U.S. Offers Turkey $4 Billion and a Demand for Reform
Tuesday, January 28 2003 @ 04:52 PM MSK
DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 26 — The United States, seeking to ensure Turkish military cooperation in any war against Iraq, is offering at least $4 billion to compensate Turkey for economic damage it might suffer as a result of playing an active role in an American-led coalition. "If Turkey helps us in the war, we want to help Turkey with the economic consequences of its role in that war," a senior American official said today.
Separately, a top international financial official said today that Washington was offering "at least $4 billion, and possibly a great deal more over a period of three years." Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is considered to be the leader of Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party, confirmed that the $4 billion aid figure had been discussed, but said the amount was inadequate. "Some words are going around about $2 billion plus $2 billion," Mr. Erdogan said in an interview today. "These types of amounts with this type of crisis will not solve Turkey's problems." The offer of aid, which has been repeated in recent days during meetings between officials from the United States and Turkey, is part of a carrot-and-stick approach by Washington to guarantee Turkish participation. Washington has been seeking the use of military bases and other facilities that would allow the United States to use Turkey as a staging point for a possible attack into northern Iraq. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell discussed the issue of military bases with the Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul, here on Saturday. Diplomats have also indicated that Washington is thinking of placing 15,000 American troops in Turkey as part of its military strategy against Iraq.
The Turkish leadership is worried about the domestic political fallout that could result from being seen as too pro-American by a largely antiwar Muslim population.
Ankara, already grappling with a deeply troubled economy, is also worried about billions of dollars of damage to its economy, especially in the tourism sector, that its involvement in a war could bring.