The Reagan administration plans to use part of the foreign aid increase in the proposed 1983 budget for a major rise in assistance to the martial-law government in Turkey, informed sources said yesterday.
Final details of the Turkish program, which may include an increase of close to $100 million over existing aid levels, have not yet been presented to Congress, the sources said.
Any large-scale increase in support for Turkey is likely to be a source of controversy in Congress and among American allies in Europe.
U.S. aid to Turkey, especially arms aid, has long been complicated by objections from Greek-Americans and others who opposed Turkish actions in Cyprus. An arms embargo against Turkey was maintained at congressional insistence for four years in the 1970s.
Largely because of congressional pressure, the sums of arms aid for Turkey in the past several years have been tied to those for its traditional antagonist, Greece.
In the Reagan administration, however, relations with Turkey have been warmer than have those with Greece. The administration has had good things to say about the "law and order" achievements of the Turkish regime of Gen. Kenan Evren, who took over in a military coup in September, 1980. Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger visited Ankara last December and Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr. had scheduled a similar visit, which was postponed after martial law was proclaimed in Poland.
U.S. relations with Greece have cooled since the election of Andreas Papandreou last October as that country's first socialist prime minister. Papandreou has declared that he wants to negotiate the closing of American military bases in Greece, and he has objected to U.S. and European efforts in the Atlantic alliance to blame the Soviet Union for martial law in Poland.
After the military government in Turkey imprisoned the country's former prime minister, Bulen Ecevit, on political charges last December, the European Economic Community suspended payments on planned aid to Turkey. Ecevit was released early this month, but the aid has not yet been resumed.
The State Department has argued that it is not inconsistent to take drastic steps against martial law in Poland while aiding and approving martial law in Turkey. Calling the two martial-law regimes "fundamentally different," a State Department spokesman said the Turkish military's decision was taken "in a deteriorating climate that was threatening democratic values, and was supported by virtually all segments of Turkish society."
The department's human rights report sent to Congress last weekend, while noting that terrorism has been reduced under Turkey's martial-law government, also said that "political freedom has been curtailed."
Some increase in both economic and military aid for Turkey is being prepared for presentation to Congress within a few days, sources said. The Pentagon, especially, is reported to have pushed hard for increased assistance to modernize Turkey's largely obsolete military equipment.