457. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State1

Secto 60/3715. Memorandum of conversation: FM Bayulken (Turkey), October 5, 1972, 3:15 pm, 35A Waldorf.

Participants: Turkey—FM Bayulken; Ambassador Olcay, UN; Ambassador Akbay, FornMinistry; Ambassador Esenbel, US; US—The Secretary, Mr. Sisco, NEA, Mr. Davies, EUR, Mr. Hirshorn, NEA/TUR (reporting officer).
Summary: In his discussion with the Secretary FM Bayulken covered a broad range of subjects including the current political and economic situation in Turkey. He affirmed the Melen govtʼs2 determination to maintain the poppy ban and emphasized the internal threat from guerrilla organizations. Bayulken said that if the US maintains its current position on MBFR participation he would be forced to resign. Bayulken also asked continued US cooperation on military assistance, foreign aid, and several individual projects such as the Northrop F–5 co-production project, M–48 tanks and the purchase of ships which had been loaned to Turkey. The Secretary reaffirmed US appreciation for Turkeyʼs courageous decision to prohibit poppy growing. He took note of Bayulkenʼs points and said that US would do everything possible to be of help.
Terrorism: Bayulken began by referring to his speech in the GA on October 4.3 He said that he had agreed with the suggestions made to him by AMB Handley. He thought that the more successful approach to terrorism would be to take this issue up in the Political Committee and try to avoid the political aspects and concentrate on the practical problem of the acts of terrorism. He said he believed that the Turkish delegation could be of help. Bayulken also said that the Turkish Govt has received more evidence of centers of insurrection among Turks in West Germany, Sweden and perhaps even England and France. Bayulken said that since martial law was imposed surface terrorist elements have been controlled. However underground preparations are [Page 1124] continuing. When the martial law is lifted these cells will come out into the open. He said that urban terrorism had not been supported by the peasants in Turkey. Therefore the terrorists are now looking to the unions. Most labor unions in Turkey are responsible but a small number are Communist oriented.
Economic Conditions: Bayulken said that the workers are relatively prosperous in Turkey where there is a high standard of living by ME standards. He said that the economy is good in spite of the fact that there have been three govts in the past two years. The private sector is beginning an upsurge. The state economic enterprises are slow to make profits but they have made good progress. Turkey is about to begin its third five year development plan and this will take close account of Turkeyʼs transition agreement with the Common Market. Because of the high birth rate in Turkey the Turkish economy must provide one million new jobs per year. Therefore industrialization is a must.
Political Conditions: Bayulken said that the anti-US vocal minority in Turkey has faded away although it may continue to exist underground. The attitude toward relations with the US is now better. American naval ships can visit Turkey freely and the Turkish Govt recently made a favorable decision on allowing US destroyers to sail into the Black Sea. Bayulken said that there was a large reservoir of good will toward the US in Turkey. Constitutional reforms will be necessary before Turkey can end its martial law. Bayulken said that the military are anxious to see civilian govt continue. They want to see the threats against democracy staved off, but they donʼt want to continue indefinitely the current sui generis regime. Bayulken said that Turkey should be able to return to normal democratic govt after the next election providing the electioneering is not too emotional and that there are not too many fiery speeches. Bayulken said that the Melen govt has the sympathy of the Assembly. Nevertheless because of the coming elections the politicians do not want to see this govt be successful. Therefore the PM will have to be very patient. Bayulken emphasized that whether or not elections are held in October 1973 Turkey will hold fast to democracy, its alliances, and its ideals.
Security Assistance: Bayulken said that Turkish Assembly has recently approved a 10 year program of armed force modernization which will cost 16 billion TL. This will be a great sacrifice. Turkey will make the ultimate effort but will need cooperation from the US. In this connection Bayulken said that the GOT was very anxious to have last yearʼs $40 million reduction in MAP replaced. Sisco said that door is not closed but it is unlikely that anything would be done before the election. Bayulken said that Turkey had been promised $120 million military assistance per year and that he hoped the current figure of $100 million will not be reduced as it is an absolute minimum. He said [Page 1125] that Turkey would also like to maintain the same level of FMS credit. The Secretary said that the US will do everything it can.
M–48 Tanks for Turkey: Bayulken asked about these. Sisco said that this was a matter of administrative detail and that he would look into it. Bayulken pointed out that receiving these tanks is important in order to maintain the confidence of the younger army officers in Turkey.
Ship Loans: Bayulken said that it was his understanding that the new clause in the most recent ship loan legislation which prevents sale would only apply to ships loaned to Turkey after its enactment.
Northrop F–5 Co-production Project: Bayulken asked that the USG do everything it could to help the Northrop project for the coproduction of F–5 aircraft in Turkey. He said that the establishment of an airframe factory would be beneficial to Turkish development. Ambassador Esenbel said that at some point Turkey will need FMS financing for this project. The Secretary said that the US will do everything it could to help.
Turkish-Greek Territorial Waters: Bayulken referred to the dispute between the Greeks and the Turks over the joint NATO command in Turkish and Greek territorial waters. The Turks intend to discuss this matter with the Greeks and hope to work out a compromise solution.
MBFR Participation: Bayulken said this question was a serious one for his govt. The Secretary said that he understood the Turkish position and we would take a look at it again. The US wanted Turkey to be satisfied and realized the domestic political problems. However it was also important that the talks get underway without hindrance. Bayulken then said that it would be impossible for him to go before his Assembly if the Turkish proposal were turned down. He would have to resign and, perhaps, his govt would have to resign because this is a very important issue in Turkey. He said that the rotational system accepted by 14 NATO countries requires only one extra seat at the talks and that this certainly should not cause any difficulty. He had spoken to Gromyko whom he has known for 22 years and he does not believe the Russians will object. The Secretary said that the US will try to solve this problem and Bayulken reiterated that it was impossible for Turkey to budge on this issue.
Poppy Ban: The Secretary thanked Bayulken for Turkeyʼs help on the poppy problem. He said that the Turkish Government had taken a courageous step and this had resulted in great appreciation within the US and that Turkey has clearly taken a leadership position. As a result Turkey is now getting a very good press in the US. Bayulken said that the Melen govt is very serious about maintaining the poppy ban. The GOT told party leaders that it would resign if the ban were rescinded by the Assembly.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL TUR–US. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Ankara. Secretary Rogers was in New York attending the UN General Assembly session.
  2. Prime Minister Erim resigned April 17 over the issue of extending government powers to combat terrorism. President Sunay appointed Defense Minister Ferit Melen to head an interim government the same day. After the failure of Suat Urguplu to form a government acceptable to the President, May 13, Sunay asked Melen to form a government, which he did on May 22.
  3. For text, see UN doc. A/PV. 2053.