SENZA CENSURA n.8
Italy, june 2002
TURKEY: BETWEEN WILL OF POWER AND ECONOMIC CRISIS
USA control in Eurasia's link state
Turkey, belonging to NATO since 1952, has had the role of embankment and fortress than soviet influence development in the Eurasian area.
This strategic importance transformed Turkey in a militarised state, place of many coup d'état, the last in 1980, which stopped any hypothesis of social change for the country.
American imperialism could not allow that the state keeping the role of embankment to communism and to the Arabian world too, could have only a democratic development such as to create difficulty to USA interest in the land.
Turkey army has become NATO's second army ( it is formed by 700,000 men), the real holder of politic power with a great influence in the economy, creating real holdings which have kept steady their interest.
Turkey is one of the greatest countries importer of weapons: it is the third in the world for the importing of great weapon systems.
It is also among main USA's customers. Turkey is among the first ten weapon importers of the world, from USA. We have to consider that if in the first places are countries as Japan, Great Britain, Germany, which exchange in this sector is linked to relationships inside NATO too, followed by Saudi Arabia, that is paying for the Gulf war 63 thousand millions of dollars of weapon importing, after there are Egypt and Turkey. In fact, these are the principal states of USA's strategy in Middle East and in the Persian Gulf. Turkey, between 1980 and 1989 received subsidies by USA. In other words, USA paid for the export of their own weapons towards the Asiatic country. So, Turkish government received these weapons as subsidy. Until 1987.
After the end of the cold war, NATO gave itself a strategy, the import grew , subsidies fell, while trade loans which have to be paid grew. Until 1996 this tendency has been confirmed, and since 1993 subsidies disappeared, while the acquisition level is still high, that is among the main reasons of the economic weakness and the enormous debt of Turkey.
From a strategic point of view URRS' decomposition seemed to give Turkey the chance to enlarge their influence towards the former soviet countries , many of which speaking Turkish or having a great part of Turkish population.
In 1991 Ankara was the first to acknowledge the Azerbaijan, than all the ex-soviet republics originated by the Minsk summit, aiming at turning the break of those balances to its own advantage, preparing itself to have the role that Pan- Turkism has ever had as aim.
But soon the Turkish leadership has had to do with USA and EU, while new regional powers, like Iran, aim at an important engagement.
In fact the United States have managed on their own the military aspect, establishing the first military bases in Uzbekistan and then in the other Caucasian states with the resolution of being the main manager of the strategic interest linked to the Asiatic area, in comparison with China, Russia and Iran...
The war against Iraq, if it has underlined how, with changed balances, the strategic importance for USA and Europe could not decrease, it has damaged again Turkey in its relationship with the Arab world, which breaking has happened in 1996 because of the formal agreement with Israel and with the exclusion of Islamic countries from the Conference. The following embargo against Iraq has made lose to Turkish economy an important trade partner with whom it had a business of 6,000,000,000 of dollars in 1990, which only since 2000 has begun again to work . In 2001 the volume of trade was around 1,000,000,000 of dollars and in ten years there has been a great economic loss.
Turkey, as anti-communist bastion, during the last ten years transformed its own role into link between Europe and Asia. Faithful ally of north American interests ( which control through indirect investments and have in their hands with European enterprises, the real Turkish economy, that is the oligarchy at power), being not able to become an important foreigner investor despite of considerable potentialities it has got, Turkey is limiting itself to the role of bridge among Eurasia, with the capacity to establish cultural relationships with Caucasian countries through friendship treaties where the role of Turkish enterprises is very limited ( and there are little enterprises able to operate in foreign countries.
USA and EU's interests in the area first are those to keep Russia isolated from its ex provinces and to cut it off from the management of economic interests linked to natural sources and their transport.
With the Gulf war USA placed even militarily in the region, with military bases and a strengthened role of leader country for the interest of local oligarchies, as Saudi and Jordanian dynasties, supporting Talibans' regime with the aim to create a passage which, from Afghanistan and Pakistan through Caspian Sea's countries and then Turkey, unites the economies of Central Asia's countries with Europe under its direction, avoiding interferences of countries as India, China and Iran.
In 1993 for this reason European Union, with USA's support, proposes the "TRACECA" program (Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus, Asia), which aims to strengthen the communication net , to develop common projects regarding oil and gas pipelines (Inogate), and contextually starts a project of air passage (Southern Ring Air Route), which includes an important tariff and customs integration which aims to create a free trade zone, breaking the Russian monopoly. This program, even with the difficulty had since its starting in 1994 because of the region's unsteadiness, represented a good point to start into relationships with new states and it confirmed the bridge role of Turkey, as final or passage of communications managed in another seat, also damaged by the near closing of trade relationships with Russia, the main region of trade of the area for Turkish economy. The difficulty to realize this project, especially for the problems with the Arabian and Islamic middle class part rival of USA interests and with which there is a break in 1998 which helped dynamism and Russian and Iranian role, together with the difficult economic conjuncture during since ten years, with an internal conflict situation with the increasing Islamic people, the presence of the Kurdish movement for its self-determination and for the presence of a revolutionary and social movement, which kept Turkey in a weakness condition, making pay very high social prices and avoiding the final collapse only thanks to the economic support of the IMF.
The relationship with Israel is the logic consequence of the international Turkish behaviour.
Yet during the first 90s, the first economic relationships are drawn up, while in 1996 they made a real political and military agreement for the exchange of delegations and common projects, always under Israeli guide. The carrying out of this agreement, wanted by USA and Israel, answers to the control strategic project for the whole middle-east area by the North America , warranting a military alliance so important to be a deterrent for any other country breaking the isolation of Israel and the Arabian-Islamic front, and it had as first aim to draw up Syria, historic enemy of both countries, and, in this way, its aim was also to keep the control of important sources as water.
The alliance is based on the political-military cooperation, which provides for military common trainings, the cooperation between their secret services, the reinforcement of economic-trade relationships, and negotiations for water and petrol sources.
Although the military aspect makes a deep impression on us, economic agreements are very important. The size of the commercial trade between the two countries has passed from 420 millions of dollars in 1996. to 2 thousand millions of dollars at the end of 2000. Israel is above all interested to invest in the agricultural and water energy sectors, having benefit by the water disposability of Turkey, but the industrial cooperation in the Defence sector and the weapons selling are the main sources of the new alliance.
Turkey, which has recently launched a great plan of modernization of its Armed Forces, for which it has allocated 150 thousand millions of dollars to be spent during 25 years, finds in Israel an ideal partner, because of its technical potentialities, supported by USA. The Turkish program for the rearmament warrants also to stop the crisis which had damaged Israeli military industry.
At the beginning of 1998, the sum of transferred weapon systems was around 1 thousand million of dollars, the most of whom was coming from the aeronautical industry. Now, the Israel Aircraft Industries, is going to export goods for more than 1,5 thousand millions, the most of which produced by jobs obtained by Turkey. Among signed agreements, the most important provides for the modernization of the whole fleet of Phantom II F-4, and it will see the participation of Italian industries and of many Turkish factors.
This is part of a well defined project of interconnection and industrial cooperation between those two countries, that aims at involving the main industrial sectors using high technology.
The first job will be followed by a 500 millions to construct missiles in Turkey. Above all the subcontract is important because of the assignment of technology. Turkish enterprises will benefit of the "know-how" on vectors , developed during last years by Israel, thanks to technical support and to USA's great funds. The cooperation in this delicate strategic sector, suggests even the common realization of the anti-missile ballistic system Arrow, basis of the new Israeli defence project.
In "civil" field the agreement has favoured the entry of Israeli multinationals into Turkish productive system, and also in the fundamental agricultural system, where Israel is leader for the production of genetically modified seeds, above all in textile and clothing industry, with a company like Calvin Klein, and cosmetics with companies like Estee Lauder, Oreal, Rubinstein. These holdings opened first factors in Turkey, above all southern and Mediterranean, filling a market of 66 millions of people and workers.
Another central aspect in Turkey's role, and reason of the alliance with Israel, is the water problem. Water is a primary good for the whole area and the greatest water sources are in Turkey, where are present great lakes and where Tigris and Euphrates begin. So water is a formidable arm for the control of balance. And it has been newly launched an old project, Manavgat, that provides for the exportation of Turkish water in Israel through water-supply ships or floating containers with tugboats escorted by the Navy.
Recently realized, "Great Anatolia Project" is the economic development's plan for the Turkish region, that provides for a new cultivation of the Anatolia desert. Its realization has provided for 20 dikes on the two rivers (to construct dikes in the Turkish Kurdistan hundreds of Kurdish villages have been submerged creating the umpteenth mass emigration towards Turkish and Kurdish towns. If used for a strategic aim, they would be able to reduce more than 40% the discharge of Syrian rivers, and the 90% of those of Iraq. Israel, that has put industrial technological innovation on agricultural sector, to maximize its output, is able to exploit the best it can a source that in the region is going to become more precious than petroleum .
To increase the water traffic, during the second half of 1999, the two countries instituted a linked commission to regulate the exportation of water from Turkey towards Israel.
Under USA's direction, they want to become dominating powers in the area trying to establish an equilibrium based on the disproportion of military forces and on the potentiality to control their sources.
Relations with Israel don't help to improve those with neighbouring Arabs. In 1997 turkey was expelled from the Islamic Countries Conference and, even if it obtained by Syria the renunciation of supporting the PKK (that will cause Ocalan's capture in Damascus), this fact will accentuate Turkish isolation and the necessity by the other states to reach agreements able to balance the Turkish- Israeli alliance. This is the reading we have to give to the reconciliation between Saudi Arabia (where the Crown Prince aims at a greatest independence from USA) and Iran, with the restarting of diplomatic relations, and the north-American effort to keep militarily backward Iraq and Iran, with the pretext of terrorism and the thesis of Evil's axis.
The war in Afghanistan, and the probable one against Iraq, strengthen Turkey for its role of aircraft carrier and medium regional power, but, beyond episodic facts, the war seems not to give to Ankara those possibilities to develop a real imperialism.
In military field there is a greatest acceptance of responsibility and since May 2002 a Turkish contingent formed by 90 soldiers has taken the guide of Nato's contingent in Afghanistan, but there are still all those problems which don't allow Turkey to expand its power. Besides Turkey does not agree with the next war against Saddam , friend of the Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit, that could be the beginning of the birth of a Kurdish state in the north of Iraq, not wanted by Ankara, which thinks that it could be a future regional enemy and catalyst of Kurdish people protest. Despite of this, when it will be decided by USA, Ankara will have to be happy for what it will have.
Since time there is a relation of narrow cooperation with the Turkish Democratic Party, main party of the Iraqi Kurdistan, that is a relation based on the common aversion towards PKK but it could suddenly change on the contrary, inside a different situation.
Some analyst thinks that a democratic regime, that is the umpteenth colonial regime in service of USA and EU, could favour the Turkish access towards middle-east.
In exchange for renunciation of its own role of regional power, Turkey has received by the IMF thousand millions of dollars to survive, to allow the politic, military and economic class controlling Turkish society not to collapse.
Even in the question of Cyprus there have not been protests and so it is gone better even the relation with Greece. It has been given carte blanche towards Turkish and Kurdish revolutionary movements, that has brought to the recent ban in Europe among the so called terrorist organizations, of the DHKC-P and the PKK, after the protest of Turkish ministers in January 2002 when the two parties were not put by Europeans in the list of terrorist organizations.
The delay of the entrance in Europe has to be read not only as caused by the non-respect of human rights but also as European will to keep Turkey not able to do an independent role and under constant blackmail, and it has to be read as European will not to enlarge the Union with a state having a 64%inflation, a state to keep in a half-colonial condition, governed by a narrow group of managing elite, as the Minister of Economy Dervis (ex number two of the World Bank), which has studied in Europe or in USA, anxious to put master's teaching into practice.