Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Turkey Steps Up

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Turkey Steps Up

Article excerpt

WHILE the main front in the effort to contain Iraq is on the border between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, a second important front has been opened on Iraq's northwest border with Turkey.

Quickly after Saddam Hussein seized Kuwait, Turkey shut down the Iraqi oil pipeline that crosses its territory. Late last week, in response to a visit to Ankara by Secretary of State James Baker, Turkish President Turgut Ozal further granted permission for American military aircraft based in Turkey for NATO defense to be used in any conflict with Iraq.

These were not easy or cost-free actions by Turkey. In arraying itself against Iraq, Turkey - a poor country - stands to lose some $3 billion a year in pipeline revenues and trade with its Arab neighbor. Turkey also invites military reprisal from Iraq.

Despite the risks, Turkey sees the Iraqi crisis as an opportunity to raise its stature in Europe. Geographically and historically, Europe has ended at the Bosporus. Modern Turkey would like, in effect, to push Europe's frontier to its own eastern borders.

Turkey is a staunch member of NATO and has been an invaluable listening post for Western surveillance of the Soviet Union. …

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