Letter: Support for Turkey's Foreign Minister

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Sir: When I read Hugh Pope's article about Turkey's new Foreign Minister, Mumtaz Soysal ('Critic of West named for top Turkish post', 25 July), I felt cheated and yet amused. Mr Soysal has not wrecked Prime Minister Tansu Ciller's economic plans. On the contrary, he worked hard to correct the basic mistakes of the privatisation plan. He is not unconditionally against privatisation - he is against the selling of state enterprises at the expense of violating the Constitution and ignoring the interests of people.

As one of the many former students of Professor Soysal, I felt aggravated about Mr Pope's views of the minister.

Professor Soysal is famous for being a man of principles and not giving any concessions, even if it would cost him his freedom. He has been a human rights activist, and spent 18 months in prison for his thoughts.

Professor Soysal is in favour of following a foreign policy which would serve Turkey's interests best, instead of tailing after West or East, no matter what.

Because Turkey followed the Western coalition's policies during and after the Gulf War, the cost of stopping the trade with Iraq amounted to the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds and a sulky neighbour. Northern Iraq has become a free zone for the PKK organisation to launch attacks into Turkey. Two or more other Kurdish groups are fighting with each other and waiting for the West to help them determine their future. Professor Soysal is neither a friend of Saddam Hussein, nor Kuwait's enemy. He is on the side of policies that do not ruin lives.