159. Letter From the Turkish Ambassador (Elekdağ) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzezinski)1

Dear Mr. Brzezinski,

It is with considerable interest that I read your interview in the Washington Post, especially the passage on whether the allies share the “same historic and strategic vision” and on the common danger created by events in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf that currently threaten Europe.2

Indeed, until very recently it was Central Europe that was considered the powder keg and the area where East-West confrontation seemed most probable. Yet, gradually, Middle East and Western Asia, have become the area for East-West confrontation, as in the case for Europe between 1945–1955.

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The developments in this area adjacent to Turkey have assumed a manifestly dangerous aspect. The political and military balance in this region from a number of perspectives seems to have shifted against the West. The countries of the region face threats from the outside as well as internally due to their socio-political structures.

Turkey, unquestionably, with its control over the avenues from the North to this area, has assumed substantially greater strategic importance. Few people would dispute that an economically and militarily sound Turkey can become an element of peace and stability in the region. Any power which may have designs on this region will have to take into consideration Turkey’s strength and resilience A robust Turkey will thus be able to deter such a threat without provocation. This leads me to underline the importance of strengthening the local conventional deterrence of Turkey for enabling her to fulfill her responsibilities within the Western Alliance.

I fully support the thesis that it is to the benefit of the United States and indeed the whole western world to assist Turkey economically and militarily. Assistance to Turkey and its continuance at sufficient levels, in my view, is the best investment for the preservation of peace and security in this increasingly volatile region of the world.

These are only a few of the thoughts that I wanted to share with you in this letter. Indeed, as you prepare to depart to serve your country in any other role that you might choose to play in the future, it would give me considerable pleasure to consult with you and seek out your support on key Turkish-American issues.

When we recently visited you with Deputy Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, we were not able to discuss within the short time frame these issues as well as the vital importance of U.S. assistance, both economic and military, to Turkey.3

I am, of course, conscious of the fact that under this Administration, Turkish-American relations substantially improved. We are indeed grateful for the commitment of this Administration to the economic and military recovery of Turkey and, you, of course, have played a singular role in this development.

In view of the above, I believe, as does my government, that the aid levels [Page 485]for FY 1982 for Turkey should not only reflect the commitment of this Administration to the economic and military recovery of Turkey but should also take into consideration some of the alarming developments in our region that I previously touched upon in this letter. Turkey, hurt also financially under the continuing resolution of FY 1980, has made known to the Administration its views on the aid levels for FY 1982. Our requests represent an aid level to meet our minimum defense and economic requirements. I believe that without question such a U.S. assistance will symbolize to the Turkish public as well as to foe and friend alike the solidity of U.S. commitment.

Please accept my best wishes.

Warm regards,4

Şükrü Elekdag
  1. Source: Carter Library, White House Central Files, Countries, Box CO–56, CO 163, 8/1/78–1/20/81. No classification marking. The salutation is handwritten.
  2. Reference is to Michael Getler, “A Balanced U.S. Foreign Policy ‘Much Needed,’ Brzezinski Says,” The Washington Post, November 30, 1980, p. A1.
  3. See Document 158
  4. Elekdağ wrote “Warm regards,” before signing his name. In a December 12 covering memorandum to Brzezinski, Henze noted that he had drafted a reply for Brzezinski to sign. Brzezinski’s December 13 letter thanked Elekdağ for his thoughts and underscored the importance of continuing cooperation both in the bilateral and NATO spheres. (Carter Library, White House Central Files, Countries, Box CO–56, CO 163, 8/1/78–1/20/81)