International Information Programs
Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

March 6, 2003

March 6, 2003





** World press judged the Turkish parliament's "unexpected" refusal to help stage U.S. troops a "setback" for U.S. plans in Iraq and a "victory" for Turkish democracy.

** Turkish papers were torn: Some hailed the vote as a "proud decision" while others raised realpolitik concerns that rebuffing the U.S. would risk Turkey's future "strategic interests."

** Many expected that Turkey's economic troubles and desire for "leverage" in a post-Saddam era, would impel the AKP government to return to the "bargaining table" with the U.S.




'No' vote a 'blow' to U.S. military's plans; delays but doesn't avert war--  In an initial flurry of schadenfreude, critics declared the veto a "defeat" for Washington, convinced that Bush's "hopes for an anti-Saddam coalition" by "cajoling" other nations had been dashed.  More, however, viewed the move as an "irritant" and a "complication" rather than a "crisis" for the administration.  A Singapore daily noted that far from being "discouraged," Washington was "more determined than ever to go to war."  Many agreed with Paris's right-of-center Le Figaro that the "setback" came "too late to keep the U.S. from striking alone when the time comes."


Turkey's 'no to superpower' a 'brave political act' with expensive consequences--  While relieved that parliament had resisted U.S. "blackmail," both secular and Islamist outlets in Turkey questioned whether the decision was really in the country's long-term interest.  Most agreed that the AKP government had "handled the situation badly."  A number feared that Turkey had more to lose by remaining "uninvolved in an inevitable war," especially "control and influence" in a post-war Iraq.  Capturing the overall ambivalence, Islamic-intellectual Zaman praised the "proud decision" and at the same time worried that it carried the "risk of being short-sighted in terms of Turkey's strategic interests."  Citing another cause for alarm, mass-appeal Hurriyet insinuated that the U.S. had started "playing its Kurdish card" and was "deliberately provoking the anti-Turkey sentiment in northern Iraq."  Observers outside Turkey also ventured that Erdogan's "pressure" and "monetary temptations" would prevail in a likely "counter-vote" in parliament.


The irony of Turkey's turning down 'America's more-than-generous offer'--  Critics also took some delight in watching the Turks, after all the "haggling," spurn the U.S.' "dubious dollar diplomacy" through a democratic act of parliament.  Observers were astonished that the U.S.' "closest and most loyal ally" in the vicinity of Iraq had not only "dragged" Washington into "unseemly negotiations," but also "stabbed it in the back."  Many, including Tokyo's liberal Asahi, found it ironic that a "legislative act under democracy" had managed to "throw cold water on the U.S. that is trying to...democratize the Middle East."  Some, especially in Europe, were sanctimonious in observing that "dollars cannot buy everything, as the Americans believe."  A German observer gushed that by "refusing to be bought,"  Turkey "proved worthy of Europe."   

EDITOR:  Irene Marr


EDITOR'S NOTE:  This analysis is based on 76 reports from 37 countries, February 19-March 6.  Editorial excerpts from each country are listed from the most recent date.




TURKEY: "Turkish Military Is Uneasy"


Hasan Cemal analyzed in mass appeal Milliyet (3/5): "The Turkish military is disturbed by the fact that the authorization decree (to permit deployment of American troops in Turkey or Turkish troops in Northern Iraq) was rejected by the parliament.  The military wants to be in northern Iraq due to Turkey's national security interests.  With the decree rejected, Turkish military presence in northern Iraq has lost its grounds for legitimacy.... Interestingly enough, we keep receiving negative indications about the Turkish army's intervention in northern Iraq.  Marc Grossman, for instance, emphasized two points as Washington's view: Turkey should not act unilaterally in northern Iraq; and Turkey is about to lose its chance to participate in the Iraq process.... Along with the recent anti-Turkish demonstrations in the region, we should be able to read Washington's message as follows: 'In the absence of Turkish permission for US northern front, the U.S. will not be helpful to Turkey on northern Iraq.'...  Due to the developments, the Washington-Ankara line for a second effort for the permission is underway.  AKP leader Erdogan's latest remark as he was saying to the party members, 'We cannot afford to sit and watch the developments' is not a coincidence."


"Bargaining Continues"


Zeynep Gurcanli wrote in tabloid Star (3/5): "It is very realistic to believe that the AKP government is preparing to sit at the table with the United States again.  And it will be under Erdogan's premiership.  It is also not a coincidence that the government imposed additional taxes immediately after the permission declined at the parliament.... Most likely the second decree will be presented to the parliament and with the help of Erdogan's pressure upon the deputies, it will be accepted, with a larger majority.  This will also serve Erdogan to reclaim his leadership.  In sum, sooner or later, we will see the American soldiers on Turkish soil."


"The Ankara-Washington Line For A Second Decree"


Hasan Cemal wrote in mass appeal Milliyet (3/4): "It seems that the AKP administration is going through a kind of brain-storming to determine the best possible atmosphere to re-introduce the authorization decree to the parliament.  There is speculation about a second decree to be introduced in the event that certain steps are taken by the Bush administration with respect to the Turkomen and Iraqi Kurds, as well as some new economic gestures.  Another fact here is that the Turkish military is unhappy about the denial of permission by the parliament. ... The chances for introducing a second decree are very small prior to the election in Siirt province on March 9.  Yet the fact of the matter is that the chances might be completely gone if Washington closes the door to Turkey."


"A Proud Yet Strategically Short-Sighted Decision"


Erhan Basyurt commented in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (3/4): "The parliament made a proud decision, yet it also contains the risk of being short-sighted in terms of Turkey's strategic interests.  The decision validates Turkey's concerns about northern Iraq.  The recent anti-Turkey demonstrations and other signs indicate that the Iraqi Kurds will focus more on achieving independence.... It would be wrong, however, for the government to produce a similar authorization decree in the short term.  Leaving it to the flow of time and waiting until certain issues are clarified looks like a more reasonable approach at this stage.  In that respect, Turkish parliamentary approval for the second decree might be an easier task if the UNSC passes a second resolution on March 7."


"Who Is Behind The Anti-Turkish Sentiment: Kurds Or The US?"


Fatih Altayli argued in mass appeal Hurriyet (3/4): "The United States has started playing its 'Kurdish card' in an ugly way.   It is the U.S. who deliberately provokes the anti-Turkey sentiment in northern Iraq.  Evidently this is part of U.S. planning, but the demonstrations went beyond the limits by burning the Turkish flag.  The timing of these events is worth thinking about.... Oddly enough, the Turkish parliament's decision prevents an American-Turkish intervention in northern Iraq, and this is exactly what the Kurdish groups want.  Thus they should be thanking the Turkish parliament instead of burning the flags.... The United States is playing a dirty game in northern Iraq."


"The Parliamentary Vote"


Yilmaz Oztuna wrote in mass appeal, conservative Turkiye (3/3):  "The parliamentary vote is a reflection of the national will, but we should not refrain from interpreting the decision....  It is possible to sum up the criticism of the parliament's decision as follows: The decision does not reflect Turkey's future interests, nor does it shape a perspective based on Turkey's future security requirements.  The government failed to enlighten the parliamentarians about the facts.  The speaker of the parliament acted as if he were the opposition leader.  The president made certain discouraging remarks, and the National Security Council did not take an active position on a very crucial matter....  We were all caught very unprepared.  This decision will certainly have an impact domestically as well as internationally."


"The Decree Crisis"


Hasan Unal advised in Islamic-intellectual Zaman (3/3):  "The parliament's decision deserves respect, but it is not exempt from criticism.  Unfortunately, the AKP party board handled the issue badly, and failed to control its own members after carrying out an intense negotiation process with the U.S.  The parliamentarians should think of the issue in a very broad perspective.  Their action will not be enough to stop the war, and if Turkey stays uninvolved in an inevitable war, it is to our harm.  Foreign policy should not be formulated by ideological considerations, or by looking at reaction in the streets."


"Turkey's Decision"


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (3/3):  "The Turkish parliament was asked for permission for the deployment of foreign troops, while the people of Turkey stand against the war by almost one hundred percent.  What is peculiar is not that the permission failed, but the fact that the request was brought before parliament in the first place....  Turkey's decision enhances the values of democracy and boosts hope for a settlement without war.  Let's hope that now the U.S. begins to think with common sense, and acts under the principles of international values, human rights, and the supremacy of law."


"There Is A Chance To Delay The War"


Fehmi Koru suggested in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (2/28):  "Even the founding principles of the Turkish republic have been forgotten.  Oddly enough, Turkey debated the possibility of preventing a war during the Gulf crisis.....  There is not much difference regarding the essential principles and sensitivities about the situation today.... Yet I am still looking for an authorized representative who will stand up and ask the very basic question: 'What has Turkey got to do with somebody else's war?'...  The parliamentarians better listen to the warning of President Sezer very carefully and wait until international legitimacy has been ensured.   The authorization debate at the parliament must be postponed until the next UN resolution."


"The U.S. weighs Importance Of Turkey And The Kurds"


Sedat Ergin analyzed the reasons for the anti-Turkish sentiment among some Iraqi Kurdish groups in mass appeal Hurriyet (2/28): "The plans for a post-war Iraq designed by the U.S. and Turkey are not compatible with the plans of the Iraqi Kurds.  The Kurds will have to give up certain privileges they acquired as a result of the power vacuum, including de-facto sovereignty status, since 1991.  Ironically, they might even prefer that Saddam Hussein stays in power....  It is possible that the Iraqi Kurds are deliberately aggravating the  tension with Turkey in order to win more support from the U.S.  They hope to change the balance in their favor after the war....  Just like Turkish decision-makers, the Kurds might be suspicious about U.S. intentions in a post-war Iraq.  They are afraid that the U.S. will abandon the Kurds by giving major concessions to Turkey.  The U.S. needs the northern front and wants to increase its strategic cooperation with Turkey to topple Saddam Hussein.  Thus, the strategic importance of Turkey weighs more than the importance of the Kurdish groups in the eyes of the U.S.   Nevertheless, Turkey should not forget the possibility that the situation might change after the war."


"Rejection Of U.S. Troops Would Still Drag Turkey Into War"


Ertugrul Ozkok wrote in mass-appeal Hurriyet (2/27):  "The fact of the matter is that regardless of the Turkish parliament's decision, there is no possibility of stopping the war from happening.  Thus Turkey should ask the following question to itself: Can Turkey stay out of the war if the parliament declines permission?...  I will be very clear on this matter: The rejection of the permission by the Turkish parliament will only pave the way for Turkey's full engagement in the war.  When Turkey tries to stay out of it, developments in the region take place completely out of Turkey's control and influence, which will eventually force Turkey to engage in an armed conflict in northern Iraq.  The final chance for Saddam to work for a peaceful settlement will be available when Turkey decides to allow the U.S. to open a northern front.  This is the only way to show the insane dictator that the situation is indeed serious....  If Turkey decides to stay out of it, there will be a very high cost for us to pay in the next 50 years."


"We Are Going To War"


Can Dundar argued in mass appeal Milliyet (2/27):  "This is like raping a girl, i.e. Iraq.   And the rapist, i.e. the U.S., is trying to convince us about the legitimacy of its action.  We are given assurances that it is going to be something enjoyable.  In fact, our role is like holding the girl’s arms while she is being raped....  It is so sad to see the AKP leadership working to attain permission for the deployment of American troops.  They are acting under threats and blackmail from Washington, and threats from President Bush himself.  Bush clearly told Ministers Yakis and Babacan that without Turkey's permission for U.S. troops, Turkey would suffer the consequences: the U.S. acting together with northern Iraqi Kurds; the termination of IMF support; and the passage of an Armenian resolution in the Congress.  In sum, he advised the Turkish ministers to 'go back home and pass the permission from parliament.'  We have been living under the shadow of the very same blackmail: a Kurdish state, Armenian resolution etc...  The fact of the matter is that the U.S. will leave eventually, and Turkey will have to live side by side with Kurds and Armenians.  If we manage to take this trump card from the U.S. hands, we can possibly overcome this dilemma.  It is possible to turn the region into a center of attraction where everybody--Turks, Kurds, Armenians and Arabs--live together in harmony and brotherhood.  This is the only way not to bow to this aggression for the sake of pennies."


"Just One More Step"


Fehmi Koru argued in Islamic-intellectual Yeni Safak (2/24):  "It may be called 'negotiations' between Turkey and the U.S., yet a closer look will provide us the truth.  It is about a tactical game played by the U.S. in order to manipulate Turkey in its own war. "



BRITAIN:  "Turkish Gold"


The independent Financial Times stated (3/5): "The Turkish parliament's weekend vote against allowing 60,000 US troops to use south-east Turkey to launch an attack on Iraq may be changed by a new vote.  What will not change, however, is the precariousness of Turkey's public finances, weighed down by government debt of about $100 billion. The possible loss, therefore of a $24 billion package of US grants and soft loans, intended to compensate Turkey for the economic fallout from an Iraq war that is all but certain to go ahead anyway, could be a hammer blow to its recovering economy. Turkey may well change its stance on U.S. troops and get the attached aid package.  That would help it restructure its debt.  But whether it does or not, the government must stick to the IMF program.  It is not just an austerity package but a series of reforms that could lay the foundation for the more prosperous and just country Mr. Edrogan has promised. At the same time, the events of the last few days should serve as a reminder that Turkey is too important strategically to be allowed to slide towards default--and add to the regional stability as Iraq war is bound to cause. But, with or without war, Turkey is going to need help."


"Age Of Diplomacy"


The conservative Times held (3/3):  "The situation in Turkey is undoubtedly awkward but not a crisis.  Abdullah Gul, the Turkish Prime Minister, has needed considerable courage to move a vote at all....  It may be a matter of enormous frustration to the U.S. that it is required to keep thousands of troops stationed off the Turkish coast which it had hoped would form the core of a northern front against Saddam.  That irritation must not, however, be translated into statements which might be interpreted as an attempt to back legislators into a corner....  A similar process may be required with the UN Security Council....  The Bush administration needs to deploy its best diplomatic asset, Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, over the next few days, exercise patience and resist stating in public what it must, understandably, be thinking in private about some of its erstwhile allies....  There are times when banging your head against what appears to be a diplomatic brick wall is the only way through it."


"Unseemly Haggling Between Allies"


The independent Financial Times argued (2/24):  "All is not going very smoothly in the planning and preparation for a possible war in Iraq.  The latest stand-off between the U.S. and Turkey--its closest and most loyal ally in the immediate vicinity--is a case in point.  Instead of winning solid support from Ankara for military intervention to disarm Saddam Hussein and enforce the writ of the United Nations, Washington has been dragged into sordid negotiations over compensation.  It looks bad.  Both sides are to blame for it."


FRANCE: "Shady Goings On"


Patrick Sabatier observed in left-of-center Liberation (3/4): "The week did not start well for President Bush....  His offensive at the UN is mired in accusations ranging from putting pressure to espionage and is facing the determination of the anti-war group, led by President Chirac. His hopes for an anti-Saddam coalition are stalled because of Turkey's position and the Arab League's stand against war. And on top of everything else, the Pope is calling for a crusade for peace... Meanwhile Saddam is maneuvering, as usual... And so, once again 'the inspections are progressing...' But only because of the threat of an attack by 220,000 soldiers... Shady goings on by Bush, shady goings on by Saddam: all of this should urge the UN to find a compromise in order to avoid a crisis that may be fatale to the international organization."


"Turkey’s Stab In The Back"


Jean-Jacques Mevel stated in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/3):  “After so many other foreign setbacks, Turkey’s position, while felt as a stab in the back, probably comes too late to keep the U.S. from striking alone when the time comes....  But the Turkish vote was felt as a true disappointment by Washington.  Turkey is not only a major NATO ally, it is also a democracy, the model which President Bush would like to bring to the rest of the Muslim world.”




Charles Lambroschini observed in right-of-center Le Figaro (3/3):  “The U.S., a hegemony but a democracy none-the-less, cannot launch a war without a legitimate reason....  Turkey’s parliamentary vote is going to hamper the Pentagon’s plans....  Turkey’s ‘Islamic moderates’ are in a sense more ‘European’ than the eight who signed the letter of eight.  They have refused America’s more-than-generous offer....  The Arab League’s position is not helping either....  Too many of the League’s members know that America’s plans to remodel the Middle East would not be in their best interest.  The U.S. plans for the region are in their eyes a French and British-style colonization.”


GERMANY:  "Turkish Dilemma"


Christoph Rabe maintained in an editorial in business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (3/5): "The Ankara government knows only too well that the United States has the upper hand with respect to Iraq.  However, Ankara is reluctant to look like Washington's lapdog.  It has to decide what is more important - the prospect of long-term economic consolidation or democratic principles. The Turkish parliament, voting for a second time, is likely to give in to Erdogan's wishes and monetary temptations, convincing the Turkish public of two things:  The new government is not much more steadfast than many of its predecessor and lacks political skills when under pressure....  No matter what the AKP decides in the end, it will emerge from the Iraq debate a less credible force, which is not a good omen for Turkey's political culture."


"Turkey Proved To Be Worthy Of Europe"


H. Fakioglu commented on regional radio station Hessischer Rundfunk of Frankfurt (3/3/): “Turkey refused to be bought.  Even though it may not be able to maintain its ‘no’ because of its economic dependence on the United States and is unable to stop war against Iraq, it made clear that it considers military moves to be too risky....  The fact that the Turkish generals stayed out of the controversy over the U.S. deployment of forces and left the decision to politicians corresponds to EU demands.  In Brussels, [the EU] should examine and honor the vote from Ankara.  Turkey proved to be worthy of Europe.”


"Delay Of The Beginning Of The War"


Klaus-Juergen Haller said in a commentary on regional radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (3/3): “The vote from Ankara was also a revolt against the leadership in the governing party....  A repetition of the vote would mean the dismantling of the Turkish government.  Is that a reason for George W. Bush to give up [his plans]?  There are no indications for such a move.  But a delay of the beginning of the war is getting increasingly likely.”


“Defeat At The Northern Front”


Ankara correspondent Christiane Schloetzer filed the following editorial for center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/4): “The Turks were considered the most loyal political and military partner of the United States at Europe’s periphery.  That is why the Turkish ‘no’ hits the United States harder than all anti-war commitments from Berlin.  The defeat at the Iraqi northern front will not stop war if Washington really wants it.  But it is now making George W. Bush even more lonesome.   In the case of Turkey, the United States also used a strategy that was composed of thumbscrews and dollars.  But with such a strategy, the Turks felt treated like the inhabitants of a banana republic."


"Collateral Damage"


Guenter Nonnenmacher judged on the front-page of center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (3/3):  "To have Turkey take part in a war against a neighboring Muslim country and then raise the Kurdish question, first as far as geo-politics is concerned and then to raise it in domestic policy, this was something the leadership in Ankara could use the least of all.  Even if the Turkish parliament corrected the negative vote from Saturday, the political damage has been done; the list of victims of the U.S. brute force diplomacy has become longer.  It could be a triumph for Saddam Hussein if his political end were not near.”


"Mute Generals"


Christiane Schloetzer noted in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (3/3):  “Following a meeting of the National Security Council, the generals in Turkey did not present the line to be taken in parliament.  Obviously, the military did not want to assume responsibility for the support of the U.S. war plans, which are highly unpopular among the Turks.  The parliamentarians demonstrated that they are less afraid of Washington than of their own voters....  Immediately after the vote, the head of the governing [AKP] party Erdogan...backed the vote.  Erdogan knows that a second vote would be highly risky.  If it failed again, his government would have lost its legitimacy.  If it managed to force the AKP to take a different vote, it would also have lost because the current vote is being celebrated in Turkey as a victory of democracy.”


"Fear Of Consequences"


Left-of-center Frankfurter Rundschau (3/3) opined:  “The domestic, foreign and economic policy consequences of this vote in parliament are not yet foreseeable.  New trouble is looming in relations with the United States.  President Bush feels left in the lurch by his most important and strongest ally in the region.  The decision of the parliament in Ankara will certainly not prompt him to rethink the sense and the risks of a planned war.  But maybe it will urge him to show a cold shoulder to Turkey in the future when the issue is financial assistance for this country that has been chronically ravaged by crises.”


"Turkey More Afraid Of War Against Iraq Than Of Iraq"


Center-left Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of Essen argued (3/3): “The ‘no’ of the Turkish parliament…should give the United States reason to think.  One of the most loyal U.S. allies of the past decades, which, in addition, is financially dependent on the Americans, showed the United States a cold shoulder.  Turkey is more afraid of a war against Iraq than of Iraq.  This vote in Ankara is important not only because of the significance of the NATO country Turkey for the U.S. attack plans and the planned northern front against Baghdad.  Turkey is the only neighboring state of Iraq in which the government cannot simply ignore pressure form the people. Even though opposition to the U.S. war plans is as great in the Gulf nations and in Jordan, there is one important difference: The Turks are voters, while the people in the Arab countries are inferiors.”


"Northern Frontline Against Iraq"


Eric Bonse commented in Duesseldorf Handelsblatt (2/25):  "All in all, Turkey is a model of how one should not act.  With his war plans Rumsfeld not only offends the only democracy in the Muslim world; in addition, he bought the approval of the Turkish government by means of a dubious dollar diplomacy.  It is even said that he made concessions regarding the Kurdish issue.  If Rumsfeld really were to permit Turkey to intervene in northern Iraq, this would be a betrayal of the Kurds--and a low blow for all those who dream of a moral war."


"When Haggling Is Involved, Friendship Ends"


Christiane Schloetzer argued in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (2/21):  "Turkey is hesitating to give Washington a carte blanche...because it is afraid that Washington will not stick to its political and financial pledges later, as it was after the Gulf War in 1991...while Washington does not want to bind itself financially too much and considers Turkey’s demand out of proportion....   For Ankara, even more is at stake than the best dollar deal:  the new conservative government...does not want to lose support of the people right at the start, and the Turks are almost 100 percent against war....  That is why the haggling in the bazaar that the Ankara government has now accepted is a risky play for the government....  The Turkish government is torn between the anger of its own people and the fury of its most powerful ally....  The bickering in the background has almost got the character of blackmail."


ITALY:  "Bush Has Already Caused A Lot Of Damage. To America"


Massimo Fini commented in conservative, top-circulation syndicate La Nazione/Il Resto del Carlino/Il Giorno (3/4): "Even before beginning the war on Iraq, the Americans have already damaged themselves. They damaged historical friendships (with France and Germany), strategically important alliances like the one with Turkey, they embarrassed faithful governments as the Italian one and even the British one, they reunited the Arab world...they split NATO laying the premises for its dissolution and they almost stamped down the UN, which was their creation, and which now fuels anti-Yankee hate all over the world.... And Turkey was put in a very thorny situation.... Can it favor a war whose consequences would be greatly to its detriment? Dollars cannot buy everything, as the Americans believe... Are a few extra oil wells worth alienating friends, favoring the real enemies, splitting NATO, provoking world disorder and killing tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians?"


"The President Tripped By Turkey"


Vittorio Zucconi wrote in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (3/2):  “The rebellion by the Turkish Parliament, as we wait for a likely ‘countervote’ this week, creates a strategic complication, but also constitutes a bad political defeat, since it is the most severe and visible confirmation of how large the gap is between European and American feelings.  The clash is no longer just between two different visions of the Iraqi crisis and two possible solutions, but between two worlds that move according to different timetables.  In Europe, they still believe, or pretend to believe, that the invasion of Iraq can be averted with a vote, a concession or a resolution.  In the United States, they are acting as if we were already in the post-war situation, as if the invasion and occupation of Iraq had already occurred....  Turkey is the spy of the uneasiness that the messianic tone implied in a crusade for the ‘liberation of Arabia’ is provoking among those who should receive Bush as a liberator."


BELGIUM:  "Kurdish-U.S. Relations Rather Unstable"


Foreign affairs writer Koen Vidal in independent De Morgen (3/4):  "Arms for the Kurds is certainly not America's preferred option.  First, because that may jeopardize the relationship with Turkey....  Second, Kurdish-U.S. relations are rather unstable.  The Kurds are very grateful to the United States for protecting the No-Fly Zones, but the fact that the United States showed that it prefers to invade Iraq together with the Turks rather than with the Kurds has irritated the Kurds.... After the Turkish Parliament's negative decision, the United States must not only think about a possible cooperation with the Kurds but also assess what Turkey will do when the war against Iraq starts.  There is fear that, in that event, the Turkish government will decide to cross its border with Iraq to lay its hands on a number of oil fields."


"Coalition Of The Few"


Foreign affairs writer Koenraad Nijssen observed in conservative Christian-Democrat Het Belang van Limburg (3/3):  “This is going to be a war between the most fanatic followers of a bloodthirsty dictator and a coalition of the few.  Even Turkey--always an extremely loyal ally and a country that has much to lose if it loses Washington’s favor--is no longer marching along."


“Dollar Diplomacy”


Foreign editor Jean Vanempten commented in financial  De Financieel-Economische Tijd (2/28):  “The endless negotiations with the Turkish government show that money plays a key role in the search for support for the American invasion of Iraq....  For a number of ‘undecided’ countries, Cameroon, Pakistan, Chile, Guinea, Mexico and Angola, American financial aid may be crucial.  Those countries are hoping for massive development aid or major loans from the IMF, or the lifting of a U.S. embargo.  In each case, there is clear economic profit for those who support the U.S. in a war against Iraq.”


GEORGIA: "The Ankara Time Trouble"


Shota Utiashvili reported in independent left-of-center, liberal opposition 24 Hours (3/5): "After Americans have already spent millions of dollars fixing Turkey's aerodromes and harbors, Turkey quite unexpectedly refused to allow the Pentagon to use them....  Why is Ankara risking so much?  As experts understand, no one in Turkey's political establishment has a desire to assume the responsibility for decision-making. In fact, everyone agrees to the Americans' use of the bases; however, given the situation where 90 per cent of the population opposes the war, it's hard for any politician to endorse 62,000 American soldiers in the country. ... There is yet another more serious reason to that: a crack in the ruling party."


HUNGARY:  "Existence Is At Stake In Ankara"


Ankara correspondent Evelyn Forro judged in left-leaning Nepszava (3/3):  “The Turkish government has not been in such a crisis situation as it is right now since the Gulf War in 1991.  Back then, it fell."


IRELAND: "International Support Drains Away From Bush"


Conor O'Cleary observed in the center-left Irish Times (3/4): "Not since the beginning of President George Bush's drive towards confrontation with Iraq last September has the prospect of international support for his administration looked so bleak. The vote by the parliament in Turkey....has dealt a serious blow to war planning and to the perception in Washington that nations could be persuaded, cajoled or bought off to join a US-led coalition.  The decision of the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, to begin destroying his stock of al-Samoud 2 missiles...has also strengthened the case at the UN that inspections are working and that they should be given more time. The United Stated can only be sure of the votes of four of the 15 Security Council members....The White House admitted that the vote in Turkey had taken the administration by surprise..... French and Russian opposition to the U.S. motion has not diminished. In recent days Russia has lobbied Bulgaria and Pakistan to vote against the resolution, countering the assumption in Washington that, in the end, Moscow could be persuaded not to oppose the United States."


"Setting The UN Agenda On Iraq"


The center-left Irish Times editorialized (3/3): "The Turkish parliament's decision to reject deployment of United States troops on its territory is a major political and military setback for US plans to invade Iraq. It clearly reflects widespread popular opposition in Turkey to a war....In this fog of war propaganda, the only disinterested judgments will come from Dr Blix and his colleagues....  Both the Security Council and its inspectors must be allowed space, time and opportunity to make their minds up independently. It would be naive to call for an end to the naked political, economic and diplomatic pressure on its members to go along with the US and British case that Iraq cannot be trusted - or with the alternative argument put by France, Germany, Russia and China that the case for the immediate use of force is not proven and would be counter-productive. But it is essential that countries such as Ireland, so recently on the council and with such a long-standing tradition of putting such store on the UN as a source of international legitimacy, should stand by the integrity of the arms inspectors."


NORWAY: "Turkey's No"


The independent VG (3/3) commented: "During the weekend the Turkish Parliament said no to an agreement that would have given the USA the possibility to send about 60,000 soldiers to the country in preparation for an invasion of Iraq from the north... If one cannot use Turkey as a base, many fear that the war will be both longer and more bloody... The voting result is a large defeat for the Turkish Government and of course for the US... From the Turkish government's side the purpose of such an agreement is to secure a central role when the plans for the 'new' Iraq are laid. Now many American observers believe that Turkey can give up that hope. For this reason it might be that the Turkish Government has everything to win in a replay in the Parliament."


"Turkey Stops U.S. War Plan"


The newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (3/3): "Prime Minister Abdullah Gul will have to use what he has of political cleverness to find a solution that potentially can meet the U.S. desires at the same time as he takes consideration of the very strong anti-war atmosphere in the Turkish population.... Prime Minister Gul is undoubtedly right when he says that 'the Turkish -American friendship is strategic'.  As a Muslim -- but secular --state, Turkey is important for President George W. Bush's visions about a restructuring of the whole Middle East to an area consisting of stable democratic states....  The U.S. plans must be changed, and it will most likely be more difficult to carry them through. This again can lead to a delay of the war plans. It was a great disappointment for Bush, but not for the many who would rather disarm Saddam without going to war."


ROMANIA:  "Americans Didn't Anticipate Failure"


Foreign policy analyst Roxana Frosin commented in business-oriented Curentul (3/3):  "Certain that the generous financial package offered to Turkey, coupled with the promise to oppose any Kurdish separatist movements, would represent a strong enough motivation for Ankara, the Americans didn't anticipate failure at all.  They had even prepared a thank you note, through which the U.S. would ‘warmly welcome the decision of the Turkish Parliament to authorize the deployment of American forces in Turkey, in the event of a military operation against Iraq.’”


SERBIA & MONTENEGRO:  "Chips Of Freedom"


Pro-government Politika commented on the economic aspects of an eventual war in Iraq (3/2): "If we disregard casualties for a moment, war is nothing else but business where someone wins and someone loses...For example the Turks recently strongly bargained for American gratitude presented in dollars, which according to them should not be less than a 'lousy'  $30 billion."


“Turkish Knot”


Belgrade's independent weekly Vreme commented (2/27):  “It seems that the deal is already made.… The Turkish role in preparations for a war against Iraq, in which it goes against its own public opinion, becomes almost historical.  Turkey negotiates directly and requests guarantees on the future composition of the state against which it will conduct a war....  Washington took a step ahead and accepted Turkish civilian role in a post-war Iraq and approved the participation of Turkish representatives in transitional governance.”


SLOVENIA: "Turkey's No To A Superpower"


Left-of-center Delo opined in a commentary by Avgust Pudgar (3/4):  "Turkey's no to the superpower is a brave political act.... Turkey's political leaders are aware that it will not be without consequences. The representatives of the Bush Administration were shocked by the refusal; and then--instead of [admitting that] a democratic procedure has to be respected--they furiously demanded additional explanation from Ankara.  At the same time, the leading American conservatives have--with their hidden threats-- demonstrated that they wanted a war against Saddam Hussein at any price, so that the superpower...could celebrate a triumph, and rich oil businessmen in the United States and elsewhere could earn even more with high prices of oil.... Turkey's vote is good for democracy, but risky for Turkey's economy....Turkey's political leaders have sent a precious message to the world about Turkey's new identity within parliamentary democratic procedure... Turkey's 'no' to the superpower should also be observed through the prism [of democracy], despite the fact that American...arrogant politicians are offended at the moment.  Ankara will have to pay a high price for its upright political posture."


SPAIN:  "Turkey Resists"


Centrist La Vanguardia asserted (3/3):  "Logic dictates that in the end, Turkey will accept a collaboration that, geo-strategically, seems inevitable.   But this new delay constitutes an undeniable reverse for Pentagon plans....  Definitely, it is another puzzle for a dispute that is playing in so many diplomatic and strategic fronts, even before the first bomb has fallen." 




ISRAEL:  "The U.S. Will Get Along Fine Without Turkey"


Zeev Schiff remarked in independent Ha'aretz (3/3): "Should Turkey persist in its refusal to accept U.S. troops in its territory, it could suffer direct and indirect economic losses; on the one hand, Turkey could lose a significant part of its influence on future developments in northern Iraq's Kurdish areas.  Its vital interests could subsequently come to harm.  The United States says could put its war plans in Iraq to effect in other ways....  [Turkey] doesn't have the importance another Muslim state--Pakistan--had during the Afghanistan War.  U.S...forces could enter Iraq from other directions and it is believed that the main battle will take place around Baghdad....  On the other hand, should Turkey's objection lead to the annulment of the northern front....  Iraq could send more forces to the Baghdad area.  Such a move could prolong the war and cause greater losses."


EGYPT:  "The Turkish Government Crisis"


Leading pro-government Al Ahram's columnist Hazem Abdel Rahman (3/5): "Will Turkey stay fast before American demands to allow American troops in its territories? The answer is very difficult.  The agreement vote led to a major crisis in the Turkish stock market....  Making it more difficult was the way the Turkish government dealt with the situation, as a naïve merchant, who thought he found a treasure to settle his economic crisis. The government set off to woo the anti-American sentiments on the street...and went as far as stopping any economic plans or programs to settle the bad economic situation....  when the referendum occurred, the government thought it obtained the approval it wanted, but the truth came otherwise, and rendered it confused.  The Turkish government seems to be paying for its dangerous game....  Now, there are several possibilities: if the U.S. insists on deploying its troops in Turkish territories, the parliament may vote approval in 14 days. The Turkish army may come to the stage of events and the government could fall....  how many dollars will the Turkish government obtain from the U.S.?"


"Once Bitten, Twice Shy"


Suhayr Jabr wrote in pro-government Al-Akhbar (2/25):  "Because of its strategic alliances with the West and America, its deteriorating economy, Turkey will have to agree to the deployment of U.S. forces and heavy equipment already in the Turkish territorial waters for more than a week, waiting for the permission to go in....  Why is the Turkish ally being so difficult?  Once bitten, twice shy, as the saying goes.  Turkey was stung before by America during the 1991-second war in the gulf.  The government of Bush Senior failed to deliver the promised aid in exchange for Ankara's acceptance to go to war against Iraq.  Thus, Turkey decided to have guarantees in writing from Bush Junior, and make up for the losses of 1991....  Turkey is now in a much stronger position than America is.  It can impose its demands, and get a bigger slice of the pie!"


SAUDI ARABIA:  "Pertinent Question"


The English-language Saudi Gazette commented (3/3):  "The U.S. and Britain may term the [Arab] summit resolution as a 'setback' to their war plans, but a greater shock to them came when the Turkish parliament denied American troops facilities to open the 'northern front' against Iraq from Turkish soil....  This development certainly strengthens the Arab position.  The Turkish vote indicates which way the wind is blowing in this region." 


IRAQ:  "Renegade Movements Fear Washington Might Abandon Them"


Baghdad's semi-official Babil's Internet website commented (2/26):  "The Iraqi renegade movements, which are supposed to meet in Iraq's Kurdistan on Tuesday, are afraid that they might lose the United States' support, which they have enjoyed during the past few months.  The renegades' follow-up and coordination committee is supposed to meet in Arbil, which is considered Kurdistan's capital city outside Baghdad's control since 1991.   Officials in Arbil are often heard saying:  'They are again stabbing us in the back.'  After paying the Iraqi renegades' front, the United States began to give them the impression that it might sacrifice them through the concessions it will make to Turkey in return for its consent to allow the U.S. troops to open a northern front against Iraq in case of war....  The Kurds are afraid that the Turkish forces might take control of the two oil-rich cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, which the Kurds consider part of their region."


IRAQ (NORTHERN):  "Entry Of Turkish Forces Will Complicate Matters, Benefit No One"


Sulaymaniya's Kurdistani Nuwe held (2/25):  "The news of the Turkish intention to invade Kurdistan and...the baseless excuses used by some Turkish officials have...created a united official and popular reaction in Kurdistan and also among Kurdish communities abroad....  We must stress here that concern for preventing the creation of tension in the region is not the responsibility of the people of Kurdistan alone, nor is it the duty of Iraqis alone.  But it is first and foremost the responsibility of the U.S. because creating confusion and conflict will have a serious impact on the process of the strategy adopted by the U.S. regarding the question of Iraq.  That is why, we sincerely look to the U.S. to prevent the escalation of tension in the region, especially since the people of Kurdistan and Iraq are partners of the U.S. and its allies in the process of regime change."


LEBANON:  "The Summit Of Those Who Fear War"


Talal Salman wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir (3/3):  "Although the Arab position [at the Sharm Al Sheikh summit] was less than hoped for and needed, nevertheless, its results will discomfit the Americans and encourage the Europeans.  It will also have a positive influence on Turkey, which is still resisting the heavy American pressure.  If Turkey withstands American pressure it will be really difficult to launch a war on Iraq because all of the Iraqi neighboring countries are against the war."


"Ethics--But They Are Costly"


Joseph Samaha observed in Arab nationalist As-Safir (2/22):  "The example that is so unethical that it amounts to a global scandal, remains the 'dialogue' that Washington is leading to persuade Turkey to effectively join the war.  In order to please Turkey, the Americans abandoned every 'ethical' commitment toward the Kurds.  They allowed Ankara to send troops to northern Iraq...and they promised that the Kurdish forces would not enter Kirkuk....    Turkey set a price and the United States set a price....  The whole world lived the details of the bazaar, the results of which might control the 'democratic' fate of the Middle East and determine if this democracy will be achieved and at which price....  Erdogan, for his part, remained firm, insisting that the promises of payment be made in writing."


MOROCCO:  "U.S. Arrogance That Goes Against International Legitimacy"


Front page column in Arabic language, government-coaliton Al Ittihad Al Ishtiraki (3/3): "The State Department's spokesman has confirmed that the U.S. will seek a clarification regarding the Turkish parliament's vote against deployment ofsixty two thousand U.S. GI's in Turkey and use of Turkish military bases tostrike Iraq. The U.S. perhaps believes that Turkish members of parliament represent the U.S. people and not the Turkish people.... This is mere U.S.arrogance that goes against international legitimacy and world values and charters. The U.S. again dictates lessons on everybody to learn by heart, otherwise no one is safe from punishment!"




CHINA (MACAU SAR):  "U.S. Suffers Setbacks In Its Plan To Attack Iraq"


The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked in an editorial (3/3):  "To the surprise of the White House, the Turkish Parliament last weekend vetoed a motion by the Cabinet that would have allowed U.S. troops staging rights in Turkey for an attack on Iraq.  The motion, defeated by just three votes, represents a serious setback for U.S. plans....  The reason for its defeat is widespread popular opposition to U.S. intervention in Iraq.  About 90 percent of Turks are Muslims, 85 percent of whom belong to the same denomination as the Iraqis.  Given their common religion, Turks naturally sympathize with the Iraqi people.  In addition, the war will likely affect Turkey and its neighbors, dealing a heavy blow to the regional economy.  The already-weak Turkish economy will weaken further, affecting people's livelihoods.  Moreover, Turkey is still suffering the lingering effects of the last Gulf War, including an influx of Iraqi refugees. Dissent among the Kurds in Turkey has intensified.  All this will lead to social unrest in Turkey.  According to a public poll, 90 percent of Turks oppose support by their government for a U.S. attack on Iraq.  During the Parliamentary debate, some 50,000 people staged an anti-war rally.  Given this,  how could the members of the Turkish Parliament ignore the will of the people on this issue?"


"Turkey Demands Exorbitant Price"


Pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News commented (2/23):  "Turkey's bargain has seriously impeded the U.S. war plan....  Faced with Turkish foot-dragging, the Bush administration is giving itself two options.  The first is to take a tough stance toward the Turkish government, stating that the U.S.$26 billion loan is the limit of U.S. assistance, with no room for further discussion.  Turkey should reply soon.  The second choice is to go with war plan B:  attacking Iraq from the north and south.  The U.S. military from the north will not cross Turkey, entering through Kuwait or via air from a U.S. sea base.  At present, the U.S. troops in the Turkish port are waiting for the order to move their base.  War plan B, however, this plan will dramatically increase U.S. military spending and the number of casualties, as well as extend the war.  This move will therefore be the last option."


JAPAN: "Impact Of Turkey's Rejection Of U.S. Troop Deployment" 


The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (3/4): "Turkey's unexpected rejection of the deployment of U.S. troops for a possible Iraq war dealt a serious blow to the Bush administration. The U.S. promise of extending a large aid plan for Turkey had not worked wonders. Saddam Hussein has begun disposing of Al Samoud missiles since the end of last week as if to show Iraq is complying with the 'voice of the world.' Now, attention is being shifted to UNMOVIC chief Blix's Friday submission of an additional report to the UNSC and how the U.S. will try to win EU nations over and have the UNSC adopt a new resolution authorizing the use of force against Baghdad."


"Gravity Of 'No' To U.S. Troop Deployment"


 An editorial in the liberal Asahi observed (3/4), "Turkey, a nation troubled by snow-balling foreign debts and a 'close-to-bankrupt' economy, might have felt like 'jumping at' a large aid plan offered by the U.S. But this Islamic NATO nation turned down the deployment of U.S. troops for a possible war with Iraq. This may be indicative of deep concerns the Turkish people have toward the war. Turkey is the only democratized Muslim nation in the Middle East. It is ironic that the Turkish parliament voted against the deployment of U.S. troops, a legislative act under democracy, throwing cold water on the U.S. that is trying to remove Saddam Hussein from power and democratize the Middle East."


INDONESIA: "U.S. Astounded By Turkey's And Arab League's Rejection"


Leading independent Kompas commented (3/4): "The rejection by the Arab League and Turkey has empowered the global movement against the war. Governments and peoples from all over the world are united in the movement against the war and demand a solution to the Iraqi crisis through a UN mechanism.... This action [destruction of Al-Samoud-2 missiles] has certainly drawn people's sympathy to Iraq.  On the other hand, the U.S. sees this as a mere trick by Iraq.  Despite strong opposition throughout the world, the U.S. continues to show its desire to strike Iraq."   


PHILIPPINES:  "Bush Against The Wall"


Former press secretary Ricardo Puno Jr., in his column in the independent Manila Times wrote (3/5):  "George W. Bush now knows events are slipping out of his grasp....  In the UNSC...among the five against (a U.S.-sponsored second resolution), three are permanent members who have veto power...and...said they would use that power....  The Turkish parliament has rejected the U.S. request to base 60,000 troops in the country, thus scuttling the American plans to open the northern front....   Judging from media reports, popular sentiment is building up against the war all over the world....  The American public support for the war is just over 50 percent, still okay but declining alarmingly....  Bush's incessant 'Axis of Evil' rhetoric has boxed him in....  Maybe now he regrets giving in to Colin Powell's allow the U.N. process to work. But having allowed the process to begin, he has galvanized the U.N., unfortunately...on the side of avoiding war....  The complexity of this entire Iraqi question is what leads one to fear that this President...may now begin to realize that the only way to restore clarity in this thoroughly muddled situation is to push the red button, and let loose the dogs of war."


SINGAPORE: "Obstacles To War"


The pro-government Straits Times (3/5) editorial said: "The political and military obstacles to a United States-led invasion of Iraq are multiplying.... Far from feeling discouraged or chastened by these setbacks, however, Washington made it plain that it was, if anything, more determined than ever to go to war.... The fact that Turkey, the only democracy in the Middle East, has not found Mr. Bush's vision of a transformed Middle East enticing enough to back US war plans shows how low America's credibility has sunk in the world. Unless global sentiment changes suddenly within the next few weeks, Washington will be launching its invasion of Iraq with less support than it has ever had in its entire history....  Having raised the stakes so high - nothing less than the transformation of the entire Middle East - how is Mr. Bush going to accomplish such a colossal task without the support of his key allies, let alone regional powers like Turkey? A diplomatic strategy that ignores the doubts of many, that keeps changing the goalposts, that is endlessly flexible in the justification it offers for war -change', regional transformation - is not calculated to win the confidence of the global community. Washington has no more than two weeks to win the legitimacy that only a Security Council resolution can provide it.  If it fails in this effort, it will still win the war, but its winning the peace will be in serious doubt."


THAILAND: “Turkey Talks, U.S. Should Be Listening”


The lead editorial in independent, English-language Nation read (3/4): “Ankara now has the choice of seeking another vote when parliament reconvenes this week.  But it’s unlikely to do so because of the risk of being forced to step down should it lose a second vote.  A wiser move would be for the government to hear the will of the parliament and abandon its plan for a U.S. deployment.  Turkey, more than the rest of the world, has reasons to fear the Iraqi president and his ambitions to develop weapons of mass destruction.  It is worth remembering that the late Turkish President Turgut Ozal had urged the United States to finish off the Iraqi despot the first time around.  It didn’t.  The Turkish people and the legislators now obviously feel that the diplomatic pressure on Iraq is working and that they, on the edge of the battlefield, have too little to gain from a rush to war.”


VIETNAM:  "Turkey In A Difficult Position"


Thy An wrote in Hanoi's official Ha Noi Moi (2/19):  "If Turkey does not take sides with the U.S., it will lose the political support from the U.S. and fall into isolation with regard to the issues of joining the EU and settling the dispute over Cyprus.  Also, refusing U.S. requests will make huge U.S. economic and military aid being expected by Turkey disappear....  In contrast, if the Turkish government bows to submission under the pressure from the U.S. and agrees with a military solution for the Iraq crisis, which is not approved by the UN, it will not only be unable to explain it to its citizens but also be isolated in the Muslim world."




INDIA:  "Turkey Flaps Its Wings"


An editorial in the nationalist Hindustan Times (3/4): "He may not care to admit it, but the fact is Bush's war plans suffered a stunning reversal last weekend when the Turkish Parliament rejected the idea of allowing U.S. troops onto Turkish territory....  If...Bush is wondering what went wrong with his carefully laid post-9/11 plans, perhaps he should recall the events of last September when he released Washington's national security strategy that called for pre-emptive strikes against America's enemies.... Was Washington sincerely looking for a resolution to the Iraqi imbroglio, or for an excuse to start a war? These thoughts must weigh heavily on the minds of US officials as the council vote on a second resolution on Iraq draws closer ... Washington's concern is real, considering the tenor of the debate so far."


IRAN:  "Planned Agreement"


Nafiseh Kuhnavard opined in Tehran's Pro-Khatami Iran (2/26):  "'The issue is not only the amount of dollars. At any rate, the fact of the matter is that the Turks are after a new role in the region, a role on which they have been investing for years. Penetrating into northern Iraq and bringing that region under control have been one of Turkey's long-standing aspirations....Turkey is now in the process of preparing an army that one could say would be the biggest Turkish army operation since Cyprus. But the fact is that Turkey's role was determined not now but when the Turkish-Israeli alliance took shape. All these preparations are in the context of making scientific the objectives behind forming that crescent in the region and of increased Israeli penetration into the Middle East. Otherwise, neither the viewpoints and decisions of the Turkish Justice and Development party, nor even the new crises in the region have been or would be the defining factor behind Turkey's role in the war with Iraq. Meanwhile, the new Turkish government is now trying, by giving more cooperation in the operations, to gain a bigger share and to strengthen its position further in the region.  Some experts believe that over the recent years Ankara had ostensibly distanced itself from the Turkish-Israeli crescent. It is now turning back to it with greater speed. The truth of the matter is that Turkey would never enter into a war by force, and even efforts at achieving peace were a cover up for Turkey's long-standing objectives, and more important than that, those of America and Israel, in the region, something that will not be confined to northern Iraq and the cities of Kirkuk and Mosul."                     


PAKISTAN:  "Turkish Surprise"


The center-right, national Nation declared (3/3):  "The value of a genuine democratic process has been demonstrated by events in Turkey....  Though the vote has jeopardized an important part of the U.S. invasion plan, its initial reaction has been to accept the decision as the result of a democratic process. This makes Turkey the only country since 9/11 which has refused the U.S. its requirement for invading a neighbor....  Turkey has not just offended an old ally, but has given up a $6 billion aid package, which also facilitated the raising of $30 billion in commercial loans at low interest.  Pakistan's military government was euphoric over peanuts; Turkey's legislature refused the key to the bank vault.  This was in a large measure because Turkey remained dissatisfied with the United States' post-war intentions.  Turkey remains afraid that if the U.S. backs the Kurds in northwestern Iraq in their desire to obtain independence, it would destabilize Turkey's own Kurdish minority, and thus it will not be a party.  Pakistan did not bother to consider how the U.S. invasion would affect its own Pashtuns."


"Turkish Parliament's Surprise Vote?"


The Lahore-based Daily Times editorialized (3/3):  "What factors are responsible for the Turkish parliament's decision?  Of course, there is popular opposition to the war in Turkey, with 96 per cent of the people openly opposed to the war and U.S. troop deployment.  But the most important reason has to do with the Kurdish question, which is still hanging fire....  While the U.S. says it will not allow the Kurds to take control of the northern oil wells and declare independence, Ankara is not convinced.  There is a feeling that in the heat of the moment, the U.S. would not be averse to Kurdish demands, just like it did nothing to prevent the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan from taking control of Kabul despite earlier assurances that it would prevent them from doing so."


"Courageous Stands By Turkey, The Arab League And Pakistan"


Second-largest Urdu-language Nawa-e-Waqt commented (3/3):  "The policies that the Turkish Parliament and the Arab league have adopted are reflective of the Muslims aspirations....  Obviously, it is difficult for our military rulers and the quasi-democratic government to break the American juggernaut because of the debt trap and our rulers friendship with President Bush....  It would be better that instead of General Musharraf and Prime Minister Jamali taking a decision in this regard (on Iraq), the matter should be left to the Parliament, which should be given a chance to take a decision in keeping with the aspirations of the people."


"Turkish Dithering"


The center-right national Nation editorialized (2/23):  "The Turkish government has thrown a rather surprising spanner into the works for the U.S....  The Turks are showing signs of acquiescence, but not without making the Americans meet their concerns....  Turkey is at the moment dragging its feet by using three excuses: the money offered by the U.S. (a whopping $26 billion) is not enough (not to forget its strong hints about European Union membership); the U.S. needs to make clearer its intentions to handle the aftermath of victory; and the need to obtain approval from the Grand National Assembly.  This forms a strong contrast with Pakistan's own approach after 9/11, when a single phone call gave the U.S. everything it wanted, without settling any terms and conditions for the future.  The Turks may appear mercenary, but they have certainly obtained a better offer than Pakistan managed to extract."




CANADA: "Ankara's Dilemma"


Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal French-language Le Devoir (3/4): "The Ankara government intends to try again by presenting a second motion to Parliament.  It is more than likely that this will take place after March 9, i.e. after the partial election that will enable....Tayyip Erdogan to replace Abdullah Gul as prime minister.... The agreement...would have allowed four Turkish divisions to occupy the Iraqi Kurdistan.  As paradoxical as it may seem at first glance, many deputies voted no exactly because of this incentive for colonization.  Indeed, the consequence of such an occupation of the Kurdish territory would have been to dash any hopes of joining the European Union any time soon, something most Turks have been dreaming about since 1962....   To rally all the members of his party, Erdogan will obviously have to propose a motion with more potential gains than those promised so far by Bush.  The dilemma is simple: either the government gives satisfaction to Washington and immediately alienates civil society, or it refuses and its chances of joining the European Union sooner will increase to Bush's great displeasure."


ARGENTINA: "Bush Maintains His Pressure On The Turkish Government"


Julio Algañaraz, Rome-based correspondent for leading Clarin wrote (3/4): "The Turkish Parliament's 'no' to U.S. troops entering Turkey has complicated the U.S. plans to launch an attack on Iraq from its Northern border.... The Washington pressure on the new Islamic Turkish government is becoming overwhelming. The Pentagon's strategists sustain the invasion of Iraq continues being feasible but that it is 'more difficult' and, above all, 'riskier'.... The news of the (Turkish) Congressional rejection of U.S. troops entering Turkey to attack Iraq has triggered a slump in Istanbul Stock Exchange... The most affected were the bonds of large banks because a financial crisis will lead to a glacial era in Turkey's relationship with the IMF... Turkey foresees many problems arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq because Kurds will find it hard not to fall in the temptation of creating a Republic of Kurdistan, in or outside Iraq."


BRAZIL: "European Pressure Will Not Avoid The Conflict"


Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's international writer Marcio Senne de Moraes concluded (3/6): "The decision by France, Russia and Germany to adopt a joint position against the war places the U.S. in a very difficult situation diplomatically, but does not affect the USG's determination to launch a military attack to depose dictator Saddam Hussein.... Actually, for George W. Bush and his chief advisers, the Turkish Parliament's refusal to permit the use of its territory by U.S. troops is perhaps a much more serious problem, because it may delay the invasion of Iraq."


MEXICO: "Turkey (Not A Surprise):  A Crisis For Bush"


Juan Maria Alponte argued in nationalist El Universal (3/4):  "The Bush proposal for Turkey was stopped in its tracks, and he will have to wait .... The main reason is opposition from domestic politicians and from 94 percent of the population....  This setback for the United States is normal if we consider that the Bush model -going to war against Iraq by all means- has produced many different reactions....  In this case...we are dealing with an enormous expense of power where the United States cannot become the new source for international legitimacy without the United Nations."


"Unjust War"


Luis Villarreal commented in independent El Norte (3/3): "The most recent stumbling block for George Bush and his partner's warrior will is called Turkish Parliament.... Two additional factors mobilize the U.S. diplomacy. One, the Arab League just expressed its absolute rejection of an unilateral attack against Iraq; two, Iraq began the destruction of missiles and some devices of weapon manufacture. Bush's response was immediate. On Saturday he said: 'It is not enough that Iraq disarms, Saddam needs to leave power.' Such a position demonstrates his obstinate attitude for war and global power. The world has never made a greater effort for such a worthy objective. We must recognize the infinite sacrifice that would result from the U.S. reluctance to collaborate towards peace."


CHILE:  "Turkish Bazaar"


Raul Sohr opined in government-owned, editorially independent La Nacion  (2/21):  "The Turkish Minister of Finance expressed a fear that the U.S. has stated that the military operations will be short but that the U.S. Congress will take between six and eight weeks to approve any payment.  What happens if war ends in a couple of weeks?  To avoid misunderstandings, Turkey demands written guarantees and does not want bazaar-like negotiations."




ZAMBIA: U.S. Pretext For Invading Iraq"


The Independent Post commented (3/5): "There's need to intelligently and honestly examine the United States' pretext for invading Iraq. We are being told Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction and as such poses a global threat; we are being told that the destruction of Saddam Hussein's regime will lead to democracy and increased observance of human rights in the region; and that the removal of Saddam is not only a humanitarian duty but a moral one. But looking back, recalling what happened in our part of the world - the Third World - in the past few decades, who fathered most of the coups d'etat?...  Who trained the torturers in the most sophisticated techniques? Who trained the sinister culprits? Who armed them? Who supported them?...  It's interesting to note that the country that claims to be advancing democracy in the world does not respect decisions of democratic institutions.  The Turkish Parliament has voted against a motion that would have allowed the United States to position 62,000 troops in that country as it prepares for war against Iraq.   But will the United States respect this decision? They are trying to bribe the Turkish government with offers of US$6 billion in grants and a US$8.5 billion bridging loan to Turkey if it allows the US to establish bases on their land for possible attacks against Iraq. Is this the type of democracy and values the world should adopt?"



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