interests, lifted. Yet, it is argued that there is far more that Turkey and the U.S. have in common vis-a-vis Iraq then divides them, either in policy or in practical terms13.
The Turkish economy was hit very badly after the Gulf crisis. Before the Gulf crisis, Turkey’s economic and trade relations with Iraq were substantial, and Iraq was one of Turkey’s largest trading partners. But, the economic embargo imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War disrupted the Turkish-Iraqi trade and investment. According to some modest estimates, Turkey has lost during the past nine years more than $35 billion on that account. This excludes the losses that have been incurred in the Gulf region because of the increased transportation difficulties as a result of the restrictions on Iraq. So, Turkey’s partnership with the U.S. cost it a heavy price,
One of the most pressing issues of this millennium will be the management of the limited freshwater resources of the world, particularly in the Middle East. An important number of these resources are found in transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers. The natural availability of water has decreased as a result of many different factors, and suddenly a number of regions are experiencing water scarcity, many for the first time. The problem can now be seen to be making itself felt at the level of international politics, as water scarcity leads to disputes between states, often resulting in violent conflict. As a result, water has taken on a strategic role for many states. Since the likelihood of discovering new sources of water for exploitation is slim, the alternative and perhaps the only way ahead must be the formulation of an international legal framework governing the use and allocation of scarce water resources, allowing for the equitable and efficient utilization of shared watercourses14.
While lasting solutions to issues that have plagued Turkey's relationship with Greece for years remain elusive, channels remain open. President Clinton made clear during his meetings with Prime Minister Ecevit and Prime Minister Simitis the priority that the U.S. continues to give to a just, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem. And it is encouraging to see recent cooperation between Turkey and Greece in responding to the earthquake disasters and Kosovo humanitarian crisis. The “earthquake diplomacy” opened the way for a partial Turkish-Greek rapprochement. The Cyprus issue has been a particular problem that involved (for strategic reasons and under the pressure of ethnic lobbies in the Capitol) the U.S. for the last forty years. Cyprus remains a potential threat to stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, which could lead to renewed confrontation between Greece and Turkey, threatening security in the Mediterranean and possibly spilling into other areas, particularly the Balkans. The greatest obstacle in Cyprus is the denial of equal status to the Turkish Cypriot community15.
Turkish-U.S. Defense Relationship
13 Both countries are insistent on preserving the territorial integrity and independence of Iraq. Both insist that there should be no Kurdish State established in the north. Both insist that the PKK should not be able to take advantage of the situation there. Both agree that everything possible should be done to meet humanitarian needs of the Iraqi people. Both agree that the military threat that Saddam Hussein has represented in the past must never be allowed to be reconstituted, either in conventional or in non-conventional terms. Both agree that Iraq should meet the obligations that it assumed at the end of the Gulf War, and which it has avoided since.
14 Turkey’s control over the supply of rich fresh water sources could affect the politics of the region, shape inter-Arab alliances, and even alter the substance and outcome of the Arab-Israeli dispute. In addition, conflicts over water could combine with other underlying forces of instability, serving as a catalyst for region-wide violence.
15 If there is to be a federative solution then the fact that this cannot happen between a community and an independent state ought to be recognized. The de facto situation is such that there are two democratic states on the island. These two states are supposed to get together and form a bi-zonal, bi-communal Cyprus federation. The sine qua non of this is political equality. So long as the Greek Cypriot community does not accept this equality, no solution to the Cyprus problem is possible. Finding a way to move this problem off dead center remains a priority for Ankara and Washington.