Turkey Backs Off From Not Buying Arms from France

*Recognizing that its "choices are limited," Turkey retreats from "emotional announcemen’s"; abandons blacklist of France over Armenian Genocide recognition.

WASHINGTON–According to Defense News–Turkey has "quietly shelved" its hard-line policy of barring arms purchases from France and other nations which have either commemorated the Armenian Genocide or openly criticized its record on human rights–reported the Armenian National Committee of America.

Defense News correspondent Umit Enginsoy reported that Turkey has resumed arms purchases from France–despite earlier announcement that Turkey was canceling more than $10 billion in French weapons purchases. Enginsoy reported that–"Turkey is continuing arms trade talks with France–one of its top suppliers–although their political ties were marred by a French parliamentary move in late May to approve a bill accusing the Turkish Ottoman empire of an Armenian Genocide during World War I."

"In the end–Turkey’s dire warnings and threats of retaliation amounted to little more than an elaborate bluff – a show designed to intimidate governmen’s–the United States included–into retreating from their commitment to human rights," said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Turkey’s reversal should serve as a lesson to our own State Department–which has–for too long–been guilty of complicity in Turkey’s denials of the Armenian Genocide."

The September 28 issue of Defense News quotes a senior Turkish defense analyst–Burak Bekdil–as saying that–"despite emotional announcemen’s at certain times–Turkey is moving to disregard political disputes." He explained that–"the philosophy behind Turkey’s new understanding is that it doesn’t have the luxury to blacklist countries when its choices are limited."

"There is no point shooting ourselves in the foot just for the sake of following a rigid policy. Therefore the Turkish administration has adopted a more flexible and pragmatic stance," a Turkish official told Defense News.

In a related matter–the Los Angeles Times reported today that US-Turkish relations have "soured over Turkey’s surprise decision to upgrade diplomatic relations with Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq." According to an unnamed official quoted by the Times–the State Department has "protested Ankara’s decision in the strongest possible terms." Time correspondent Amberin Zaman reports that "some Turkish officials expressed concern that Turkey will pay a price for its defiance. Washington’s support is regarded as crucial to Turkey’s goal of joining the European Union and becoming the main outlet for vast reserves of oil and natural gas exported from former Soviet Republics in Central Asia."


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