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Washington Times Publishes AHI Letter On U.S. Relations With Turkey
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JONATHAN CLARKE
January 25, 2001 No. 5/01 (202) 785-8430

Washington Times Publishes AHI Letter On U.S. Relations With Turkey

On January 23, 2001 the Washington Times published the following letter "Silk Road is wrong path for U.S. relations with Turkey" from Eugene T. Rossides :

Silk Road is Wrong Path for U.S. Relations with Turkey
Tuesday January 23, 2001 ; Page A14

"Norman Levine's article "Bringing back the Silk Route"(Washington TimesJanuary 12, 2001) raises important points about Turkey's future relations with the U.S. and Western Europe. Fostering Turkey's emergence as a stable and economically prosperous country is in the U.S. interest. However, the article is based on misleading premises and suffers from a crucial omission.

First, the pipeline itself makes no commercial sense. It crosses a mountainous earthquake zone and a region of political instability. If it is ever built (which is still an open question), it will be not because it is the best way to bring oil to the market but at the cost of enormous government subsidies. For this reason, not a single major American oil company is willing to underwrite even a portion of the project, despite years of government lobbying.

Second, the article lumps Russia with Iran and Iraq as an adversary. This is so obviously at variance with established American foreign policy.

Third, it omits any mention of the need for Turkey to reform its governmental institutions so that it can become a full democracy, not the sham democracy that it now is.

At present, the Turkish military exercises final control over all important matters of state. This is a highly anomalous situation which produces disastrous results not just for the western community but for the citizens of Turkey as well. For example, Turkey is currently experiencing its worst financial crisis in recent years, needing IMF help to keep it from bankruptcy.

Further, the military is responsible for retarding prospects for a Cyprus settlement and for stoking animosity toward Greece by raising unsupported claims in the Aegean Sea. So long as such actions continue, these problems will be a millstone around Turkey's neck and will doom its prospects for accession to the European Union.

The obvious course for U.S. policy is not to involve itself in Turkey's anti-democratic structures but to encourage urgent and vigorous reform. Giving Turkey a free pass on internal reform because of unrelated energy resources in the Caspian Sea would be a step in the wrong direction. The U.S. should also work closely with Russia regarding energy resources in the Caspian region."