Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

Turkish Top Military Brass meets Wolfowitz

one day before Istanbul Attacks

www.globalresearch.ca 22 November 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/ANA311A.html

(Global Research Canada, 21 November 2003)  The two Istanbul attacks respectively on the HSBC in the financial district and on the British Consulate were, according to media reports "timed to coincide with President George Bush's state visit to London."

The explosions were described by the Turkish press "as similar to those that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001". The Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) plummeted by 7.37 percent immediately after the bombings. The stock exchange was closed down at 11 am. On World markets, the gold index moved toward the $400 an ounce level.  

The lira "slipped in thin trading". Banks ceased quotes on the Turkish interbank foreign exchange market. The Lira was defended by the Turkish Central Bank, which "provided the necessary liquidity.” The Central Bank statement was said to have "stopped a crisis in the foreign exchange market". Yet at the same time, the Central Bank decision was also conducive to a decline in Central Bank forex reserves and a massive capital outflow. 

These movements on the equity and currency markets raise the important question: Was there insider trading and speculative trade  based on foreknowledge of the attacks?

It is also worth mentioning that the attacks took place one day following the completion of the annual Turkish-US Joint Defense Group meeting (17-19 November 2003).

The Turkish delegation to this meeting was led by Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen Ilker Basbug, who met his US counterpart US Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen Peter Pace.

The mandate of the Joint Defense Group was to discuss issues pertaining inter alia to the war on terrorism. 

Basbug met up in at least two separate meetings with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz at the Pentagon and at a luncheon hosted by Deputy Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace. (Asia Africa Intelligence News Wire, 20 November 2003). Dr. Wolfowitz is one of the main architects of the "war on terrorism" 

General Basbug later met up with Assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage and  Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

On the day of the attacks, Paul Wolfowitz held a press conference together with General Busbag.

Lieutenant General Basbug left Washington on the 20th, after participating in the press conference.

Britain's Foreign Minister Jack Straw who traveled to Istanbul on Thursday the 20th "said that it was not possible to say anything definite at the moment but the attacks bore the hallmarks of the al Qaida network."

The British Consul General Roger Short, was killed by the bomb as he was entering the consulate building. Press reports confirmed that he had cancelled an appointment at the last minute and "if he had gone to his appointment, he would have been alive" (http://www.hurriyetim.com.tr/haber/0,,[email protected]~338359,00.asp )

A wave of arrests was initiated in the immediate wake of the attacks and prior to the conduct of a full-fledged investigation. The Turkish authorities stated that they would not publish the number of persons arrested and the "people should trust in the Turkish police"

They attacks have created conditions for a more active role of Turkey in the Iraqi war theater. They create conditions for Turkey's participation in the war on terrorism, while weakening its links to the EU.

More generally the attacks serve to strengthen the Anglo-American military axis and the legitimacy of Bush's "War on terrorism." In the words of one commentator on National Public Radio (21 November 2003):

If we had gone after al-Qaeda, would they still be able to do things like bomb the British Consulate in Turkey, in Istanbul? So it reminds Americans and Englanders that this is still a problem. This terrorist group is still working. And who's next?

The Istanbul bombings also serve to uphold the shaky legitimacy of Prime Minister Tony Blair in the face of mounting political opposition to Britain's' participation in the US led war.


Michel Chossudovsky, 11/21/03

© Copyright CRG .2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement.

18th High-level Joint Defense Group Meeting To Be Held In United States

Anadolu Agency: 11/14/2003

ANKARA - The 18th meetings of Turkey-the United States High-level Joint Defense Group will be held in Williamsburg, the United States, between November 17 and 19, 2003.

Releasing a statement, the General Staff said on Friday that General Staff Deputy Chief General Ilker Basbug and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Mira Ricardel would preside the meetings.

Noting that meetings of the High-level Joint Defense Group were being held once in a year in accordance with the Defensive and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed by Turkish and U.S. governments in 1980, the General Staff said that the meetings created a significant atmosphere for Turkish and U.S. civilian and military authorities to discuss bilateral, multilateral and regional security issues and defensive cooperation.

Issues such as cooperation in NATO; international cooperation in fight against terrorism; efforts to support peace and stability in the Balkans, Mediterranean, Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East; assessments of the sides about regional developments; defensive relations of Turkey and the United States under Turkey-the United States partnership; cooperation in training; and the United States' support to Turkish defense industry are expected to top agenda of the meetings.

Nov. 20 Paul Wolfowitz briefing with Turkey's Ambassador Logoglu and General Basbug

State Department, November 21, 2003 ( http://usinfo.state.gov/xarchives/display.html?p=washfile-english&y=2003&m=November&x=20031121130108osnhojac0.330166&t=usinfo/wf-latest.html

Christine Johnson, **

The recent terrorist bombings in Istanbul will not split the U.S.-Turkish relationship and, in fact, will have just the opposite effect, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told reporters November 20 at a briefing with two Turkish officials.

"They [the terrorists] are not only not going to succeed at splitting us from Turkey. This kind of horrible act brings all decent people closer. It has brought Turkish Muslims and Turkish Jews closer together. And it brings Turkey and the United States and, for the matter, the United Kingdom and the entire civilized world closer together," he said.

Turkish Ambassador to the United States Faruk Logoglu agreed, saying, "There is not going to be any split between Washington and its allies, certainly not between Turkey and Washington."

Joining Wolfowitz and Logoglu was General Ilker Basbug, Turkish chief minister of defense, who was in the United States for a two-day meeting of the U.S.-Turkish High Level Defense Group in Williamsburg, Virginia.

General Basbug said the meeting had been "very successful and productive" and that he would return to Turkey "with great hopes we believe that Turkish-American relationships are deep-rooted and are long-lasting," adding that "we should try to make our relations better."

Wolfowitz concurred that the discussions in Williamsburg had succeeded in "reaffirming and advancing the very close cooperation between...our two defense departments."

Following is a transcript of the briefing:

(begin transcript)

United States Department of Defense


Thursday, November 20, 2003

(Participating were Ambassador Faruk Logoglu, Turkish ambassador to the United States and Gen. Ilker Basbug, Turkish Chief Minister of Defense)

MR. WOLFOWITZ: General Basbug has just finished two days of very successful discussions in Williamsburg with our U.S.-Turkish High Level Defense Group, reaffirming and advancing the very close cooperation between the -- our two defense departments. Turkey is a critical ally of this country in a very important region, and a country that stands for secular democracy in a part of the world where I think those ideals have important way to go forward.

I want to take this occasion also to express our deep sorrow at the horrible terrorist attacks that have taken place in Turkey in recent days. I think I couldn't say it any better than President Bush said it in London, that the terrorists are attacking Turkey the way they attack free countries in general. They are people who hate freedom. They hate free nations. The president said today again, we've seen their ambitions of murder. The cruelty is part of their strategy. The terrorists hope to intimidate; they hope to demoralize, but they will not succeed. Turkey has a long, tragic history of standing firm in the face of terrorism and standing firm for freedom, freedom of religion, for democracy. That's why, General Basbug, it is so good to have Turkey as our close ally.

Would you like to say a word?

GEN. BASBUG: Thank you very much. Thanks so much.

We have had very successful and productive meetings here, and really, I am going back to Turkey with great hopes we believe that Turkish-American relationships are deep-rooted and are long-lasting relations. I think as a responsible people, I think we should try to make our relations better.

And also of course we have been very sad what happened recently in Turkey, and we assess that one of the primary objectives of this terrorist act to -- how can I say? -- maybe to -- to make the responsible people some wrong -- to take the wrong decision. But we are not going to do so. We will not go with this way. So we will overcome these difficulties within a normal way.

And since we arrived in the United States, really, we have been shown great hospitality, great friendship. So I would like to thank Mr. Secretary again for what has been done for our visit. Thank you very much.

MR. WOLFOWITZ: Thank you.

QUESTION: Mr. Ambassador? Mr. Ambassador? I wonder if I might ask you, sir, do you see this as -- do you see this as an attempt to split Washington away from its allies in the war on terrorism?

AMB. LOGOGLU: Even if there is such an attempt, it is not going to happen. There is not going to be any split between Washington and its allies, certainly not between Turkey and Washington.

Q: General or Mr. Ambassador, can you tell us what information you [have] about any ties that Turkish-Islamic groups may have to al Qaeda?

GEN. BASBUG: I left Turkey last Saturday, so I don't have any concrete information. But just -- I read it in the newspaper regarding the first event that took place last Saturday, I think al Qaeda made that plain they were behind that incident.

But concerning the last event, I don't have any information.

Q: [Inaudible] before these incidents, there was not a concern among the Turkish government about ties between Turkish-Islamic groups and al Qaeda.

GEN. BASBUG: I don't want to make any comment, so I don't --

Q: (Off mike.)

MR. WOLFOWITZ: Look, as Americans, we know just from Oklahoma City, it only takes two criminal minds to kill 150 people with a truck bomb. We're dealing with relatively small numbers of people who can do, unfortunately, enormous damage if they're bent on murder. And when my boss referred to a "long, hard slog" in this war on terrorism, it was reference to the fact that despite many victories, some very important ones both on the battlefield and the field of law enforcement and capturing and killing many of the top leaders of al Qaeda, they are still there.

What in some ways is impressive to me is how many attacks have not happened, how many things we've been able to prevent. We can't prevent them all. In fact, that's why we have to be on offense. We have to take this war to these people. As the president has said over and over again, it's going to be a long struggle. It's not going to end quickly.

But I just -- we're going to have to wrap this up and I would like to go one step further than the ambassador. They are not only not going to succeed at splitting us from Turkey. This kind of horrible act brings all decent people closer. It has brought Turkish-Muslims and Turkish-Jews closer together. And it brings Turkey and the United States and for the matter, the United Kingdom and the entire civilized world closer together.

Thank you.

(end transcript)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: usinfo.state.gov)

© Copyright Anadolu and US State Dept. 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement.