HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH : Turks to the Rescue?

1993 may be a busy year for Turkey.

If the Serbs move against Muslim Albanians in Kosovo or Macedonia, drawing Albania into the Balkans war, the Turks have promised to intervene in what was once a part of the Turkish Empire.

If the Greek Cypriots move against the Turkish Cypriots when, as seems likely, the U.N. forces leave Cyprus next July, Turkey may intervene there too.

Finally, Turkey, having sided with Muslim, ethnically Turkic Azerbaijan in its war with Christian Armenia over the independence claim of Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, may yet be drawn into a conflict there as well.

Clouds, in short, are gathering. But last week a ray of sunlight appeared.

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, has been in all-but-total blackout since the sabotage, on Jan. 22, of a pipeline bringing gas from Turkmenistan through Georgia. With the rupture of its last viable energy source, Armenia faces what a government spokesman has called "a terrible catastrophe."

That catastrophe could, of course, contribute to an Azeri military victory. It is in that hope that Azerbaijan has refused to deliver gas to Armenia for two years. But last week, Turkish President Turgut Ozal assured Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.) of Turkey's cooperation in delivering humanitarian aid, including oil, to Armenia.

If that happens, it may signal the rise of Turkey not just as the region's leading military power but as its leader in statesmanship. No news could be more welcome.

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