In her column {"Bush and the Beast of Baghdad," Aug. 7}, Mary McGrory did not hesitate to air again her bias against Turkey. No matter what she thinks of this country, Turkey is a staunch friend of the United States and a truly faithful ally in NATO. In fact, Turkey's crucial decision to side with the United States and other NATO countries in the Kuwait crisis is yet another proof of its commitment to the Western World.

The events in the Middle East once more reveal the strategic importance of Turkey on the world map. This country, which has long been NATO's main defense force along the southeastern flank, is now playing a vital role in the Kuwait problem in the Middle East.

Turkey was the first country in the Middle East to condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. A few days later, Turkey also decided to shut off the Iraqi pipeline passing through Turkey and refused to load tankers with Iraqi oil.

Turkey's bold decisions will undoubtedly play a major role in shifting the balance of power in this crisis in favor of the West and our friends in the Middle East. The importance of Turkey's decisions can be appreciated better if one considers that almost 50 percent of Iraq's oil exports flow through the Turkish pipeline.

Friendship has its costs, and Turkey is obviously ready to pay its share. Turkey's decisions will no doubt strain -- to say the least -- its relations with Iraq and have a negative impact on its economy. Let's remember that Turkey has a 200-mile border with Iraq and is the world's largest importer from that country (68 percent of Turkey's oil imports are from Iraq.) In addition, Turkey is a major exporter of a variety of industrial and agricultural goods as well as modern technology to Iraq to the tune of $2 billion a year. On top of all this, Turkey also has $3 billion of receivables from Iraq. By siding with the United States and the West in this volatile conflict, Turkey is therefore risking a substantial economic blow to its economy, and here we are not even talking about any possible military repercussions.

If that's not being a staunch ally of the United States and the West, then what is? HARUN KAZAZ Executive Director Assembly of Turkish American Organizations Washington