Isaiah Frank's call for a U.S.-Turkish free trade agreement ["A Place for Turkey," op-ed, Sept. 28] ignored one form of trade between our two nations that is already far too free: the commerce in U.S. weaponry.
According to a forthcoming report by the World Policy Institute and the Federation of American Scientists, the Clinton administration has brokered roughly $5 billion in U.S. arms deals to Turkey since 1993, and has given the green light to Boeing and Bell-Textron to bid on a new deal to sell Turkey $4.5 billion worth of attack helicopters.
The administration should condition future U.S. weapons exports to Turkey on improvements in human rights and a peaceful resolution of Ankara's 15-year civil war with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), during which U.S.-supplied weapons have been used to bomb and kill Kurdish civilians.
Unless the Clinton administration takes a strong stand on arms and human rights in Turkey, the free trade arrangement proposed by Prof. Frank will be undermined by violence and instability in Turkey. As Indonesia's recent actions in East Timor have made clear, making allowances for military-dominated regimes in the name of allegedly "larger" economic and strategic interests can have catastrophic consequences.
WILLIAM D. HARTUNG