There was a typographical error in Turkish President Turgut Ozal's op-ed article yesterday. He actually wrote, "Turkey supports the actions taken by the multinational forces to meet the objectives set by the United Nations," not by the United States. (Published 1/23/91)
The invasion and subsequent annexation of Kuwait by Iraq was in direct violation of all norms of international order and the fundamental principles of the U.N. Charter. Iraq's act destroyed the peace and was the first serious challenge to the new world order. In standing together to confront this crisis, the international community has proved its determination not to permit aggression. What we have witnessed since Aug. 2 is remarkable: the United Nations and its Security Council exercising their peace-keeping function in the name of the international community to enforce international law.
Turkey follows the motto "Peace at home, peace in the world" in its foreign policy, and has continually advocated respect for international law. From the first day of the crisis, Turkey has taken a determined stand, insisting on the unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait, restoration of Kuwaiti independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and reinstatement of its legitimate government.
When the Security Council mandated sanctions against Iraq, Turkey responded immediately. We cut off the two oil pipelines that cross our country and sealed off our borders with one of our major trading partners. Even though we realized the sacrifice involved, compensation was not a consideration, nor self-interest a motivation. I emphasize that our stand has been and remains one of principle. Turkey, by immediately implementing the sanctions, has indeed played a significant role in the formation of the international coalition.
The cost of halting all trade with Iraq has been steep, especially when calculated in terms of our relations with the Iraqi people, with whom we enjoyed close and friendly relations, and of Turkey's developing economy. The international community should carefully consider the equitable sharing of the burden Turkey willingly shouldered for peace.
President Bush's efforts in bringing together the international coalition to respond to this aggression are commendable, as were the many attempts made by the United States and other coalition members to resolve this conflict through diplomacy. After exhausting all these diplomatic efforts, it was obvious that the Iraqi leadership was neither interested in nor willing to withdraw from Kuwait.
The international community has moved to fulfill the terms of the U.N. Security Council resolutions. I very much regret that the Iraqi leadership did not have the common sense to abide by the will of the U.N. No one wanted this war. Nevertheless, in the interest of securing peace, it became unavoidable.
Turkey supports the actions taken by the multinational forces to meet the objectives set by the United States. To this end, the Turkish parliament authorized the government to send Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries and to host and use foreign forces in Turkey. The scope, timing and necessity of these actions are to be determined by the government.
In light of this authorization, and in accordance with Resolution 678, we have decided to extend additional support to our coalition partners participating in the multinational operation by approving wider use of the joint military installations in Turkey. This is in addition to the increased deployment of the Turkish Army along our border with Iraq, where we have been pinning down eight or more Iraqi divisions.
The parliamentary authorization to send Turkish troops outside our borders is a precautionary measure. I emphasize that Turkish Armed Forces will not engage in operations against Iraq unless we are attacked. We do not covet Iraq's, nor any other country's, soil, nor is a single inch of our own territory negotiable.
The Turkish government greatly hopes that the operation initiated against the Iraqi leadership will be short, incur minimal casualties and secure the objectives set by the United Nations. We cannot fail; we can only hope that Saddam Hussein will soon see that he cannot possibly win. Turkey has nothing against the Iraqi people, and hopes that once the crisis is over, we will again enjoy close relations.
Now that the liberation of Kuwait has begun, the international community must start thinking about ways to stabilize the region after the conflict. There is no question that the crisis has had, and will have, repercussions in the Middle East.
Once the Gulf crisis is behind us, the Arab-Israeli conflict must be addressed at the most fundamental level and resolved. Turkish policy on this conflict has always been clear, consistent and balanced. We recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinians, including the right to establish their own state, as well as the right of all states in the region, including Israel, to live within secure and recognized boundaries.
Lasting peace in the region requires the initiation of a process aiming at economic interdependence among the nations of the Middle East. This would help establish a firm conviction among the peoples of the region for protecting common interests, the destruction of which would harm all.
We believe that there exist vast opportunities to achieve this goal. In fact, several years ago, I suggested building a "peace water pipeline" to carry water from two Turkish rivers down to the Arabian Peninsula. I believe that, as water is such a critical resource -- it may become even more precious than oil -- such a pipeline would benefit all countries involved and offer a real opportunity for regional cooperation. The region's water needs have not been given enough attention. To change this, I have invited regional leaders to Istanbul in November of this year for a summit conference on trans-boundary waters in the Middle East. These water pipelines may run parallel to oil and gas pipelines to cross the countries in the region.
We can collectively build and improve the infrastructure in the Middle East, which will greatly facilitate enhanced economic cooperation. Opening up our markets to one another and increasing trade exchanges would consolidate economic interdependence. Tourism will constitute another important area where we could concentrate our efforts.
Cooperation along these lines will not only create an atmosphere of understanding and good will but will also serve the well-being of all the nations in the region and help narrow the income gap between them, which may well be the root cause of future social unrest in the Middle East. An economic cooperation fund could be established from petroleum revenues, and this fund may be made instrumental for this purpose.
Another important process which should go hand in hand with economic cooperation is the process of democratization. This would help the region keep in pace with the exigencies of the new world order, and strengthen the necessary conditions to achieve a true peace in the Middle East.
We have our work cut out for us once the Gulf crisis is over. We must dedicate ourselves to establishing conditions for a lasting peace in the Middle East. Although we cannot in any way condone Iraq's methods, and we condemn aggression in the strongest possible terms, many of the issues that have come to the fore in the course of the conflict do deserve international attention. Let us hope for the quick return of peace so that we may turn to building a truly new world order.
The writer is president of Turkey.