While Turkey's official position is that war should be averted, it has not ruled out the possibility of benefits to regime change in Iraq.
Yasar Yakis, Turkey's foreign minister, said this week that Turkey might have a legitimate claim to the northern Iraqi oil fields. Yakis told the prominent Hurriyet newspaper that he is examining early 20th-century treaties to see if Turkey has a right to claim the vast oil fields of Kirkuk and Mosul, which the Turks ruled under the Ottoman Empire.
Part of Turkey's claims and concern for the region lies with the native Turkomen population of northern Iraq, whom Turkish officials view as oppressed by the Kurdish parties there. Turkey has told US officials that it would feel obligated to defend endangered Turkomen - ethnic Turks - and that they should have a large say in any postwar government in northern Iraq. But while Turkish estimates put the number of Turkomen at anywhere between 3 and 5 million, US officials believe the number does not exceed , For businesses in this poorest and least-developed corner of Turkey, it is difficult to imagine how the economy could handle another war.
At least 70 percent of the local economy revolves around agricultural production, and Iraq is one of the hungriest clients for what is sold here. Baghdad has been allowed to buy food and other goods from Turkey under the oil-for-food program. According to the Southeastern Anatolian Industrialists and Businessmen's Association in Diyarbakir, the capital city of the south, some 52, trucks have been put out of work by the restrictions on Iraqi oil sales.
Depots of them fill fields near the border like failed, burned-out crops. At Habur, lodged between snow-capped Turkish and Iraqi mountains, the atmosphere is grim. The deputy governor of the crossing says that between 8, to 9, tons of crude oil come through here each day: far below capacity and slipping.
Some drivers are no longer going to Iraq, fearing they could get caught in the crossfire.
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Iraq: The Economic Consequences of War
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Turkey weighs economic, political costs of a Gulf war
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