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Turkey
Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit
Interview with CNN International
September 13, 2001

QUESTION: Turkey is in a peculiar position. If it is determined that the attack had a connection to any of Turkey’s neighbors, would Turkey participate in or support major attack against them?

Answer: We would not differentiate from different terrorist groups. Whoever inflicts terrorism on humanity, on any country should be dealt with very seriously. So we are experienced in that respect. In the meantime we have been able to ameliorate our problems in our region in the recent years. But here may be elements beyond governments, so we must be on alert all the time.

QUESTION: Does that mean that Turkey would fully back any NATO effort?

ANSWER: Yes, certainly.

QUESTION: Even if it involved one of Turkey’s neighbors?

ANSWER: Yes, certainly. Because terrorism has no boundaries, we don’t differentiate from different kinds of or different sources of terrorism. Terrorism is bad, terrorism is inhuman, from whatever it comes from.

QUESTION: There are reports, for instance, that the Cabinet has discussed among its scenarios, the worst-case scenario, involving a major US attack on Iraq?

ANSWER: We are prepared for all sorts of possibilities in that respect. As I said in my initial remarks we have been faced with terrorism for at least two decades. So we are quite experienced and we have recently been able to reduce terrorism considerably in Turkey.

QUESTION: Would Turkey allow the United States to use the Incirlik airbase in southeastern Turkey for any such response?

ANSWER: Well, I don’t want to speculate on probabilities. Let’s wait and see who are responsible for the terrible terrorist attack to the US. But of course, in principle, we will cooperate with the NATO countries, with our allies, with any peace loving country in the region or elsewhere. We would cooperate against terrorism from whatever source it comes from.

QUESTION: Are there any major concerns on the part of Turkey at the repercussions that would follow if there were major attack on Iraq in terms of the trade with Iraq?

ANSWER: Well, I don’t want…

QUESTION: In terms of a possible influx of refugees?

ANSWER: We are living in a very sensitive part of the world. We don’t want to speculate on scenarios that have not become apparent for the time being. I don’t, as I said, I don’t specify any country in our struggle against terrorism and we will certainly support fully the Article 5 of NATO Agreement.

QUESTION: Well, this attack in the US of course has a staggering human cost. So, that also has implications for a wide variety of things, including the global economy and Turkey is in economic crisis and the Turkish currency has dropped even further following this attack. What is Turkey doing to deal with that, to stop the crisis from getting worse?

ANSWER: Of course, we have realized that we will be faced with additional economic problems while trying to deal with the economic crisis. We know that it is a global problem also. That the rich countries or the West also had recently started feeling problems in the economic field. But Turkey, of course Turkey’s problems will become aggravated to some degree but I’m also hopeful that we shall be able to reduce the effects of terrorism in America on Turkey. We have full confidence in the United States. Of course it is still a very rich country and it is a world power with international responsibilities. I am confident that the US will be able to improve the economic condition and we have received a guarantee from the IMF yesterday that the recent crisis will not negatively affect the credits we expect from the IMF.

QUESTION: What specific effect do you thing this might have on the Turkish economy and what specific measures did you take?

ANSWER: It is too early to make detailed assessments. I don’t think we have to take additional measures. Because we have been taking all the measures that one can think of in dealing with the economic crisis. I don’t think that the negative effects on Turkish economy will be very much, we should be able to deal with the additional problems in the short time, hopefully.

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