EQUILIBRIUM BY BURAK BEKDIL Wednesday, October 12, 2005 http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=25624 Burak BEKDİL A witty article in the British satire publication Private Eye reads: �America and Britain today gave a stark warning to Iran that, unless it curbs its nuclear ambitions, they will do nothing. The fact that � the article then satirically quotes President George W. Bush as saying, � unlike Iraq, Iran actually will have weapons of mass destruction that means both [British Prime Minister] Tony [Blair] and I are committed to doing nothing � The facts may be a little bit different from satire. The Turkish Republic is located in quite an unfortunate part of the world, and is heir to a most difficult Ottoman inheritance -- it is not only exposed to the risk of �externalities,� its eastern neighbors often �export to it,� but also of deep-rooted historic disputes with most of its neighbors. Iran may be the new Iraq for Ankara, but may also become an opportunity to mend fences with Washington. The knives are about to be brought out. Officially, Turkey keeps itself aligned with European Union policy on Iran's nuclear program. Unofficially, Turkey shares U.S. concerns that Iran may possess weapons of mass destruction in six months to three years. That would not only mean a security threat to Turkey and to the region, but would also �squeeze� Turkey between two not-so-friendly states with nuclear capabilities -- Iran and Russia. The bitter truth pushes Turkey closer to the U.S. position and, as it does so, creates an opportunity for Ankara to converge with U.S. interests after the major divergence during and after the Iraq war. More and more people in gray office buildings in Ankara tend to believe Iran must be stopped. The policy of kowtowing to the Iranians goes back a long way. It started in the late 1980s when Sir Geoffrey Howe, the then British foreign secretary, attempted to establish a constructive dialogue with the mullahs in what proved a futile effort to persuade Tehran to free British hostages in Lebanon. As part of this policy the British government took the controversial decision to drop its claim that the Iranians had masterminded the Lockerbie terrorist atrocity that killed 270 people [when an aircraft was blown apart above the Scottish border town before crashing into it] in 1988, even though British intelligence uncovered significant evidence of Iranian involvement. Fast forward to 2005, Britain, along with France and the �Persia-philic� Germany, advocate that the best way to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program is to pursue a �negotiated solution.� No doubt the EU heavyweights' pacifism is music to the mullahs' ears. When Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused the West of �sponsoring terrorism� at last month's United Nations General Assembly, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw assured the Iranians that �the crisis would not be resolved by military means� (and, by the way, the mullahs must have fallen about with laughter in Tehran upon news that Mohammed Elbaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), won the Nobel Peace Prize. This is the same Elbaradei who said he had no evidence that Libya was building an atomic bomb until Libyan leader Col. Gaddafi saw the light after the Iraq war and publicly renounced his nuclear weapons program). Once again, trouble looms at Turkey's doorstep. The Iranians have invested too much time and money in their nuclear program. More importantly, they quite rightfully believe the nuclear option is their only means if they are to be �militarily deterrent� to the West. The reasoning is quite simple: this is an ideological matter; so, without nuclear weapons the Americans will drop their bombs over Iran sooner or later; and with nuclear weapons they may not risk a reciprocal Iranian attack in the form of nuclear bombs sent to Tel Aviv or Ankara or who knows where. Nuclear weapons are Iran's only chance to have some degree of deterrence. The looming stalemate risks Turkey's security and stability in the region before there is faint hope for some stability in Iraq, and Syria standing as a potential reason for more East-West confrontation may leave Turkey alone in the middle once again. But regarding Iran, Turkey privately backs the U.S. position. Twice in a month, Washington bigwigs came to Ankara to gauge, after the misfortunes over Iraq, the Turkish thinking. Stephen Hadley, national security advisor to Bush and Robert Joseph, the top state department official for (other states') non-proliferation, were in town to talk about Iran, particularly Joseph. He may not have won a Turkish carte blanche for an end-game he himself does not know, but at least he now knows Iran will not be a second Iraq between Turkey and the United States. It's highly improbable, but Ahmedinejad should sit down and wonder why Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to him in �coded warning language� at their bilateral meeting in the U.N. building last month. The trouble with the mullahs is that they believe they are smarter than all evil foreigners. ------------ sorry, but access to the article you have to be memeber of Diplomat-Newspapaer "Turkishdailynews"... So i have posted the whole article. Next week Israels Air-Force commander is comeing to Turkey.