Esma Doğan


Despite Iran is a regional power which has affected international politics historically and has rich resources, young population, and extensive territory. Also, Iran had strong relations with great powers like the US until the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the relations have proceeded negatively through sanctions on Iran by the US, UN, and EU.  The deterioration of relations is seen mostly with the US. As a result of these sanctions on the regional power, other regional countries and international politics have been affected deeply. In this article, sanctions on Iran are explained historically and reasons of these sanctions are mentioned as well as considering the nuclear program as the main reason. Lastly, effects of sanctions on the Iranian governments’ policies, public ideas, the economy of the country and one of the important regional power, Turkey, is analyzed within the context of relations of countries and organizations which have implemented sanctions.


Most of the sanctions which are implemented on Iran are based on the US with the emergence of the new regime in Iran. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in 2007 shows that the US sanctions on Iran include three categories as implementing a comprehensive trade and investment ban on Iran, sanctioning foreign parties that are related to proliferation or terrorism activities with Iran and imposing financial sanctions, including freezing the assets of Iran and banning its access to the US’ financial system.

The conflict between the US and Iran started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution. According to Aghazadeh(2013), the directional change in the Iranian government and having a religious tendency in the political decision process was new concepts for the US and the changes in the Iranian’s policy did not fit the US’ policies in the region.[1] The first sanctions of the US started with the Iranian hostage crisis which Iranian radical students took 52 American officers who work in the US Embassy in Tehran as hostages for 444 days. This increased the tension between these two countries and the Carter administration ended the diplomatic relations withIran.Also, the Iranian government’s assets in the US which are approximately 12 billion$ and interest properties were frozen by the US government.

In 1980, trade embargo which includes transactions as the prohibition of making any payment or transfer of any property on Iran started. The sanctions included restrictions on sales of the US dual-use items, banning on direct the US financial assistance and arms sales to Iran, withholding of US aid to organizations that assist Iran.

The trade embargo was tightened under Ronald Reagan’s presidency through Iran’s support of terrorism. According to the Iranian government, the increase on sanctions as because of the US concerns about Iranian’s economic and military development and the US’ interests in the Middle East. In 1995, additional economic sanctions by the Clinton administration started towards Iran’s continuing support for international terrorism. However, the US needed to more influential steps with its allies as European countries but these countries had more trade relations with Iran and it would affect them in a negative way. Thus, they did not want to be part of the sanctions on Iran within the beliefs that sanctions would be effective.

After the 11 September attacks, the US policies have become stricter. In 2001, the president, George W. Bush administration and the Senate approved for the extension of sanctions and Bush called Iran as an “axes of evil” in his speech. With the effects of attacks, at the beginning of the 2000s, Iran’s nuclear energy programs became more visible and IAEA reports in 2003 did not mention that Iran has or tries to have nuclear weapons but there were some concerns for the international community because Iran did not declare its nuclear program to IAEA clearly and some facilities of nuclear energy did not check by the IAEA.

In 2004, the Paris Agreement was signed by France, Germany, the UK, and Iran to sustain confidence. Iran voluntarily suspended all uranium enrichment temporarily. According to Aghazadeh(2013), despite all Iranian governments’ efforts to cooperate with the IAEA, the result was not successful. The reason lays in the fact that the West distrusted Iran regarding its nuclear program due to concerns over Iran’s likelihood of pursuing nuclear military goals.[2]With the nuclear weapon program threat, the pressure on Iran increased and added to the US sanctions, the UN and the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran. In 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 1696 because of Iran’s refusal to allow full access of the IAEA.According to resolution, if Iran wants to be verified by the IAEA, it should suspend all activities and Iran refused the suspension of uranium enrichment. Thus, sanctions were detailed on the Resolution 1737 in 2007 which includes prevention the provision to Iran of any technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering, the transfer of financial resources and services related to the supply, sale transfer, manufacture or use of the prohibited items, materials, equipment goods and technology (which could be relevant to Iran’s enrichment program or heavy water-related activities). Also, this resolution includes arms embargo which blocks supplying, selling or transferring directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircrafts any arms or related material.[3] Sanctions continued with the resolution in 2010 with further sanctions about enrichment plants of Iran.

In 2010, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 against Iran’s secret uranium plant in Qam and prevent Iran from continuing its “ illicit nuclear efforts”, nuclear program activities and make pressure on the Iranian government about respect human rights and religious freedom in Iran.[4]

Despite trade relations between Iran and the EU is high until 2011, Iranian nuclear program caused a change in relations and the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran including the export-import ban on arms, goods, and technologies that could be related to nuclear enrichment or dual-usee products. Thus, sanctions on oil trade, export-import, and international banking are aimed to isolate Iran from the international society by cutting from the international finance system.

After 2013, a different kind of political environment occurred between Iran and the US. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed to form cooperation between Iran and the West through easing sanctions against Iran and decrease the uranium enrichment. Despite this deal seems a new start of relations between Iran and international society, its continuance could not be provided. In 2018, the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and started to implement sanctions which aim to damage Iran’s economy through blocking energy production and trade on the country again. On the contrary, Iran decided to restart the nuclear actions which were stopped to sustain the agreement as a result of the US’ withdrawal from the agreement. The conflict between the US and Iran continues after all these implications and the polarization despite the EU’s effort to solve the crisis.


The continuing conflict between the US and Iran started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution. According to Jahangir Amuzegar, the concept of the Islamic Republic of Islamic government is new for the US, also it does not fit the US’ policies and interests in the Middle East. He explains reasons of this conflict between these two countries as Iran’s aim to expose the Islamic revolution in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region, Iran’s supports terrorism as Hamas and Hizbullah, aspiring to be a hegemonic power, human rights abuses and distrusts of the West to Iran’s nuclear program.[5]

Reasons for sanctions show differences in terms. The US grounded the first sanctions after 1979 with the hostage crisis in Iran. In the 1980s and 1990s, Iran was accused of supporting terrorism because of the connection with Hizbullah and Hamas and the US signed the Iran- Libya Sanctions Act(ILSA) in 1996. After the 9/11 attacks, the policies towards Iran changed and became more aggressive. President Bush called Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the axes of evil in 2002.

In the 2000s, sanctions have been based on Iran’s nuclear program as a perception of threat. The US accepted Iran’s nuclear program and uranium enrichment as a possibility to have nuclear weapons. Also, hiding the enrichment program from the IAEA caused insecurity for the international community. As a result of the enrichment program, Iran went beyond the norms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran is a party to it since 1970. The US gained support from the international community about using sanctions with these reasons. The UN, the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran to block its nuclear weapon program.

These reasons have been used to sharp sanctions and form policies on Iran and the Middle East. According to Borszik(2016), the importance of sanction objectives such as nonproliferation, counterterrorism and democratization have defined the sanction objective of regime change as encompassing ‘not only the explicit targeting of a particular foreign leader but also structural changes that imply new leadership, most notably the embrace of democracy.[6] Therefore, the structure of Iran after the Iranian revolution caused problems with the US.Interests and policies of both countries in the region have clashed and the polarization and insisting about following their policies instead of negotiation has increased the tension which reverberates to the international community. While the US is insisting on sanctions to damage Iran’s economy and discipline, Iran is insisting on improving the nuclear program.


Nuclear program of Iran dated back to 1950s, Shah Reza Pehlevi, with support of the Western countries including the US to mostly have trade relations with Iran about nuclear equipment.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which has three main pillars as non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy was signed by Iran in 1968. With the treaty, Iran’s nuclear program could be checked by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The process of the nuclear program was accelerated with the increase of the number of Iranian scientists after the establishment of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. However, the report of the IAEA in 2003 concluded that “Iran has failed to meet obligations under its Safeguards Agreement for the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed.”[7] The secession from the treaty and withholding the process of the nuclear program from the IAEA caused distrust and concerns of the international community against Iran. These concerns resulted in the UN and the EU sanctions on Iran about uranium enrichment and the nuclear program of Iran because of the possibility of producing nuclear weapons.

According to Katzman and Kerr, Iran has three gas centrifuge enrichment facilities which can produce both low-enriched uranium(LEU) that can be used in nuclear power reactors and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium(HEU) and contains about 90% uranium-235.[8] Iran can produce nuclear weapons by using low-enriched uranium.

In 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of action was signed by Iran and the West under the leadership of Hassan Rouhani who gained power in 2013 and is moderate and liberal. After all these years from the Iranian revolution, these two countries contacted directly. Also, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries (China, France, the US, the UK, Russia, and Germany) started about a possible nuclear deal. This process continued until 2015 and ended with the agreement.According to this deal, Iran would allow IAEA to have controlled entrance and access to Iran’s military bases. Also, Iran would decrease in two-thirds of the number of centrifuges which are used for the uranium enrichment. According to a November 14, 2013 report from IAEA, Iran had generally stopped expanding its enrichment and heavy water reactor programs.[9] In return, sanctions on Iran would remove gradually. According to Kanapiyanova(2017), Iran could gain its position in the international trade and show its power in the region through cooperation on economy and energy with the removal of sanctions.[10] After the withdrawal of the US from the treaty in 2018, new sanctions started against Iran and the country decided to exceed the limit of uranium enrichment in 2019.[11]

According to Mehrish(2012), the reasons of insisting on the nuclear program despite the pressure from the US and international community are using the program as the deterrence factor against other countries which challenge the country and the perception of threats from the US against Iranian regime type.[12]


The process of using sanctions on Iran by the US, the UN and the EU has some effects on the country’s economy, social structure and political decision process.

Economic Effects

According to Pape(1997), there are two crucial factors which affect the success rate of sanctions as economic structures of countries that use sanctions and face these sanctions and second factor is the longevity of the sanctions.[13]Firstly, the structure of Iran’s economy mostly depends on oil trade and according to Berber(2013), the main reason of the failure of establishing the balanced economic order in the country is remaining constant the former economic system which depends on state policies after the Iranian Islamic Revolution.[14] Also, the US has a developed economic structure which can diversify its trade relations and can damage the Iranian economy. Secondly, sanctions on Iran have continued since the Iranian regime change with different types of economic sanctions from different structures as the US, the UN, and the EU. Thus, Iran economy has damaged because of economic sanctions. They result in many areas as oil, gas, petrol producing and selling decreased, banking, finance, and insurance sectors are damaged, industrial production decreased, unemployment grew, currency and GDP decline, the inflation rate increased and the prices of consumer goods rose. Tehran responded to these economic sanctions in different ways as adopting measures at the international level such as shifting its economic relations from European countries to Asian countries. Moreover, China and Russia are seen as countries which sustain the balance against the US sanctions on Iran by using increasing trade relations with these countries. Also, the adaptation to sanctions has increased. According to Torbat(2005), the efficiency of sanctions has diminished due to the fact that elasticity is higher in the long run and Iran has been able to adjust to the sanctions and find alternative sources for the US-made products.[15]

Political effects

Political effects of sanctions cause a debate between academicians. Some academicians believe that sanctions affect Iran politically. According to Borszik(2016), the efficiency of sanctions brought Iran to the table in 2015 to sign the treaty.[16] On the other hand, some academicians believe that sanctions could not exactly fulfill the desire of pressure on Iran. According to Uzun(2013), despite economic sanctions which Iran faced from only the US until last decades cause economic problems in Iran, they could be able to sustain neither the isolation of Iran from the international area nor economic damage in order to form political pressure.[17]Until the sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, Iran continued its trade relations with great economies as European countries except for the US.

Despite the signing Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Treaty with Iran after sanctions from the UN and the EU can be seen as a political success, the current situation of the treaty, withdrawal of the US from the treaty and Iran’s decision in order to continue enrichment uranium, shows that the continuity of political gains by using sanctions has not sustained yet. Thus, it is hard to say that sanctions are not able to sustain Iran’s restatement from the nuclear program by the political pressure and political isolation of Iran. Moreover, Instead of aiming public pressure on the government about the damage on the economy by sanctions which are based on Iran’s nuclear program, facing and standing against the international pressure make Iran leaders more popular and Iranian people perceive the US and Western powers as attackers against Iranian regime type.[18] Thus, Iranian people with national feelings support their government about the nuclear program and against the sanctions. The reason for economic failure in Iran is seen by the public as a problem within the country. According to Uzun(2013), the reason for economic problems is the government’s incorrect economy policies and nuclear program of Iran is seen as not just a government policy but as the state policy.[19]


As a result of that Iran is a regional power which has trade relations within the Middle East; sanctions against Iran have effects on other regional powers as Turkey. Historically, Turkey and Iran are competing countries which try to be more powerful than others and have a balance in the region. According to Özdağ(2018), although Iran’s possibility of having nuclear programs can cause the balance disorder, the trade relations between Iran and Turkey have continued because Iran needs to protect its trade relations in order to overcome effects of sanctions and the relations fit the JDP government’s policies in the region as the policy of zero problems with neighbors.[20]

On the other hand, as a result of that one of the aims of sanctions on Iran is the isolation of the country; the US has applied pressure on Turkey through trade relations. Turkey decreased its petrol trade slowly within the exemption from sanctions and sustained the trade relations over gold. The US prepared a new resolution against the trade relations over gold in 2013 and targeted Iran’s banking to isolate Iran from the international finance. These negatively reflected on the Turkish economy. Limitation of trade relations with Iran damages the economy and the pressure of the US causes the decline of the currency. Also, Reza Zarrab crisis can be seen as an example of the pressure of the US on Turkey about Iran trade relations.


Sanctions on Iran which started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution are used as tools to change the Iranian governments’ policies about regime type, social structure and after the 2000s mostly nuclear program. It is seen that these sanctions damage Iran economically because of Iran’s dependency on the oil trade. However, Iran diversifies its political and trade relations to protect itself. Moreover, new challenger countries of the US as Russia and China seem to support Iran to balance the US. Thus, isolation of Iran from the international society could not be sustained by the sanctions. Also, people of Iran perceive sanctions attacks of Western countries instead of criticizing the government and it is used by the Iranian leaders as rally round the flag effect. The possibility of Iran’s producing nuclear weapons causes tension and concerns in the international society and these concerns reflected in the UN sanctions. However, the only concern is not just about the Iranian nuclear program. Besides, the US’ popular discourse and policies on Iran trigger the polarization between these two countries and make people think about a possible war.  Lastly, Turkey is one of the countries which is affected because of the sanctions economically and politically. While, the limitation of trade relations causes economic problems, insisting on continuing on oil trade with Iran causes tension increase between Turkey and the US.




Aghazadeh, M. (2013). A Historical Overview Of Sanctions On Iran And Iran’s Nuclear Program, AkademikAraştırmalarDergisi, 56, 137-160

Berber, S. (2013). İran’ınEkonomiPolitikası, YaptırımlarınEtkisiveİkilemleri, Bilge Stratejisi, 5(9), 61-84

Borszik, O. (2016). International sanctions against Iran and Tehran’s responses: political effects on the targeted regime, Contemporary Politics, 22(1), 20–39,

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Implementation of the NPT safeguards aggrement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IAEA reports, 6 June 2003):3

Kanapiyanova, Z. (2017). İran’ın “OrtakKapsamlıEylemPlanı” SonrasıEnerjiPolitikalarıÜzerineÇıkarımlar, EgeAkademikBakış, 17(4), 553 -564, Doi: 10.21121/eab.2017431303

Kibaroglu, M., Caglar B. (2008). Implications Of A Nuclear Iran For Turkey, Middle East Policy, 15(4), 59-80

Mehrish, B. N. (2012). Iran’s Nuclearization and Its Implications for Global and Regional Security, IUP Journal of International Relations, 6(2), 67-79.

OrhonÖzdağ, H. H. ( 2018). 2000’lerde ABD Yaptırımlarının İran-TürkiyeEkonomikİşbirliğineEtkileri: Neo-GramsciyenBirÇözümleme, Marmara University Journal of Political Science, 6(2), 231-261, Doi: 10.14782/ipsus.460140

Stevens, C. T.(ed). (2014). Iran’s Nuclear Program, Sanctions Relief, and Associated Legal and Legislative Issues, New York : Nova Science Publishers

United Nations Security Conceal, Resolution Number 1747: Adopted by the Security Council at its 5647th meeting(Security Council S/RES/1747:2007): 02.

Uzun, S. Ö. (2013). İran’aEkonomikYaptırımlar: KırılganlaşanNükleer Program mıHükümet mi? , OrtadoğuAnaliz, 54, 62-70

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA), (July 01,2010): 04.

Torbat, A. E. (2005). Impacts of the US Trade and Financial Sanctions on Iran, California State University, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, Doi:

Yorulmaz, R. (2019). İran’aYaptirimlarVeTürkiyeEkonomisi Ne Oldu?NelerYaşandi?,OrtadoğuAnaliz, 10(85), 76-81


[1]MahdiehAghazadeh. (2013). “A HistoricalOverview of Sanctions on Iran andIran’sNuclear Program,” Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi 56: 137-160

[2]MahdiehAghazadeh. (2013). “A HistoricalOverview of Sanctions on Iran andIran’sNuclear Program,” Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi 56: 137-160

[3]United Nations Security Conceal, ResolutionNumber 1747: Adoptedbythe Security Council at its 5647th meeting(Security Council S/RES/1747:2007): 02.

[4]The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, AccountabilityandDivestmentAct (CISADA), (July 01,2010): 04.

[5]JahangirAmuzegar.(1997) “Iran’sEconomyandthe U.S. Sanction,” Middle East Journal 51, No. 2: 186-187

[6]O. Borszik.(2016) “ International Sanctionsagainst Iran Tehran’sresponses: politicaleffects on thetargetedregime,” ContemporaryPolitics 22, No. 1, 20-39

[7]International AtomicEnergyAgency (IAEA), Implementation of the NPT safeguardsaggrement in theIslamicRepublic of Iran (IAEA reports, 6 June 2003):3

[8]KennethKatzman, Paul K. Kerr. “Iran NuclearAgreement,” CongressionalResearch Service. (May 2016). 1-40

[9]KennethKatzman, Paul K. Kerr. “Iran NuclearAgreement,” CongressionalResearch Service. (May 2016). 1-40

[10]ZhuldyzKanapiyanova, “İran’ın Ortak Kapsamlı Eylem Planı Sonrası Enerji Politikaları Üzerine Çıkarımlar,” Ege Akademik Bakış, Vol.17.No.4. (Ekim 2017), 553-564

[11]BBC,, 2019

[12]B. N. Mehrish, “Iran’sNuclearizationandItsImplicationsfor Global andREgional Security,” Vol.6.No.2, 67-79

[13]Robert A. Pape, “WhyEconomicSanctions Do Not Work,” International Security, Vol.22.No.2. (Autumn,1997),91.

[14]Seçkin Berber,”İran’ın Ekonomi Politikası, Yaptırımların Etkisi ve İkilemleri,” Bilge Strateji, Vol.5.No.9 (Autumn 2013) 61-84

[15]Akbar Torbat. “Impacts of the US Tradeand Financial Sanctions on Iran,” California StateUniversity,

[16]O. Borszik.(2016) “ International Sanctionsagainst Iran Tehran’sresponses: politicaleffects on thetargetedregime,” ContemporaryPolitics 22, No. 1, 20-39

[17]Özüm S. Uzun. İran’a Ekonomik Yaptırımlar: Kırılganlaşan Nükleer Program mı Hükümet mi?” OrtadoğuAnaliz. Vol.5.No.54.(Haziran 2013) 62-70

[18]BBC,, 2019

[19]Özüm S. Uzun. İran’a Ekonomik Yaptırımlar: Kırılganlaşan Nükleer Program mı Hükümet mi?” OrtadoğuAnaliz. Vol.5.No.54.(Haziran 2013) 62-70

[20]H. Hande Orhon Özdağ. 2000’lerde ABD Yaptırımlarının İran-Türkiye Ekonomik İşbirliğine Etkileri: Neo-Gramsciyen Bir Çözümleme. Marmara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilimler Dergisi. Vol.6.No.2 (Eylül 2018) 231-261

Visits: 251

Notable Events of April 2019

Notable Events of April 2019

Local Elections of Turkey

The local elections held on 31st of March led to several conclusions and procedures. AKP, the party in power did not significantly decreased its votes but it can be considered the loser of the elections as they lost two main cities namely İstanbul and Ankara to the opposition party CHP. For the first time in 20 years CHP has increased its votes significantly and won the elections in several major cities. AKP won most of the municipalities in the central and eastern Turkey and CHP won most of the coastal cities together with the capital Ankara. The statistics indicates that higher income regions voted for CHP and lower income regions voted for AKP.

At the election night the main information supplier for the media has stopped giving the results for over 10 hours. In the mean time AKP candidate declared that he has won the election of Istanbul and became the mayor of Istanbul. However, that proved to be wrong in the following day and it has been understood that the candidate of CHP has won the elections by approximately 20.000 votes. Such a margin was very small for a city which has more than 8 million voters so AKP has used all means to change that situation. That led to endless recounting of votes and a great stress at the society as Istanbul is without doubt the most important city of Turkey and AKP benefitted from the power of the city for the last 25 years. Following 20 days of recounting the votes the candidate of CHP has officially been declared as the mayor of Istanbul.


S400 Conflict With USA

Turkey is traditionally a country who buys weapons from the western world and pays a substantial percentage of its budget to do that. That means a lot of money and all the weapon seller countries follow Turkey carefully. US is the main supplier of all types of weapons to Turkey. However recent developments, heavy conditions of US for using the weapons, lots of embargo threats and the price of defense missiles directed Turkey to Russia to buy S400 missiles. That was very good for the relations between Russia and Turkey but that affected US-Turkey relations very negatively. During April several high level US officials reflected their positions against this dealing and some of them threatened Turkey for possible economic embargos. Turkey have understood the seriousness of the situation and continuing its efforts to solve that S400 crisis. President Erdoğan, Minister of Economy Albayrak and Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu contacted with Trump and other officials multiple times.

It seems that in order not to attract more attentions Turkey will suspend the delivery of the missiles and shall have more time to find a mutual solution. US implies that deploying those missiles may cause Turkey its NATO membership. Time will show if Turkey shall take a new direction towards east or shall stay at the NATO alliance.


Economic Package of Berat Albayrak

Since the first day in his office Minister of Economy Berat Albayrak has been criticized heavily as he does not have a sound background for such a title and his mere success is the fact that he is the son-in-law of President Erdoğan. Critics have been proved right as Turkey went a very severe economic crisis in the autumn of 2018. Foreign currencies nearly doubled, which means the purchasing power of Turkish Lira decreased to half and interest rates sky rocketed to 25% annually. During that time Minister Albayrak was always positive and telling that things would be good soon, but that did not happen as the economy of Turkey is still seriously in a crisis and the unemployment levels are at record highs. To overcome that crisis Albayrak has opened a new economic package during April but it was not containing specific measures, mainly they were showing the directions of the economy. That new package did not directly affect the markets. The same week he went to US to present the package to the international experts of economy, he also met with Trump in his office. But the results were very disappointing, at Financial Times and several other publications he has been criticized very badly, the main point was that he told nothing noteworthy and told nothing to solve the problems of Turkey. It will be the benefit of Turkey if international experts are wrong.


Sudan – Dictator Omer Al Bashir Has Been Arrested

In Sudan 30 years of Omer al Bashir’s dictatorship has finally came to an end. During his time Sudan became a country of fear, oppression and internal wars. The freedom of press was nonexistent, there were torture houses and an entire generation grew up in terror and fear. He also committed several war crimes and humanity crimes. He was transferred to Kober prison, a maximum-security prison notorious for holding political prisoners during his 30-year dictatorship and millions of dollars have been found in his residence.

Sudan’s military has said that it would prosecute Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), but would not extradite him. The military, which has dissolved the government, has said it would remain in power for up to two years, despite large street protests against their rule. It seems that people of Sudan are now hopeful for the future. Time will show if the new regime shall bring back the democracy or shall create a new dictator in Sudan.


Sri Lanka Bombing Events

In April, On Easter Sunday, suicide bombers killed at least 253 people and injured some 500 at churches and top-end hotels across Sri Lanka. There were foreigners among the victims but most of them were Sri Lankans. The attacks have been held in coordination and 6 bombings have been realized at the same time by suicide killers. As the target was mainly the churches and high end hotels it was easy to identify the attackers and Sri Lankan authorities believe that the attacks have been held by a local islamist group called as National Thowheed Jamat (NTJ). Sri Lankan police has taken severe measurements to prevent possible upcoming attacks and identified the suicide bombers as belonging to middle to high class families.

Sunday’s attacks were the worst ever against Sri Lanka’s small Christian minority, who make up just 7% of the 21 million population. Theravada Buddhism is Sri Lanka’s biggest religion, accounting for about 70% of the population. Hindus and Muslims make up around 12% and 10% of the population respectively.


US Military Aids to YPG

Although not official YPG is the extension of the terrorist group PKK which fights with Turkey for more than 30 years to establish an independent Kurdish Federation on mostly Turkey’s soil. Turkey has lost tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers during those fights. YPG appeared as a handy tool which US used extensively during the conflict in Syria. As things relatively better in Syria, ISIS has been almost removed and peace is slowly coming to the Syrian land, YPG is becoming one of the main figures at the area. US continued to send military aids to YPG in April, as they have declared their intentions to leave the Syria soon and it is obvious that they want to use YPG as their subcontractors at the region. However with all the right reasons Turkey heavily objects to this situation and the relation between Turkey and US is very tense for that matter. As the region is very problematic and parties to this conflict change sides easily, it is very difficult to predict the future of the region and the future of US-YPG relations.

Visits: 294

Note of the Month March 2019

Turkey’s Local Elections of March 2019


Following very intensive and sometimes dirty campaigns Turkey has finally voted for the local administrations. The results are good for both sides. The AKP who currently holds the majority in the parliament won the local elections by 44% of all the votes. AKP established an alliance with MHP, who gethered 7% of the votes. So together they have more than 51% of all the votes. However, that alliance is not completely happy with the results as they have lost the central municipalities in three major cities of Turkey, namely Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. In all of those cities the main opposition party CHP succeeded to win the elections. CHP gathered 30% of all the votes and this can be considered as a major success as they increased their votes by 7-8% since from the last elections.

For the last two decades the party in power, AKP and President Erdogan appered to be the undisputed winners of all possible elections but in that election the oppostion found a great motivation for the future as winning the major cities were the main goal for all the parties.

The elections were held relatively in peace. There were couple of unwanted events around the country but for a poplulation of 50 million voters this can be considered normal.

During the campaigns President Erdogan again showed a tremendous performance for the good of the party in power. He sometimes held 8 meetings in one day and appeared on live television debates at the same day. The opposition did not like the fact that a President is working with all the facilities and power of the state for the good of AKP. The opposition tried to stay calm and did not want to increase the tension during the campaign and the increase in their votes shows that it was the proper tactic for the opposition parties. Very high unemployment rates and weak economic performance of the last year together with very high inflation rate helped the opposition to win the elections at major cities.

Visits: 149

Note of the Month December 2018

Syrian Front and Turkey’s Relations with US

                Turkish army has made all preperations and is ready to face PYD/YPG in Syria to ensure its security along the Turkis frontier with Syria. US decision to evacuate Syria has been very useful as in case of an action Turkish troops will not face American soldiers. The situation in the Syrian Province of Idlib  is still complex and dangerous. It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain the securityy cordon around Idlib because Syrian Government and Russia are becoming impatient with frequent hit and run attacks by Tahrir us Sham formations.

Meanwhile withdrawal of US forces from Syria is coupled with the decision of the Senate to announce its decision regarding the ban on sale of Patriot missiles to Turkey even though any sale will have to be authorized by the US Congress and payment difficulties must be overcome because of the cost of the purchase under difficult ecoıomic conditions  of Turkey.  Furthermore, the question is whether Turkey can give up the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia which are already in the production process. According to news reports, it seems that the US Government is changing its attitude towards Fethullah Gülen and the other FETÖ refugees in the US. With these developments onemay legitimately ask whether Turkey-US relations is once again back on the strategic partnership track.

Europe and Turkey

                The “yellow vest” uprising in Paris and Belgium and the uprising in Budapest for press freedom shows that discontent and wealth do not necesarily seem sufficient to placatepeople if and when they  are not happy with how they are treated. In the UK the fate of Theresa May government and the Brexit agreement will be decided by the Parliament in January 2019. It is doubtfull whether UK can throw aside the Brexit agreement reached in Brussels if the alternative is Brexit with no agreement as stated by EU leaders. Meanwhile, German Chancellor Merkel’s decision to resign from the CDU Party leadership is proceeding. Whether this will have an impact on Germany’s attitude on refugees is to be seen.

Visits: 303

Towards a New International Order -Seyfi Taşhan

During the Obama era US policy aimed first to stabilize and pacify the situation in Israel and Palestine. However, this policy was challanged by Israel which used its innate influence in the US Congress. The result was a limited use of influence in the Middle East and friendly relations with Russia and most of the regional actors.  President Obama supported fight against ISIL without contributing much to the military fight  against this new force in the Middle East.

His successor Donald Trump’s declared aim was “America First” and radical steps to reduce liberal US involvement in the global climate agreement and contractual international economic cooperation efforts. Under the new situation in Syria he chose to send troops to the Kurdish held areas and give some  support in the fight against ISIL. However, possibly, the aim was to counter Russian presence and influence in Syria and provide full support to Israeli and its Zionist expansionist policies to the detriment of Palestinians and  the two state solution. His effort to move the US Embassy  to Jerusalem and his withdrawal from the nuclear  deal with Iran and in the economic field rising customs duities on import of steel and aluminium products was also a blow to all exporting  countries of these products.

A new situation has thus been created in the international relations and particularly in US relations with Europe, Russia and China. This also effects negatively the common defence feature of the Atlantic Alliance. It seems a new situation has arisen in the post Cold War era that might distrupt the liberal relations pattern and sharply damage UN’s contribution to the world peace and security in the world.

Seyfi Taşhan

Visits: 80

Soothsaying for Syria, by Seyfi Taşhan

Soothsaying for Syria


Seyfi Taşhan

When and how a settlement for Syria can be negotiated or forced  upon? Very soon ISIL will become a sad history for Syria. Therefore,  the settlement of the Syrian question will become an urgent requirement for the country. Who ever is involved or aspire to share a place or sabotage the settlement an attainment of peace in that war torne country, local groups that will be involved in that settlement process will primarily be the Syrian Government, the Kurdish tribes in the North  and Islamic  resistance  groups under different names. The external powers that play a significant role in the country are Russians  in the North West, US in the North and North East, Turkey in the North and host countries for millions of Syrian war refugees, that is Turkey, Jordanand Lebanon. Under these circumstances it is fairly impossible to bring all the parties around a conference table and reach a concensus for creating a united viable Syria and a single government for that country. So far, the Astana  group of States Russia, Turkey and Iran have taken signi,ficant steps towards keeping the status quo and ceasefire in Western and North Western part of the country. US backed and heavily armed Kuyrdish groups like their brethren  in Northern Iraq aspire an independent Kurdish state in their quest for greater Kurdish unity. The Eastern and South Western parts of the country, being less populated regions of the state, do not have a say for their future.  Aim of the Damascus regime, still as the government of entire Syria, is still  to bring all pieces together and Russia as an ally of the Esad regime fully supports developments for this purpose.

The Islamic resistancve groups want to continue their fight in spite of their inablity to do so. Among the outside Powers, Turkey has to protect its southern border with Syria and considers establishment of a Kurdish belt extending from Northern Iraq through Syria into the Mediterranean as a security threat and as a result it has deployed troops to prevent this. Therefore it is unlikely for it to evacuate its troops from the region untill this is achieved. Moreover, US hates Esad and does not accept to deal with him staying in power. According to the US, the solution of the Syrian problem also requires a change of the regime. For the time being, US supports YPG as the major force within the Democratic Union Party (PYD), (which US’ longtime ally of Turkey considers to be extention of the terrorist PKK)  in Syria, in the fight against ISIL but how much longer this support will continue  after the war and what will be the future of the heavy weapons  provided to the  PYD. (This is another source of anxiety for Turkey despite US assurance that these weapons would be retrieved.)  Another question is, will Russia who has  established  a naval base in Tartus be willing to withdraw their troops from Syria or  will they insist that Western Syrian territories including Latakia as part of their presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. The last but not the least is the rehabilitation of the Syrian towns. Many cities in the country had partly or totally been destropyed during the war. It will have nothing but limited amounts of oil and gas that thy can export in the coming future, to pay for this giant task. Who will help Syria to rehabilitate?

The Geneva Conference will need to address all these issues. But it is very doubtful whether it can reach a solution in the near future. Despite optimistic hopes  Geneva may regrettably turn into a passimistic endeavour and the existing status quo may become the final solution.

Visits: 79




                                                        MUSTAFA KİBAROĞLU

This paper will focus on Iran’s nuclear program in general and will assess the nature and the orientation of the recent developments in its nuclear energy,in particular.



As far as international peace and stability are concerned, the Middle East is one of the most volatile regions in the world. Two principal rea­sons of tension can be stated as the geo-strategic significance of the re­gion, particularly due to its vitally important mineral resources; and the indignation of the Muslim states in the region aroused from presence of the State of Israel since 1948 with its remarkable military might. In the vulnerable and complex socio-political structure of the Middle East there has been international efforts to save the region from the danger of the manufacture, stockpiling and the actual use of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction.1 Nevertheless, there is good reason to believe that Is­rael has already stockpiled some 100 atomic bombs in the basement.(2) This has been one of the most serious obstacles to the settlement of dis­putes and the establishment of a long-lasting peace in the region. The Israeli nuclear weapons capability has also been one major justification for other influential states of the Middle East such as Libya, Algeria Iraq, and Iran for “going nuclear.3 However, the economic and technological embargo imposed on Libya, and the internal disturbances in Alge­ria caused serious setbacks in the nuclear programs of these countries And, during the war in the Gulf in 1991 the capability of Iraq to manufac­ture weapons of mass destruction has been partially destroyed.Moreover, with the UN Security Council Resolution 687, Iraq is being closely scrutinized since then by the inspecting teams of the International Atomic Energy Agency (4) mandated with unearthing the undeclared (clandestine) nuclear weapons capability of that country. Apparently, only Iran remains problematique. There are serious allegations that Iran is seeking to ac­quire nuclear weapons capability. These allegations are not new, and Iran’s nuclear engagements have been steadily ‘reported’ in various books and journals since the early 1970s. But, allegations are intensified both in number and gravity since the recent Russia-Iran secret nuclear deal be­came public.


This paper will thus focus on Iran’s nuclear program in general, and will assess the nature and the orientation of the recent developments in its nuclear industry, in particular. Before proceeding further, however, several important points worth noting at this stage so as to prepare the ground for a more to the point discussion in the following paragraphs. First, Iran is party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty5 ever since its entry into force, and  is subject to the safeguards provisions of the IAEA.(6) Therefore, Iran, at least on paper, has sworn not to seek assistance to divert nuclear energy from peaceful to military purposes, that is to manu­facture nuclear explosive devices.7 Any further move of Iran in making nuclear weapons would thus mean a violation of its obligations under the NPT. Second, regarding the recent agreement with Russia, Iranian au­thorities declared that they were pursuing solely peaceful purposes in their attempt to complete their nuclear power plants in Bushehr which were damaged during the Iran-Iraq war.8 And, finally, even the US Cen­tral Intelligence Agency could not provide the international community with undeniable strong evidence that would indisputably condemn Iran for its illegal occupation with nuclear energy.9 Given these facts, the sig­nificance of  Iran’s nuclear engagements as regards the usual process of acquiring nuclear weapons capability should be addressed first. Because, without full-fledged evidences or assurances, relying solely on others’ judgements (pros and cons) on whether Iran is pursuing a veiled nuclear weapons program, or on the contrary, aims at generating huge amounts of energy for its economic development, can be misleading.10 A second emphasis should be on the basic undertakings of Iran under the NPT. Since, Iran’s illegal occupation with nuclear energy in its safeguarded installations which are declared to the IAEA is likely to be detected.11


Nuclear program of Iran: a résumé

As far as the nuclear engagements of Iran are concerned, one should refer back to the year 1958 when the United States agreed to sell a small size (5 MW) nuclear research reactor to be installed in the Tehran Uni­versity. Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) was founded only a year before. However, both the capacity of the reactor and the lack of skilled personnel prohibited Iran’s further research and developments in this field. Hence ‘nothing wrong’ was reported in the mass media. Notwitstanding, following the inflow of hard currency which started in the mid-1970s due to the drastic increases in the oil prices, Iran was then believed to have been involved in conducting a clandestine nuclear weap­ons program. However, with the entry into force of the NPT, Iran had become a state party to the Treaty, thus had to forgo such ambitions. Even though its NPT status did not change in the aftermath of the Revo­lution, Iran was still believed to have had ambitions to assemble a nuclear explosive device under the Khumeini regime.12 However, neither during the routine IAEA safeguards inspections, nor in the most recent ‘special’ inspections of February 1992 and November 1993, IAEA inspectors could come up with evidence that would accuse Iran for violating the terms of the NPT. Nevertheless, the fears arising from Iran’s recent en­gagements in the nuclear field, particularly those with Russia and China, have not been alleviated.

Iran’s nuclear deal with Russia and P.R. China

The Russia-Iran agreement came after several years of negotia­tions, and the two countries signed a $ 1 billion worth protocol on Janu­ary 8, 1995.13 Accordingly, Russia agreed to complete two partially con­structed nuclear power reactors at Bushehr (750 km south of Tehran). The two 1300 MWe light-water reactors were originally built by Kraft Werk Union (KWU) of Germany starting in 1976. But, completion was halted after the Revolution.14 Russia also agreed to provide Iran with enriched uranium fuel for these reactors. The protocol outlined a wide range of assistance including the training of approximately 500 Iranian technicians as well as some 20 AEOI graduate students and PhD’s annu­ally at Russian academic institutions.15 The protocol pledged each gov­ernment to instruct the appropriate agencies to prepare and sign con­tracts for the supply to Iran with a 30 -50 MWth light-water research reac­tor, and 2,000 metric tons of natural uranium, and also called for coop­eration in building low power research reactors for instructional pur­poses, and the construction of an Iranian desalination plant. Both sides agreed to prepare and sign a contract for the construction of a shaft for a uranium mine, after which negotiations would be conducted for the con­struction of a gas centrifuge plant.I6

The PR. China, on the other hand, has been Iran’s chief supplier of nuclear-related technologies since the mid-1980s despite the US efforts to stop China from supplying Iran. China has reportedly supplied three subcritical and zero-power reactors and a small electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS) machine as well as a very small 30 KWth research reactor. None of these hardware are believed to be capable of producing more than minute quantities of nuclear weapons material. But the small research reactors might be useful for training personnel. China also helped Iran create nuclear fuel facilities for uranium mining, fuel fabrication, uranium purification, and zirconium tube production. And, it is highly likely for China to supply Iran with facilities to produce uranium metal and uranium hexafluoride. In 1992, China signed a “preliminary agree­ment” to supply Iran with two 300 MWe light-water reactors.I7


Manufacturing nuclear weapons: a technical briefing

This résumé of the nuclear program of Iran, compiled from differ­ent reliable sources, may make sense, regarding Iran’s intentions, if fil­tered through a technical information about the usual process of manu­facturing nuclear weapons. The first issue to be noted is that, a nuclear weapon is a device in which most or all of the explosive energy is derived from either fission, or fusion, or a combination of the two nuclear pro­cesses. The basic nuclear weapon is the fission weapon which relies en­tirely on a fission chain reaction to produce a very large amount of en­ergy in a very short time.18 Nuclear fission occurs when a neutron enters the nucleus of an atom.19 In a reactor, a neutron which is fired at a U-235, attaches itself to the atom, increasing its instability, which in turn causes the atom to split and release energy.20 Neutrons which are normally too fast, can hardly attach themselves to U-235 isotopes to split them. To overcome such obstacles, several methods are available for slowing down the neutrons. In a nuclear reactor this is done by means of moderators which are materials such as either light-water, heavy-water, or graphite, that surrounds the nuclear fuel in the reactor core.21 To make use of light water, the proportion of U-235 in the reactor should be higher in order to increase the likelihood of a successful chain reaction. Therefore, in light-water reactors, uranium used must be enriched in U-235. Another im­portant event in the reactor core that increases the chances of successful fission is the transforming action of attacking neutrons. Neutrons that are unsuccessful in splitting U-235 atoms are mostly absorbed by U-238, and serve to convert the non fissile U-238 into plutonium Pu-239 which is also a fissile material.

Hence, a nation seeking to manufacture nuclear weapons must complete a number of extremely demanding steps in order to generate nuclear energy and divert it to non-peaceful purposes. The major techni­cal barrier to making a nuclear explosive device is obtaining the fissile material. Weapons-grade uranium (highly enriched uranium HEU) or plu­tonium are such materials usable for nuclear weapons core. How much would be needed for a nuclear weapon depends on the technical capabili­ties of the country involved and the size of the weapon it seeks to pro­duce.22 The diversion of natural uranium into HEU requires several steps, which is usually called the nuclear fuel cycle. In the basic cycle, uranium is mined, refined, processed into an appropriate chemical form, converted into fuel rods, fissioned (burned) in a reactor, and stored as waste.23 Ura­nium ore is found in places close to the earth’s surface, and must be mined like any other mineral.24 Excavated uranium ore is milled to separate uranium from foreign matter. Uranium is then processed into a chemi cal form U308 called yellowcake. At the conversion stage, the processed natural uranium is converted to a form usable in a nuclear reactor. If the material is intended for use in a heavy-water reactor which burns natural (non-enriched) uranium, it is converted to uranium metal or uranium di­oxide (UO2). Uranium destined for light-water reactors is converted to uranium hexafluoride which is a gas suitable for the enrichment process. To make a weapon from uranium, the U-235 isotope of uranium must be used.. Since natural uranium is extremely poor in U-235, and while nuclear weapons require 90% or more of U-235, the percentage of natural ura­nium must be upgraded at an enrichment plant to achieve this concentra­tion.25 Since, U-235 and U-238 are chemically identical, it is necessary to use a physical method to separate and enrich them.

Uranium enrichment is a highly complex process and requires con­siderable investment. Several methods have been developed for enrich­ing uranium, all of which ultimately rely on differentiating among the isotopes of uranium and isolating the material with increased concentra­tions of U-235. The most widely used enrichment method is gaseous diffusion26 Gaseous diffusion is a technically complex process that re­quires massive amounts of electricity, therefore it makes clandestine ac­quisition of a gaseous diffusion plant difficult. The ultra-centrifuge or gas centrifuge method, on the other hand, uses centrifugal force to draw U-238 atoms away from the desired U-235 atoms.27 The  relatively low power requirements of the gas centrifuge method of enrichment, coupled with its relative efficiency, make it an enrichment process of high proliferation concern. Enriched uranium (or plutonium) must be fabricated into fuel rods before it can be used in a nuclear reactor.28 Enriched uranium can then be used as a fuel in naval propulsion reactors or nuclear power reactors.29 Production of plutonium also entails many steps and advanced installations and capabilities such as a research or a power reactor mod­erated by heavy-water or graphite; a heavy-water production plant or a reactor grade graphite production plant; and a reprocessing plant.30 The plutonium obtained from the reprocessing operation can be converted to a form usable for nuclear weapons. The separated plutonium and uranium are virtually inaccessible during this operation, hence, unsafeguarded material in a reprocessing plant can easily be diverted to a nuclear weapon.

Iran‘s nuclear program: two real concerns for scholars and policy-makers

The résumé of Iran’s nuclear program, when reconsidered within e framework of the brief technical information about the usual process of manufacturing nuclear weapons, may give an insight about the intentions of the Iranian leadership. In this regard, one may safely state that it is highly likely for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability with its existing nuclear infrastructure which will attain a much more advanced level with the Russian (and to some extent Chinese) assistance in the years ahead. However, acquiring the nuclear weapons capability does not necessarily mean that Iran will definitely be able to manufacture nuclear weapons clandestinely in the installations that will be constructed by Russia or China. Because, these installations and the related nuclear materials that will be transferred to Iran, within the context of the recent protocols, will be under the IAEA safeguards. And, during the routine or non-rou­tine inspections in these sites the IAEA inspectors will most probably detect any attempt to divert nuclear energy from civilian to military pur­poses. Therefore, any account for the likely outcomes of particularly these nuclear installations may still be subject to speculation. In such a circum­stance, for those scholars and the policy-makers who fear a nuclear Iran, the real concern should rather be the technical skill that the Iranian per­sonnel will incur during the construction and the operation of the nuclear plants while in close collaboration and training with their Russian and Chinese counterparts. Withstanding this, scholars and policy-makers should also be seriously concerned with the loopholes and shortcomings in the terms of the bilateral safeguards agreements concluded between the states and the IAEA which also regulate the inspection procedures. Because, the deficiencies in the application of safeguards inspections , emanate from the terms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and of the model safeguards document INFCIRC/153. (31)


Basic undertakings of Iran under the NPT: a reminder

According to the terms of the safeguards agreements, states have to declare to the IAEA the exact locations of their nuclear related sites and their initial inventory of the nuclear material contained within. Hence, the IAEA is bound to rely on the information supplied by the states for scheduling and implementing its safeguards inspections.(32) This clearly means that the IAEA can be deceived by any state determined to manufacture nuclear weapons clandestinely, simply by not supplying the Agency with accurate information.33 The strict reliance liability of the IAEA on the states’ declarations is therefore one major deficiency of the safeguards agreements. Only in rare instances the Board of Governors of the IAEA may call a state for conducting special (non-routine) inspections which are however normally limited to the declared sites.(34) Nevertheless, Iran once let the IAEA to carry out inspections whenever and wherever the Agency would prefer. But, as noted earlier, since Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is presently still at a rudimentary stage, nothing wrong was reported by the IAEA inspectors. A second difficulty with regard to conducting safeguards inspections properly is that, even if a state which concludes bilateral safeguards agreement with the IAEA does accurately accommodate an initial declaration to the Agency, that state may then create frictions for obstructing the timely and effective implentation of safeguards inspections of the Agency in order to gain aa considerable time prior to inspections.35 The principle of sovereignty and the sensitivity of the states to their domestic jurisdiction gave way to such defects in the above noted internationally agreed documents. (36) Hav ing said these, the importance of close observation of the suspected states is obvious as the jurisdictional and technical limitations of the IAEA are taken into consideration. Because, unless any state like Iran which unambiguously display the determination of acquiring an advanced nuclear infrastructure is not closely scrutinized, the nuclear technological capacity that can be used to generate huge amounts of electricity, can also very well be used to manufacture nuclear weapons indigenously in non-declared sites away from the declared ones.


The significance of acquiring technical skill: the crux of the matter

Bearing in mind the possibility of any state to conduct a clandestine nuclear weapons program given that the political will and financial resources exist, the weapon can thus be acquired basically through two ways. One is procuring a ‘turn-key’ nuclear weapon by any means. This option is the most difficult of all to effectuate, and requires an intelligence vacuum.(37) The second option is to assemble a nuclear explosive device indigenously at ‘home’ as did Israel, India, Pakistan, South Africa, and as almost did Iraq. This option as well requires an intelligence vacuum and the fulfilment of enduring steps by the states. In the case of Iran, given the very fact that the scientists and technicians of this country will soon acquire the basic scientific knowledge and technical skills, the second option is presumably more feasible.   Hence, when allegations about Iran, regarding its illegal attempts to procure weapons-usable material through various channels are considered, it becomes more apparent that there does exist an unequivocal danger of further spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Much of these allegations go back several years. Western intelligence officials have often reported that Iranian agents have travelled throughout the former Soviet Republics in search of nuclear materials, know-how and scientists. In 1992, for example, Iranians reportedly visited the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Kazakhstan. That plant produces reactor fuel and manufactures specialized metal components for the aerospace, electronics and other defence industries. The plant is also said to have more than 600 kilograms of HEU which the Iranians may have tried to buy. Another piece of information released to public was when the US Secretary of State Warren Christopher said on May 1 1995 that, for years Iran has been trying to purchase heavy-water research reactors that are best suited to producing weapons-grade plutonium, not electricity. Similarly, according to a senior US government official, Iran is concentrating on centrifuge designs and looking toward a pilot plant, possibly large enough to produce enough HEU for nuclear weapons, with hundreds or thousands of centrifuges connected together in cascades. Moreover, US officials refer to a long list of Iranian procurement attempts in Europe and elsewhere that potentially relate to centrifuges.38These and other allegations concerning Iran are worth notting as far as the dual character of advanced nuclear industry remains and its output depends on the decision of the leaderships whether to get electricity or to manufacture weapons with the nuclear yield gained.


The sources referred to throughout this study which aimed at assessing the threat posed by the recent developments in the nuclear program of  Iran supplied basically two categories of information and/or judgements: Iran was either determined to acquire nuclear weapons in the facilities now under construction or, on the contrary, it was pursuing solely peaceful uses of nuclear energy by seeking assistance to resume construction of the facilities. However, the real concern of this study was to emphasize the importance of acquiring legitimately the necessary technological capabilities and skills which can later be used illegitimately in secret nuclear facilities endowed with nuclear material procured clandestinely. This is concluded to be the real threat that the recent developments in Iran pose. To overcome such a threat, however, the shortcomings of the safeguards provisions of the IAEA should be alleviated so as to pave way to frequent inspections in suspected states like Iran. Nevertheless, this is a matter of international cooperation, and needs overhauling at least the safeguards documents of the IAEA.38 Secondly, the international cooperation in preventing the supply of the suspect states weapons-usable sensitive materials should be strengthened. The existing norms of the London based Nuclear Suppliers Group(40) should become much more operational, and must be supported with reliable intelligence gathering. All in all, regarding these difficulties, states like Iran which deny any accusation about its intentions, should give permision to inter-national safeguards inspections to be conducted whenever and wherever the IAEA would prefer regardless of whether the safeguards agreement in force warrants such a right to the Agency.41 By behaving this way states may assure the international community about their peaceful intentions.

End Notes:

  • For a compilation of the documents and scholarly works concern­ing these efforts See, Mustafa Kibaroğlu, “Verification Provisions of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East with Special Reference to EURATOM and ABACC, The Turkish Yearbook of International Relations, .Ankara University Press, (forthcoming); See also, Mustafa Kibaroğlu, “EURATOM and ABACC: Recipes for a NWFZ in the Middle East ?” in James F. Leonard and Jan Prawitz (eds), The Mobarek Plan: A Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Middle UNIDIR Research Report. (forthcoming)
  • Yet, the official stance of the Israeli authorities against such allega­tions is neither the denial nor the acknowledgement of the exist­ence of nuclear weapons in their arsenal. This strategy is called the policy of ambiguity or opaqueness. See in this regard, Benjamin Frankel (ed.), Opaque Nuclear Proliferation, London. Frank Cass, 1991; See also, Etel Solingen, “The Domestic Sources of Regional Regimes: The Evolution of Nuclear Ambiguity in the Middle East”, International Studies Quarterly, June 1994. No:38. pp:305-337. For an analysis of Israel’s ambiguity policy see, Shai Feldman, Is­raeli Nuclear Deterrence: A Strategy for the 1980s, Columbia Uni­versity Press, New York, 1982.
  • The term “going nuclear” is part of the nuclear (non)proliferation terminology which is often used to denote threshold states that are strongly believed to have chosen the nuclear path for developing lethal weapons. It also stands as the name of a book of one of the most quoted scholars in the field namely; Leonard S. Spector, Go­ing Nuclear, Cambridge, Mass., Ballinger Publishing Co., 1987.
  • The Vienna based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was established in 1957 and mandated with the verification compliance of the states with their obligations under the terms of their bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements with the Agency
  • The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NTP) of 1968, which entered into force in 1970, was drafted with the principal purpose of controlling the development as well as preventing the diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful (civilian) to military uses.
  • The Iranian leadership officially denounced nuclear weapons, un-like some other Middle Eastern leaderships as that of Libya, by staying in the NPT even after the Islamic Revolution of 1979
  • A nuclear explosive device does not necessarily mean a nuclear However, particularly in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, any request of or offer for assistance in the manufacture of nuclear explosive devices, whether or not intended for peaceful purposes, are prohibited. The purpose behind such a restriction was the clear cut understanding that there was indeed no distinction between the two devices (a peaceful device or a weapon) based on the destructive effect they could produce in case they would be used for military purposes. Only slight modifications would be needed to transform any nuclear explosive device into a nuclear weapon.
  • In addition to formal declarations, in personal conversations with the Iranian authorities during an international conference in Sweden in June 1995, Dr. Hadjihusseini of the Tehran based Institute
    for Political and International Studies (IPIS) told the author that Iran is undergoing a serious economic crisis since the drastic falls in yhe oil prices, and also suffers a considerable decline in the generation of electrical energy. Hence, Iran, according to Dr. Hadjihusseini, has no option but to revitalize its already $ 4 billions spent Bushehr project initiated by the Germans but not completed.
  • The former CIA Director James Woolsey stated in September 1994, that they paid particular attention to Iran’s efforts to acquire nuclear and missile technology from the West in order to enable it to build its own nuclear weapons. Woolsey also noted that Iran is 8 to 10 years away from building such weapons and that help from outside will be critical in reaching this timetable. According to Woolsey, Iran has been particularly active in trying to purchase nuclear ma-terials or technology from Russian sources, as well as looking to purchase fully fabricated nuclear weapons in order to accelerate sharply its timetable. See, “Challenges to Peace in the Middle East,” Address of R. James Woolsey to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Wye Plantation, MD, September 23, 1994, quoted in Leonard S. Spector, Mark G. McDonough with F.van S. Medeiros, Tracking Nuclear Proliferation: A Guide in Maps and Charts, 1995, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington D.C. , 1995. p.119.
  • Because, it should be underlined that, from the technological point of view, in any nuclear industry operating either for manufacturing nuclear weapons or for generating electrical energy, the phases that must be accomplished are identical. The difference can be in the political intentions of the states about how to make use of their existing nuclear infrastructure.
  • On the one hand, the safeguards provisions of the IAEA under the NPT are far from being perfect, and thus the IAEA and the terms of the NPT were seriously criticized for not having detected the nuclear weapons program of Iraq throughout the 1980s. But, on the other hand, in the first half of the 1990s, the Agency gained experiences in Iraq and during the North Korean dispute. Therefore, the Agency is becoming capable to fulfill its political objective which is expressed as to deter against possible diversion through the risk of early detection. To complement this, the technological objective of the IAEA’s safeguards procedures is the timely detection of diversion of significant quantities of  nuclear material into a bomb.
  • Detailed discussions on Iran’s allegedly secret nuclear deals with countries such as South Africa, Pakistan, Argentina, W. Germany, France, Spain, China and the Soviet Union, exist in Zalmay Khalilzad, Iran: The Nuclear Option, Los Angeles, Pan Heurustics, 1977; Leonard S. Spector, Nuclear Proliferation Today, New York, Vintage Books, 1985; Akbar Etemad, “Iran” in Harald Müller(ed.), European Non-Proliferation Policy, Oxford University Press, 1987. See also L. S. Spector, Nuclear Ambitions: The Spread of Nuclear Weapons 1989-1990, Boulder, Colorado, Westview Press for Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Despite the reported initiatives of Iran, most of the authors  of recent books agree that Iran’s nuclear program, at present, is at a rudimentary stage.
  • Indeed, several Russian nuclear specialists have been active in Iran since April 1994 performing preliminary studies of the coastal site,and some 150 Russian technicians are currently at the site and this number will soon be quadrupled. See, Leonard S. Spector et al, , P: 120.
  • Approximately 85 % of the civil work on Bushehr I was complete, and the work in Bushehr II was also partially finished when construction stopped in 1979. In the intervening years, both reactors were damaged during bombing raids in the Iran-Iraq war, and Iran was subsequently unsuccessful at convincing the German firm to complete construction, largely due to the pressure from the United States. For details see, Leonard S. Spector et al, ibid., pp. 119-124. And, on an account for German nuclear export policy, and on how the German government put an end to KWU’s deal in Iran,see Harald Müller (ed.), A Survey of European Nuclear Policy, 1985-87, MacMillan, London, 1989.
  • David Albright, “The Russian-Iranian Reactor Deal”, The Non-proliferation Review, Center for Nonprolification Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Spring-Summer 1995, Vol. 2, No: 3, pp: 49-51
  • Although Russia has reportedly cancelled the centrifuge plant, it still intends to build the mine shaft. For a detailed exposé of the Russia-Iran agreement see, David Albright, “An Iranian Bomb ?” The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 1995, pp: 21-
  • But it is unclear if the reactors will ever be supplied. Head of the AEOI Amrollahi told the New York Times in May 1995 that Iran made a down payment on the reactors, and China had started to draw up blueprints and engineering reports for a site in southern Iran. D. Albright, op. cit., p. 25.
  • Frank Barnaby, How Nuclear Weapons Spread: Nuclear-Weapon Proliferation in the 1990s, Routledge, London and New York, 1993,  27.
  • Atoms consist of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons bond together strongly to form a nucleus, and electrons orbit around them. Atoms of the same family are called isotopes. The uranium isotope U-235 is made up of 92 protons and 143 neutrons, whereas the isotope U-238 has 92 protons and 146 neut Uranium isotope U-235 is rare in nature, whereas the U-238 isotope is 140 times more common in natural uranium than the 235 isotope.
  • The same neutron directed at a more stable U-238 atom would likely be absorbed without fissioning (i.e., without causing split). In a reactor, many neutrons are intercepted by U-238 atoms, others are absorbed by the atoms of other materials in the reactor.
  • When neutrons collide with the heavy water or graphite atoms, they decelerate to a speed that improves their chances of attaching to a U-235 atom and causing it to break apart. Hence, in reactors moderated by these materials, no other adjustments are necessary to make fission possible. When light (ordinary) water is used as a moderator some neutrons are slowed, but others are absorbed by the light-water itself. Because ordinary water is plentiful and cheap when compared to heavy-water which is costly and very difficult to make, light-water is the preferred moderating material.
  • IAEA regulations assume that 25 kg of HEU or 8 kg of plutonium are the minimum amounts needed to manufacture a nuclear device with a yield of 20 Kilotons, roughly the size of the Nagasaki According to one recent estimate, a country possessing a low technical capability could build a 20 kilotons device with only 6 kg plutonium or 16 kg of HEU. A state with high technical capability can potentially build such a device with as little as 5 kg of HEU or 3 kg of plutonium. Moreover, a 1 Kt device, which would require considerable sophistication to manufacture, might need only about half these amounts. See, Thomas B. Cochran and Christopher E. Paine, The Amount of Plutonium and Highly Enriched Uranium Needed for Pure Nuclear Weapons, Natural Resources Defence Council, Washington D.C., 1994.


nium hexafluoride gas or uranium tetrachloride in the isotope U-23 S; and a capability for converting the enriched uranium hexafluo­ride gas or uranium tetrachloride into solid uranium oxide or metal.


23    The basic nuclear resources and facilities that would be needed to produce HEU indigenously thus include: uranium depostis; a uranium mine; a uranium mill for processing ore into uranium oxide concentrate, or yellowcake named for its amber clor; a conversion plant for purifying yellowcake and converting it into uranium hexafluoride (UF6) or uranium tetrachloride (UC14) to be processed in the enrichment plant; an enrichment plant for enriching the uranium hexafluoride  gas or uranium tetrachloride in the isotope U-235; and a capability for converting the enriched uranium hexafluo­ride gas or uranium tetrachloride into solid uranium oxide or metal.The world leaders in uranium mining and milling are Canada, the United States, Australia, France, Niger, Namibia, and South Af­rica. About 5,000 kilograms of natural uranium is needed to pro­duce the 25 kg of weapons-grade uranium for one atomic bomb. See F. Barnaby, ibid., p. 4.

  • Indeed, technically a weapon could be made of uranium enriched to more than 20 percent. As a practical matter, material enriched to more than 90 percent is preferred. For instance, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima used uranium enriched to 80 percent. Similarly, South Africa used material enriched to 80 percent for the first nuclear weapons and 90 percent for the remaining 5 weapons.
  • Uranium in a gaseous form, i.e., uranium hexafluoride, is forced through a series of membranes of a huge container. Each membrane allows the lighter U-235 atoms to pass through more easily than the heavier U-238 atoms. After penetrating each membrane the gas is richer in U-235 than it was originally, but only slightly. Normally, 1,250 passes are needed to enrich the gas to 3 percent U-235, which is the enrichment level used in most light-water nuclear power plants. However, 4,000 passes are required to enrich the material to the weapons-grade of 90 percent U-235.
  • When uranium hexafluoride is spun in a centrifuge, the heavier U-238 atoms gravitate toward the outer walls, whereas the lighter U-235 atoms remain in the center. The centrifuge method requires only 35 repetitions to achieve weapons-grade uranium. A plant with 1,000 centrifuges can supply the uranium stock for several nuclearr weapons per year.
  • The enriched uranium, plutonium, or natural uranium used in heavy-water reactors is shaped into cylindrical pellets, which are then stacked in tubes called fuel rods. The rods are then bundled together into fuel assemblies. Light-water reactor fuel assemblies each weigh from 200 to 500 kg. Approximately 180 fuel assemblies containing about 110 tons of low enriched uranium are needed to fuel a typical 1,000 MW light-water reactor for three years. See Mason Willrich and Theodore B. Taylor, Nuclear Theft: Risks and Safe Ballinger Publishing Co., Cambridge, Mass., 1974
  • A nuclear power reactor is basically a furnace where the heat produced by a controlled chain reaction is used to generate electricity. Typically, the heat used to turn water into steam issued to drive a turbine which generates electricity. Thus, a country can have entirely legitimate, non-weapons related reasons for developing uranium enrichment technology even though the same technolog can be used to upgrade uranium enrichment level useful for weapons.
  • Uranium fuel, usually in the form of uranium-filled tubes (fuel rods) made of zirconium alloy (zircalloy) or aluminium, is placed in the As the reactor operates, the uranium fuel is partly transformed into plutonium. This is amalgamated in the fuel rods with unused uranium and highly radioactive waste products, and it must then be extracted. Using the Plutonium Uranium Recovery by Extraction (PUREX) method, more than 90% of the uranium and plutonium in the spent fuel solution can be recovered. To do the extraction operation, the spent fuel rods are taken to a reprocessing plant where they arcedissolved in nitric acid and the plutonium is separated from the solution in a series of chemical reprocessing steps.
  • Information Circular (INFCIRC/…) is one of a series of unclassi general purpose IAEA circulurs used to bring to general notice the contents of an important document or an important decision or communication. Safeguards documents circulated in this form include the safeguards system and the safeguards agreement. Hence, INFCIRC/153 denotes “the structure and content of the agreement between the Agency and states required in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.” When the IAEA circulates such documents at the request of the state or states concerned, it takes no responsibility for the contents of the docu ments. However, the significance of the INFC1RC/153 within the nuclear non-proliferation regime comes from the fact that, these procedures constitute the sole legal basis for the verification mechanism  of the regime.
  • Since, according to its Statute and the terms of the model agreement INFC1RC/153 (applicable to the states party to the NPT), the IAEA has no power to have access to the suspected sites in a state without the consent of the host state. Such enforcement measures are beyond its mandate.
  • This has been the case in Iraq. After the 1991 Gulf War, the IAEA inspectors unearthed the undeclared nuclear facilities and materials which were being used to manufacture nuclear weapons.
  • During the inspections the IAEA inspectors apply indeed simple material accountancy techniques to the nuclear material to determine whether any significant amount of nuclear material is missing or not. Inspections are conducted in restricted areas within the facilities called material balance areas. Such and other restrictions further complicate the proper and effective implementation of in
  • Either by objecting to the inspectors’ nationalities or by not providing reliable escort services, and the like, states may seriously delay inspections, and the time gained may be significant from the military point of view. Based on the degree of suspicion, the IAEA may ask more frequent inspection from several states. But the frequency of inspections is negotiated between the parties, hence no

unilateral encroachment is possible. In a protracted conflict, however, unlike the first difficulty mentioned above, in this case the IAEA is not totally powerless. Indicating such a circumstance, through its Board of Governors, ultimately to the UN Security Council, the IAEA may then take several measures for the f ulfillment of its task, as it was the case in North Korea.

  • During the process of drafting these documents, the sovereignty principle was one of the most hotly debated issues in the international fora which undertook working out regulatory documents for controlling the development of nuclear energy world wide. Multilateral discussions in this respect have initially taken place right after World War II with the creation of the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission UNAEC in 1945. Despite the failure in this attempt, events led to the creation of the IAEA in 1957, the enactment of the NPT in 1968, and issuing of INFCIRC/153 in 1971.
  • By intelligence vacuum the author envisions a situation where the intelligence agencies may overlook or rather fail to disclose such “giant deals” between the client and supplier states.
  • For a detailed discussion in these respects see, David Albright, ibid., pp: 22-26.
  • In the Review and Extension Conference of the NPT held in the UN Headquarters in April/May 1995, it is decided that the NPT be extended unconditionally and indefinitely. This means that no adjustments or amendments can be made in the Treaty and its related safeguards document. See in these matters, John Simpson,”The Birth of a New Era ? The 1995 NPT Conference and the Politics of Nuclear Disarmament”, Security Dialogue, Vol.26, No:3, September 1995, pp: 247-256
  • The Nuclear supplier Group has reproduced a set of guidelines

that most of the suppliers of nuclear plants and materials agreed to in London on 21 September 1977. That’s why this group is equally known as the London Club. This set of guidelines is also attached to communication addressed on 11 January 1978 to the Director-General of the IAEA. These guidelines for nuclear transfer are also labelled as INFCIRC/254. The initial signatories of the guidelines are; Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, the former German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA and the USSR. NSG restricted the supply of items that might be used to advance a non-peaceful nuclear program, and adopted a trigger list including heavy-water and heavy-water production plants. NSG also required export conditions stricter than those specified in the NPT. In April 1992, the twenty-eight NSG member states further tightened control over nuclear exports in response to revelations of Iraq’s clandestine import of nuclear technology. The Group, thus expanded its trigger list to include more dual use items, and agreed to require full-scope (comprehensive) safeguards as a condition of export.

  • Of course, the IAEA, as stated in its Statute, should seriously take into consideration that such extra inspections may cause a com-petitive disadvantage to the host country.

(*) Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy”, Vol. 20, Nos. 3-4

Visits: 404

Turkish Stand on the Gulf Crisis, Middle East and Europe – TURGUT ÖZAL

Turkish Stand on the Gulf

Crisis, Middle East and

Europe (*)


Neither the European Community nor the Western European Union may reach their netural and logical boundaries without Turkish presence.


It is a great pleasure and honor for me to be with you  today in Paris. I wish to express my sincere thanks to President Robert Pontillon for inviting me to address one of Europe’s three most important international parliamentary plat­forms.

In his letter of invitation, President Pontillon indi­cated that, he and his colleagues were particularly impressed by the firmness of the Turkish stand throughout the Gulf Crisis and the War. He invited me to express my views on two sub­jects; first, on how to tackle the problem of establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East and second how I see the new configuration of Europe in a profoundly modified inter­national environment.

The Middle East has always been a region of con­flict. The Arab-Israeli problem which has come to surface in the balances among the parties has tipped to one side or the other during the period in between. This conflict has given rise to other negative developments and tensions in the region as well as in the world. Terrorism is the foremost among them.

Differences among the Arabs have added to the gravity of the situation in the region. These differences made it very difficult, if not possible to achieve the Arab unity desired by many.

On the eve of the Gulf Crisis there were several Arab groupings.

The small but rich Arab countries of the Gulf had established the Gulf Cooperation Council. On the other hand Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen came together in the Arab Cooperation Council.The third group consisted of the Maghreb countries. I also have to mention other Arab countries like Sudan and Somalia which had varying relations with each Arab group. Among these countries there are also those with large populations, high population growth rates and low incomes. I don’t think I need to name them.

The Iran-Iraq War brought new dimensions to this state of affairs. This war had both positive and negative effects on inter-Arab relations. All Arabs did not act in unison during this war. For example we all know that Syria was not among the Arab states supporting Iraq. There were also some North African countries like Libya which chose to stay neutral.

This war had as consequence low oil prices. It also led to the allocation of a substantial part of the oil income to war expenditures of Iraq through the financial assistance of the Gulf countries to that country. I should also mention here that Iraq perceived this assistance as its own right.

The East-West rivalry in the region aggravated the differences among the Arab states and fuelled the arms race in the Middle East.

Inter-Arab differences together with the Arab-Israeli conflict and the East-West competition as well as the presence of extremist factions and the adversity between different sects led to a much more complicated picture of the region on the eve of the Gulf Crisis. Lebanon has been a model of such a picture since 1975. One could witness all the factors I have just mentioned in that country. The events in Lebanon could be the ominous forebearers of such a picture with much greater dimensions in the future.


It would be an understatement just to say that these are difficult problems to solve. In fact some of them have been aggravated by the Gulf War and even new ones have been created.However we beleive that in the aftermath of the Gulf crisis we have a historic opportunity to cover substatial grounds towards the solution of some of these problems and especially the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In this context I must mention the great prestige gained by the United States after the Gulf Crisis and the rap­prochement between the United States and Soviet Union with the end of the Cold War.On the other hand, at present, resis­tance from extremists and terrorists to efforts to solve the Mid­dle East conflict are not as strong as it used to be in the past.

One main problem area in this picture is the in­fluence that extremist religious elements have on the Israeli government. The fact that Secretary Baker finds a new settle­ment in the occupied territories at each visit he makes to Israel is a manifestation of that influence on the Israeli Government.

I believe that the presence of this influence of extremist religious elements on the Israeli Government is one of the most important barriers for Israel to live peacefully in the region.

Our policy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been clear, consistent and balanced. We recognise the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right to es­tablish their own state. We also recognise the right of all states in the region, including Israel, to live within secure and recog­nised borders.

At this highly critical juncture of peace making in the Middle-East, maintaining the present momentum is of crucial importance. If such a settlement can not be reached within a reasonable time scale, the frustrations of the people of the region and especially of the Palestinians will increase the anti-western sentiments among the people of region. It may also create further complications for the moderate and conservative Arabs and add to the already substantial inter-Arab differences.

Israel is also in a position to make the most of the prestige it has gained during the Gulf Crisis. Saddam Hussein’s attacks against Israel by scud missiles; and the restraint shown by the Israeli Government against these attacks have strengthened the standing and the negotiating posotion of Is­rael. Israel should now determine how far it can go during the negotiations and should contribute to the solution of the prob­lem within those parameters. Otherwise it may confront greater problems in the future.

The Middle-East already has an enormous stockpile of military equipment. For a lasting peace in the region, we must move swiftly to devise arrangements to curb excessive arms sales to the Middle-East. Weapons of mass destruction need to be swept away from the region. The CFE arrangements might to some extent constitute an example for the area. Of course the entirely different conditions of the region need to be taken into consideration. Success in this area also depends on success towards a settlement of the region. Success in this area also depends on suc­cess towards a settlement of the Arap-lsraeli conflict.

I personally believe that the most important factor for the achievement of peace in the region is to develop a system that would increase economic interdependence and meaningful cooperation among countries of the Middle East.

The countries of the region can collectively open up their markets to one another and increase trade exchanges and tourism. They can together build and improve the in­frastructure in the Middle East. Part of the region’s oil revenues could be pooled in an economic cooperation fund to finance such projects.

Cooperation along these lines would create an at­mosphere of deeper understanding and enhanced good will. It

would also serve the well being of all the nations in the would help narrow the income gap between the richer and less wealthy. This would contribute to a relaxation of social tensions underlying political unrest.

I believe that the most important requirement of the Middle East for the years to come is water. The need of the countries of the region is now even more greater because of the pollution in the Gulf. In this respect I should remind you of my proposal of a multi-lateral venture for the purpose of build­ing a “peace-water pipeline” to deliver water from Turkish rivers, down to the Arabian peninsula. This pipeline would benefit all countries involved, in this context may I draw your attention to an initiative I have undertaken to convene an International Water Summit in Istanbul from 3 to 9 November 1991, to dis­cuss related problems.

The winds of democracy may be reaching the Mid­dle-East soon. We really see some signs to this effect.

Turkey is a drawbridge of Europe’s fortress of con­temporary civilisation and its gateway to the Middle East. As such we consider that democratisation ought to go hand in hand with efforts aimed at increasing economic interdepen­dence in the area. This is the only way to guarantee that the region keeps pace with the exigencies of a new global order based on peace, justice and progress. The achievement of democratisation in the Middle East should be regarded not only as a desirable goal for the region itself, but also as a component of Europe’s well being and peace of mind.

We cannot expect to have a democracy in the region with western standards at the initial phase, although each country may reach different stages in time.

Turkey, with its secular democracy and free market economy can constitute an example to the countries of the region in this respect.


Turkey together with Iran and Pakistan is on the way to giving a new life to the trilateral “Economic Cooperation Organisation”. The three countries have agreed to accord trade preferences to each other, to establish a joint investment bank and to cooperate on infrastructure projects. A summit is being planned for autumn of this year to seal these decisions. We are hoping that these developments might have some influence to encourage similar cooperation in the region.

We believe that the situation in Iraq is more serious than may be appreciated from the outside. Iraq has suffered a great and a humiliating defeat. The war has caused great damage on the country. The wound is yet fresh and warm and the pain is not so obvious. But as time passes the situation in Iraq might become worse. I believe there has also been great loss of life in Iraq during the war. As the prisoners of war return to their families and homes, the gravity of the situation will weigh on the people of Iraq. The civil war in that country has also created additional damage and loss of life. It has in­creased tensions between the regime and the people of Southern and Northern Iraq. It would not be correct to think that peace has finally come for the people of Iraq. A sparkle might lead to other tragedies in that country.

I believe that a quick political solution is required to bring an end to the sufferings in Iraq. Embargo by itself is not enough to provide this solution. It is up to the international community to come to grips with this problem. Otherwise the present problems might achieve new dimensions.

Now I want to outline my views on the develop­ments in Europe.I believe the most important development in Europe have been the ending of the Cold War and the enormous chan­ges in the Soviet Union, the collapse of communism in Europe, the unification of Germany and coming into power of democratic governments in the countries of East Europe.


On the other hand, the decision by the European Community to achieve a single market by end of 1992 is a very significant development for Europe. The attraction of the European Community for the non-member countries increase every passing day as the community draws closer to this ob­jective. There may be differences in the pace towards an inter­nal market in various sectors, but it is a fact that this objective will be achieved in the end and will be a significant building block in the new European architecture.

I would now like to go a little further into some of the developments I have just mentioned.

The lifting of the heavy hand of the Soviet Union over the countries of Central and Eastern Europe led to the revival of democratic currents in those countries, and to the collapse of old economic systems. As a result it brought them face to face with colossal new problems. There was a mistaken belief in those countries that with democracy, prosperity would be within easy reach. However the most important characteristic of a free market system is that it requires hard work for individuals as well as for nations to achieve prosperity.

The lifting of the Soviet pressure also affected the ethnic problems in the Balkans. These problems which were not much visible because of Soviet pressure came to surface. This has led to tensions between the countries of the Balkans and between different ethnic groups in almost every Balkan state. This sitiation might lead to new and greater complication if not handled with due care. Turkey is in a situation to play a positive role also in this respect. It has a great deal of ex­perience in the Balkans going back to the Ottoman period. It is a country of the region enjoying excellent relations with Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Yugoslavia and Hungary. It has problems only with Greece. I am not going to take up the reasons here. I should however mention that their solution will be much easier if the European Community does not become a party to these problems.

The Soviet Union itself, in some respects resemble the Balkans. Outside the Russians which constitute the core of the Union, there are Christian and Moslem-Turkic republics and scores of minorities in those republics. It is noteworthy that those which refuse to join the Union Treaty are only the Chris­tian Republics. This situation might give rise to difficulties to achieve a further rapprochement between Europe and the Soviet Union in future.

I believe that the process towards democratisation in the Soviet Union is irreversible. Therefore, the West should help the Soviet Union in this period of transition.

However, the real effort and sacrifice must come from the people of Soviet Union themselves. Turkish ex­perience in passing to a free market economy has verified this. We had to pool almost ninety percent of our resources to achieve this objective. The European Community did not pro­vide even the insignificant sum of 600 million Ecus foreseen by the fourth financial protocol. I believe, at this stage, the Soviet Union will mostly need support without political strings at­tached, and assistance for the education and training of people required to run a free market economy.

During the last few years substantial steps have been taken for the security of Europe. NATO has played a very important role in the ending of the Cold War. It is a well estab­lished and an efficient organisation. It is important to maintain this organisation and to make the necessary changes within the organisation in parallel with the developments in Europe and the world.

The challenges facing us in Western Europe are no less serious than those which confronted us forty-five years ago. To avoid the risks of failure, common sense urges us to envisage an interlocking network of relationships based on NATO, the CSCE, the European Community and other European institutions.


As far as NATO’s role in the future security architec­ture of the continent is concerned, Turkey supports the evolu­tion of a stronger European dimension. Such a development ought to reinforce the Atlantic Alliance and bring about a more equal distribution of leadership and responsibilities within it. In our opinion, if the EC nations decide to form an exclusive club, the new European architecture cannot benefit from the new prospects and meet new challenges. It would leave some European allies like Turkey and Norway, who are yet to join the Community, marginalized on the flanks. Hence, a European defence identity should be conceived as the “European Security Pillar” of NATO and in the manner endorsed at the London Summit in July last year.

The Atlantic Alliance, the CSCE and the European Community are three specific secular pillars of the continent, each will make its own contribution to the new European ar­chitecture. An important aspect of European cooperation will be in the framework of the European Community. Military\Security integration and Atlantic security cooperation should remain the job of NATO. In this context cooperation with and support of the United Statets is imperative for an Atlantic balance. We should refrain from attempts to reduce the United States’ presense in Europe. Western European Union ought to develop to become the European pillar of the Transatlantic system by embracing all the fourteen European members of the alliance.

Lastly I wish to make a few points that should cor­rect lingering misperceptions in the minds of some Europeans about Turkey’s role in the new configuration of the continent.This role can be properly assessed by taking due account of historic, geopolitical and economic factors.

Eastern Thrace and particularly Anatolia are exten­sions of the European continent. As such, the course of their history has always been inseparable from that of Europe. These were Alexander’s springboard towards world dominion. Rome stretched her power to the borders of Persia and to Mesopotamia across the Bosphorus and the Taurus Moun­tains. Taurus, Iconium and Ephesus served as stepping stones for the spread of the message of Christ into Greece and Rome. Islam followed the same path in reaching the peoples of the Balkans. For five centuries, Istanbul provided the home base from which the Ottomans, as successors of Byzantium, control­led Europe as far as Budapest.

Imperial Turkey was formally admitted to the “Con­cert European” in 1856. The entire history of the Ottoman reform movement consists of an unbroken chain of attempts to reorganize the state and the society on the European pattern.

Yet Turkey’s European vocation found a modern, concrete and absolute expression with Kemal Ataturk’s revolu­tionary achievements. The record of the Turkish Republic in all walks of life -from public and civil law, politics, economics, cul­tural and social orientation to military and defence matters- bears out the nation’s European credentials. In fact, the suc­cess of Turkey’s emergence as a modern and secular state bears witness to Turkey’s historic course oriented to Europe. The Turkish bid to join the Community and the Western European Union should be seen as the culmination of a process which lasted for centuries.

Throughout the last decade, Turkey registered a great success with regard to economic restructuring. A sound economy, capable of being integrated to the world economies, has thus emerged. The transformation was brought about in a democratic environment.

Turkey had no access to huge grants and extensive subsidies. We, nevertheless, managed to create a healthier economy that could produce consecutive current account surpluses until the Gulf Crisis. I should also mention here that the free market economy we now enjoy helped us overcome the adverse affects of the crisis with a minimum loss. We ser­viced our foreign debt repayments on schedule. Today, Turkey is in a position to extend credit lines to many countries. She has been able to achieve a sustained annual growth rate of not less than 6 % over the last decade. The Turkish Lira has be­come fully convertible and foreign exchange reserves have reached an all-time high level. Exports have more than quad­rupled. There are no restrictions pertaining to the foreign exchance regime and an effective stock-market is steadily expanding. Privatization is going on at full speed.

Turkish experience towards achieving a free market economy is being followed with great attention by the countries of the region. Indeed, Turkey, with most developed free market economy and a trained, experienced bureaucracy, has a lot to share with the countries of that part of the world. It could share its experiences in the liberalisation of trade and encourage free movement of people, capital and services.

This is also true for the Black Sea region and the Balkans. I have put forth the idea of a “Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone”. This Zone would include, besides Turkey, the Soviet Union, Romania and Bulgaria. Six Soviet republics would also participate, these are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldavia, Russia and the Ukraine. We believe, proposed joint measures to liberalize trade in the Area and to cooperate in establishing the infrastructure necessary for facilitating trade among the participants. We are not aiming at a Black Sea Common Market. We only want to create a medium through which goods, capital, people and services can move more free­ly. During my visit to the Soviet Union, I saw that president Gor­bachev and the leaders of the republics were favorable to this idea.

The dramatic developments in the Gulf must always remind us of the breadth of the problems besetting the Muslim world and the dangers of the revival of an age-old conflict between Muslims and Christians. Power hungary people exploit even the smallest differences among nations and fractions to achieve their objectives. In the past, economic frustrations forced many people to seek ways of liberation. They resorted to communism and revolutionary methods. We now know that, those methods are not the cure.

The changes in Eastern Europe and Soviet Union have resulted in the revival of religion in these regions.

People believing in God build stronger societies. History confirms this. The important thing is that religion should not border on extremism. To prevent this, societies and in­dividuals need to be more tolerant towards each other. One should not forget that religions which believe in one God are based on same principles.

If we are to avoid the dark ages when religions were at war with each other, we must be very careful. In a world which is so much smaller today we cannot ignore the economic difficulties of others. We need better programmes of cooperation and assistance to other developing countries.

Today the Muslim population in the world is more than a billion. In the Soviet Union alone the Muslim population is nearing 80 million. The birth rate is high. No one can say from now the effect of a number of political problems that will be created if these people are to come under the influence of militant ideologies.

The Moslem populations world over, not only in the Middle East but in the Soviet Union as well, are in fact at the threshold of making historic decisions in their search for a viable alternative which would fundamentally determine their future.

The fact that Turkey is a secular Moslem country sharing western values enriches the Turkish Model with an added dimension. This dimension proves to the Middle Eastern nations, as well as to the Islamic world in general, that an Islamic country can evolve into a democratic and modern society on the western pattern. On the other hand it also con­stitutes a model to be emulated by the Eastern and Southern Soviet Republics.

Turkey applied to the European Community in 1987. The Commission rendered its opinion on Turkish membership in 1989 at a time of unprecedented mutation in Europe. These were the welcome changes which marked the end of the Cold War. The EC was seen as a pole of attraction by all Eastern European countries. However, today, we see that a lot of time is still needed for many of the East European Countries to come up to the standards of integration with the Community. Turkey is very near to those standards. It is in fact at a better position than some of the member states.

Turkey has also reached an economic standard above other Islamic countries. Turkish membership will make it possible for the EC to establish better relations with the Islamic world. There are those who believe that the EC is a Christian club. Such tendencies only contribute to polarisations in the world.

Turkey’s historic experience and knowledge of the Balkans, the Black Sea Region, West Asia as well as the Middle East and the excellent relations it enjoys with almost all the countries of these regions places Turkey at a unique position. Turkish membership in the European Community and the Western European Union would no doubt enrich these two or­ganisations and would contribute to the improvement of their political, cultural and economic ties with that part of the world.

Turkey will also serve as an engine of growth in an expanded Europe with her developing economy offering new market opportunities for Western European exporters. Enriched with Turkey’s young and dynamic workforce, Western European capital and enterprise would be in a position to tap the vast economic potential of Anatolia.

As far as the Western European Union is concerned, I would first underline one of the prioties of Turkish foreign policy, namely that of participating in all spheres of the European integration process.

We agree that efforts towards strengthening European role in the field of security and defence should be pursued with energy and vigour. Yet, it is our firm conviction that one cannot and should not create two different categories of European members within the same alliance; those who are within the EC and WEU, and trrose who are only within NATO. On the other hand Turkey should not be expected to accept only the responsibilities of the defence of the continent without parpicipating fully in the making of the new Europe.

I would like to sum up my message as follows: Turkey, as a persistent and unswerving adherent of the humanitarian values of Europe, is long overdue for political, economic, cultural recognition by her natural partners. Neither the Community nor the Western European Union may reach their natural and logical boundries without Turkish presence. She constitutes a European bridge to a far wider consensus between Europe and the Middle East. As such, she is a political asset for Western Europ.

All European nations have contributed to a rich and diverse European identity. Turkey, with all the civilizations that have enriched Anatolia and its people is one of the Mediter­ranean heirs to that very identity in equal share to her future EC and WEU partners. We claim that heritage.Turkey and Western European Union have common goals and common responsibilities to discharge. Therefore, no special consultative arrangement can be regarded as a per­manent substitute to Turkey’s eventual full membership in the Union.

With these thoughts in mind, I wish you every suc­cess in your future work.

(*)     President Turgut Özal’s address to the WEU Parliamentary Assembly in Paris on May 5,1991 was published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy” Vol. 16, Nos. 1-2



Visits: 244

Turkey’s Policy towards Iraq in the post-Saddam era – Tarık Oğuzlu

Turkey’s Policy towards Iraq in the post-Saddam era


Tarık Oğuzlu[1]


US Policy in Iraq during 2003-2006

US Policy during 2003-2006 period can be described a pro-Kurdish, as Kurdish groups received strong US support. This period provided 3 important gains for Kurdish groups. The first one is the article 140 of the new Iraqi constitution which states that Kirkuk’s final status is to be decided through a referendum. Secondly, Kurdish Region became a federal area and the Iraqi Constitution defines Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) region as a federal unit in Iraq. And lastly, Kurds gained influential positions in state administration such as the presidency of Mr. Talabani.


Another aspect of US policy in this period was about the containment of both Shiite and Sunni forces. After US take over, Sunnis were excluded from the Iraqi body politics. The goal was to consolidate de-Baathification. At the same time US aimed at eradicating the roots of the Al Qaeda in Iraq through the cooperation of Shiite militias as there was no possibility of an alliance with Sunni groups against Al-Qaeda or resistance groups. In 2003-2006, US tried to exclude Iran from the game as a legitimate player. After the end of military campaign against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi army was disbanded and new Iraqi forces were to be established. The US military plan was just to do the clearing the ground from any unwanted group and activity. Holding the ground and rebuilding it, would be undertaken by Iraqi forces. This strategy, however, proved to be wrong.

US policy in Iraq since early 2007

When we came to 2007, US understood that Peace with the Sunni Arabs was necessary to fight the Al-Qaeda and Baathist resistance. Therefore US increased its support to Sunni groups such as the Sunni Awakening group and the Sons of Iraq. Understandably the US support increased the strength of the Sunnis and The Awakening has now at least 100000 men under arm, for instance. Through its support to Sunnis, US goal was to see that the Sunni forces are reintegrated into the Iraqi army and the new political elections, local and general, ease the way for Sunni representation in state administration. Since the early 2007, the beginning of the surge strategy, more troops are needed to provide stability and security in Iraq. Now Sunni Arabs are in the payrolls of US administration, too. De-Baathification strategy which was aimed at during 2003-2006 period needed to be reversed. In addition to that previous US strategy to clear and leave to Iraqi forces was redefined as clear-hold-build. This time the US soldiers do the fighting and stay in the war zone to consolidate the gains. They do not turn over the field over to the local Iraqi forces after the war came to an end. The US goal was redefined as to win hearths and minds of the Sunni Iraqis.

Another change was seen in the attitude towards Iran as well as Syria. It is now the case that the Washington administration has now been in the process of altering its exclusionary approach towards Iran and Syria, as the voices of traditional realists are now being heard more often than the neo-con demagogues. The need to talk to Tehran and Damascus in order to contribute to the emergence of long-term stability in Iraq and the region has now become more pronounced in Washington than ever. Reconciliation with Iran was seen necessary to have lasting stability in Iraq. Therefore Iran’s support is needed to have control over Iraq’s anti-American Shia groups. This resulted in such a deal like; the US would not support the Iranian regime’s opponents in Iraq. In return Iran would help the US secure Sadr’s agreement to a ceasefire. Sadr group declared ceasefire in the summer of 2007 and cease fire was extended in April 2008. This fact constitutes a main factor for the positive results yielded by the surge strategy. As the surge strategy proved functioning and level of violence decreased in Iraq, the issue of pulling back American soldiers from Iraq has been debated more vociferously then ever. The best way to succeed in Iraq before withdrawing is to tie the decision of withdrawal to clear benchmarks, success of the Iraqis to settle their problems at home. It is important to keep in mind that the satisfaction of Arabs, both Shia and Sunni, is more important than the satisfaction of Kurds for long-term stability in Iraq. A strategy that primarily relies on Kurdish support, at the expense of Arabs, particularly Sunnis, would never work. The Kurds do now have to fight at two fronts, Baghdad front and Ankara front. Kurds are in fight with Arabs over Kirkuk, the share of the oil resource, the limits of regional government, the budget, and Turkey over Kirkuk and PKK. The Americans would likely side with the Arabs over Kirkuk, for they have increasingly become dependent on their cooperation.

Indications of new strategy to tilt towards Arabs

For the United States to leave Iraq as soon as possible as claimed by the majority of Iraqis and foreseen by the presidential candidates, Iraq should turn to a stable and secure place. For this to happen, the satisfaction of Arab demands, particularly the Sunnis, is important. The change in the US policy from relying on Kurdish support to provision of Shia and Sunni satisfaction for long-term stability in Iraq inevitably have had positive implications for Arabian side of Iraqi. First of all, the referendum on Kirkuk is postponed for six months till June 2008. Sunnis and Shias form a common block in Iraqi parliament to resist the Kurdish claims on Kirkuk. They have even made it clear that they could resort to force to overcome any Kurdish fait-accompli on the status of the city. Even though the local elections in Iraq will be held in 2009, the Kurdish region will be excluded from this process. Elections in Kirkuk will not be held unless the parties to the conflict came to an agreement as to how to share power in Kirkuk. The Kurds agreed to this term. This is a sign of victory on the part of Arabs and Turks. In addition to that the Americans are now supporting the Arabs’ policy on the sharing of Iraq’s oil resources. The final decision on the production, use and distribution of oil rests with the Central authority in Baghdad, not regional governments. Last but not least the Kurds could get only 17% of Iraqi budget. They asked more than this but Sunni and Shia Arabs resisted. The proportion of Kurdish share will be discussed every consecutive year. On the Turkish side, The US administration does now offer Turkey military help against PKK. PKK is declared as the common enemy of Turkey and the US. Collective action of the US and Turkey against PKK increases the pressure on the Kurds to cooperative with Ankara. Improvement of bilateral relations is a must for stability in the Middle East and Iraq. The US does now need Turkey to contain Iran. Such developments led the Kurds to feel that the United States might once again leave them out in the cold, as it did during first Gulf War in 1991.

Prospects for Future

On the on hand, Shiites are not happy to see that the Sunnis are reintegrated to the Iraqi body politics and army. They are still afraid of the possibility of Sunni domination of Iraqi politics. They are reluctant to incorporate the Sunni soldiers into the Iraqi army. At the same time Iran is against the possibility of Iraq transforming into a centralized state with Sunnis playing the role of power brokering. In this regard, Turkish and Iranian policies are in conflict. The more centralized Iraq become, the happier Turkey becomes. For Iran, a more decentralized Iraq is much welcome. On the other hand, US lenience on Sunni Arabs is also motivated by the US concern to counterbalance the rising Iranian influence inside Iraq and the whole Middle East. The Sunni regimes of the region support this American policy within the framework of their goal to limit Iran’s influence. On the Kurdish side, there is a dissatisfaction to see that the Arab influence in Iraqi politics is increasing and supported by the United States.

The most important concern for the future is what might happen after the US leaves without the roots of any everlasting peace were built in Iraq. The strengthening of Sunni tribes might be perceived by the Shiites and Kurds as the most important challenge against their communal gains in the post war era. The US strategy resting on Sunni tribes might in the end result in the deepening of communal conflicts. The United States is now advised to ask the Iraqi groups to settle their differences before the withdrawal of American troops. Withdrawal should be tied to meeting of certain preconditions on the part of the Iraqi groups. Each actor appears to have been trying to gain time and consolidate their own gains before the US leaves. None of the conflicting parties in Iraq seems to be working hard for the unification of the country and establishment of a truly democratic state. In one way or the other the forecasting of Joseph Biden and Peter Galbraith are coming true, the soft portioning of Iraq along sectarian lines. For US to be able to start a healthy withdrawal and leave a stable Iraq behind in which no one power is dominating the main body politics or threatening the security of the country, the Status for Forces Agreement needs to be signed as soon as possible.

Why Iraq is Important for Turkey?

Turkey has historical responsibility for the maintenance of Iraq’s borders and any change of this structure will undoubtedly influence Turkey’s interests. However, the significance of Iraq does not only stem from the historical aspects, its relevance to Turkey does also emanate from Iraq’s geopolitical location. Whether Iraq is going to remain as a unitary state or morph into three new states, whether Iraq is going to operate as a strong centralized state or transform into a weak federal structure, whether Iraq is going to become a pro-Western secular country or turns into a theocratic state in the image of Iran are of significant questions with respect to Turkey’s regional interests in the Middle East.

In addition to historical and geopolitical factors, demographic issues make Iraq a crucial region for Turkey. Iraq’s population includes substantial number of Kurds and Turkmen, who have kinship relationship with Turkey’s own people. Such kinship relationship between the two populations denies Turkey the luxury of keeping itself immune from Iraq’s internal developments. Iraq is also a factor in Turkish bid for EU membership. Iraq’s future and Turkey’s responses to that will undoubtedly impact Turkey’s relations with the European Union and the US. And finally, the future of northern Iraq and the power vacuum there impacts Turkey’s fight against PKK.

Turkey’s Iraq policy during the 1990s

Iraq’s territorial integrity was considered as vitally important for the preservation of Turkey’s own security. Despite the repressive and authoritarian character of Saddam’s regime, the writ of Baghdad’s rule over the whole country was seen as the most important break on the separatist and secessionist claims of Kurds and Shiite groups. In the post-Saddam era Turkey became tremendously concerned with the political status of the Iraqi Kurdish groups. Turkey was also concerned with the possibility of the PKK benefiting from the lack of authority in northern Iraq in its efforts to organize terrorist attacks inside Turkey. While Kurdish groups increased their power and influence thanks to US support, Turkey gradually saw Iraq’s Turkmen community as a possible source that might potentially counterbalance the rising Kurdish influence. The existence of the Turkmen community in Iraq was also a concern in Turkey’s relations with Iraq. However, Turkey’s approach towards this particular issue was that Iraqi Turkmen were Iraq’s citizens and the improvement of their well-being depended on the nature of the relationship between Baghdad and this community.

Turkey’s Iraq Policy after the regime change

First of all, Iraq increasingly transformed into a weak/failed state during the 1990s. Iraq has now transformed into a place where different kinds of wars are waged simultaneously. On the one hand, Sunni insurgents fight the American occupiers; on the other Al-Qaeda terrorists fight both the US-led international coalition and Iraq’s mainly Shiite groups. Another struggle has been between the Shiite and Sunni groups. Another one is between the Kurds and Shiite on the one hand and Sunni groups on the other. Another war is currently waged between the US and pro-American Sunni regimes on the one hand and Iran on the other. While the main concern during the 1990s was Iraq’s explosion, it is now Iraq’s further implosion.

Secondly, the political future of Iraqi Kurds has increasingly become one of the key factors in Turkey’s own Kurdish problem than ever. The fear on the part of Ankara has been that if Iraq’s future were to reflect ethnic differences, the ethnicization of Kurdish question in Turkey might gain ground. Whether Turkey’s Kurds would be growingly attracted to the emerging political authority in northern Iraq has become a question that Turkey’s security policy makers do now take into account while defining Turkey’s national security interests. Political developments in northern Iraq have led the international community to pay more attention to the situation of Kurds of Turkey more than ever. At the same time the success of Turkey’s efforts to eliminate the PKK terrorism at home has been negatively impacted by the PKK’s increasing ability to use northern Iraq as a logistic area.

Thirdly, given that Turkey’s transformation in line with the premises of liberal-democracy is now considered to be the number one factor affecting Turkey’s chance of being admitted to the European Union, the more negatively Turkey’s security were impacted by the developments in northern Iraq, the less able Turkey has become to complete its democratization/Europeanization process. The continuation of the PKK terrorism appears to have slowed down Turkey’s democratization process, for in a securitized domestic environment the steps that need to be taken in the name of liberal democracy have increasingly been seen as threatening. Besides, Turkey’s exposition to growing security threats emanating from northern Iraq seems to have contributed to the EU’s reluctance to admit Turkey as a member. The EU public opinion does not want to see that the EU borders Iran, Syria and Iraq.

On the US- Turkish front, inevitably, the US occupation of Iraq has negatively affected Turkey’s relations with the United States. Despite all American attempts otherwise, Ankara has gradually come to the point that the current US government, under the influence of the neo-conservative ideology, has been punishing Turkey for its non-cooperation on the eve of the war in March 2003. The United States has been seen by increasing number of Turkey as a potential threat to Turkey’s security. Furthermore, the occupation of Iraq has also impacted the dynamics of balance of power politics in the Middle East mainly by contributing to the rise of Iran’s relative influence at the expense of Turkey. Even though Turkey would not like to see that she needs to increase her defense expenditure in order to counterbalance the rising Iranian power, Iran’s growing nuclear aspirations on the one hand and the declining of NATO’s security commitment on the other might lead eventually Turkey to reconsider its decades-long non-nuclearization policies.

As for the final status of the City of Kirkuk, Ankara has long argued that the referendum in Kirkuk needs to be postponed sometime in future. From Ankara’s perspective Kirkuk is a miniature of Iraq where people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds have been living for centuries and its final status should be decided by all Iraqis. Otherwise, the incorporation of Kirkuk, an oil-rich city, into the Iraqi Kurdistan region would likely increase the prospects of a civil war, for the majority of Iraqis strongly oppose any Kurdish control of the city. As for the shape of Iraq’s administrative structure, Ankara supports the idea of a federal Iraq that is based on geographical criteria, rather than ethnic and religious differences.

Alternative Turkish discourses towards he Kurds of northern Iraq

When we look at the attitudes towards Kurds of Northern Iraq we witness two alternative competing discourses; realist-exclusionist vs liberal integrationist

To the adherents of the first position, realist-exclusionist and Kemalists, which mainly consists of the members of establishment in politics and bureaucracy, Turkey’s number one priority, should be to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdistan. In this regard, Turkey should never accord legitimacy to Iraqi Kurds by talking directly to them. Gradual integration with northern Iraq is dangerous, for this might accelerate the process of reawakening of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey, particularly in Kurdish populated areas. To this view the United States and Israel actively support the emergence of an independent Kurdish state in the hope that such a state would not only provide Israel and the US with the capability to install anti-ballistic missiles against Iran, but also act a US protégée in the region.

To the other position, liberal-integrationists and neo-Ottomanists, whose adherents consist of liberal intellectuals and pro-European circles, there is now a new status quo in Iraq and the only thing Turkey can do is to adjust its position to these new realities and to adopt a liberal integrationist approach towards the Iraqi Kurds. The Kurds of Iraq are Turkey’s true allies, particularly right after the influence of Shia Iran has increased in the region. The Kurds and Turks do share many common points, of which their western orientation and secular characteristics come first. While the Iraqi Constitution itself recognizes the political legitimacy of the Kurds, they ask what Turkey would gain from turning a blind eye to the Kurds of Iraq? The more Turkey eradicates the structural causes of the Kurdish problem at home through liberal-democratic reforms, the healthier relations with Iraqi Kurds would turn out to be. Turkey should not overstate the potential danger of rising Kurdish influence in Iraq, for the Kurds need Turkey more than Turkey needs the Kurds. Turkey is the only outlet for the transmission of Kirkuk oil to western markets. Turkey does now own 80 percent of the construction sector in the region. Without trade with Turkey, the life in northern Iraq would be extremely costly. Trying to make northern Iraq economically dependent on Turkey would not only benefit Turkey’s economy but also provide her with better capabilities to affect Kurdish political decisions. Just as the EU influenced the nature of economics and politics in Central and Eastern European countries through the enlargement strategy, Turkey might play a similar role vis-à-vis northern Iraq. The region provides Turkey with the chance to prove its growing European identity in the realm of foreign and security policy. It remains to be seen which position holds sway over Turkey’s approach towards Iraq and Iraqi Kurds.

The liberal integrationists are gaining the upper hand in this debate. The ongoing Turkish military involvement attests to this: Goal is limited to the eradication of PKK, great effort has been spent to convince the international community to the legitimacy of a military action against the PKK, the EU and US do now lend legitimacy to Turkey’s actions, political relations with Iraqi Kurdish leadership is improving, Talabani visit to Turkey, the volume of bilateral trade is increasing.

Latest Developments on the ground in Turkey-US-Kurds-Iraq Relations

Several positive and promising developments have been noted in Turkish-US relations as well as the relations between Turkey and Iraq. The American and Turkish governments mended their relations and began to cooperate. The US does now provide Turkey with intelligence with respect to PKK presence in northern Iraq. The new Turkish Chief of Staff underlined that Turkish-American intelligence cooperation is now perfect. On the Turkey- Iraq front, we have seen the official visits of the statesmen on both sides such as visit of The Iraqi President Talabani in Turkey in spring 2008 and visit of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan in Iraq in July 2008. Also, Turkish President will soon visit Baghdad in official capacity. This diplomatic traffic yielded positive results. The parties signed a document whereby they agreed to establish the Higher Strategic Council. Both parties underlined the need for close cooperation against PKK. On the other hand, the local election in Turkey in 2009 and the increasing PKK-led terror violence in this context might negatively impact the improving security environment between Ankara and Baghdad-Erbil.

[1] Assoc. Prof. Bilkent University

Visits: 206



İlter Türkmen

The political cohesion of the Alliance is a concept which goes beyond harmonization or concertation of foreign policy attitudes and initiatives. It is basically dependent on  the credibility of the deterrence, commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law which can only be materialized if all Allied countries have democra­tic system of government, the harmonization of the interests of mem­bers, the avoidance of prolonged conflict among partners and a dynamic pursuit of Alliance objectives.

(*)This paper was presented to the Turkish Atlantic Treaty Association Symposium on “NATO After Three Decades” in İstanbul on July 7, 1979

          Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy” Vol.8, Nos. 1-2


Broadly speaking, the political cohesion of the Alliance is a concept which goes beyond harmonization or concertation of foreign policy attitudes and initiatives. It is basically dependent on the follo­wing elements: the credibility of the deterrence (nuclear strategic forces, theater nuclear forces, conventional forces), the commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rules of law which can only be materialized if all Allied countries have democra­tic system of government, the harmonization of the interests of mem­bers, the avoidance of prolonged conflict among partners and a dynamic pursuit of Alliance objectives.

  1. Under prevailing international conditions, the security of the members of NATO rests mainly on the balance between the Atlantic Alliance and the Warsaw Pact. Although this balance reflects primarily the equivalance between the strategic nuclear forces of the United States and the Soviet Union, it includes such other factors as the ratio between the conventional forces of the two sides, the degree of political solidarity among the members of the opposing Alliance systems and the implications of the gains or losses of either side in the ongoing political competition in various regions of the world. The process of detente, despite its tortuous course, can foster the objectives of the Alliance only if the members of the Alliance can preserve their cohesion and are able to act in a way which would not permit the exploitation of detente with the aim of undermining their security.

On the other hand, political strength of the Alliance is based on the fact that at present all its members have democratic regimes, sustained in many of them by strong social structures, efficient and pro­ductive economic systems and superior technological performance, that they can display flexibility and adaptability in the face of the profound transformation affecting the world as a whole, instead of being entrapped in misleading slogans and stale ideological app­roaches, It is only by making full use of these advantages that the Alliance can, not withstanding the difficulties it encounters, achive progress in its quest of ensuring peace and stability, promote app­ropriate measures of arms control and disarmament and conduct East-West relationship on a mutually beneficial basis.

  1. The view that the defensive shield of the Atlantic Alliance can be effective only to the degree that it is based on the political solidarity between member countries has dominated the evolution of NATO since the very beginning. With the fading away of the nuclear superiority for the West, the advent of the era of the equivalence between NATO and the Warsaw Pact strategic nuclear forces, and the consequent increase in the risks inherent in a decision to re­sort to nuclear arms, the need to maintain a high degree of political cohesion among Alliance members has acquired an even greater Importance. This has led to a strengthening of the mechanism of po­litical consultations and to the enlargement of the scope of con­sultations to cover world-wide developments, especially those which have or might have a bearing on the global military and political power balance. The management of the relations with the East, the need to gear the process of detente in a way which would not be detrimental to the collective and individual interests of member countries has been still another factor inciting Alliance members to ensure a certain degree of parallelism in their policies towards Eas­tern Europe.

4.With the beginning of the policy of “peaceful coexistence” which the Soviets have adopted after the death of Stalin with the purpose of pursuing competition with the West with all means short of war, a greater harmony of views between the members of the AtIantice had become essential. It is to cope with this challenge that the NATO Council had set up in 1956 a Committee of Three Foreign Ministers to recommend ways and means of strengthening inter allied non-military cooperation. This report exercised a deep influ­ence on political consultations, underlining that there cannot be unity in defence and disunity in political viewpoints, the Report stressed the importance of making political consultations a habit. The Report pointed out that “the essential thing is that on all occasions and in all circumstances, member governments, before acting or pronouncing, should “keep the interests and the requirements of the Alliance in mind.” It was further said that a member government should not, without adequate advance consultation, adopt firm po­licies or make major political pronouncements on matters which significantly affect the Alliance or any of its members, unless circums­tances make such prior consultations obviously and demonstrably impossible.

With the development of East-West relations and the advent of the era of detente, the need of intensive political consultations among allies was even better understood. Under conditions of de­tente, the assessment of Soviet policies and the study of possible changes in those policies, the evaluation of the reaction to action by the NATO Alliance are essentia! for the fulfillment of the tasks incumbent upon the Alliance both in the military and political fields. In 1967, the Harmel Report had emphasized the need to deepen and improve the practice of frank and timely consultations.

  1. Although the system of political consultations has gradually evolved, it has not of course reached the level of coordination of action. The instances of coordination continue to be rare and this is understandable. NATO is not a supranational organisation and was not intended to be one. The decisions are taken on common consent and in matters not directly related to the treaty area the
    Alliance cannot and should not go beyond the harmonization of positions as a maximum objective and to a full and timely discussion among equal partners when the subject matter concerns the policies of an individual member with implications for the Alliance.

In discussing the political cohesion of the Alliance, the main question is, therefore, to determine to what extent the present con­cepts, procedures and practices can contribute to the objective of harmonizing policies and of preventing Allies from taking lines of action working at cross-purposes or from embarking individually on policies not compatible with the justifiable interests of other partners.

  1. Looking back, we can point to many failures of the system consultation as well as to many instances in which the system functioned efficiently. The first important failure occured in 1956, when Great Britain and France decided to intervene against Egypt, following the nationalization of the Suez Canal without informing in advance their other allies, including the United States.

Other instances incompatible with the concept of consultations can be mentioned, in particular the contacts which proceeded the normalization of relations between China and the United States, the Nixon-Brezhnev Pact on the avoidance of nuclear war of 1973 and the nuclear alert called by Washington during the 1973 Middle East War.

Against those failures of consultation within the Alliance, one could ofcourse  enumerate examples of encouraging results, in particular within the field of direct alliance responsibility, such as NATO defence and relations between Western Europe, the United States and the Soviet Union, on which extensive and in most cases trustful consultations took place. These are the Strategic Arms Li­mitations talks, the preparation and follow-up of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Mutual Force Reduc­tion negotiations.

  1. How much the process of consultation is indispensable was revealed once again in connection with the SALT Agreement. Although consultations on this question have been numerous and quite detailed, some implications of the Treaty concerning, in particular, the verification aspect have not emerged until the last moment. Some decisions related to nuclear defense in Europe and which has a bearing at least for future SALT talks have been adopted without consultations.

SALT 2 has involved only the United States and the Soviet Union. But, SALT 3 will have direct implications for Europe, as it will deal with weapons of the gray area. Disarmament and arms control are subjects which will therefore be discussed in depth and more intensively by the Alliance. It is in those discussions that the close relationship between defense planning and arms control and disarmament will have to be weighed from the point of view of the security of the Alliance. The Council will have to assess whether it would be more advantageous for the Atlantic Alliance to devise defense programs based on the introduction of new technology or to seek arms control agreements imposing restrictions to both NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the field of new weapons systems.

  1. One subject which is perennially discussed in NATO Council meetings without producing even a modest degree of harmonization is certainly the Middle East. From the geographical point of view, it has always been erroneous to view the politics and defense of the Mediterranean as entering into the field of direct responsibility of the Alliance, but to consider problems relating to policies towards North Africa or the Middle East as extraneous issues. Political developments and defense issues in the basin of the Mediterranean cannot of course be studied without taking into account the situation in contiguous areas, North Africa and the Middle East. To what extent, the security of the Alliance and East-West relations are affected by the developments in the Middle East have been recon­firmed by the reaction to the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel and the events in Iran. It might be presumptuous to say that more intensive consultations on the Middle East would have enabled the Allies to foresee with more perspicacity the crisis in Iran, but it could have perhaps injected more caution in the policies which pro­ceeded from the comfortable assumption that there was nothing to be feared with regard to the long-term stability of that country under the Shah’s regime .Similarly, not enough attention has been paid to Afghanistan and policies towards Pakistan have been, to say the least, erratic.

We have now in the Middle East a situation which offers a combination of hopeful and dreadful perspectives. The NATO countries need more than ever a correct assessment of the developments in this area and should be able to prevent individual policies incom­patible with each other or directed to achieve opposite objectives.

  1. Economic policies are inevitably an element of defense and diplomacy. But the structure of NATO as an organisation does not allow it to tackle economic problems. On the other hand, it is becoming more and more obvious that in the discussions taking place in international economic and financial organisations, political and defense factors are far from being taken into consideration. In the light of the oil crisis of 1973, and particularly of the new shortages appearing after the events of Iran, the NATO Council should be able to develop a practice which would enable it to include in its evaluation work economic factors and to urge governments to be, in their approaches to problems in international economic organisations more alert to the security and political implications of eco­nomic decisions.

The shortcomings of the Alliance in the economic and financial field have received a new attention recently because of the economic difficulties experienced by some NATO countries, in particular Turkey and Portugal. In such cases, the Alliance should be able to assess the need of likewise countries for economic assistance in the light of the burden they carry in the field of defense, to bear in mind the consequences which would ensue for the Alliance if economic constraints provoke dangerous political and social explosions and encourage and urge its members to give weight to all those considerations in their bilateral and multilateral economic and financial in their bilateral and multilateral economic and financial policies and actions.

  • In proceeding to consultations, larger and smaller members have different perspectives. The large countries would like, to a maximum extent, preserve their freedom of action, but at the same time secure compliance by smaller countries to their policies and initiatives. The smaller countries on the other hand would like to have a feeling of participation, an opportunity to express their views on matters which can have repercussions upon them. They seek to commit larger members to consultations in emergency situations. Of course, the roles might easily be reversed and there might be instances when smaller countries, for varying reasons, would like to evade a commitment to support certain policies and approaches.
  1. The cohesion of an alliance is not only influenced by the degree of political consultations and harmonization of policies it achieves, The visible signs of interdependence and mutual aid are equally important. Member countries experience from time to time political difficulties or economic hardships. Even if the Alliance cannot cope with these problems institutionally, the members of the Alliance should act towards this country in a spirit of partnership and so­lidarity.

In principle, countries which have united their efforts for collective defense and committed themselves to political cooperation should have no enduring conflict between them. Disputes which might erupt between Allies should be settled rapidly in a way which would not affect the political solidarity and the military effectiveness of the Alliance. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. If, therefore, a dispute occurs between member countries, those which are not involved in it have the great responsibility of maintaining a strict neutrality, while endevouring in a discreet way to encourage the parties to negotiations. Nothing can be more damaging for the alliance if countries depart from this rule and try to bring pressure upon one of the parties by resorting to methods detrimental to the purpose of the alliance,

  1. In assessing the contribution of political consultations to the cohesion of the alliance, we have to examine the impact of the fragmentation of the process of consultation. Indeed, the process of consultation suffers at present from a double fragmentation. The separate consultations going on among the member countries of the European Economic Community and the new trend of holding exclusive consultations among some prominent members of the alliance in summit meetings, the most recent examples of such meetings, being the Guadelupe summit.

As far as consultations between members of the EEC are concerned, two considerations should be underlined. Firstly, although there can be no objection to intimate consultations within the framework of EEC to fulfill the purposes of the Rome Treaty, it is significant that these consultations are much more wide ranging and in depth than the consultations taking place in NATO. It can be argued that this is understandable, since the EEC aims eventually at a political union. But even if this is so, one should remember that the political objectives of NATO in a board sense, ecompassing also collective defense and equilibrium, detente and stability in Europe, imply by their very nature the same degree of political interdependence and cohesion as the EEC. The second consideration is that the EEC consultations are distracting from the need to consult between NATO members. What happens very often is that, once the members of the Common Market have discussed an issue among themselves, the United States is consulting with one or some members of the EEC and the NATO process is forgotten. In most international organisations and forums, as well as in various capitals, consultations among representatives of NATO countries have ceased to be practiced. In some forums, consultations among NATO members take place after consultations within the EEC and tend, therefore, to duplicate them in a perfunctory manner.

The strengthening and further development of EEC is certainly in the interest of the North Atlantic Alliance as a whole. No NATO country, non-member of the EEC can therefore oppose the close links between members of the EEC and their desire to harmonize their positions prior to consultations among all NATO countries. But no useful purpose is served if this process is used in a way which erodes the substance of the process of consultations in NATO. In matters which come also under the purview of NATO con­sultations, it should be equally in the interest of EEC members to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the views of non-EEC NATO countries before reaching joint EEC positions. In such instances, EEC  countries  can  perhaps  have  some  preliminary  consultations, but postpone the formulation of  joint or coordinated positions until after an exchange of views has taken place in NATO. On the other hand, on questions which are more related to NATO than EEC, the process of consultations can be conducted directly within the NATO Alliance,

  1. The Guadelupe typ of exclusive summit meetings affect consultations both in NATO and the EEC. That the United States, France, the Federal Republic of Germany and the United Kingdom, by virtues of their political, military and economic power, have greater responsibility in the international arena cannot be disputed. Close bilateral contacts between Heads of Government of these countries and harmony between their policies can only enhance the influence and effectiveness of NATO. But an institutional pro­cess of consultations “a quatre” or “a cinq” is another matter. This is found to create misgivings among smaller members which are understandably opposed to the idea of a kind of directoire of big powers. Even if they are subsequently briefed extensively, those countries will feel that some aspects of restricted consultations have been withheld from them or that they have been denied the opportunity of presenting their views before important decisions af­fecting them individually and the Alliance as a whole have been taken. There is a strong case, therefore, for abandoning Guadelupe type summit meetings unless there is a compelling reason for holding them.
  2. In its fourth decade, the Alliance will continue to be indis­pensable for the security of its members, and as an instrument which enable them to achieve their common political purposes.

In a rapidly changing world, in order to fulfill its mission, the Alliance will need to display more dynamism, more adaptability and a greater political cohesion. The Alliance has so far successfully met several challenges. But under existing conditions and in view of prospective political changes, political cooperation is  bound to become increasingly important.

Visits: 391





The “Atlantic Community” is an expression of  the unity of destiny and the identity of interest between the United States, Canada and Europe brought forth by the Second World War. The frictions, which have been intensified from time to time, between some European powers and the United States may lead to conclusions contrary to this reality.

Muharrem Nuri Birgi

(*) Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy” Vol.3, No. 4


One of the most important realities brought forth by the Second World War and its aftermath is that unity of destiny and the identity of interest between the United States, Canada and Europe constitute a lasting geo­political fact and precept. The term “Atlantic Community”  is, therefore, an expression of this reality.

A near-sighted look at the frictions, which have been intensified from time to time during recent years, between some European powers and the United States may lead to conclusions contrary to this reality. However, ninety per cent of these frictions result from endeavours made not to des­troy the Atlantic Community but to adapt it to various developing condi­tions. Yet, if errors accumulate, long-term aims shall have been sacrificed in favour of short-term appearances, and if the dangers are ignored, this process of adaptation may be replaced by explosions and divisions. Des­pite the strength of the logic ordained by geo-political realities, history contains many examples of deviations from the path of reality simply be­cause of lack of wisdom.

The concept of the Atlantic Community has in the North Atlantic Trea­ty Organization found its most comprehensive and effective legal and political expression and military organization.

Within its overall political balance, Turkey has secured the support and cooperation required both for its development and security by basing its place in the Atlantic Community on legal foundations, through its membership in the Council of Europe and associate membership in the Common Market on one hand and through its entry into NATO on the other. Yet, a number of developments are taking place both within Europe and in the relations between Europe and the United States. In the face of these developments what is the present position of Turkey and the state of the foundations on which it has based its policy?

The principal points of  these developments may be sketched as follows :


1 – The arrival, following the Second World War, at a point of maxi­mum solidarity and togetherness in the Atlantic Community within the fra­mework of NATO, from the military standpoint, and through the Marshall Plan, as well as a number of bilateral treaties, from the economic view­point.

2 -Then came a gradual attempt to show the cooperation with theUnited States and its military protection as an American domination over Europe, with the increasing frictions between the two shores of the At­lantic and the transformation of these frictions into a viscious circle through increasing economic and technological rivalries.

3The continuation of two divergent currents among the advanced European powers, one aiming at the realization of the United Europe and the other creating obstacles for this unity – due to economic rivalries and attempts at establishing political superiority – runnning parallel to, and in­teracting with the frictions and rivalries which I mentioned above.

For the Western powers, which had come out of the Second World War in a state of utter exhaustion, two vital necessities existed in all their gravity : to achieve an early economic recovery, and to reach the capa­bility of resisting an invasion by Soviet Russia, the danger of which had be­come imminent. While all these needs were secured by the United States through NATO, the Marshall Plan and several bilateral treaties, the pri­celess value of this tremendous protection and assistance of the United States could not but have psychologically crushing, and even in certain respects irritating, aspects. However, so long as a fear for life, and eco­nomic exhaustion dominated the picture, this aspect of the matter was hardly felt.

The unprecedented economic and technological development of Wes­tern Europe and the success of Soviet Russia in transforming the Cold War, which carried with it the danger of a real hot war at any moment, into a form of detente, pushed the fear for life into the background (in many circles it altogether disappeared), and economic and technological rivalry began between the United States and the advanced European pow­ers, which not only no longer needed American assistance, but had reached its level in many fields.

At the same time, a situation began to develop, of direct interest to Turkey. The attitude of highly advanced powers in Western Europe to­wards their developing European allies began to change. Time has shown that the principal factor leading the highly developed powers in Western Europe to firmly embrace their less developed allies within NATO, as far as possible under conditions of equality, was the fear for life created by the probability of an armed invasion by Soviet Russia. In actual fact, this danger of Soviet invasion has not at the present day been eliminated. But as I pointed out above, Soviet propaganda has, with an excellent knowledge of the weaknesses of the West, succeeded in wrapping the Cold War, which presented the danger of turning into hot war, with the cloak of detente. Today, no one can claim that any one of the NATO countries is facing the danger of becoming a victim of an armed Soviet invasion in a matter of days or months-and possibly years. Yet, the frightening scale of increase in Soviet arms, their establishment of naval superiority in all seas and their failure to end activities for creating division among the allies and particularly for separating Europe from America and for destroying every one of them from within, their failure to refuse to go beyond a certain point in both discussions for mutual arms reductions and for the estab­lishment of security and their anxiousness to maintain at such points mi­litary and political superiority to the other side-in other words to weaken the other party – should be considered as evidences to dissuade everyone from claiming that the danger of Soviet invasion is over. Particularly those countries geographically in critical locations are compelled not to over­look the possibility that this danger may, all of a sudden, turn again into an armed invasion.

However, at this moment, particularly in highly developed western countries, the existing detente is considered by the majority as an irre­vocable step towards peace. A large portion of those who are not so opti­mistic wish to believe that through untiring political pressure and leader­ship in setting a good example, and by establishing a political and psych­ological atmosphere of security, the arms may indeed be reduced some day; in other words, putting the cart before the horse, they wish to believe that instead of establishing security through a genuine disarmament, it would be easier to get the parties to drop their arms by creating an at­mosphere of security through a number of promises regarding the observ­ance of human rights, non-agression and friendship. In this miscalcula­tion of the existing dangers and over-optimism, much influence is due to the younger generations which have not gone through the chilling exper­iences of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, and who listen to the story of those days as if they are listening to a dull lecture of a pedantic professor.

All these have contributed, in the developed western countries, to pushing matters of defense into the background, and bringing economic and technological problems to the foreground. The situation being as it is, the highly developed western powers have started to play the part of a sort  of  first-class  United  Europe among themselves,  throwing   aside or drawing in their wake those who happen to be less fortunate in economic development.

The countries which have made great progress in commerce, industry, economy and technology certainly have problems to discuss and resolve among themselves. In fact, within the Common Market there are countries like «the Nine» on one side, and other associate members like Turkey which are candidates for full membership – countries which through their own volition have agreed to become full members after a certain period of time. However, the Nine have expanded the nature of their communion. There is today an institutionalized Nine. Their ministers or prime ministers meet officially not only to discuss economic matters but also to resolve political and military problems and to determine a joint basis for discus­sions with the United States on political and military matters.

To express it nakedly, those members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (including Turkey) which are outside the Nine are now faced with the fait acompli that a number of questions are either presented to the NATO Council in an already well-defined manner as predetermined by the Nine, or these could be put into execution even without consulting NATO. We hear that the Nine inform their NATO allies which are not among the Nine of matters they have discussed if and when they consider it appropriate. There is no need to stress that this can never be accepted as satisfactory.

If in the course of relations between Europe and the United States – which I will deal with a little later – there is a necessity for a number of prior consultations and preparations among the Europeans – not to es­tablish a front against the United States but to enhance the existing cooperation – there is a Eurogroup within NATO formed for this purpose. This should provide a medium, and not a treaty within the treaty, for those European Allies who might wish to come together regularly to discuss the sharing of defense expenditures, manufacture of arms, etc., and naturally Americans and Canadians should be regularly kept informed. Why then have not the Nine considered this procedure adequate and why have they turned themselves into a separate institution? Here it becomes necessary to make an analysis of the French attitude.

France, even before de Gaulle, had considered itself as the leader of Europe. This claim has lead France to conflicts from time to time with Britain and Germany. Ever since de Gaulle’s advent to power, the French political scene has been dominated by the conviction that the prerequisite for establishing French supremacy in Europe was getting American hands off Europe. Even after de Gaulle’s death, in other words today, this con­tinues to be so. This policy, which exceeds the potential of France, has made its most evident effect felt within NATO. The well-known de Gaulle statements, could be summed up as follows : “The North Atlantic Treaty and its organization, NATO, are separate things. I am staying in the Treaty, but I am withdrawing from NATO, that is, from the military organization and integration of the Treaty.” France has advanced a unilateral theory which is extremely hard to defend logically and legally. Without with­drawing its hands completely from the NATO military organization, i.e. by mainting contact through a number of observers and through other for­mulas, France has established a “national strike force” including nuclear arms but having a limited practical value. In defense of its action France argued openly or by implication that the United States could not be trusted; therefore one had to rely on national forces and that Europe should have a nuclear force independent of the United States. In reality, however, the membership of France within the military organization of NATO was not at all an obstacle to France’s developing a nuclear strike force of its own. In fact, Great Britain has a nuclear force which is at least as big as that of France, but Great Britain has not left the NATO inte­gration. Moreover, while de Gaulle stated that Europe should have its own force he did not conceal that France would not agree to share its own nuclear force with other European countries.

My purpose is not to criticize the French policy but merely to state the reason why the «Nine» behave as if they have thrown NATO aside. Since, in order to reach a common position in a community, it is customary to reach an agreement on the basis of the maximum acceptable to the dissenting partner, the dominant view among the «Nine» has generally been that of France, which does not participate in the Eurogroup within NATO and which claims that since, where the United States is present its views weigh heavily, European issues should be discussed only in those parleys where the United States is not present. Recently a French paper, referring to the tightening of the rope by the French Foreign Minister al­most to the breaking point on every occasion, stated that this might lead France’s allies to get used to acting eventually without France. Considering the position of France within the West European community, this guess may not be one hundred per cent true, but in certain matters, one may think, it is not absolutely wrong either.

Looking at the present state of the «Nine», quarrelling on almost every economic issue, anxieties of superiority and egotism making themselves apparent in political matters, one might think that such a community should not be highly effective and could in any case hardly replace the NATO Council. This would be a shortsighted conclusion and should not  be an excuse for Turkey  to remain outside  the door of the  «Nine»  as far as political and military matters are concerned. Since Turkey is not yet a full member of the Common Market, it may not be possible for it to demand full participation in all meetings of the Nine. However, a sui generis practical solution can be found for its participation in discussions on such vital issues as defence, security, East-West relations, and the future of European unity. We are living in an age of empiricism and pragmatism; in politics a way out can always be found to every problem when there is a will. This problem, which is a simple one, should be no exception in this general atmosphere of pragmatism. Casting aside the doubts on the efficacy of the «Nine», there is a problem of principle : if we are a part of Europe and if we are a member of the Atlantic Community, all that this necessitates should be carried out. The problem is beyond being an issue of pride or prestige. It is a matter of serving the needs of our foreign policy and of our basic interests.

In saying this I fully realize that alongside what the «Nine» should do for us, we sould not forget that there are many things we also have to do. To become part of the community formed by the developed members of the Atlantic Community, which is the brain and main source of the present civilization where technology, industry, commerce and culture play an ex­tremely important role, requires an early approach to their level of devel­opment. Otherwise, there are bound to be differences between us, and the effects of these differences will be felt at the most unexpected moments. It is hard to say that the present development and progress of Turkey rep­resents the maximum of its potential. We have to mobilize, in a scientific and systematic manner, all our energy and means because the time is over for consoling ourselves by boasting of some results obtained here and there.

In this connection I wish to add my belief that considerations such as “does Turkey belong to the West or to the East? Turkey should choose one” refer not to the conditions of today but to those of the past centuries, because, with the elimination of sense of distance, comrnunication be­coming a matter of moments, and civilizations interacting with each other, the division of the world into parts such as Europe, Asia, etc. has almost become meaningless in many respects. Today even the most fanatical states accept modern technology and the way of living composed by it. The only way for us is the one followed by almost all the countries of the world: i.e. to attain a level of industry, trade and culture which allows everyone in the country to benefit from prosperity. We believe that the most abundant possibilities and methods for attaining this are to be found in the Atlantic Community, of which we are a part thanks to the opportun­ity created by our geo – political position. We have to make up for the time lost without delay.

I would like to pass over now to the relations between Europe and the United States.

There is still not a unified European position, attitude or voice. As I pointed out above there is a French position which is unique and which can even be described as anti-European unity in some respects. Even within Benelux (Belgium, Holland, and Luxemburg) sometimes different voices are heard. Although Germany and Great Britain have common points, they also differ in details.

Despite all these differences, in European countries – even including France in certain respects – and in the United States, there is a conviction that both sides depend on each other. !n the beginning of my article I stat­ed that the Atlantic Community was a constant geo-political reality re­vealed by the Second World War. This reality creates the hope that cer­tain frictions that now exist between the developed European powers and the United States have after all a ceiling; in other words, the rope may be tightened but it will not break. The fact that even France does not object to the stationing of American Military Forces in Europe and feels it ne­cessary to state its attachment to the North Atlantic Treaty might be considered as a sign of hope in that respect.

Immediately after the Second World War, a sort of balance was es­tablished between the worn-out Europe and the United States, a super­power which played the role of a protective parent – a relationship between the protector and the protected. Now what is involved between the enriched group of European powers claiming a personality and the United States is a balance of partnership. The difference between the two situations can be reduced if realism prevails over mutual sensitivity. Then a trouble – free transition from one to the other would become possible. Furthermore, its status of super power gives United States a position of su­periority vis-a-vis European powers, which are unable to unite and coor­dinate their energies, and the assessment of the measure of this superi­ority brings forth a number of highly delicate issues.

A review of the current points of friction would reveal that most of these are between the developed countries and the United States. In other words, these are not problems of direct concern to Turkey, but, without any doubt, in the long run these will a!so concern Turkey, or at least their effects will be felt by us.

It is remarkable that even the proposal made last year by Mr. Kissen-ger for a new Atlantic Declaration and for sharing the burden of NATO de­fenses, which interests Turkey highly, smells of the current frictions between the United States and developed countries, in fact, the idea of a new Atlantic Declaration aims at eliminating the poisonous effects of the current frictions by sharing the NATO defense burden with developed countries and treating NATO defense matters as a whole together with economic and monetary issues.

My purpose in pointing out some peculiarities of the situation is only to emphasize that due to our position, which is not in direct conflict with the United States, there would be very rare occasions on which we would find ourselves in a situation compelling us to take sides in the disputes between the two coasts of the Atlantic. By saying this I do not mean that we should stand aside. On the contrary, in many cases, particularly as regards the Kissinger proposal I mentioned above, we have always to be very active. There may even be a possibility for us to act as a mediator.

The frictions between some developed European powers or groups of powers should not lead us to a search of conscience by attempting to answer such questions as “whether we should prefer the United States to Europe or Europe to the United States”. The policy that suits Turkey’s in­terests best is the Atlantic policy, as a Europe without the United States or a United States without Europe will always represent for us a lame and crippled policy. Such a policy has two fields of application : one is NATO and the other our bilateral relations.

The policy which we have been following for many years now cannot be described otherwise. However, implementation of this policy has not been adequately fruitful due to a number of rather psychological comp­lexes on our part.

I wish to conclude my article by enumerating these complexes :

  • — We turn our backs to issues which are not or do not seem to be convenient to us; whereas we should be interested or should take part in a number of situations or issues which are inconvenient to us; their feared harmful effects can only be eliminated or alleviated in this manner, not by leaving the field free for others.
  • — From time to time we restrict or blunt our initiatives by asking such outdated and senseless questions as “East? or West?” as I men­tioned above.
  • — Both within NATO and within the field of our overall policy we are interested in a problem only if and when it has an aspect that would affect us in an immediate future, in many instances, with the resulting passivity we have practically made ourselves forgotten.
  • — In a number of cases we have turned our attention to an issue only after it has matured and become hard to change, and thus we have become constant complainers.

5 — Generally our policy remains at the «defensive» level; i.e., we have generally found it convenient to prevent ripening developments or state our objections and work on the initiatives of others without making counter proposals of our own for the solution of the problems at hand.

It is possible for us to keep in step with the tempo of Western dip­lomacy, which is in continuous development, through a number of confer­ences, proposals, counter proposals, and official as well as unofficial contacts and communications, because we have enough men to succeed in this type of work if used properly.

Visits: 312

35. Anniversary Issue – Cold War Years -Seyfi Taşhan

Cold War Years


Seyfi Taşhan

Foreign policy formation in the United States is not always determined solely by military exigencies and Turkish-U.S. relations are affected generally from other overriding variable factors. There are four dates which signify turning points in the Turkish-U.S. relations. A review of what has happened on those dates would indicate the ups and downs of the Turkish-U.S. relations.


 I believe there are four dates which signify turning points in the Turkish-U.S. relations. A review of what has happened on those dates would indicate the ups and downs of the Turkish-U.S. rela­tions and how statesmen of both countries have addressed them­selves to the issues.

The first significant date is January 18, 1927 when the United States Senate, by six votes short, rejected the Treaty of Lausanne under the pressure of strong Armenian and church opposition which prevailed under an atmosphere of partisan political struggle. The Treaty, which ran almost parallel to the other Lausanne Treaty signed between Turkey and her former enemies, sought to regula­rize Turkey’s diplomatic relations with the United States, ended ca­pitulations and brought most favored nation treatment principles. At that time the Turkish reaction was expressed by Kemal Atatürk. As quoted by Ambassador Joseph Grew Atatürk said there was no foundamental reason why the United States and Turkey should not exist in complete harmony. He could not understand, however. «how it was possible in a country where culture and civilization form the keynote of the social fabric of the nation, that a fanatical minority could impose its will on an enlightened majority.»

This Congressional attitude, however, did not prevent the estab­lishment of diplomatic relations, nor did it assume a permanent character of hostility on the part of the U.S. Congress, although anti-Turkish propaganda has continued on and off to blacken the Turkish image in the United States.

In the subsequent years it was possible to maintain mutually satisfactory relations because the basic objective of the United Sta­tes was confined to the protection of its traditional missionary, phi­lanthropic, cultural and economic interests in Turkey. Since U.S. was politically disinterested until the Second World War in the Middle East, there was no conflict of interest. During the same period United States was a good trade partner for Turkey’s traditional agri­cultural products. In the 1923-1941 the balance of trade between the two countries every year favored Turkey. From 1920s to 1939, the political non-involvement of the United States was a factor of great weight in determining the American role in the Turkish eco­nomic development. One interesting constant picture has been the nature of Turkish exports to the United States. Tobacco accounted for 73 % of Turkish exports to the United States in 1938 and in 1976 it accounted for almost  90 % of Turkey’s exports to the same country.

The United States was in the second place as the purchaser of Turkish goods, and seventh as an exporter to Turkey. Capital goods constituted fifty per cent of American exports. Outside one or two still-born attempts, U.S. capital Investments in Turkey, were negligible. The reasons given for this, lies more in the Turkish atti­tude towards foreign capital. The new republic, which was still under the shadows of the Ottoman capitulations, “tended to judge con­siderations of a national character from a political, rather than from an economical standpoint.” I believe this observation still maintains its validity.

In the international political scene there was not any major problem or conflict between the United States interests and those of Turkey. It might be worthwhile to mention, though, the United States attitude concerning the Turkish Straits. This attitude was initially formulated by President Wilson in his program for Peace of January 8 ,1918. In Point Twelve dealing with the Ottoman Empire he said in part: “… and the Dardanelles should be permanently ope­ned as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.” In early 1930s when Turkey be­came rather concerned with the security of the Straits due to the rise of the power of the Axis and informed the signatories of the Lausanne Treaty of its intention to revise the status, it also infor­med the United States. The United States then thought that it had no treaty right, direct or indirect with respect to the Straits Conven­tion or any concern with  the military and political aspects of the

problem. U.S. maintained this position until the end of the Second World War.

The United States attitude towards the Middle East and Turkey began to change somewhat during the Second World War. By the beginning of the War, Turkey had a clear idea of the intentions and ambitions of Stalin concerning both the Turkish Straits and the revival of Tsarist ambitions to reach “warm waters”. Turkey was also threatened by Mussolini and the expansionist danger of Nazi Germany. In order not to be dragged into the war from which Turkey had no chance of coming out intact and independent, Turkish leaders were forced to play the delicate policy of balance. On December 3, 1941 President Roosevelt extended “lend-lease” assistance to Turkey. In 1944 he declared that the United States had vital interests in the Middle East, although the British Government was held responsible for Allied actions in the area. The “lend-lease” was not made subject of an agreement between the two countries but during the War Turkey continued to receive American defense material and services. An agreement was signed only on February 23,1945 which stipulated that the aid would terminate at the end of the War, which was soon to come, and Turkey would be left only to whatever military aid she could get from Great Britain.

During the War, against Turkish worries about Russia, the U.S. interest was focused on the war with the Axis and Japan and a somewhat wishful-thinking prevailed about the Soviet Union. It is for this reason that the U.S. had a benevolent attitude at Yalta and Postdam towards Soviet requests concerning the Turkish Straits. Furthermore, the United States did not favor the entry of Turkey into active war against Germany. In 1944, the United States Chief of Staff indicated their approval in principle but warned that the United States should not be committed to military, naval or air support of any campaign in the Balkans. This was due to U.S. concentration on the Western Front.


The second date which marks another milestone in Turkish-U.S. relations is March 12, 1947 when President Truman announced his famous Doctrine in a joint sitting of the U.S. Congress. The proclamation of this Doctrine not only marked a change In U.S.- Turkish relations but in the global policies of the U.S. as well. I need not outline here at length the details of the developments that led to this change, but refer briefly to several points which culminated in the reassessment of the U.S. policies.

It was as far back as in 1940. Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov had proposed Germany as the Soviet price for collaboration with the Axis, a new regime for the Turkish Straits, with bases and provision of joint defense and had declared that the center of gravity of Soviet policy and interest lay in the area south of Baku and Batum. The Soviet policy did not change after the War.

During the Potsdam Conference, Soviet Union wanted to have the question of Straits and Soviet territorial demands on Turkey to be taken up directly between Turkey and the Soviet Union. While President Truman disagreed with the first, he agreed that the latter could be resolved between the two countries.

The change in the U.S. credulence in peaceful intentions of the Soviet Union did not come abruptly. First, change came in 1945 when the United States came close to Turkish view regarding the Russian demands on the Turkish Straits and in 1946, U.S. began to be interested in the territorial integrity of Turkey. On April 6, 1946 on the occasion of the Army Day, President Truman expressed U.S. interest in the Middle East area where he stressed no country had interests which could not be reconciled with those of other nations through the United Nations. The same day U.S. battleship Missouri was paying a visit to İstanbul. As early as in January 1946 President Truman was convinced that the Soviets intended to attack Turkey. Unless they were “faced with an iron fist and strong language, another war was in making.”

Soviet pressures on Turkey, which were conducted in keeping with Lenin’s famous teaching: “In a bayonet attack when you hit mush continue; when you hit rock withdraw,” did not disappear but res­cinded in the face of the resolute attitude of the Turkish Government and people, and the reaction of the United States and Great Britain. The change of attitude of the United States did not originate from Soviet menace on Turkey alone. The Soviets had probably overplay­ed their hands in the entire area. Greece was immersed in a civil war, where the Communists seemed determined to take over, and in Iran they were attempting to set up pro-Soviet regional governments. It was the regional character of the Soviet challenge that actually led to American action to defend Greece, Turkey and Iran.

For a white there was a division of opinion in the United States concerning military support to Turkey. Britain had expressed its de­cision to abondon their military aid to Turkey. George Kennan, one of President Truman’s major foreign policy advisors was of the op­inion that emphasis should have been placed on “firmness of dip­lomatic stance, not on military preparations.” His fear was that U.S. military aid might provoke Soviet aggression. However, the United States did in the end decide to come to provide military aid to Tur­key. Kennan suspected that “what had really happened was that the Pentagon had exploited a favorable set of circumstances in or­der to infiltrate a military aid program for Turkey in what was sup­posed to be primarily a political and economic program for Greece.”

Nevertheless, in his message to the U.S. Congress on March 12, 1947 President Truman was announcing his Doctrine by declaring that the United States was prepared to assist both Greece and Tur­key in defending their independence. If Greece fell under the cont­rol of an armed minority its effect on Turkey would be immediate and serious and confusion and disorder might well spread throughout the Middle East. For this purpose he asked an allocation of four hundred million dollars of aid to be spent for supporting the shat­tered economy of Greece and provide military aid both to Turkey and Greece. Deterrence against Soviet armed aggression had become one of the general goals of the United States foreign policy. Mars­hall Plan, Korean War, formation of NATO, CENTO and SEATO in the following years might be considered as concrete steps towards this foreign policy goal on which there seemed to be a general public consensus in the United States. As far as Turkey was concerned, Truman Doctrine did not have the effect of an alliance which the Turks felt was necessary for two basic reasons: First, the deterrence quality of the Turkish-U.S. military cooperation would be enhanced, and secondly, the volatility of the U.S. public opinion on matters con­cerning Turkey might once again play a trick and Turkey might have been abondoned. Therefore, Turkey looked on to NATO as an ins­trument that would secure alliance with the United Satetes. Di­sappointment was great when Turkey was left outside NATO when it was formed. The United States undertook only to “accord friendly and careful consideration to the security problem of the Turkish Republic.” European partners of NATO were also against the exten­sion of the Pact to include Turkey. The objections that are being ad­vanced today in some European countries against the inclusion of Turkey in the European Community were put forward between 1949 and 1951 against Turkey’s admission to NATO. These objections ranged from strategy to religion. However, Turkish participation In the Korean War and the skillful diplomacy that was followed culminated in the membership of both Turkey and Greece within NATO. Turkey looked towards NATO membership as establishing a defini­tely Western identity long cherished by Atatürk, considered U.S. al­liance as the greatest and best support for Turkey’s economic and security problems and in fact gave predominance to Allied interests which were considered as Turkish interests as well.

The Americans were given almost a free hand, with bi-lateral executive agreements, in making whatever defense and security arrengements they deemed necessary, including permission to build military bases and allow U-2 flights and station nuclear warheads. The Turkish mlitary forces were standardized on American patterns and the entirety of it were placed at the disposal of NATO. During that period Turkey and the United States cooperated for the conc­lusion of the Baghdad Pact, which became after Iraqi revolution, CENTO. Turkey tried, with the Balkan Pact to provide some security to Marshall Tito. It is admitted that while Turkey provided full sup­port to and laid emphasis on its relations with the United States, it ignored the sentiments and feelings of its neighbours, especially Arabs, and its action to organise a regional defense system under the Baghdad Pact became counter-productive with the extension of Soviet influence to the Arab World by-passing Turkey.

In the economic field, as from 1950, Turkey adopted the principles of liberal economy in the hope that integration with Western economies and the assistance to be provided by Turkey’s allies would enable her to achieve rapid economic development and inc­rease the welfare of the Turkish people who had long suffered eco­nomic deprivation.

While Turkey had obtained the military support and cooperation from the United States both in the form of Treaty guarantees and in actual fact, there was a difference of understanding and concept regarding the sense of alliance between Turks and Americans. As Ambassador Parker T. Hart points out “arkadaş”, the Turkish word for friend and ally, literally means “the one who walks behind you” i.e. to protect your back. «For twenty five years the attachment of the Turkist people to the United States was that of the “arkadaş”, affectionate, grateful and ready for sacrifices. Yet, the United States looked on the alliance with Turkey not in this sense but in the sense of cooperation with a basically alien country for limited purposes. This conceptual difference as well as inability of the Turks to meas­ure politics in terms of economy, created a number of difficulties. The United States was not prepared to underwrite the financial cost of a rapid development of Turkish economy. It was ready to provide whatever economic assistance it had to in order to keep Turkey away from economic collapse. In 1950’s Turkey’s attempts to bring American private capital in substantial quantities failed, and Turkey was led from one foreign exchange bottleneck to another. For vari­ous factors, the United States, instead of providing more assistance on a regular basis, pressured Turkey to reduce the rate of its eco­nomic development and change its priorities from more consumption to more exports and tourism. This basic attitude still continues to be a source of friction in the present decade.



The third date which is from the Turkish viewpoint a milestone and signify a change in the character of the Turkish-U.S. relations is June 4, 1964 when President Lyndon Johnson wrote to Pri­me Minister İnönü “…Furthermore, a military intervention in Cyprus by Turkey could lead to a direct involvement by the Soviet Union. I hope you will understand that your NATO Allies have not had the chance to consider whether they have an obligation to protect Turkey against the Soviet Union if Turkey takes a step which results in Soviet inter­vention without the full consent and understanding of its NATO allies.”

Only seven years ago when Soviet Union was extensively arming Syria, Turkey had taken certain defensive military measures along her frontiers. These measures had infuriated the Russians and in an interview on October 9, 1957 Mr. Kruschev had said that if a war broke out, Turkish resistance would not last even for one day. U.S. State Department has issued a statement the next day in which the U.S. Government had pledged itself that “if aggression took place against Turkey, U.S. would fulfill its obligations within NATO and aid Turkey with all its power.” Much had changed in the U.S. attitude.

Until the end of 1963 Turkey’s leaders had not only maintained their fullfledged and almost blind support of Western Alliance but at the same time had rendered service to U.S. interests in the region even though some of these interests had clashed with Turkey’s regional interests. Johnson’s letter, obviously written in haste, reflected a shift in the U.S. priorities and in assessment of threat resulting from Khruschev’s policy of “peaceful co-existence”, brought certain perplexities to Turkish minds on the very nature of its ties with the West and even on its own identitiy card. Questions began to be asked loudly in the Turkish public opinion whether Turkey had been placing too much reliance on Western and U.S. alliance, There is no doubt that President Johnson’s letter had initiated a chain of course corrections in the conduct of Turkish foreign policy, as well as certain new currents in Turkish domestic policies.

There are arguments that Johnson’s letter might have been given more emphasis than it really deserves. For some people, it is quite clear that on the question of Cyprus, the United States was bent to­wards supporting the Greek case, and Presidnet Johnson had cho­sen to blackmail Turkey to accept a de facto situation. On the other hand, the supporters of his action would claim that a Turkish-Greek conflict would in effect destroy the validity of the Atlantic Alliance in the region. Both arguments have certain justification. There is no doubt that there is a basic difference in the United States attitude towards Greece and Turkey. The existence and influence of the Greek community in the United States and intermingled economic interests, not to mention historical attitudes towards Greece, establish a special bond of relationship between Americans and the Greeks. This added dimension had been neglected by the Turkish public opinion since many years. Turkey and Greece were included together in the Truman Doctrine, Marshall Plan, NATO and even were made associate members of the European Economic Community and they were treated equally. As regards Cyprus, Turks had expected equal treatment, too. Until 1964 U.S. attitudes had been equitable. Turks were realizing that Western attachment to Greece was so dear that they might even put the position of Turkey into jeopardy.

Later on, I will take this subject once again within the frame­work of principles guiding the relations of Turkey and the United States.

The realization that both the United States and West European powers would not take concrete steps in resolving the Cyprus ques­tion in an equitable way, brought a shift in the conduct of Turkish foreign policy. By perceptible degrees Turkey abondoned its mono­lithic pro-U.S. and Western stance and entered into a phase of a multi-faceted policy. Turkey decided to respond favorably to Soviet overtures which had been continuing since Stalin’s death in 1953 for a rapprochment between the two countries. Turkey tried to improve its ties with the Third World countries, the Arab World and the Socia­list bloc. I would call the period after 1964 a phase of disengage­ment in Turkish-U.S. relations. While NATO adopted the flexible res­ponse strategy, the United States began its low profile policies. In the process of detente that actually began to encompass relations in Europe, the American debacle in Vietnam, the advent of EEC, China and Japan, the changes in weapons technology, the rise of Soviet naval power were factors that changed the international cli­mate and led to reassessment of international relations and strategic doctrines. In 1967 the renewed Cyprus crisis and the Vance mission partially satisfied Turkish objectives but these did not bring a solu­tion to the question which flared up once again in 1974. I distinctly remember talking to an American diplomat on the day President Nixon signed Moscow declarations which initiated detente process in 1972. He asked me, “Now, that U.S. and Soviet Union ended the Cold-War what will Turkey do?”

The last turning point I will mention is 1974. Not July and August 1974 when Turks landed and carried out two military operations in Cyprus, but December 18, 1974 when the United States Congress im­posed an arms embargo on Turkey effective from February 5, 1975. Once again clock had been turned back to 1927, The United States Congress under the influence of the Greek lobby had dealt a heavy blow on Turkish-U.S. relations. Atatürk’s incredulity in 1927 once again dominated Turkish minds. This time though, more effectively, because in 1927 there were no security relationships between Turkey and United States, and the two countries were not allies. In any event, the two situations had certain similarities. The Turkish reac­tion to the Congress’ action this time was more profound also for another reason. That is the pluralist nature of the Turkish society. This character had reduced the freedom of action of statesmen In Turkey in overcoming the harmful political implications of the em­bargo. Nevertheless, it was up to the statesmen of both countries to overcome the effects of the embargo motivated crisis in our re­lations. I would say they have succeeded by their sober and far-sighted actions and cooperation to eliminate substantially the crisis stage of our relationship, although it must be admitted that it will never be possible to return to the days of euphoria that prevailed during the fifties and early sixties.

By referring to four dates which marked substantial changes in the Turkish-U.S. relations I tried also to give a rough idea of the history of these relations during the past fifty years. To put it briefly, these relations turned from friendly relations between two distant countries, into a partnership and alliance which in turn became as George Harris termed it a “troubled alliance”. There is no dispute in both countries on the vital necessity of this alliance, but outside that, there seems to be many differences. It would be necessary therefore, to dwell  briefly on the nature of national aims and coin­cidence of interests, point out divergencies and try to explain inhe­rent and artificial influences that cause distortions in our relations.

In a Congressional document in mid-seventies the fundamental national security aims of the United States in the Mediterranean and the Middle East were explained on the basis of the following constants: General Goals: – Deter Soviet armed aggression against the United States, NATO, Europe and the Middle East-Project sufficient power to defend effectively if deterrence fails. Specific Goals: – Secure NATO’s south flank – Encourage stability in the Middle East – Support Israel – Maintain free world supply lines in the Mediterranean – Ensure continued access to Middle East oil.

From the United States point of view what is the roie of Turkey for the pursuit of U.S. national security objectives? Out of the de­bates complicated by lobby influences and public ignorance on de­tails what should be clear ideas are somewhat blurred from time to time. I would like to quote a few excerpts from a speech delivered by Vice President Mondale when he was a senator in 1974. Senator Mondale was speaking in the heat of the opium debate. Proposing a total economic and military embargo on Turkey, Senator Mondale invited the U.S. Administration to give reconsideration to the strategic situation : “Our relations with the Arab countries have markedly improved” he said. “We are no longer clinging to the Northern edge of the Eastern Mediterranean. We are homeporting naval vessels in Greece which enables us to offset the expansion in the Soviet Navy’s Mediterranean deployment. Our alliance in NATO has done nothing to curb the Soviet naval build up in the Mediterranean even though their life-line runs right through the Bosporus…. It is impor­tant to recognize that we cannot use our bases in Turkey except when Turkey is at war with the Soviet Union. Otherwise they are worthless. During the Arab-Israeli war of October 1973, the Turks permitted the Soviet Union to overfly Turkey to resupply the Arabs, but would not let us use our bases to refuel our reconnaissance aircraft. This example of favoritism to the Soviet Union provides a measure of how much our so called strategic position in Turkey Is worth. In the remote case of a conflict with the Soviet Union, our bases would be used to support the Turks. We apparently do not consider this threat imminent since a good portion of the U.S. air­craft in Turkey are based half of the time in Spain. We do not plan to mount strategic attacks on the Soviet Union from Turkey. In terms of overall strategic nuclear deterrence our bases there are obsolete. Their real utility is to deter local aggression against Turkey. The Turks are not doing us a favor by letting us have the bases. It is other way round. The alleged strategic value of Turkey should no longer control our decisions in this age of strategic missiles, intelligence satellites, detente with the Soviet Union and rapprochement with the Arabs. It is not worth the kind of bargain in which we give Turkey almost a quarter of a billion dollars in economic and military assis­tance.” On the question of opium, Senator Mondale and his collea­gues did not succeed but at the end of the same year they succee­ded to impose a military embargo on the occasion of Turkey’s in­tervention in Cyprus using more or less similar reasoning.

In the military terms, the value o! Turkey for the U.S. is evalua­ted in a different way by military circles. Prof. Albert Wohlstetter considers Turkey’s presence in NATO useful at least for the follo­wing reasons: Turkey’s participation in NATO sharply increases Soviet force requirements for Bulgarian or combined Bulgarian-So­viet attacks on Greece. Even if Turkish forces were less actively involved, they would tie down considerable strength in the Black Sea, Balkan and Caucasus fronts. This could be true so long as the Soviets could not be sure of Turkish neutrality. As regards NATO’s southern flank, he says, if flanks are neutralized by political or mili-tary action, an adversary can concentrate more massively against the center. The defense of the center cannot be separated from the flank. Referring to potential role of Turkey in the case of a U.S.-Soviet conflict in the Middle East, Professor Wohlstetter points out that if the Soviets can overfly Turkey at will, they can cut out in half the time needed to deploy forces by air to an objective near the Gulf. Roughly the same time is true for deployments to Lebanon and Israel. Regarding the military and intelligence bases in Turkey, Professor Wohlstetter says: “lt should be stressed that we should not regard it as a choice so to speak, between technology and Tur­key. Many advanced and continually improved technologies can be used to great advantage from facilities in Turkey.” Military circles also point out that Turkey’s presence in the Alliance, makes Russian supply lines to Middle East insecure.

From these two arguments which I tried to quote emerge some conclusions:

While there is some controversy regarding the continued value of Turkey to strategic interests of the United States, the primary cause of U.S. involvement is nevertheless a military one closely related to  U.S. security  objectives in the region, as well as those  of NATO.

The motives that lead the United States to support Turkey within the context of the global and regional U.S. objectives may thus be summarized as follows :

  • From the military point of view Turkey’s cooperation with the United States is essential for the defense of the South flank of NATO.
  • From the point of view of S. interests in the Middle East i.e. defense of Israel and access to oil routes, unlimited Soviet passage rights over Turkey must be prevented.
  • Since intelligence equipment and possibilities in Turkey are as yet needed for observing Soviet compiance with SALT ag­reements and for other military intelligence, Turkey represents another asset which the S. military establishment wishes to preserve.
  • Finally, Turkey’s place within the Alliance makes Soviet supply routes to client states in Africa and the Middle East

These are the principal U.S. military and security interests in Tur­key and others may be added by the experts. However, foreign policy formation in the United States is not always determined solely by military exigencies and Turkish-U.S. relations are affected generally from other overriding variable factors. These could be summarized as follows:

  1. a) Perception of Threat:

The euphoria of detente of late sixties and early seventies passed away with the post-Helsinki Russian attitudes and increasing Soviet mi­litary potential. But it is obvious that the Soviets are still upprepared to risk a major military confrontation with the West, even though they ore nearing supremacy in strategic and conventional weapons Short of direct and overt menace it is not possible to secure a con­sensus in the United States on political aspects of military require­ments especially under post-Vietnam conditions. In the case of Tur­key, political opinion differs widely; so much so that the anti-Turkish lobby even challenges the military value of Turkey for the Western alliance.


  1. b) Changes of Strategy :

In the global confrontation between the Soviet power and the West, new weapons, technological developments, political conside­rations, international climate have caused continuous changes in strategies of both the United States and the Soviet Union. As a consequence, Turkey’s role in the United States strategies also keep changing. I will not get into details of these changes because of the scope of this paper; but, let me suffice by mentioning the fact that the U.S. military thinking consider some Turkish military postures which were assets in the past no longer so, to the disappointment of Turks.

  1. c) Perception of Turkey and the Turks:

Again there is no common perception of Turkey and the Turks in the United States. For the people of the United States, Turks and their aspirations, character and culture are little known. Their image is continuously blackened by traditionally anti-Turkish forces which have ways of influencing U.S. public. In the absence of an effective Turkish lobby and propaganda in the United States and since the U.S. people do not consider Turkey as a «parent» country like the rest of Western Europe, the task of defending Turkey and Turkey’s image is generally left to the executive branch of the U.S. Govern­ment in the hope that they will be able to defend Turkey because U.S. needs Turkish alliance. However, as we have seen in the past U.S. executive branch may often be over-ridden under tense domes­tic political climate or when anti-Turkish lobbies may become effec­tive also in the executive branch.

  1. Another negative factor has been the absence of a thorough appreciation of Turkey’s non-military role and capabilities in the region. The fact that Turkey has maintained a democratic form of go­vernment, respecting human rights, with an active free enterprise system, devoted to its economic and social development and full of peaceful intentions for her neighbours have received little atten­tion in the United States, despite the fact that U.S. support of un­popular regimes in the world has led from one debacle to another.
  2. S. has shown a definitive interest in the economic deve­lopment of Turkey and has provided substantial assistance which I will refer later; but neither in the economic sense nor in the military sense policies recommended, the amount and quality of aid were adequate to meet actual requirements for rapid development. I am ready to admit that on this subject a great part of the blame falls on the Turks for not having followed rational economic policies.
  3. f) There has never been, in the U.S. public and for a certain period in the U.S. Administration, too, an appreciation of the cons­traints imposed on Turkish foreign and security policy by the history and geography of the region, and Turkey’s objectives which became time to time counter-productive in Turkey’s relations with her neigh­bours or caused resentment in the Turkish public opinion. Some of these constraints are still not appreciated by the S. public and when these are translated into political action, there is an uproar in the U.S.

Having referred to the advantages and the negative aspects of Turkish-U.S. relations from U.S. standpoints, I would tike to tackle these relations from a Turkish stand point. I must caution, however, that the assessment I will present may be considered controversial by other Turkish participants.

At the end of the World War II, Turkey was faced with the follo­wing situation : Soviets were threatening Turkey with their territo­rial and political claims; the country had come out of the war im­poverished, even hungry, although it had not actually fought; the Western type institutions which Atatürk had introduced into the country had begun to take roots; Turkey’s Western allies and the United States were the victors and they were destined to lead in reshaping the post-war world.The U.S. had committed itself under the Truman Doctrine  to support Turkey against the Soviet menace.

All these factors led the Turkish leaders to search for military and economic cooperation with the United States, which was very eager and with Western Europe, even though they were not so eager. Turkey was ready to make every sacrifice in order to achieve full admission into the Western camp and pay for this purpose wha­tever political price imposed on it, in the hope that thanks to assis­tance to be received such sacrifices would be more than compen­sated with rise of standard of living of the Turkish people and se­curity obtained. Turkey was also eager to turn its economy and political regime into Western patterns despite the reticense of the Turkish bureaucracy and historically rooted public opinion objec­tions. U.S. advisors were brought in and U.S. military and eco­nomic aid  was  made  available.  Turkish  Army  was  well  equipped and trained on American standards and it was integrated in the NATO military structure. Turkey was admitted to the Council of Europe and NATO as a strong partner. Turkey was looked on as a bastion of the West.

In the field of economy, however, Turkey was constrained by several priorities she felt politically necessary to follow : with the exception of a brief period in 1930’s and in 1950’s Turkish «etatism» was the dominant economic concept which worked against and li­mited the growth of the private sector. This conceptual difference between Turkey and the United States may be considered as the primary obstacle for further development of economic inter-depen­dence between Turkey and the United States. I do not intend to try to explain the causes of Turkish «etatlsm» which has remained so strong and even grown until now. But, its use or misuse has substantially reduced the participation of foreign capital in the development of Turkish economy. In any event, the Turks have al­ways maintained their suspicion and dislike for foreign capital.

Until mid-sixties there was a complacency in Turkey regarding Turkey’s alliance with the West and military and economic coope­ration with the United States. It was taken for granted that  Western aid would continue and the standard of living would keep rising in Turkey. This complacency and euphoria was so prevalent that Tur­key ignored Russian overtures, cast a benevolent eye to what little advantages Greeks were trying to secure in the Aegean and took a distant view of the Middle East crisis to the chagrin of the Arabs.

In 1963 Turkey had signed the Ankara Treaty which, if faithfully carried by everyone, would give Turkey the right to become a member of the European Economic Community in 1995.

U.S. economic aid to Turkey began to phase out as from 1965. The Johnson letter which I mentioned earlier cast serious doubt in the Turkish minds regarding the automatlcity of U.S. support and help in case of an aggression by the Soviet Union. The honeymoon period was over but our alliance had to go on basically for two reasons: The alliance still had an appreciable deterrance value; and Turkey was so much integrated with the West and relied so much on economic support of the West that a major shift of its fo­reign policy orientation was not feasible without traumatic domestic results nor such a change was desired by the Turkish public. The «multi-faceted» foreign policy pursued after 1965, by its nature, began to bring several new constraints into Turkish-US. relations in areas where objectives of Turkey and the U.S. did not coincide. Turkey began to respond to Soviet attempts to improve relations by signing a cultural agreement and by accepting Soviet credits in order to maintain its industrial development as a supplement to phasing-out Western credits. Turkey began to give political support to the Arab cause and prevented U.S. military bases In Turkey to be used for the support of Israel in an effort to improve its relations with the Arab world. While the developments during the decade that followed 1965 did not cause a major change of course in Turkey’s objectives, the trauma of the military embargo which was imposed in 1975 and the ensuing alienation from the West in terms of political perception, led to an «identity» crisis in Turkey which is still continuing. The political spectrum in Turkey is sharply di­vided in the assessment of Turkey’s place in the Western camp. While extremist parties are vehement on taking Turkey out of the West, the center parties, at least for public image purposes do not wish to appear as ardently pro-Western. Consequently, the follo­wing differences have become vocal in specific Turktsh-U.S. security and political objectives in the region.

Security – NATO’s Southern Flank : There seems to be an identity of view in both countries as to the validity of the purpose. However, there are various conceptual and practical differences between the two countries. Several of these differences can be summarized as follows :

  1. a) The defense of Turkey : In the Turkish view point forward defense in Turkey is the most efficient way of achieving the purpose of securing NATO’s southeast flank. This can be obtained by maintaining an all round modernized and highly capable Turkish armed forces which could act as a deterrent. The allies therefore are expected to provide the necessary weapons Turkey need and assist Turkey in developing its arms industry. Otherwise, Turkey’s contribution in this regards can be only in the measure its economy permits.

The Western support for Turkey in this regard has suffered a shock with the embargo and has been sparing ever since. This may have been caused by the U.S. political constraint to keep Turkish armed strength in par with if not inferior to those of Greece; to force Turks to a settlement with Greece on their dispute in Cyprus and the Aegean, and to their belief that an attack on Turkey is not the first item on the Soviet agenda.

  1. b) Ever since automatism of NATO’s support for Turkey has become problematical as a result of Johnson letter of 1964 and the military embargo which is an action not in conformity with alliance rules but hostile in character, Turkey looks on to NATO as a factor of balance to the evergrowing Soviet power. Only such a balance can preserve conditions needed for the development of detente. Consequently, this concept constrains Turkey in supporting actions (a) that may not be fully attributable directly to NATO interests, and (b) may be considered harmful and provocative for the Turkish policy of detente and cooperation with her neighbours.
  2. S. Policy in the Middle East: The declared U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East, i.e. support Israel, encourage stability and maintain access to Middle East oil are not entirely identical with those of Turkish objectives and unqualified Turkish support for these policies cause a number of problems for Turkey. Turkish policy in the Middle East since 1965 is based on political support to the Arab cause by insisting on the evacuation of all Israeli occupied Arab lands, recognition of the legitimate rights of the Palestinians to set up their own state. Turkey does not want to become involved in problems among the Arab states, in their domestic issues. In order to ensure her oil supplies Turkey heavily relies on cooperation with Iraq and Libya. It is known that these two countries are the oppo­nents of US. policies in the Middle East. Today, the existence of Turkey’s diplomatic relations, even at a low-key level, with Israel is subject of criticism in the Arab world. As a result, if U.S. oil interests and support of Israel in the Middle East involve confrontation with the Arab states .such a development is bound to adversely affect Turkish-U.S. harmony.
  3. S. policy to supply free world supply lines in the Mediter­ranean is in confirmity with the Turkish interests also. However, there are several differences between Turks and Americans as to the role each must play. Turks feel that they must not rely solely on the 6th Fleet but they must also have a fairly strong open sea navy to carry out their missions while politically oriented U.S. stra­tegists tend to confine the Turkish Navy to coastal defense capa­bility. Furthermore, political thinking in U.S. differ on the role Cyprus has for keeping Turkish sealanes open. U.S. also seems indifferent to Turkish interests in the Aegean with specific reference for kee­ping Turkish supply lines open.


Before taking up the future perspectives of the U.S.-Turkish relations, I must briefly refer to Turkish-U.S. economic relations.

I believe economic relations between Turkey and the U.S. must be studied under three categories : “trade”, “economic aid” and “investments”.

Earlier in my paper I gave some figures concerning Turkey’s commercial relations with the United States during the period pre­ceding the Second World War. I now wish to refer to current trade pat­terns. The seventy percent of Turkey’s imports are formed by crude-oil and refined products (30 %), machinery (17 %) chemicals (16 %) and iron and steel products (9 %). On the other hand about 70 % of its exports are formed by cotton (17 %) hazel nuts (15 %), textiles (14 %), wheat and other cereals (11 %), tobacco (7 %), raisins (5 %). This traditional pattern of Turkey’s imports and exports finds ref­lection in Turkey’s trade with the United States. The United States received $191,410,000 dollars worth of Turkish products in 1976 which represents 9.8 % of Turkey’s total exports. This share drop­ped to 6.9% in 1977. 1978 estimate is 5 %. U.S. share in Turkey’s imports was 8.5 % in 1976, 8.7 % in 1977 and about 5.5 % In 1978. Turkey’s place in overall U.S. foreign trade is well under 1 %. The U.S. has the third place in Turkey’s imports and second place in exports.

There are significant difficulties in developing trade between U.S. and Turkey. Turkey is not in a position to provide industrial products in the quality and quantity required by the U.S. markets. Since U.S. is an agricultural producer, there are very few basic Turkish agricultural products in which U.S. is interested, chief among which is tobacco. The export of most of these products is also becoming object of competition with other suppliers. As regards U.S. industrial pro­ducts, the American prices are generally 20 to 30 % higher than European and Japanese competition. Therefore, the import of ca­pital equipment from the U.S. is more subject to provision of tied loans unless superior technology is involved. During the period when AID loans were available and Ex-Im Bank loans more readily available Turkish capital equipment imports from U.S. were higher.

In the period from 1946 to 1977 the United States provided Turkey with 2.7 billion dollars of economic assistance of which 1.2 billions were grants and 1.4 billion in credits. So far Turkey has repaid 648 million dollars of the credits. Furthermore, from counterpart funds U.S. enabled Turkey to utilize 1.5 billion Turkish liras for economic development until 1963, when grant aid was stopped. On the other hand, the United States provided Turkey with about 336 mil­lion dollars worth of Ex-Im Bank loans between 1946 and 1977.

In foreign capital investment in Turkey, the United States fo­reign capital invested in Turkey from 1954 to 1976 formed only 17.08 % of the total foreign capital amounting to only about 20 mil­lion dollars under the Encouragement of Foreign Investments Law. Therefore, the amount of U.S. capital in Turkey is rather insigni­ficant and falls far behind European investments in Turkey. In the smallness of U.S. investments in Turkey one may notice several points : first is that Turkey has never been an attractive place for foreign investments despite periodic attempts of Turkish govern­ments to improve the existing conditions and regulations. Secondly, Turklsh-U.S. relations have not been stable for a long period. Thir­dly, the vulnerability of Turkey in the international area have limited private U.S. capital  interest.

One last point, I would like to mention in this context, is the possibility of cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. for military production. There are several areas where existing Turkish facilities may provide excellent opportunity for replacing some Turkish mili­tary imports from the U.S. by local production with U.S. technolo­gical assistance. The economic implications of this cooperation will be  significant.



  • Currently the image of Turkey and the Turks is no so bright in the S. public opinion. This unfavorable image is created by a host of factors among which Greek lobby currently plays the biggest part and takes full advantage of the U.S. media.
  • Similarly, the image of the S. in the Turkish public opinion has also been damaged in the past decade and a half. The principal cause for this damage is the perception of U.S. support of Greece against Turkey. The leftist and pro-Isla­mic political forces in Turkey have been markedly critical of U.S. behaviour all over the world, and embargo and other U.S. acts have also influenced the attitude of center forces in Turkey towards the U.S.
  • S. interests in Turkey is basicaly security oriented and U.S. politicians, expect her in return for minimal economic and military aid to support changing U.S. policies and doctrines

uncoditionally, disregarding Turkey’s own constraints and policy    preferences. On the other hand, Turks expect the United States to provide full economic, military and political support for Turkey because of Turkey’s geopolitical position. In other words, there seems to be over-expectotions from Turkish-U.S. cooperation on both sides of the Atlantic.

  • It is obvious that in the formation of S. policies security considerations do not prove to be the primary factor once public opinion and the U.S. Congress becomes involved. In any event, security considerations and concepts are not static and subject to the degree of threat perceived. This perception, in turn, is basically a combination of military and political assessment. Under the influence of domestic political factors, potential threat is sometimes ignored or given low priority. This argument is valid both for Turkey and the U.S. In Turkey, security considerations still predominate, but they are now debated more than ever in Turkey’s history.
  • In view of the existence in the public opinions of both countries, of hostile influences which affect public policies when issues are presented to them, and since delicate se­curity relations must be maintained a heavy burden falls on the statesmen, and diplomats of both countries to keep the relations on their track. It is necessary to recall the spirit that guided the Turkish and S. statesmen in 1927 and to accept the role of quiet diplomacy.
  • While it is necessary to increase the Turkish public relations efforts in the S. it is also incumbent on U.S. administra­tion to assist Turkey which does not have an effective lobby in the U.S. For example, in 1930’s when Armenians in the United States wanted to prepare a film out of an anti-Tur­kish book, the U.S. Government could quietly pressure the film company to drop the idea. Today a “Midnight Express” is even awarded an Oscar.

Let me now turn to the future of our relations :

The most likely trend is the continuation of Turkey’s Western orientation  which may eventually guide the Turkish destiny and give their identity to Turkey of the coming decades.

The most likely trend is the continuation of Turkey’s Western orientation. This trend may succeed only if Turkey becomes part of the European Community. In such a case it will be possible to give a healthy character to U.S.-Turkish relations on a long term basis, and increase the dimensions of our relations with the West.

What would happen if Turkey ceases to become a member of Western camp?

Ambassador Parker Hart thinks that if and when the sipirit of NATO alliance is dead «Turkey gradually will turn leftward because only a regimented philosophy and discipline will be open to it. In the age of socialist polycentrism, it could decide to become a Yu­goslavia, seeking accomodation with the USSR and security by neutrality and strengthened Third World ties. It would be counting on the U.S. to recognize this that is far preferable to complete absorption into the Communist bloc.”

Dr. Scott Thompson of Tufts University, on the other hand, thinks that by the middle of 1980s Soviet Union might be able to take over Turkey by indirect means.

The third alternative discussed is that Turkey may be dragged into Islamic revivalism aligning itself with the Arab world.

I believe these observers are influenced by the tragedy of eco­nomic conditions and increasing political violence prevailing in Turkey. Although, both factors constitute bad omens for Turkey, the clock is not irreversibly advanced.

The greatest part of the Turkish people are determined to pre­serve their democratic and secular way of life and independence. If the United States and Western powers decide to show understan­ding for the assets that Turkey constitutes for Western interests and translate their understanding into political and material action by helping to ease Turkey’s economic and security problems, they will increase their own power in this region and at the same time will make it easier for Turkey to continue to share common values with them.


Mehmet GÖNLÜBOL, et al. Olaylarla Türk Dış Politikası. Cilt  I   (1919 1973) Ankara Universitesi Siyasal  Bilgiler Fakültesi Yayınları  No. 407.

Feridun  Cemal   ERKlN. Türk – Sovyet   İlişkileri ve  Boğazlar  Meselesi, Ankara, 1968

M.W. THORNBURG, et  al. Turkey,  An  Economic  Appraisal, Greenwood Press, New York ,1968

Nuri  EREN. Turkey.  NATO and Europe :  A   Deteriorating  Relationship? The Atlantic Institute for International Affairs, Atlantic Papers No. 34

John M. COLLINS. Greece and Turkey: Some Military Implications Related to   NATO   and   Middle   East,   February   28,   1975   U.S.   Government

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Foreign   Economic  Trends  and   Their  Implications  for   the   United  States, TURKEY, U.S.  Department of Commerce.  March  1979

Roger   R.   TRUSK.   U.S.   Response   to   Turkish   Nationalism   and   Reform. 1914 – 1939

Metin  TAMKOC, The  Warrior  Diplomats,  University  of Utah  Press, Salt Lake City, 1976

Morton KODRRACKE, ”The Greek Lobby”, The New Republic,  April 29, 1978

Geerge S. HARRIS, “Troubled Alliance” AEI and Institute on War and Peace,  Washington, D.C.

Harry  N.  HOWARD, “The Bicentennial in  American-Turkish  Relations”,  Middle East Journal, Summer  1976

NATO, TURKEY and UNITED STATES INTERESTS, American Foreign Policy Institute, Washington D.C. 1978

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Visits: 216

US Policy and the Iraq Time Bomb Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 25 March 2002, Turkish News

US Policy and the Iraq Time Bomb

Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 25 March 2002, Turkish News

When Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote his three consecutive articles in the National Interest in 2000 under the titles ‘Living with a New Russia,’ ‘Living with a New China,’ and ‘Living with a New Europa’ he was actually setting the new imperatives for U.S. foreign policy on how to deal with ‘those NEW power centers’ in a new security environment.

As one of the most well known and influential strategists in the United States together with Henry Kissinger during the Cold War years and in the post-Cold War period, Zbigniew Brzezinski appears now right in his definition of the hegemon United States, the likes of which history has never before experienced. Indeed, when Henry Kissinger published an article just a few months before Sept. 11, 2001, with the title ‘Does America need a Foreign Policy,’ he created many discussions as to the first signs of an anti-American coalition of some of the great powers starting to emerge. China, Russia, the European Union and India seem not to be very happy with U.S. conduct of international politics.

As the ‘exceptional hegemon’ in the new world order, the United States is recognizing terrorism as a global threat and finds it necessary to fight it with every means. It believes that liberal democracies are challenged by terrorism and terrorism must be fought on a global scale alone or with an ‘international coalition.’ Of course, the United States needs a global coalition to fight terrorism and this is why President Bush is sending Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld to different parts of the globe to seek allies. It is not the year 1945 or 1989, or even 1991; Sept. 11 was a turning point where Henry Kissinger’s question can be answered. The United States needs a foreign policy, and this will be not easy.

Euroasia is the future of international politics. The security of the Eurasian landmass is solely America’s responsibility according to the U.S. administration. Indeed, Eurasia is the future, but poverty in Asia is the biggest challenge for all international actors. Usama bin Laden and his al-Qaida is only one among the expected challenges to the international and global order. To define some countries as ‘the axis of evil’ does not solve the problem. Look at what Russia, China and India have done following Sept. 11. None of them can openly take an anti-American position, therefore, they do not stress that the United States is doing wrong. China in particular is on good terms with the United States because China is bowling from inside [sic]. Unemployment is a big problem for all the countries in Asia and if China has bad news to spread that means it is bad for all the others too. How to contain China is indeed an ‘American problem’ now. Russia is also unhappy with the American presence in Central Asia and the Caucasus but has to appease the United States, like Britain and France did to Germany before World War II. Russia’s new alliance with China and India is a tactical one and Russia will further impose its policies over Eurasian just as before, though it will be not so easy.

Russia’s view that ‘failed states are not necessarily rouge states’ is important because Russia supports Iran, Iraq and North Korea. Therefore, Russia is not alone in this case. The EU is also having similar views and in particular in the last few years EU countries follow more and more ‘pro-Arab policies.’ The result is that Russia is more and more a reliable partner for the EU in global politics and no doubt the U.S. administration is not happy with this. In particular, French Foreign Minister Huber Vedrin leads this view and the gap between the United States and the EU on the definition of the meaning of international terrorism is widening and NATO has already been declared a ‘corpse.’ NATO enlargement has also lost speed and this will create some new discussions in Europe in November when NATO enlargement will be the main issue at the Prague summit.

Within this global context, discussions in Turkey on EU membership and the U.S. search for an international coalition dominated the political agenda over the last few weeks. Indeed, the ‘anti-EU block’ in Turkey gets intellectual support from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose book will be published in April. In her book, as some excerpts were published in several newspapers, she favors more U.S.-oriented policy than the EU and sees the EU as a ‘vanity of intellectuals.’ In her words, the EU is finished and will not be successful. No doubt, this view will be very much used in Turkey for domestic consumption and Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz will face stronger opposition. The different views of the Motherland Party (ANAP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also prove that the coalition is still not harmonious and Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit is barely managing the existence of the coalition. The good old days for the coalition are over.

The visit of U.S. Vice President Cheney also showed that Turkey is part of U.S. global politics and the United States in security issues is more reliable than the EU. The meeting between Cheney and the Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Kıvrıkoğlu with Foreign Minister İsmail Cem and State Undersecretary Uğur Ziyal is a unique one and it shows what the United States is interested in.

Turkey is a key country for any U.S. intervention in Iraq and Turkey’s many interests are at stake and Turkey cannot remain indifferent to regional developments. Cheney left Turkey with a positive view, leaving behind it ‘a reliable ally’ in regional and global politics. The Turkish government’s view that it is against U.S. intervention in Iraq is not so important! None of the 11 other countries that Cheney visited also said yes but this ‘no’ means yes if the United States intervenes. Which country or countries can prevent it? Obviously none.

It was a fact-finding tour to tell countries what the United States is intending to do. It was not asking for their permission for such an operation. Next week, the conference in Lebanon of the Arab League will take place and let’s see what will come out of it. U.S. policy is this time very different from the Cold War and Iraq has limited time to meet the expectations of the United Nations. Saddam Hussein and Iraq have gained time, but how long it can go on like this an open question. There is a time bomb in the Middle East and it is ticking faster than ever.

Visits: 250

Are Saddam Hussein’s days numbered? Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 11 February 2002, Turkish Daily News

Are Saddam Hussein’s days numbered?

Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 11 February 2002, Turkish Daily News

Turkey is once again in the line of focus since the “letter exchange” between Turkish Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein became public two days ago when the translation of Saddam’s letter was sent to the Turkish press. In his letter, Saddam gives a “lecture on real politics” to his counterpart that Turkey should not be following the same policy as the United States. Indeed, Saddam Hussein has given the same lecture to the Turkish side as he did in spring 1990, when then Turkish Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut paid an official visit to Baghdad. At that time, Saddam said to the Turkish delegation in an undiplomatic way that the Cold War had ended, NATO would be dissolved and that Turkey should be very careful. It was considered as an open threat to Turkey by President Turgut Özal, who was against Saddam since that moment, and Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut did not respond and was criticized very strongly after his return.

Saddam has “Turcophobia” like many other regional countries, and this is understandable within the historical context, which concerns Ottoman-Arab relations. But, the main reason for Saddam to be against Turkey was the Turkish support for Prime Minister Nuri al-Said in the ‘50s, who sided with Turkey to establish the Baghdad Pact in 1955 together with Iran, Great Britain and Israel. When the military coup d’etat took place in 1958 against Nuri al-Said in Iraq, where al-Said was mercilessly slaughtered by military officers when he tried to escape from the palace in women’s clothing, it was clear that the Baath regime should be kept at a distance. Despite the fact that Prime Minister Ecevit has always been sympathetic to Saddam, he was described as “Third Worldist” for his policies by Turkish circles.

When Bülent Ecevit visited him just before the Gulf War in his capacity as a journalist, even then Saddam was not giving any clues that he would leave Kuwait without using force. It means that he was relying very much on Soviet support and his oil revenues. Like Ecevit, he had another sympathizer in the Soviet Union at that time with the name Yevgeni Primakov, an Orientalist and journalist who had been a close friend of Saddam. Even Yasser Arafat supported him, but Arafat is now paying the price for this wrong assessment. But President Turgut Özal had a different perception of Saddam than Bülent Ecevit, and 10 years later it is very clear that Özal was right. Özal was very pro-U.S. in his policy orientation and was always saying in his official statements that Saddam is a danger to peace in the Middle East and should be neutralized politically.

When Iraqi forces were losing and leaving Kuwait in 1991, it was Özal who advised U.S. President George Bush to press on to Baghdad and replace him immediately. However, George Bush did not do it and Özal insisted that it would be the greatest mistake the United States would ever make in the Middle East, not just for now but also for the future. Indeed, this proves that the U.S. administration was wrong. People like Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Powell were all in the U.S. administration at that time and it is now those same people who will try again. Therefore, the conditions changed and no doubt Saddam is now internationally much more stronger than he has ever been in the last 10 years. Even more so since Sept. 11.

The mental and political change of Ecevit has to be studied very carefully now. His letter to Saddam was correct and necessary. But, he and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem knew exactly what kind of answer they would receive. It was more than a political scandal when Cem refused to divulge the contents of the letter Saddam sent. But, the Turkish public is not the same as 10 years ago, and this time there is no room for manipulation.

The United States is determined to attack Iraq sooner or later, despite the fact that  it doesn’t have an international coalition behind it. In the words of Donald Rumsfeld, “The mission defines the coalition, not the coalition the mission.” This is true, and Turkey is a decisive country for an international coalition and military success whatever scenario one should think. It means that Turkey remains on the side of the United States unconditionally, and Ecevit is the most important realizer of this mission at the moment. The “letter exchange” is also a game for making very clear to the domestic and international public that Turkey, under no condition, will side with Iraq.

Last week in the Munich Security Conference, more than 350 experts from around the world gathered together, where I also sat as an international observer during the two-day conference, how Turkey was very much put forward by Paul Wolfowitz, the number two in the U.S. Defense Ministry and Senator John McCain, Arizona, as the country which has to be supported by all means and by Europeans, including full membership of the European Union. No doubt Ecevit is a much desired person for U.S. policies in the region, and Mr. Ecevit is indeed on the U.S. side, of course not without any reason. Northern Iraq is a key issue for Turkey’s security policy and a replacement of Saddam will create new conditions there. Whether Saddam will be replaced or not, that is a question of time, but this time the issue is more serious. Many EU countries, Russia, China, India are against any U.S. military intervention.

This was also very clear during the Munich Conference. However, the fact is that a new regional order will be designed and in this design there is no place for Saddam. This process will take place, but there will be no return as far as one can analyze it. The price will certainly be higher than 10 years ago. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld asked the U.S. Congress to provide an extra $10 billion. It means some extra support in addition to the $376 billion defense budget. The U.S. administration is more determined. The United States is the greatest world power that the rest of the world has experienced on such a scale. Whether Europe is with it or against it, it does not matter, as Richard Perle said directly to EU politicians during the Munich Conference.

What Turkey may do when the operation starts is not an open question anymore, on the contrary, Turkey has to act with the United States. Another chance will not be given. Saddam has played his cards very well up until now, but time is working against him. It will not be long until he is replaced. Can he change the pace of history? It seems not anymore. The other big powers will only be spectators if this operation starts. Any examples in the past, look at Roman history! At least Ecevit has read this before.

Visits: 239

Sharon and Arafat: No Angels!! The Middle East is in a state of permanent terror and tension with no end in sight. In the last few days, the whole world has been witnessing a dimension of hate in a different way, where civilians are now the main and permanent object of radical Islamic groups, and Yasser Arafat has never been in such a domestically weak position in his entire political life as is the case today. Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 25 January 2002, Turkish Daily New

Sharon and Arafat: No Angels!!

The Middle East is in a state of permanent terror and tension with no end in sight. In the last few days, the whole world has been witnessing a dimension of hate in a different way, where civilians are now the main and permanent object of radical Islamic groups, and Yasser Arafat has never been in such a domestically weak position in his entire political life as is the case today.

Prof. Dr. Hüseyin BAĞCI – 25 January 2002, Turkish Daily News

Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is still strong in Parliament and even Foreign Minister Peres cannot stop this policy since September 2000, which began with the visit to the Temple Mount. It was considered as a provocative act at that time, but still even Sept. 11 did not end the conflict as many genuinely hoped it would. On the contrary, Sept. 11 seems to have accelerated the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and this time even the main external actors like the United States and the European Union do not know what to do. For instance, nearly all Palestinian infrastructure, including the airport, was paid for by the EU, though with the permission of Israel. Since Israel is destroying the main infrastructure now, even the radio station last week, the political reactions towards Israel by the EUare on the way.

At least in the German edition of the Financial Times, was putting the main article from Jan. 23 with the title ‘’Verhaengnisvolle Schweigen’’ (Keeping quiet with consequences) saying that the EU should criticise the power politics of Israel. However, whether the Israeli government took it seriously is another question. It is a well-known fact that in the EU there is still an unwritten ‘embargo’’ on Israeli politics because of the history of some EU countries with Israel. Not to mention, of course, the impact on the Israeli lobby around the world.

But, it is not only the Israeli side that is responsible for the miserable conditions, but rather also some Arabic countries, too, are responsible for this. For example, it was one of the greatest political miscalculations of Yasser Arafat to take the side of Iraq when it invaded Kuwait.

Neither the Kuwaitis nor the Saudis, who had been until then the principal supporter of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in international politics turned their backs, and since then Arafat is ‘’political persona non grata’’ in the eyes of many Arab countries, and he is paying for it. Sharon is well aware of this fact and this is why he tries to solve the issue with his own means, and Palestine is indeed left alone. But, Egypt is also another important actor that does not put all its energy into this issue. The reason: also the Gulf War and the weakness of Arafat to control the radical Islamic groups, which are also a danger for Egypt as well.

Although Egypt is having former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa as the secretary general of the Arab League, it seems that the Arab world is not viewing this issue as a ‘’matter of honor for the Arabic world,’ as it was propagated in all declarations in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

In his recent statement on the meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Sharon, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher commented that ‘Sharon talks only to himself and hears only himself.’ If it is true then it should be certainly seen as the strength of Sharon and the weakness of the Arabic world. Once again, it does not legitimate Israeli politics in Palestine, but there are serious problems with ‘Arab unity.’

Both Palestinian and Israeli politics don’t seem to be able to find a gateway out of this situation. More bloodshed, terror and repression is expected in the coming days and weeks. It is now not just hatred of some people and groups, but rather a case study for world instability on how ‘’small democracies’ can be aggressive in certain situations. The accusations of both the Israeli and Palestinian sides can be justified politically, but cannot be accepted from the point of human rights. Civilians are subject to it, and the world does not like to see on TV screens how innocent people on the street are terrorized.

What should be done? It is not an academic question but rather a political one, and politics is responsible for this, both the international and domestic politics of these two sides. Yasser Arafat is weak and Sharon is strong politically. But it does not justify the Israeli policy of repression, nor radical Islamic terror groups. This hate has to end.

According to followers of Islam, as well as Judaism, they believe there is a paradise or hell after death. All of the involved parties and politicians, in the final analysis, do not deserve to go to paradise with their contemporary politics. To where they will go then, they have to think again. If they are true believers that is!!!

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