Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit conferred on Monday (15 May) in London with British political leaders on the defence problems on NATO's southern flank.
GV EXTERIOR: No. 10 Downing Street, London.
CU: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit ZOOM OUT TO Prime Minister James Callaghan. Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen and other Ministers.
GV: Demonstrators outside Downing Street with banners. (2 SHOTS)
SCU: Mr. Ecevit speaking.
ECEVIT:"Turkey, as you all know, is situated in a very critical part of the world. And, therefore, she cannot afford to neglect her security; she cannot let her defence arrangements remain sub-standard for too long, yet they remain sub-standard for too long because of the American embargo. There was some hope that embargo might be lifted some time before the summer recess of the United States Congress, but these hopes are diminishing. At least I have mentally and psychologically prepared myself to the probability that the embargo may not be lifted. Turkey will be able to sign other formulas providing for her security without causing great problems to the world. But I think it is obvious that, as long as the embargo is there, and as long as it can be interpreted as a pressure over Turkey, then the Greek side will remain intransigent, and will not contribute to a solution of the Cyprus issue."
Mr. Ecevit said Turkey did not want to pull out of NATO, but would reconsider its present contribution to the alliance. He told the press conference on Monday that the Soviet Union at present had no 'ambitions' over Turkey, and that Turkey was working on a new defence concept. Turkey has a standing army of almost 500,000 troops. West Germany has already pledged military help. The Turkish government has forced the United States to close some installations and bases in Turkey, and recently sought better relations with the Soviet Union.
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Background: Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit conferred on Monday (15 May) in London with British political leaders on the defence problems on NATO's southern flank. Governments in western European capitals have become more dubious about Turkey's capabilities to withstand a surprise attack from the Soviet Union.
SYNOPSIS: At the British Prime Minister's residence in Downing Street, Mr. Ecevit met with Premier James Callaghan and Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen. NATO wants to strengthen Turkey's huge, but Poorly-equipped, forces. But the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week refused to lift the arms embargo that America imposed after Turkish forces invaded Cyprus in 1974. Western leaders are worried that Turkish retaliation against the decision could be weaken the alliance.
The copic of Cyprus exercised these demonstrators, as well as Mr. Ecevit, who said there could be no diplomatic breakthrough there while the arms embargo remained. He urged the Greek Cypriots to put alternative suggestions at a conference instead of rejecting recent Turkish-Cypriot proposals on the islands's future.