CEM IS A MEDIATOR
Ankara decided to pursue an active policy in the Gulf. During the summit it has been decided that Turkey will pursue an active policy in order to solve the problem by diplomatic ways, yet it will be ready for war if US stages an operation against Iraq.
ZAMAN (CONSERVATIVE) TENSE WAITING
US seeks for support. Iraq took a refraining step and opened its doors for those who control its weapons. Foreign Minister Cem will visit Baghdad for mediation.
Responding to questions about developments and the report regarding Susurluk incident at the state-run television channel TRT-1, Interior Minister Basesgioglu said that Ministry of Interior gave all of its information and documents to the justice in order to find out the gangs within the state, adding that ''we will do our best to clarify the incident.''
Interior Minister Basesgioglu stressed that if there are ones who do not comply with the tradition in Turkish Police Organization, they will be fired.
National Defense Ministry Undersecretary Lieutenant-General Tuncer Kılınc were also present at the meeting.
Addressing a statement at Ataturk Airport before leaving for Belgium, Ersumer stated that the energy investments which are planned to be made between Turkey and France will be taken up by all respects during his contacts in Belgium.
Noting that the cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy improves day by day, Ersumer pointed out that the energy investments of Turkish and Belgian representatives of private sector in third countries will be taken up during the meetings.
Cumhur Ersumer stated that Turkey will benefit from all possibilities including nuclear stations and wind energy to meet energy need.
Energy and Natural Resources Mnister Cumhur Ersumer will return to Turkey on February 4.
Totally 15 Tornado, F-15 and F-16 type aircrafts, two tanker planes and one commander aircraft took off from Incirlik Base between 06.00-09.25 this morning.
Addressing a statement to foreign journalists at a weekly press briefing, Foreign Mnistry Spokesman Necati Utkan stated that Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will visit Baghdad within the framework of mediation initiative of Turkey, adding that the visit of Cem was also accepted by Iraq.
Military officials told A.A correspondent that protective measures are always taken in borders, adding that ''we are ready for the protection of the country.''
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) officials said that they hope a possible American air operation will not effect themselves.
Officials in Sırnak said that they do not expect a migration flow to Turkey like the one in 1991.
Meanwhile, there is a movement in Batman Airport, yet military officials stressed that this movement results from training activities of troops.
Addressing a statement at Esenboga Airport, Parliament Speaker Hikmet Cetin who welcomed Tichon, said that a big progress has been recorded regarding the cooperation between Turkey and Israel in many fields in recent years.
Noting that the visit of Israeli Parliament Speaker to Turkey will contribute to further improvement of friendly relations, Cetin said that ''our region is full of problems and conflicts and it needs peace. Turkey and Israel which are two important democratic countries of the region, can contribute to a lasting peace.''
The guest Parliament Speaker Tichon in his part said that ''I believe that we will reach peace and stability in the region despite the existing difficulties.''
Tichon and the accompanying delegation will leave Turkey on Feb 8.
General Ralston and the accompanying delegation will meet Foreign Minister Ismail Cem at Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
Responding to questions of journalists after the departure of the US delegation at Esenboga Airport, US Ambassador to Turkey Marc Parris said that General Ralston did not come to Ankara to demand the use of Incirlik base.
Parris stressed that US State Department had the opportunity to give information about the measures it plans to take in order to solve the crisis, adding that ''US has not decided to use force yet,'' and they hope the problem will be solved by diplomatic ways.
The US delegation earlier met Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Korkmaz Haktanır the same day.
Addressing a statement after the meeting, Marc Grossman, US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs said that they came to Turkey to explain US views on Iraq-UN crisis, listened to the views of Turkey and they held a productive meeting with Korkmaz Haktanır.
Noting that there is continuous dialogue between Turkey and US at the high ranking level, Grossman stressed that they agree with Turkey concerning the necessity of Iraq to abide by UN Resolutions.
Grossman pointed out that the existing problem is between Iraq and the UN. ''Mass destruction weapons of Iraq are directly linked with the security of Turkey and the US. Iraq has to abide by the UN Resolutions regarding this issue,'' said Grossman.
Responding to a question about the visit of Foreign Minister Cem to Baghdad, Grossman said that ''if a successful result is achieved, we will be the first country which will congradulate Turkey.''
US Vice Chairman of the US Joints of Staff Gen. Joseph Ralston in his part said that ''we believe firmly that a diplomatic solution is best; however, we must plan for the eventuality that may not happen.''
The US delegation had also met Deputy Chief of General Staff General Cevik Bir the same day.
Responding to questions of journalists, Bulent Ecevit said that Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will visit Iraq within one or two days after the positive respond of Iraq.
Recalling that a lack of authority came out after the Gulf Crisis in 1991, Ecevit stressed that the separatist terrorist organization PKK benefited from that and ''there is a link between this lack of authority and Susurluk incident,'' said Ecevit.
Bulent Ecevit pointed out that Turkey is the country which has suffered a lot from the embargo imposed upon Iraq for eight years and it lost 85 billion dollars.
''We encourage Iraq to abide by the UN Resolutions and call the US to be patient. Turkey is the only country which does not have mass destruction weapons in the region. We wish our region not to have such weapons. If there is an operation of the US, Turkey will suffer again,'' added Cem.
Addressing a joint statement to foreign journalists together with Sermet Atacanlı, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Necati Utkan stressed that ''Turkey has the right to take initiative as a regional country and this initiative should be regarded as mediation between Iraq and US.''
Noting that Turkey launches efforts to solve the recent crisis by diplomatic ways, Utkan pointed out that ''firstly, the mass destruction weapons which Iraq has and which threaten neighbouring countries should be destroyed. Secondly a hot clash that can result in serious developments should be prevented. Civilian people in neighbouring states of Iraq including those in the latter should not suffer.''
Utkan said that another parameter is protection of territorial integrity of Iraq and Foreign Minister Ismail Cem will visit Baghdad in the coming days within the framework of these parameters.
Necati Utkan stressed that Turkey continues to hold contacts with the concerned countries to solve the crisis by peaceful methods and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan supports this peaceful initiative of Turkey.
Pointing out that US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman and US Vice Chairman of the US Joints of Staff Gen. Joseph Ralston did not ask to use Incirlik base during their contacts in Ankara.
Deputy Spokesman Sermet Atacanlı in his part said that the US and Turkey think that the crisis should be solved by diplomatic ways.
Foreign Minister Cem met US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman and Vice Chairman of the US Joints of Staff Gen. Joseph Ralston at Ataturk Airport.
Addressing a statement after the meeting, US Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman said, ''Turkey is a very important country in the world and in the region and we are here for that.''
''All the world expects Iraq to destroy its mass destruction weapons and to take the UN Resolutions as the basis of solution. We attribute great importance to the views and initiatives of Turkey regarding the diplomatic ways which have not ended yet. Our high ranking contacts with Turkey will continue and we wish we can find a solution to this problem,'' said Grossman.
Joseph Ralston said that US President Bill Clinton wanted him to come to Turkey. ''We will not refrain from the use of force, if Iraq does not comply with the UN Resolutions. Yet there is not any decision about this issue and we did not ask for an urgent demand from Turkish officials,'' said General Ralston.
Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said that ''Turkey is a neighbouring country of Iraq,'' reiterating that the problem should be solved within the framework of UN Resolutions.
''The news claiming that we will act as a mediator is not true. Turkey is one of the important countries of the region with its history and in this respect we regard ourself responsible to contribute to the solution of the problem. Turkey suffered a lot from the Gulf Crisis, so we do not favour a new war to erupt near us.''
Noting that the initiatives of Turkey will continue in the concerned platforms, Cem stated that ''we have taken an official invitation from Iraq, I think I will visit Baghdad at the weekend.''
Responding to a question, Ismail Cem stressed that he can not make any comment concerning the use of Incirlik Base during a possible war.
Later, Grossman and Ralston left for Athens.