Turkey settles for less than it wanted in defense aid from US

Turkey ended a year-long wrangle with the United States over defense aid by settling for considerably less than it had been publicly demanding. Several newspapers and commentators chastized the Turkish government for retreating from its position in talks to renew the 1980 Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) with the US, a fellow member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

DECA gives the United States air bases, communications, and intelligence-gathering facilities within Turkey, including a key ``listening post'' which can eavesdrop on internal Soviet communications and a seismic station that monitors Soviet nuclear tests.

To renew the agreement Turkey had sought an annual $1.2 billion in aid and better access to US markets. They will get considerably less aid, few trade concessions, and some second-hand military equipment, including 40 used F-4E Phantom fighter planes to complement its fleet of 67. The Turks also agreed to renew the accord until December 1990, instead of for just two years as they had wanted.

``One more `Yes' to the USA,'' the daily Cumhuriyet said in a front-page headline Saturday. The terms, it said, ``failed considerably to meet the Turkish side's expectations....''

Coskun Kirca, a former diplomat writing yesterday in Hurriyet, said: ``The government fixed an unattainable target at the beginning of the negotiations....''

One Turkish official said he thought Ankara had got as much as it could from Washington.

``You never get all you want, but Turkey is better off,'' he said. ``We are further on than when we started.''

But Cumhuriyet writer Sedat Ergin said, Ankara had wanted to be able to press for a better deal from the next administration in Washington and, knowing that US-Greek defense talks are due in 1988, position itself to counter any concessions to Athens.

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