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Wolfowitz In Turkey - Various Statements

Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Remarks at the Airport, Ankara, Turkey

(Remarks at the airport, Ankara, Turkey)

Wolfowitz: Merhaba. It's great pleasure to be back in Turkey. Obviously there is a very full agenda of subjects to be discussed. The President of the United States sent me and my colleagues here and to London to talk to our closest allies about the issue of Iraq, of how we could work together to try to ensure that the provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 are implemented. Hopefully peacefully. And our chances of a peaceful outcome of the Iraq problem are going to be greatest, the more cooperation we have from our partners and allies in Turkey as clearly one of our strongest partners and allies that has been throughout. We're very well aware there are many other issues on Turkey's agenda, particularly the issue of membership of the European Union. I spoke about that subject when I was in London yesterday. And we've been doing everything that we can to assist Turkey in its aspirations. And I'd be very interested in hearing from Turkish officials if there are other things that we can do. I realize that in addition the economic challenges Turkey faces multiple, international challenges right now. But I feel confident that working together, as we always have, that we'll be able to look back on this period as a period that moved into a new and better and positive era even though we have problems overcoming those problems will lead to a much better future for everyone in this region and particularly for Turkey. So, it's a pleasure as I say to be back here. It's a great ally, it's always useful and informative to meet with Turkish officials. And we're looking forward to a very productive if short visit. We'll take questions from the press later on. But not right now.

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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Statement En Route to Turkey

(Statement en route to Turkey)

Wolfowitz: The President asked me to visit two of our most important allies, U.K. and Turkey, as well as NATO. And the basic message that we are carrying is that the peaceful outcome, the peaceful resolution of the problem of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction requires a credible threat of force. And that is the message that I think is very well understood by our British allies. I think even Parliamentarians I've met with yesterday understand that point. We had, as always, very good discussions with British Defense Officials and the British Military. They have a very professional military (inaudible) excellent cooperation. Very helpful to have that kind of (inaudible). I met with Defense Minister (inaudible), with parliamentary, undersecretary for foreign affairs Michael Brian. With Jonathan Powell, who I guess is the Prime Minister's chief of staff. Prime Minister Blair actually dropped in at the beginning of our meeting which was a gesture we appreciated. I think it was precisely also intended to show that how important he regards our cooperation. He had just finished meeting with a group of Iraqi women who were there to talk about human rights violations in Iraq. And it was the same day that Jack Straw issued that dossier on human rights conditions in Iraq. And it was quite clear that Blair had been personally quite moved by the exchanges with those women and it put a human face on the problem that we are dealing with. And I think it's, as I've said in another occasion, it's not an accident that people who build terror weapons and support terrorism also terrorize their own people. That's certainly true of Saddam Hussein.

Basically in Turkey we have the same message, which is that our goal remains to get a peaceful outcome and a peaceful implementation of Resolution 1441. But the only possible hope of doing that given the resistance that Saddam's put up over the last for eleven years is to convince him that that is his only alternative. And that means having a credible threat of force. It's important that he see that he is surrounded by the international community, not only in the political sense, but in a real, practical military sense. And Turkey has a very important role to play in that regard. The more support we get from Turkey, the more chance, the better our chances are of avoiding war. Our planning has got to proceed. To have a military option, you've got to do the serious planning and serious preparation. And that is an essential part of convincing Saddam that we are serious. As we have said over and over again, the president has not made the decision on using force. In fact, as he said, our hope is to avoid it, but that our goal is to disarm Iraq voluntarily, if possible, and by force, if necessary. Turkish participation, if it does come to the use of force, is very important in managing the consequences, in producing the result as decisively as possible, and also in helping to make sure that post-war Iraq is a positive force in the region, not a destabilizing one. So it's very crucial to have Turkey intimately involved in the planning process. It can make a big difference for every one, especially for Turkey. It's not simply some favor that we're asking the Turks to do for us. It's something that can make a much better situation for Turkey, should it become necessary to use force.

We are very well aware that the Turks are worried about the economic consequences of the crisis in the region. They've already paid a pretty high price for the sanctions and the isolation of Iraq over the last 11 years. In fact, if one takes a medium- and long-term view, a free and prosperous Iraq is going to be, I think, a huge gain for Turkey, economically and in other ways as well. But, if there is a crisis in the region, there are very likely to do some short-term economic consequences and that's obviously concerning Turkey and that's a subject we will be talking about.

Finally, as you've said, this trip happens to come within what may be the most important two or three weeks. Many, many years in the Turkish-European relations were both the possibility of a date for starting accession talks for Turkey to the EU on the table. The upcoming Copenhagen Summit and also the promising peace plan of the Secretary General of the United Nations has put forward on Cyprus at the same time. And all of that coming together with a brand new Government in Turkey, which came (inaudible) what people call the political earthquake in Turkey. So it's a pretty amazing time for a visit in Turkey. There would be every reason to make this visit even if we didn't have so much to talk about on the subject of Iraq. And we will be talking about Cyprus and the EU and the whole range of Turkish-EU relations. This is, as I think (inaudible) yesterday, it's been American policy for ten years officially, and I think longer, informally, to support Turkey's accession in the EU. We understand that that's a European decision; we understand that Turkey has a very long way to go to meet the standards of the European Union. But it is very important in our view to have that door open to Turkey. That's a real encouragement to meeting the standards. It's something that really can help to pull Turkey forward and become the kind of country that we will all benefit from having as a model for the Muslim world of what a free and democratic and secular Muslim society can achieve. So, the stakes in that regard are large and they are not unrelated also to the (inaudible).

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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Media Availability in Ankara, Turkey

(Media availability with traveling U.S. press, Hilton Hotel, Ankara, Turkey.)

Wolfowitz: Let me just say, sir, very briefly. It's been an excellent day. I think very good discussions, not only with people we are familiar with in the Foreign Ministry and in the Turkish General Staff, but also with the Prime Minister and the ministers in the new government, and for that matter with the leader of the opposition. And I think one of the most striking observations I would make is that here is a new Prime Minister with an enormous plate, a huge agenda of big issues and he's barely been in office and what he projects is somebody who is very very strongly supportive of Turkey going toward Europe, pressing very hard to gain a date for Turkey in Copenhagen. And he also, I think, understands fundamentally what we're trying to get at in terms of presenting Saddam Hussein with a unified world that will allow us to have some chance of achieving a disarmament of Iraq by peaceful means. Also, I guess this is perhaps not so surprising given his political background -- some people might have predicted it - but he understands, I think, very very well what the people of Iraq are suffering under that regime. And he understands what the potential could be for the whole region if the people of Iraq finally get the kind of government they deserve and can live in a democratic society so that Turkey can be a model. So I would say that the early signs of this government are very positive for Turkey and for Turkey's relations with the west - not only with Europe but ourselves.

I think I better leave it at that. I guess I'll try one.

Q: Can we write that you've got agreement to use airspace or air bases territory?

Wolfowitz: I still have more discussions to go on here. And let's save those questions until we're done.

Q: We were told that the U.S. has asked for access to a half dozen bases in Turkey?

Wolfowitz: Let's save that to later.

Q: Later tonight?

Wolfowitz: Well, I think on the way home. I don't think we're going to have time tonight for that, or the energy. There might be one more discussion in the morning.

Q: Is it possible to (inaudible)?

Wolfowitz: I will do it, and we'll see if we can line that up early and then get word back to you so you know whether or not (inaudible).

Q: (inaudible)

Secretary Wolfowitz: I feel very good about the way things are going. I do feel that we have a genuine common understanding. We understand their problems a lot better than we did before, including the economic ones. We had a very good discussion of what really concerns them economically. That's the impact of a crisis in the region on the economy that's still fragile with the psychology of the market that affects the economy. Those are very productive discussions.

Q: (inaudible)

Wolfowitz: Across the board, yes. You really can't disentangle the economics from the diplomacy from the military. They really are integrated in a very close way. When I said I think there really is a common understanding of what we are trying to achieve here, both in terms of trying to avoid a conflict and also if there is one, what the desirable outcome would be.

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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Remarks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey

(Remarks outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ankara, Turkey.)

Wolfowitz: Hello. After a very constructive meeting with the Prime Minister, we've just had very good discussions here at the Foreign Ministry. It is just a very positive thing to work with an ally like Turkey. The more closely that Turkey works with the United States the better our chances are of avoiding a war. Our military and diplomatic planning must proceed because Saddam Hussein must see that we are serious. He has to see that he is surrounded by the international community. Turkey has a role to play. The economic and security impact on Turkey will be much better managed if Turkey is intimately involved in the planning from the outset. And we've also talked about how to manage so that if there is a crisis in this region, Turkey's economy will continue to be strong. That's one of our objectives as well. Thanks very much.


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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Remarks at the Ministry of Defense, Ankara, Turkey

(Remarks at the Ministry of Defense, Ankara, Turkey.)

Wolfowitz: President Bush sent me to England and here to Turkey to consult with two of our most important allies, to talk about how to try to achieve a peaceful solution of the problem posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. We have a major diplomatic.success with the UN Security Council Resolution, which was passed unanimously last month but we have to figure out how to convince Saddam Hussein that this really is a new era, that it's not the same old game of playing hide and seek, that he really has to take this resolution seriously. And I think that part of persuading him to take it seriously is the kind of consultations and discussions that we are having with our Turkish colleagues here in the Defense Ministry.

Q: Sir, did you get any answers to your demands. For example, Turkish troops or bases? How were the conversations?

Wolfowitz: We didn't come here with demands. We came here for conversations with a close ally about how to deal with a common problem which is the problem posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and the challenge of trying to deal with that problem without going to war. Thank you very much.


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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Roundtable Discussion with Turkish Journalists

(Roundtable discussion with Turkish journalists, Hilton Hotel, Ankara, Turkey.)

Wolfowitz: I will just make a few comments at the start. We had a very busy day yesterday and a packed schedule from the moment we landed here until about eleven o'clock at night. It's I think representative of the very busy days that this new Turkish Government is having with a very very full agenda of international foreign policy issues. Even if there were no need to discuss the subject of Iraq, the agenda of Copenhagen, of Turkey's hopes to get a date for EU accession, the issue of Cyprus would be totally preoccupying and in some ways it was preoccupying. I think it is the reason why when our meeting went late with the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister had already had to move on to see Jack Straw. So it's symbolic of just how busy things have been. But I am very encouraged by the discussions we've had with this new Government. I saw the Defense Minister, had a long discussion with the Prime Minister, and an even longer dinner last night with Mr. Erdogan, the head of the party. In general what we found was a very strong affirmation of what we've been observing the last couple of weeks already, which is this government's commitment to Turkey's role in Europe, to Turkey's aspirations to join the European Union, to the values that have been at the heart of Turkish aspirations since the founding of Turkish democracy early in the last century, of freedom and democracy and a commitment to secularism. All of those things have been strongly expressed by this new government and, as I say, including by the Prime Minister and Mr. Erdogan. It was also encouraging though not surprising to hear this new government express its strong support for what President Bush is trying to achieve and what the United Nations is trying to achieve with Iraq, to try, by presenting the Iraqi regime with a strongly unified international community, to achieve the disarmament of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, hopefully and preferably peacefully, or voluntarily, but if necessary by the use of force. And I think if anything this new government has a better common understanding with us about the need to resolve that problem and about the need to have a credible threat of force behind the United Nations if we hope to resolve that problem peacefully. At the same time very strongly hoping that in fact a peaceful outcome will be possible. But our chances of that peaceful outcome are definitely dependent on the Iraqi regime recognizing that they have no alternative to disarming themselves peacefully if they want to survive as a regime. And I think this new government understands that, and we heard very strong expressions of Turkish solidarity with the United States and of Turkish commitment to be with us as they have been with us in virtually every crisis of the past 50 years or 60 years. So I think all of that on the broad level is very encouraging. On the sort of very concrete specific level, we have agreement to proceed with the next immediate steps of military planning and preparations. We need to take those steps before we will be in a position to make specific decisions about whether and where and which forces might be based in Turkey. There are some big issues that we need to discuss further and have more clarity about in the process, particularly I would say issues about how to manage the economic consequences of any military crisis with Iraq. I think we have a better understanding after this visit than we did before that there may be steps that can be taken to construct a kind of safety net -- if I can use that term, I think that is what we talked about in Turkey's earlier economic crisis last year --a safety net that could actually minimize losses, as opposed to simply incurring them and dealing with them afterwards. Secondly, we've got important issues to discuss about exactly what military measures would need to be taken in northern Iraq if there is a use of force to make sure that we achieve the goals that both our governments have agreed on: maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, ensuring that there is not an independent state established in northern Iraq, and that the rights of Iraqi Turkomen are respected. So we have some concrete military planning work to do, we have some sort of more political/military, political/economic/military planning to do, and we hope to have some more discussions at the highest levels of both our governments. In fact, last night I was able to extend an invitation to Mr. Erdogan from President Bush to come to Washington. We are hopeful that he might be able to come as early next week, in which case we might be able to get one more round of discussions with him before Copenhagen. Obviously the Copenhagen issues are probably at the top of the Turkish agenda, but the subject of Iraq is right up there as well.

Q: Sir, yesterday you said that Turkey has a role to play towards Iraq policy. What kind of role do you foresee for Turkey. Can you give some details? For example, do you request from the Turkish Government the use of Turkish forces on the northern side? Can you give some details?

Wolfowitz: We're working on the details. The important role is the one that I think is very clear and should be very clear to the regime in Baghdad that Turkey is with us, that Turkey has been with us in the past, and that they're with us now and will be in the future. The Iraqi regime is literally surrounded by the international community, and has got to choose between disarming itself voluntarily or being disarmed by the use of force. If it comes to the use of force, the level of Turkish participation, or the level of U.S. forces that would operate out of Turkey is something that we still need to determine with precision. You can count on the fact -- I think we can count on the fact -- that Turkey will be with us. That's the important point. It is also worth emphasizing that the range of possible Turkish participation is broader than probably any other coalition partner. It involves not only the use of bases, but possibly the use of land routes, the airspace, and questions too possibly about a role of Turkish forces. But the more extensive our role from here, the more extensive Turkish participation, I think depends also on getting more clarity between us - and in fact with the people of northern Iraq -- about what we hope to see in northern Iraq after the Saddam Hussein regime. We've been very clear on the broad principles. I think we're now at the point of needing to have some more clarity about the details.

Q: You've used a sentence something like we need to specifically decide which forces might be based and we need some further clarity. Now do we understand that now we have a commitment from the Turkish side to, for instance, base some American forces on Turkish land, that we would go on planning on that?

Wolfowitz: To continue on planning, the commitment from the Turkish side is that Turkey will be with us. In exactly what ways they will be with us is something that we need to work out. We need to understand ourselves what the potential is of different Turkish facilities. We need to understand with real precision now how much money will have to be invested in different facilities to make them useful for American forces. We are not talking about small expenditures. We are talking about probably several hundred million dollars of potential, possible improvements to the range of facilities that we're looking at. So until we've done that work, we aren't in a position to make specific requests, and obviously the Turkish Government is not in a position to give us specific answers. But, we do have agreement to proceed with the kind of planning work that will give both our governments those options. I think developing concretely the military options is a key part of trying to convince the Iraqi regime that this has to be resolved peacefully. I've noticed many comments in the Turkish press about the importance of exhausting every effort to resolve this problem peacefully if possible. (inaudible) that is the view of the United States as well the view of our President. But it is also important for people to understand that -- it may seem like a paradox -- but you are not going to get to a peaceful resolution if you create any doubt in Saddam's mind ultimately there is the possibility of force behind it. It is always a prime balance to draw between affirming your interest in a peaceful resolution and making clear your resolve to settle the problem in one way or another. I think our President has been very clear on those points.

Q: Would you say that all these efforts -- millions and millions of dollars spent on rehabilitation of some facilities and everything --would you call it a step for deterrence or would you call it a step for an attack?

Wolfowitz: I would call it an investment in peace, to be honest. But let's be clear. It is very important to be clear. If anyone thought I said we have decided to spend this kind of money, then you're several weeks at least ahead of me. What I said is we have to make decisions about whether to make that investment. And the Turkish Government has to make decisions about whether to have us make that kind of investment. Until we know with precision which facilities we are talking about and how much money we would be spending, neither government is quite yet at the point of a decision. So, don't make it sound as though we are rushing out to spend that money. But I think it is an investment in peace. It is part of deterrence, and our hope would be that we never have to use it. That would be the best possible outcome that would save a lot of money in the long run.

Q: How about the involvement of the Turkish military in the case of a crisis? Do you have a separate view on the possible role of the Turkish side - that the Turkish military could play? Because there are press reports that your side would like the role of the Turkish army, especially in northern Iraq, to be restricted to certain missions, whereas the Turkish side would have a bigger...

Wolfowitz: I have a lot of sympathy for the press reports, because people are grappling to try to understand what takes place, and understandably our military planning has to be a secret. So, there is a lot of speculation, and I can't give you precision. I can say that the range of issues that we still have to clarify is broad. There are a broad range of possibilities for Turkish participation. Stop me if I've said this already to this group -- I've said it once or twice this morning -- Turkey has more potentially to contribute to this effort than any other coalition partner. Both in facilities and over flight rights and bases of various kinds, and even possibly in forces. But the more one gets into discussion of Turkish Forces, the more clarity we have to have, the more clarity Turkey has to have, and the more clarity the people in northern Iraq have to have about exactly what final outcome we are looking at. I think that's clearly an important issue.

Q: Will there be a northern front?

Wolfowitz: I think it's clear from the statements of the senior officials of this government, the senior leaders of this government, that Turkey will be with us. Turkey being with us means that the Iraqi regime is literally surrounded by the international community. And they better take it seriously. This is really their last chance to decide to either have a peaceful resolution, which requires giving up those weapons, or have us do it by force. We much prefer a peaceful outcome.

Q: You know that Mr. Yasar Yakis made a statement and in the case of use of force, we will give the air bases, air space permission to United States. And during the dinner Mr. Erdogan gave the same statement, said the same thing or how can you evaluate this statement?

Wolfowitz: As I said, partly because there was so much other foreign affairs activity going on yesterday and our meeting with Prime Minister Gul went long, we did not get to meet with the Foreign Minister. So I don't have the benefit of having directly exchanged views with him. I think the public appetite for details, which is understandable, is ahead of the level of details that we have in our planning. What we have is a clear agreement to work out those details. The planning efforts and the preparatory efforts, which were in a bit of a holding pattern within the new Turkish Government, will now move forward and we will be able to make those kinds of concrete decisions.

The last two questions.

Q: (nearly inaudible question regarding aid) can you just lighten up that issue? There are some amounts like 20 billion dollars worth of either investment or cash aid that can be given to Turkey. These of course are in all the headlines. Can you confirm these numbers on background?

Wolfowitz: No I can't confirm any numbers. Because first of all I couldn't, but secondly I think what we understand -- I now understand -- after yesterday that I did not understand so much before is that if we do things in the right way, if we can find a way to construct the right kind of safety net beforehand, we can actually bring those potential losses way down. It's much better to take preventive steps than to have to deal with problems afterwards. Also, I want to repeat - if I didn't say it yet to this group - that it's important not only to think about the immediate short-term economic impact, which will be a negative one if there is military action, but also to think about the medium-term and long-term impact of a free and prosperous Iraq that is no longer under economic sanctions, that is trading freely with its neighbors, including particularly its immediate democratic neighbor here in Turkey. The upside for the Turkish economy, I think, is enormous. And the more -- if it comes to the use of force -- the more quickly we can resolve the issue the better it is from the economic point of view. So there is definitely a relationship between the level of Turkish participation in a military action, if it comes to it, and our ability to get past that quickly and minimize economic consequences.

This has to be the last one.

Q: What's the schedule in your mind for the next coming days? When do you think the first American troops can be based in Turkey? And did you request some sort of .. Is there a deadline for the Turkish Government in mind? And another different question as it is the last one: What is the American Government's thoughts about Mr. Erdogan being in his past an Islamic leader and now he is the leading figure in the country. You said that President Bush has invited him. Does he have any special thoughts about him being an important figure for the Islamic region?

Wolfowitz: We aren't yet at the point of talking about stationing specific American forces in Turkey. And I think that is a significant political step for the Turkish Government, and probably one that engages the Parliament. That is something that's not for us decide, but for Turkey to decide. We would like to get to that point of decision sooner rather than later, because the more quickly we can actually be doing concrete things on the ground, I think, the stronger signal we will be sending to Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime that they really have to change their ways. But I think it's already very clear that in whatever form it comes we will be confronting -- if it comes to it, if it comes to the use of force -- Saddam, will be facing a military coalition from all directions, including here. But the exact time lines -- we'd like to make them short as possible, but obviously that depends in the first instance on how long it takes to work out the military planning details, and then in the second instance it's a question of the Turkish Government, Turkish politics. And that's obviously something the Turks have to decide. On the broader question you raised, it's obviously up to Turks to choose their own government. They spoke very clearly in this last election. I've believed for a long time, and even more strongly since September 11, that Turkey, as a modern secular democracy and as a Muslim majority country, it represents a very important alternative to the Muslim world from the very backward-looking, constrained view that the terrorists and their spiritual colleagues would like to impose on the world's Muslims. And for that reason, I believe Turkey's success is very important to the world, and the United States in its larger battle for the hearts and minds of people in the Muslim world. I find it very encouraging that this new government, and the head of this party, who you say, I guess, has Islamist roots, but in fact specifically rejects the Islamic label, has made such an effort in its first days in office to try to persuade the European Union that Turkey wants to be and should be a member of the European Union. And they clearly do so recognizing that that means more moves in the direction of the free democratic institutions that sometimes are mistakenly called western institutions, but in fact are universal aspirations. I think Turkey is at a kind of strategic crossroads not only geographically, but in a kind of spiritual sense as well. So Turkey's success is based on those principles, and incredibly important to the whole world. And I'm very encouraged by the first couple weeks of this new government.


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Presenter: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2002


Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Roundtable with U.S. Traveling Press

(Roundtable with U.S. traveling press, Hilton Hotel, Ankara, Turkey.)

Wolfowitz: We had discussions with both the Prime Minister and the head of the Justice and Development Party. We had a long dinner with Mr. Erdogan last night. And I would say, overall, the attitude of this new government.is very encouraging. It comes in with very strong democratic potentials and an extremely strong parliamentary mandate, a majority. And they've made it clear in everything they've done in the first few days really in office how committed they are to Turkey's role as a western-oriented democracy. Mr. Erdogan, I think, has visited 14 European capitals in fewer than that number of days, making Turkey's case for accession to the European Union. During the course of this visit, including dinner last night, we spent a great deal of time talking about the issues involved in it -- Turkey's trying to get a date for beginning accession negotiations, and also the issues connected with the Secretary General's peace proposal for Cyprus. We are very supportive of that effort and my colleague Marc Grossman left early this morning for Nicosia to continue discussions on those issues related to Cyprus. In addition to strongly expressing their commitment to joining the European Union and commitment to the democratic values that we sometimes call western values but I think are universal values, we also got very strong affirmations of Turkish support for the United States in this crisis with Iraq. We said at all levels of the government that we spoke to that Turkey has been with us always in the past and will be with us now, that Turkey's support is assured. I think it's a very strong message to Saddam Hussein and the regime in Baghdad, that in fact Iraq is surrounded by the international community. They do have to face a firm (inaudible) decision about whether they will disarm peacefully or whether we will be forced to disarm them. And on that score, also, I think we found a very good understanding from the Turkish government of what's required to achieve a peaceful resolution to the problem posed by Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. They have dealt with Saddam Hussein over a long period of time. They understand that it's not going to have that kind of basic change in attitude and policy unless he's confronted with a serious thereat of course, and they clearly are part of building that capability. Also I would say that they have a better understanding than many of our coalition partners of just how horribly the Iraqi regime treats its own people. I would say in many ways, this new government feels that more strongly than certainly its predecessor, and I would say more strongly than governments we deal with. They believe in democracy and the importance of democracy in a Muslim country. It makes them quite unhappy -- agonized might be the word -- looking at the condition of the Iraqi people. We have agreement to move forward with concrete measures of military planning and preparations that have frankly been in a bit of a holding pattern while the new government was getting established. That planning effort and those preparatory measures are essential to working out with some specificity what kinds of forces might be based in Turkey, where they might be based, and what kinds of improvements would have to be made to facilities. So that's the immediate task, of course, but there are also some larger issues. There are more issues for Turkey in the military action of helping in Iraq than probably any other country because the range of potential military forces involved is broader than any other coalition partner. Because Turkey is directly affected by what takes place next door in Iraq, and particularly the Turkish economy that will be affected, and finally because Turkey is probably more affected than any of our coalition partners by what comes afterwards in Iraq, and particularly in northern Iraq. There still are clearly important issues that we need to continue working with the Turkish government. The principles are very clear. We repeatedly expressed our support for the territorial integrity of Iraq, our opposition to a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, our concerns and support for the Turkoman population of Iraq. And those are fine principles but there are many concrete issues that are important should it come to the use of force. But let me emphasize: our goal is to avoid the use of force, and the key to doing that -- and this Turkish government understands it -- the key to doing that is confronting Saddam Hussein, surrounding Saddam Hussein with a unified international community. I think the last point I would like to make is that it's difficult to exaggerate the importance of economics for Turkey and for Turkish public opinion with respect to almost everything that's going on in this country right now. This is a country that's been through an economic crisis. It still hasn't emerged from it, though we see some hopeful signs. When you have that kind of situation, it's the poor people who suffer the most. This government was elected partly because of the suffering of the Turkish people. They are, like all Turks and like our government, concerned that if it should come to a military crisis in Iraq, the use of force in Iraq, that we do everything possible to mitigate the economic consequences. I would also say it's important to do everything possible to make sure that a military action if necessary is as quick and decisive as possible. But it was interesting last night, at dinner, when Mr. Erdogan was describing quite eloquently the condition of the poor in Turkey, particularly in southeastern Turkey, which is the area of course that's closest to Iraq, probably the poorest part of the country. He mentioned that there are some 50,000 tanker trucks that are idle because of the ongoing economic sanctions against Iraq, and that each of those trucks supports three families worth 150.000 families. I suppose it's half a million to a million Turks whose livelihood has been taken away by the ongoing economic crisis. And of course, to him -- and I understand that -- it's a symbol of what can be at risk for Turkey if the crisis deepens. But I think it's also a symbol of what can be opened up if we can get to a free and prosperous and open Iraq which has gotten rid of its weapons of mass destruction and is dealing in a fair and open way with its neighbors. There's a huge potential for Turkey, on the medium term, and certainly the long term, in opening up economic relations with Iraq. So while we are all in a mood of crisis and how to deal with the crisis, and how to deal with Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, I think it's very important to emphasize that the end result here has got to be something that's better for Turkey, better for the United States, better for the people of Iraq, and better for the world. One last thing I'll mention which is important: President Bush has invited Mr. Erdogan to come to Washington. We hope he might be able to do that soon, since there are many issues to discuss with him, including if he can come before the Copenhagen summit, obviously that complex of issues is still very much alive. We are going to do everything that we can to assist Turkey's bid to join the EU. Obviously, also, we want to continue not only with the military planning-level talks but with the higher-level political talks in the (inaudible).

Q: Can you shed any light on the Turkish stand on the use of their airbases following the statements and clarifications in the last few hours from the Turkish government as to what specifically they would allow?

Wolfowitz: I would say we're close but not yet exactly at the point of saying which bases we would use, certainly under which conditions. In fact, the immediate focus of our planning efforts needs to be to identify how much investment we've got to make in various bases if we are going to use them. We're talking potentially about tens of millions, probably several hundred million dollars of investment in various facilities that we might use. So it's not a small step. It's a step that we want to tee up for a political decision quickly, because it's an important step to take. But I think that's an immediate military task.

Q: We had an opportunity to have an exchange with the Foreign Minister yesterday. And he articulated Turkey's position as follows: He said fairly explicitly that Turkey would require a second UN Security Council Resolution before any military campaign could be launched from Turkish soil - a position his political advisor in the party reiterated. He said that substantial or a large number of U.S. ground forces was politically unsustainable. It was just more than the traffic would bear if we're talking about thousands or tens of thousands of ground forces. And he did say that he could envision cooperation on airspace or airbases, but within the parameters that there would have to be a Security Council Resolution and the process of inspections in Iraq would have to be pretty much exhausted. And he said that -- implied that -- on their side they might have more patience on this than the United States, although they also agreed that WMD was a problem. Are you satisfied with that degree of undertaking from the Turks, since it's the Bush administration position that you don't require a second resolution and since the last few days you've been talking about the need to present Iraq with a fairly substantial threat which - while you didn't specify exactly what it might be -- it seemed to imply might go beyond the use of few airbases.

Wolfowitz: Personally I wouldn't dismiss the use of few airbases as a small thing. That's exactly what we had from Turkey in the Gulf War. And it's extremely important, and more than almost any other coalition partner is even considering doing. So when I said the range of possible Turkish participation is broader than any other partner, I mean that there is no other coalition partner that has as many possible ways of assisting us. Also, Turkey is the only partner that borders Iraq and is also a democracy. Let's not take that too lightly. The ultimate decisions in Turkey are decisions that have to be taken by a democratic government, and it needs the support of public opinion and has to go to parliament. So we're talking about big decisions. And that there is some debate about exactly the circumstances is not surprising to me. We didn't get a chance to meet the Foreign Minister (inaudible). By the way, it is worth emphasizing that any government, especially a new government, will find its plate completely full with the issues of Copenhagen, and the issue of Cyprus and EU accession. Our meeting with the Prime Minister ran long, and the Foreign Minister had to go and meet the British Foreign Secretary. This is a very intense pace of activity here in Turkey. But as you said correctly -- and I think in fact the Foreign Minister stated this correctly -- the UN's security council resolution 1441 doesn't automatically authorize the use of force. It does require a second meeting of the security council. But it does not require a second security council resolution. As to what Turkey may need politically, I think, obviously, the Turkish government is the one that has to decide that. We have to make our own decisions about what level of dependence and commitment we will make with Turkey based on those understandings. But we had extremely good discussions with the Prime Minister and with Mr. Erdogan, and very strong expressions of Turkey's commitment to the alliance with the United States, Turkey's determination to be with the United States. I can assure the Foreign Minister and everyone else in this country that we will do everything possible to achieve a peaceful resolution to this issue, that we will exhaust all peaceful means. But you know the Turks are more realistic than many other people we've talked to about the fact that the only way to get to a peaceful outcome here is to convince Saddam Hussein that we're serious. And I think they understand that. I think Saddam Hussein should understand that they understand that. And the fact that there really is a very strong sense in this country and in this government that we need to get this issue resolved.

Q: It's just to clarify. Is this desire for a second resolution a Turkish policy or the Foreign Minister's preference?

Wolfowitz: Well first of all, I'm not here to speak for the Foreign Minister. I read his answer to your question, and I thought it was a little less explicit than you're making it but he has to speak for himself. There are different views, I think, among Turks, and commonly different views within the Turkish government. But it is an important question. It's one that we need to clarify at the highest levels of both governments. It's one reason why Mr. Erdogan can come to Washington, although it would not be by any means the only issue on the agenda. In fact, I think we'd like him to come, as I said, before Copenhagen so that we can discuss those issues. We need some clarity about it, but I feel generally very good about Turkey's commitment to be with the United States.

Q: Given the reluctance of nations to host U .S. ground troops, at least in large numbers in the Gulf area, is there a shortage of places from which you can deploy ground troops? Is that a concern at all?

Wolfowitz: I think we're quite comfortable with what we can do from the south. Obviously, if we are going to have significant ground forces in the north this is the country they have to come through, there is no other option. And that is a more complicated issue than probably any other potential issue. And it is, I think, clearly connected to concerns about what northern Iraq will look like after removal of the Saddam Hussein regime. But it's strongly our position -- we've repeated it here and we will repeat it in further discussions with Turkish officials -- that Turkey will be better off if they are there to help manage what comes afterwards, that a vacuum is not in Turkey's interest. And if we can have some clarity about what is the role of a coalition force and what their role is not, we think that some of these issues will be easier to solve. But it's a mistake to focus first on the military peace without having gotten more clarity on political (inaudible).

Q: Can you confirm that the Turk's commitment was to allow the U.S. use of bases? After the Foreign Minister spoke, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that the use of bases was a possibility but that there was no binding Turkish commitment.

Wolfowitz: Let me make clear there isn't a firm American request. We're going to go now immediately into very concrete discussions about what facilities might be used, what forces might be deployed on them, how much money is going to have to be invested to make them, bring them up to the level that we need. That will bring us hopefully fairly quickly to the next level of discussions and decisions. But until we are at that point, we're still talking theoretically.

Q: In principle did they agree that the U.S. could use their bases? And was that new this trip?

Wolfowitz: When they say that we have been with you in the past and we will be with you this time, that's what being with us means. I mean, I don't think there is any other interpretation of that. Obviously the devil is in the details. There are very important details here. But I'm quite confident that we will in fact have a significant level of Turkish participation -- exactly how much is something that we've been working on quite intensively.

Thank you very much.


****** ENDS ********


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