Washington to reward a cooperative Turkey with aid package
The Turkish government might open its airspace and allow American forces access to the 50 airbases on its soil if every peaceful means of disarming neighboring Iraq had been exhausted and a UN resolution passed, stated the Republic’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis on Tuesday, December 3.
The highly sensitive topic was discussed in a meeting between Yakis and US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In a London stopover, Wolfowitz lobbied European Union leaders to issue a date for commencing talks on Turkey’s accession to the regional organization in their upcoming Copenhagen summit, reported the Washington Post.
Washington is considering rewarding a cooperative Turkey with an economic aid package, should another strike on Iraq be launched. The proposed value of such an aid package is thought to be $3.4 billion, two thirds of which in the form of military aid, including production licenses and technology transfers, reported UPI. NATO's only Muslim member still hopes to be compensated for the $30 billion losses it incurred due to the sanctions imposed on its major trade partner Iraq.
Another war is feared to devastate Turkey’s fragile economic recovery, backed by a three-year $16 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) rescue program. Before releasing another $1.6 billion tranche, the IMF requires Turkey to deliver a 6.5 percent primary budget surplus, a 5.5 percent economic growth rate and interest rates of 20-25 percent in 2002.
However, Turkey's new government, instated just one-week ago, has said it would seek to renegotiate the IMF targets, to make the country’s economic policy more responsive to the needs of the poor. So far the growth for this year is projected at 4.5 percent and primary surplus is aimed at 6.5 percent.
An indication that Turkey is on track to meet its year-end consumer inflation target of 35 percent was given by the country’s State Statistics Institute (SSI) disclosing this week that consumer inflation has so far this year increased by 31.8 percent, while wholesale inflation rose by 32.8 percent. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)