Former U.S. President George W. Bush offered to Turkey over 24 billion dollars to go along with attack plans against Iraq.
In addition, Turkey would gain support for key political demands on its neighbor to look after President Saddam Hussein's fall.
United States' main demands was supporting a so-called "northern option", where U.S. ground troops to invade northern Iraq from Turkey. Forces from Turkey would participate on an equal basis with other countries in the so-called coalition of the willing. In addition, the U.S. demanded, among other things, the right to fly over Turkish territory.
It appears in documents leaked to the website Wikileaks, and newspaper Aftenposten has been granted access.
Graphics: These were the U.S. diplomats concernedAftenposten.no can today present a new database that allows you to see which topics most often mentioned in the embassy over 250,000 documents.
Mobilized diplomatic corps
By navigating around the new database , readers can get an indication of the themes that occupy the American diplomats, in a selected period. If you search the database at the end of 2002/2003, you can get an idea of how strategically important Turkey was actually before the Iraq war: In December 2002, "Turkey" is the most commonly used word in the leaked messages. In the following months take over "Iraq" as the most frequently mentioned the word.
Navigate your way around the database Forsiden - Aftenposten.no
/ special / cable street
The U.S. attack plan would require a clear support from the Turkish government. Turkey is a NATO member, but as several NATO countries in Western Europe, war opposition in the country great. In addition, did the Islamist AKP party a bump election in 2002, and it was unclear how the new parliament would sit for the U.S. war plans.
Because of its geographical location, Turkey was in a unique position, and three months before the outbreak of war, the U.S. diplomat corps mobilized to persuade Turkey.
Internet site Wikileaks has obtained more than 250 000 documents from U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.
Aftenposten has gained access to all documents without any clauses.
The documents will be continually reviewed as the basis of articles by the same editorial criteria and ethical rules as the rest of the Evening Post's journalism.
- The President is ready
President George W. Bush sent in December 2002 its Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to Ankara. From the Turkish side asked an eminent delegation led by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul.
Together with the American ambassador, Robert Pearson, Wolfowitz presented a carrot that was good tkjent from the highest level:
"For this purpose the POTUS (President of the United States, journ.anm) ready to cooperate with the U.S. Congress on a comprehensive aid package to Turkey," states the document.
If Turkey gave the go-ahead for the U.S. plans to land a few:
■Two billion dollars per year over two years in the military and civilian aid.
■Values for a billion dollars in oil.
■Up to 500 million dollars in U.S. purchases of Turkish goods.
Feared a strong Kurdistan
A total package worth well over 24 billion Norwegian kroner.
In addition, the U.S. delegation promised that the U.S. would also support Turkey's desire for a date for membership negotiations with the EU.
Graphics: These were the U.S. diplomats concerned
The Turkish skepticism against going to war against Iraq was also linked to the Kurdish question. Turkey has a Kurdish population of 15 million, and has long been in conflict with the militant Kurdish organization PKK. At the same time the Kurdish population stood strong in the oil-rich northern Iraq.
If Saddam Hussein fell, Turkey feared that Iraq would collapse and that a Kurdish state was created in the north.
U.S. tried thus to reassure the Turks with clear guarantees:
■An independent Kurdish state was unacceptable.
■The rights of the population should turkomanske safeguarded.
■The important northern Iraqi cities of Kirkuk and Mosul should be controlled nationally.
■The control of oil revenues should lie with the national authorities.
Would have more money
Major promises notwithstanding, according to the minutes were not all of Turkey's delegation satisfied with the offer.
The Turks saw a pool of 20 billion, over 140 billion, which would be used when needed to compensate Turkey for any losses suffered after the outbreak of war.
The Turkish delegates estimated that the cost of war would amount to 47 billion dollars.
Wolfowitz said to the Turkish criticism of the package:
- These amounts may not seem large to you, but they are great for our government. It represents the commitment from the president's side, "said Wolfowitz.
- The war will be over quickly
The American delegation stressed the urgent work, and gave Turkey under a week to decide. Only through an early positive decision to attack planes from the north carried out.
"At the end of the week?!" Said a clearly surprised Prime Minister Abdullah Gul.
After the meeting, participants were told to keep the amounts from the public, and minutes of the meeting is classified "secret." The only thing that would come out in the media was that the U.S. was ready to support Turkey.
The summary of the meeting, Wolfowitz urges Turks to blow up the negative consequences of the Iraq war. The economic consequences would be largely psychological, "he claimed. He emphasized that the war would be lengthy.
- Any war will be over relatively quickly and result in significant benefits for Turkey. The government should begin to emphasize the positive, "according to the minutes.
USA never got Turkey on the plans.
In March 2003 the Turkish parliament voted by a small margin against allowing more than 60,000 troops attack Iraq from Turkey.
- No doubt
Researcher at the Peace Research Institute, Pinar Tank, is not surprised by the aid package from the United States.
- There was no doubt that there was horse-trading behind the scenes, "said Pinar Tank.
She says Recep Erdogan, who took over as prime minister after Abdullah Gul before the outbreak of war, faced a dilemma.
- By taking side with the Americans Erdoggan would strengthen his hand against the secular elite who were worried that he would pull Turkey away from the West. But it would have weakened his position among voters in general, when there was an overwhelming opposition to war, says Tank.