US and Turkey enter new phase of closer ties in trade, security
Istanbul — The consensus here is that last week's visit to the United States by Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Ozal was a success. The US and Turkey have entered a new phase of closer and stronger relations, analysts say. According to the weekly newsmagazine Nokta -- usually critical of Mr. Ozal's policies -- no one can claim otherwise.
On his return last Saturday, Ozal was jubilant and proud of his achievements. But he cautioned that the results of his talks in Washington might become apparent only in the months ahead.
The main accomplishment of Ozal's US visit -- the first by a Turkish prime minister in 14 years -- was the establishment of personal and friendly contacts with President Reagan and other senior administration officials.
The specific issues discussed during Ozal's visit include:
Aid: The Reagan administration committed itself to persuade Congress to approve a request for a total of $939 million in military-related aid for fiscal year 1986. It has pledged to fight attempts by House and Senate committees to reduce this amount and maintain a 7 to 10 ratio in security assistance to Greece and Turkey.
Trade: The US shares Ozal's view that US-Turkish relations should not center solely on security cooperation, but should extend to other fields, particularly trade.
Ozal received assurances that the United States will consider the possibilities of increasing US imports from Turkey and lifting restrictions on Turkish textile imports. A senior Turkish Cabinet member in charge of foreign trade, Ekrem Pakdemir, is scheduled to visit Washington this week for detailed talks on this matter.
Cyprus and Greece: Ozal was assured that Turkey's disputes with third parties -- such as Cyprus and Greece -- would not interfere with bilateral US-Turkish relations. He was asked to continue efforts to avoid tension in the region of the Aegean Sea.
Turkish analysts note that despite the support expressed by the US administration, Turkey will have to wait for concrete action on the lifting of restrictions on Turkish exports and the future of security assistance.
Ozal had two basic requests on aid: One was to cancel or postpone part of the $7 billion ``foreign military sales'' assistance, a debt Turkey has to repay in the coming years. The other was to enlarge the ``grant'' portion of security assistance to Turkey.
Turkey is also carefully considering some US requests. The Americans have asked to establish radio transmitters in eastern Turkey for broadcasts to the central areas of the Soviet Union.
The US also asked Turkey to allow more frequent visits by US Navy Sixth Fleet ships to Turkish ports, including nuclear ones.
US officials also warned Turkey against maintaining overly close relations with Libya. Turkey has close economic ties with Libya, although Turkish contractors have been facing difficulties lately.
A visit by Libya's second in command, Abdel Salam Jalloud, scheduled for this week, was suddenly canceled. Observers think this was a reaction to resentment in Tripoli over the talks in Washington about Libya.