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18 July 2002

Wolfowitz Says Democracy in Iraq Would Benefit Whole World

(July 17: departure remarks after talks in Turkey) (1260)
A democratic government in Iraq that truly cares for the welfare of
its people would benefit not only Iraqis but the region and the whole
world as well, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said
July 17 in Ankara, Turkey.
Speaking with reporters prior to his departure after several days of
talks with Turkish officials, Wolfowitz said that President Bush has
made his position on Iraq very clear.
"[A] regime like the one in Iraq, that is hostile to United States,
that supports terrorism and that has weapons of mass destruction and
is developing more weapons of mass destruction, is a danger that we
can't afford to live with indefinitely."
He added: "What we do about it, how we solve that problem, involves a
whole range of decisions which only the President can make and he
hasn't made them yet."
In answer to several questions about his mission to Turkey, Wolfowitz
stressed that he had come not to ask the Turkish government to make
any decision about Iraq but simply to get Turkey's perspective on the
situation.
"We didn't come here with an idea of what Turkey's role should be or
with a decision about an operation," he said.
He expressed appreciation that Turkish government officials were
willing to meet with the U.S. delegation "at a time when obviously
there were other things on their mind besides our visit."
(begin transcript)
United States Department of Defense
News Transcript 
Wednesday, July 17, 2002
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE PAUL WOLFOWITZ 
(MEDIA AVAILABILITY AT DEPARTURE FROM ESENBOGA AIRPORT, ANKARA)
WOLFOWITZ: This was a long-planned visit, which I was looking forward
to for quite some time. I'm very glad that we came.
We came to review a very broad range of issues that concern both our
countries. The United States and Turkey have a true strategic
partnership. It's a partnership of countries that have very large
common interests. Countries that have important perspectives to share
with one another. Perhaps most of all it's two great democracies. And
I think at this time of challenge in a world where there are people to
whom democracy and freedom are anathema, it is wonderful to have an
ally like Turkey, who is a model of democracy for Muslims in the rest
of the world.
We appreciate very much the graciousness and hospitality of the
Turkish Government, the Turkish officials to receive us at a time when
obviously there were other things on their mind besides our visit.
But I must say in all of our meetings, including the Prime Minister,
it was impressive how much attention was given to the issues in our
relationship, both bilateral and regional and larger strategic issues.
We've discussed a very broad range of subjects. One of the things that
characterizes this as a strategic partnership, is that issues that
would normally be exclusively of concern to trade negotiators, for
example, become issues of concern to (the department of) defense. So,
among the many things we discussed, qualified industrial zones was on
the list as well.
Obviously we discussed regional issues, including Iraq. But I'd like
to emphasize, because of (speculation in the media), we didn't come
here asking any decisions of the Turkish Government. We came here to
gain benefit of Turkish perspectives, to be able to go back to
Washington better informed about how Turkey views its interests and
what Turkey's views are.
I'd be glad to take a few questions.
Q: (inaudible) National Public Radio. Can the United States carry out
an attack against Iraq without Turkish cooperation?
WOLFOWITZ: I've said it many times and I'm happy to say it again. The
President of the United States has said one thing and he said it very
clearly. Which is that a regime like the one in Iraq, that is hostile
to United States, that supports terrorism and that has weapons of mass
destruction and is developing more weapons of mass destruction, is a
danger that we can't afford to live with indefinitely. What we do
about it, how we solve that problem, involves a whole range of
decisions which only the President can make and he hasn't made them
yet. In fact, for making those decisions it's very important to him to
have the benefit of key countries, and key parties, and Turkey is as
important as any country in figuring out how to grapple with this
issue. What I think there is no question about is that when there is a
democratic Iraq, and that is our goal, an Iraq that preserves the
territorial integrity of that country, that does not lead to an
(independent Kurdish state) -- we are opposed to that -- as the
Turkish Government is opposed to (it). An Iraq that truly cares for
the welfare of its own people. It won't be only the people of Iraq
that benefit from that; it will be the whole world and very much this
region. Turkey stands to benefit enormously (inaudible).
Q: Mr. Wolfowitz, what kind of a role do you expect Turkey to play in
a time of operation (inaudible) plus how do you plan (inaudible)?
WOLFOWITZ: Let me repeat. We didn't come here with an idea of what
Turkey's role should be or with a decision about an operation. We came
here as part of the process of informing our President about the
decisions he has to confront in order to deal with that problem which
he has identified so clearly. They are difficult decisions for us and
we need the benefit of Turkey's perspectives (inaudible).
Q: Turkey fears any possible strikes could damage its economic
recovery. One thing that has been cited is the tourism sector. Are
there any assurances that a strike might take the timing, take tourism
into account when setting a timing?
WOLFOWITZ: Turkey's economic situation simply is of great concern to
the United States. We've been working closely with Turkey for over a
year now I believe and we've discussed this with the IMF. Again, I
mentioned these are not normally the subjects a deputy secretary of
defense gets involved with, but when it comes to Turkey, it does,
although it's the secretary of treasury who has a leading role in it.
Turkey's economic health is hugely important and obviously, the
current political crisis puts extra strains on it. One of the benefits
of this visit to me was to have a clear understanding of exactly what
kinds of worries Turkey has -- of near term and immediate term. Long
term, I don't think we are talking about worries long term. The
prospects for this economy are very good.
Q: Mr. Wolfowitz, in any of the talks in Ankara or in Istanbul, did
you put forward a choice for this coalition to be in office during a
possible U.S. land attack on Iraq?
WOLFOWITZ: I admire your persistence. But let me say over again, we
didn't come here putting choices before anyone. We came here to learn,
to understand, to have as good an appreciation of Turkish perspectives
as we could develop. Something that impressed me about this country,
about the officials, about the government, about the Prime Minister,
is their ability, even at a time of political crisis, or certainly
great political uncertainty, to be able to talk clearly and
dispassionately and with quite impressive analysis of the many issues
that we have to face. We did not come here asking for decisions. We
haven't made our own decisions ourselves. Thank you very much.
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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