Amikam Nachmani
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Turkey and the Gulf War Coping with intertwined conflicts
in Turkey: facing a new millennium

This chapter looks at the situation of Turkey before and after the Gulf War, from the mid-1980s to the end of the 1990s, analysing the claims surrounding Turkey's unequivocal readiness to serve as the West's policeman in the Middle East. It discusses the problems of Turkey during this period, which include the decline in its strategic value, the Greco-Turkish conflict over Cyprus and the persistent territorial quarrel with Syria over the Hatay province, explaining how Turkey coped with these problems through its relations with the West.

In a 1992 issue of Time magazine, in an article on Turkey, the writer inserted the following “ad” in the middle:

Help Wanted

Nation to serve as go-between for the Western world and the Middle East and assist in turning suspicion into cooperation. Must be firm U.S.–European ally desirous of still closer ties yet, Islamic in religion and culture, capable of serving as a role model of secularized Western democracy for other Muslim states. Ethnic links with some of those states, booming free-market economy, permitting some assistance to poorer brethren highly desirable. Benefits: regional superpower within a few years; eventual major influence on wider world affairs possible.

To which the article’s author observed, “There is no need to look for such a country: Turkey fits every specification. Moreover, it wants the job.”1

This chapter will look at Turkey before and after the Gulf War, starting in the mid-1980s and concluding at the end of the 1990s. It will examine, among other things, the Time writer’s glib assertion of Turkey’s unequivocal readiness to serve as the West’s policeman in the Middle East.

The fifteen-year period under consideration confronted Turkey with an assortment of problems, whose ramifications are vital for an understanding of Ankara’s moves during the Gulf crisis, in the war itself, and in the course of the 1990s. Among these problems were the apparent decline in Turkey’s strategic value due to the decline in inter-bloc rivalries; Turkey’s wearisome – and, some will add, fruitless – courtship of the EU; the Greco-Turkish conflict over Cyprus; disputes with Iraq and Syria over water resources; the persistent territorial quarrel with Syria over the Hatay province (Alexandretta to the Syrians); and Iraq’s debt to Turkey (2–3 billion dollars). Other issues relevant to our discussion are Turkey’s domestic policies; the country’s conflict with its Kurdish minority; President Turgat Ozal’s status in Turkish politics; the Islam-state relationship in Turkey; Turkish nationalism; Turkey’s commitment to the West and its democratic values; and Turkey’s relations with the Arab and Central Asian worlds.

Background: Turkey and the West

For as long as the cold war was simmering, Turkey was crucial to American strategic interests. The 1947 Truman Doctrine, while ostensibly relating to Greece and its preservation from communist insurgency, was aimed primarily at foiling a communist takeover of Turkey, which the United States saw as a far graver threat to its Middle Eastern interests. Were Greece to fall, so feared the United States, Turkey would be the next “domino” in line. Since the communist threat to Greece was internal, massive economic aid was poured into the country, alongside military assistance. But for Turkey, where the communist threat was external, massive military aid was provided. When, in the course of time, the Turkish–Greek conflict became exacerbated, Athens could point to the immediate post-Second World War period as the source of its weakness vis-à-vis Turkey. The external communist threat to Turkey resulted in Turkey acquiring an offensive military capacity, whereas Greece, facing an internal threat, acquired a defensive capacity, at most.

Ever since the Second World War, Turkey has advocated the physical presence of British or American forces in the Middle East. Turkey opposed the partition of Palestine largely because it entailed Britain’s withdrawal from that country. It opposed Britain’s evacuation of the Suez Canal Zone and, naturally, Greek demands for “Enosis” with Cyprus, which would have removed British units from the island. Turkey is the only country in the region to sanction the physical presence of US troops on its soil. For the same reason – the maintenance of a Western presence in the Middle East – Turkey also supported the continuation of French rule in Algeria.

In 1958, when the American marines landed in Beirut, one of the objectives of the operation was to remove a pro-Soviet Syrian-Nasserist threat to Turkey’s south. At the time, Turkey looked on in dread at the Soviet takeover of the Middle East. There were no lack of examples: the July 1958 coup in Iraq led by Abdul Karim Kassim; the Soviet penetration of Syria and Egypt by means of the Czech–Egyptian arms deal and Soviet financing of the Aswan Dam; the instability of pro-Western regimes in Jordan and Lebanon; the loss of British and French influence in the Middle East and North Africa. Only the dispatch of American and British forces to Jordan and Lebanon managed to reassure Turkey. The country collaborated fully by providing bases on its territory (Adana) from which these forces could take off.2

It is significant to note the declaration of then US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles in the autumn of 1957. It was just few months before Syria and Egypt united (February 1958), and before the marines landed in Beirut, but Egyptian troops were already deployed along the Turkish–Syrian border: “[It is] Turkey [which] now faces a growing military danger from the major build-up of arms in Syria.” Depicting that state of affairs as a threat to Turkey was, by all accounts, an exaggeration: most of the Syrian army, then numbering 50,000 men, was deployed along the Israeli border or in and around Damascus as a shield against coup d’état attempts; its equipment, albeit modern, had yet to be properly integrated. On the other hand, Turkey boasted an army of half a million men. It was NATO’s largest land force, trained and armed over the past decade by the Americans and backed by NATO guarantees, and was massed in force on the Syrian border.3 The primary objective of the subsequent dispatch of marines to Beirut – the United States’ second major intervention in the Middle East (the Truman Doctrine was the first) – was to bolster the tottering Lebanese and Jordanian regimes. Yet, in American eyes, Turkey was also being threatened by Egypt’s Nasser and the pro-Soviet regime in Damascus. Once again, removing a threat from Turkey formed a major, if not the principal impetus behind the American action.

Washington was always convinced that as long as communism existed, Turkey was one of its most important assets. Its geo-political location as a buffer between the Soviet Union and the Middle East ensured that Soviet influence in the region remained limited, without territorial expansion. As Bernard Lewis and Dankwart Rustow claim, the fact that Israel, in all its conflicts with Syria, encountered Soviet weaponry but never Soviet troops, can be attributed to this Turkish buffer. The same Turkish territorial buffer may be credited with the relative ease with which Arab states could switch from apparent Soviet influence to a major overture towards Washington. By comparison, it is manifest that where-soever such a barrier was non-existent, any bid to erode Soviet positions was promptly nipped in the bud by Soviet troops: Hungary in 1956; Czechoslovakia in 1968; Afghanistan in 1989. Furthermore, since the early 1980s, Turkey had been an island of relative sanity in a hostile and unpredictable world in which neutral Afghanistan became a Soviet satellite, where Andreas Papandreou’s Greece was growing erratic, and where Iran, once the bulwark of Western defence in the Middle East, toppled the Shah and unleashed a torrent of hostility towards the West. These developments, when added to Turkey’s oft-expressed commitment to Western values, something not linked to one political personality or another, meant small wonder that Washington was eager, when necessary, to rush to its ally’s aid.4

The end of the cold war changed all this. Like other countries that had been in the forefront of the battle against communism, Turkey found that its political and strategic value to Washington had, sadly, diminished. Beginning with Gorbachev’s rise to power in the Soviet Union in the mid-1980s, Ankara was made aware that the worth of its geo-political assets were declining in Western eyes. Consequently, and with a frequency worrisome from a Turkish point of view, issues and matters over which the West had refrained from exerting pressure began surfacing on the agenda of Ankara’s dealings with Washington and the West European capitals: the Turkish–Greek standoff over Cyprus; the Turkish army’s frequent intervention in domestic politics; Turkey’s questionable human rights and freedom of expression records; its maltreatment of the Kurdish minority; and longstanding allegations about Turkey’s role – including government officials – in drug smuggling into Europe and the United States (“The multibillion Turkish ‘drug economy’”).5 How reliable our friends in Washington really are, was something that the Turks often wondered. The rise of America’s anti-aid body, which sees the end of the cold war as a reason for cutting aid to Turkey, was another warning. It signaled to Ankara that a new era has emerged. The results of this period of Turkish discomfort were evident.

In the past, whenever disagreements seemed to mar Turkey’s relations with the United States, Ankara could resort to improving – or threatening to do so – its relations with Moscow. This was the ploy adopted during the various Cyprus crises, and in the 1960s and 1970s, when the United States campaigned extensively against what it perceived as Turkey’s share in drug-smuggling. Turkey considered a similar move when she realized the poor performance of the Americans in Vietnam; relying solely on Washington looked problematic following the American inability to win the war. But the end of the cold war robbed Turkish foreign policy of this useful dodge. The end of the cold war also inspired the US decision to dismantle its major military bases in Turkey – leaving only one US/NATO base in Incirlik – often to the great disappointment of local communities for whom the bases were an important source of income. This, also, deprived Ankara of yet another important instrument of political leverage over Washington.6

Similarly, Turkey’s relations with Europe and the EU were seldom harmonious. Turkish workers who had sought employment in large numbers in the wealthier countries of Western Europe, principally Germany, were encountering increasing hostility. Host countries preferred East Germans or East Europeans to Turkish workers. The number of work visas allotted to Turks – as to North Africans or Asians – was frozen or even reduced. This had a detrimental effect on Turkey, as economic immigration, serving as a vital social and economic safety valve, had allowed the country to cope, to a degree, with its unemployment and soaring inflation. Turkey’s high inflation rate (officially set at 65–100 percent annually in recent years), along with European preference for investment in Eastern Europe, have not facilitated the creation of additional jobs in Turkey.

The 1980s were not easy years in connection with Turkey’s relations with Western Europe. Turkey’s pursuit of its European aspirations, i.e., membership of the EU, kept running into difficulties about the stability of Turkish democracy, the army’s role in domestic politics, civic freedom and individual rights. Even when Turkey met the EU membership terms – reduction of subsidies and customs duties, restrictions on agriculture and emigration to EU countries, etc. – Europe continued to fall back on a Greek veto to keep Turkey out. As will be seen, Turkey seized upon the Gulf crisis as an opportunity to improve its standing in Europe and to break out of its isolation.

Background: Turkey and Iraq – oil, water, the Kurds

Turkish–Iraqi relations were notable for cooperation and correctness. There were the Sadabad pact of 1937 and the Baghdad Treaty of 1955.7 There were ramified bilateral trade relations developed during the Iran–Iraq war (1980–88). Yet, by the late 1980s it seemed as though the two neighbors were set on a collision course.

From an Iraqi point of view, Turkey represented a dangerous dependency in relation to oil and water. About 96 percent of Iraq’s income was from oil exports and when the Gulf route was closed to oil tankers during the Iran–Iraq War, almost 100 percent of Iraq’s oil – 80 million tons annually – was exported via the 986 km long pipeline to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Yumurtalik. Transportation time was thus reduced from forty-five days to two. For years the Yumurtalik route has been the only one functioning and, during non-tension times, was one of only two outlets for Iraqi oil exports, the other being the Gulf terminal of Mina al-Bakr. Normally, 56 percent of Iraqi oil export was ferried to Yumurtalik. However, a case in point that justifies the assertion that Baghdad’s Middle East hegemonic aspirations could not tolerate being dependent on Turkey in, was the reluctance of the Iraqis to reopen the Kerkuk–Yumurtalik pipeline. In the summer of 1993 Baghdad insisted that she would prefer the Mina al-Bakr route in any future arrangement that would allow her to re-export oil. It seems that Baghdad refused to put Turkey again in the influential position of controlling its oil export. It could produce the same result as Turkey did in August 1990, following the Iraqi invasion into Kuwait, when Ankara shut down the Yumurtalik outlet in accordance with United Nations (UN) resolutions.8 (On oil and the mentality of Saddam Hussein and those around him we can learn from the remarks of Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi Foreign Minister. During the course of the Iran–Iraq war, he was asked why Iraq attacked oil tankers from countries friendly to Iraq that were buying oil from Iran. He replied that Iraq wanted more international pressure to end the war, and “the way to get people to do what you want is to hurt them”.)9

This dependency explains Iraqi silence in the face of Turkey’s damming of the Euphrates which, although begun in the early 1980s, only drew Baghdad’s protests in 1988, when its war with Iran was over. In 2020, when Turkey completes it Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) – harnessing the rivers Tigris and Euphrates for the development of Turkey’s southeastern provinces – the flow of water into Iraq will be cut by 80 percent. Iraq’s silence stemmed also from Turkey serving as its principal import gateway, almost the only one in emergencies, through which Iraq shipped-in some 75 percent of its foodstuffs.10

The Iraqi–Turkish water dispute alone contains the potential for a violent confrontation. Welling up in Turkey, the Tigris and Euphrates flow south to Syria and Iraq. Turkey’s development plans for its southeastern provinces rest upon the two rivers as an important component, particularly the Euphrates (whose flow is 32 billion cubic meters annually; 31 billion for the Tigris). Turkey uses half of the Euphrates water, leaving the remainder, 500 cubic meters a second, to its two southern neighbors. Moreover, Ankara stresses that she actually lets 700 cubic meters a second flow to Syria, an amount, so argue the Turks, the Syrians could not absorb owing to their poor infrastructure. Euphrates water not consumed by Turkey is divided between Iraq, who receives 58 percent, and Syria, who draws 42 percent. Conversely, most of the Tigris water is consumed by Iraq. However, the Tigris and Euphrates lose more than 40 percent of their flow by the time they reach Syria and 90 percent by the time they reach Iraq, i.e. after Syria has taken its share. Also, to Turkey, a country otherwise lacking its own energy resources, the two rivers are a source of cheap and clean hydroelectric power, another reason why Turkey maintains its monopoly over the rivers.11

The Southeastern Anatolia Development Project (GAP), including the Ataturk Dam, the world’s fourth largest, will generate electricity and irrigate 2.5 million acres of land. Completion of the project will further halve – i.e. will leave one-quarter – the amount of water carried south by the Euphrates into Syria and Iraq. Cultivation of additional Turkish lands will increase pollution of the Euphrates’ remaining water, further restricting its use by Syrian and Iraqi farmers. The danger is that pollution of the Euphrates by minerals, herbicides, chemicals and waste from Turkish soil will render 2.5 million acres of Iraqi agricultural land unusable within a generation. Moreover, completion of the Ataturk Dam and the inundation of its basin to the north are expected to bring on an ecological calamity analogous to that inflicted by the Aswan Dam. The reservoir will retain the biological wealth and natural materials stored in the water, while the quality of flow south into Syria and Iraq will deteriorate. Fertilization of farmland in those countries, hitherto accomplished naturally by its irrigation with Euphrates water, will henceforth have to be carried out by artificial means, making cultivation more expensive and, ultimately, polluting the soil with chemicals and salts.

Tripartite Turkish–Iraqi–Syrian conventions during 1990 proved fruitless. Iraq and Syria demanded a political treaty, as well as sharing arrangements for the water of the Euphrates, which they claimed to be an international waterway. But Turkey argued that since the river was Turkish, its assets could not be shared. The amount of water it allots its neighbors was its own business and a purely technical issue. Furthermore, Turkey insisted on an end to irrigation by open channels and flooding in Iraq and Syria, a wasteful technique that increases loss of water through evaporation. As the Turkish press maintained:

We should be clear: the water of the Euphrates is ours and we can give away only what we do not need. Water is not something that we can permit to flow away. We are the lucky ones in the Middle East. So we have to make the maximum use of this potential. Water is as important as oil. The day may not be far off when Turkey starts filling bottles with water and marketing them in the Middle East.12

In private conversation, even harsher tones could be heard: “They have oil, we have water; let them drink their oil,” was a common refrain in Turkish political circles. “What does Syria need more water for anyway?” wondered Deniz Baikal, Turkish former Foreign Minister, remarking snidely that it was probably “in order to wash its hands of terrorism.” And President Demirel was reported having a very useful solution to the dispute, namely, that “the water is ours on this side of the border and theirs on the other side.”13

As for their common Kurdish problem, for decades Turkey and Iraq worked hand in hand imposing restrictions on the Kurds living within their borders (approximately up to one-fifth of the population in each country, altogether around 25 million in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and in the republics of the ex-Soviet Union – mainly Armenia – making it, globally, “the largest stateless, self-described nation”).14 During the 1980s, Iraqi Kurds rebelled against Baghdad while its army was tied down in the war with Iran. The end of the war was approaching (a UN-supervised truce came into effect in August 1988), and Baghdad felt free to deal with the Kurdish rebellion. Its treatment was harsh, even by Iraqi standards, and included the Halabjah village incident (March 1988) in which chemical weapons were employed in a barbaric way. Soon, much to Ankara’s dismay, some 100,000 Kurdish refugees, fearing for their lives, fled across the border into Turkey.

Though not plainly expressed, since the early 1980s Iraq permitted the Turkish army to operate against the Kurds in northern Iraq. Baghdad had to “swallow,” with hardly a gulp, these Turkish occasional anti-Kurdish incursions into its territory. Prevented from imposing its authority on northern Iraq – first, because of its long war with Iran and, later, because of the “Safe Haven” policy (or “Safe Zone” – see pp. 38–40), imposed by the United States and its Gulf war allies – Iraq practically owes its territorial integrity to the whims of Ankara. Turkey resents a too strong Kurdish “Safe Haven;” without those incursions, the Kurds would have wrested larger areas of northern Iraq. Turkish troops have been sent occasionally in their thousands to the “Safe Haven” to hold back Iraqi Kurds fleeing from Saddam; these potential refugees are not welcome in Turkey. Nor can these incursions be dismissed as irrelevant: in March 1995 and in May 1997, some 35,000 soldiers were involved – the largest contingent of Turkish troops ever to fight on foreign territory (including its participation in the Korean War in 1950 and its intervention in Cyprus in 1974).15

The Turkoman minority of Northern Iraq is yet another divisive issue, which elicits much Iraqi–Turkish acrimony. According to Turkey, there are some 3 million Turkomans living in Iraq, though Western experts put their number at the much more modest 200,000–300,000. They are the third ethnic group among Iraq’s 18 million, together with the Arabs and Kurds, and with strong ethnic ties to Turkey. Baghdad regards them as a Fifth Column – it remains convinced that they are no less and, perhaps, thanks to their powerful Turkish patron, even more of a danger to its integrity than the Kurds. Iraq is particularly concerned over their location near the oil territory of Mosul, Erbil, and Kerkuk, to which Turkey has historical claims. (Kerkuk and Mosul were allotted to Iraq in 1925 by the League of Nations, as its share of the war booty from the vanquished Ottoman Empire. On occasion, there are calls in Turkey for restoration of these areas.)16 The Iraqi method of dealing with groups of a different ethnic background – relinquishing identity, culture and rights, destruction of villages, and removal of the population to the interior, i.e. forced relocation, forced assimilation and forced Arabization – was also applied here, to the detriment of Turkish–Iraqi relations. The situation has become even more complex with the practical autonomy that the Kurds enjoy in northern Iraq. Occasionally, this results in attempts at Kurdification of Turkomans living there.

Iraq’s debt to Turkey was yet another cause of conflict, albeit insufficient in itself to draw the two states into confrontation. But when compounded with other elements it helped further exacerbate bilateral relations. After its war with Iran, Iraq was left with debts of 80 billion dollars – 40 billion to Arab oil producers plus 40 billion to non-Arab creditors, who all insisted on quick repayment. Iraq owed Turkey some 2.5 billion dollars, of which it had paid off some 600 million by August 1990, when it ceased payments. It made payment resumption contingent upon the resolution of the conflict between Turkey, Iraq and Syria over the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates.17

Turkey responded to the events enumerated here, and the profusion of Iraqi–Turkish conflicts, actual and potential, by increasing its defense budget. In 1989, the allotment stood at 1.7 billion dollars. In 1990, even before the Gulf crisis erupted, it was doubled to 3.4 billion, rising in 1991 to 4.8 billion, or 12.5 percent of the overall national budget. Turkey was continually strengthening its army – the possibility of a showdown with Baghdad has never been excluded. A comparison with the defense budget for 1995, three years after Iraq’s defeat in the Gulf War, shows a reduction to 3.9 billion. In 2000 and 2001, with Iraq practically free since 1998 of UN inspection on weapons of mass destruction and once again threatening the region’s stability, the amount spent in Turkey on defense grew to 7.6 and 7.2 billion dollars, respectively.

At the end of the 1990s most of Turkey’s major defense procurement projects survived, despite the cuts that resulted from the devastating earthquakes of 1999. The quake left at least 17,000 dead, 30,000 injured, 500,000 homeless and was estimated to have caused 12–15 billion dollars worth of destruction and the gross domestic product (GDP) to contract by 5–10 percent. International and ethnic threats to Turkey from the unstable Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East, with specific references to Iraq, Iran and Syria, plus the need to protect the Aegean, Mediterranean, and Black Seas all justified Turkey’s increased military spending.18

In the next twenty-five years Turkey will spend the fantastic amount of 150 billion dollars on military equipment, as follows.

• Land Forces Command – 60 billion dollars for 750 helicopters, 180 rocket and missile systems, 150 anti-tank rockets, 12 remote control air vehicles, 3,627 main communication tanks, 1951 guns and howitzers, and 48,564 wheeled vehicles.

• Naval Forces Command – 25 billion for 14 frigates, 16 patrol ships, 15 guided assault boats, 9 submarines, 4 anti-mine ships, 4 minesweepers, 35 landing vehicles, 1 communications-backed ship, 25 auxiliary-class ships and vehicles, 9 sea patrol aircraft, and 38 helicopters.

• Air Forces Command – 65 billion dollar for 640 fighter jets, 79 operations airplanes, 160 training aircraft, 68 transportation airplanes, 25 helicopters, 442 air defense weapon systems.19

Among its neighbors, Turkey ranks third after Israel and Russia, in allocation of funds for defense and is the sixth largest importer of arms in the world. Twenty-one percent of the country’s military needs are met by domestic sources; foreign firms supply the rest. As of 1994 Turkey has the fourth largest security budget among NATO members in relation to its GDP, following Greece, the UK and the United States.20

Turkey and Israel

Another component in Turkey’s response to the regional threats has been the development of economic and military ties with Israel. Bilateral Turkish–Israeli relations have got their own raison d’âtre. Still, common adversaries such as Iran, Iraq, and Syria have drawn the two together, as have Islamic extremism and terror. At the same time, Israel provides a kind of alternative to the unfriendly EU. It also promotes Turkey’s interests among the EU members, but more so in the United States. Interestingly, EU coldness is also behind Turkey’s new closeness to Russia, to the tune of 14 billion dollar in investments and another 10 billion in trade (see Chapter 5).21

Enhanced by a multiplicity of motives, the association developed into a many tiered relationship. On the economic front, trade between Israel and Turkey flourishes. At 1 billion dollars a year, this trade is the largest volume of civil goods trade between any two Middle Eastern countries, a figure which is destined to double by the early 2000s.22 In military terms, the upgrading of the Turkish F-4 Phantoms in Israel, the joint mid-air refueling exercises of the Turkish and Israeli air forces, and naval exercises in the Mediterranean are only the tip of the iceberg in the aforementioned alliance. The two parties share military intelligence and Turkey provides landing and training facilities for the Israeli air force. The two also conduct regular bilateral visits and discussions on military and political issues, under the supervision of high-ranking steering committees. In this extensive interactivity, the United States has a place of honor: tripartite understandings between Washington, Ankara and Jerusalem point to close cooperation between the three in the Muslim republics of Central Asia (see Chapter 7).23

Turkey and the Arab states

The First World War, the end of the Ottoman Empire, and the rise of Kemalism, with its singular brand of Turkish nationalism, had a decisive effect on Turkey’s relations with the Arab world. Turkey turned its back on the Arab world and set its sights on the West. Kemalism promoted secularity, in emulation of European values, and the ideas of democracy, freedom and human rights – with varying degrees of success. Among the thirty-member strong Islamic Conference, Turkey is the only professed secular and democratic country. However, in time, Turkey has learnt that its secularity, its democracy, its identification with the West and its ideological distance from the Islamic states are of no avail in moments of need. The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 is a good example. It appeared to Ankara that the United States was ignoring Turkey’s security: in an apparent quid pro quo deal with Moscow, Washington agreed to remove its Jupiter missiles from its bases on Turkish territory. In return, Moscow had to remove its offensive weapons from Cuba. But it was now Turkey, devoid of American missile protection, which would be exposed to the full brunt of Moscow’s fury.

When the Cyprus crisis erupted in 1964 and Turkey found itself stripped of United States support – gross ingratitude in the eyes of Turkey, whose identification with the West at times of crisis was total – Ankara hoped that rapprochement with the Arabs would pay off. The Arabs, instead, rushed en masse to support Greece, going so far as to supply the Greek Cypriots with arms for their campaign against the Turkish Cypriot minority. Turkey depicted this as a the second Arab betrayal – the first was Arab aid to Britain against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War – where Muslims, once again, stabbed it in the back, working closely with Christian infidels to slaughter fellow Muslims.24

The 1970s saw another discreet attempt on Turkey’s part to draw closer to the Arab world, notably after the 1973 energy crisis. The country, practically, lacks its own oil resources. It produces only about 65,000 barrels of oil per day but needs 500,000. In 1996, for instance, Turkey’s total oil reserves were estimated at around 260 million barrels, which would last seventeen months. In the years 1997 and 1998 Turkey imported 23,357,000 and 24,629,000 tons of crude oil, respectively. (Although it imported more oil in 1998, Turkey paid less because price per barrel was 11.40 dollars whereas in 1997 it was 18.50.) Still, in spite of the heavy imports of crude, domestic production of energy in Turkey does not meet with the level of consumption. In 2000 Turkey’s total energy production needs were 91 million tons of oil, and the demand for energy is expected to increase almost fourfold by the year 2020 to 314 million tons of oil per annum. Turkey’s natural gas consumption has been growing at 10 percent a year, and is expected to rise from 19 billion cubic meters in 2000 to 54 billion in 2010, and to 82 billion in 2020. Russia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, and Iran are, or will be, Turkey’s main gas suppliers. The country’s interest in the Caspian Sea energy sources is therefore obvious and is discussed in details below.25

But the turnabout towards the Arab world was a limited one: the Arabs may possess oil, but the West possesses modern industrial technology and consumer goods. Turkey’s commercial links with the Arab states – though contributing to Turkish prosperity in the 1980s – went into a progressive decline, while trade with the United States and the European countries increased again. Prior to the 1970s oil crisis, Turkey’s trade with the Arab states came to a mere 5 percent of its overall trade. From the 1973 October war up to 1981, that figure increased to 34 percent, mostly Turkish imports of Arab oil, more specifically Saudi, Libyan and Iraqi oil. (In 1981 United Arab Emirates [UAE] oil took Iraq’s place.) Nineteen seventy-four was a particular crisis year, though not the worst of it: oil prices increased fivefold but Turkey also experienced political isolation owing to its intervention in Cyprus. In 1980, for example, Turkey’s outlay on crude oil imports exceeded the country’s total export earnings by 30 percent! This imbalance exacerbated Turkey’s indebtedness and raised its inflation rate to extraordinary levels.

The situation changed again as from the mid-1980s. The eruption of the Iran–Iraq War and the ensuing fall of oil prices, resulted in a diminishing of Arab purchasing power. The waning of the cold war brought about the opening of market opportunities for Turkish goods in Eastern Europe and Asia. The eruption of the Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan (PKK) uprising in 1984 was attributed by Turkey to the support of Syria and the Palestine Liberation Organizaton (PLO). Also, Ankara did not like the connection that Yasser Arafat found between the Iraqi eviction from Kuwait in 1991 and the need for similar moves in relation to Israel and the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and Turkey and the northern part of Cyprus. All this combined to reduce Turkey’s trade with Middle Eastern Arab countries. It declined to mere 16 percent of the country’s total foreign trade and later stabilized at less than 18 percent. Conversely, the trade has changed in character, with a growing component of Turkish exports and a reduction of Turkey’s Middle Eastern imports. At the same time, the EU share of overall Turkish exports increased, reaching 45 percent in the late 1980s.26

Turkey’s efforts at a rapprochement with the Arab states never really succeeded. Both distant and recent history combined to render these relations resentful and hostile. Memories of the struggle of incipient Arab nationalism against the decaying Ottoman Empire linger. The Turkish Republic’s support for the Western powers in the inter-bloc standoff was often prejudicial to Arab nationalism and its campaign for independence. Suffice it to mention that Turkey supported Britain against Egypt, France against the Algerians, and has maintained close relations with Israel.

Modern Turkish nationalism is relatively youthful, dating to the turn of the nineteenth century. Only with the loss of the non-Turkish portions of the Ottoman Empire did the Turks fully formulate their national awareness. It, too, is under challenge, as evidenced by the Kurdish rebellion. Turkish nationalism dissociated itself from the Arab Islamic world, and even from the ethnic Turks of Central Asia. Whenever Turkey became the butt of pan-Arab or pan-Islamic hostility and pressure from Egypt’s Nasser or Iraq’s Saddam (Hussein) or from Iran’s Khumeini and their successors, it chose not the Muslim-regional option, but the preservation of its unique pro-Western, secular, democratic and non-Arab character. The complications resulting from Turkey’s proximity not only to the crises ridden Middle East and Central Asia, but also to the Balkans only serve to reinforce Turkey’s belief in strong relations with the West and its various organizations, NATO and the EU in particular.

The Gulf crisis erupts

Iraq’s aspirations to regional hegemony became obvious when it demobilized only a small part of its enormous army, following its apparent victory over Iran.27 The war with Iran had granted Iraq worldwide renown as the barrier to the Iranian revolution, that was depicted in vividly barbaric colors. When the war ended, Iraq was perceived as victor, having forced Tehran to accept a cease-fire. As president of a regional power with undisguised aspirations to hegemony, Saddam’s words and deeds had to be taken seriously. He called for the reinforcement of Arab nationalism and an Arab takeover of the Gulf by removal of the US forces, stationed there in the course of the 1980–88 Iran–Iraq War. He made a verbal onslaught upon the United States – a paper tiger that had withdrawn from Vietnam, and pulled out of Lebanon when a few marines were killed there. In April 1990 Saddam threatened to burn half of Israel; all army commanders of the Iraqi military were taken on a tour to inspect the Jordanian–Israeli border; and Iraqi jet fighters camouflaged in Jordanian colors photographed the Israeli nuclear reactor in Dimona. The execution, despite international appeals for clemency, of the British journalist Farzad Bazoft, found guilty on what were clearly trumped up charges of spying, was widely seen as evidence that Saddam was ready to take on the West. He went on to offer protection to the entire Arab world, a role he claimed to have discharged already when his country took on Iran, calling for a holy war – a jihad – against all Crusader heretics and their lackeys.28

Iraq’s economy had suffered grievously in the war with Iran: damages inflicted on the country were estimated at 30 billion dollars. With a national income of 14 billion dollars at the immediate post-war period, Iraq had to repay foreign creditors 80 billion dollars, at an annual rate of 5 billion dollars. The Iraqi army, with its modern weapons, long-range missiles and non-conventional weaponry – chemical and, possibly, biological and nuclear – seemed an obvious threat to stability in the Gulf region and, in time, to the entire Middle East. Like Turkey, Iraq could no longer resort to the traditional tactic of playing on East–West rivalries for its own benefit. Having lost Soviet support, Baghdad began to entertain growing fears of the United States. As sole superpower, along with its Middle Eastern allies (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Turkey), the United States could step in and prevent Iraq from achieving its aspirations to regional hegemony. The economic resources required for that hegemony and for its own reconstruction were to be found in Kuwait and in Kuwaiti banks.29 (Iraqi troops who invaded Kuwait City on August 1990 found the local banks to be a disappointment: traditionally, in the summer the wealthy Kuwaitis take themselves and much of their money on shopping tours to Western countries.) Yet, Iraq blamed the Kuwaitis and the Saudis for conniving to ruin the Iraqi economy by reducing oil prices and by insisting on quick repayment of Iraqi debts.

Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in the summer of 1990 struck at a basic tenet of Turkey’s Middle East policy: support for the present division of the states in the region. Ankara regards any unification as a threat of overbearing Arab nationalism, foreshadowing an expansionist policy by the unified state. The same Turkish objection was felt towards the merging of Syria and Egypt, 1958–61, that formed the United Arab Republic and was to be the first step towards the union of all Arab states. A super-Iraq, enjoying the economic and geo-political assets acquired through the conquest of Kuwait would be intolerable to Turkey. By pooling together Iraq’s and Kuwait’s oil resources, Saddam would gain control of one-fifth of the world’s oil. Add to that Saudi Arabia’s and Iraq would monopolize over 47.5 percent of the world’s energy resources.

But Iraq’s military muscle was the immediate threat. At the end of the 1980s Iraq had a mighty million-man army in 66 combat-seasoned divisions. They were experienced in gas warfare, equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, 10,000 anti-aircraft guns, 750 combat bombers, 160 shift-wing airplanes, 6,000 tanks and 64,000 shells with chemical warheads.30 Baghdad’s effective potential control of the Arabian peninsula, perhaps later including parts of Greater Syria, i.e. Jordan, with its human and strategic assets, would certainly menace Turkey’s integrity. It would surely weaken it in its water and territorial disputes with Iraq and Syria. Horrified, Ankara watched the equilibrium of the entire Middle East being upset by a super-Iraq: Israel was perceived as capable of nothing beyond surgical strikes; Syria was tied down in Lebanon and its border with Israel; Iran was licking its wounds after eight years of war with Iraq.31

Circumstances both justified Turkish anxiety and explained the unequivocal resolve President Ozal displayed throughout the Gulf crisis, calling for Saddam’s overthrow, even for his personal elimination, and insisting on an exclusively military resolution of the crisis. It could well be, as Mahmut Bali Aykan quotes, that Ozal regarded the failure of the Americans to act to remove Saddam from power, as “the biggest trick the Western world played on Turkey.” Even after the 1991 Gulf War, Ozal called for Saddam’s removal, saying it would be hard to imagine a leader surviving after dragging his people through nine years of war in the course of twelve years in power. Ozal hoped that the cease-fire terms imposed on Iraq at the end of the Gulf war – comparing it to the “drinking of the cup of humiliation” – would lead to Saddam’s overthrow.32

With the invasion of Kuwait (August 1990), Saddam’s rhetoric became increasingly histrionic. He depicted the conquest of Kuwait as an Islamic jihad on behalf of the poor and the downtrodden, and against the corrupt and the monarchs of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for inviting the Crusaders to defile the sacred Arab soil. Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, warned public opinion in the coalition member countries that their governments had sent troops to the Gulf to fight for the cause of the Saudi and Kuwaiti degenerate monarchs who were incapable of distinguishing their daughters from their wives. But Saddam went a step further: he urged that Kuwaiti oil reserves and their proceeds be placed at the disposal of all the Muslim and Arab peoples. It is easy to see why. On the eve of the Gulf War Kuwaiti production amounted to 59 million ton of crude, Iraq’s to 100 million, and both countries hold 20 percent of the world’s oil reserves. By comparison, Saudi Arabia’s production at that time was 322 million tons, 25.2 percent of the world’s reserves.33

At the immediate period before the crisis Saddam asked Kuwait for money. The Kuwaitis refused and, as above, demanded first to be the reimbursed for monies they had loaned Iraq during its war with Iran. Declaring Kuwait “an impertinent state, a state of pygmies” for her reply, Baghdad offered a new division of Muslim wealth that should be done under the rule of Iraq and its President, a modern reincarnation of the Sword of Islam, Salah al-Din (1139–93). Having defeated the Crusaders at the battle of Hittin (1187), Salah al-Din went on to conquer and liberate Jerusalem from Crusader rule. The parallel between the West – the Americans, the Christians, and their “lackeys” like the Israelis or even Muslims like the Saudis or the Turks – and the Crusaders is self-evident. Both are foreign infidels or their servants, who invaded Arab lands and are therefore bound to suffer the same fate as the Crusaders.

Iraq’s Islamic propaganda (“We invaded Kuwait for the benefit of the entire Muslim world”) belittled the significance of borders between different Muslim peoples. There are no borders between Muslims; political borders that do exist were created by imperialists for their own ends. There is nothing sacred about the borders of Kuwait, and Kuwait’s oil belongs to all Muslims. Besides, annexing Kuwait is re-installing justice, an internal Iraqi business, strictly not to be interfered by outsiders: Kuwait is a renegade province that should be reunited with its mother country. Indeed, not long ago, following the announcement of Kuwaiti independence in June 1961, Baghdad claimed Kuwait as an integral part of Iraq. Threatened with Iraqi invasion, it were British troops, and later an Arab League force, that deterred Iraqi action.34

What was Turkey to make of Saddam’s nationalistic and Muslim fervor, his dismissal of borders and repudiation of the significance of ownership of natural resources like oil? It was just one step before a Muslim Arab demand, spear-headed by Iraq and Syria, for ownership of Turkey’s water. Saddam’s similar reference to Turkey and Kuwait is indeed a case in point. In a speech in July 1997, he distinguished between the government of Turkey and its people, the same as he used to describe the Kuwaitis and their monarchs. He mentioned the difference between being injured by Muslims and by non-Muslims (“Infidels and their lackeys”). Iraq, Saddam claimed, was greatly injured during the Gulf War – “The Thirty State Aggression” – by Muslim countries like Turkey. But Ankara should learn the lesson:

Turkish officials must understand that the official reaction of a government is not an exact replica of the reaction of its Muslim or Arab people. Indeed, a Muslim state that pursues unpredicted and unjust policies against another Muslim country should expect a harsh and violent reaction by its own Arab or Muslim population. I hope that Turkey’s officials will rise above their stubborn conceit and refrain from doing evil. Instead, they must look to their own people and grasp the need to merge Turkish with Arab and Islamic interests.35

Saddam’s brand of Arab nationalism was far from easing differences. In January 1990, just a few months before the invasion of Kuwait, when Turkey temporarily blocked the flow of the Euphrates for thirty days to fill up the reservoir north of the Ataturk Dam, Iraq “suddenly” unveiled its arsenal of ballistic and non-conventional weaponry. Stories of Iraq’s “super cannon,” capable of firing its shells hundreds of kilometers, along with recollections of Iraqi gas attacks on the Kurds, added to the tension then building between Turkey and Iraq.

A further issue that should have caused concern in Ankara was Iraq’s nuclear potential. But the Turks, like the rest of the world, including all intelligence agencies, were only aware in the most general terms of the fact that Iraq possessed sufficient enriched uranium for the production of a nuclear bomb. In summer 1990, on the eve of the Gulf War, Iraq was two-thirds of the way there, if not closer. Rolfe Ekeus, the United Nations representative in UNSCOM – the Security Council Observation Mission in Iraq, the body supervising the country’s disarmament in non-conventional weaponry – noted that on the eve of the Gulf War that Iraq was only three months short of conducting its first nuclear test.36

Turkey’s unease was further inflamed when its General Staff conducted its war games in early 1990. It appeared that the Iraqi army’s modern weaponry and combat experience were likely to take a heavy toll of the Turkish army before the latter could stabilize its line of defense in the east of the country.37 However, this worrying prospect was not solely due to Iraq’s military superiority. The Turkish army had not fared well since the end of the cold war. Owing to American and European restrictions, acquisition of new weaponry had ground to a complete halt and, lacking funds for spare parts, military equipment was rendered idle. The cannibalization of weapon systems and vehicles was adopted as a common solution. Sophisticated weapons like the “Patriot” anti-missile-missiles delivered to other NATO members did not reach the Turkish army. The modern weapons that poured into Turkey during and after the Gulf War showed the Turks just how antiquated their weapons systems actually were. Some dated to Korean War-era American military surplus, including aging M47 and M48 Patton tanks and F4 Phantom jets. Earlier, with the eruption of the Iraq–Kuwait crisis and facing an uncertain military balance with Iraq, Turkey’s senior officers had queried President Ozal’s aggressive policy towards Iraq. They doubted that he had the necessary military muscle to back it.

A summation of all the above thus shows that the international intervention in the Gulf crisis and in the subsequent war was designed, first, to free Kuwait and foil an Iraqi takeover of Saudi oil fields. It also was aimed, most probably by Washington, at preventing Iraq from attacking Turkey. As noted above, Baghdad and Turkey seemed to be on a collision course: a super-Iraq could not have tolerated its total dependence upon Turkey for its water, for the export of its oil, and for the integrity of its northern territories.

It would be tempting to generalize that, as shown by the Gulf War and past experience (the 1947 Truman Doctrine and the 1958 dispatch of the Marines to Lebanon), massive and forceful US intervention in the Middle East had first to be preceded by a threat to Turkey. Alas, such a conclusion would be over-hasty as long as the relevant documents are unavailable. But the Gulf crisis focused US attention on Turkey, seemingly to an exceptional degree judging by Secretary of States James Baker’s numerous telephone conversations with Turgut Ozal and his frequent visits to Ankara. These unique relations probably did not terminate at the Secretary of State’s level, but continued at the “President to President” level through the summer of 1991. Some go so far as to claim that the Ankara’s permission to allow the deployment in Turkey of a Western multinational force to monitor Iraq and the “Safe Haven,” was nothing but “a kind of ‘present or souvenir’,” granted by President Ozal to President Bush.38

Turkey’s response

Turgut Ozal, an electrical engineer by profession, became Prime Minister of Turkey in 1983, and President in 1989 until his death in 1993. He is given credit for his country’s prosperity during the 1980s. He is said to have held the “Jidda-Dallas” theory: Turks should conduct their religious life like the Muslims of Jidda, and enjoy the lifestyle displayed in the Dallas television series. Ozal appears to have been the first Turkish politician to grasp the importance of television, making great use of it to enhance his influence. It was particularly noticeable during the Gulf crisis when Ozal resorted to frequent television appearances in an effort to show that Turkey had a unique opportunity to improve its relations with the West, and remove the Iraqi threat against it. His policy throughout the crisis rested upon the following elements:

1 Turkish troop concentrations near the Iraqi border;

2 permission to the coalition forces to use Turkish territory for its operations;

3 strict observance of the international sanctions imposed on Iraq;

4 extracting economic and political concessions from the West and Japan, in return for Turkey’ s aid during the crisis;

5 weakening Iraq without a single Turkish soldier actually taking part in the fighting or crossing into Iraq.

The annals of this century show few examples of a country that has succeeded, in the course of over seventy years, in achieving its regional objectives without its armed forces becoming embroiled in combat. Having contrived to do so ever since the 1920s – the 1974 Cyprus crisis, when partition was forced on the island by the Turkish army, was the exception that proves the rule – Turkey did not relinquish that policy in the Gulf War.

Turgut Ozal, after years in office as Prime Minister and President was dubbed with numerous nicknames, not all flattering: “omnipotent ruler,” “Ottoman Sultan,” and “l’etat c’est moi.” He was, perhaps, no different from what Metin Heper describes as the line of Ottoman and Turkish political leaders who enjoyed excessive and inordinate power.39 Ozal was a Turkish statesman, without a president to overshadow him or confine his megalomania. Yet, Ozal was the greatest innovator and reformer in Turkey since the time of Ataturk, particularly with regard to economic and internal matters. He destroyed the accepted notion that the Turkish President was only a figurehead and that real power was lodged with the Prime Minister. He also changed the tradition which, since 1960, had insisted that the President be a retired General. It seems that after Ozal, the President of the Turkish Republic – be it Suleiman Demirel or Ahmet Sezer – is no longer a weak political figure, but always a force to reckon with.

Furthermore, Ozal did more for Turkey outside its borders than any previous leader, having gone abroad more than seventy times during his tenure. He was the initiator of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Region (BSECR or BSEC), the foundations of which were laid in June 1992 in Istanbul, during Ozal’s presidency, but were formally established only in June 1998, long after his death. Turkey, at that time feeling snubbed in Europe despite her contribution to the victory over Iraq, was keen to build a regional body with high potential for economic and trade cooperation. The littoral Black Sea countries and adjacent states joined the BSECR and established a body of states comprising more than 325 million people. Eleven countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldavia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and the Ukraine), consider the BSECR as aiming at promoting cooperation among the member countries in matters pertaining to transportation, communications, energy, mining, tourism industry, and the environment. The BSECR, however, has not yet created the economic community its founder wished for. A secretariat has been established in Istanbul and a bank was set up in Thessaloniki – the Black Sea Trade and Development Bank – yet, local, regional and global economic and political hardships still hamper the development of the BSECR. Conflicts among its members – Greece versus Turkey; Azerbaijan and Turkey versus Armenia – proved to be detrimental for cooperation. Also, antecedence is given to mutual rather than to regional contacts, and other priorities that overshadow the BSECR (like that of Turkey and of most of the organization’s western countries whose main focus is the EU), causing the organization to be of secondary importance to its members.40

Those who disagreed with Ozal’s policies in the Gulf crisis were offered a single option: they could resign. That, indeed, was the fate of Turkey’s Commander-in-Chief, Minister of Defense, and Foreign Minister, Necip Torumtay, Safa Giray, and Ali Bozer, respectively. Ozal’s policies during the crisis were prudent, but his rhetoric was belligerent – some called it “zoological” – and directed at “the serpent of Baghdad” whose head the Turkish President proposed to crush. (He also said “that the only way to survive with a hawk like Saddam is to be yourself a hawk.”) Without preempting UN Security Council decisions relating to Iraq, Ozal complied with them to the letter throughout the Gulf crisis. Dismissing diplomacy or economic sanctions as means of inducing Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait, Ozal fervently advocated the military option. He gave the coalition forces all possible military aid, short of engaging Turkish troops in the fighting.41

The fiercest opposition to Ozal’s policies came from within his own camp. The Generals in his entourage feared that his violently anti-Saddam rhetoric would ultimately set off a war with Iraq. They were concerned lest the Turkish army’s antiquated armaments would not stand up to the Iraqis’ combat experience and modern weaponry. Ozal’s Foreign Ministry complained that when the crisis came to an end, coalition forces would vacate the region, leaving Turkey alone to confront Iraq. Opposition also came from conservative circles within his Motherland Party who sought to restrict his power. In quarters more remote from the President, religious circles claimed that, as an Islamic state, Turkey should support Saddam against the Crusade of the Christian West. In their opinion, Ozal failed to show consideration for Iraq’s Muslim character, or convey admiration for the words “Allah is Great!” which appear on the Iraqi flag. Indeed, Saddam Hussein did gain some sympathies among sections of the Turkish people, in contrast to the hostility of the country’s decision-makers. In Turkey, as in other Arab and Muslim countries that had joined the anti-Iraq coalition, the populace, in marked contrast to the ruling elite, was to a degree sympathetic towards Saddam.

Ozal could rely on his army, despite the conflicting stands that the Generals and he had taken vis-à-vis Iraq. To be precise, the President could be sure that the Turkish military would refrain from intervening by either removing him from office or seizing power. The year of 1990 marked the end of the pattern of the “ten-year cycle” of 1960, 1971 and 1980, when the Turkish army intervened in domestic politics, changing the composition of the government, taking over the reins of power and dispersing parliament. It was plain to everyone, including the Turkish army, that further intervention on its part would prompt fierce criticism from Europe. Turkey’s wish to demonstrate the existence of a stable, Western-style democracy in Turkey would suffer an intolerable setback from any further military intervention in domestic politics. Such a step would have offered deadly ammunition to those who did not want Turkey in the EU. But Turkey’s unrelenting support of the anti-Iraq coalition was in great part given with an eye to improving Turkey’s relations with the EU.

There is yet one other matter to which Ozal gave his attention. In January 1991, only days before the outbreak of the Gulf War, Turkey proclaimed a seemingly dramatic switch in policy towards its Kurdish citizens. For the first time, Kurds were permitted to use their language, names, and literature, and pursue their heritage and history. The Kurdish issue was opened up for a discussion never held before, with first-ever proposals for a response not exclusively forceful and military. Views differed as to the motives behind Ozal’s step. On the eve of the Gulf War, with Turkey manifestly adhering to the anti-Iraq coalition, Ozal may have thought his country’s pro-Western image would be enhanced by a saner and more moderate domestic policy. Alas, Ankara’s moderation appears to have been directed at the Iraqi Kurds rather than their Turkish brethren. Turkey’s post-Gulf War Kurdish policies apparently prove this: it shows tolerance towards the Kurds of Iraq, while persisting in its campaign against its own Kurds. Ozal was hoping that the Iraqi Kurds would subsequently help him to foster his links with other elements in Iraq, in the event of Iraq’s disintegration in the wake of hostilities. (Iran, it should be recalled, then acted similarly in relation to the Shi’ites of southern Iraq.) History seemed to repeat itself because in December 2001 Turkey launched a similar policy: anticipating America’s “War Against Terror” to be waged also against Iraq, and a consequent breakdown of the regime in Baghdad, Ankara amassed its forces in northern Iraq. The Turkish infantry and the 160 or so tanks should help Turkish interests in case a new map has to be drawn for Iraq.42

Regional reaction

Turkish declarations and deeds left no room for doubt as to Ankara’s total commitment to the West’s anti-Baghdad coalition. It was a clear signal: Turkey, it seemed, had reverted to the 1950s, when Ankara, under the premiership of Adnan Menderes, was the most pro-Western capital in the Middle East. There were times in-between when this was not the case. In 1980, for example, during one of the coolest periods in Turkish–American relations, Turkey turned down an American request to join in sanctions against Iran, following the American hostage crisis in Tehran.43 Menderes and Turkey’s total identification with the West drew condemnation, often vicious, from the Arab Middle East, whose venom was reflected in caricatures of Turkey as a small dog sniffing at the rear quarters of a larger hound (the United States, the UK), or a lapdog being dragged by its Western master.44

In 1990, however, it was Yasser Arafat who, after supporting Saddam Hussein fervently throughout the Gulf crisis and war, complained bitterly of the international community’s hypocrisy in relation to Iraq. The world was up in arms about Iraq’s actions in Kuwait in 1990, but that selfsame world had come to terms with Turkey’s aggression in Cyprus ever since 1974. Greece reveled in the comparison but in Turkey it further inflamed declarations against Iraq. The concept of “linkage” between the solution of the Kuwait crisis and the resolution of conflicts elsewhere, as in Cyprus or in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, were vehemently rejected in Turkey; but not only there. On 15 March 1991, at a press conference in Martinique, President George Bush backed Turkey unequivocally. The Cyprus conflict was not among Middle East problems for whose solution Washington would extend aid. Cyprus was not part of the Middle East, its affairs should be entrusted to the United Nations, argued Bush, thereby effectively putting paid to any solution of the conflict in the foreseeable future. And Greece, it should be recalled, had to settle for moral support from the European Parliament in the form of an 18 April 1991 resolution, urging that the resolve applied in the Gulf War apply equally in Cyprus.45

Even Kuwait was not “thrilled” by Turkish support. In March 1991, in a lavish one-page publication in the Washington Post, the Kuwaiti government thanked all the governments and states that had aided in liberating its country. The list, however, omitted Turkey. Turkey’s response was not long delayed: a few days later, Turkish state television screened the movie Lawrence of Arabia, as a reminder of Arab perfidy and ingratitude during the First World War.

Aftermath of the war: economic losses

Turkey’s war losses were heavy, somewhere between the conservative estimate of 9 billion dollars and a long-range estimate of over 35 billion dollars. The losses stemmed from the decline in tourist revenues, the absence of Iraqi oil royalties from the line which pipes oil from Kerkuk to Yumurtalik (an annual loss of 400 million dollars), the loss of markets and the cessation of services and construction in Iraq and Kuwait. A fleet of more than 40,000 trucks fell idle. Before the imposition of the UN Security Council’s sanctions these vehicles had operated between Turkey and Iraq, serving as the “oxygen in the blood” of the trade between the two countries. Most of the vehicles belonged to people in southeast Turkey, which is populated largely by Kurds. Their idleness further exacerbated the economic crisis in that area. Turkey was not even permitted to empty the contents of the oil lines running through its territory. (When the Gulf War erupted, 7.2 million barrels of oil remained in the Kerkuk–Yumurtalik pipeline.) When the war started, the UN Security Council affirmed that use of the oil lodged in the pipeline would prejudice the export embargo imposed on Iraq. At the same time Turkey found itself saddled with somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 Kurdish refugees from Iraq, concentrated at sixteen points on either side of the Iraq–Turkish border.46 Furthermore, unlike Egypt, for example, whose external debts were mainly to Western governments, and could therefore be written-off in return for its adherence to the anti-Iraq coalition, most of Turkey’s external debts (some 43 billion dollars), were due to private banking creditors, making it harder for Ankara to get these rescheduled.

Inflation in Turkey rose to 71.1 percent in 1991, compared with 60.3 percent in the year preceding the Gulf War. Interest went sky-high that year, reaching 105 percent on an annual basis. The gross national product (GNP) decreased, as did the growth of agricultural and industrial production, the latter from 9.1 percent in 1990 to a mere 3.2 percent in 1991. The service sector expanded by a mere 1.1 percent in 1991, compared with 9.4 percent in 1990. Increase in overall GDP, which had rocketed by 9.2 percent in 1990, declined to 1.5 percent the following year. An indication of the economic slowdown can be found in the following figures: accounts in Turkish banks in 1991 were in credit to a total 272 million dollars. In 1990, the selfsame accounts were in more active use, showing overdrafts to a total of 2.6 billion dollars.47

Turkey, understandably, has a direct interest in the cancellation of the economic sanctions against Iraq or, at least, in their reduction. Not waiting for a move from the Security Council, Ankara signed contracts with Iraq for the importation of crude oil in lieu of Iraqi debts. This stimulated the transportation sector in the country’s southeast and created new jobs.48 Simultaneously, Turkey expended much diplomatic activity in promoting UN Resolution 986 which calls for “Oil for Food” and allows Iraq, since December 1996, to export 2.1 million barrels a day (equal to 2 billion dollars every six months), in return for the import of food and medicines. The UN decided to ensure that the proceeds would not be spent on weaponry and earmarked 53 percent of it for Baghdad to buy food and medicines. Thirteen percent were to serve the UN agencies active in the Iraqi Kurdish areas. Thirty percent were to be paid to Kuwait and, proportionally, to other countries that suffered from the Iraqi aggression. The rest was to cover the expenses of the UN observers that run the Oil for Food project.

In 1998 the amount the UN allowed Baghdad to earn by exporting its oil, was raised to 5.25 billion dollars per 6 months. But falling oil prices (8–9 dollars per barrel in early 1999), plus production limits – Iraq’s oil fields cannot pump nearly that much and do not exceed 2.1 million barrels a day – caused proceeds to fall much below the 5.25 billion amount. (The pre-1991 Gulf War level stood on 3.5 million barrels a day.) Consequently, the UN has allowed Baghdad to spend 300 million dollar for the purchasing of spare parts and to upgrade capacity. However, the process is slow and behind schedule, and would take years to complete. Nevertheless, some progress has been made and Iraqi oil production, plus the quantity sold to Jordan under special arrangements, has risen to 2.6 million barrels a day, allowing Iraq to earn 18 billion dollars in 2000.49

Resolution 986 has reduced the economic pressures on Turkey since both the oil and the foods pass in and out of Turkey. The “Oil for Food” agreement is estimated to bring Turkey about 500 million dollar a year. (For comparison, between 1985 and 1990, Turkish exports to Iraq were 780 million dollar a year. The entire annual volume of trade between the two countries during those years – including Turkey’s oil imports – reached 4 billion dollars.)50 Furthermore, Ankara agreed to extend the mandate of “Operation Northern Watch” if the United States consented to the partial revival of Iraqi–Turkish trade. Washington agreed and allowed the resumption of trade between the two countries, within the strict confines of the “Oil for Food” agreement.

“Operation Northern Watch,” it should be recalled, forbids Iraqi flights over northern Iraq past the thirty-sixth latitude. This, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions accepted after the Gulf War, was to provide on one-tenth of the Iraqi territory (about 19,000 square miles or 49,000 square kilometers) a “Safe Haven,” or “Safe Zone,” for the Kurds. More than forty-five American and British airplanes and some 1400 soldiers take part in these activities (known up to 1997 as “Operation Provide Comfort” and “Poised Hammer”), whose headquarters are located at the air base in Incirlik in southern Turkey, with ground and support elements in Silopi and Batman. There are two no-flight zones in Iraq: above the thirty-sixth parallel which covers most of the Kurdish “Safe Haven” imposed in April 1991, and the southern no-flight zone imposed in August 1992 to protect Shi’ite Muslims in Iraq. The southern zone now covers the southern third of Iraq, reaching the thirty-third parallel, and extends to the outskirts of Baghdad. Turkey cooperates with this monitoring – among other things it further confirms its deterrence vis-à-vis Iraq – but insists that it will be coordinated with Iraq. Ankara is concerned lest the international force might extend help, even unintentionally, to PKK people also active in northern Iraq. For instance, there have been reports that a transport aircraft belonging to the force and operating from Incirlik dropped aid supplies in various places in the “Safe Haven” where Kurdish rebels were known to be.51

The war’s aftermath: Turkey’s gains

There are various ways of measuring Turkey’s Gulf War gains. One, no doubt, is the fact that the fighting was left to others. Turkey’s greatest success is that for more than seventy years there has not been a war on Turkish territory. There are not many countries in the world that can match this record, especially not the countries of the Middle East. During the 500 years of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey never stopped fighting. Quincy Wright found that between 1450 and 1900 the Ottoman Empire spent an average of sixty-one years per century fighting.52 In the Second World War Turkey was already pursuing a policy of “abstinence”: it refused to fight on any side, thereby avoiding both Nazi occupation and Soviet “liberation.” Leaving war to others and concentrating on bringing Turkey into the twentieth century has been Ankara’s international policy since the establishment of the republic in 1923. Accordingly, the neutrality exhibited by Turkey towards conflicts and wars in the Middle East – among other things, for the purpose of precluding any accusations of “neo-Ottomanism” – remained in force during the Gulf War. Not a single Turkish soldier crossed his country’s borders.

But no less important is that Turkey gained security. The Iraqi army was weakened, significant parts of it were annihilated and Iraq has been subjected to extensive intelligence surveillance. While the Iraqi army lay in ruins, the Turkish army, thanks to Western gratitude, remedied many of its deficiencies. It replenished its second-rate, inadequate arms arsenal, acquiring vast amounts of modern weapons, including 600 M60 tanks, 400 Leopard tanks, 700 armored troop carriers, and an assortment of helicopters, missiles and airplanes. The “Patriot” missiles stationed in Turkey in the course of the fighting were ultimately left in place. Turkey’s air force gained over forty US combat airplanes, while its aircraft industry (TAI) has been licensed to construct forty-six F-16s and, moreover, to sell them, in this instance, to Egypt. Turkey is now in second place among all the countries receiving surplus American weaponry. As of the early 1990s it had received 1.53 billion dollars. (Greece is in first place with 1.8 billion dollars and Israel is third with 718 million dollars.) Turkey has since received billions of dollars in export contracts, oil deliveries, customs concessions, grants, canceled debts and access to markets, which have more than made up for its initial losses. Textile exports to the United States, for example, are up 50 percent, comprising 1 percent of US textile imports. In 1998 the trade volume between Turkey and the United States reached 6.289 billion dollar – 3.25 billion in 1990 – almost twice what it was just before the Gulf War.53

Turkey’s political gains vis-à-vis Washington are also impressive, especially on issues pertaining to Turkish–Greek relations and Cyprus. From 1980 up to the Gulf War, the United States granted the two countries military and economic aid in a seven:ten ratio, Turkey, being larger, receiving the larger share. United States military aid to the two countries served to deter them from attacking one another over Cyprus and over matters relating to sovereignty and territorial waters in the Aegean Sea. However, with the growth of tensions in the Middle East and around Turkey, the bolstering of Turkish power was considered more pressing than the preservation of the Greco-Turkish balance of forces.54 An opportunity for breaking out of the seven:ten straitjacket was offered by the Gulf crisis, the subsequent disintegration of the Soviet Union, and the eruption of violence in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Balkans. Washington’s policy position – in apparent discharge of a pledge to President Ozal given in return for Turkey’s aid to the coalition forces during the Gulf campaign – put an end to the seven:ten ratio in US relations with Turkey and Greece. In 1996 the United States reverted for a while to the seven:ten ratio, but towards the end of the 1990s it was totally quashed (see Chapter 6).

The Economist’s “Survey Turkey” concluded its June 1996 chapter on Turkey in the following words: “If you had to pick ten countries in the world you would least like to live next to, they would be bound to include some of Turkey’s neighbors.” “You don’t know what is it like to have Saddam Hussein, Hafez Assad and the Iranians next door,” complain the Turks. And just how stable, they ask, are the new countries to their east: Azerbaijan and Armenia? And what would happen if Russia became aggressively nationalist and tried to restore its hegemony in the region?55 Similarly, a Turkish official has expressed himself recently: “I only wish God had built Turkey somewhere else.” One can sympathize with this anxiety. The only thing missing in Turkey’s list of woes is a border conflict with Chechnya – the two do not have a common border. Then it would have been easy to observe just how Turkey is inextricably drawn into every possible conflict in the area.

Seemingly, there is no external conflict or focus of internal instability in which Turkey has not been involved in one way or another: Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbejan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Cyprus, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Tajikistan, Syria, Muslim extremism and a civil war with the PKK. In the same breath, however, one can praise Turkish policies which, despite all those undesirable neighbors, has wisely managed to keep out of trouble and minimize possible damages. Similarly, the 1990s have defused many of the conflicts and sores mentioned here, thus removing pressures on Turkey’s strategic calculations and easing some of its strains – to mention but few: the end of the cold war, the weakening of Iraq, and the defeat of the PKK. Conversely, the shortening of the list of strife that Turkey has been embroiled with has worsened the situation of those who still remained in conflict with Turkey. The result, for Greece for instance, was a recalculation of its stand vis-à-vis Turkey, ending in opting for a dialogue with her (see Chapter 6).

Turkey’s non-participation in the Gulf War – i.e. avoiding the dispatch of soldiers – was classical testimony to Ankara’s spectacular caution. There is a firm basis for the assumption, therefore, that Turkey will not be tempted to respond to the call of the Time magazine writer (mentioned at the beginning of this chapter) to become the policeman or the regional superpower in the service of the West. There is nothing like the Gulf War to remind us that the gendarmes will not be Turks. Turkey, perhaps, will serve as a courier, an intermediary. President Suleiman Demirel, still in the capacity of Prime Minister when writing these words, made this clear: “We may be a bridge to Asia but we do not pretend to be the voice of Asia. On the contrary, for our closest neighbors we represent the voice of Europe.”56

The Gulf War and the period following it produced some results that will make things easier for Turkey in the future. As mentioned above, the Iraqi army received an enormous blow and Iraq remains under close intelligence surveillance – the war was traumatic because it demonstrated how little relevant intelligence on Iraq was available. Furthermore, the Soviet Union, its traditional protégé being Baghdad, was dismembered. These elements improve Turkey’s situation and leave it with the largest and strongest army in the Middle East – 800,000 soldiers.

Turkey’s army demonstrated considerable restraint during the Gulf War and it was the army Generals who demanded restraint from President Ozal, a rather exceptional occurrence in army–state relations. When forced by resistance from the military and the Foreign Ministry, Ozal was unable to involve Turkey more actively in the war against Iraq by dispatching ships and troops.57 However, the resignation of the Chief-of-Staff, General Necip Torumtay (Feroz Ahmad’s description of him: “an unusual officer, who loved classical music and serious reading and was fluent in English”), because of differences with President Ozal, constituted a very positive development in army–state relations. Previously, it had been the government that gave in when differences with the army arose, unless, as happened twice, the army physically intervened and took over from the government. As Gareth Winrow put it, powerful civilian rulers can still overrule military commanders. Indeed, already as Prime Minister, Ozal demonstrated unusual determination against the army when, in 1987, he insisted on the appointment of Torumtay and not the army’s candidate, Necdet Oztorun. Significantly, this was dubbed in Turkey a “civilian coup.”58

Still, the continuation of the war against the PKK and the danger of internal instability raised some anxieties lest the army would try to force its opinions on the government. There were even those who believed that the brass were not really interested in ending the Kurdish uprising because it provided them with an excuse for threatening to take, or taking, power.59 It is impossible to exaggerate the extreme harm to Turkish democracy that such a takeover would have caused, not to mention the damage to Turkey’s international position. Those who take pleasure in Turkey’s trials and tribulations most certainly would have enjoyed occurrences like the army’s intervention in politics. As is well known, such straightforward interventions on behalf of the military did not take place. There were instead conspicuous moves that eventually led to resignation of politicians, Prime Minister Erbakan, for instance (see Chapter 4).

Among the other harmful effects caused by the army–PKK war, was the slowdown in decreasing the size of the Turkish army. Because of the blow sustained by the Iraqi army and the fall of the Soviet Union, the Turkish army was supposed to have been reduced in numbers between 1991 and 1996 by more than half – from 1.1 million soldiers to between 350,000 and 500,000 – with less conscripts and more career soldiers. However, the Turkish military still numbers 720,000–800,000 and length of service is still eighteen months rather than the projected twelve months, though with shorter service for the reserve forces. In addition to the war with the PKK that lasted until 1999, the unsettled situation of Turkey’s neighbors has also contributed to this slowdown.60


1 George J. Church, Time, 19 October 1992.
2 Philip Robins, Turkey and the Middle East, London, Royal Institute of International Affairs and Pinter Publishers, 1991, pp. 26–27.
3 William Polk, The United States and the Arab World, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1965, pp. 279–282.
4 Dankwart A. Rustow, Turkey: America’s Forgotten Ally, New York, Council on Foreign Relations, 1987, pp. vii–x (Introduction by Bernard Lewis), p. 110.
5 Ian O. Lesser, “Beyond ‘Bridge or Barrier’: Turkey’s Evolving Security with the West,” in Alan Makovski and Sabri Sayari (eds), Turkey’s New World: Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy, Washington, DC, Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy, 2000, p. 211. According to Hurriyet (Turkish), and Daily News Bulletin (Greek), 27 January 1997, some 70 percent of the drugs used in Western Europe originate in Turkey. Eighty percent of Asian countries’ drugs that reach Europe were transported via Turkey.
6 Kemal Kirisci, “Turkey and the United States: Ambivalent Allies,” paper prepared for conference on “America’s Allies in a Changing World,” Bar-Ilan University, Israel, the BESA Center for Strategic Studies and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Tel Aviv, 9–10 November 1998.
7 The Sadabad Pact (1937) was a non-aggression pact between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, designed to give these countries security in face of growing international tension in Europe and in the Mediterranean region on the eve of the Second World War. The Baghdad Pact (1955) between Iraq and Turkey was an agreement for mutual cooperation which was expanded that year to include Iran, Pakistan and Great Britain. The United States was the major supporter of the pact but never joined it officially. It was the West’s cornerstone in its Middle Eastern defense system, with ephasis on the northern axis (Turkey–Iran–Pakistan). Iraq was its link with the Arab countries. In general, the Baghdad Pact was portrayed in the Arab world as a Western imperialistic means to curb Arab nationalism.
8 Cumhuriyet (Turkish), 14 and 18 July 1993; Mahmut Bali Aykan, “Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4, October 1996, p. 362.
9 Background notes, excerpts from Saddam’s National Day Speech on Turkey and Iraq, 17 July 1997. MERIA Seminar, Background Material, Part 1, 24 October 1997.
10 Alon Liel, Turkey in the Middle East: Oil, Islam and Politics (Hebrew), Tel Aviv, University of Tel Aviv and Dayan Center, 1994, pp. 45, 179; Barry Rubin, “The Gulf Crisis: Origins and Course of Events,” in Ami Ayalon (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 14, 1990, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Oxford, Westview Press, 1992, p. 85.
11 The Economist, “Survey Turkey,” 8 June 1996.
12 Hurriyet, 28 June 1990; Gunash (Turkish), 26 September 1990; Mideast Mirror, 8 October 1991. On the Middle East water shortage see: Amikam Nachmani, “Water Jitters in the Middle East,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 20, No. 1, January–March 1997, pp. 67–93.
13 Ha’aretz (Hebrew), 12 April 1996; Turkish Daily News (hereafter TDN), 7 April 1997.
14 The Economist, “Survey Turkey,” 8 June 1996.
15 Kemal Kirisci, “Turkey and the Kurdish ‘Safe Haven’ in Northern Iraq,” Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studie, Vol. 19, No. 3, Spring 1996, p. 21; Washington Times, 11 March 1998.
16 Turkistan Newsletter, TN, Vol. 98:2–35, No. 25 February 1998; Robins, Turkey and the Middle East, p. 62; Dani Rubinstein, Ha’aretz, 3 February 1991.
17 Ismail Soysal, “Seventy Years of Turkish–Arab Relations and an Analysis of Turkish–Iraqi Relations (1920–1990),” Studies on Turkish–Arab Relations: Special Issue on Turkey and the Gulf Crisis, Istanbul, Foundation for the Study of Turkish–Arab Relations (TAIV), Annual 6, 1991, p. 70; Robins, Turkey and the Middle East, pp. 110–111.
18 Bruce A. Kuniholm, “Turkey and the West,” Foreign Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 2, Spring 1991, pp. 43–44; the author’s correspondence with the Ministry of National Defense, Republic of Turkey, 22 December 1995; TDN, 21 March 2000.
19 TDN, 7 April 1997.
20 Time, 15 June 1998. See also Amikam Nachmani, “The Remarkable Turkish–Israeli Tie,” Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 5, No. 2. June 1998, pp. 19–29.
21 Kemal Kirisci, “Post Cold War Turkish Security and the Middle East,” paper submitted at a conference on “Israel and Turkey – Current Politics and Foreign Policy,” Bar-Ilan University, Israel, 14–15 January 1997, p. 16.
22 Jerusalem Post, 8 September 1998.
23 With regard to the cooperation between Turkey and Israel in the United States (as a counterweight to Greek and Armenian lobbying), see Ha’aretz, 10 March 1996; Feroz Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey, London and New York, Routledge, 1993, p. 226; Amikam Nachmani, Israel, Turkey and Greece: Uneasy Relations in the East-Mediterranean, London, Frank Cass, 1987, ch. 2.
24 An excellent discussion of the difficult relations between Turkey and the Arab world can be found in Oya Akgonenc Mughisuddin, “Perceptions and Misperceptions in the Making of Foreign Diplomacy: A Study of Turkish–Arab Attitudes until the End of the 1970s,” Turkish Review of Middle East Studies, Istanbul, Foundation for Middle East and Balkan Studies (OBIV), Annual 7, 1993, pp. 147–169. Two countries only of the Arab and Islamic worlds supported Turkey in the Cyprus conflict – Pakistan and Libya. See: Ihsan Gurkan, “Turkish–Israeli Relations and the Middle East Peace Process,” Turkish Review of Middle East Studies, Annual 7, 1993, p. 131; Orhan Kologlu, “Turkish–Libyan Relations (1945–1993),” Turkish Review of Middle East Studies, Annual 7, 1993, p. 142.
25 TDN, 2 November 1997; 7 April 1999; 16 April 1999; Turkish Probe, 11 April 1999.
26 For discussion of Turkey’s trade relations with the Arab world and the energy component in them, see Ekavi Athanassopoulou, “Turkey and the Black Sea Initiative,” in Theodore A. Couloumbis, Thanos M. Veremis and Thanos Dokos (eds), The Southeast European Yearbook, 1993, Athens, Greece, Hellenic Foundation fo European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), 1994, pp. 38, 42; Robins, Turkey and the Middle East, p. 109; Soysal, “Seventy Years of Turkish–Arab Relations and an Analysis of Turkish–Iraqi Relations (1920–1990),” pp. 64–65; Liel, Turkey in the Middle East, pp. 14–16.
27 Rubin, “The Gulf Crisis: Origins and Course of Events,” p. 79.
28 Ibid., pp. 76–77; 80–81.
29 Ibid., p. 79.
30 On the Iraqi army see Yigal Sheffy, “The Military Dimension of the Gulf War,” in Ami Ayalon (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 15, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Oxford, Westview Press, 1991, pp. 66–67, 70.
31 Robins, Turky and the Middle East, pp. 67–68.
32 President Turgut Ozal’s address to the Global Panel (sponsored by the European Studies Centre in Amsterdam), “The Middle East After the War,” Ankara, 9 April 1991, Studies on Turkish–Arab Relations. Special Issue on Turkey and the Gulf Crisis, Annual 6, 1991, p. 207; Quotation in Aykan, “Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” p. 343.
33 Arnon Magen, Ha’aretz, 19 January 2001.
34 For more details see Martin Kramer, “The Invasion of Islam,” in Ami Ayalon (ed.) Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 14, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Oxford, Westview Press, 1990, pp. 195, 196, 200; Martin Kramer, “Islam in the New World Order,” in Ami Ayalon (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 15, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Oxford, Westview Press, 1991, pp. 174–175.
35 Background notes, excerpts from Saddam’s National Day Speech on Turkey and Iraq, 17 July 1997. Middle East Review of International Affairs (hereafter MERIA) Seminar (an Internet journal, ed. by B. Rubin, Bar-Ilan University, Israel), Part 1, 24 October 1997.
36 David Fischer, “Nuclear Proliferation: The Case of Iraq,” in Theodore A. Couloumbis, Thanos M. Veremis, and Thanos Dokos (eds), The Southeast European Yearbook, 1993, Athens, Greece, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), 1994, pp. 135–139.
37 Information from the Turkish Embassy, Tel-Aviv.
38 Quoted in Aykan, “Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” p. 343.
39 Metin Heper, “The Ottoman Legacy and Turkish Politics,” Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 54, No. 1, Autumn 2000, pp. 63–82, 69.
40 For BSECR see Metin Heper, Historical Dictionary of Turkey, Metuchen, NJ, and London, Scarecrow Press, 1994, p. 100.
41 The Economist, 18 March 1989; 23 February 1991; Time, 4 November 1991; William Hale, “Turkey, the Middle East and the Gulf Crisis,” International Affairs, Vol. 68, No. 4, October 1992, p. 683; Yoav Karni, Ha’aretz Supplement (Hebrew), 9 August 1991. For biographical details on Ozal, see Sabri Sayari, “Turgut Ozal,” in Bernard Reich (ed.), Political Leaders of the Contemporary Middle East and North Africa: A Biographical Dictionary, New York, Greenwood Press, 1990, pp. 395–401; Necip Torumtay, Oregeneral Torumtay’in Anilari (Memoirs of General Torumtay), Istanbul, Milliyet Yayinlari, 1994, pp. 107–130.
42 Ruben Safrastyan, “Turkey and Eurasia in the Aftermath of the September 11 Tragedy: Some Observations on Geopolitics and Foreign Policy,” The Caucasus and Central Asia Program at the University of California, Berkeley, Caucasus and Central Asia Newsletter, No. 1, Winter 2001–2, pp. 3–8.
43 Liel, Turkey in the Middle East, p. 17. Ankara refused American overtures because of Washington’s hostility to Turkey over the Cyprus dispute. Furthermore, between the 1960s and the 1980s, Ankara was taking a more balanced position in its foreign relations: less identification with the West and more sympathy for the Arab countries and Islam.
44 On different dates during the month of November 1951, the Egyptian paper, Ruz-al-Yusuf, published offensive caricatures about Turkey and its identification with the West. References to them are made by Eliahu Sasson, the Israeli consul in Ankara, in his correspondence with the Foreign Office in Jerusalem, 28 November 1951, Jerusalem, Israel State Archives, 2527/1/a.
45 Ismail Soysal, “The Propaganda Campaign against Turey in Western Europe,” Studies on Turkish–Arab Relations: Special Issue on Turkey and the Gulf Crisis, Istanbul, Foundation for the Study of TurkishArab Relations (TAIV), Annual 6, 1991, p. 131.
46 The Economist, 20 October 1990; Europa Publications, The Middle East and North Africa 1994, London, Europa Publications, 1993, pp. 874, 877; Foreign Policy Bulletin (formerly: Department of State Bulletin), Vol. 1, No. 6, May–June 1991, pp. 23–24; Zvi Barel, Ha’aretz, 15 July 1994. Aykan, “Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” p. 358; Kemal Kirisci, “Turkey and the Muslim Middle East,” in Alan Makovsky and Sabri Sayari (eds), Turkey’s New World: Changing Dynamics in Turkish Foreign Policy, Washington, DC, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2000, p. 43.
47 The Economist, 5 September 1992; Kuniholm, “Turkey and the West,” p. 37.
48 Cumhuriyet, 2 February 1986; statement by Hikmet Cetin, Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Washington Institute’s Policy Forum, Washington, DC, 5 May 1998; TDN, 28 April 1999.
49 Adam Zagorin, “Our Man in Baghdad,” Time, 30 November 1998; TDN, 8 April 1999; TDN, 16 April 1999; Ha’aretz, 23 February 2001.
50 Ha’aretz, 12 December 1996; 13 May 1997.
51 Ha’aretz, 1 July 1998; International Herald Tribune, 29 December 1998. Aykan, “Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” p. 351.
52 Quincy Wright, A Study of War, 2nd edn, Chicago, Chicago University Press, 1965, p. 653.
53 Kuniholm, “Turkey and the West,” pp. 37–38; TDN, reprinted in Ha’aretz, 17 September 1996; Mark Parris, US Ambassador, Ankara, speech before Turkish Young Entrepreneurs Association (YASED), Istanbul, 15 April 1998; Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade of the Turkish Prime Ministry, TDN, 10 July 1999.
54 Constantine Arvanitopoulos, “American Aid to Greece and Turkey before and after the Cold War,” in proceedings of the Conference on USA, Greece, Turkey in the Emerging International System, Athens, 17–20 June 1993.
55 The Economist, “Survey Turkey,” 8 June 1996.
56 Athanassopoulou, “Turkey and the Black Sea Initiative,” p. 38.
57 Aykan, Turkey’s Policy in Northern Iraq, 1991–95,” p. 345.
58 Gareth M. Winrow, “Turkey and the Newly Independent States of Central Asia and the Transcaucasus,” MERIA Journal, Vol. 2, No. 5, 15 June 1997; Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey, pp. 215–216.
59 Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey, pp. 218–219.
60 Morton I. Abramowitz, “Dateline Ankara: Turkey after Ozal,” Foreign Policy, No. 91, Summer 1993, p. 166; William M. Hale, “Turkey,” in Ami Ayalon (ed.), Middle East Contemporary Survey, Vol. 15, Boulder, CO, San Francisco, CA, and Oxford, Westview Press, 1991, p. 708.
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Turkey: facing a new millennium

Coping with intertwined conflicts


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