Wolfowitz Is 'Confident' of Turkish Help in Case of War With Iraq
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 4, 2002 U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz said today he is confident Turkey will play a significant part in any war against Iraq if Saddam Hussein doesn't dump his weapons of mass destruction.
Wolfowitz expressed that optimism to reporters this morning in Ankara, the Turkish capital, before he departed for NATO consultations here. He spent Dec. 3 in meetings with senior Turkish officials, including Prime Minister Abdulla Gul.
Wolfowitz noted his scheduled Dec. 3 meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis didn't occur, as reported earlier, because Yakis had to cancel. Last night in Ankara, Yakis told reporters traveling with Wolfowitz that Turkey wants the United Nations to pass a second resolution authorizing hostilities against Iraq if Hussein doesn't comply with U.N. Resolution 1441.
Wolfowitz noted this morning in Ankara that Turkish and U.S. officials alike have different views on this issue, and added further discussion is needed. That's why, he said, President Bush has invited Turkish Justice and Development Party leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to visit the White House soon. Erdogan's party received a 34 percent majority vote in Turkish parliamentary elections held Nov. 3.
The deputy remarked "the devil is in the details" concerning possible U.S. use of Turkish military facilities, such as air bases, if war against Hussein's regime becomes necessary. The level of Turkish assistance, he noted, will be up to that country's government and its people.
Like Turkey, he said, the U.S. government is committed to first exhausting all avenues to peacefully settle the Iraq WMD problem. Confronting Hussein in a unified manner shows the Iraqi dictator that the world means business, Wolfowitz pointed out, while providing the best chance of solving the crisis without going to war.
Arriving early this afternoon at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Wolfowitz met with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, Chairman of NATO Military Committee Gen. Harald Kujat, and other senior officials.
Wolfowitz returns to Washington tonight.