American Hellenic Institute


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Statement of Gene Rossides, American Hellenic Institute general counsel
April 23, 2003 No. 22 (202) 785-8430

Statement of Gene Rossides, American Hellenic Institute general counsel

April 23, 2003

The war on Iraq has demonstrated Turkey’s unreliability as an ally and that
Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic or other interests in the Middle East

The need in the interests of the U.S. to change the flawed U.S. policy towards Turkey

Turkey is the cause of tensions and problems in its region

Richard Perle should resign or be removed from the Defense Policy Board

The war on Iraq has demonstrated and dramatized Turkey’s unreliability as an ally and that Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic or other interests in the Middle East. In the interests of the United States, it is past time to change a flawed U.S. policy towards Turkey. It is past time to recognize that Turkey is the cause of tensions and problems in its region. And it is past time to stop the double standard towards Turkey and apply the rule of law to Turkey.

The war on Iraq has demonstrated Turkey’s unreliability as an ally

Turkey’s refusal to allow up to 62,000 U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against Iraq was a clear demonstration of Turkey’s unreliability as an ally. It came as a surprise to many in the administration, the foreign policy establishment and the media. It should not have been a surprise because there are a number of other occasions throughout the past decades evidencing Turkey’s unreliability as an ally. Indeed, during the Cold War Turkey’s military-controlled government actually aided the Soviet military. The record shows that during the Cold War Turkey brushed aside U.S. and NATO interests on several occasions and deliberately gave substantial assistance to the Soviet military.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz in remarks in Istanbul on July 14, 2002 referred to Turkey:

“as a staunch NATO ally through forty years of the Cold War....It is the great good fortune of the United States, of NATO, the West, indeed the world, that occupying this most important crossroads we have one of our strongest, most reliable and most self-reliant allies.” (Emphasis added.)

The facts are otherwise. Turkey has been an unreliable ally and is hardly self-reliant, requiring 19 financial bailouts by the U.S., the IMF and the World Bank over the past four decades.

Please see Exhibit 1 for the details of Turkey’s unreliability as an ally.

“extortion in the name of alliance”

In the lead article on February 20, 2003, the New York Times reported that Turkey was demanding $32 billion for use of Turkish territory by U.S. troops for a northern front against Iraq, that the U.S. had offered $26 billion, that Turkey’s governing party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the White House’s final offer of $26 billion ($15 billion in one year) “was not good enough and that Parliament would not vote this week on whether to allow the deployment of upwards of 40,000 American troops along the Iraqi border.” The New York Times reporters David E. Sanger and Dexter Filkens also wrote (Feb. 20, 2003, at A1; col. 6):

“Mr. Bush made no public comment about the standoff today....

In private, though, administration officials were fuming, with one senior official calling the Turkish efforts to hold out for more aid—and perhaps access to oil from the Kirkuk region of Iraq—as ‘extortion in the name of alliance.’ Another said that despite a stream of aid from the United States, ‘the Turks seem to think that we’ll keep the bazaar open all night.’”

For further details see joint letter to President George W. Bush of February 26, 2003 at

The Administration’s offer of $26 billion ($15 billion in one year) was unconscionable and should not have been made. It is extortion at $32 billion, at $26 billion, at $15 billion, at $1 billion, at $1 million or at 1 cent.

The Turkish military, by its decision not to openly press for an affirmative vote in the Parliament, and other signals on the U.S. use of bases in Turkey, maneuvered to insure a no vote on March 1, 2003. The measure lost by 3 votes in a Parliament of 550 members. A number of media accounts indicate that the Turkish military believed the U.S. needed Turkey regarding Iraq and thought it could get more money, a veto over policy regarding the northern Iraqi Kurds and access to Kirkuk oil. They made a major mistake, the irony and unintended consequences of which demonstrated (1) Turkey’s unreliability as an ally, (2) that Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic or other interests in the Middle East and (3) that Turkey’s main interests are to suppress the Iraqi Kurds, get more dollars from the U.S. and access to northern Iraqi oil—not weapons of mass destruction, regime change and democracy for the Iraqis.

Members of Congress and media commentators have referred to Turkey’s actions as disloyal, shocking, extortion, blackmail, bribery and shakedown. The New York Times syndicated columnist, William Safire called it “the unkindest cut of all.” (NY Times, Mar. 17, 2003, at A23, col. 5.) The Washington Post’s nationally syndicated columnist, Jim Hoagland wrote (Mar. 6, 2003, at A23; col.1):

“It is time to move on, to let Turkey’s politicians stew in the consequences
of their act, and for Washington to be crystal clear with Turkey’s senior generals
that they would pay a huge price for staging a unilateral intervention in northern Iraq when war begins.”

Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic or other interests in the Middle East

The war against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in Iraq proved beyond a doubt that Turkey is of minimal value for U.S. strategic interests in the region. Turkey was neither vital nor needed, as its proponents had stated, in the U.S.-led coalition war against Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.

On March 3, 2003, Army Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, the U.S. ground commander who would head an invasion of Iraq told reporters "he was prepared to attack 'with or without Turkey,' asserting that a full-fledged northern front is not critical to defeating President Saddam Hussein's forces…. 'If a decision is made to conduct combat operations, when you put together all the pieces of air, ground, maritime, special operating forces, I will tell you it will be more than a one-direction effort.'" (Wash. Post, March 4, 2003, at A1; col. 5.)

General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said "that American forces would open a second front from the north against Iraq, with or without Turkey's help.” (NYTimes, March 5, 2003, at A1; col. 6.)

The U.S. military outlines plans to President Bush for defeat of Saddam Hussein without Turkey's help

On March 5, 2003, Mr. Eric Schmitt, reporting for the New York Times (Mar. 6, 2003, at A14; col.1) wrote:

"The Pentagon has provided President Bush with options for an attack against Iraq that could begin within days and without using Turkey as a staging area for American troops in the north, military officials said today.

…Gen. Tommy R. Franks met today at the White House to discuss war plans with President Bush and his top national security advisers.

* * * *

A senior Turkish general today endorsed a plan to send as many as 62,000 American troops through Turkey to open a second front in northern Iraq. But a senior American military official said…. 'We're beyond that now,' the official said of staging through Turkey. 'We're at Plan B.'

Plan B, the official said, is what General Franks's initial (emphasis added) war plan envisioned: an offensive launched from Kuwait, with lighter forces from there swooping into northern Iraq to safeguard the oil fields there and keep rival Kurdish factions from fighting with each other or with Turkish troops that might cross the border.”

The need in the interests of the U.S. to change the flawed U.S. policy towards Turkey

In the interests of the United States, the flawed U.S. policy towards Turkey needs to be changed. The policy towards Turkey these past decades has been to consider Turkey a strategic and reliable ally against the Soviet Union and after the fall of the USSR to say that Turkey was still important regarding the countries of central Asia and the Middle East strategically and as a “moslem democracy” for them to emulate. Both propositions were in error and not supportable by the facts. Turkey is not a democracy. Turkey is a military-controlled authoritarian government.

While the present war on Iraq has demonstrated that Turkey is an unreliable ally, it is not the first instance of such unreliability, as discussed above and in Exhibit 1. Turkey’s several previous examples of unreliability as an ally have been put under the rug by Turkey’s proponents to the detriment of U.S. interests. Indeed, Turkey’s proponents and paid registered foreign agents have misled the Congress and the American people regarding the facts of Turkey’s previous unreliability.

What should be a new policy towards Turkey? It certainly should not be business as usual as advocated by Mr. Richard Perle who actually stated at an American Enterprise Black Coffee Briefing that “the long-term and close relationship between the United States and Turkey needn’t change.” (Wash. Post, 4-13-03, at F1, col. 3, at F5).

Our future dealings with Turkey should be at arms length in view of Turkey’s recent and past actions as an unreliable ally and its lack of democracy at home. Our dealings should also recognize that Turkey is the cause of tensions and problems in its region. Any aid to Turkey should be given only if Turkey has met specific conditions. The $1 billion dollars in aid to Turkey in the $78.5 billion Supplemental Appropriations Bill for the war in Iraq (which the Congress passed on Saturday, April 12, 2003, at the close of the war), was “a request not a commitment” according to State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. (Daily press briefing, Mar. 25, 2003, pages 2-3.)

Certain members of Congress urged in early April that the $1 billion in aid to Turkey be subject to “performance standards relating to Turkey’s economic policies and its role as an ally.” The role as an ally referred to Turkey allowing overflight rights, and food and non-military supplies to U.S. troops in northern Iraq, which role it turned out was not needed after a few days and was of minimal value. Turkey refused to allow military arms and equipment through its territory.

There should be no military aid to Turkey of whatever nature. Economic aid to Turkey should recognize that the military-controlled government of Turkey is the cause of tensions in its region and aid should be subject to the following conditions:

  • removal of Turkey’s 40,000 occupation forces and 100,000 colonists from Cyprus;
  • full human rights and autonomy for the Kurdish minority in Turkey;
  • removal of the illegal blockade of Armenia;
  • full religious freedom and protection for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church, and reopening of the illegally closed Halki School of Theology;
  • civilian control of the Turkish military with the return of the military to the barracks;
  • the divestiture by the Turkish military of its ownership of the arms production companies of Turkey and its other businesses;
  • repayment by the Turkish military from its "tens of billions of dollars" in a cash fund of the $5 billion debt owed to the U.S.; and
  • referral by Turkey to the International Court of Justice at the Hague of any claims it asserts regarding the Aegean.

In future dealings with Turkey a special effort must be made to work with the democratic forces, reformers and human rights activists in Turkey to assist Turkey to become a full and true democracy. Fundamental to this effort is civilian control of the Turkish military and the divestiture by the Turkish military of its ownership of the arms production companies of Turkey and its other substantial businesses.

Turkey is the cause of tensions and problems in its region


Turkey’s 1974 invasion of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus with 40,000 Turkish troop’s and the occupation of 37.3 percent of the island—all accomplished with the illegal use of U.S. arms and equipment—are affronts to the international legal order, violations of the UN Charter, article 2 (4), the North Atlantic Treaty and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, and are a continuing threat to regional stability. AHI supports a settlement of the Cyprus problem through negotiations based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in a sovereign state, incorporating the norms of constitutional democracy, the EU acquis communautaire, all UN resolutions on Cyprus, and the pertinent decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. To achieve such a settlement, the U.S. should apply forceful economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Turkey, including sanctions.

We condemn the Turkish military’s and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash’s hindrance of settlement negotiations and Turkey’s repeated threats to annex the occupied part of Cyprus if Cyprus becomes an EU member. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan put the blame for the failure of the talks between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots at The Hague on March 10-11, 2003 squarely on Turkey and Rauf Denktash, The Turkish Cypriot leader. In his report of April 1, 2003 to the UN Security Council he wrote “In the case of the failure of this latest effort, I believe that Mr. Denktash, the Turkish Cypriot leader, bears prime responsibility.” Secretary-General Annan recognized President Tassos Papadopoulos’ “continued desire to seek a settlement on the basis of my plan even after accession to the European Union.”

Turkey’s Suppression of Human Rights in Turkey

Turkey has a notoriously dismal human rights record, which is well documented in numerous credible reports. Of special interest is the November 1999 report “Arming Repression: U.S. Arms Sales to Turkey During the Clinton Administration,” produced jointly by the World Policy Institute and the Federation of American Scientists. Other reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and successive State Department Country Reports on Turkey have stated that “extrajudicial killings, including deaths in detention from excessive use of force, ‘mystery killings,’ and disappearances continued. Torture remained widespread.” Thousands of political prisoners cram Turkish jails. Dozens of journalists have been assassinated, and many others are in jail.

Abuses Against the Kurds

The suppression of human rights has been particularly brutal against Turkey’s twenty percent Kurdish minority and amounts to ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide. The Kurds have a unique language and traditions. Mostly Sunni Muslims and numbering about 20 million in Turkey today, they have been settled for more than two millenia in a broad arc spanning southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran (3 million), and northeastern Iraq (3.5 million). They have traditionally resisted subjugation, but history has consistently denied them a national homeland. They are therefore political and ethnic minorities wherever they live, the easy target of majorities casting about for the sources of political, economic, and social discord. Particularly in Turkey and Iraq, the abuses against Kurds by governments ostensibly rooting out rebellion and “terrorism” have been chronic and genocidal.

In the past two decades, the Turkish military and mercenary groups have killed, either by direct military intervention or assassination, tens of thousands of Kurds, over ninety percent of whom have been innocent civilians. It is also well-documented that since 1984, the Turkish military’s genocidal policy has destroyed over 3,000 Kurdish villages (some in northern Iraq outside of Turkish territory), creating over 2.5 million Kurdish refugees. France’s former ambassador to Turkey, Eric Rouleau, detailed Turkey’s massive elimination of Kurds between 1984 and 1999:

“According to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, in addition to the 35,000 people killed in military campaigns, 17,500 were assassinated between 1984, when the conflict began, and 1998. An additional 1,000 people were reportedly assassinated in the first nine months of 1999. According to the Turkish press, the authors of these crimes, none of whom have been arrested, belong to groups of mercenaries working either directly or indirectly for the security agencies.” (Eric Rouleau, “Turkey’s Dream of Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2000, pages 100-114, at page 112.)

Mr. Edward Peck, a retired U.S. ambassador, served as U.S. chief of mission in Baghdad from 1977 to 1980. In an article in the Mediterranean Quarterly (Fall 2001), Mr. Peck stated that the Kurds in Turkey “have faced far more extensive persecution than they do in Iraq.” He writes:

“The northern no-fly zone may qualify as one of history’s major ironies. The aircraft we send to protect the Kurds are based in Turkey, where large numbers of Kurds, over a longer period of time, have faced far more extensive persecution than they do in Iraq. Further, when the Turkish army wants to invade Iraq for the express purpose of killing Kurds there, we supply aerial photography and then suspend our protective overflights so the Turks can use their own aircraft to kill more. This is dynamic hypocrisy of galactic proportions.” (page 16).

The assaults against Turkey’s Kurdish minority reveal that democratic norms have still not taken root in Turkey. In view of Turkey’s horrendous record, AHI believes that the U.S. policy toward Turkey should be driven by forceful incentives for democratic reform. These include an arms embargo, diplomatic and economic pressure and economic sanctions.

Aegean Sea Boundary

Turkey has made claims to one-half of the Aegean Sea and refuses to take its claims to the International Court of Justice at the Hague. The U.S. should publicly state that it accepts as final the treaty-defined demarcation of the maritime border between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean Sea. The U.S. should vigorously repudiate any challenge to this demarcation and should urge Turkey to submit its difference of opinion to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. We urge the Congress to pass H. Con. Res. 87, the Aegean Sea Boundary Bill introduced by Rep. Robert E. Andrews on March 11, 2003, which expresses the foregoing policy.

Suppression of Religious Freedom

Religious freedom, a basic human right, is not enjoyed by Orthodox Christians in Turkey. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne expressly guarantees the religious rights of Turkey’s Orthodox Christian minority and of Greek Orthodoxy’s Ecumenical Patriarch, whose throne has been located in Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople) since Byzantine times. But the failure of successive Turkish governments to enforce the treaty’s protections has resulted in the chronic persecution and harassment of Turkey’s Greek Orthodox Christians. In recent times these acts have included assaults on the Ecumenical Patriarchate, desecrations of Orthodox cemeteries and churches, restrictions on the Saint Nicholas Festival, and the prohibition of non-Turkish citizens from working at the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Since 1971, the Turkish government has deliberately choked off the supply of eligible candidates for Greek Orthodox sacramental positions in Turkey by ordering the illegal closure of the centuries-old Halki Patriarchal School of Theology, one of Greek Orthodoxy’s preeminent schools for the training of priests. The school has remained closed ever since.

We condemn Turkey’s toleration of assaults against religious minorities and closure of the theological school. AHI calls on the U.S. to insist that Turkey immediately reopen the school and enforce strictly the guarantees of religious freedom set forth in the Treaty of Lausanne, the UN Charter, and other international agreements. In accordance with the sense of Congress expressed in Section 2804 of the 1999 Appropriations Bill, which became law on October 28, 1998, we urge the U.S. government to use its influence with the Turkish government to safeguard the Ecumenical Patriarchate, its personnel, and its property, and to reopen the Halki Patriarchal School of Theology.


The Greek American community enjoys long-standing contacts and affinities with the Armenian American community. We support the Armenian community’s efforts on the Humanitarian Aid Corridor Act, passed as part of the 1997 Foreign Aid Bill, which calls for a halt to U.S. assistance to any country blocking U.S. aid to another country. The Turkish blockage of aid to Armenia includes U.S. humanitarian and pharmaceutical aid. We deplore the previous Administration's waiver of that Act for Turkey. It is in the interests of the U.S. to recognize the 1915 Armenian Genocide on the lines of H. Con. Res. 56.

Richard Perle should resign or be removed from the Defense Policy Board

U.S. relations with Turkey have been driven by a handful of appointive, career and military officials and Turkey’s U.S. foreign agents registered with the Department of Justice. Key among the appointed officials are Messrs. Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith. Over the past decades they have misrepresented Turkey’s value to the U.S. and overlooked Turkey’s horrendous human rights violations. By advocating and successfully pressing for grant military arms to Turkey in the 1980’s and 1990’s, with full public knowledge that U.S. arms would be used against Turkey’s Kurdish minority, they made the U.S. an accessory to Turkey’s ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide against Turkey’s 20% Kurdish minority. The killings of innocent Kurds lie at their doorstep.

Their policy and actions towards Turkey have been harmful to U.S. interests in the region and have cost the U.S. taxpayer billions of dollars of unnecessary expenditures in military and economic aid to Turkey.

Mr. Perle, a democrat, was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs in the Reagan administration. In 1992 Mr. Wolfowitz was Under Secretary of Defense for Policy in the Reagan administration and is now Deputy Secretary of Defense. Mr. Feith, Perle’s protege, was his special assistant in the Reagan administration and is now the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. Mr. Perle was, until recently, the appointed chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a non-paying position subject to the rules of conduct and ethics of paid government employees. He resigned as chairman on March 27, 2003 after “disclosures that his business dealings included a recent meeting with a Saudi arms dealer and a contract to advise a communications company (Global Crossing) that is seeking permission from the Defense Department to be sold to Chinese investors.” (NY Times, Mar. 28, 2003, at C1; col.5.)

Mr. Seymour M. Hersh, in a New Yorker magazine article (Mar. 17, 2003, pages 76-81), exposed Perle’s business dealings as “a managing partner in a venture-capital company called Trireme Partners L.P.” as a conflict with his position as chairman of the Defense Advisory Board. “Trireme’s main to invest in companies dealing in technology, goods, and services that are of value to homeland security and defense.” The New York Times in an editorial on March 24, 2003 labeled Mr. Perle’s connection with Global Crossing “ a conflict pure and simple, and Mr. Perle should immediately drop one of his two roles.” (NY Times, Mar. 24, 2003, at A18; col.1.)

However, Mr. Perle did not resign from the Board, choosing to remain as a member. The conflict of interest with his business dealings remains with him as a member of the Defense Policy Board and he should resign or be removed. Mr. Perle is a stain on the integrity and the professed values of the Bush administration and will remain so until he resigns from the Defense Policy Board. If he refuses to resign, the Secretary of Defense should request his resignation. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (Mich.) said that if Mr. Perle continues as a member of the board “that continues to be a problem.” Senator Carl M. Levin (Mich.) voiced similar views. (NY Times, Mar. 28, 2003 at A6, col.1.)

Mr. Perle’s use of an official position for financial gain is not new. In the Reagan administration he successfully pressed for increased grant military aid to Turkey from 1981-1987. Mr. Perle resigned from the Reagan Administration in 1987, before the end of the Cold War, and went to Turkey and negotiated an $800,000 contract for International Advisors Inc. (IAI), a company which he initiated and for which he recruited six former Executive Branch staff officials, including Douglas Feith as the managing principal for IAI. IAI registered with the Justice Department as Turkey’s foreign agent and received $800,000 from Turkey in 1989, and then received $600,000 annually from 1990 to 1994. Mr. Perle became a consultant to IAI and received $48,000 annually from 1989 to 1994.

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Douglas Feith, is a former registered agent for Turkey from 1989 to 1994. Mr. Feith was a principal for IAI. As such, he received $60,000 annually and his law firm Feith and Zell received many hundreds of thousands of dollars from IAI. He was previously a special assistant to Richard Perle at the Defense Department in the Reagan administration.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz gave three speeches on Turkey in 2002 which contained false and misleading statements with serious errors of fact and omission of Orwellain proportions. Members of the House were mislead by Mr. Wolfowitz’s remarks in connection with the debate and vote in the House Appropriations Committee and in the debate on the House floor regarding Representative Duke Cunningham’s amendment to strike the $1 billion in aid to Turkey from the Supplemental Appropriations Bill for the Iraq war because of Turkey’s refusal to allow 62,000 U.S. troops to use bases in Turkey to open a northern front against the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. The amendment failed, in part, because of misinformation given to members by administration officials. In joint letters to President George W. Bush on September 4, 2002 and December 11, 2002, we responded in detail to Mr. Wolfowitz’s false and misleading statements. Copies are available at

Turkey’s U.S. foreign agents registered with the Department of Justice

Turkey has a long and impressive list of U.S. foreign agents registered with the Department of Justice. It is presently paying $2.4 million dollars for its U.S. foreign agents lobbying the Congress and the Executive Branch. Since money is fungible, the U.S. taxpayer is paying the bill from foreign aid monies Turkey receives.

There are two groups presently working for Turkey’s interest: The Livingston Group at $1.8 million a year and the Harbour Group at $600,000 a year. Ms. Judy Sarasohn, in a Washington Post column titled “Special Interests” (Wash. Post, April 3, 2003, at A21; col. 1), detailed the persons working for these groups as follows (emphasis in original):

“The [Livingston] team, which is paid $1.8 million a year, is coordinated by the Livingston Group, headed by former House appropriations chairman Bob Livingston (R-La.). He has represented Turkey for three years, and the government renewed his contract last month for another year.

Also working on Turkey’s behalf from the Livingston Group are Paul F. Cambon, Livingston’s former legislative director; J. Allen Martin, his longtime chief of staff; Lydia A. Borland, who has worked on Turkish affairs for many years; Melvin G. Goodweather; and Richard L. Rogers. For the Livingston-Solomon Group, a subsidiary: Dana Bauer and David Lonie, a former foreign affairs specialist with the House Rules and Foreign Affairs Committees.

For Solarz Associates: Stephen Solarz, former House Democrat from New York. Working closely with Solarz is Barry J. Schumacher of APCO Worldwide, a foreign affairs specialist.

For Jones, Walker, Waechter, Poitevent, Carrere & Denegre: Cambon, also a partner in the firm; Nancy Louise Peele, John J. Jaskot; and R. Christian Johnson.

The Harbour Group, which is not part of the Livingston Team, is also working on Turkey’s behalf. It’s people include Joel Johnson, formerly President Bill Clinton’s senior adviser for policy and communications; Emil J. Barth, who worked in the Clinton White House chief of staff office; Jennifer S. Thomas; Leonard Davis; and Jason Epstein.”


For copies of the following letters to President George W. Bush, please see our web site at

February 26, 2003, Re: Senior administration official calls Turkish actions “extortion in the name of alliance.” Where is the Outcry? Turkey is not vital nor needed in the event of war with Iraq.

December 11, 2002, Re: United States Policy Towards Turkey—Need for a Critical Review

September 4, 2002, Re: Remarks of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz on Turkey

May 9, 2001, Re: International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Loans to Turkey

March 12, 2001, Re: Turkey’s Financial Crisis

Exhibit 1

Turkey's Unreliability as an Ally and Lack of Self-Reliance as an Ally

“one of our …most reliable…allies”

The assertion by Mr. Wolfowitz that Turkey is “one of our… most reliable … allies” is false. The record shows that during the Cold War Turkey brushed aside U.S. interests on many occasions and deliberately gave substantial assistance to the Soviet military.

In 1974, Edward Luttwak, the noted strategic analyst, stated the following regarding Turkey’s cooperation with the Soviet military. He wrote at that time the following:

No longer presenting a direct threat to the integrity of Turkish national territory, and no longer demanding formal revision of the Straits navigation regime, the Soviet Union has nevertheless successfully exercised armed suasion over Turkey, even while maintaining a fairly benevolent stance, which includes significant aid flows. Faced with a sharp relative increase in Russian strategic and naval power, and eager to normalize relations with their formidable neighbor, the Turks have chosen to conciliate the Russians, and have been able to do so at little or no direct cost to themselves. It is only in respect to strategic transit that Turkey is of primary importance to the Soviet Union, and this is the area where the concessions have been made. Examples of such deflection, where the Russians are conciliated at the expense of western rather than specifically Turkish interests, include the overland traffic agreement (unimpeded Russian transit to Iraq and Syria by road), the generous Turkish interpretation of the Montreux Convention, which regulates ship movements in the Straits, and above all, the overflight permissions accorded to Russian civilian and military aircraft across Turkish air space. The alliance relationship in NATO and with the United States no doubt retains a measure of validity in Turkish eyes, but it is apparent that its supportive effect is not enough to counteract Russian suasion, especially since the coercion is latent and packaged in a benevolent, diplomatic stance. (Luttwak, The Political Uses of Sea Power, Johns Hopkins Press, 1974, pp. 60-61.)

Examples of Turkey’s unreliability for U.S. strategic purposes include:

(1) During the 1973 Mid-East War, predating the Turkish invasion of Cyprus by one year, Turkey refused the United States military overflight rights to resupply Israel and granted the U.S.S.R. overland military convoy rights to resupply Syria and Iraq, and military overflight permission to resupply Egypt. See id. A member of the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute in Ankara wrote:

"During the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, Moscow’s overflights of Turkish airspace were tolerated. On the other hand, during the same Middle East conflict, Turkey refused to allow the United States refueling and reconnaissance facilities during the American airlift to Israel." Karaosmanoglu, “Turkey’s Security and the Middle East,” 52 Foreign Affairs 157, 163, Fall 1983.

(2) In the 1977-78 conflict in Ethiopia, Turkey granted the Soviets military overflight rights to supply the pro-Soviet Ethiopian communists under Colonel Mengistu, who eventually prevailed and established a Marxist dictatorship directly dependent upon the Soviet Union. Giant Soviet Antonov-22 transport aircraft ferried Cuban troops, Soviet weapons and other assorted needs to Ethiopia. During the peak months of the conflict (December, 1977—January, 1978), the Soviet Union greatly increased the number of overflights through Turkish airspace with the direct acquiescence of Turkey’s regime. The Soviets ferried in 2,000 Cuban troops by the end of the first week in December. By late December, 17,000 Cuban troops were in Ethiopia. The Cuban troops were immediately moved to the fighting front against Somali and anti-communist Ethiopian forces. They effectively turned the tide in favor of the communists. C. Meyer, Facing Reality—From World Federalism to the CIA, 276-80 (1980).

(3) Over U.S. and NATO objections, Turkey allowed three Soviet aircraft carriers, the Kiev on July 18, 1976, the Minsk on February 25, 1979 and the Novorosiisk on May 16, 1983, passage rights through the Bosphorous and Dardanelles Straits into the Mediterranean in violation of the Montreux Convention of 1936. (See generally Wash. Post, July 19, 1976, at A16, col. 1; N.Y. Times, Feb. 26, 1979, at A13, col. 1.) The Soviet ships posed a formidable threat to the U.S. Sixth Fleet.

(4) In 1979 Turkey refused to allow the U.S. to send 69 U.S. marines and six helicopters to American military facilities at Incirlik in Turkey for possible use in evacuating Americans from Iran and protecting the U.S. embassy in Tehran. (N.Y. Times, Feb. 13, 1979, at A8, col.3.)

(5) Again in 1979 Turkey refused the U.S. request to allow U-2 intelligence flights (for Salt II verification) over Turkish airspace “unless Moscow agreed.” (N.Y. Times, May 15, 1979, at A1, col. 3.) This position was voiced over a period of months by Turkish officials, the opposition party and the military Chief of Staff, General Kenan Evren. (See id, and Wash. Post and N.Y. Times, April—September 1979).

(6) In January of 1981, President Carter tried to obtain a commitment from Turkey for the use of Turkish territory for operations in cases of conflict in the Middle East. The January 20, 1981, New York Times reported that Turkey was not in favor of “the United States using Turkish bases for conflicts not affecting Turkey.” In the spring, 1983, issue of Foreign Policy magazine, Harry Shaw pointed out that Turkey is unlikely to become involved in, or allow U.S. forces to use Turkish territory in a Middle East war that does not threaten her territory directly.

(7) In 1980, Turkey refused to permit the U.S. to use the NATO base at Diyarbakir in eastern Turkey as a transit point for the purpose of conducting a rescue mission into Tehran, Iran, to free the American hostages held in that city. The distance from Diyarbakir to Tehran is 450 miles as opposed to the actual route taken, which was over 900 miles.

(8) In May, 1989, Turkey rejected an American request to inspect an advanced MIG-29 Soviet fighter plane, flown by a Soviet defector to Turkey. (N.Y. Times, May 28, 1989, at A12, col.1.)

(9) The Turkish government refused repeated American requests for the installation of antennas in Turkey concerning eleven transmitters whose broadcasts would have been directed primarily at the Soviet Union and its eastern European satellites. As reported in the July 22, 1983, issue of Newsweek, the initiative by the U.S. Department of State sought to improve reception of programs broadcast by Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, and the Voice of America.

(10) Turkey further damaged NATO by vetoing NATO’s effort to put military bases on various Greek islands in the Aegean for defensive purposes against the Soviet navy.

“one of our…most…self-reliant allies”

The assertion that Turkey is “one of our…most …self-reliant allies” is another false statement. The record is clear that since the 1950’s Turkey has sought and obtained billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in grant military and economic aid and loans, and billions of dollars from the IMF and World Bank. The IMF, at the U.S. initiative, has bailed Turkey out of 19 financial crises these past decades with the latest being in 2002 for $16 billion and in 2001 for $11 billion. During this period the Turkish military with its ownership of vast business enterprises, has amassed “tens of billions of dollars” in a reserve fund.