News


Tracking Number:  452798

Title:  "Turkey-Iran Deal: 'A Slap in the Face to US'." Turkey's signing of a $23 billion agreement to buy natural gas from Iran has been seen overseas as an act of defiance by a "pivotal" NATO member against US attempt to isolate Iran. (960816)

Date:  19960816

Text:
FOREIGN MEDIA REACTION DAILY DIGEST USIA OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND MEDIA REACTION U.S. INFORMATION AGENCY, WASHINGTON, DC 20547 PATRICIA McARDLE, BRANCH CHIEF MEDIA REACTION, (R/MR) TELE. No. (202)619-6511 ANN PINCUS, DIRECTOR

Friday, August 16, 1996

TURKEY-IRAN DEAL: 'A SLAP IN THE FACE TO U.S.'?

Turkey's signing August 12 of a $23 billion agreement to buy natural gas from Iran was frequently interpreted overseas as an act of "defiance" and "insubordination" by a "pivotal" NATO member against U.S. attempts to isolate Tehran, most recently through the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act of 1996. Despite Ankara's assertion that the natural gas agreement does not fall within the scope of the legislation, analysts judged that any eventual U.S. retaliation might serve as a pointer to how the Clinton administration will deal with attempts to infringe its anti-terrorist policy. Rome's left-leaning, influential La Repubblica said Ankara's "challenge to the U.S. and the D'Amato bill...represents a useful test to determine how the White House intends to implement the legislation." But although in Europe dissatisfaction with the legislation remains strong, influential media voices in NATO countries fretted more about the implications of this deal for the Alliance and the call by the new pro-Islamist Prime Minister Erbakan for a summit with Iran, Iraq and Syria. They wondered if these moves indicate that NATO's southeast bulwark might be "tilting sharply to the Islamist East." Right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine insisted that, in its desire "to avoid conflicting interests with regional potentates... Turkey does not shy away from insubordination against the U.S., the supreme power in the Alliance." In Turkey, where Mr. Erbakan's visit received support largely from pro-Islamist dailies, mainstream papers were skeptical of his mission and alarmed by the possibility of retaliation by the Clinton administration. "This policy," insisted Istanbul's mass-appeal Hurriyet, "does not reflect the feelings of the Turkish nation."

Other commentators, although worried also, suggested that Washington should take into account Turkey's economic and political straits that prompted it to reach this deal: its need for energy, its longstanding feud with Greece and the persistence of Kurdish rebel attacks making it necessary that it reach some type of settlement with its Muslim neighbors. In London, the independent weekly Economist advised, "It would be foolish for the West to panic, or to berate Mr. Erbakan" and the conservative Times warned the Clinton administration to "tread carefully in its response to the pipeline deal: A quarrel with an ally of such geopolitical importance would weaken NATO's cohesion." Independent Haaretz of Tel Aviv urged Israel to adopt a similarly prudent course: "If Turkey indeed wants to build a strategic axis with Iran, Syria and Iraq, Israel had better preserve its friendship with Turkey than stay out." Pro-Islamic Zaman of Istanbul pleaded, "Americans must realize the advantages that they will enjoy in the future from the fact that Turkey is establishing good relations with Iran." In Tehran, however, there was no doubt as how the deal should be viewed: In a pointed reference to the U.S., the official Iran News declared, "The 'friendship pipeline' will block the way of hostile foreign influence."

Another segment of media opinion, including some Turkish fundamentalist writers, determined that Turkey's action is a sign that the U.S. superpower no longer can direct other countries to follow its policies. Washington, claimed Paris's conservative Le Figaro, "is unable to tell the world how to behave toward Iran." Center-left, influential Al-Dustur of Amman concluded, "The Turkish-Iranian agreement... will encourage other countries to defy the D'Amato legislation."

This survey is based on 61 reports from 18 countries, Aug. 12-16.

EDITOR: Mildred Sola Neely

EUROPE

TURKEY: "Imminent Embargo"

Yalcin Dogan asserted in mass-appeal Milliyet (8/16): "The U.S. administration has accelerated preparations for imposing an embargo on Turkey. The White House, the State Department and the Pentagon are discussing among themselves the type and conditions of the embargo.... The RP-DYP (Welfare Party/True Path Party) coalition's foreign policy is at odds with the stance of the U.S. administration, which is debating whether the embargo should be open or covert."

"Ruining Turkey's Civilized Image"

Ertugrul Ozkok wrote for mass-appeal Hurriyet's front page (8/14), "This policy does not reflect the feelings of the Turkish nation. But, unfortunately, the (Turkish) prime minister who is visiting Tehran makes his influence felt. And the coalition partner, who received 21 percent of the votes (in the elections), has managed to ruin Turkey's civilized image, which took 70 years to build."

"U.S. Will Derive Advantages From Turkey's Improved Ties With Iran"

Pro-Islamic Zaman front-paged this assessment by Ilnur Cevik (8/14), "Erbakan told us that Turkey does not intend to challenge the United States or enter into a dispute with it. He frequently repeated to Iranians that 'Iran is our brother, but the United States is both our friend and ally.'... Americans must realize the advantages that they will enjoy in the future from the fact that Turkey is establishing good relations with Iran."

"Early Signs Of Dark Clouds Over Turkish-U.S. Ties"

Mass-appeal Sabah (8/14) said "early signs of dark clouds" over Turkish-American relations are on the horizon.

"U.S., World's Cop"

An editorial in fundamentalist and RP mouthpiece Milli Gazete held on page one (8/13), "One can understand why the United States is edgy.... It pretends to be the world's cop and manages to carry this out to an extent.... As with the rest of the countries, the United States determined a status for Turkey, too.... If it weren't for those who betray this state both inside and outside the country, we believe that Turkey would become the center of the world in no more than 10 years."

"Erbakan Enters Dangerous Waters"

Mehmet Ali Birand said in mass-appeal Sabah (8/12) under the headline above: "Erbakan is currently shaking the balances.... Eventually the boat will be run aground in these dangerous waters which we created.... Rescue will cost us dearly.... If the conduct of foreign relations continues to be a trial run for RP (Welfare Party) aides, it will carry very heavy risks."

GERMANY: "An Economic Deal"

National ZDF-TV aired this commentary (8/12) dismissing allegations that Erbakan wants to provoke the United States with this visit: "Erbakan has totally different concerns. Turkey is suffering from a grave energy crisis.... The contract that has now been signed in Tehran...is a deal that is based on economic predicament."

"To Make Turkey's Borders Safer"

Regional radio Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (8/12) insisted that concerns about the

Kurdish rebels drove Erbakan to the deal: "Erbakan is trying to establish talks with Iran, Iraq and Syria to make Turkey's borders safer. Cooperation begins. This has little to do with Senator D'Amato in Washington...but it has a lot to do with Turkey's power policy. In the end, this policy will be measured against its success."

"Insubordination"

Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger said on page one of right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine (8/13), "You can call it a trade deal or an investment, but the contract between Turkey and Iran...is a slap in the face to Washington. In a self-confident manner, the Islamist Erbakan...has ignored Washington's demand to join the U.S. campaign against Iran. Erbakan does not give a damn about the D'Amato Act.... But the fact that Turkish emissaries also visited Baghdad and Damascus reveals strategic considerations of the Eurasian regional power. Turkey is trying to order its surroundings so as to avoid conflicting interests with regional potentates and, in this respect, Turkey does not shy away from insubordination against the United States, the supreme power in the Alliance."

BRITAIN: "Foolish For West To Panic Yet"

The independent weekly Economist's editorial pointed out (8/16): "If Turkey, which has been striving for generations to become European, were to tilt sharply toward the Muslim east, the stability of this combustible region could be at risk. Western governments rightly see Turkey as a pivot of stability where Europe meets the Middle East, and are worried. Yet it would be foolish for the West to panic, or to berate Mr. Erbakan. He is playing a tricky game, no doubt. But the gas deal makes economic sense, and was set up by his thoroughly pro-Western predecessor. Even if the new American law were internationally acceptable, which it is not, the deal does not challenge it: The law is aimed against those, Americans or others, who invest in Iran, not those who merely trade with it--as, vigorously, do Europe and Japan. In any case, Mr. Erbakan leads a delicately bound coalition government, and his secular, right-wing partners in it would not tolerate any rush into the arms of the ayatollahs. So far, in foreign matters, Mr. Erbakan has done nothing foolish.

"Most of his signals indeed, despite his visit this week to Tehran, have been reassuring. Since taking office, he has ignored much of the Islamist rhetoric that he used in opposition. He has not tried to leave NATO, nor the European Union's customs club. He has agreed to let the West go on using air bases in eastern Turkey, at least for another five months, to protect the Iraqi Kurds. He has not even repudiated a recent agreement on military training with Israel. A half-Western influence on Muslim west Asia is probably to the West's benefit; and better relations between the Turkish state and its Kurdish citizens, another of Mr. Erbakan's aims, would be welcome after a decade of violence that has done much to undermine Turkish democracy....

"He knows that the army, long the guardian of Ataturk's secular vision, and still politically weighty, might intervene if a Welfare government sought to push Turkey fast or far the other way. And he knows that western money, which--like it or not--his country badly needs, would be scared away were he even to begin to emulate the ayatollahs."

"A Slap In The Face To U.S."

The conservative Daily Telegraph's editorial observed (8/13): "Coming just a week after the enactment of American sanctions legislation against Iran and Libya, the signing yesterday of a 13 billion natural gas contract between Ankara and Tehran is a slap in the face to Turkey's closest ally.... In that it will supply Iran with much-needed cash, it violates the purpose of the Act, which is to deny Tehran revenues that could be used to finance international terrorism or obtain weapons of mass destruction. President Clinton will be chary about penalizing a country which he views as a bulwark against an unstable Russia and troublesome regimes in the Middle

East. Mr. Erbakan may emerge unscathed. But, after yesterday's signing and his call for a summit meeting with Iraq, Iran and Syria, he should not be surprised if the relationship with Washington cools."

"Deal Alarms West, But Tread Carefully"

An editorial in the conservative Times stated (8/13) that the deal is "bound to be viewed with alarm in the West. It binds a pivotal member of NATO to a country identified in Western capitals as a leading supporter of global terrorism, a committed exporter of revolution and a virulent opponent of Western interests around the globe. The reaction in Washington is likely to be explosive.... It is more than a symbolic breach in the attempt to isolate Tehran: To the embattled Clinton administration, it looks like a provocative confirmation of the misgivings among America's allies over legislation (Iran-Libya sanctions act) that they say is unenforceable....

"It is dangerous for Turkey's Western allies to dictate who its friends should be or interfere in its rediscovery of its Islamic heritage. Those are decisions for the ballot box. America should tread carefully in its response to the pipeline deal: A quarrel with an ally of such geopolitical importance would weaken NATO's cohesion. But the West can warn Mr. Erbakan that any dramatic rapprochement with Iran, or even with Iraq as now proposed by those calling for a regional summit, would frighten away potential Western investors. That could cost Turkey many millions in lost income--far more, possibly, than the money earned from the new gas pipeline."

FRANCE: "Turkey Worries The Western World"

Under the above front-page headline, conservative Le Figaro devoted two full pages (8/14) to the Turkey-Iran gas deal. A page-one editorial by Pierre Rousselin spoke of "Ankara's balancing act," and said: "Bill Clinton's intention was to isolate Iran and here is Turkey--ruled by an Islamic prime minister--scoffing at the United States and signing a gas deal with Tehran.... America is enraged. Europe is keeping an eye on the score. United in their rejection of the D' Amato bill, the EU 15 are not unhappy to see Ankara (test) the sanctions bill.... Washington is embarrassed; it is unable to tell the world how to behave toward Iran.... Caught between the Western world and the Muslim world--at the outmost bounds of the Caucasus, Middle East and Central Asia--Turkey is engaging in a perilous balancing act. It remains to be seen whether Erbakan is good at walking on a tightrope."

"Is Turkey Out Of Control?"

Influential Le Monde, in a lead editorial, queried (8/14): "Is Turkey--considered as a reliable and valued ally by the Western world--about to get out of control? Nothing is certain and Turkey may not be ready to take the plunge and upset the strategic balance.... But year after year, more and more people in Turkey have the feeling that the Western world is really too ungrateful.... The U.S. embargo against Iran and Iraq is costing them a lot, as does the U.S. policy against terrorism, which gives too little importance to Syria's support for the PKK. That is what the Turkish prime minister's new foreign policy wants to point out."

"U.S. Reaps What It Has Sown"

Regional daily La Charente Libre said (8/14): "Turkey's realpolitik highlights the ambiguities of U.S. foreign policy.... For years, Washington has been trying to isolate Iran while turning a blind eye to Syria. The United States condemns the mullahs in Tehran but allowed Iranian fundamentalists to train Bosnia's Muslims. Today, the United States reaps what it has imprudently sown."

"Ankara Defies Washington"

Daniel Bastien filed for economic Les Echos (8/13), "Ankara has not taken into consideration the U.S. warnings and threats for sanctions.... By making Tehran the first stop of a tour that will take him to five Islamic coutries, the Turkish prime minister makes clear his intention to turn more toward the Islamic community.... Meanwhile, some say that the Iran-Turkey rapprochement should not be overestimated. Mainly, because the Turkish prime minister is a pragmatist. He is trying to reinforce his position domestically (vis a vis the Islamic party) and and trying as well to find a way out in a hostile neighborhood at a moment when Athens is moving closer to Damascus."

"How Will Clinton React?"

In his editorial for financial La Tribune (8/13), Gilles Bridier said, "Bill Clinton has been caught at his own game by ally Turkey- -a NATO pillar in this part of the world.... How is the White House going to react? If President Clinton does not respond to defend the embargo at a moment when he is clearly being defied, his signing of the D'Amato bill could backfire on him in the domestic political scene. If (on the other hand) he responds to this act of defiance, he cannot be sure that his decision will have sufficient support from the international community to render an embargo legitimate."

RUSSIA:

"D'Amato Stirs Anti-American Sentiments"

Vadim Markushin stated in centrist, army Krasnaya Zvezda (8/16): "By ignoring Washington's advice to stay away from Iran, Ankara instantly drew the attention of countries ever ready with expressions of anti- American solidarity.... The call for a complicated 'gas' game, in fact, became a call for unity promptly taken up by neighbors.... New dynamics may lead to changes in the balance of forces in the Middle East."

"Gas Attack On Superpower"

Georgy Bovt said in reformist, business-oriented Kommersant Daily (8/15): "Whenever Tehran strikes a big foreign-trade deal, Washington reacts nervously, so that sometimes you wonder what is it that nettles the Americans so much--the fact that they can't cut to size their chief enemy or the fact that there is little they can do to the far more friendly countries among Iran's partners.... Of late, Washington has sharply been aware of major geopolitical changes in Central Asia which do not lend themselves to manipulation as easily as before. The Islamic factor has proved too much (for the United States)."

ITALY: "Islamic Challenge From Turkey"

A commentary by Maurizio Ricci in left-leaning, influential La Repubblica read (8/14): "Until yesterday, Turkey, NATO's southern bastion, was one of the few factors of stability in the region. Alarms went off last Monday after the signing of the Ankara-Tehran gas deal...which is a challenge to the United States and the D'Amato bill.... Indeed, the deal represents a useful test to determine how the White House intends to implement the legislation.... However, the radical change took place yesterday with the proposal for organizing a summit among four countries...which have been fighting one another for years.... And the prospect of an `Islamic NATO' makes not only the State Department shudder, but also European chanceries. The issue to be discussed at the summit, in reality, should be limited to the Kurds.... It is unlikely that Washington is willing to accept a solution in which...it does not participate."

"This Is How Erbakan's Barter By-Pass U.S. Sanctions"

A commentary in provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio (8/14) pointed out: "Recently the Turkish parliament approved the extension of NATO bases into the Kurdish territory under Turkish

control bordering Iraq.... At the same time...Erbakan expressed his gratitude to the United States for having done its best to loosen the UN embargo against Iraq.... Erbakan is planning to create a union among all the Islamic states: He started with Iran, he continued with Iraq and he plans to do the same with Egypt. But Egypt is nervous following the Turkey-Iran deal and keeps asking Washington to intervene. On its side, Washington is highly embarrassed because Turkey is a precious NATO member.... Now Erbakan is heading for another Muslim country, Pakistan."

"Unforeseeable Effects On Region's Equilibrium"

A report from Tehran in leading, financial Il Sole 24-Ore read (8/14): "One thing is sure: Turkish diplomacy can mark a turn in Middle East relations with unforeseeable effects on the region's equilibrium.

Erbakan's initiative for the anti-terrorism summit is said to have been preceded by secret talks between the Syrian president and the Iraqi one in view of normalizing relations between the two countries."

SOUTH ASIA

IRAN:

"Four-Way Summit Is Welcome"

The pro-Rafsanjani, pro-pragmatists Tehran Times (8/12) declared, "The Turkish press reported yesterday that...Erbakan is planning a four-way summit with the leaders of Iran, Syria and Iraq. The move is welcome and the countries concerned should try their utmost to materialize the idea.... Without any doubt no country is entitled to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq. However, since the United States has imposed special conditions on Iraq, the present situation demands that Iran, Syria and Turkey sit across the table with Iraq to find a working solution to the problem to put an end to uncertainty in the region. Cross border incidents stem from lack of coordination among the neighboring countries. A quadrilateral meeting could definitely coordinate the efforts of all concerned countries to find a solution to this problem. The question of Kurdish separatism has been a serious problem in the region for years and has had its ramification for neighboring countries.... Under Premier Erbakan, Turkey is no more a province of the United States of America.... The four-way meeting could also be the beginning of a move to form a broader front consisting all Muslim countries of the region."

"Beware Israel, Dangerous Enemy Of Islamic World"

Commenting on Ayatollah Khamenei's talks with Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan, official Tehran Radio said (8/12), "He urged the Turkish government to take a cautious approach toward Israel, which, he said, is a dangerous enemy of the Islamic world.... Khamenei asserted...'The Islamic world is unable to realize why Turkey is protecting such a foreign element, which plans to strike at the Islamic countries.'... The statement Ayatollah Khamenei made...is very important because the Zionist regime wants to weaken Turkey's position in the Islamic world and cause irreparable damage to its security interests."

"'Friendship Pipeline' Will Block Hostile Foreign Influence"

The official Iran News (8/12) lauded the historic deal between Tehran and Ankara for the export of Iranian gas to Turkey. Stressing U.S. opposition to the deal, the paper concluded, "The 'friendship pipeline' will block the way of hostile foreign influence and will allow the two countries to enjoy proper and friendly relations for generations to come."

INDIA: "Sanctions Against Iran"

An editorial in Hyderabad's right-of-center Newstime said (8/12): "Even though the question is still hypothetical, India may also be drawn into the orbit of American trade sanctions over relations with Iran and Libya.

"So far it is the EU, Russia and Turkey that have raised the banner of revolt over the U.S. legislation."

MIDDLE EAST

BAHRAIN: "Erbakan Position Embarrassment For U.S."

Leading, semi-independent Al-Ayyam ran this comment by Mohammed Fadhel (8/12), "Erbakan's position toward Iran creates some embarrassment for the United States, especially at this time, toward imposing sanctions against it and Libya under the terms of the D'Amato Act. But it seems that Turkey's position is not alone. It is in the context of European and international reactions opposing D'Amato's act signed by U.S. President Bill Clinton last Monday."

EGYPT: "Why So Angry?"

Salama Ahmed Salama, columnist and managing editor for pro- government Al Ahram (8/15), stressed, "It is clear that there is a plan to solve the Kurdish problem lying behind the recent Turkish movements on the Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian fronts. If Erbakan succeeds in realizing this goal or at least realizes regional order or a base for cooperation to solve the existing issues and complications which surround him, then there will not be any need to establish an axis with Israel. This achievement would serve Arab interests and solve the water issue for Syria. So why are who those oppose the gas agreement with Iran so angry?"

"Storm Brewing In U.S.-Turkish Relations"

An editorial in pro-government Al Ahram held (8/13), "A storm is brewing in American-Turkish relations over Turkey's gas deal with Iran.... It is, however, very difficult to call the Turkish- Iranian agreement an investment in the $40 million-plus category (the amount which would trigger the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act), because the deal is about natural gas, not oil field development. Washington could, however, regard the resulting pipeline between the two countries as a violation of the law, in which case Turkey would face the threat of sanctions."

"U.S. Has Gone Beyond Its Limits As Superpower"

Al Ahram added in another piece (8/13), "If this proves anything, it is that the United States has gone beyond its limits as a superpower, particularly because it is threatening the interests of the Europeans."

ISRAEL: "The Two Faces Of Turkey"

Independent Haaretz said (8/14), "The United States imposed economic and military sanctions on Iran that were accelerated only a week ago. An imposing trade agreement between Turkey--a NATO member and a recipient of U.S. aid--and Iran is a blow in the face of U.S. policy to deter terrorism.... Erbakan's visit to Tehran is only one component in a comprehensive tour of the Islamic states through which the Turkish prime minister yearns to tighten his links. Israel, as well as the United States, has reason to be concerned by this rapprochement and particularly by the deliberate policy to bring Turkey closer to Syria and Iraq, after Iran.... On one hand, Turkey continues its cheerfulness vis a vis Israel.... On the other, it maintains a special relationship with Iran.... The two states have a common interest regarding Kurdish activities in their territories.... Under the circumstances, one could not demand that Israel spearhead the sanction campaign against Iran and that it cut off its relations with Turkey: especially when the U.S. administration itself does not know how to respond and its spokesmen are content with issuing their lack of satisfaction. On the contrary, Israel has a preponderant interest in strengthening its relations with Turkey and making it possible for the new Turkish government to view Israel as an ally. If Turkey indeed wants to build a strategic axis with Iran, Syria and Iraq, Israel had better preserve its friendship with Turkey than stay out."

"Not The Same Challenge For U.S. And Israel"

Top-circulation, independent Yediot commented in an editorial (8/13): "The Turkish prime minister's visit to Iran presents a hard challenge to the United States--and to Israel. Those who turned Iran into the source of all evils in the region must necessarily resist any move that legitimizes the ayatollahs' regime and the Iranian source of terrorism. For the United States, coping will be easier. Turkish Premier Erbakan has made the point to reiterate that his trip to Iran is not directed at the United States. As the recent events in Cyprus have shown, he depends considerably on the United States. For its part, Israel faces a much more complex dilemma. It cannot but walk on the thin rope Turkey has stretched in its regional policy. Another question is whether Israel should deepen its involvement on the Turkish side of the balance."

JORDAN:

"Turkey Rejected U.S. Intervention"

Ali Safadi opined on the op-ed page of center-left, influential, Arabic-language Al-Dustur (8/15): "Turkey has proved its independent approach. Prime Minister Erbakan resisted the various pressures of the U.S. administration exercised against him to force him to cancel his visit to Iran. He also avoided the U.S. campaign of voiced resentment and protests and hints and reminders about the D'Amato amendment.... Turkey rejected the U.S. intervention in its foreign policy. Its rejection was strong and practical at the same time."

"Defiance From Turkish Ally"

Under the headline above, columnist Yakoub Jaber wrote for center- left, influential, Arabic-language Al-Dustur (8/14): "It is interesting that the first defiance to the D'Amato legislation against Iran and Libya should come from Turkey, a close ally of the United States.... The importance of the Turkish-Iranian agreement lies not in its content, but rather in its blatant defiance of Washington's sincere efforts to isolate Iran politically and commercially. This agreement is even more significant in that it comes from Turkey, the country thought least capable of ignoring U.S. provisos. No doubt the Turkish-Iranian deal will encourage other countries to defy the D'Amato legislation."

SAUDI ARABIA: "U.S. Will Not Keep Silent In Face Of This Turkish Challenge"

London-based, influential, internationally circulated Ash Sharq Al Awsat (8/14) also included this commentary by Mahmood Atallah: "It's clear that Americans will not keep silent in the face of this challenge, especially since it considers this a violation of the new American bill. It's confirmed that relations between the United States and Turkey will be affected.... We have to take into consideration that this challenge by Turkey was sudden; the United States had not considered this possibility in its calculations. The victory of the (Turkish) Rifah Party was a surprise that requires a stronger action than warning, threats and expressions of disappointment."

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

INDONESIA:

"Will Erbakan's Moves Trigger U.S. Opposition?"

The pro-government, English-language Indonesia Times maintained in an editorial (8/13), "Turkish Prime Minister Erbakan's...four- country summit initiative (which will include Iraq) was launched prior to consultation with the United States. It was also reported that Erbakan is expected to seal a multibillion dollar economic deal with Iran...despite a newly-passed U.S. act to isolate Tehran.... Erbakan's decision to initiate the summit...will supposedly trigger U.S. opposition.... Erbakan's visit to Iran will show how the United States and the West appreciate their allies' dignity and sovereignty to pursue national interests...free from outside dictates."

MALAYSIA: "Sanction-Happy U.S. Will Only End Up Losing All Its Friends"

The government-influenced, financial Business Times commented (8/15): "The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act...for Malaysia, in particular, as well as for ASEAN...represents a clear violation of the principle of extraterritorial rights and constitutes a threat to the world economic system.... In Turkey's case, retaliation would create sharp new strains between Washington and a vital NATO ally that bridges Europe and Central Asia, the Balkans and West Asia."

SOUTH KOREA: "Turkey Seeking To Shed U.S. Influence"

Conservative Segye Ilbo commented (8/14): "The Turkish desire for better relations with Iran and Iraq goes right against what's considered U.S. policy toward the Middle East. What's being challenged in Turkey lately, though, is not just the policy of the United States but also U.S. influence in the country as a whole. Nevertheless, as analysts have pointed out, the scope of what Turkey is trying to do has got to be very limited. The prime minister's party, for one, has not become politically strong enough yet to wholeheartedly support the prime minister's position. Turkey seems eying economic gains more than anything else in pursuing a relationship with Iran."

"Challenging U.S. Iran Isolation Policy"

According to conservative Segye Ilbo (8/13), "Turkey has signed a contract (with)...Iran, thus challenging the United States on its Iran isolation policy. This episode demonstrates that Washington's high-handed diplomacy is now no longer working as it used to.... Although the prime minister denies that his visit was intended to defy the newly passed U.S. law, the D'Amato legislation, the implication of his visit seems clear--that Turkey does not wish to forsake its Muslim allies. This episode also is significant in showing that Iran has made successful efforts to shed its isolation and build up relations with neighbors."

AFRICA

SOUTH AFRICA: "West On Way To Losing Important Partner"

Afrikaans, centrist Die Burger opined (8/14), "It looks as if the West is well on the way to losing an extremely important partner: Turkey, whose Islamic fundamentalist premier, Erbakan, has engaged in a new international course. He has just...completed a three-day state visit to Iran. Also he is busy strengthening ties between Turkey and Iraq and Syria which indicates that he intends to fulfil the promises he made earlier to change his country's pro-Western stance.... If Erbakan engages vigorously in his new course, relations between the West and Islam could be considerably adversely influenced. Hopefully cool heads will prevail because an increase in the conflict between Islam and the West is in nobody's interest."

LATIN AMERICA

BRAZIL: "Turkey's Aims"

An editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo observed (8/15): "The most notable aspect of the Turkish diplomatic offensive is its timing. It occurs at a time when the United Nations is relaxing control over exports of Iraqi oil, but (the UN) will not suspend the embargo.... The amount of this trade will not be fabulous but it will be enough to alter the subservient relationship between Saddam Hussein, the UN and the United States.... re important than the trade is the repercussion of the political attitude of the Turkish goverment....

Turkey, a member of NATO, now has closer ties with a country which the United States and the West have condemned and whose dictator they have sought to overthrow." NNNN


Product Name:  Foreign Media Reaction
Product Code:  FM
Keywords:  TRADE AGREEMENTS; IRAN-US RELATIONS; IRAN-TURKEY RELATIONS; TURKEY-US RELATIONS; NEWS MEDIA COMMENTARY; NATURAL GAS; SANCTIONS
Document Type:  EXC; RPT
Thematic Codes:  3TR
Target Areas:  AF; AR; EA; EU; NE
PDQ Text Link:  452798