Turkey warns 'inadequate' aid might peril ties to US ... but Greece says Reagan tips aid balance in Turkey's favor
The United States government has provoked a storm of protest in Athens with its fiscal 1985 aid proposals for Greece and Turkey. The Reagan administration has asked Congress to approve $500 million in military aid for Greece - all of it in the form of a low-interest loan - and a $ 1.7 million training grant. For Turkey it has requested $755 million in military aid, including $230 million as a direct grant, $250 million as a credit with favorable terms, $275 million as a market-interest-rate credit, and a $4 million training grant. The White House also asked for $175 million in economic aid to Turkey.
According to the Greek government, these proposals violate the spirit and letter of the US-Greek Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed last summer. That agreement provides that US military assistance shall be guided ''by the principle set forth in United States law that calls for preserving the balance of military strength in the region.''
The Greeks have interpreted this language as committing the United States to maintaining the 7:10 ratio in military aid to Greece and Turkey that is considered here as necessary to preserving the balance between the two countries. Turkey has denounced the ratio and consistently requested more aid than the United States has granted. It has called this year's proposal ''disappointing.''
The Reagan administration, like its predecessors, has refused to be explicitly and legally bound to the ratio, although congressional resolutions have accepted it in principle. Last year Congress adjusted administration requests to bring them into line with the ratio, and it is expected to do so again this year.
Greek government sources see a link between the aid request and Mr. Reagan's recent praise of Turkish-Cypriot proposals for an overall solution to the Cyprus problem as ''positive steps'' in his report to Congress on Cyprus. Those steps have been denounced by Athens and the Greek Cypriots as misleading and designed to legitimate the partition of the island.
Despite the Reagan administration's denunciation of the recent unilateral declaration of independence by the Turkish sector of Cyprus, Greek government sources and many political commentators here see those two actions as a confirmation of Reagan's ''true'' pro-Turkish leanings.
They believe that even if Congress redresses the aid balance, the political signal inherent in the aid request and administration praise for Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot proposals for Cyprus will only encourage Turkish intransigence.
The Greek government has warned that these allegedly pro-Turkish actions would bring ''severe consequences,'' although none seems ready to explain precisely the meaning of the threat. Some speculate that Greece's unilateral cancellation last weekend of the US-Greek civil aviation agreement was an attempt to retaliate for what the Greeks perceive as America's negative actions.