Senate to observe a day for Armenian-Americans (bravely sponsored for years by former Sen. Robert Dole) have been defeated by an alliance of defense contractors owed money by Turkey and an Israeli lobby that desires to avoid offending a "Muslim" ally. It is improbable that Turkey would cease its heavy consumption of American aid if the resolution passed: It is intolerable that aid should be granted as a collusion in such a denial. A footnote: The Ottoman Empire employed many Kurdish mercenaries as shock troops in the killing of Armenians. I have interviewed Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and heard him offer an apology on the record for this blot: Kurds do not confess to crimes that they have not committed. Thus the moral element in one instance is, as one might expect, inseparably linked to the moral case in another. It may now be argued that, in order to shorten the period of hostilities with Saddam Hussein and minimize casualties, the Iraqi border should be secured from all directions. But the Turks do not propose to help guarantee this border or to protect those who live within it. Rather, they propose to cross the frontier for no better reason than to aggrandize themselves and to prolong the subjection of their own Kurdish population. This doesn't just disgrace the regime-change strategy. It actually destabilizes it. And it's humiliating to see the president begging and bribing the Turks to do the wrong thing and to see them in return reject his offer. He should take their ugly egotism and selfishness as a compliment to his policy, cut off their aid, leave them to put their own case to the European Union, and tell them to get out of Cyprus into the bargain. Then we could be surer that we were really "remaking" the region. http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/FullStory&c =StoryFT&cid=1045511331098&p=1012571727172 * ERDOGAN CALLS FOR RETHINK ON DEPLOYMENT OF US TROOPS by Leyla Boulton in Ankara Financial Times, 4th March Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of Turkey's ruling party, told his parliamentary supporters yesterday to reconsider their opposition to the deployment of US troops for a war against Iraq. While expressing "respect" for popular opposition to US war plans, he told a party group meeting that "failing to assess these matters as a whole" would mean their Justice and Development party (AKP) could not fulfil its responsibility for the country's future. It was still not clear from his remarks when a motion might be resubmitted. Some party officials suggested that Mr Erdogan would wait until he takes over as prime minister after his expected election to parliament in a by-election this weekend. But some deputies indicated that they were prepared to drop their opposition to the resolution allowing the deployment of 62,000 US troops, which failed to be approved on Saturday by just three votes. Mehmet Elkatmis, head of parliament's human rights commission, said he would change his vote to support the government if the motion were resubmitted. Suggesting that others too felt "extreme discomfort" at the impression that had been created of a split in the party, Mr Elkatmis said: "I can say with 100 per cent certainty that if the motion returned to parliament tomorrow it would be passed." Apart from hurting the image of AKP unity, the vote also put in jeopardy a big US war compensation package consisting of a $6bn (€5.5bn, £3.8bn) grant convertible up to $24bn in cheap US-guaranteed loans. Equally important, it threatened to deprive Turkey of an effective say in the future of Iraq. Ordinary Turks have been incensed by the sight of Iraqi Kurds burning the Turkish flag in protest at plans, agreed with the US before the failed vote, to dispatch 40,000 Turkish troops to Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Another source of discomfort for parliamentarians came from newspaper headlines blaming them for new tax increases and spending cuts totalling more than $2bn. "They could not get the money from Bush so they are taking it from the people instead," said Hurriyet, a best selling daily. The fiscal measures were introduced on Monday as part of a tough budget approved by the International Monetary Fund and designed to limit the disappointment of financial markets over the possible loss of US compensation. Markets were stable yesterday after heavy falls on Monday. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/opinion/05_03_03_d.htm * TURKISH VOTE SHOCKER: WHY … AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? by Mohammad Noureddine Lebanon Daily Star, 5th March "Our place is not on the grandstands, but on the playing fields. Grave events are imminent, and we must not be among the spectators. If we stay on the sidelines, the results of the match will not be in our favor. If we join the match, on the other hand, we will be given a place at the table when the region is rebuilt following the operation." "Everyone knows the dire economic situation the country is in. We should not lose what we have, since we are borrowing to pay back debts. Will those calling for no war today still say that when their paychecks are delayed three days? Not likely. The agreement (with the US) is our agreement. Turkey cannot sit out this crisis. They say Turkey is a big country. Let us prove that by being at the heart of the crisis. The issue is not one of money; we have to defend our interests. If we choose to remain out of this war, our economy will face bigger losses than if we take part." With these words, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), addressed his party's MPs hours before the government referred a memorandum on the agreement with the United States (on the use by the US military of Turkish territory) to Parliament for ratification. The March 1 session, in which Parliament was due to debate and vote on an agreement by which Turkey would allow US forces to be deployed on Turkish soil in preparation for invading Iraq, and to allow Turkish forces to be deployed outside the country's borders, was eagerly awaited. The vote was to decide once and for all whether Turkey would join America's war on Iraq. The military and economic parts of the agreement were almost complete. The only outstanding issues were a few (important) political ones. Washington was impatient; its warships were already moored off the Turkish Mediterranean port of Iskenderun, waiting for Parliament to give the go-ahead to disgorge its human and material cargoes in a scene described by one opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) legislator as "resembling an occupation." But the Turkish Parliament had a surprise up its sleeve - a surprise that had only happened once before, on the eve of World War II. Then, the CHP-dominated legislature rejected Turkey's entry in the war by one vote. In its March 1 session, the Turkish Parliament said "no" to war with Iraq, and "no" to a lopsided partnership with the United States. Nevertheless, the vote did not signal an end to bilateral relations; it could be seen as a "road accident." Abdullah Gul's government failed to muster the 267 votes (out of 533 MPs present) necessary to ratify the agreement. Taking into account that the AKP has 363 lawmakers in the present parliament, this means that 99 AKP legislators (27 percent of the party's lawmakers) voted against, abstained or were absent. The result highlighted a number of important issues. It must be pointed out that even the AKP leaders were not morally convinced of the case for Turkey's participation in the invasion of the country's southern neighbor. Their case was based on the argument of needing to preserve Turkey's interests. Erdogan and Gul have always said they "prefer a peaceful solution, but if war becomes inevitable, then Turkey cannot remain on the sidelines." Negotiations between Ankara and Washington were based on this premise. Talks started early last December, and accelerated in February in tandem with international efforts in the UN Security Council to find a settlement, as well as with the global anti-war protests that took place last month. The talks were painstaking, taking in every last detail. Even issues such as whether the fuel US troops would use while in Turkey would be liable to a value added tax or not were discussed. But why did MPs block the agreement? 1. Despite their public protestations to the contrary, Erdogan and Gul were seriously skeptical of taking the country to war against Iraq. "Were we not in the midst of an economic crisis, our position would have been different," Erdogan was quoted as saying. Gul meanwhile said he wished the agreement never existed, but Turkey needed it nevertheless. Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc said it would have been better for the government to have sent the budget to Parliament rather than this agreement. All this created considerable uncertainty among many AKP MPs. 2. Doubts grew in legislators' minds about Washington's intentions when they learned that the government had not received adequate assurances from the US over the issue of disarming the Kurds in northern Iraq. The Turkish military reinforced these doubts through leaks to the press on Feb. 27. The fact that Turkey's powerful and army-dominated National Security Council (in its Feb. 28 meeting) refused to ask the government to ensure that Parliament agree to send Turkish troops abroad and to the stationing of foreign troops in Turkey (in contrast to its recommendation last Jan. 31) raised fears in MPs' minds of a trap being prepared by the US for Turkey in northern Iraq. These suspicions became stronger when the Turks accused Washington of being behind the strong anti-Turkish statements made by Iraqi Kurdish leaders - in which the Kurds threatened to fight the Turkish Army should it venture into Iraqi Kurdistan. 3. Washington gave the impression that Turkey's backing of America's war effort was a foregone conclusion. 4. Many MPs were doubtful as to the legal basis of the agreement. They believed it violated Article 29 (see note to 'Ankara takes new line in foreign policy' - PB) of the Turkish Constitution, which forbids taking part in a war unless it was "justified by international law." This condition was not fulfilled, since Iraq had not attacked Turkey, and neither the Security Council nor NATO had sanctioned an attack on Iraq. 5. Other factors, such as the repetitive postponement of the parliamentary debate, mounting public opposition, and opinion polls showing that 94 percent of Turks oppose the war and 78 percent are against Turkish participation. There is no doubt that all the government's arguments to ratify the agreement will be severely shaken after the March 1 session: (a) Shelving all agreements that had already been reached but were as yet unsigned. This means the $30 billion aid package earmarked for Turkey will not be forthcoming. Neither will Turkey be compensated for any losses incurred as a result of the war. Turkey will also be left out of arrangements for post-war Iraq, chiefly the north. The Kurds will thus be encouraged to set up their own state, and the Iraqi Turkmen will be left to their own devices. (b) Relations with Washington will be jeopardized, with negative repercussions on Turkey's IMF aid package, the situation in Cyprus, relations with Greece, and Turkey's drive to gain European Union membership. American anger will be multiplied because the loss of Turkey as a launching pad will mean that the war will have to be put off for weeks or even months, throwing US war plans into chaos, prolonging the conflict and making it more costly. The rejection of the agreement might even encourage Congress to revive its bill recognizing the Armenian genocide. Washington is holding Premier Gul responsible for Parliament's failure to ratify the agreement. Milliyet quoted an administration official as saying that Turkish MPs rejected the agreement because of Gul's failure to fully explain its conditions to public opinion and Parliament. This outcome, the US official was quoted as saying, delighted Saddam Hussein. But Gul reassured the US ambassador to Turkey that "we will try to pass the agreement again." Many observers, however, dispute Gul's optimism. They don't believe the agreement will be ratified any time soon. A new agreement would need new conditions - something that could result from Erdogan's election as MP for Siirt on March 9. If elected, Erdogan would then be in a position to form a new government that would be able to present a new agreement to Parliament. At any rate, it doesn't seem that Turkey is unduly concerned or perturbed as a result of Parliament's rejection of the agreement with the US. After all, Turkish MPs proved that their country is not a banana republic or a Gulf sheikhdom dancing to America's tune. More importantly, faced with this shock result, Washington might be persuaded to give in to Turkey's demands regarding the Kurds. This way, both Turkey and the US would be winners, while the only losers would be the Iraqi Kurds. In fact, it is not unlikely at all that this is what is going to happen - and soon. Mohammad Noureddine is a Beirut-based expert on Turkish affairs. He wrote this commentary for The Daily Star http://jang.com.pk/thenews/mar2003-daily/05-03-2003/oped/o4.htm * TURKEY GIVES EUROPE A LESSON IN DEMOCRACY by Mary Dejevsky News International (Pakistan), from The Independent, 5th March Among the more tiresome fixtures of US-European exchanges over the past decade have been the perennial requests from Washington to speed up Turkey's admission to the European Union. Whenever a minister or official travels one way or another, you can guarantee that the European representative is read a lecture about the urgent need to anchor Turkey in Europe. Sometimes, the Americans even say "please". Their argument is that Turkey, with its large and youthful population, its secular constitution, its crucial geo-strategic position and its impeccable record of loyalty to the North Atlantic alliance, deserves its place in Europe. The US fear, usually left unspoken, is that if Turkey is not accommodated, and fast, there is a risk that it will ditch its secularism and fall into the Islamic camp. The inescapable reality until very recently, however, was that Turkey fell very short of meeting even the most elementary criteria for membership of the European Union. It still had the death penalty; its court system was highly suspect; its prison and punishment system even more so; and the weakness of its democracy gave the generals a whip hand, even when the appearance of civilian government was maintained. Looming over everything was the philosophical question of Turkey's identity: is Turkey essentially European or Asiatic, and where should the EU's border run? My view tended to be that Turkey was forever condemned to be a border state straddling two worlds, belonging fully to neither. European identity is one of those things that are hard to pin down; you just know it when you see it. Lithuania, Slovenia, yes; Bulgaria - maybe; but Turkey - no. For all the shocked condemnation his words elicited back in November, I doubt that I was alone in quietly agreeing with ValÈry Giscard d'Estaing when he said that Turkey had "a different culture, a different approach, a different way of life" and that Turkey's accession would spell the end of the EU. Even with the recent constitutional changes, including abolition of the death penalty, and last year's satisfactorily democratic election, it seemed to me that Turkey was not EU material and would not be for a very long time, if ever. The European Union, I felt, had to set its border posts somewhere, and the Bosphorus was as natural a dividing line as any. The Turkish parliament's vote on Saturday has changed my mind. In rejecting a string of US requests to station troops in Turkey for deployment against Iraq, Ankara demonstrated its sense of national identity and its democratic credentials. In voting as it did, Turkey's parliament has done more than any institution in any other country to force a re-think in Washington, at least of means, if not of ends. And even if Turkey's parliament reverses its vote today - or sees it overridden on economic or strategic grounds - that will not alter two striking facts. On Saturday, Turkey's parliament showed itself, perhaps for the first time, prepared to resist the will of its transatlantic patron. It also showed itself more in harmony with popular sentiment across Europe than with Washington's war plans. A host of reasons, by no means all of them admirable, can be advanced to explain the Turkish parliament's defiance. Ankara may have been playing for more time or more money. Perhaps it did not trust US undertakings that it would preserve Iraq's territorial integrity (and so rule out the formation of a separate Kurdish state). Turkey's new members of parliament may have been flexing their muscles in anticipation of a subsequent retreat. Or perhaps the Islamic element in this parliament and government meant that they heeded the anti-war sentiment that prevails in the Arab world more than they might have in the past. Underlying all these reasons, however, is the reality that on Iraq, the interests of the US administration and those of Turkey are rather different, if not actually in conflict. What is more, Turkey's priorities - an unthreatening, stable, unified and solvent Iraq - have more in common with those of what Donald Rumsfeld contemptuously called "old Europe" and popular sentiment in Europe as a whole than they do with the calls for forced disarmament and regime-change coming from Washington and London. Turkey's split from its US patron may also signify something broader. So long as Ankara was content for its western credentials to be validated by its membership of Nato, it remained unerringly loyal to the US. Now that it sees its future in the European Union, and the EU and the US are increasingly at odds, it is gravitating towards the EU. My hunch is that it is only a matter of time before the same route is travelled by the "new Europeans", those central and east European countries so assiduously courted by Washington as allies against Iraq. So long as Nato membership, with its security guarantees, was their central objective, they saw relations with the US as their priority. As the EU becomes their club of choice, however, these "new Europeans" will tilt back towards the "old Europe" - where countries such as Poland and Hungary feel they have always belonged. Any old Europe/new Europe divide will then be exposed as the malign, Washington-inspired stratagem it really was all along. http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/WO0303/S00056.htm * POWELL INTERVIEW BY TURKISH TV Scoop Media, 5th March Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Interview by Turkish TV, Washington, DC March 3, 2003 [.....] QUESTION: If the situation remains the same, will the Turkish parliament's move affect the U.S. decision on whether you use force on Iraq or not in terms of military planning? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: No, sir. That is a decision that is for our President. And I saw a very interesting interview this morning with the Commander of all of our forces in Europe, SACEUR, and General Jones, I think very properly, said that while it would have been an advantage to do what was proposed in the Turkish parliament, the United States of America and its coalition allies can certainly do this without Turkey. Don't forget that we already have 20 countries that have offered basing and overflight rights, another 16 countries have offered other kinds of facilities, 19 countries are participating with us with actual forces. So we're not alone in this, but Turkey has to make its own decisions. QUESTION: In the event of war, I think you would expect to use the air bases of Incirlik, Diyarbakir and Batman in Turkey. These were under the provision of the previous bilateral access by parliament; is that right? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I don't know. We will now have some decisions to make and Turks will have some decisions to make, and we'll see what -- how the Turkish parliament's vote affects our military strategy. QUESTION: If the situation remains the same, what will Turkey lose by not helping the United States? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, this is only my view, and that is I believe that Turkey will lose the chance to make sure that if there has to be military force that the Iraq that arises will be a different kind of Iraq, an Iraq, as I said, which will be multiethnic and democratic, that will have no weapons of mass destruction, be at peace with its neighbors; and I think Turkey loses a chance to be involved in that in a more significant way. But we'll see what happens. QUESTION: Again, if the situation remains like this, in the event of a war, without an agreement with Turkey on military matters at this point, would you oppose the presence of Turkish troops in Northern Iraq in large numbers? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We have always said that we believed that it would be a mistake for Turkey to deploy troops into Northern Iraq unilaterally, yes. QUESTION: So you will continue to urge Turkey to refrain from any unilateral action in Northern Iraq? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Yes, we will. QUESTION: Are you concerned over tensions in Northern Iraq between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds? Do you think that could lead to something really bad? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: We certainly are concerned about it and that's why we have been so clear in saying that we oppose the creation of a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq. It's also why President Bush sent his special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, to participate in the meeting in Salahuddin. And what did he do there? He tried, first of all, to promote interests of all of the groups represented there, including very much the Turkoman. He urged Kurds and Turks to come into some conversation together so that they can realize they're on the same side of this issue and not on opposite sides of the issue. And you can count on us to continue to try to bring Turks and Kurds together as best as we possibly can. I think the idea that those people in Northern Iraq, who have fashioned for themselves a new kind of life, are at odds with Turkey, who would like to see a new kind of Iraq, I think it's too bad, and we'll work to see that Turks and Kurds have the right kind of conversation. But again, it's up to them. QUESTION: In the event of a war, what will happen to (inaudible) during and after a war? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I think it's very important that we step back here and recognize that it's not the purpose of the United States to have a war. I mean, you're assuming -- if there's a war, if there's a war. There doesn't have to be a war. It doesn't -- QUESTION: No, no, let me -- we don't have to -- UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: But let me finish. One of the reasons that we had hoped that the Turkish parliament would make this decision over the weekend was so that it would be a further deterrent to Saddam Hussein. I mean, what's our theory here? Our theory is, is that inspectors are good, but inspectors need to do disarmament, and the only way Saddam Hussein is going to disarm peacefully is if he looks up and sees that he is surrounded. So I believe that one of the disadvantages of what happened over the weekend is we lost one more chance to try to convince Saddam Hussein to do this peacefully. I think that's too bad. [.....] QUESTION: What would be your message to the Turkish people, the Turkish Government and the Turkish parliament? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I want our message to be that Turkey is a democracy, we respect Turkish democracy, that the United States and Turkey are allies; that we hoped that there would be a way for us to work together more closely, that we hoped that people in Turkey recognize the vision that President Bush has of disarming Saddam Hussein peacefully, but if it can't be done peacefully, then doing it in such a way which would be advantageous to Turkey; and that there will be ways that we can continue to work with the Turkish Government in the future. Turkey's got economic challenges. Turkey's got a big decision to make on Cyprus. Turkey's got a lot of issues and we'd like to be working with Turkey in all of those areas. QUESTION: And the very, very last thing. If the situation remains like this, the Turks should forget about the assistance package; is that right? UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, the assistance package was connected to our efforts in Turkey on Iraq, and so I would say it's something that will have to be -- will go away or have to be renegotiated. QUESTION: Thank you very much for joining us. UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Thank you. My pleasure. [End] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk