Just a coincidence?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Tue Jun 5 11:54:26 MDT 2001


NY Times, June 5, 2001

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Turkey's Moment of Truth

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

ISTANBUL - I thought Madonna had arrived. The place was the Ulus restaurant
on an Istanbul bluff overlooking the Bosporus. The commotion started with
police sirens blaring. Then there was a gaggle of a dozen television
cameras and reporters, flashes popping. A murmur started to spread through
the restaurant. Then the doors flew open, the reporters cleared a path, and
the star walked in: Turkey's minister of economy, Kemal Dervis, had arrived
for dinner.

Say what? Turkey's economy minister getting the Madonna treatment? Gotta
tell you, it's the darndest thing I've ever seen. "Everywhere I go they
follow me," shrugged Mr. Dervis sheepishly. This scene tells you everything
you need to know about the unusual drama playing out in Turkey today.

Quite simply, Turkey's economy is on the brink of disaster. In mid-February
the Turkish currency was devalued by 25 percent in one day. It was the
culmination of decades of mismanagement and corruption, in which
politicians used state banks and factories to pass out patronage and their
patrons then used the money to buy and support the politicians.

With little fanfare, the Bush team, which came to office swearing it would
never do bailouts, as President Clinton did, quietly arranged for a $17
billion rescue package for Turkey from the I.M.F. and the World Bank. But
on one condition - that this time Turkey get real. Because there would be
no next time. Turkey's feckless and squabbling politicians had no choice
but to look for someone outside the political system who knew Turkey, knew
economics and was not corrupt.

Enter Mr. Dervis, a respected Turkish economist and vice president of the
World Bank. Turkey's cabinet anointed him economic czar, with authority to
drive through 15 reform laws that Turkey promised the I.M.F. and the U.S.
it would pass in return for loans - laws to end subsidies, create open
bidding for government contracts and sell off state-owned assets, such as
the phone company. If implemented, they will produce a revolution in
Turkish politics.

Full: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/05/opinion/05FRIE.html

====

NY Times, June 5, 2001

Turkey Tentatively Agrees European Union Force May Use NATO Bases

By MICHAEL R. GORDON

LONDON, June 4 - Diplomats from Britain, the United States and Turkey have
drafted an agreement that would eliminate one of the main barriers to the
establishment of a new European defense force.

Under the draft accord, Turkey would withdraw its objections to a proposed
European Union force with 60,000 troops, thus easing cooperation between
the union and NATO.

Turkey, a member of NATO but not of the European Union, would not be given
a veto over military activities undertaken by the European Union. But it
would have a voice in the organization's deliberations about the use of
military force, as well as a potential role in managing military
operations, especially those near Turkish territory.

The compromise, which was hammered out in secret talks in Istanbul late
last month, has yet to be approved formally by the 15-member European Union
or by Turkey. But diplomats hope a final agreement can be reached by
mid-June, when President Bush is scheduled to visit Europe and a European
Union summit meeting is to be held in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The question of Turkey's role has emerged as one of the main barriers to a
new rapid reaction force, which European Union nations hope to develop by
2003. Turkey has sought to maintain some control over European Union
operations in its region, especially since Greece, its rival, is a member.

What has made Turkey's objections so important is that the European Union
would like to be able to use NATO's bases, aircraft, planning abilities and
other assets if it conducted major military operations. As a NATO member,
Turkey is in a position to block that.

The United States has an important stake in the issue as well. To maintain
NATO's primary role and to avoid confusion, it wants the European Union to
rely on NATO's planners and to coordinate closely with the alliance.

Full: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/05/world/05TURK.html


Louis Proyect
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