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A Role for Turkey in Stabilizing Iraq

October 12, 2003

Re "Stationing Turks in Iraq Could Endanger Region" Commentary, Oct. 9:

Ralph Menon and Henri J. Barkey argue that Turkey's motives, if it were to send troops to Iraq, are suspect and are partly aimed -- "on political and strategic grounds" -- at being on location to enter northern Iraq with ease in case of the fragmentation of Iraq and the rise of an Iraqi Kurdish state from the rubble.

These arguments resemble nothing but paranoia or an exciting conspiracy theory, stretched to appeal to students of an international relations department, possibly of Lehigh University, where the writers of this commentary teach.

The truth, however, is much simpler. Turkey, on the path to full European Union membership and undergoing reforms in every aspect of life, is eager for stability in its rough neighborhood.

The Turkish Parliament simply chose not to turn a blind eye to the situation in Iraq. The sole reason for its decision is to help Iraq get back on its feet as soon as possible as a democratic, secure and stable state. Is that based on political and strategic grounds? Yes, it well is!

A. Engin Ansay

Ambassador and Consul

General of the Republic

of Turkey

Los Angeles

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