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US Offers Turkey Big Aid Package for Help in Iraq
Reuters ^ | 2/15/2003 | Adam Entous

Posted on 02/15/2003 3:20:49 PM PST by a_Turk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is offering Turkey an economic aid package that includes about $6 billion in grants and up to $20 billion in loan guarantees in a bid to secure Ankara's support for an invasion of Iraq, sources familiar with the offer said on Saturday.

President Bush met with Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis and others at the White House on Friday, but U.S. and Turkish negotiators have yet to reach a final agreement that would allow American forces to use Turkish bases as a springboard for an invasion of Iraq from the north.

On top of an estimated $6 billion in grants, the Bush administration is offering backing for up to $20 billion in loans that Turkey could secure through private banks. As a condition for U.S. backing, the United States is demanding that the loans fall under the terms of Turkey's program with the International Monetary Fund.

It is unclear whether Ankara will accept the offer, which has ballooned in size in recent days. Turkey, which says it suffered massive economic damage from the first Gulf War, has been pressing Washington for billions of dollars more.

Once a deal is reached, Bush would submit it to Congress for approval as part of an emergency wartime budget request.

Turkey, which has a 218-mile border with Iraq, is allowing the U.S. military to modernize some bases there for possible use in a war, but has not yet given Washington permission to use them for an offensive.

The aid package, coupled with a deal to limit the number of U.S. troops in the country at any one time, could help avoid a backlash from Turks widely opposed to a war against their fellow-Muslim neighbor. Reuters alert: This is not about religion. It's the econoy, stupid!

The Bush administration is finalizing separate multibillion-dollar aid packages for Israel and Jordan which, like Turkey, say they would need U.S. grants and loan guarantees to offset the economic shock of military action to disarm Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

An Israeli delegation is due in Washington next week and hopes to quickly finalize the details of its request for $4 billion in military assistance and $8 billion in U.S.-backed loan guarantees.

Under the Israeli proposal, the United States would deduct from the face value of the loan guarantees any Israeli expenditures on settlement activities in Palestinian areas.

Washington has promised Jordan more than $1 billion in aid that could be sent to Congress for approval in coming weeks, officials said.

Egypt is also seeking U.S. help in the form of a free-trade agreement.

U.S. SWEETENS OFFER

At close to $25 billion including the loan guarantees, the Turkish package would be well above the initial U.S. offer of $14 billion, which included grants and the funds needed to support up to $10 billion in loans.

The big increase underscores just how important Turkish basing is to U.S. war-planners.

But it is unclear whether the sweetened offer would win support in Ankara, which stepped up pressure on Washington during two days of intense negotiations.

On Thursday Prime Minister Abdullah Gul backed away from a pledge to hold a parliamentary vote on Feb. 18 on whether to let an expected 30,000 U.S. troops use bases in Turkey to invade northern Iraq, saying the timing of the vote was tied to the negotiations in Washington.

The latest U.S. offer is still far below the amount Turkey was purportedly seeking. According to congressional sources, Ankara at one point asked Washington for close to $50 billion in aid -- an amount U.S. officials dismissed as excessive.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News
KEYWORDS: irak; turkey; usa; warlist
>> asked for close to $50 billion in aid

Gotto start somewhere :^D

The Turkish public is in dire economic straits, and does not want a repeat of the economic consequences it suffered as a result of Gulf War One.

We know that regime change in Irak will have a positive effect on the Turkish economy in the long term, but we need to dampen the short term effects.

This will go a long way to change anti war attitudes in Turkey, if Congress approves the measure. Those attitudes are mostly driven by economic concerns, and not by religion, even though some demonstrations have been organized by the communist party which we've had to legalize thanks to the EU...

1 posted on 02/15/2003 3:20:49 PM PST by a_Turk
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To: 11B3; 2Trievers; alethia; AM2000; another cricket; ARCADIA; Archie Bunker on steroids; Aric2000; ...
Hi!
2 posted on 02/15/2003 3:21:20 PM PST by a_Turk (Ready? Set? Wait!!)
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To: a_Turk
I don't care for having to buy support from anyone.
3 posted on 02/15/2003 3:23:52 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Texas_Jarhead
Me neither, but this may save lifes in the long run.
4 posted on 02/15/2003 3:26:12 PM PST by elhombrelibre (Kick France out of the UN NOW.)
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To: elhombrelibre
besides it's just debited directly from the French account.
5 posted on 02/15/2003 3:29:16 PM PST by Steven W.
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To: elhombrelibre
oh I understand necessity, I just don't care for it
6 posted on 02/15/2003 3:31:29 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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Attack on Iraq Betting Pool
7 posted on 02/15/2003 3:32:28 PM PST by Momaw Nadon
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To: Texas_Jarhead
I go to work out of mecessity ... I can spare a few million to Turkey to get rid of Saddam. And a few million to for Turkey to a Greek like me is not something to agree to lightly.

(Notice how I am so generous with other people's money. I could have a career in politics.)
8 posted on 02/15/2003 3:40:23 PM PST by dinok
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To: a_Turk
But, the good news is, Bill Gates will have to live in Adana, Turkey until the loans have been repaid. Ted Turner narrowly missed that opportunity when AOL/Time Warner lost their shirts.

Gates can repay the entire amount and have about $75 billion left. Tax the rich?

Hell no. Use them as guarantors. Ain't capitalism great. (sarcasm)
9 posted on 02/15/2003 3:53:59 PM PST by billhilly (I don't know it all.)
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To: a_Turk; Texas_Jarhead
If something like this had been arranged at the end of Gulf War One, Turkey today wouldn't be so leery of more military action against Iraq.

Turkey was the very first nation to respond to Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, closing the border and losing a major trading partner the day after Iraq invaded. As a result, Turkey suffered an economic body blow from which she hasn't recovered. After Gulf War One, there was no acknowledgement of this in Washington, and the Turkish economy nearly went bottom up. I imagine that the average shop-keeper over there has a "No good deed goes unpunished" attitude when it comes to dealing with the USA. This deal may, hopefully change that. This isn't a bribe by a long shot, but long delayed assistance to help heal the wounds of economic warfare.

10 posted on 02/15/2003 3:58:06 PM PST by Mortimer Snavely (Is anyone else tired of reading these tag lines?)
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To: a_Turk
Will be money well spent!
11 posted on 02/15/2003 4:02:54 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Nuke Saddam ( Bush is thinking about it ) and then what about Germany and France?)
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To: Mortimer Snavely
And some thought Clinton was the compassionate one! /sarcasm
12 posted on 02/15/2003 4:05:30 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Nuke Saddam ( Bush is thinking about it ) and then what about Germany and France?)
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To: a_Turk
Is there a term (surely it must be a non sequitor if it exists) to define gentleman's blackmail? Because this is surely it.
13 posted on 02/15/2003 4:05:35 PM PST by GretchenEE
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To: a_Turk
Hi back to ya.
14 posted on 02/15/2003 4:28:04 PM PST by MarMema
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To: GretchenEE
International politics is an ORGY. No gentlemen there. Every piece of ass is game. The US blackmailed Turkey by threatening exclusion for non-participation, Turkey threatened already existing economy affected anti-war public opinion. Sounds like a perfect 69. Sick, but that's what it is.

Promises made before Gulf War One were not kept, and Turkey lost up to 100 billion in Irak trade, as well as 120 billion in terrorist fallout. Our politicians seem to have learned. There are no gentlemen in international politics.
15 posted on 02/15/2003 4:32:28 PM PST by a_Turk (Ready? Set? Wait!!)
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To: a_Turk
Told you there'd be other compensation.

Iraq is not the only country in the area.

16 posted on 02/15/2003 5:09:14 PM PST by Thud
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To: Texas_Jarhead; 11B3; 2Trievers; alethia; AM2000; another cricket; ARCADIA; ...
Well Turk, we called that one well in advance.
<p.I.E., Play Nice with your old Uncle Sam and collect the big bucks on your way out the conference room door!
17 posted on 02/15/2003 5:44:05 PM PST by Kenny Bunk
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To: Kenny Bunk
Next step, get it in writing.

After that I hope there will be a commission in Turkey made up of all government branches plus the army to ensure that nobody there suddenly gets rich...

All that assuming that the resolution passes parliament. That's not a given yet.. I am hoping it does.
18 posted on 02/15/2003 6:14:28 PM PST by a_Turk (Ready? Set? Wait!!)
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To: a_Turk
Gray Davis would like $26 billion...!
19 posted on 02/15/2003 7:29:04 PM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: a_Turk
Ankara will have to be reasonable. But I don't oppose substantial aid and Turkey is certainly owed aid, both for the present crisis and for their loyal friendship to us for so many decades. One can grasp why they feel so isolated when the Europeans are being so unpleasant over merely fulfilling their treaty obligations which they have no right to withhold and when France and Germany may revenge themselves upon Turkey for helping America against Iraq at the very time when Turkey is trying to enter the European Union to gain access to their markets.

I would say that when the price gets this high, I wouldn't support giving them oilfields as well. This price is more than all the foreign aid we normally give out in an entire year. But then, Turkey is a special ally. They are always there for us, even in the most unpopular and unpleasant wars we have fought. We shouldn't forget that either.

Turkey should drive a hard bargain (and they will <grin>) but avoid the public appearance of mercenary intent. It is not simply about immediate economic crisis though that must be addressed. We will remove a hostile neighbor presently under sanctions and replace it with a friendly neighbor who is free to develop its oil fully. And that creates opportunity for Turkey. I do not like to think that the impression will created in the new Iraq that Turkey only helped against Saddam because we paid them off. Sometimes, getting a good neighbor means being a good neighbor and doing the right thing to create a relationship of trust. But we Americans need have no doubts that Turkey will, once committed, fulfill its obligations very ably. Very ably.

I hope that Turkey and the new Iraq will be given the responsibility to protect a new semiautonomous Kurdish homeland and Turkey should be compensated for doing so. It would help to eliminate much of the Kurdish friction in both Turkey and Iraq. But I do not under any circumstance favor independence for the Kurds. It's far too likely to end badly. Let them have their own police and a very small army. And Turkey and the new Iraq can guard their borders.

Naturally, I'm assuming that both the new Iraq and a Kurdish district would both be required by treaty to enforce strictly secular Muslim states along the Turkish model. I don't favor any wiggle room in the treaties to allow either to become a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism or despotism. One would hope that both of them have had enough of that and will be willing to be good neighbors with Turkey and the rest of the region, including Israel. Despite the traditional hatreds and rivalries in the region, one can hope that Saddam has at least cured the the Iraqis and the Kurds of looking down that path again and that they can behave like civilized countries if their security is guaranteed.
20 posted on 02/15/2003 8:00:37 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: a_Turk; *war_list
OFFICIAL BUMP(TOPIC)LIST
21 posted on 02/15/2003 9:06:14 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (Nuke Saddam ( Bush is thinking about it ) and then what about Germany and France?)
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Relocating the bases, equipment and troops currently in Germany should also provide a very big boost to the Turkish economy. It would also permanently prepostion forces where they might be needed.

It seems that the Germans don't need, or want, our protection from the USSR anymore. (Conveniently AFTER the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR.) And, like France, they seem to place their economic ties to Iraq above the need to remove a dangerous and ruthless dictator.

It would also assure them of OUR commitment to their security in a dangerous area. (Something Germany, France and Belgium don't seem to care about.)
22 posted on 02/15/2003 9:45:04 PM PST by Greybeard7
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To: a_Turk
LOL, in a couple of years the Germans and the French will be begging the rich Turks to move to their country to help bale out their failing economies. That'll really be fun to watch.
23 posted on 02/15/2003 10:02:11 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: McGavin999
It's going to be a grim few years, I fear.
24 posted on 02/15/2003 10:15:36 PM PST by a_Turk (Ready? Set? Wait!!)
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To: McGavin999
LOL, in a couple of years the Germans and the French will be begging the rich Turks to move to their country to help bale out their failing economies. That'll really be fun to watch.

Like the other socialists around the world, they abort their children in such numbers that they face a demographic shortfall in coming decades.

They'll be begging Turks and others to move there and become citizens so they can help support German services for a bunch of old socialists who murdered their unborn children rather than give them life.

Germany is now giving substantial tax breaks to families and hiking taxes on everyone else to try to keep the failing socialist boat afloat in an era where American productivity has eclipsed that of Germany, unheard of since the Second World War. But it's too late for Germany's halfway remedies. It's not quite a demographic disaster of Italian proportions but the national character of Germany will change. France and Germany are both in demographic and economic decline.

One can readily understand why Britain and the New Europe want to be members of the EU. But not why they would feel any great urge to bankroll the aging and declining population of Old Europe by approving the new French-designed European federal constitution which is intended to make France and Brussels their masters. Especially after France and Germany have demonstrated exactly what their international leadership really means.
25 posted on 02/15/2003 10:21:29 PM PST by George W. Bush
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To: a_Turk
Grim for who? Turkey or Germany? I have no doubt but that the Turks will quickly turn their economy around. America does not forget it's friends (at least it doesn't if we can keep people like Clinton out of office).

We're going to need a list of things the Turks will be exporting to the US so the people can keep an eye out for them. Governments change from time to time, but the people remain the same and will remember.

26 posted on 02/15/2003 10:23:50 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: McGavin999; George W. Bush
>> Grim for who?

For those who have to do the killing, and for those who have to witness it and what might follow, least of all for those who will just die..

I keep thinking that these "islamofascists", since they really are so impotent, are one of mother natures distractions, or maybe just a ripple before an earthquake. Maybe these pitiful terrorists are not the real danger. Maybe the real danger was glimpsed in the crack suffered in NATO. Glimpsed in the opinions rendered by the Russians and Chinese on internal NATO business.

To be sure: There are many who are ready to pounce, waiting for the right moment to do it..

Better not run out of bombs and missiles.
27 posted on 02/15/2003 10:58:27 PM PST by a_Turk (Ready? Set? Wait!!)
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To: a_Turk
I keep thinking that these "islamofascists", since they really are so impotent, are one of mother natures distractions, or maybe just a ripple before an earthquake. Maybe these pitiful terrorists are not the real danger. Maybe the real danger was glimpsed in the crack suffered in NATO. Glimpsed in the opinions rendered by the Russians and Chinese on internal NATO business.

The Russians and Chinese have been and continue to be oppose the existence of NATO. NATO, backed by U.S. power, destroyed the USSR. And despite the Axis of Weasels, NATO still has enough backbone to check Russian nationalism. And to provide the sort of basic international coalition to thwart Chinese designs on the Middle East.
28 posted on 02/16/2003 7:28:22 AM PST by George W. Bush
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