Friday, April 27, 2007

Turkey-Iran relations, 2000-2001: The Caspian, Azerbaijan and the Kurds
Robert Olson
Middle East Policy
Copyright (c) Middle East Policy Council Jun 2002

Relations between Turkey and Iran were dominated during 2000-2001 by issues relating to he Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and the Kurds. Geostrategically, the Kurdish question was the most important for Iran. The potential for an American attack on Iraq in cooperation with Turkey, and the dissolution of the Baathist regime in Baghdad - let alone a fragmented Iraq dependent on the United States for survival - gave Tehran cause to worry. In such a senario Tehran's geopolitical position in Iraq would weaken. Iran would remain a strong player, but Turkey's ability to project power as a player in Gulf politics would increase considerably. Its increased presence in Iraq could extend its military reach some 250 km south and east along the
Iraq-Iran border abutting the sensitive Kurdish and Azeri regions of Iran and enhance Turkey's role in Gulf politics.

Other ramifications would follow. Turkish presence in Iraqi Kurdistan would not only exacerbate the transnational aspects of the Kurdish question between regions in Iraq and Iran but also heighten tensions between Iranian Kurdistan and Tehran. Tensions and more border conflict in the north would detract from Iran's ability to project power into the Caspian Sea region. Such developments would reduce further Iran's already deteriorating position vis-a-- vis the bilateral delimitation agreements signed in 2001 by four of the riparian states - Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Tehran realized by the end of 2001 that, as a result of the events of September 11, Turkey's and Israel's relations with the United States had grown even closer. More ominous for Tehran, so had Russia's. By the end of 2001, Turkey had assumed a stronger position vis-a-vis Iran concerning the three issues discussed here. Furthermore, it seems likely that such developments will continue as a result of "America's war against terrorism," especially in Afghanistan, and Iran's non-- cooperation with some of the objectives of U.S. policies.


At the beginning of 2000, relations remained stalemated. The Kurdish question continued to dominate relations. In late December 2000, Turkey once againsent a large force some 200 miles into northern Iraq to extricate the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) from clashes with the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) in which PUK forces were suffering defeats. The December fighting seems to have been initiated by PUK leader Jalal Talabani, who wanted to demonstrate to Turkey that he, like the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), could be a good ally, if not a trusted friend. By December it was clear to Talabani that he had to lessen his dependency on Iran if he hoped to mend fences with Turkey and improve relations with the KDP. The poor performance of PUK forces in their clashes with the PKK was partially responsible for Turkey's incursion. In the waning months of 2000, it was clear to Talabani that Tehran was also relying less upon the PUK as its proxy in northern Iraq. Throughout the last half of 2000, Iranian and KDP delegations visited back and forth between Tehran and Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). By the end of 2000, as the PUK continued to lose strength vis-a-- vis the KDP (a process that had begun in 1996), it became clear to Tehran that the PUK alone no longer effectively served Iran's geopolitical interests in northern Iraq. After 1996, Tehran began to increase its contacts with the KDP.

When the KDP released hundreds of Iraqi soldiers and officers they had captured in and around the town of Baadhra, its strength was unquestioned. By such a gesture, the KDP obviously was signaling that they thought the policies of their allies - Turkey, the United States and Israel - of trying to topple Saddam Hussein from power were shortsighted and would not be successful, at least not in the near term.

By the end of 2000, substantial changes had taken place in northern Iraq and in the KRG. The PUK recognized that it was the weaker organization and that it would have to get on the KDP bandwagon. This further weakened Iran's geopolitical posture and its ability to challenge Turkey's increasingly strong position in northern Iraq. The weakening of Iran's position in northern Iraq undoubtedly also made it clear to Tehran that Turkey would challenge Iran in the Caspian region and in Azerbaijan.

The struggle between the PUK and PKK continued into January 2001 before negotiations curtailed it. Tehran reportedly told Talabani that it could not tolerate this fighting, with the Turkish army in pursuit of the PKK and a substantial Turkish military and intelligence presence along its border with Iraq. This development occurred at the very time that Israeli aircraft, now based in Turkey, were flying reconnaisance flights along Iran's border with Turkey. In mid-- January, Tehran sent a large delegation to Sulamaniya, Talabani's stronghold and the captial of the PUK-controlled territory, to persuade the PUK of its concerns. Iran's leaning on Talabani seems to have had the desired effect of negotiations between the two warning Kurdish factions - the inevitable consequence of Iran's weakening position in northern Iraq. These developments signaled to Tehran that it would soon be challenged elsewhere by Turkey and its Israeli and American allies. It must have also been clear to Tehran that, if challenged in Azerbaijan, Iran would have to respond much more robustly than it did in northern Iraq during the last half of the 1990s.


Ankara and Tehran devoted much of January to sorting out relations with their respective Kurdish clients and allies in northern Iraq.2 The KDP and PUK tried to do the same, focusing on their respective relations with the PKK. In mid-January, Talabani appointed Baram Salih as the new prime minister of the PUK-controlled region in southern Iraqi Kurdistan after the resignation of Qusrat Rasul on January 14. Salih had long represented the PUK in Washington and had been involved in almost all of the negotiations concerning Iraq, Turkey and Iran for more than a decade. He was one of the architects of the Washington Agreement signed on September 17, 1998. In spite of his earlier stance for the independence of Kurdistan and opposition to the PUK's cooperation with Turkey in fighting against the PKK, his acceptance of the prime ministership seemed to indicate his willingness to accept Talabani's plan to cooperate more closely with Turkey and the KDP against the PKK. In the subsequent months he followed this policy. It seems that one of the reasons for Talabani's changed position was that the PKK, with Iran's help, had entrenched itself at the northern end of the Qandil mountains that rise along the Iraq-- Iran border behind the town of Raniya. From this position, the PKK could attack Raniya and Qalat Diza, both situated on the road to Sulaymaniya.3

Talabani was no doubt upset further with reports that the PKK had organized a local administration near the Raniya-Rawanduz region in PUK-- controlled territory. Iranian Kurdish members of parliament harshly condemned Talabani's "being partner to Ankara's liquidation plans against the PKK."4

Other developments distracted from bilateral relations until late July, when the Azerbaijan crisis broke out. The principal developments were a series of corruption scandals in Turkey encompassing energy, gas and oil pipelines, and banking and financial sectors. The number and extent of the scandals were emphasized by their code names: Hurricane, Matador, Parachute, Storm, Harvest, Buffalo, Strike and Dirty Curtain, the last dealing with corruption in the government-subsidized theater system.5 The collapse of the Turkish economy in February induced the most severe economic crisis of the post-World War II period. While the crisis was somewhat eased by huge World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) grants totaling $16.1 billion by early summer 2001, the severe consequences of the IMF-- imposed reform program and the possibility of social unrest preoccuppied politicians, bureaucrats and the TAF alike up to the Azerbaijan crisis of July 23.

Tehran was also busy during the first six months of 2001 with the continuing power struggle between the conservatives and reformists. The reelection of Mohammad Khatami as president in May and his inauguration in August exacerbated this struggle. The country's poorly performing economy, which unlike Turkey's had already hit bottom, also preoccupied Tehran, as did its decade-long drought, the worst in decades. Even in March some rivers, such as the Zeyandeh, which flows under the beautiful bridges of Isfahan, was dry as a bone as early as February. In Turkey, newspapers exposed new corruption scandals nearly every day. In Iran, newspapers and magazines were closed down almost every day. Jailing of reformers, newspaper and magazine editors, and campaigns against moral depravity, improper attire, social decay and drugs preocuppied the government.

Iran was a frequent target of Turkish media outrage. There were many reports of the arrest of members of Hizballah (a pro-Islamist organization comprising mostly Kurds, initially supported by Turkish intelligence organizations to counter the PKK) and the discovery of caches of their weapons and bodies of people they had killed. Senior Turkish officials asserted, however, that Tehran had severed its relations with Hizballah as a result of Turkey's pressure on Tehran, while "all those [Iranian] groups providing them with training and weapons were clamped down on."6

Surprisingly, in interviews with Mehmet Ali Birand, a well-known journalist, high-ranking intelligence officials acknowledged that it was not Iran's support for the Hizballah that was the main cause of terrorism, but the "poverty of the people, largely Kurds of the southeast and east of Turkey. They [Hizballah] use the religious angle, but the key element is poverty," said one security official.

The reassurance from the intelligence authorities that poverty was the principal cause of terrorism diasppeared from the media as soon as it was announced in the press that Hizballah members had assassinated Gaffer Okkan, security director for the martial-law administration in the province of Diyarbakir. Okkan had been presented to the Turkish and Kurdish public by the media and government as instrumental in restoring cooperative relations between the security forces, police and the predominantly Kurdish population of the city and the region. The Turkish media lambasted Iran as the culprit behind the assassination. Such charges governed discourse in the media for the next several months until Okkan's killers were apprehended, tried and convicted.7


Even as Turkey was occuppied with Okkan's murder, corruption, scandals and the imminent collapse of the ecnomy, the issue of Azerbaijan begin to creep higher on Turkey's political agenda. On February 6, Meral Aksener, interior minister during the Tansu filler-Mesut Yilmaz government (1994-96), and a strong Turkish nationalist, gave a long interview to various media in which she advocated the union of Turkey and Azerbaijan. Such a unification would be both "an alternative to the EU as well as a catalyst. If the EU is sincere about Turkey's entry into the EU, this unification would strenghten it. If the EU did not favor such a unification, it [the unification] could be used an an alternative for Turkey to EU membership." Aksener suggested that the peoples of Turkey and Azerbaijan should vote in a referendum on the unification proposal. A favorable vote would "put an end to the games that are being played against Turkey and Azerbaijan, strenghten the EU, if it accepted the new unified country as an EU member, and make our relations with the U.S. and Russia more healthy."8 Aksener did not elaborate on how such a unification would make the newly unified country's relations with Moscow and Washington healthier. No doubt Tehran concluded that such a statement by a former interior minister must have been made in consultation with the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and National Intelligence Agency (MIT). Iran would have to brace itself for more firestorms in the Caspian region.

Though Aksener's proclamations would seem to have made for a cold welcome when Ismail Cem arrived in Tehran on February 12, the foreign minister was nevertheless received cordially. Talks focused on two issues: security and trade. Ankara was suspicious that Tehran was still supporting the PKK and, possibly, Hizballah and that the regime would allow the Majlis to pass a bill acknowledging that the Armenians were victims of genocide at the hands of the Turks in 1915-- 16. Cem was also irritated by Iran's support for Armenia and its occupation of 16 to 18 percent of Azerbaijan's territory and by Tehran's closer defense relations with Russia. All four concerns bore on Turkey's policy to strenghten relations with Baku in partnership with Israel and the United States. Cem hoped that he and Foreign Minister Kemal Kharrazi would be able to come to some understanding as to each country's interest in the new developments taking place between the KDP and PUK in northern Iraq.9 He told the Iranians that if and when the gas pipeline between the two countries was completed, Turkey's trade deficit with Iran would balloon from $400 million to $1,400 million. Given this figure, Iran would simply have to purchase more goods from Turkey.

Asgar Ferdi, an adviser to former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati, stated that other issues were discussed. One was that in no way should the map of South Kurdistan [northern Iraq] be changed: "Because the U.S.'s closest base is in Incirlik, it wants to open a base in northern Iraq; Iran does not want this. But Iran is not opposed to an autonomous government there; it looks favorably upon it." Second, Iran stated its opposition to Turkey's alliance with Israel: "Tehran advised the Turks that its relationship with Israel was isolating Turkey within its own geography." Third, Ferdi was sure that Iran would reject Turkey's request that it be allowed to open a MIT office in Tehran because of the close relationship between MIT, the CIA and Mossad.10

By March it was clear that Azerbaijan and all of the problems associated with it were beginning to dominate the relationship. March 13-14, during a visit to Ankara, Azerbaijan President Haydar Aliyev, in an official state speech, eulogized Kemal Ataturk and stated to his Turkish audience, "We (Azeris) know the value and worth of the Turkish Republic better than you do." In another speech to Turkish parlimentarians, Aliyev told the MPs, "Here [in the Turkish parliament] I feel like I am in my own country among my brothers. "11 Aliyev's speeches must have brought tears of joy to Meral Aksener's eyes. While in Ankara, the Azerbaijan president called for a "strategic partnership" with Turkey. After leaving Turkey, Aliyev spent the next several months trying to negotiate some kind of settlement with Armenian President Robert Kocharian during several meetings in Europe. In April, both Aliyev and Kocharian journeyed to Key West, Florida, for more negotiations. It was clear that the strategic partnership between Ankara and Baku would have to await resolution of the Nargorno-Karabakh dispute.

As Ismail Cem had agreed in February, Turkish Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan, accompanied by General Ali Aksiz, head of the intelligence department of the Gendarmeri, and Muzeffer Erkan, head of the intelligence department of Turkey's Security Directorate, visited Tehran and Tabriz in early May. Security issues were the order of the day: northern Iraq and Hizballah and like organizations were at the top of the agenda. The Turkish press reported that Tantan presented Iranian Interior Minister Abdol Vahid Mussavi Lari with a 163-page file on the activites of the PKK and other "extremist Islamic groups, including the Hizballah in Iran."12

Tensions between the two capitals eased somewhat after Cem's February visit. On June 22, Turkey's Constitutional Court banned the Islamist Virtue (Fazilet) party. This passed largely without comment from the Iranian government and media. This relative silence regarding the banning of the largest Islamist political party in Turkey and the third-largest political party in the country was greater than what followed the banning of the Welfare (Refah) party some 17 months earlier.13 By June 2001, it was clear that Iran had made a strategic decision not to interfere, even via its media, in the internal struggles of Turkey's political parties. The days of Sincan seemed a matter of the past. This improved atmosphere was evident when Faruk Logoglu, Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary (soon to be appointed ambassador to Washington) visited Iran on June 26-27 and proclaimed his satisfaction with the two states' relations, as did Muhsin Aminzade, Iran's deputy foreign minister. The serenity of Logoglu and Aminzade's talks belied the problems concerning the completion of the gas pipeline. Throughout the summer of 2001, each capital blamed the other for the lack of progress on the pipeline. By July, it seemed that U.S. pressure on Turkey was delaying the final completion.


Developments in June disproved further those analysts who thought the Turkey-Israel alliance would be confined primarily to the two countries' relations with the Arab countries. The expansion of Israel's military might and intelligence capabilities in Turkey, and Israeli intelligence presence in Azerbaijan, made it clear that Iran was increasingly becoming a target of the Jerusalem-Ankara axis.14 Israeli analysts themselves acknowledged that the joint Turkey-Israel-U.S. "Anatolian Eagle" air exercises held in June near the city of Konya had Iran very much in focus. Analysts had remarked previously that one of the consesequences of the alliance was that it allowed Turkey and its Israeli ally to become major players in the security of the Gulf. This had been accomplished by Turkey's relations with the Kurdish Regional Governnment (KRG) in northern Iraq, which, as discussed above, brought Turkey's geopolitical security perimeter some 200-250 km southward, where the Iraq-Iran border abuts the territory of Iranian Azerbaijan. It is possible that Turkey would deploy anti-ballistic missiles, eventually including the Arrow to be obtained from Israel, on bases in Turkey and possibly in northern Iraq, with the needed Israeli personnel to operate them. The Arrow missile was used during the Anatolian Eagle exercises.

During his visit to Ankara on July 9, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-- Eliezer, charged that "Iran's missile development plans have begun to threaten not only Israel, but also Turkey. As far as we [Israel] know, by the year 2005 they will be ready." He stressed the increasing threat from Iran and Turkey's need for a missile shield: "Just imagine," exclaimed Ben-- Eliezer, "a nuclear weapon in the hands of fundamentalists."15 Upon returning to Israel from Turkey, Ben-Eliezer claimed that "Hizballah [Lebanon] had received 8,000 Katyusha rockets from Tehran" and described Tehran as "the mother of international terrorism."16 On the same day the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Hizballah and Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) facilities were being replenished by Iran.17

In the wake of Ben-Eliezer's visit, it was announced that 12 percent of Israel's air bombers and fighting aircraft were to be permanently stationed in Turkey. Israel already based 12 percent of its naval and submarine forces on Turkish bases. The two countries also agreed that a portion of Israel's armored forces would be based in Turkey and some of Israel's Chariot-3 tanks would be sent to southeast Turkey. This meant that if the Kurds decided to engage again in major combat against the Turkish government, they would be confronted with Israeli as well as Turkish tanks. Needless to say, the deployment of Israeli tanks in southeast and possibly eastern Turkey placed this armored force close to Iraq, Iran and Azerbaijan.18

Azerbaijani Parliamentary Speaker Murtuz Aleskerev, who was in Ankara during Ben-Eliezer's visit, stated that Baku would welcome Israel's presence and weapons in Azerbaijan. He added that Baku was very unhappy with the strengthening relations among Iran, Russia and Armenia and that a Turkey-Azerbaijan-Georgia-- Israel alliance was needed to counter it. Ariel Sharon, prior to his August 8 visit to Turkey, in an interview with CNN-Turkey and the Turkish Daily News, affirmed that he would be interested in a "partnership" among Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia: "I will say in Ankara that we are willing to enhance the relationship with Azerbaijan against Iran, Russia and Armenia."19 Iran's position concerning Turkey's and Israel's heightened interest in Azerbaijan became clearer after July 23, when its warships and aircraft forced a BP/Amoco oil exploration ship to leave Caspian Sea waters that it claimed as its own. A series of incidents continued between Azerbaijan and Iran throughout the remainder of July and the first part of August. When Baku announced that Turkish jet fighters would conduct air exercises in the skies over Baku during Chief of Staff Huseyin Kivrikoglu's visit on August 25, the Iranians exploded: "Turkey's actions are aimed at fulfilling and satisfying the interests and policies of its friends and allies like the U.S. and the Zionist entity." The Iran Times stated bluntly that Turkey was trying to increase tensions in the area to aid its U.S. and Israel allies, making Israel one of the main beneficiaries of the Baku-Tiblisi—Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. It became clear that Tehran's strong stance in the Caspian Sea standoff against Azerbaijan originated, in part, to prevent the completion of the pipeline. Turkey, deeply indebted to the United States and Israel for their support of the $16.1 billion promised to Turkey by the IMF and World Bank, was hardly in a position to resist Washington's and Jerusalem's escalation of tension with Iran.

During Ariel Sharon's August 8 visit to Ankara, in spite of a tight schedule (the Turkish press was full of questions regarding Israel's attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza), Sharon made it a priority to meet with Kemal Dervis, a former World Bank vice-president who had been brought (or sent) to manage the financial crisis that Turkey fell into after February. Sharon assured Dervis that Israel "would do all that it could to help Turkey obtain the funds it needed to solve the crisis."20 Sharon was apparently alluding to the influence that it held with the IMF and World Bank officials, the American Jewish community and the pro-Israel forces in the U.S. government, almost all of whom supported anti-Iran polices and stonger ties among Ankara, Jerusalem and Azerbaijan.21

On August 11, Dervis again turned to Israel for advice and support. He invited Israeli professor Nissan Liviatan, along with Daniel Luis Gleizer, assistant head of Brazil's Central Bank, and Alijandro M. Werner, general research director of Mexico's Central Bank, to discuss Turkey's hyperinflation and high interest rates. Thus, when Sharon promised that "he would do all that he could" to help Turkey, the chances were quite good that he would do so. One of the costs of this help would be a more belligerent attitude on the part of Ankara toward Tehran.

The frustration and apprehension in Iran was made clear in a Tehran Times report on July 16 claiming that one of Israel's objectives was to purchase land in Turkey and that it had already done so in Azerbaijan, with the obvious intent to establish military and/or intelligence bases there in league with its Turkish ally.22 As mentioned above, Tehran already feared that Turkey would allow Israel to build or use its bases in northern Iraq. By mid-- summer 2001, Tehran obviously thought that the Turkey-Israel-U.S. pincer was drawing tighter.


The slow improvement of relations ended abruptly on July 23, when the aforementioned two Iranian Air Force (IAF) planes overflew a BP/Amoco oil-- exploration ship in the Caspian Sea. Later that same evening an Iranian warship entered Azerbaijan's territorial waters and threatened to fire on the research ship, Geophysics-3, unless it left the area. Iran claimed the area and had given the oil field located in the contested waters the name of Alborz, the same field Azerbaijan referred to as the Araz-Alov-Shargh field. Akad Gazi, Iranian ambassador to Azerbaijan, claimed the agreements signed between Iran and the Soviet Union in 1920, 1921and 1940 dealt only with both states' shipping rights in the Caspian Sea and not with a sectoral division of the sea or the seabed. He also asserted that the Astara-- Hassan Guli line did not demarcate the border between Iran and the Soviet Union, but that it simply had been accepted as the recognized border
because the Soviet Union as the stronger country would not let Iran cross the line.23

Moscow also had repudiated the Soviet-era treaties, but it had agreed with the other riparian states that the demarcation of the seabed should be aligned with each country's border projected into the Caspian. Such a demarcation would have left Iran with approximately 13 percent of the seabed, while it was claiming around 20 percent. Were Iran granted the 20 percent it claimed, it would mean that the Astara (Azerbaijan) to Hassan Guli (Turkmenistan) line, which had generally been treated since 1991 as the Azerbaijan-IranTurkmenistan border, was not accepted by Iran. The Araz-Alov-Shargh/Alborz oil field is considerably north of the Astara-- Hassan Guli line.

Turkmenistan quickly supported Iran's actions and claims. On July 27, in what seemed like coordinated actions with Tehran, Ashgabad sent a diplomatic note to Baku claiming that the fields it referred to as Osman, Khazar and Atyn-Asyr (and that Azerbaijan called the Shargh, Guneshly and Azeri fields) belonged to Turkmenistan. Tehran and Ashgabad were fully lined up against Baku. Russia and Kazakhstan used the occasion to plead for negotiations to reach a binding legal settlement for the division of the Caspian.

From the July 23 incident throughout the remainder of August, there were constant complaints by Azerbaijan that Iran was violating its air space. Ankara quickly placed itself on the side of Baku. On August 13, an official of Azerbaijan's embassy in Ankara declared, "There was nothing more natural than for our friend and brother Turkey to take a strong stance against Iran's aggressive position because of cooperation on the BTC pipeline and our strategic cooperation on a number of issues."24 The Turks obviously had the BTC pipeline on their minds, as some of the oil to feed the pipeline was to come from the Azerbaijan-claimed Araz-Alov-- Shargh oil field that Azerbaijan and a consortium of international oil companies (SOLAR) expected to exploit.

The Turkish media were also quick to point out that Israel and the United States were closely tracking developments in the Caspian. This was emphasized when Ariel Sharon, during his August 8 visit to Ankara, stated that Israel was interested in even closer relations with Azerbaijan and in a Turkey-Israel-Georgia-Azerbaijan alliance to counter an Iran-Russia-Armenia alliance. Turkey also maintained that Iran's Shahab-3
missiles were operational and that, as Israel's defense minister had stated during his visit to Turkey, Iran would be a nuclear power by 2005. Furthermore, if Iran attacked Azerbaijan, Israel, in cooperation with
Turkey, would come to the aid of Baku. Ankara seemed confident that if Iran's threatening actions increased, the United States could be compelled to intervene. The media stressed that Ankara, Washingon and Jerusalem were in constant contact regarding the current crisis.25 Neither did Ankara wait long to pull the PKK card out of the deck and charge that Iran was "looking after the PKK better in order to keep the terrorist
card in its control."26 For its part, Tehran was also eager to keep Kurdish nationalists under control. On August 16, Iran's Basji's forces staged war games in Qorveh, a city in the west of Koordestan province. Allahnour Nourallah, the commander of the Basji, said his forces were ready to fight against "any plots hatched by the U.S. and the Zionists."27 On August 14, a Tehran criminal court also tried a dissident Kurdish leader accused of masterminmding the massacre of 43 Iranian military officers in Koordestan province in the early 1980s.28


It was not just the Caspian Sea crisis that preoccupied Tehran. On August 22, in the midst of concerns with the Kurds, Turks, Israelis and Americans, the Azeri question again came to the fore. On that day there was a failed assassination attempt on Piruz Dilanci, leader of the National Liberation Movement of Southern Azerbaijan (NLMSA), at his home in Baku. Dilanci did not rule out that the assassination attempt might have been organized by Tehran's agents.29 The NLMSA was organized in the early 1990s by a group of political emigres from Iran of Azeri origin. The NLMSA declared its principal goal was the independence of Southern Azerbaijan, i.e., Iran-Azerbaijan.

Tehran could not, however, dawdle over the actions of the NLMSA. Ankara announced that Chief of the Staff Huseyin Kivrikoglu was to visit Baku on August 25, accompanied by 10 F-16 fighter aircraft and a Turkish Air Force aerobatic team dubbed "the Stars." Indeed, the Stars performed a 22-minute air show in the skies over Baku and the Caspian. Ankara's message to Tehran seemed clear and somewhat provocative.

Kivrikoglu's agenda in Baku reportedly entailed more military aid, greater support for Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh and promises that what the Turks could not fulfill would be delivered by Israel and/or the United States. Given Baku's inability to counter Iran, Azerbaijan President Aliyev would have to be doubly sure of support from the latter two countries or maybe Russia if he decided to raise the ante against Tehran. Aliyev's announcement that he would go to Tehran in September seemed to suggest that he did not want relations with Tehran to worsen.

By the end of August, it was unclear how the Caspian crisis of July-August would end. But Iran's actions against the BP/Amoco oil-exploration ship seems to have been caused by several factors: (1) Tehran was obviously concerned about falling short of controlling 20 percent of the Caspian seabed, which would allow it to claim and exploit the Araz-Alov-Shargh/ Alborz oil field. This is not because of an oil shortage in Iran, but rather to prevent the projected BTC oil pipeline from going forward. The completion of the BTC would mean that, once again, Iran would be bypassed for oil and gas pipelines. Iran's increasingly recalcitrant neighbor, Turkey, and its ally, Israel, would be the beneficaries of the BTC, which irked the Iranians. (2) Increasing Azerbaijan, Turkish, Israeli and U.S. cooperation threatened Iran's vital national interests in regard to the exploitation, export and carrying of oil. (3) The specter of increased Azerbaijan support for the national independence of southern Azerbaijan, i.e., much of northern Iran, was even more of a threat than the fear of a diminished position in the Caspian basin.

In September the Azeri question reared up again. On September 10, Professor Mahmud Ali Johragani, head of NLMSA, was summoned to Iran's revolutionary court for questioning. When subsequently queried as to the reasons for the questioning, Johragani responded that he believed it was because of Tehran's unhappiness with interviews he had given to an Azeri TV station and to "foreign agencies." "A strong national revival movement is underway here [Iran-- Azerbaijan]," said the NLMSA leader.30 The next day Tehran had more to worry about. On September 11, when terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York, Cahandar Bayoglu, the head of the press service of the United Azerbaijan Movement (UAA, headquarted in Baku), said that he had "no doubt that one of the pilots of the Iranian aircraft which had recently made incursions into Azerbaijan air space had taken part in the terror attacks in the USA." He added, "Undemocratic Iran had always supported terrorism." Bayoglu called on the world to topple the Tehran regime in order to free itself of international terrorism. He stated that Azerbaijan had to take on Armenia and "Persian" terrorism in its struggle for national independence: "Millions of Azeris were displaced as a result of Armenian terrorism, and 30 million Azeris are still living under Persian terrorism."31

By autumn 2001, there was no doubt that a "revived" Azeri question was beginning to occupy Tehran's time. Azeri nationalism coupled with Kurdish nationalism, either or both supported by Turkey, Israel and/or the United States, would potentially spell the end of the Islamic regime and of the state of Iran. Loss of a strong geopolitical posture in the Caspian basin or Azerbaijan itself would make Iran an anemic geopolitical entity. Worse, armed conflict or a strong nationalist movement in Azerbaijan-Iran would threaten the existence of the state.


Just prior to September 11, President Khatami received Azerbaijan's national security minister, Namiq Abbasov, and stressed the "special significance" of Tehran's relations with Baku. He expressed satisfaction that President Aliyev would be visiting Iran the next week. The trip, however, had not taken place by the end of the year for various reasons. One was Aliyev's unhappiness with foot dragging in Tehran regarding the extradition of Mahir Cavodov, who had sought refuge in Iran after, purportedly, planning a coup to topple Aliyev, with the implication that Cavodov's plans had Tehran's blessing.32 Aliyev also wanted to encourage Iran to settle the delimitation issue on a bilateral baisis, a hope that also had not been realized by the end of the year. Iran's relations with Azerbaijan were complicated further after September 11. It was already clear that Russian relations with Iran were built largely on weapons procurement and cooperation in the nuclear field as well as on some shared policies in Central Asia and Afghanistan: both countries were eager to get rid of the Taliban. But Iran did not like Russia's invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to visit Moscow September 5-6, while the intifada was raging in the West Bank and Gaza. It also felt slighted that Moscow's relations with Israel, Turkey, the EU and the United States were more important than the national security needs of Iran. Tehran was particularly put off that the trip to Moscow of Defense Minister Ali Shamkani, scheduled for the same time as Sharon's, had to be postponed until early October, during which time Shamkani did sign a muliti-- million-dollar arms agreement.33

The events of September 11 dominated news in the Middle East throughout the rest of the year, but developments of the three issues being discussed here continued unabated, albeit with a lower profile in the media. It must have given Iran pause when Azerbaijan's defense minister flew to Moscow reportedly to grant Russia long-- term rental concessions for a radar base in Azerbaijan.34 This was in addition to an earlier agreement between the two countries to expand military-technical cooperation with respect to air defenses.35


Even as it had to deal with Moscow-- Baku relations, Tehran was confronted once again with Kurdish unrest. On September 30, six Kurdish MPs resigned from the Majlis, complaining that Kurds were treated as second-class citizens. The ostensible cause of the resignations was the appointment by the Interior Ministry of a new provincial governor-general to Koordistan province. The new appointee was neither Kurdish nor Sunni. The former governor, Abdullah Ramazanzadeh, is both, as are the majority of Kurds in Koordistan province and, with the exception of Kermanshah province, in the Kurdish regions of northwest Iran. The resignations highlighted once again the unhappiness of Kurds with the lack of economic development and the paucity of Kurds at the top levels of administration in the Kurdish regions and the perceived discrimination against Sunnis throughout the country. The sensitivity of the resignations was made clear when Mohammad Reza Khatami, the first deputy speaker of the Majlis and brother of the president, refused to accept them.36 The Iran News said the resignations were "ill timed" and warned that in light of the regional crisis caused by September 11, "the ethnic issue of the Kurds is a volatile topic for the international media." The resignation of the MPs created conditions "favorable to the emergence of tribal and linguistic coalitions in the Majlis."37 The last thing Tehran wanted was more ethnic strife when throughout October it was enmeshed in negotiations with Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, the EU and, above all, the United States as it prosecuted its war in Afghanistan.

Turkey and Iran found it necessary, given the war in Afghanistan, to assure that no major incidents involving the PKK or the Mojahedin-e halq occurred along their borders. The now familiar Iranian Deputy Interior Mininister Gholam-Hossein Bolanian arrived in Ankara on October22 to attend the eighth joint meeting of the Turkey-Iran Commission on Security Cooperation, where he was met by Turkish Deputy Interior Minister Muzeffer Ecemis. Both ministers promised to fight "terrorism" by all conceivable means. Tehran, it seems, was also concerned enough to persuade Baku not to allow Mojahedin-e halq members to operate in Azerbaijan or to make common cause with the United Azerbaijan Movement (UAA) in Baku. It was apparently at this October meeting between Bolandian and Ecemis that Iran promised, rather categorically, that it would no longer provide support to the PKK, at least in launching attacks against Turkey from Iran's territory.

Turkey, for its part, promised to cease all political and moral assistance to the NLMSA and its honorary chairman, Mahmud Ali Johragani. At the end of December, Dr. Johragani was dismissed from his position purportedly because of his "collaboration" with the Iranian Security Ministry (Ettelaat). Johragani's oppontents in the NLMSA alleged that he had come to an agreement with the Iranian authorities not to engage in activities contrary to Iran's constitution. The honorary chairman responded that he was compelled to do so because of heightened cooperation between Turkish and Iranian security forces. Johragani's NLMSA opponents claimed that he cooperated with Ettelaat in order to get a passport to seek medical attention in Sweden. The parliamentary council of the NLMSA in turn accused Dr. Johragani of actions "running counter to the sacred idea of the UAA's and NLMSA's parliamentary platform," and, hence, it had no choice but to dismiss him from a leadership position. Partisans of Johragani in NLMSA's political council denied that Johragani had been dismissed.38 By the end of the year, Iranian authorities had still not granted Johragani his passport. Whatever the internal politics of the NLMSA, it is clear that Tehran was eager to cooperate with Turkey to crush its nationalist activities. A mushrooming "Azerbaijan question" in addition to the growing Kurdish question within Iran was more than it wanted, as it fought to maintain its geopolitical space in the Caspian region, Central Asia and Afghanistan.


On November 1, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan agreed that Caspian Sea resources should be divided "along lines acceptable to bordering and opposite countries, i.e., in a bilateral format."39 This placed these countries at odds with Iran's desire for a consensual agreement among all five states. The agreement was signed in Moscow and announced by Viktor Kalyuzhny, Russian deputy foreign minister and Moscow's special envoy on the status of the Caspian Sea Kalyuzhny stated that the agreement envisaged an absence of maritime borders, i.e., keeping the sea surface as an area of common usage. The delimitation into national sectors would apply only to the seabed. As for the method of demarcation, Kalyuzhny stated that three of the countries agreed to a modified line of the median projected from the national borders; Turkmenistan, however, favored a method of latitudinal division.40.

During the next two months, Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed bilateral agreements with one another. Turkmenistan, still in dispute with Azerbaijan over the Araz-Alov-Shargh/Alborz fields, did not. Iran still clung to its position of July 23, increasingly becoming the odd man out.41

Throughout November and December, Viktor Kalyuzhny continued to press his case with Iran. On November 26 he met with Iran's special envoy on the status of the Caspian Sea, Mehi Sarfi, pleading with him to abandon his position. Kalyuzhny added for emphasis, "America perceives the Caspian as a`second Persian Gulf' and, given this, it is absolutely necessary for the riparian states to arrive at `basic agreements' on the Caspian."42

Meanwhile, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to divide the Caspian seabed into national sectors and agreed upon a median line. On November 29, during a CIS meeting in Moscow, Kazakh-stan and Azerbaijan signed a similar agreement, while Russia and Kazakhstan also agreed to the status of the Kurmangazy oil field that straddles their agreed-upon median line. The field was to be under Russian jurisdiction, but Kazakhstan would be involved in its development. The field's oil was to be pumped through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) pipeline.

The Caspian Sea did not occupy much of the agenda during Kemal Kharrazi's visit with Ismail Cem in Turkey on November 5. The two foreign ministers seemed preoccupied with the war in Afghanistan. Here, too, Ankara seemed to be in the catbird seat. Influenced by Turkey's enthusiastic support of the U.S. war on terrorism, the IMF had just granted Turkey an additional $10-billion loan and a $3-billion supplementary loan, bringing the total IMF and World Bank loans delivered and promised to Turkey in 2001-02 to a total of some $29 billion, almost one-third of Iran's GDP! When Argentina's economy went into freefall in late December and early January 2002 and the peso was devalued by 40 percent, it caused wags in Turkey to say, "Poor Argentina, so far from Afghanistan!" 43

Furthermore, it was made clear that Turkey would be a strong supporter of the United States if it decided to attack Iraq, the consequence of which would complicate and weaken Iran's overall geopolitical position in the region. Iran could take no solace in the fact that the pro-Israel and Jewish lobbies and the supporters of the Turkey-Israel alliance would moderate demands that the United States attack both Iraq and Iran (these groups and individuals were calling for an attack on Iran because of the latter's support of Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza and opposition to U.S. policies in Afghanistan). Most of the anti-Iran crowd were strongly pro-Turkey, among the most important of whom were Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense; Richard Perle, head of the Defense Policy Board; Elliot Abrams, President Bush's top aide for global issues; Douglas Feith, under-secretary for defense policy; and, among journalists, William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, a strongly pro-Israel and pro-Turkey periodical which, because of its strong stance for agressive U.S. foreign policies, has shot into prominence during the last two years;44 and William Safire, columnist for The New York Times.

On the same day that Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on delimiting what is to become their portions of the Caspian Sea, President Bush in a special White House communique congratulated Russia, Kazakhstan and Oman as well as the American oil companies Texaco and ExxonMobil, on the inauguration of the CPC to carry oil from the Kazakhstan and Caspian oil fields via pipelines to various locations in Russia including ports on the Black Sea. Bush stressed that the prospect of the consortium promotes the realization of a new national energy strategy elaborated by this administration, which stipulated the diversification of oil deliveries to the USA and the construction of a network of Caspian oil pipelines along the routes as Baku-Tbilisi—Ceyhan [BTC], a Turkish port on the coast of the Iskenderun Strait of the Mediterranean, Baku-Georgia, Georgian port of Supsa on the Black Sea, Baku-Novorossiysk, as well as a gas pipeline, Baku-Tibilsi-Erzurum in eastern Turkey.45

The White House communique did not mention that an oil pipeline already exists from Baku to Supsa and from Baku to Novorossiysk. A Baku-Tbilisi gas pipeline simply needs a section built from Tbilisi to the Turkish border and from Erzerum to the Georgian border. The gas pipeline would also provide Turkey with another gas pipeline in addition to the one opened from Iran in December 2001.

An agreement signed at the CIS meeting in Moscow on November 29, 2001, seems to have encouraged the BP-- AIOC consortium to again undertake seismographic and perhaps test drilling in the Araz-Alov-Saragh/Alborz fields. The announcement seemed to suggest that this time around, Azerbaijan might even be backed militarily by Russia if Iran again sent gunboats into the disputed area. The BP-AIOC announcement placed Iran in a difficult position: either it would have to retreat from its bellicose stand of July 23 or acquiesce to negotiations that clearly would not accommodate its demands. The bilateral agreements among four of the riparian states since the July 23 incident preempted such a result.

Secondly, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Kalyuzhuny had already informed Iran that "the U.S. perceived the Caspian Sea as a `second Perisian Gulf.'"46 As the United States at first seemed to have the support of nearly every country in the region, including Iran, in its war against terrorism in Afghanistan, it seemed doubtful that Iran would revert to its bellicose position of July. By the end of December 2001, it had not. However, neither had Iran or Turkmenistan signed bilateral delimiting agreements with their neighbors. Iran did receive support from President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who, in December, urged Washington to consider the strategic role of Iran as a transport route for Kazakh and Turkmen oil and gas. Nazarbaev also hoped to soften Tehran's position on the delimiting of the Caspian Sea. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell quickly threw cold water on Nazarbaev's recommendation, stating emphatically, "I see nothing in the post-September 11 environment that leads me to think we should change the U.S. policy in routing pipelines from Central Asia."47 Iran was able, however, to draw some solace from the fact that a large number of international oil and gas companies also favored Iranian routes. There was also more good news for Iran in early December, when Ankara at last agreed to open the spigot on the gas pipeline from Iran, apparently due to U.S. satisfaction with Iran's initial cooperation in its war against terrorism.

In mid-December the "Azeri" question again became an issue. Tehran closed the Shams Tabriz newspaper, and its chief editor, Ali Hamidian, was arrested by the Tabriz Press Court on December 11. The editorial office of the Navide Azerbaijan newspaper in Urmiya, a town on the western shore of Lake Urmiya, was also closed. The UAA immediately condemned the actions as "Persian chauvinism" and violations of the rights of south Azerbaijan. The UAA also condemed Baku authorities for busting up a journalists' picket line in Baku several days earlier.48 Both the UAA and its sister organization, NLMSA, obviously thought that Baku and Tehran were each bent on crushing their organizations.

At the end of 2001, another issue that affected Turkey-Russian relations was whether in the near future an oil and an accompaning gas pipeline would be built from Baku via Tbilisi to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. This project (BTC) has been talked about since the early 1990s, the heyday of the U.S. and EU plans to create an east-west pipeline corridor from Central Asia to Europe, thereby diminishing Russia's and Iran's role in the distribution of these resources. Despite setbacks and Russia's rebirth as a major player in the distribution game, the possibility of such pipelines would further diminish Iran's geopolitical role as compared to that of Turkey, although the opening of the longdelayed gas pipeline from Iran to Turkey might go some way in alleviating Tehran's fears that it would be bypassed.49

Until the opening of the Iran gas pipeline in December, Turkey had become dependent on Russia for around 80 percent of its gas. The completion of a gas pipeline, the Blue Stream across the Black Sea sometime in late 2002, assures that Turkey will remain very dependent on Russian sources for some time. The existence of a "Russian party" composed of oil and gas executives, construction comglomerates and tradesmen, purported to include highranking politicians like Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the Motherland party and a coalition partner in the Ecevit government, also seems to insure that dependence on Russia will continue.50

The influence of the "Russian" lobby resulted in a huge energy scandal, called "White Energy," that ended in 2001 with the resignation of Cumhur Ersumer, the minister of energy, a member of the Motherland party and close confidant of Yilmaz. Indeed, in June Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan was dismissed from his post because of his ministry's investigation into energy scandals regarding the contracts and tenders for the Blue Stream and Western pipelines running from Ukraine via the Balkans to Turkey. The Western gas pipeline runs across Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria and had a carrying capacity of 6 bcm/y in 2000. A deal was concluded in April 1997 to enable Turkey to receive 14 bcm/y by 2002. The current pipeline is also in the process of being expanded to 9.9 bcm/y, and a parallel line is to be laid to transport the remaining gas.51 It also must be noted that Turkey and Russia hope to increase their trade in the next few years to the near $10 billion it had reached prior to the Russian economic crisis of 1998. While the completion of the Blue Stream Project will favor Russia, Turkish business people see Russia as a large and potentially lucrative market. The announcement in mid-January that the United States supported a reported $12-- billion investment in Russia's Sakhalin Islands' oil and gas fields also could encourage Russia to be more amenable to the building of the BTC pipelines and the contribution that it will make to an east-- west energy corridor across Turkey.52

Russia also realizes that stronger relations with Turkey enhance its burgeoning trade and economic cooperation with Israel, especially Moscow-Jerusalem cooperation in aircraft (helicopters), missiles and avionics. The strong alliance between Turkey and Israel has the blessing of the United States. In addition, Russia still has a million Jews. During his visit to Moscow in early September, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon encouraged Russian President Vladimir Putin to allow more Jews to emigrate to Israel. One day before his departure for Moscow, Sharon had a telephone converstation with New York Times columnist William Safire, who wrote: Looking beyond the Middle Eastern war of attrition, Sharon is thinking of strategies about the strengthening of Israel's population. Sharon believes "Putin has energized Jewish communal life here, with Hebrew schools in 400 communities. It's like a golden age with freedom of worship. Matter of fact, it worries me [Sharon] because we want a million more Jews. So I tell them [the Jews], don't get used to it, move to Israel."53

Needless to say, Iran can do little to counter the interfacing needs and policies of Turkey, Israel, Russia, the U.S. government and the American Jewish community.54

It therefore came as no surprise when, in late December, Moscow announced that its largest oil company, LUKoil, would like to participate in the construction of the BTC pipeline project. This affirmed to some that Russia's changed position would increase the likelihood that the pipeline would be built, in spite of the doubts of some oil consortia that the resources of the Caspian would justify the estimated $3- to $4-billion project. Vagit Alekperev, the president of LUKoil, stated that his company would like a 7.5-percent stake in the BTC consortium that was to construct the line. Some analysts suggested that Russia had relented because Alekperev is an ethnic Azerbaijani and a strong candidate to succeed the aging Haydar Aliyev as the next president of Azerbaijan. Russia would undoubtedly be delighted to have one of its most well-- known and respected businessmen as the next president of Azerbaijan. There are also those analysts who suggest that by joining the consortium Russia and LUKoil would be in a favorable position to sabotage the completion of the BTC.55

A better explanation seems to be that Moscow perceived American's war on terrorism as an opportune time to be more cooperative on the construction of the BTC and, hence, on a variety of policies that the pipeline affects with regard to Russia-- Israel, Russia-Turkey, Turkey-Israel and Turkey's relations with the American Jewish community. In the wake of September 11, if the United States and the West choose to lessen their dependency on the oil resources of Saudi Arabia and increase supplies from the Caspian basin and from a Saddam-less Iraq, this will strengthen U.S. relations with Turkey and Israel and impel Russia to be more cooperative. Moscow's participation in the construction of the BTC will be an indication of its cooperation and its understanding of potential strategic shifts in the wake of September 11. Iran has no such levergage.

In late January 2002, Tehran had more to worry about. On January 31, an Azerbaijan news agency carried a story entitled, "Fate of our compariots in Iran discussed at U.S. State Department." The report alleged that a U.S. State Department representative met with a group calling itself the Congress of Azerbaijanis of the World, headed by Ahmad Obali. The delegation reportedly discussed the "flagrant violations of the rights of
over 30 million Azeris by the Iranian regime." The State Department representative was told that the Iranian regime had banned the Azeri language, purposely destroyed Azeri historical monuments, translated Azeri geographical names into Farsi, banned political and public organizations set up to defend the rights of Azeris, and allowed no freedom of the press. It also charged that Azeris "were suffering from tortures, and they were being murdered in prisons." The State Department official was reported as saying she "had always been interested in the problems of Azerbaijan," adding, "Closer relations would be established between the Congress of Azerbaijanis of the World in the future in connection with the aforementioned issues."56 These developments seemed to indicate that in the future, if Iran persisted in not cooperating with the war against terrorism, that the "Azeri question" could become internationalized much as the "Kurdish question" was after the 1991 Gulf War.

None of the above developments would be welcomed in Iran. The adoption of the bilateral negotiating method by four of the Caspian Sea riparian states would reduce Iran's exploitation of the seabed to 13 percent; the completion of the Blue Stream gas pipeline, the building of the TCP gas pipeline, and the constructon of the BTC oil and gas pipeline would diminish further Iran's hopes of being a route for energy pipelines. An Afghanistan with its oil, gas and minerals, especially uranium, under U.S. control, with American-and European-dominated oil, gas and mineral consortia managing the exploitation of Afghani resources, also increases the likelihood that Iran will be excluded from participation, lessening its interest in being cooperative in the war against terrorism. Increased focus by the United States, Europe and Turkish, Israeli and pro-Israeli and Jewish lobbies on the "Azeri question" exacerbates the mounting national security, geopolitical and geostrategic challenges that Tehran must deal with in regard to the issues discussed.

At the end of 2001, Iran appeared to have lost geopolitical "space" to Turkey on the crucial issues of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan and the Kurds. A weakening Iranian economy, continued stalemate between the conservatives and the reformists, the activities of the UAA and NLMSA and the rise of Kurdish nationalism - all lessened Iran's ability to counteract the strengthening position of Turkey. Tehran's non-cooperative stance on "America's war againt terrorism" will not help matters.

Robert Olson

Dr. Olson is professor of history at the University of Kentucky.


The deployment of Israeli tanks in southeast and possibly eastern Turkey placed this armored force close to Iraq, Iran and Azerbaijan.

Turkey would be a strong supporter of the United States if it decided to attack Iraq, the consequence of which would complicate and weaken Iran's overall geopolitical position in the region.


1 The potential problems created by such a projection of power on the part of Turkey are discussed in Robert Olson, The Kurdish Question and Turkish-Iranian Relations: From World War I to 1998 (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Press, 1998), pp. 77-87.

2 For relations between the two countries from the election of Mohammad Khatami as president in August 1997 to end of 2000, see Robert Olson, Turkey's Relations with Iran, Syria, Israel, and Russia, 1991-2000: The Kurdish and Islamist Questions (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Press, 2001), pp. 11-104.

3 UPI, January 18, 2001.

4 Iraq Report, Vol. 4, No. 3, January 19, 2001.

5 The New York Times, January 21, 2001.

6 TDN, January 27, 2001.

7 Hurriyet, January 27 and onward, 2001.

8 Ibid., February 6, 2001.

9 TDN, February 12-13, 2001; Kurdish Observer, February 14, 2001.

10 Kurdish Observer, February 17, 2001.

11 Hurriyet, March 14, 2001.

12 TDN, May 9, 2001.

13 Ankara was overjoyed when the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) stated on July 31 that it agreed with Turkey's Constitutional Court's banning of the Welfare party. Germany seemed particularly pleased with the ECHR's statement.

14 For more on the Turkey-Israel alliance, see Turkey's Relations . . , pp. 125-6; and Efraim Inbar, The Israeli-- Turkish Entente (London: Kings's College London Mediterranean Studies, 2001).

15 TDN, July 27, 2001. 11 Jerusalem Post, July 17, 2001. 11 Haaretz, July 17, 2001.

18 This is the e-mail address of the Washington Kurdish Institute quoting DEKA-net-weekly, July 13, 2001.

19 TDN, August 6, 2001.

20 Ibid., August 9, 2001.

21 For more on these relationships, see Turkey's Relations, pp. 125-165.

22 Tehran TImes, July 16, 2001.

23 The Russian Journal, Vol. 4, No. 32 (125), August 17-23, 2001.

24 Hurriyet, August 13, 2001.

25 Ibid.

26 Ibid., August 14, 2001.

27 Ibid., August 16, 2001.

28 Ibid.

29 Iranian News, August 23, 2001.
30 BBC Monitoring Service, September 11, 2001. This interview was taken from Azerbaijan ANS TV station on September 10, 2001,

31 Iranian News reported by BBC Monitoring Service, September 13, 2001.

32 BBC Monitoring Service, October 29, 2001.

33 Ettelaat, October 8, 2001.

34 Iran News, September 14, 2001.

35 BBC Monitoring Service, November 12, 2001.

36 Iran Times, October 5, 2001.

37 RFE/RI Report, Vol. 4, No. 39, October 15, 2001.

38 BBC Monitoring Service, January 2, 2001.

39 Ibid., November 1, 2001.

40 The agreement stated "The median line interpreted as being every point of which is equidistant from the nearest points on the beselines from which the breadths of the territorial seas of each of the states to be measured."

41 BBC Monitoring Service, November 1, 2001.

42 Ibid.

41 Hurriyet, December 27, 2001.

44 A sign of the influence of the Weekly Standard is that its editors and journalists are frequently on major news programs and talk shows. Indeed, one of them has become a permanent member of the respected Jim Lehrer news hour on PBS.

45 centralasianews@ 16 Ibid.

47, December 11, 2001. a$ BBC Monitoring Service, December 15, 2001.

49 There is such a vast literature on this topic that here I will just mention a few important works. Laurent Ruseckas, "Turkey and Eurasia: Opportunities and Risks in the Caspian Pipeline Derby," Journal of International Affairs (Columbia), Vol. 54, No.1, Fall, 2001, pp. 215-36; Nancy Lubin, "Pipedreams: Potential Impact of Energy Exploitation," Harvard International Review, Vol. 22, Issue 1, Winter/Spring 2000, pp. 6670; Gareth Winrow, Turkey and the Caucasus: Domestic Interests and Security Concerns (London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2000). This essay includes material from other excellent and informative works by Winrow. Also see J. Robinson West and Julia Nanay, "Caspian Sea Infrastructure Projects," Middle East Policy, Vol. 7, No. 3, June 2000, pp. It -21.

50 Winrow, Turkey and the Caucasus, pp. 30-9.

51 For more on this topic, see Gareth M. Winrow, Turkey and Caspian Energy (Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, No. 37, 1998, pp. 33-4.

52 National Public Radio (NPR), January 20, 2002.

53 William Safire's column in The New York Times, September 6, 2001. Indeed, Israel government authorities announced on January 16, 2002, that they would be glad to receive Jews who wanted to emigrate from Argentina to Israel as a result of that country's economic crisis. Argentina has an estimated population of 400,000 Jews.

54 For more on this topic, see Robert Olson, "Turkey-Israel-American Jewish Alliance, 1995-2000: Genesis and Implications," Turkey's Relations, pp. 125-165.

55 centralasianews@com, January 4, 2002. Reported by BBC Monitoring International Reports, January 31, 2002. BBC took the report from the Olaylar News Agency (Azerbaijan).



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