- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2001

NICOSIA, Cyprus Turkey's quick response to the U.S. call for a global war on terrorism has created an unprecedented mood of optimism in Ankara about its future relations with Washington.
Western diplomats and commentators across the Turkish political spectrum see considerable benefits for Turkey, a country suffering from a deep economic crisis.
According to conservative commentator Hasan Cemal: "A U.S. wind has begun to blow. And when this wind blows, it is taken seriously."
Wrote the centrist daily Milliyet: "Turkey's strategic importance will be further enhanced. The strategic cooperation with the United States will deepen [and] Europe's rigid approach to Turkey will be toned down. Economic assistance and support for Turkey will increase because of its place in the world war against terrorism."
Attending a conference in Berlin earlier this week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said: "We suffered losses in policy and tourism, as well as economic losses. But we are once again a front country after the terrorist attacks in the United States."
Turkey claims that observing the U.N. embargo against Iraq imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf war has cost it $35 billion.
Turkish officials also see fewer international pressures to force them to agree to any compromise on divided Cyprus, where Turkey maintains an expeditionary force in the north of the eastern Mediterranean island.
Summing up U.S. views reportedly conveyed to Turkish diplomats by Washington, Turkish columnist Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the Istanbul daily Hurriyet: "At this stage, Cyprus is no longer on [the U.S.] agenda. We are going to leave this to the European Union."
Cyprus expects to join the EU within two years, a move seen here as guaranteeing European backing for the Greek Cypriot campaign against the Turkish military presence.
Diplomats in Nicosia are highly skeptical that the EU would want to become involved in the problem that so far has defied diplomacy.
According to Turkish columnist Sami Kohen, writing in Milliyet, "Turkish-U.S. relations are entering a state of true strategic cooperation."
And while cautioning about "sensitive situations" that might harm Turkey's relations with such countries as neighboring Iraq, he added: "The Bush administration is aware of Turkey's sensitivity, and it will not make demands that Ankara would not be able to accept."
Observers in the region have been struck by a recent opinion poll that found that 88 percent of Turks are against the country's involvement in any antiterrorist military venture but 86 percent approve "if Turkey is given funds for its economy."
To the right-of-center Turkish daily Sabah, "A war for the sake of bread money shows the depth of the country's despair."
Gungor Mengi, a columnist at Sabah described the country's economic situation in certain dramatic terms.
"The middle class no longer exists in Turkey," he wrote. "Tens of thousands of businesses were closed. Hundreds of thousand more people were added to the millions already in despair. The children of the unemployed are selling water in cemeteries instead of going to school."

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