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Turkish Politics and the War in Iraq Professor. Dr. Mehmet Tomanbay Member of Parliament The University of Baylor, Waco, Texas April 24, 2003.

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Presentation on theme: "Turkish Politics and the War in Iraq Professor. Dr. Mehmet Tomanbay Member of Parliament The University of Baylor, Waco, Texas April 24, 2003."— Presentation transcript:

1 Turkish Politics and the War in Iraq Professor. Dr. Mehmet Tomanbay Member of Parliament The University of Baylor, Waco, Texas April 24, 2003

2 Outline The relations of Turkey with Iraq. The political system of Turkey. Turkey’s main concerns regarding Iraq. Factors which affected the Turkish parliamentarians to make their decision on the Iraqi resolution. The views of Republican Peoples Party (CHP) on Iraq.

3 The relations of Turkey with Iraq. Turkey is a neighbour of Iraq. We deeply value our historical and cultural ties with the nation of Iraq:Arabs,Kurds,Turkomans, Assyrians, Chaldeans and others. The people of both country are basically Muslim. Turkey has national interests in Iraq. There is terrorist thread from northern Iraq to Turkey by PKK/KADEK.

4 The relations of Turkey with Iraq Turkey has a very long border with Iraq. During the war times people influx from Iraq to Turkey, causing economic and security concerns. Iraq was one of major trading partner of Turkey before first Gulf war, and it is still an important trading partner of Turkey.

5 Political system in Turkey Turkey is the only muslim democratic country of the world. There is a parliament in Turkey with 550 seats: The Turkish Counterpart of US Congress. After the fully democratic election on 3rd of November, 2002; two political parties got the majorities of the seats in the parliament.

6 Political Parties in Turkish Parliament Justice and Growth Party: Ruling Party which has 365 seats at the parliament. It is an islamic based party. Republican Peoples Party: Opposition party which has 177 seats. It is a Social Democratic Party. True Path Party: Conservative party has 2 seats. Independents: 6 seats

7 Turkey’s main concerns regarding Iraq. We do not want a humanitarian crisis, as we faced in (At that time, 500 thousand people fled Turkey’s border. We do not want the Turkomans of Iraq to face ethnic cleansing. The Turcomans have constantly been persecuted in the past. They accounts 15 % of Iraqi population.

8 We do not want a political vacuum. (No party should feel that they have the upper hand to undermine Iraq’s territorial integrity and unity. Terrorist elements must not be allowed to benefit from a political vacuum, as has been the case just after the Gulf war. After the Gulf war, PKK/KADEK terrorism got power because of the political vacuum in Northern Iraq and caused more than 30 thousand death in Turkey during the 12 years fight.

9 Economic Concern We have indeed been directly and seriously affected by the Gulf War and its aftermath. During the last twelve years, Turkey’s economy has been undermined and its security challenged by PKK/KADEK terrorist activities. Iraq was the second biggest trade partner of Turkey after Germany before first Gulf War. Turkey’s economic lost reached billion US$ after Gulf war.

10 Economic Concern The accountable economic loss which Turkey incurred during First Gulf war is 44.6 billion US$. The loss with opportunity cost which Turkey incurred reaches almost 100 billion US$. Turkey is the economically most suffered country after the first Gulf war. The economic loss of Egypt, Jordan and Israel have been compansated almost totally.

11 Economic Concern The military debt of Egypt and Israel have been erased. Jordan got significant amount financial help from USA and international financial institutions. USA has established qualified industrial zones in Israel and Jordan. Turkey received only 2.5 billion US$, that was a very tiny portion of its actual loss

12 Economic Concern Expected economic loss went up to 150 billion US$ at this war. Compensation of this loss was an important issue for Turkish economy. At this point, the lack of confidence which aroused after the first Gulf war experience, played an important role. Another important concern of Turkey was the protection of cultural and historical heritage in the region as well as environment.

13 International Legitimacy International legitimacy was another important concern of especially Republican Peoples Party. Article 92 of Turkish Constitution limits the power of the parliment while declaring war, inviting foreign troops or sending troops abroad. According to same article, the Parliament can authorize the Government to invite the troops only in case of militiary operation which is authorized by international law. In the particular case of Iraq it means a special UN Security Council Resolution was needed.

14 Article 92 The authority to take decision in order to declare state of war in cases where international law considers legitimate and in cases outside the requirements originating from international treaties or international norms of conduct, to dispatch Turkish armed forces to foreign countries or to allow foreign armed forces be stationed in Turkey, belongs to the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

15 Factors affected the Turkish parliament on the Iraqi resolution. Our public opinion is 94 % against a war. The man on the street is not convinced by the US case that force against Iraq should be used now. Demeaning cartoons and articles in the US press got wide coverage in Turkey.These did not help at all.

16 Factors affected the Turkish parliament on the Iraqi resolution. The way negotiations regarding the military political and economic packages were conducted was not helpful either. Also the way the Iraqi opposition meeting took place in Northern Iraq on 26 Feb.- 1March 2003, led to resentment in Turkey. The Turcomans, although they represent 15 % of the Iraqi population were totaly excluded. So were many Arabs.

17 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq CHP strongly supports the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction throughout the world particularly in the Middle East. Therefore, we supported international efforts aiming at disarmament of Iraq through UN inspectors. We have strongly comdemned Saddam Hussein Government because of his totalitarian rule and particularly, because of it’s use of chemical weapons against Iraqi people, killing more than 5000 person.

18 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq CHP also stressed on several occasions that the international legitimacy of the military operation against Iraq is of paramount importance. That is because of the basic principle of the founder of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The principle of Atatürk is: “Peace in the home, peace in the world”. This principle is depicted in the article 92 of our constitution.

19 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq Article 92 of Turkish Constitution put a constraint on the discretion of the parliment in declaring war, inviting foreign troops or sending troops abroad. As a social democratic party, CHP complied with this constitutional law. We could not find any international legitimacy of the military operation against Iraq. UN Security Council Resolution 1441 didn’t legitimize a military operation against Iraq.

20 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq The Turkish Government (AKP Party) was not able to handle yhis matter properly from the beginning with our American friends. Instead of explaining the Constitutional limitations, they probably gave the impression that in case we agree on political-economic and military modelities, the legal dimension might be overcome. This was a false assumption and it mislead our American friends and created false expectations.

21 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq On the 6th of Feb. The Turkish Government asked from the parliment an authorization for the modernization of some bases and harbours in Turkey using American civilian and military staff. This was also a wrong move since the Government did not receive at that time an authorization on the substance of inviting American troops with a view to opening a front from Turkish soil.

22 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq As a matter of fact, on the first of March the parliament denied such an authorization. All these stories remained in the past. Now we have to look at the future. Whatever the outcome may be, the Iraqi operation will not be the last stop of the Turkish- American relations. Two countries need each other, we have common interests and we will co-operate in the future to the benefit of our nations.

23 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq Irrespective on the war in Iraq, we will be only happy in case the democracy spreads to our neighbourhood and Turkey as the only Muslim democratic country of the world can well serve as a model to the other Islamic nations. We will be happy in case terrorism is eliminated from this region and from the world. Turkey and Israel are the only two democracies on the region and we are prepared to further increase our cooperation with Israel as well as with moderateArap countries of the region like Egypt and Jordan.

24 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq We also have common interests with America in securing the flow of oil and natural gas from the Middle East and the Caucasus. We are gratefull to the American support in overcoming the difficulties on the construction of Baku-Ceyhan pipeline.

25 The views of Republican Peoples Party on Iraq We have also cooperated with America in combatting PKK terrorism and we have not forgetten that you have black listed PKK and it’s follow up organization KADEK. All these elements are bringing our countries close to eachother and we are satisfied that President Bush and Foreign Secretary Colin Powell have made positive statements about the future of our co-operation.


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