A Rupture in US-Turkey Relations: March 1, 2003 How to Explain the Turkish Foreign Policy decision?/Turk-Amerikan Iliskilerinde Catlak: 1 Mart 2003 Turkiye'nin Dis Politika Karari Nasil Aciklanmali?

Article excerpt


March 1 Turkish Parliament's refusal decision of US access to Turkish territory is one of the incidents that accelerated the gradual alienation of Turkish and US governments. This controversial foreign policy decision caused some question marks about the decision making process, its main actors and reasons. In order to clarify these issues foreign policy decision making models and styles are used. Graham Allisons's three mainstream models of foreign policy decision did not elucidate the issue; whereas, John Forester decision making styles brought a more limpid scene.


Turkiye Buyuk Millet Meclisi'nin Amerikan guclerince Turkiye topraklarinin kullanimina izin veren 1 Mart Tezkeresi'ni reddi Turk ve Amerikan hukumetlerinin tedrici yabancilasmasini hizlandiran olaylardan birisi olmustur. Bu tartismali dis politika karari karar alma surecleri, bu sureclerin temel aktorleri ve nedenleri hakkinda bazi soru isaretlerine neden olmustur. Bu konulari aciklamak amaciyla dis politika karar alma modelleri ve usulleri kullanilmaktadir. Graham Allison'in uc ana akim dis politika karar modeli bu meseleyi aydinlatamazken; John Forester'in karar alma usulleri daha berrak bir manzara sunmaktadir.


Prior to the invasion of Iraq, the American government sought the assistance of the several regional states. The American quest to open a northern flank in the military campaign against Iraq entailed the explicit cooperation of the Turkish government. Despite facing the mounting US demands, Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AK Parti) government did not acquiesce to the US political pressure and did not gave a governmental guarantee in advance. Instead, it opted to employ democratic means and let the decision taken by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. Eventually, the US demands were not accepted by the Turkish Parliament on March 1, 2003. The repercussions of the decision are still being discussed.

The foreign policy decision making process and the decision eventually taken by the Turkish Parliament, which are together referred as the March 1 Bill, are generally considered as the "historic days"* of the Turkish foreign policy due to the several novelties in the foreign policy decision making of Turkey and their significant repercussions in Turkish foreign policy. A through analysis of the March 1 Bill may provide insights about several aspects of the foreign policy decision making of states. This paper aims at analyzing the March 1 Bill in three complementary parts. The first part describes the preceding political developments and identifies the major actors influential in the decision making process. The second part is a critique of the Graham Allisons's three mainstream models of foreign policy decision making enunciated in the Essence of Decision ([dagger]) and contends that these models do not provide satisfactory explanation of the decision taken on March 1. The last part is an attempt to explain the March 1 Bill by drawing on the decision making styles formulated by John Forester. ([double dagger])

The March 1 Bill

Founded in August 2001 under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, erstwhile major of Istanbul, as a right-wing conservative political party, Justice and Development Party won a decisive victory in the 2002 general elections. ([section]) It became the first party that secured an absolute majority in the Turkish Parliament since 1987. Subsequently, with the initiation of the American preparations to embark on an invasion of Iraq, the JD Party government found itself in a political predicament.

The US invasion of Iraq commenced on March 20, 2003. Prior to the campaign, the Bush Administration conveyed its objective to launch an offensive over the northern Iraq to the Turkish government. In particular, in December 2002, Paul Wolfowitz, the then-deputy secretary of defense, impressed upon the JD Party government the US desire to utilize the Turkish territory for ground attacks against Iraq. …


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