FPI Foreign Policy in National and International Media Weekend

Foreign Policy is organizing weekend webinars about various international relations subjetcs. Our most recent subject is “Foreign Policy in National and International Media”. The webinar will be in Turkish language and will cover the weekend of May 8-9 2021.

The speakers are distinguished expert of their fields. Here are the details of the webinar;

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Visits: 900

FPI ZOOM MEETING ON GERMAN FOREIGN POLICY: CHALLENGES, EXPECTATIONS AND SOLUTIONS

President of Foreign Policy Institute Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı and Prof. Dr. Stefan Fröhlich met on 19.12.2020 at the zoom meeting titled ‘German Foreign Policy: Challenges, Expectations and Solutions’.

Find the video link of the whole webinar below;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiKfHWKqMpI

Visits: 636

Youtube Video: FPI & Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung of Ankara Webinar, 8-9 December 2020

Foreign Policy Institute and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung of Ankara have organized a joint webinar on December 8-9th 2020.

The topics were; German history and foreign policy and Turkey-Germany relations.

The webinar has been realized as four sessions, you can find the links for all those sessions below;

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq7QtBJqz0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE1bQ-bn0rc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A_UYPLJ_3o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfXXqm2YIV8

Visits: 215

Youtube Video: FPI Global Talks Webinar – 7 December 2020 – Israel Turkey Relations

Foreign Policy Institue has organized a joint webinar with Israeli Embassy of Ankara on December 7th 2020.

Participants; Israeli Charge d’Affaires Roey Gilad, Rtd. Ambassador Namık Tan and İlker Aytürk

You can find the video of the webinar at the following link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98MFmOW3EIk

Visits: 130

FPI ZOOM MEETING 10 DECEMBER – WEBINAR ON NATO FROM CZECH AND TURKISH PERSPECTIVES

Foreign Policy Institute is organizing a joint webinar with Embaasy of Czech Republic by the participation of the Ambassador of Czech Republic Pavel VACEK on December 10th 2020. The summary of the issues which will be discussed during the webinar are as follows. The webinar will be aired on zoom and open to everyone.

 

Topic: Turkish – Czech Relations
Time: Dec 10, 2020 09:00

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8438609307?pwd=YWtPRWRHekNrUzlVUTcxektaU3NkZz09

 

Meeting ID: 843 860 9307
Passcode: 7h4F9z

 

 

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Visits: 409

FPI ZOOM MEETING 8-9 DECEMBER ON TURKEY-GERMANY RELATIONS – FPI CERTIFICATE

8-9 Aralık 2020 tarihlerinde Enstitümüz ve Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Türkiye Temsilciliği ile ortaklaşa düzenleyeceğimiz ‘Almanya Tarihi ve Dış Politikası ve Türk-Alman İlişkileri’ başlıklı webinarlarımıza bekleriz.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8438609307?pwd=YWtPRWRHekNrUzlVUTcxektaU3NkZz09

Meeting ID: 843 860 9307
Passcode: 7h4F9z

 

sertifika

 

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Visits: 134

EuroMeSCo General Assembly and Annual Conference Held in Barcelona

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EuroMeSCo General Assembly for 2017 was held in Barcelona on May 31st. and discussed the work plan to strengthen the reactivity and visibility of the network. Now there are 106 institutes from 43 countries participating in the activities. As one of the institutes initiating the EuroMeSCo, Turkish Foreign Policy Institute participates at the General Assembly meetings. This time Ambassador (Rtd.) Oktay Aksoy, Board Member of the Institute, followed the deliberations. Applications for new members was also discussed and among some others. PODEM (Center for Public Policy and Democracy Studies) from Turkey was admitted as observer. Prof. James McGann from the University of Pennsylvania (US) addressed the participants at the end of the General Assembly on the power and potential of think tanks in encountering the violent extremism currently prevelant. During the dinner a former Foreign Minister of Spain Josep Pique, now the President of the Toledo International Center for Peace addressed the group relating his views on the rearangement of the international order since the end of the Cold War and emergance of new power centers. On the side of the General Asseembly, a youth forum with participants from several regional countries was also held to initiate closer interest in regional issues for young researchers.

The Annual Conference focused on “confronting violent extremism in the Euro-Med region”. The threats encountered in the region and the responses envisaged was thoroughly discussed. Moreover, there were Working Group Sessions on transformation in Tunusia, on the future of Syria, on migration challenges as well as kick off meetings for the new sets of Working Packages to be tackled during the 2018 Conference. These included “Sahel and security in the Mediterranean”, “New Euro-Med Dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean” and also “minorities in the Middle Est and North Africa”. The future of Syria was prepared with meetings of experts in Turkey and the new dynamics in the Eastern Mediterranean focuses on the hydrocarbon finds and its impact on relations in that region including solution to the Cyprus problem.

Visits: 44

THE CYPRUS PROBLEM – RAUF DENKTAŞ

                    THE CYPRUS PROBLEM (*)

                                             RAUF DENKTAŞ

      The search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem through inter-communal talks has been in progress since June, 1968. The success of the intercommunal talks must necessarily depend on identity of views on the diagnosis of the Cyprus problem.

 

The search for a settlement of the Cyprus problem through inter-communal talks has been in progress since June, 1968. United Nations Secretary-General, U Thant’s view of the talks in his last report (Do­cument S/10005 of December 2, 1970) is not very encouraging; the Greek Cypriot press has virtually established its position against the talks, calling for recourse to the U.N. General Assembly; the Turkish Cypriot press is equally despondent, and suggests from time to time that the guarantor powers (Turkey, Greece and Great Britain) and the two communities should tackle the problem; the countries which pay for the U.N. peace-keeping operation in Cyprus, or contribute men to the Peace Force, are showing increased impatience at the slow progress of the intercommunal talks. Yet the quest for peace continues; the two sides have not thrown in their hands, and in all Cypriot hearts, Tur­kish and Greek alike, the hope for “a just and permanent solution” beams on and off, like a search-light in the middle of a turbulent sea.

The success of the intercommunal talks must necessarily depend on identity of views on the diagnosis of the Cyprus problem. At pre­sent it is difficult to maintain that such identity has been reached.

The Independent Republic of Cyprus was not the desired aim of the Greek Cypriot leadership’s 1955-58 EOKA struggle. Because of Turkish Cypriot resistance to the desired Greek Cypriot aim of ENOSIS (union of Cyprus with Greece), and the consequent intercommunal strife which brought Turkey and Greece to the verge of war, the set­ting up of an independent republic became, for the Greek Cypriot leadership, the only way of attaining a feasible solution without abandoning the desired aim of ENOSIS. The Turkish Cypriot leadership was thus handicapped from the very beginning. All acts and declarations by the Greek Cypriot leaders during the 1960-63 period were tested in the light of the knowledge that the Greek Cypriot leadership would destroy the feasible solution of independence which was reached for the sake of their desired solution – ENOSIS. This was the background to the 1963 events. It was difficult for a political partnership to function where one of the partners continued to aim for a political end (ENO­SIS) completely alien to the spirit of the partnership.

The events which were to erupt in December, 1963, thus had a philosophy behind them, and they were neither accidental nor inevit­able. They were carefully planned, and formed the last link in a chain of calculated events designed to remove all those aspects of the agree­ments which forbade any move in the direction of ENOSIS. A Greek Cypriot document, now known as “The Akritas Plan” has since been published in the Greek press giving full details of the Greek Cypriot motivation as regards the 1963 events  (1).

 

It can thus be seen that the independence of Cyprus which was found to be the “just and permanent solution” to her problem was to be used for the same end (ENOSIS) which it purported to have prohi­bited as a sine qua non of peaceful cooperation between the two communities. The Turkish Cypriot fear that this intention still underlies all Greek Cypriot actions and proposals in the intercommunal talks conti­nues to be the greatest stumbling block. Unfortunately neither the Greek Cypriot press nor the statements made by the Greek Cypriot lead­ers help to alleviate these fears  (2).

 

  • Greek Cypriot daily Patris, April 21, 1966. See also Conspiracy to Destroy the Republic of Cyprus — Cyprus Turkish Information Office, 1969
  • Makarios: «I shall prove that I have never deviated from the national path, i.e. Enosis» Eleftheria, January 22, 1970.

But fears have to be cast off and suspicions curbed if a peaceful solution is to be found. Much depends on the attitude of the Greek Cypriot side. Passing off the Greek National Anthem as «the National Anthem of Cyprus» each time a foreign diplomat presents his credenti­als to Archbishop Makarios, playing this anthem as the closing-down tune on Cyprus television each night, having the word «ENOSIS» boldly printed in blue and white on all camps of the Greek Cypriot Army, the removal of the Turkish language from all road signs, and refusal to solve the problems of 20,000 Turkish Cypriot displaced per­sons are but a few of the overt Greek Cypriot acts which daily exas­perate the Turkish Cypriots. It is with this background that the search for peace continues.

What does the Turkish Cypriot side hope or wish to achieve in the intercommunal talks?

The answer to this question is simple. Turkish Cypriots want to retain the community’s political and juridical status as laid down in the 1960 agreements – a status of partnership with vested and undeniable rights in the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus. “The independence and sovereignty of Cyprus was won by our exertions and because of our resistance to Greek demands to colonize the island by uniting it with Greece. But for our resistance to ENOSIS during the 1955-58 period there would have been no Independent Republic of Cyprus”, say the Turkish Cypriots. It is because of this deeply embedded belief that the Turkish Cypriot side is averse to any move to treat the Turkish Community as a minority on the island- a move which forms the axis of all Greek Cypriot offers, and is hammered in daily by the Greek Cypriot press.

From the Greek Cypriot point of view, the problem can be resolv­ed “once the majority rule principle” is accepted. To them majority rule also includes “the right of the Greek Cypriots to decide the fate of Cyprus”, in other words, to decide on the union of Cyprus with Greece.! According to them, the fault of the 1960 agreements lies in the fact that ENOSIS is ruled out., and the independence and sovereignty of Cyprus are fully guaranteed.

The Turkish Cypriots’ partnership status and the community’s  recognized rights and    interests  in  the  independence,    sovereignty and territorial  integrity of the island give juridical   backing to these guarantees. That is why the Greek Cypriot side feels inclined to continue the present situation rather than endorse the rights of the Turkish community which, they know, will continue to bar the way to ENOSIS.

The intercommunal talks began in June, 1968, in the wake – and probably as a result – of the 1967 November crisis. Two Turkish villa­ges, Boğazköy and Geçitkale, had been attacked by combined Greek and Greek Cypriot forces as part of the pattern of overall Greek tactics to eliminate all Turkish Cypriot points of resistance one by one, Turkey’s
reaction  was quick;  a Greco-Turkish war became imminent.    At this stage Greece agreed to withdraw from Cyprus its occupation   forces – numbering some 12,000 men  – together with General Grivas,    their commanding officer    who was then at loggerheads    with Archbishop Makarios. The Greek Cypriot administration, on the other hand, promised full compensation to the Turkish villagers – a promise which  has only partly been fulfilled to this day!

In other words, the armed struggle of December, 1963 – Novem­ber, 1967 yielded no results. The 1960 Agreements, which the Greek Cypriot side thought would be thrown into the wastepaper basket, were still recognized as valid agreements throughout the world. Turkish Cypriot resistance was still continuing; no military victory had been achieved, and the de facto Greek Army presence in Cyprus had now been withdrawn. It was obvious, therefore, that to solve the Cyprus problem by armed force was an impossibility as long as the Turkish Cypriots resisted ENOSIS and Turkey backed them up in this resistance.

At the initial stages of the talks, it was necessary to eliminate subjects whose discussion would lead the negotiations nowhere. ENO­SIS, partition, and any solution based on geographical separation were included in this category. What remained to be discussed was inde­pendence and the means of cooperation between the two ethnic com­munities in running a joint enterprise. As there was neither victor nor vanquished, mutual concessions appeared to be the key to success.

Now, almost three years after the beginning of the talks, both sides claim to have come to the limit of the concessions which they can reasonably make. These talks were said to be of an unofficial and exploratory nature, and secrecy was considered essential for their suc­cess. Consequently, in discussing the difficulties encountered in the intercommunal talks one has to be careful not to cross the boundaries of discretion, or to divulge anything which has not so far been disclosed by both sides.

From 1960 onwards, the Greek Cypriot propaganda machine told the world that “amendment of the Constitution was essential for the better functioning of the state machinery”. Their ostensible reason for the 1963 troubles was projected as “crisis due to constitutional abnormalities”. In fact, of course, their main objective was to remove all those parts of the Constitution prohibiting any move towards ENOSIS by giving specific rights to the Turkish Cypriots. At the intercommunal talks, the Turkish Cypriot side showed willingness to accommo­date the Greek Cypriot demands for certain amendments, provided a) that they did not erode the Communal Status of the Turkish Cypriots, and b) that ENOSIS continued to be effectively barred. Another impor­tant question for the Turkish Cypriots was that of security of life and property. The Turks wanted a guaranteed regime which would prevent the tragedy of December 1963 from being restaged by the numerically greater Greek Cypriot side. The checks and balances introduced into the 1960 Constitution in the form of vetoes, etc. proved inade­quate, and the December 1963 events were planned and staged in spite of them. Now the Turkish Cypriot side, in considering a future arrange­ment, wanted “more real” guarantees in the from of full autonomy in local affairs.

It has been agreed that:

a)The two communities shall share the responsibility of running the government in proportion to the population ratio (80 % Greek Cypriot and 20 % Turkish Cypriot);

  1. Local autonomy shall be given to the two communites.

General agreement has been reached on the functions of autono­mous local bodies, although a few questions remain in abeyance on these. The difficulty seems to be in the interpretation given to the term “local autonomy” by the two sides. To the Turkish Cypriots it implies what it says: Autonomy in its proper sense. The Greek Cypriot treatment of the subject falls far short of this understanding. Hence the difficulty in resolving the conflict.

Other difficulties stem from the Greek Cypriot side’s refusal to reendorse the “functional federation” image of the 1960 agreements, under which the Government was shared between the two communites in agreed proportions, while each community had its separate Communal Administration for “communal matters”. It is this functional federation arrangement that has enabled the Turkish Cypriots to de­fend the independence of Cyprus from December 1960 to this day. The only concession that the Greek Cypriot side is willing to make is to “allow” the Turkish Cypriot side to retain its Communal Administrative set up – the Turkish Communal Chamber – without re-establishing its Greek Cypriot counterpart. Turkish Cypriot proposals for some solu­tion to this question of retaining the “functional federation” image have been turned down, thus increasing Turkish fears that what the Greek Cypriots are hoping for is the creation of a Greek Cypriot state – which the Turkish Cypriots will be treated at best as a “privileged minority”. The Turkish Cypriots feel that acceptance of such a status would gradually move the avalanche of ENOSIS, under which they would sooner or later be crushed. For the Turkish Cypriot side, there­fore, the preservation of the 1960 image of functional federalism is a sine qua non of any future agreement. “If the Greek Cypriot aim is not to use any future agreement as a ‘springboard for ENOSIS’, they should have no difficulty in accepting our proposals on this issue”, argue the Turkish Cypriot leaders. And this, really, is the crux of the whole mat­ter. The Greek Cypriot approach to the problem is alien to the establish­ment of an independent Cypriot State. In the absence of a Cypriot nation, any attempt to base the State on one of the two communities while treating the other as a minority would, in fact, be an attempt to create a new transitional Greek State in the Mediterranean as a prelude to union with Greece, it is this Greek Cypriot tendency “to make Cyprus Greece” which caused the 1963 troubles, and continues to hamper the progress of the intercommunal talks. If Cyprus is to con­tinue as an independent country, its government and administrative set-up have to be based on the recognized and agreed rights of the two ethnic communities.

The persistent attempt in Cyprus to gloss over this reality and to confuse the issue by importing into it questions of minority-majority rights do not infuse the Turkish side with confidence. Akritas’ Plan is still on record, and actions taken in accordance with its terms are not yet past history. The Turkish Cypriot side’s attempt to underline the community’s rights and status and to provide for adequate mea­sures for protection of life and property must be viewed in the light of an existing Greek Cypriot plan to Hellenize Cyprus by hook or by crook, and to bring about ENOSIS by using any agreement which falls short of it as simply a transitional one, called “the feasible solution” which is to be used toward the desired objective of ENOSIS.

In short, the difficulties which lie ahead cannot be minimized; questions of principle on cardinal issues are still far apart, and the chances of bridging them in the near future seem rather dim. But the fact that a “search for peace” still continues, and that guns have been silent in the Island while the intercommunal talks have been in prog­ress, nourish the hope that a solution to this thorny problem will be found through peaceful means – as, indeed, it must.

 

                 (*) Published in the fpi Quarterly “Foreign Policy”, Vol 1, No. 1

Visits: 214

REMINISCENSES ON CYPRUS – NİHAT ERiM

REMINISCENSES ON CYPRUS (*)

NİHAT ERiM

A prominent Turkish Statesman, Prof. Nihat Erim, who later becamethe Prime Minister of Turkey, has been involved with various phases of the founding of the Cyprus Republic and subsequent crises. Some of his personal recollections as given to the editor of “Foreign Policy” quarterly  in a special interview will no doubt become a significant contribution to the writing of Cyprus history.

 

My first involvement with Cyprus dates back to 1956. The then Prime Minister Mr. Adnan Menderes asked me, as a professor of law, to study and elaborate an internationally acceptable legal basis for our position on Cyprus, which had  then become a national issue. I went to the Foreign Ministry and studied the file. Up to then our official claim was based on the Treaty of Lausanne : We argued that we had trensferred Cyprus to Great Britain by the Treaty of Lausanne. If Britain wanted to leave the island it should be returned to its original owner, i.e. to Turkey. I considered this legally inadequate even though it could be sustained politically on the ground that the Lausanne Treaty had established a Turkish-Greek equilibrium in the Mediterranean where Cyprus played a pivotal role. From the legal point of view, however, if the sovereignty of territory was uncon­ditionally transferred to another country, the original owner could have no control over the new sovereign regarding the fate of that land.

In studying the subject, I recalled a certain provision of the United Nations Charter, in the formulation of which I had taken part at the San Francisco Conference in 1945. This clause was discussed and prepared at the committee which I had attended : Paragraph (b)| of Article 73 stated: «… to develop self-government, to take due account of the political aspiration of the peoples”. Much discussions had taken place at the committee whether to use the word “people” in the singular or in the plural. In the end a consensus was reached that in many countries which had not yet attained self-government not only one but more than one people lived, whose aspirations had to be taken into account separately. Therefore, the plural form “peoples” was preferred.

In my report to the Government I stated : «lt is quite obvious that today in Cyprus two seperate peoples live. Admittedly Greek people on the island constitute the majority, but there is also a Turkish people with separate religion, separate language, separate past, separate future, separate hopes and aspirations that cannot coincide with those of the Greek people. While self-government demands of the Greek people were to be satisfied, the aspirations of the Turks had also to be taken into account and satisfied.”

The Government adopted this thesis and I was assigned with the task of presenting it to our delegation to the United Nations. As a result, this point was included in the Turkish presentation to the United Nations General Assembly of 1957 as an addition to our arguments based on the Lausanne Treaty, and the Assembly resolution of that year referred to a solution acceptable to “all parties concerned”, which without mentioning the term specifically, included both Turkey and the Turkish Community in the island.

Even before the United Nations discussions, upon the demand of the British government a draft constitution was prepared by Lord Radcliffe in 1956. His proposals were based on the existence of two separate communities in Cyprus which were to be co-partners within a dual government with two heads. At that time I visited Cyprus, discussed the situation with the then British Governor – General Sir John Harding and with the leaders of the Turkish Community and presented our counter­proposals to the Radcliffe draft. But due to the Greek hopes that they could obtain better terms from the United Nations, progress could not then be achieved on the Radcliffe draft. Later on in 1958, Mr. Harold Mac Millan put forward another plan which was  rejected by the Greek Government and by Archbishop Makarios. However, the Radcliffe constitutional proposals inspired the subsequent London and Zurich Agreements and the constitution we prepared in 1960 for Cyprus.

I was not involved in the preparation of the London and Zurich Agreements, but I was in the preparation of the Cyprus constitution. Prime Minister Menderes asked me to head the Turkish delegation at the mixed committee to prepare the constitution. We began our work in Cyprus and we worked for a while in Lausanne because the neutral advisor of the committee, Prof. Bridel, could not leave his chair at the University of Lausanne. The constitutional preparations lasted from the beginning of 1959 to March 1960 and during one year we spent 183 days in Cyprus. The crucial point on which it was difficult to agree was the rights of the executive organ. Achbishop Makorios was unable to reconcile himself to the notion that he had to share his Presidential powers with a Turkish Vice-President. The chief Greek Cypriot negotiator was Mr. Clerides and Makarios pushed him aside and wanted to negotiate with me directly. After a certain time he led the discussions to a rupture and I left Cyprus. Eventually Athens and Ankara agreed on the necessity that the clause in the Zurich Agreement relating to the powers of the executive be included in the constitution without change. This settlement was included in toto in the constitution which was at last accepted by Makarios. The aim of the Archbishop was to dilute the Zurich Agreement by including provisions favorable to himself, and we did not allow this to happen. I believe this point is extremely important since it explains all further actions by the Archbishop. After Cyprus became an independent state, all the faits accomplis he tried and the disputes he created have been based on his initial opposition to allowing the Turkish Vice-President to become his partner in running the state and sharing his authority. In 1963 he visited Ankara and during his discussions with Prime Minister İnönü he objected to the existence of seperate municipalities, the right of the Turks to veto the budget, etc., etc… While the constitution was being negotiated he had wanted to eliminate all these provisions. The Turkish Government responded to him that these were points on which agreement had been reached in the course of the London and Zurich negotiations and had become part of the Cyprus constitution; therefore, they could neither be diluted nor reinforced and he had to live with these provisions and share the Cypriot state with the Turks.

Nevertheless, ever since the Cyprus Republic became an independent and sovereign state he has attempted to upset the dual balance in his own favor by unilateral action. I must point out that the principal aspi­ration of Archbishop Makarios and most of the Cypriot Greeks is Enosis, that is to unite the island some day with Greece. Makarios hoped in 1963 that he could achieve this through a fait accompli by benefitting from the domestic problems of Turkey. But the attitude of Turkey and the heroic resistence of the Turks on the island prevented him. He repeated his action once again in 1967 when Mr. S. Demirel was Prime Minister of Turkey. He also stood firm and Makarios failed again. After 1967 the United Nations increased its interest in Cyprus and provided for intercommunal talks which continued on and off until 1974.

However, between the preparation of the Cyprus constitution in 1959 and Prime Minister İnönü’s visit to Washington in 1964, I was not invol­ved with developments or decision making on Cyprus. On this trip Prime Minister İnönü asked me to travel with him as a parliamentary advisor and I accepted. As is known, in the beginning of 1964 President Johnson had prevented a Turkish landing in Cyprus through a rather strange, harsh and threatening letter which had caused much resentment in Tur­key. In order to erase the effects of this letter President Johnson made an effort and invited the Turkish and Greek Prime Ministers to Washington, and stated that he wanted to settle this problem in a manner that would satisfy the Turks. He said that for this purpose, he would appoint Mr. Dean Acheson, one of his much trusted aides, and asked Prime Minister İnönü to appoint a similar Turkish personality to talk with him. Prime Minister İnönü said he wanted to designate me as his representative. Prime Minister Papandreou of Greece would arrive two days after us in Washington and would also be asked to appoint a negotiator for the Greek side. The original proposal of President Johnson was that the rep­resentatives of the three countries should be closeted at Camp David and kept there until they reached an agreement, say within two or three weeks, if necessary. İnönü accepted this proposal. Mr. Acheson was intro­duced to Mr. İnönü. The meeting took place on a yacht on the Potomac River and a declaration was prepared. As written by Mr. Acheson, the declaration reaffirmed the validity of existing agreements as a starting point for a new solution mentioning «…the binding effects of treaties”. Makarios wanted to change the constitution and we did not object to changing it, provided the binding effects and results of the treaties in force were taken as a basis. We accepted this and left Washington for New York. Mr. Papandreou arrived in Washington while we were in New York. We were told that Mr. Papandreou accepted the principle of tripar­tite discussions to take place among Turkish, Greek and American rep­resentatives; however, he wanted the discussions to take place under the United Nations umbrella. The United Nations Secretary General should appoint the mediator, who would be Mr. Tuomioja of Finland, and the discussions were not be held at Camp David but at Geneva so that they would not carry an American label. President Johnson accepted the proposal of the Greek Prime Minister.

While we were in New York we received the news that General Grivas had landed on the island and we were shocked to hear this news. We were told, however, by our American colleagues that this should not be considered a bad development since General Grivas had gone there to fight Communists and we should not worry about   his activities.

Soon afterwards we arrived in Geneva to start discussions; there we were to meet again another Greek demand. The Greek Government stated that their delegate could not attend a tripartite conference. They would negotiate individually with Mr. Dean Acheson and we should also talk with him alone. Mr. Acheson should try to reach a conclusion through these separate talks. The Turkish Government was agreeable also on this point, because what was important for us was Mr. Acheson’s propo­sals, and we accepted the Greek suggestion. Acting with remarkable good will and appreciating the political and legal justifications for the Turkish case, and Turkey’s desire not to resort to the use of force and security requirements, Mr. Acheson put forward a proposal which has bean known as the First Acheson Plan. This Plan provided a line from Akantou Pass, East of Kyrenia to the east of Famagusta — this portion of the island — and East and North of this line was to be left to Turkey. Turkey would have the right to maintain in this zone a military force of  divisional strength, thus assuring its security. Furthermore as the Turkish settle­ments were spread all over the island in such places as Paphos, Lymasol, Larnaca, Kyrenia, Omorpho, Famagusta, and Nicosia as well as many other localities, the creation of approximately eight Turkish cantons was also envisaged in the plan. I took this plan with me to Ankara. A Coun­cil of Ministers meeting was held in which I also participated. Our Go­vernment accepted it and authorized me to discuss it. The discussions lasted for some time. We had accepted the principle of a geographical separation, but we had certain qualms about placing a military force of a division within such a small area, where there would be little elbow room and no space for an air base. Yet all these points could be dis­cussed  further once this   principle was accepted by the  Greek  side.

In Geneva Mr. Acheson informed us that Mr. Papandreou had also accepted this plan, but since it was going to be carried out by Arch­bishop Makarios his view and concurrence had also to be obtained. Prime Minister Papandreou invited Archbishop Makarios to Athens. As soon as I heard of this invitation I lost all my hopes for a settlement because I could easily guess, on the basis of my experience with him during the constitutional talks, what his reactions would be. Indeed after a few hours of discussions with the Greek government in Athens the Arch­bishop left the meeting and told journalists that this plan was ac­tually a partitioning of the island even though its real name was not mentioned. He categorically refused to accept it. He denigrated Mr. Acheson as “a self-invited mediator” and claimed that a solution could only be found by the United Nations. Mr. Acheson was very upset, but there was another fait accompli.

After a few months, on August 8, 1964, the forces of Archbishop Makarios again attacked Turkish settlements in the area of Erenkoy-Mansoura, and we attacked these forces with our aircraft. The Greek forces were scared and they halted their operation. The United Nations Security Council met and asked Turkey to stop its operations. Yet Ma­karios could advance no  further.

We returned once again to neutral Geneva, and Mr. Acheson one day invited me and presented a proposal which he said was not his own but that of the State Department and of President Johnson, and he began to read from a telex message. The proposal rescinded comp­letely the original Acheson plan. There was no longer to be a separate geographical area belonging to the Turks, but merely a very small mili­tary base to be leased to Turkey just north of the British base at Dikelia. There was to be no turnover of sovereignty, and the base was to be leased by the Cypriot government. I had with me our military advisor, General T. Sunalp. As soon as we heard this we said that there was no point in elaborating further on a proposal which we would be unable to discuss, because our authority was confined to the original proposal. Mr. Acheson requested us not to reject the proposal then and there. The plan was being at that moment presented to the governments in Athens and Ankara, and they could reject it. Our discussions terminat­ed on this point and the proposal was rejected the same day by Prime Minister İnönü when it was presented to him by the United States Ambas­sador to Ankara.

During these discussions and the subsequent ones I reached the impression that there were two schools of thought which clashed in the State Deportment. One was represented by Mr. Dean Acheson, who had told me during a visit to Washington that Turkey was the only strong and stable country which the United States could depend on in this part of the world. All other considerations must remain secondary. He believed that Turkey’s legitimate demands should be satisfied, and she must be strengthened. It was with these considerations in mind that he had actively worked for Turkey’s admission to NATO yesterday and that he had prepared today his original plan for the future of Cyprus. On one occasion he had jokingly confided to me that the State Department considered   him  as   an  old-fashioned   Nineteenth  Century   diplomat.

The other view, which I believe was that of Mr. Dean Rusk, conside­red that the United States policy should be to keep both Turkey and Greece on the same footing, without hurting the feelings of either. I also believe that Mr. Kissinger’s policy has been similar to and even stronger than that of Mr. Acheson.

Much later, in 1971 when I became Prime Minister, I was once again interest – this time as political decision taker – in the Cyprus problem and I received a favorable response from Mr. Papadopoulos. My thesis was the following one: We are nearing the end of the Twentieth Century. Relations between states cannot be run in accordance with the menta­lity of Archbishop Makarios, who is basically a Nineteenth Century priest wishing to run a chauvenistic state. We have an excellent opportunity. On Cyprus two communities live side by side in a de facto federation. How nice it would be if they could make it operate. Turkey and Greece have so many points of common interest and have so much reason to be friends and allies that it would be a great pity to ignore these simply to please Makarios. Twenty years later the statesmen of both countries would laugh at us and scorn our policies. Let us not create such a situation. Through our Ambassador in Athens and through the Greek Ambassador in Ankara, Mr. Papadopoulos informed me of his agreement and expressed his similar thoughts: but his response stipulated that we improve upon Turkish-Greek relations without awaiting a solution to the Cyprus question (‘). I informed him that this was not possible. So long as there remained a Cyprus issue Turkish-Greek relations could not possibly be improved. In Cyprus the Greeks had shed much Turkish blood, Greece has to clean this blood away. Neither I, nor any other Turkish Prime Minister could succeed in developing Turkish-Greek re­lations before the restoration of the legitimate Turkish rights in Cyprus, I knew that our interests demanded the improvement of Turkish-Greek relations, but I did not have power to do anything about it before some­thing was done in Cyprus. Messages kept being exchanged between myself and Mr. Papadopoulos through our Ambassadors with solemn expressions of good will. You will recall that during this period significant quarrels took place between Makarios and Papadopoulos. I do not know what was the real cause but I have a feeling that these exchanges had some effect on those quarrels.

Again at about the same time, that is in the fall of 1971, a Swiss pub­lisher by the name of Mr. Nagel asked to see me to present a message from Archbishop Makarios. He said that he was a close friend of the Archbishop and had seen him in Nicosia in September. The Archbishop had told him that he appreciated my qualities as a statesman since he knew me during previous negotiations and that he believed a solution could be found to the Cyprus problem if he and I could meet, and he was ready to come to Turkey to see me. I gave him the following reply: “This is all very interesting. I know his qualities as well, since I negotiated the Cyprus constitution with him for three months. The Archbishop I know pretends that Turks on the island are a minority and he does not accept the principle that the Cyprus state is based on Turkish-Greek partnership. He claims that he signed the constitution under duress and he wants to get  rid of it”. I, therefore, asked the bearer of the message: ”Has Makarios changed his views? Does he admit that the Cyprus state is ba­sed on Turkish-Greek partnership ? If he does, we can meet at any time and indeed we can find a solution. But, first of all, I would like to receive an answer to my questions”. Mr. Nagel said that I was quite right, and I heard nothing further from him or from the Archbishop.

 

I took up this matter further during an offical visit to Paris in the beginning of 1972. During that trip at a reception in the Turkish Embassy I met Makarios’ envoy to Paris, Ambassador Modinos, whom I knew very well. I told him about Mr. Nagel’s visit and my reply to Makarios. He said that he did not know anything about it. But I insisted that he should con­tact the Archbishop and raise the matter with him; he promised to do so and to inform the Turkish Ambassador in Paris. As far as I recall, there was no response from him and this initiative failed to bring any reaction from Archbishop Makarios.

 

(1)  Editor’s note :   For a comprehensive Greek view see :    “Turkish-Greek  Rela­tions”, loannis Tzounis.  Foreign Policy, Vol. I. No. 2.

 

       (*) Published in the fpi Quarterly Foreign Policy, Vol. 4, Nos. 2-3

Visits: 346

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: 224

STRENGTHENING THE POLITICAL COHESION OF THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE – İlter Türkmen

STRENGTHENING  THE   POLITICAL COHESION OF THE ATLANTIC ALLIANCE (*)

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.

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