239. Report Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research1

No. 281


Soviet Premier Kosygin, responding to a Turkish suggestion that he head the delegation to inaugurate a major USSR-financed steel plant, visited Turkey from December 26 to 29. While the visit was short on substance, one statement in the joint communiqué stood out. The two sides “agreed on the preparation of a political document on the subject of friendly relations and cooperation to be signed at a high-level meeting to take place in the near future.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Caglayangil explained to Ambassador Macomber on December 31 that, at Kosygin’s request, Ankara would consider signing a declaration “during a later visit.” The Turks and Soviets had agreed, according to Caglayangil, that they could “perhaps improve” on the “declaration of principles of good neighborly relations” announced during President Podgornyy’s 1972 visit to Turkey CSCE.” While noting that such a declaration would focus on CSCE, Caglayangil was vague on the actual language that might be incorporated, the nature of the document, and when and at what level it would be signed. He even left some doubt that he would ever agree to such a declaration.

Putting the US on Notice. By stating Turkey’s intention to negotiate a political document with the USSR, while holding back any details, Caglayangil probably is using the threat of a joint declaration as a pressure tactic on the US. According to a [less than 1 line not declassified] report, Prime Minister DEMIREL told [less than 1 line not declassified] that future American and Western behavior in areas of interest to Ankara will determine the temperature of Turkey’s relations with the USSR. American military assistance, US-Turkish base negotiations, and support on the Cyprus issue are the key determinants in Ankara’s thinking.

Ankara Prefers Ties to the West. For historical and practical reasons, Ankara would much prefer to retain close ties to the West and the US. The Turks continue to fear Soviet expansionism and realize that neither [Page 799] USSR nor their Moslem neighbors, including Iran, are dependable security allies. Provided that relations with the West remain good—and especially if US military assistance continues at roughly present levels—Ankara is likely to restrict its medium-term cooperation with the Soviets to:

  • —the signature of an innocuous declaration pledging friendship and exchanges between the two countries within the framework of the final act of CSCE;
  • —credit arrangements that will further Turkey’s industrialization plans and relieve its balance-of-payments problems;
  • —an effort to negotiate bilateral agreements covering consular relations, civil aviation (if a mutually acceptable hijacking provision can be worked out), and an accord on political asylum; and
  • —the possible purchase of small amounts of unsophisticated Soviet military support equipment.

Cuts in Aid May Change Turkey’s NATO Stance. If the US reduces or terminates its military assistance, the Turks would still be relatively cautious in their dealings with the Soviets as long as they believed such adverse developments to be temporary. In these circumstances, Turkey probably would not undertake to negotiate a political understanding with Moscow that could foreclose the possibility of future Western assistance or permanently damage relations with its NATO allies.

But if the Turks conclude that ties to the US and NATO (which they tend to equate) are permanently damaged, Ankara might well both reconsider its formal NATO membership and seriously contemplate negotiating a political accord with the Soviets. The Turks and Soviets might then look to the 1972 declaration and the 1925 Treaty of Friendship and Neutrality (see Annex)2 in drafting an accord designed to significantly improve relations between the two countries.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, NSC Staff for Europe, Canada, and Ocean Affairs, Convenience Files, 1974–77, Box 27, Turkey 1976 1, NSC. Secret; Exdis. Prepared by Charles Hartley and approved by Peter Tarnoff.
  2. Attached but not printed.