86. Letter From Turkish Prime Minister Demirel to President Carter 1

Dear Mr. President,

I would like to avail myself of the auspicious occasion of your assuming the high office of President, to extend once more my sincere wishes for your success, personal health and happiness. I am aware that in these early days of your administration many urgent domestic and international policy issues are awaiting your personal attention and devotion. I would wish to hope that the future of Turkish-American Bilateral Security Relations would also be considered among the priorities. My main concern in inviting your considerate attention to this aspect of our relationship, is in fact motivated by my firm belief in the value of these ties which have served the interests of our nations for a period of nearly three decades as well as the interests of the North Atlantic Alliance to which we are both committed.

Mr. President, as you are aware, it is one of the main foreign policy choices of Turkey to maintain its membership to the alliance and to continue the bilateral security and defence relations with the United States. This has been our policy in the past and we believe that it is in our interest to continue such a policy in the future. However, I must confess that the Congress decision to impose an arms embargo on Turkey has created serious domestic difficulties for the Turkish Government in upholding the credibility of the alliance and the usefulness of bilateral security relationship with the United States.2 Yet my Gov[Page 282]ernment acted with restraint and goodwill and spared no effort to avoid any further deterioration of our relations. Our joint efforts with the outgoing administration produced a new Defence Cooperation Agreement which aims at, above all, restoring the mutual confidence between the two nations which characterize our relationship for the last three decades.3

Mr. President, it is certainly up to your Administration and the United States Congress to determine where its country’s vital interests lie. What I would like to add to your considerations is that the already seriously damaged traditional and friendly Turkish-American relations can hardly survive another set-back. I believe that we should all try to avoid such an undesirable situation which will not only further adversely affect the Turkish-American bilateral relations but also shake the credibility of the alliance as a whole.

With these in mind, I am sincerely convinced that both of our countries have a common and vital interest in having the Agreement to be put into effect without further and unnecessary delay.

I am sure the restoration of our security ties will not only strengthen Turkey’s contribution to the Alliance but will also contribute to a considerable extent to the peace and stability in the area.

I thought I should bring these views to your attention in all frankness at this stage of our relationship and in doing so I am exclusively guided by my firm belief that, if we are equally concerned of the present situation, we should both spare no effort to remedy it.

With kind regards.

Yours sincerely,

Suleyman Demirel4
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 16, Greece: 1977. No classification marking. Although the letter is undated, Esenbel forwarded a copy to Vance on February 11.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 1, and footnote 7, Document 16.
  3. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. XXX, Greece; Cyprus; Turkey, 1973–1976, Documents 233, 236, and 241.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.