Oriental Bazaars in Ankara and Pyongyang

The conversation held by Turkish minister of state Kutsad Tuzmen in Baghdad Sunday with Saddam Hussein went on for two hours and twenty minutes and was described officially as an important and useful development for Turkish-Iraqi relations. Tuzmen was the bearer of a written message to the Iraqi ruler from Turkish prime minister Abdullah Gul.
This was the first top level encounter between the two governments for quite some time. It took place two days afterDEBKA-Net-Weeklyexposed the Gul government’s sensational decision to back away from its earlier consent to join the American campaign against Iraq by opening a second front in the north and permitting US forces extensive use of its soil and bases to invade Iraq. Turkey had now set a steep price on its consent: control of Iraq’s northern oilfields and oil cities, plus a US guarantee that Iraq’s Kurds would be granted no concessions that might smack of independence or even self rule.
To give his ultimatum teeth, Gul earlier this month toured Arab capitals, arriving in Tehran Sunday. At each stop, he informed his hosts of his determination not to allow American forces to use his country as a jumping-off base against Iraq. The war, he reiterated, must and could be prevented.
From that position, the Turkish government bargained on two levels.
debkafile‘s sources in the Persian Gulf reveal that the question the Turkish prime minister privately posed Arab leaders, including Saddam Hussein, was this: Was Turkey’s unwavering resistance to Washington’s demands worth a comparable level of aid to that pledged by the US for taking part in the war, namely $4-6 billion? The Turkish prime minister topped his question up by asking for a further $4-5 billion, to be allocated over the next two to three years.
According to our Gulf sources, Saudi Arabia and Iran agreed in principle to put up or guarantee the money. Saddam’s reply is unknown.
However, at the same time, Turkish emissaries sat down in Washington to bargain with the Americans. debkafile‘s Washington sources report that the US side was led by Marc Grossman, Number Three in the State Department and ambassador to Turkey from 1994-1997, and Daniel Fried, head of the European and Asian-European Desks in the White House’s National Security Council. The Gul government was represented by its Washington ambassador, Faruk Logoglu, backed up by members of the Turkish government and general staff sent over for the negotiations.
The US side put forward a number of arguments:
A. Handing Kirkuk and Mosul over to Turkish control would be tantamount to Iraq’s dismemberment, when only a short while ago America pledged Iraq’s territorial integrity in response to a sine qua non from Ankara. Turkey’s repudiation of that condition would free Washington’s hands for redrawing Iraq’s external and internal boundaries without needing Ankara’s approval.
B. Ankara’s present stance jeopardizes its chances of gaining the economic aid package it has requested to compensate for potential economic losses estimated at $4-15 billion. Congress will be shy of approving this package if the Turks continue to hold back.
C. There is no reason why Turkey should not forge ahead with its war preparations while discussing its differences with the United States. In particular, the Americans demanded that a US base inspection team, made up of some 150 military officers, be allowed to prepare the way for the passage of tens of thousands of US troops on their way to invade Iraq, also that all US military personnel be deemed under US jurisdiction.
The Turks let the advance team into the country Sunday January 13, but the main force and the jurisdiction question are still at issue.
An analogous stand-off is in force with regard to the North Korean nuclear dispute.
debkafile‘s experts report that increasing signs point to North Korea’s saber-rattling coming out of a back alley in the Turkish Bazaar.
In mid-October 2002,DEBKA-Net-Weekly and debkafile first exposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program’s strong bonds to the Middle East. We also reported that Pyongyang had long since shifted major parts of its weapons production and nuclear enrichment processing from Yongbyon to secret sites in Iran and Libya. More than 400 Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians were found by our sources to be employed in Libya’s underground complex at al Kufra Oasis, where costs are covered mainly by Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Monday, January 13, US assistant secretary of state James Kelly offered North Korea American energy and investment for scrapping its nuclear weapons program. However, even acceptance by the North of that offer would be if limited value; the program would simply go on undisturbed in the Middle East.
debkafile‘s Gulf sources disclose the view current in circles close to the Saudi throne and Gulf Emirs that, just as the Iraqi ruler pledged Turkey generous largesse for hopping off the American war wagon, he also promised Kim Jong-Il a hefty aid package plus oil for opening an Asian front to sabotage Washington’s war initiative. A number of other Gulf oil producers have also offered to compensate North Korea for America, Japanese and South Korean energy stoppages.
The obstructionist moves by Turkey and North Korea led Saudi crown prince Abdullah to predict on Saturday, January 12, that the US war against Iraq would not take off. The Bush administration meanwhile finds itself engaged heavily in dealing with trip-wires and hurdles instead of getting the war started.

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