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TURKEY: A GEOPOLITICAL CROSSROADS BY FRANCIS RONALDS/WASHINGTON

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=6/20/95

TYPE=INTERNATIONAL FOCUS

NUMBER=4-08412

TITLE=TURKEY: A GEOPOLITICAL CROSSROADS

BYLINE=FRANCIS RONALDS

TELEPHONE=619-3937

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

EDITOR=PHIL HAYNES

CONTENT=  // ACTUALITIES AVAILABLE FROM AUDIO SERVICES //

ANNCR: WELCOME TO INTERNATIONAL FOCUS ON THE VOICE OF AMERICA, A WEEKLY PROGRAM THAT PRESENTS A VARIETY OF VIEWS ON ISSUES AND EVENTS OF GLOBAL CONCERN AND INTEREST.

CART: FOCUS THEME (ESTABLISH FULL AND LOSE UNDER)

INTRO: THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT, UNDER THE STRONG LEADERSHIP OF PRIME MINISTER TANSU CILLER (CHEE'-LER) IS PRESENTLY DEBATING NEW LEGISLATION SOME ARE CALLING THE "DEMOCRACY PACKAGE". BUOYED BY VICTORY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS EARLIER THIS MONTH, MRS. CILLER'S COALITION HOPES TO AMEND THE COUNTRY'S CONSTITUTION, PUT IN PLACE DURING A BRIEF MILITARY TAKEOVER IN THE EARLY 1980S. HER PRINCIPLE ADVISER, EMRE GONENSAY (GUH'-NEN-SAI), SAYS IT IS TIME FOR CHANGE:

TAPE: CUT ONE -- GONENSAY (0:11)

"WE HAVE TO HAVE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM. AND THEN WE HAVE TO IMPROVE OUR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION LEGAL FRAMEWORK. I'M CONFIDENT WE WILL DO THIS."

INTRO: THE PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS WOULD NOT ONLY STRENGTHEN TURKEY'S DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS; THEY WOULD ALSO ALLAY CONCERNS IN EUROPE ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY, PAVING THE WAY FOR APPROVAL OF A NEW CUSTOMS UNION BY THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. REFORM IN TURKEY IS IMPORTANT FOR MANY REASONS. FIRST, IT HAS THE ONLY ESTABLISHED DEMOCRACY IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD AND REMAINS THE SOUTHEAST BASTION OF THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION. ALSO, WITH THE END OF THE COLD WAR, TURKEY HAS BECOME A KEY CROSSROADS BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE NEWLY-INDEPENDENT STATES OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION, WITH VITAL LINKS TO THE NATIONS OF THE BALKANS AND THE MIDDLE EAST AS WELL. TO LOOK AT TURKEY'S NEW ROLE IN THE WORLD, HERE IS FRANK RONALDS.

HOST: GRAHAM FULLER SAYS THAT TURKEY'S POSITION IN THE WORLD HAS CHANGED IMMENSELY SINCE THE END OF THE COLD WAR. A FELLOW AT THE RAND CORPORATION IN WASHINGTON, D-C, MR. FULLER IS AUTHOR OF THE BOOK, "TURKEY'S NEW GEOPOLITICS":

TAPE: CUT TWO -- FULLER (1:10)

"TURKEY IS NO LONGER ISOLATED AT THE END OF EUROPE BUT THE CENTER OF A NEW GEOPOLITICAL AREA THAT STRETCHES -- OF COURSE WITH TIES TO THE WEST, BUT ALSO TO THE BALKANS, CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CAUCASUS -- RIGHT INTO THE TURKIC AREAS OF CHINESE TURKESTAN. TURKEY IS ALSO INVOLVED NOW MORE TO THE SOUTH THAN EVER BEFORE, BECAUSE OF ITS INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQI POLITICS THAT RESULTED FROM THE GULF WAR. ALSO, TURKEY HAS LONG TALKED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF SELLING WATER TO THE ARAB STATES. IT HAS DECENT RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL. I THINK AFTER A PEACE SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE ARABS AND ISRAELIS, THAT TURKEY'S ROLE IN ISRAEL, SYRIA, JORDAN, IRAQ, WILL BE MUCH GREATER THAN BEFORE. AND, OF COURSE, TURKEY IS DEEPLY INVOLVED IN RUSSIA ECONOMICALLY. SO EVEN IF THERE IS SOME GEOPOLITICAL RIVALRY BETWEEN TURKEY AND RUSSIA OVER CENTRAL ASIA, TURKEY IS ONE OF THE LARGEST LONG-TERM INVESTORS IN THE RUSSIAN ECONOMY, AND IS ENGAGED IN MANY PROJECTS THERE. SO TURKEY IS REALLY NOW THE CENTER OF ITS OWN NEW, VERY BIG GEOPOLITICAL WORLD."

HOST: ADDED TO ITS POSITION AS A GEOGRAPHICAL CROSSROADS IS TURKEY'S POSITION AS THE ONLY WELL ESTABLISHED DEMOCRACY WITHIN THE ISLAMIC WORLD. PROFESSOR HEATH LOWRY IS CHAIRMAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NEAR EAST STUDIES AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY IN NEW JERSEY:

TAPE: CUT THREE -- LOWRY (0:30)

"I THINK TURKEY'S SUCCESS, BOTH ECONOMICALLY AND POLITICALLY, ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF HER ISLAMIC NEIGHBORS. TO THE EXTENT THAT TURKEY SHOWS THAT SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY AND WESTERNIZATION ARE FULLY PRACTICAL IN A SOCIETY WHOSE POPULATION IS 99 PERCENT MUSLIM, I THINK THAT THIS CAN ONLY BE A VERY USEFUL MODEL FOR ALL OF THE ISLAMIC COUNTRIES IN THE REGION."

HOST: SOME 50 MEMBER STATES MAKE UP THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE ORGANIZATION. PROFESSOR BERNARD LEWIS, ALSO OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, POINTS OUT THAT MANY ISLAMIC COUNTRIES HAVE EXPERIMENTED WITH DEMOCRACY AND SOME HAVE MOVED IN THAT DIRECTION BY HOLDING CONTESTED ELECTIONS. HOWEVER, PROFESSOR LEWIS SAYS, ONLY TURKEY HAS REPEATEDLY CARRIED OUT CONTESTED ELECTIONS.

THE CREDIT FOR BUILDING MODERN TURKEY GOES PRIMARILY TO KEMAL ATATURK, WHO FOUNDED THE TURKISH REPUBLIC IN 1923. BUT PROFESSOR LEWIS SAYS THAT ITS SUCCESS ALSO HAS HISTORICAL ROOTS. PROFESSOR LEWIS IS THE AUTHOR OF MANY ACCLAIMED BOOKS ON ISLAMIC HISTORY, INCLUDING "THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN TURKEY":

TAPE: CUT FOUR -- LEWIS (1:12)

"TURKEY IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW MUSLIM COUNTRIES THAT HAS ENJOYED UNINTERRUPTED SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENCE FOR HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS. AND THE TURKS THEREFORE RETAIN THAT HABIT OF ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN DECISIONS, FOR THEIR OWN AFFAIRS, WHICH I WOULD SAY IS AN ESSENTIAL INGREDIENT OF DEMOCRACY. WHERE THE NATIONAL INTEREST IS PRIMARILY TO WIN SOVEREIGN INDEPENDENCE, FREEDOM COMES TO MEAN COLLECTIVE FREEDOM, NATIONAL FREEDOM, AND THERE IS A DANGER THAT THE NOTION OF INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM WILL GET LOST. AFTER A LONG STRUGGLE AGAINST FOREIGN RULERS, IT IS DIFFICULT TO GET ACCUSTOMED TO THE IDEA THAT ANY FURTHER COMPLAINTS MUST BE ADDRESSED TO COMPATRIOTS, NOT TO PEOPLE FAR AWAY. AND OBVIOUSLY, MANY COUNTRIES THAT HAVE NOW BEEN INDEPENDENT FOR HALF A CENTURY OR MORE ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY ACCEPTING THE FACT THAT WHATEVER HAPPENS IS THEIR AFFAIR, AND THAT THEY CANNOT GO ON BLAMING IMPERIALISM AND OTHER OUTSIDE AGENCIES. THE TURKS HAVE NOT HAD TO GO THROUGH THAT PHASE. SO THAT AT LEAST WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT FREEDOM, THAT IS WHAT THEY MEAN."

HOST: PROFESSOR LEWIS POINTS OUT THAT TURKEY HAS BEEN COMPARED TO JAPAN, WHICH BEGAN TO MODERNIZE AND INTRODUCE ELEMENTS OF DEMOCRACY DURING THE SO-CALLED MEIJI RESTORATION, TOWARD THE END OF THE 19TH CENTURY:

TAPE: CUT FIVE -- LEWIS (0:34)

"THERE ARE BOOKS PUBLISHED COMPARING THE TURKISH AND JAPANESE EXPERIENCES. THERE ARE IMPORTANT ELEMENTS IN COMMON. BOTH WERE INDEPENDENT STATES, BOTH SUDDENLY WERE SUBJECTED TO THE DEVASTATING IMPACT OF EUROPEAN POWER -- IN THE CASE OF JAPAN, AMERICAN POWER. AND BOTH FOUND IT NECESSARY TO RESPOND TO THIS BY TRYING TO MODERNIZE AND ULTIMATELY DEMOCRATIZE THEIR OWN INSTITUTIONS. THE TURKISH ROAD TO DEMOCRACY HAS BEEN VERY DIFFICULT AND BESET WITH PROBLEMS. BUT THEY HAVE PERSEVERED, AND THEY HAVE CONTINUED."

HOST: UNDER KEMAL ATTATURK, THE STATE DOMINATED THE ECONOMY. STATE INSTITUTIONS WERE STRONG, BUT THE ECONOMY SUFFERED PERIODIC CRISES. IN THE EARLY 1980S, TURGUT OZAL (EHR'-ZAL), AS FINANCE MINISTER, PRIME MINISTER AND PRESIDENT, INTRODUCED FREE MARKET REFORMS, WHICH LED TO HIGH RATES OF GROWTH THROUGHOUT THE DECADE. BUT THE STATE SECTOR REMAINED LARGE. EMRE GONENSAY, A FORMER ECONOMICS PROFESSOR WHO IS NOW PRINCIPLE ADVISER TO PRIME MINISTER CILLER, SAYS THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT IS CARRYING ECONOMIC REFORMS A STEP FURTHER:

TAPE: CUT SIX -- GONENSAY (1:30)

"WE HAD A CRISIS IN MARCH, 1994, WHICH WAS REALLY A RESULT OF ALMOST 15 YEARS OF PUBLIC SECTOR DEFICITS. OVER THE LAST YEAR, WE HAVE REESTABLISHED CONFIDENCE IN THE TURKISH ECONOMY. OUR CURRENT ACCOUNT SITUATION SWUNG FROM A DEFICIT OF ALMOST EIGHT-BILLION U-S DOLLARS TO A THREE-BILLION-DOLLAR SURPLUS IN 1994, AND WE ARE GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER SURPLUS NOW IN 1995. WE ARE NOW READY TO ATTACK SO-CALLED STRUCTURAL REFORM, WHICH REALLY BOILS DOWN TO PRIVATIZATION -- THAT IS, REDUCING THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE STATE IN THE ECONOMY DRASTICALLY. WE HAD TO HAVE AN UMBRELLA LAW WHICH WOULD HELP PUSH THIS THROUGH. THAT LAW TOOK ALMOST A YEAR IN PREPARATION AND IN PASSING THROUGH PARLIAMENT. IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS OR SO, WE INTEND TO PRIVATIZE SOME MAJOR COMPANIES AND ALSO SOME NOT SO MAJOR COMPANIES WHICH ARE IN THE STATE SECTOR. NOW, HAVING REMOVED SOME OF THESE PROBLEMS, WE SHOULD ENJOY EVEN GREATER GROWTH. ALSO, I THINK THE ECO-POLITICAL SITUATION CHANGES IN THE 90S WILL HELP US, BECAUSE WE ARE GOING TO BE A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN CUSTOMS UNION."

HOST: THE FOREIGN MINISTERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION PROPOSED A CUSTOMS UNION WITH TURKEY TO TAKE EFFECT NEXT JANUARY 1ST. WHAT WILL BE THE ADVANTAGES OF THE CUSTOMS UNION FOR TURKEY AND FOR THE E-U? EMRE GONENSAY SAYS THERE ARE MANY:

TAPE: CUT SEVEN -- GONENSAY (1:32)

"FOR TURKEY THE ADVANTAGE IS THAT TURKEY WILL PUT HERSELF IN A DEFINITE FRAMEWORK OF COMPETITION, EFFICIENCY, ANTI-TRUST LAWS, COMPETITION NORMS, AND THEREFORE THIS WILL HELP DYNAMIZE THE TURKISH ECONOMY. WHATEVER PROTECTION THAT REMAINS NOW VIS-A-VIS EUROPE WILL BE REDUCED TO ZERO, AND THAT WILL SPUR TURKEY ON. IT WILL SPUR ITS GROWTH PATH. AS FAR AS EUROPE IS CONCERNED, THEY WILL HAVE ACCESS TO A MARKET OF 60-MILLION PEOPLE -- NOT ONLY THAT, WITH ALL THE ASSOCIATIONS OF TURKEY: THE BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION PROJECT, THE ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION. TURKEY WILL BE IN AN IDEAL POSITION NOT ONLY TO INVEST AND SELL, BUT TO DISTRIBUTE FROM TURKEY TO ANOTHER HINTERLAND OF PERHAPS 300-MILLION PEOPLE. THAT'S THE ECONOMIC ASPECT. BUT THE POLITICAL ASPECTS ARE EVEN MORE IMPORTANT, BECAUSE TURKEY IN EUROPE MEANS THAT TURKEY CAN PLAY AN EVEN GREATER ROLE IN STABILIZING ALL THESE AREAS THROUGH ECONOMIC COOPERATION, THROUGH CREATING ECONOMIC INTERDEPENDENCE, HELPING IN A STRATEGIC WAY FOR THE STABILITY AND PROSPERITY OF THESE AREAS."

HOST: PROFESSOR BERNARD LEWIS EMPHATICALLY AGREES THAT THE CUSTOMS UNION WILL BE A BIG STEP FORWARD, BOTH FOR EUROPE AND FOR TURKEY:

TAPE: CUT EIGHT -- LEWIS (1:12)

"TURKEY IS NOW THE MEETING PLACE OF EUROPE AND ASIA. IT IS PART OF THE 51 OR 52-NATION ISLAMIC BLOC, WITH WHICH IT HAS MAINTAINED ON THE WHOLE VERY FRIENDLY CONTACTS. IT IS ALSO PART OF THE NEWLY EMERGING TURKISH WORLD. WE HAVE BECOME ACCUSTOMED FOR A LONG TIME TO TALK OF THE ARAB WORLD, MEANING THE 20 OR SO NATIONS WHICH SHARE THE ARABIC LANGUAGE AND HAVE A SENSE OF ARABIC IDENTITY. AND FOR A LONG TIME, TURKEY WAS THE ONE TURKISH STATE -- THE ONLY OTHER TURKIC PEOPLES BEING INCORPORATED IN OTHR EMPIRES, MAINLY THE SOVIET UNION, SOME IN IRAN, AFGHANISTAN AND CHINA. BUT NOW, THE FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS HAVE BECOME INDEPENDENT AND FIVE OF THEM ARE PREDOMINANTLY TURKISH. THEIR TURKISH IS NOT THE SAME AS THE TURKISH IN TURKEY BUT THEY ARE CLOSELY RELATED LANGUAGES, AND THERE ARE GROWING CONTACTS BETWEEN THEM. SO THE COURSE OF TURKISH CONTACTS WITH THE TURKISH WORLD ON THE ONE HAND, WITH THE ISLAMIC WORLD ON THE OTHER, AND ITS KEY POSITION BETWEEN THE BALKANS AND THE MIDDLE EAST, I WOULD SAY THAT IT WILL HAVE VERY CONSIDERABLE SIGNIFICANCE."

HOST: ALTHOUGH THE EUROPEAN UNION RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF CLOSER TIES WITH TURKEY, BOTH ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN STRASBOURG HAS WARNED THAT IT WILL NOT APPROVE THE CUSTOMS UNION UNLESS TURKEY WORKS TO IMPROVE ITS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY HAS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT TREATMENT OF TURKEY'S LARGEST ETHNIC MINORITY, THE KURDS. THE GOVERNMENT IN ANKARA CLAIMS THAT THE KURDS ARE TREATED FAIRLY, BUT ALLEGES THAT THE KURDISH WORKERS PARTY, OR P-K-K, IS NOTHING MORE THAN A MARXIST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION WHICH HAS WAGED A LONG AND BITTER CAMPAIGN TO ESTABLISH A SEPARATIST STATE IN SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, THE LONDON-BASED HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION, DOES NOT DEFEND THE P-K-K, BUT NEVERTHELESS CHARGES TURKEY WITH SERIOUSLY VIOLATING THE RIGHTS OF MANY KURDS. MARYAM ELAHI IS A MIDDLE EAST SPECIALIST WITH THE WASHINGTON BRANCH OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL:

TAPE: CUT NINE -- ELAHI (0:52)

"WE HAVE SAID THAT THE P-K-K IS AN ARMED OPPOSITION GROUP. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE GUERRILLAS AND THAT THEY HAVE ALSO VIOLATED AND ABUSED HUMAN RIGHTS NORMS AND WE HAVE ALSO APPEALED TO THEM TO RESPECT INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN LAW. BUT THE (TURKISH) GOVERNMENT MANIPULATES THE WHOLE SITUATION WITH THE P-K-K TO TRY AND GET OUT OF RESPONDING TO THEIR OWN OBLIGATIONS. THEY HAVE RATIFIED INTERNATIONAL TREATIES. A LOT OF PEOPLE ABOUT WHOM WE ARE VERY CONCERNED, WHOM WE BELIEVE ARE PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE, ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTIVE IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT, PEOPLE WHO DO NOT IN ANY WAY ADVOCATE VIOLENCE AND WHO ARE THEREFORE THE SUBJECT OF INTIMIDATION BY THE GOVERNMENT."

HOST: THE KURDS, WHO HAVE NEVER HAD AN INDEPENDENT NATIONAL STATE, ARE BY FAR THE LARGEST ETHNIC MINORITY IN TURKEY, MAKING UP ABOUT ONE-FIFTH OF THE POPULATION OF OVER 60-MILLION PEOPLE. THEY SPEAK AN IRANIAN, RATHER THAN AN ALTAIC, LANGUAGE. WHILE THE P-K-K LAUNCHED ITS CAMPAIGN IN 1984 TO ESTABLISH A SEPARATE STATE IN SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY -- SOMETIMES DESCRIBED AS PART OF KURDISTAN -- RELATIVELY FEW KURDS NOW LIVE IN THE REGION. THE KURDS ALSO LIVE IN PARTS OF IRAN AND IRAQ, WITH SMALLER NUMBERS IN SYRIA AND THE CAUCASUS REGION.

PRINCETON PROFESSOR HEATH LOWRY DOES NOT SEE TURKEY'S KURDISH PROBLEM AS AN ETHNIC ISSUE. HE SAYS THAT TURKEY HAS HISTORICALLY DISTINGUISHED ITS VARIOUS MINORITIES ON RELIGIOUS, RATHER THAN ETHNIC, GROUNDS:

TAPE: CUT TEN -- LOWRY (1:21) (-0:14)

"THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF TURKS AND KURDS WERE SUNNI MUSLIMS. THERE WERE NO IMPEDIMENTS TO MARRIAGE AND A GREAT DEAL OF INTERMARRIAGE BETWEEN TURKS AND KURDS HAS GONE ON FOR 600 YEARS. (BEGIN OPT) SO MANY PEOPLE WHO MAY CONSIDER THEMSELVES TURKS KNOW THAT THEY HAD A KURDISH GRANDMOTHER OR A KURDISH GRANDFATHER, AND THIS COMPLICATES THE PROCESS FURTHER. (END OPT) THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE KURDS, WHO LIVE IN THE WEST OF THE COUNTRY, HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A GENERATION OR MORE AND ARE FULLY ASSIMILATED MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY. THE REGION OF THE SOUTHEAST, WHERE THE DISTURBANCES HAVE BEEN GOING ON FOR THE PAST DECADE, IS AN AREA THAT BASICALLY HAS BEEN LEFT OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM OF TURKISH SOCIETY IN THE PAST SEVEN YEARS. IT'S REMOTE, MOUNTAINOUS; IT'S FAR FROM THE MAIN URBAN CENTERS. AND MANY OF THE PROBLEMS RELATE TO VERY LIMITED ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY AND A FEELING THAT ONE IS LEFT OUTSIDE THE MAINSTREAM OF THE COUNTRY."

HOST: ON MARCH 30TH, TURKEY SENT 35-THOUSAND TROOPS INTO THE SO-CALLED "NO-FLY ZONE" OF NORTHERN IRAQ, WHERE THE P-K-K HAD ESTABLISHED BASES FROM WHICH ITS GUERRILLAS LAUNCHED ATTACKS INTO SOUTHEASTERN TURKEY. THE TURKISH MILITARY OPERATION CAUSED CONSTERNATION IN EUROPE, AND AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS THE TROOPS WERE WITHDRAWN. BUT MANY TURKISH KURDS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF SPREADING SEPARATIST PROPAGANDA. EVEN YASAR KEMAL, TURKEY'S MOST FAMOUS NOVELIST, WHO IS AN ETHNIC KURD ALTHOUGH HE WRITES IN TURKISH, HAS BEEN CHARGED UNDER ARTICLE EIGHT OF THE COUNTRY'S ANTI-TERROR LAW.

GRAHAM FULLER, OF THE RAND CORPORATION, THINKS MOST KURDS PREFER TO REMAIN A PART OF TURKEY SO LONG AS THEY CAN MAINTAIN THEIR ETHNIC IDENTITY. HE BELIEVES THAT THE P-K-K WOULD LOSE WHAT INFLUENCE IT HAS IF KURDS WERE GUARANTEED GREATER RIGHTS TO USE THEIR LANGUAGE FREELY:

TAPE: CUT ELEVEN -- FULLER (0:55)

"[OPT] A LARGE NUMBER OF TURKISH KURDS DO LIVE IN THE WESTERN PART OF TURKEY. PROBABLY AT LEAST HALF OF THEM DO. [END OPT] MY FEELING IS THAT VERY FEW OF THE KURDS IN TURKEY REALLY WOULD WANT TO SEPARATE FROM TURKEY. BUT JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE INTEGRATED DOES NOT MEAN THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE THEIR OWN ETHNIC ASPIRATIONS. THEY WANT THEIR IDENTITY TO BE RECOGNIZED, THEY WANT THE RIGHT TO USE THE KURDISH LANGUAGE FULLY, IN EDUCATION, IN TELEVISION, IN RADIO AND POSSIBLY EVEN IN THE AREA OF POLITICAL PARTIES. SO I THINK EVEN THOSE KURDS WHO LIVE IN THE WESTERN PARTY OF TURKEY, AND WHO HAVE A BETTER ECONOMIC LIFE, SHARE THESE SAME GOALS. IN FACT, THEY MAYBE ARE MORE ADVANCED IN THEIR THINKING ABOUT DEMANDING THESE CULTURAL RIGHTS. SO I DON'T THINK THE PROBLEM IS SIMPLY AN ECONOMIC ONE AT ALL. IT'S MUCH MORE A QUESTION OF IDENTITY."

HOST: ACCORDING TO EMRE GONENSAY, ADVISER TO PRIME MINISTER CILLER, THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT HAS LONG CONCENTRATED ON WIPING OUT ILLITERACY, THE KURDS INCLUDED. TODAY, OVER 90 PERCENT OF THE MEN IN TURKEY ARE LITERATE IN TURKISH, AND OVER 70 PERCENT OF WOMEN. KURDS HAVE ALWAYS HAD FULL POLITICAL RIGHTS AND MANY LEADERS OF THE TURKISH REPUBLIC HAVE BEEN KURDS. FIVE YEARS AGO, KURDS WERE PERMITTED TO PRINT THEIR OWN NEWSPAPERS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS. THEY DO NOT YET HAVE THEIR OWN RADIO OR TELEVISION BROADCASTS, BUT DEMOCRATIC REFORMS PROPOSED BY THE GOVERNMENT WILL GRANT BROADER FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION. MR. GONESAY SAYS CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM, NOW BEING DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT, MUST COME FIRST:

TAPE: CUT TWELVE -- GONENSAY (0:41)

"TWENTY-ONE ARTICLES ARE INVOLVED, AND THEN THE CO-ALLED ARTICLE 8, WHICH DEALS WITH FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, THAT WILL BE THE NEXT. AND I'M CONFIDENT THAT THESE REFORMS WILL BE ENACTED DURING THE NEXT MONTH OR SO, INCLUDING ARTICLE 8. OUR AIM IS TO HAVE FULL FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND LIMIT IT NO MORE THAN ARTICLE 10 OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS CONVENTION OF EUROPE. IT IS FOR OUR OWN SAKE, BY THE WAY, THAT AT THIS TIME, AT THIS POINT IN HISTORY, WE SHOULD PUT ALL THESE THINGS BEHIND US AND SUCCEED WITH THIS REFORM."

HOST: BEYOND DEMOCRATIC REFORMS, MR. GONENSAY IS ANTICIPATING NEW THINGS FOR TURKEY AT THE INTERNATIONAL LEVEL. AMONG THEM, HE SEES GREAT NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPANDED GLOBAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION IN WHICH TURKEY WILL PLAY A MAJOR MEDIATING ROLE:

TAPE: CUT THIRTEEN -- GONENSAY (1:01)

"AFTER THE COLLAPSE OF THE SOVIET UNION, A VAST AREA -- CENTRAL ASIA, THE CAUCASUS, THE BALKANS, THE MIDDLE EAST -- IS BECOMING PART OF THE WORLD ECONOMY AND TURKEY IS LOCATED STRATEGICALLY AT THE CROSSROADS OF ALL THESE AREAS AND HAS RELATIONS, ECONOMIC RELATIONS, WITH ALL THESE. WE ARE NOT ONLY GEOGRAPHCIALLY CENTERED AT THE CROSSROADS OF THIS AREA, WHICH MAKES TURKEY AN INTERESTING POINT FOR MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY AND DISTRIBUTION, BUT WE HAVE ALL KINDS OF LINKS TO THESE COUNTRIES THAT HAVE EXISTED FOR CENTURIES. THERE ARE CULTURAL, LINGUISTIC, RELIGIOUS, HISTORICAL, EVEN FAMILY TIES. SO WE ARE IN ALL OF THIS AREA, WHICH WILL HELP ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND WHICH WILL HELP TURKEY'S POSITION AS A KEY LOCATION FOR THAT ECONOMIC COOPERATION."

CART: THEME MUSIC (ESTABLISH FULL AND TAKE UNDER ANNCR)

ANNCR: YOU HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO INTERNATIONAL FOCUS ON THE VOICE OF AMERICA. OUR PROGRAM, ON TURKEY'S NEW ROLE AS A CROSSROADS BETWEEN EUROPE AND ASIA, WAS WRITTEN AND NARRATED BY FRANK RONALDS AND EDITED BY PHIL HAYNES. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE WAS PROVIDED BY ________ AND OUR DIRECTOR WAS ________. JOIN US AGAIN AT THIS TIME NEXT WEEK WHEN WE TAKE AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT ANOTHER SUBJECT OF GLOBAL SIGNIFICANCE, ON INTERNATIONAL FOCUS.

CART: THEME MUSIC (UP AND HOLD FOR TIME)

NEB/FR/PCH

20-Jun-95 4:40 PM EDT (2040 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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