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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-08-01

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.145/02 01.08.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The UN Secretary-General will meet President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader in Paris.
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader met with the Vice President of the convention on the Future of Europe.
  • [03] Talat critical of Denktas.
  • [04] Turkish Parliament sets polls on November 3.
  • [05] Ismal Cem is seeking cooperation in order to surpass the 10% threshold.
  • [06] Foreign Ministry denies special demand from US.
  • [07] Population growth due to unplanned births an obstacle to EU.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] US-Turkey sending out feelers for an operation on Iraq.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The UN Secretary-General will meet President Clerides and the Turkish Cypriot leader in Paris

    Ankara Anatolia News Agency (31.07.02) reported that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, and President Glafcos Clerides will meet with U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan in Paris in September.

    UNFICYP Spokesman Brian Kelly said on Wednesday that the meeting would take place on September 6 as the two leaders accepted the invitation.

    Annan, Denktas and Clerides will come together for the second time in 2002.

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot leader met with the Vice President of the Convention on the Future of Europe

    KIBRIS (01.08.02) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, met yesterday with the Vice President of the Convention on the Future of Europe and former Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Giuliano Amato.

    In a short statement prior to the meeting, Mr Amato explained the aim of his visit to Cyprus. Mr Denktas, on the other hand, criticized the EU, which has begun the accession negotiations with the Greek Cypriots on behalf of the whole of Cyprus.

    Denktas also said that the meeting with the UN Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan that will be held in September, will be just a routine meeting. Reminding that the UN Secretary-General made a similar evaluation during his visit to Cyprus in May, Denktas added that it is natural that Annan wants to make again an evaluation of the negotiation process.

    [03] Talat critical of Denktas

    According to KIBRIS (01.08.02) the leader of the Republican Turkish Party, (RTP), Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, said that the way out regarding today's impasse that the Turkish Cypriots are in is the solution of the Cyprus problem and membership to the EU.

    In a written statement to press yesterday Talat said that the project to develop the road network in the occupied area at a cost of 15 trillion TL was opened to tender in Ankara, he criticized this action saying that Turkish Cypriots were unable to benefit from such investments. The RTP leader also criticized the sending back of Greek Cypriot Vassos Ilia to the free areas via the Istanbul-Athens -Larnaca route. Talat urged the Turkish Cypriot leadership not to miss the EU membership chance, "otherwise no one will be able to carry the weight of missing the EU membership chance'', Talat concluded.

    [04] Turkish Parliament sets polls on November 3

    Reporting on the deliberations of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Turkish Daily News (01.08.02) writes the following:

    The Turkish Parliament decided Wednesday to go to early elections on 3 November.

    Parliament voted first to open debates on the early election proposal by the Nationalist Action Party (NAP) that cleared on Tuesday the Constitutional Committee, without the required 48-hour waiting period. After the debate, the early election decision was adopted with a 449 to 62 vote with three abstentions.

    While Parliament was debating yesterday the proposed early election decision, Prime Minister Ecevit, in a last ditch attempt, convened a summit of coalition leaders and tried to convince them to give up the early polls bid. Both Bahceli and Yilmaz have reportedly turned down the request of the prime minister.

    The relaxing news to the prime minister, on the other hand, came from Istanbul. Arriving in Turkey from a ten-day trip to the United States, Economy Minister Kemal Dervis stressed that the stability of the economy required him to stay on in the Cabinet and dashed expectations of the Ismail Cem-led New Turkey Party (NTP).

    There were claims that Dervis would resign from his post immediately after returning to Turkey and join the NTP.

    "For the sake of the economy, I need to stay on," Dervis told reporters at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on his arrival home.

    With his decision to stay on Dervis has relieved the worries of the prime minister but his troubled coalition could face serious problems in the days ahead as the NAP vowed Wednesday to convert the vote into a referendum on the European Union.

    The NAP and coalition's junior partner Motherland Party (MP) have been at logger heads over the EU reforms.

    Speakers of the nationalist party charged that the Turkish nation was not adequately and correctly informed about the EU matters. "We shall use the campaign period to tell our people the realities about the EU and the EU impositions on Turkey," said Ismail Kose of the NAP.

    Kose said neither the Cyprus imposition of the EU, nor the demands for the annulment of the death penalty and lifting restrictions on education and broadcasting in Kurdish could be accepted.

    The early election process had started on July 7 with a statement from NAP leader and deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli. At that speech Bahceli had suggested that polls be held on November 3 and demanded the three-way coalition to continue in office until the polls as an elected government.

    Ecevit had opposed the proposal of Bahceli and insisted that it was in the best interest of Turkey that the three-way coalition remained in office until the scheduled polls in April 2004. Coalition's then junior partner Motherland Party (MP), on the other hand, had agreed with the NAP on the need for early elections, but disagreed on the date. MP had suggested that polls be held in April 2003. MP had suggested that Parliament should first adopt a set of European Union reforms and then decide on an election date.

    In the midst of the discussion over the early elections, the Democratic Left Party (DLP) of Ecevit divided into two and over 60 deputies who resigned from the ruling party established the New Turkey Party (NTP) led by former Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

    In that dust and storm, the three coalition leaders agreed at a summit meeting to convene Parliament on July 29, three days ahead of the September 1 date suggested by the NAP, and decided for November 3 polls.

    Despite the accord at the summit, however, Ecevit took the early election decision to the executive organs of his DLP which declared its opposition to early polls. After that Ecevit met with his partners once again and asked them to give up the early elections proposal. Bahceli categorically rejected that proposal while Yilmaz suggested to Ecevit that his resignation may prevent an early election.

    The proposal of Yilmaz was the "last resort" to avert an election and was built on the constitutional stipulation that if a government resigns before a new government is established neither Parliament nor its committees can debate drafts. Soon it was figured out that at stake was not a draft but a proposal for a Parliament decision for polls. Thus, even if Ecevit resigned the election decision could be made by Parliament.

    The opposition parties, on the other hand, have been pressing on the government to call for early elections almost right from the day the coalition was established three years ago. Still, when early elections were suggested, they were perplexed.

    Main opposition True Path Party (TPP) leader Tansu Ciller first suggested the establishment of an election government under her prime ministry, but after she saw that the proposal did not find any supporters, she agreed to support the early elections drive.

    The pro-Islamist Justice and Development Party (JDP) on the other hand, first gave contradictory statements but then conditioned its support to early polls to the legislation of a set of EU reforms. The party then demanded that a constitutional amendment be made and a constitutional guarantee provided that people saved from the gallows with the annulment of the death penalty would serve a "heavy life term" without parole.

    The JDP still has been insisting on the "constitutional guarantee" on the death penalty and in committee debates on the EU reforms, objected only to the lifting of capital punishment.

    The pro-Islamist Felicity Party (FP) was the "coolest" party towards the early election proposal. FP leader Recai Kutan initially acted in line with MP, lent support for the convening of Parliament to adopt EU reforms, but later when the efforts of the two parties failed, FP adopted a policy of lending support to each and every bid that aimed at stalling or preventing early elections. Still all efforts of the party failed

    The New Turkey Party of Cem, on the other hand, first acted with MP but then changed its position and wanted Parliament to take an early election decision first and then debate the EU laws and thus deserted MP.

    Eventually, on July 29 with a record 491 deputies participating, Parliament convened and decided to place an early election decision on its agenda. After a consensus was established between the parties, the Constitutional Committee started debating the proposal on Tuesday and received committee approval several hours later when only three DLP deputies voted against and all the other 22 members supported it.

    The Speakership Council of Parliament convened yesterday morning and decided not to abide by the 48-hour waiting period and to open debates on it immediately. When FP opposed this view, the issue was brought to the Parliament's General Assembly and there, despite FP objections, deputies overwhelmingly voted to open debates on the proposal without honoring the 48-hour waiting period.

    After the debate, which was attended by 514 deputies, the early elections decision was adopted by a 449 to 62 vote with three abstentions.

    The decision of the Turkish Parliament will take effect immediately after it is published in the Official Gazette. This decision of the Parliament can only be overruled by another Parliament decision.

    [05] Ismail Cem is seeking cooperation in order to surpass the 10% threshold

    According to Turkish Daily News (01.08.02), anticipating difficulties in surpassing the 10 percent national election threshold if elections are held on November 3, the New Turkey Party (NTP) and the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) have begun seeking ways of cooperating. DTP leader Mehmet Ali Bayar paid a visit to NTP leader Ismail Cem in Cem's office in Parliament on Wednesday.

    In a statement prior to his visit, Bayar noted that they both shared similar views with regard to overcoming the obstruction of the country's affairs. "We will seek cooperation opportunities on these matters. We always have the mutual will to find common views with a common mentality on Turkey's affairs. We will continue these meetings," Bayar added.

    Cem said that the NTP and the DTP shared similar points of view on many of Turkey's important issues and added that they would discuss some of these issues.

    It was noteworthy that both leaders praised each other. Cem said that he had always had faith in Bayar's hard working personality during his five-year term of office in the Foreign Ministry, stressing that Bayar was one of the few valuable names of the foreign ministry. He said that he was fond of Bayar's entering politics as a representative of the younger generation.

    As a former diplomat, Bayar noted that Cem had honoured Turkey during his term at the Foreign Ministry, and that he would remember the five years they worked together as an honourable period in his life.

    State Minister Kemal Dervis, who is expected to join the NTP although he may also make a surprise move at the last minute, also met with Bayar. Dervis reportedly asked the NTP to transform itself into a party that would address a larger political spectrum, instead of entering the elections on its own. Political circles have been suggesting that attempts are underway to include Bayar in this spectrum.

    Meanwhile, responding to questions about Dervis joining the NTP, Cem said: "I recently expressed my opinions on this issue. Dervis did also. There are no new developments." -

    [06] Foreign Ministry denies special demand from US

    Turkish Daily News (01.08.02) reports that the Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Deputy Undersecretary Ambassador Yusuf Buluc, stated that the connection between American specialists who are in Turkey and a possible Iraqi operation does not reflect the truth.

    At his first weekly press conference Buluc denied the allegations saying that the U.S. did not demand any military troops from Turkey for a possible Iraq operation and added the U.S. also did not make a special demand for a possible operation against Iraq from Turkey and there has not been a concrete decision taken by the U.S.

    Buluc recalled that the national missile defence system came on the agenda soon after President Bush's coming to power and added, "The U.S is now seeking to share this project with its NATO allies."

    "The U.S. did not leave its goal to defend its motherland with ballistic missiles. But it wanted to share this project with its NATO allies and constituted a specialist committee. The Committee's visit to Turkey was within the scope of these attempts. The committee was composed of specialists from the U.S. Defence Department and State Department officials," said Buluc.

    Buluc added: "Most of the regional countries have ballistic missile capabilities. For that reason to protect our country against these threats there is a national security policy. The committee I mentioned also visited Poland and Hungary before Turkey, after Turkey they returned to the U.S."

    Buluc also responded to a question about gathering Iraq's opposition in Washington in August and said that the Iraqi Turkomans were not invited to the meeting but we want them to be invited.

    [07] Population growth due to unplanned births an obstacle to EU

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (01.08.02) reports the following:

    "The population growth due to unplanned births is among the biggest problems facing Turkey's full membership to the European Union, according to Turkish Family Planning Association Izmir Branch Chairman professor Nurselen Toygar. She said that if Turkey could not prevent the unplanned population growth, economic, social and cultural problems would not be solved.

    Stating that unplanned pregnancies caused a drop in the national income, Toygar said: "Every unplanned birth puts a burden on the State and family. In these situations, the family's condition means that the State cannot provide adequate education or other social services. Furthermore, the unplanned population increase damages the economic structure. This is also forming a big problem in the process for Turkey's membership to the European Union."

    Toygar pointed out that they have launched a pilot project and campaign to emphasize the importance of family planning in reading and writing courses attended by 5,000 women.

    Izmir Health Management Mother and Child Care and Family Planning Manager Nese Nohutcu stressed that the Health Ministry has launched a project to prevent mother and child deaths and to deal with family planning issues. "Midwives are visiting every house to inform the women about family planning. Every year, 33 babies and two mothers die," Nohutcu added.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] US-Turkey sending out feelers for an operation on Iraq

    Ilnur Cevik, writing in Turkish Daily News (01.08.02), analyses the latest situation on the contacts between the United States and Turkey regarding a possible operation in Iraq:

    "The United States and Turkey are exchanging direct and indirect messages, holding consultations and are trying to forge a common understanding on what should be done in Iraq and how. But both American and Turkish sources say while the two sides speak the same things they seem to misunderstand each other and still have a way to go to forge a common understanding.

    Both sides insist that a possible operation against Iraq is way ahead in the future, probably late this year or early 2003.

    However, they feel some serious homework has to be done before any preparations for a military assault on Iraq.

    The Americans want new arrangements with the Turkish military that will allow them to intensify air patrols over northern Iraq within the Operation Northern Watch. American and British planes based in the Incirlik airbase near Adana in southern Turkey are deployed for air patrols over the region. They frequently face ground fire from Iraqi air defenses and retaliate.

    Iraqis claim the U.S. and British planes are attacking Iraqis to harass the Saddam regime.

    It seems the U.S. wants to intensify its air patrols and signal to Saddam Hussein that Washington means business.

    Besides this the U.S. reportedly wants the use of Erhac airbase in Malatya and the Pirinclik airbase in Diyarbakir. The two bases, along with Incirlik, were used by the coalition forces during the Gulf War in 1991.

    There are reports that the U.S. wants to operate a joint defense facility with Turkey that will deploy American assault forces. Turkish military sources have been irked with such a request for the establishment of a new base and are trying to formulate a response.

    Besides this the U.S. reportedly wants Turkey to allow it to conduct covert operations in northern Iraq.

    Turkish military officials, however, are concerned that Iraqi Kurds and the U.S. may be involved in separate deals which leaves out Ankara.

    Turkish military sources were unhappy when they learnt last May that a U.S. military team visited northern Iraq and made an extensive inventory of the military strength of the Kurdish groups and the feasibility of using the resources of the area in case of an attack against Saddam Hussein.

    Another such American trip was to have taken place in July but was reportedly blocked by the Turkish side.

    There are unconfirmed reports that yet another American team is in northern Iraq and that they have entered the region through Syria, bypassing Turkey.

    Turkish officials have reportedly told American officials they want to be properly consulted over such issues.

    Ankara feels it should also be briefed on the meetings of the Iraqi opposition groups.

    Turkey has conveyed its reservations to the U.S. over the fact that Turkomans were not invited to the meeting of Iraqi opposition groups in Washington in the first half of August. Sources say Ankara remains dissatisfied with the explanation that the U.S. was not involved in the composition of the participants of the meeting.

    The Americans feel Turkey has to show some political and military will that it will go along with Washington if and when the U.S. administration wants to take military action to topple the Saddam Hussein regime.

    Ankara feels the sides should evaluate the pros and cons of such an operation and minimize the losses for Turkey."


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