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TRKNWS-L TURKISH Daily News (January 22, 1996)

From: TRKNWS-L <trh@aimnet.com>

Turkish News Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] Ciller gets set to break ice with Yilmaz for coalition

  • [02] Premiership still the stumbling block

  • [03] UN secretary-general will attend Habitat-II

  • [04] Turkey 'number one' candidate to arm and train Bosnians

  • [05] Israel: Turkish interests in water must be safeguarded


  • TURKISH DAILY NEWS / 22 January 1996

    [01] Ciller gets set to break ice with Yilmaz for coalition

    Half Way: Caretaker PM offers face-saving formula to break the deadlock over the top Cabinet post before meeting ANAP's Yilmaz

    Turkish Daily News

    ANKARA- Caretaker Prime Minister and True Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller on Sunday took the first steps to preparing the ground for Tuesday's key meeting with Motherland Party (ANAP) chief Mesut Yilmaz for talks on a center-right coalition.

    Ciller told reporters that she would make a formal offer for government partnership to ANAP when they meet on Tuesday and, in what looked to be a moderate concession to the steadfast ANAP leader, said that "the roof of the coalition can be discussed simultaneously with its program."

    The DYP leader said they were not going into the (upcoming) meeting with any preconditions "and it is our right to expect the same attitude from the other side." She said such fixed standpoints of the "such or such persons cannot be prime minister" or "I will not deal with this and that," kind were actually preconditions themselves.

    Despite the difficulties, Ciller said the DYP and ANAP were actually sister parties and she was optimistic that they would be able to beat a path to an eventual compromise.

    In a gesture of goodwill before settling down to tough bargaining, Ciller also paid a get-well-soon visit to the ANAP leader's wife, Berna Yilmaz, recuperating at her home after an operation. Mrs. Yilmaz has been an ardent supporter of an ANAP-DYP coalition, jokingly threatening to divorce her husband if he set up a partnership with Islamists before Yilmaz met with Erbakan earlier this month.

    Not missing another chance to prepare a suitable atmosphere, Ciller said the just-started fasting month of Ramadan was a suitable time to bury past grievances and enmities in keeping with Islamic tradition.

    The two parties emerged abreast from general elections last month with ANAP slightly ahead in the number of votes while the DYP had a 135-to-133 advantage in the number of captured seats.

    Both were left behind, however, by the Islamist Welfare Party (RP) which bagged 158 seats in the 550-member assembly.

    President Suleyman Demirel assigned Ciller to form a new coalition last week after RP leader Necmettin Erbakan admitted failure in his efforts to draw partners from the mainstream right and left to his Islamists.

    Personal rivalry between Ciller and Yilmaz, their bitter recriminations during the election campaign and preconditions for a reluctant partnership all doomed earlier efforts for a center-right coalition -- possibly to be backed by a left-wing party -- with Ciller insisting on staying as the prime minister and Yilmaz prepared to hear nothing of the sort.

    The ANAP leader told a private television channel over the weekend that Ciller should not bother coming to him with a coalition proposal without giving up the idea of heading it.

    A rotating premiership with two leaders taking turns at directing the coalition, proposed as a formula to break the deadlock, failed to elicit a firm commitment from either of the leaders.

    To keep his options open, the ANAP leader did not shut the door completely on an RP-ANAP coalition, when Yilmaz declined Erbakan's call last week.

    RP leader Necmettin Erbakan on Sunday strove to drive a wedge between the DYP and ANAP, taking the latter's side that the (divisive) issue of the coalition leadership should be discussed first when the two leaders come together.

    After meeting with his party's executives, the Islamist leader voiced optimism that in the end the RP would form the coalition (with ANAP) and before returning his assignment to President Suleyman Demirel on Friday, said he had covered 90 percent of the way to putting together the partnership.

    Erbakan said forming the coalition with ANAP would be the easier of the options for the RP, although he said a partnership with the DYP would also not be too difficult.

    But Ciller, vested with full powers for coalition talks by the DYP General Administration Board, the party's top decision-making body which met on Saturday, said she would also meet with other leaders but would make the coalition proposal only to ANAP.

    She denied that her reported insistence on remaining as prime minister was a stumbling block, saying she had no such lust to hold on power. "Otherwise, we could easily set up a coalition with the RP," Ciller said, implying that Erbakan would have agreed to a subordinate position. Ciller said the most important thing for a partnership was the harmony of views of the participating sides, hence the emphasis she places on the discussion of the coalition program as the more important issue.

    But after Saturday's meeting of the DYP executives, a spokesman ruled out their agreeing to a neutral prime minister.

    [02] Premiership still the stumbling block

    Yilmaz postpones his appointment with Ciller to show his disturbance at Ciller's failing to make her stance clear on the premiership issue

    By Kemal Balci

    Turkish Daily News

    ANKARA- Tansu Ciller, the chairwoman of the True Path Party (DYP), who has been appointed to form a government, will try again to form a new government with the Motherland Party (ANAP).

    But, the question of who the prime minister will be is still the biggest obstacle. While Mesut Yilmaz, chairman of ANAP, is saying that they will never join a government under the prime ministry of Tansu Ciller, DYP officials are saying that having the prime ministry on a rotational basis can be accepted. Yilmaz showed his disturbance at Ciller's failing to make her stance clear on the premiership issue by postponing his appointment for another day.

    Ciller, who was appointed by President Suleyman Demirel to form a government last Friday, was authorized by the DYP's General Administration Board (GIK) to undertake negotiations. It was decided not to offer a partnership to the Welfare Party (RP), and to prepare a working program about the duties of the government in a proposal to ANAP.

    It was also decided to give up the strict attitude on the prime ministry by suggesting the "prime ministry on rotational basis" model be discussed between the two leaders. Meanwhile, Koksal Toptan proposed a model to eliminate the prime ministry problem, but it was not accepted at the GIK. DYP administration determined to make effort on giving the priority to Ciller in the model.

    Ciller demanded a meeting with Yilmaz for today. But it was reported that the meeting will have to be on Tuesday, because Yilmaz would be in Istanbul today.

    Ciller took a step further to warm up relations when she visited Berna Yilmaz, Mesut Yilmaz's wife, at home.

    The officials of both parties do not seem hopeful about the negotiations for Motherpath, initiated by Ciller under hard conditions. DYP officials said that the party would give up their attempts to form a government, stay in the opposition, and work for a new election if ANAP insisted the on prime ministry issue.

    ANAP officials said that they would insist on the prime ministry on rotational basis model on the condition that either ANAP be given the first premiership term or that a third party be given the top job. Under no circumstances would they accept Ciller as Prime Minister. The officials said they would form a government with RP if their conditions were not met.

    It was stated that a program consisting of policies, which could be completed in two years at the maximum, would form the base of a government model for Ciller, but that ANAP would demand the solution of the premiership problem first. Mesut Yilmaz declared that he would first demand to form a viewpoint regarding the prime ministry issue from Tansu Ciller.

    It is expected that President Suleyman Demirel will appoint Necmettin Erbakan again to form a government if ANAP and DYP don't reach a positive solution. Erbakan will be able to easily form an RP-ANAP government due to the failure of the Motherpath model. It is claimed that an ANAP-RP coalition will stage a campaign to discredit Ciller, and that efforts will be exerted to boost the support of ANAP among traditional DYP supporters.

    Tansu Ciller will either form Motherpath by giving up her insistence on premiership or she will give the prime ministry to Erbakan and face the attacks of a new government until a new election.

    [03] UN secretary-general will attend Habitat-II

    Turkish Daily News

    ANKARA- U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali will attend the opening of the Habitat-II conference, which will be held in Istanbul June 3-14, the Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday. This will be the first visit to Turkey by a U.N. secretary-general in the last 20 years.

    Boutros Boutros-Ghali postponed a scheduled visit to Turkey last year following Turkish protests about the United Nations's handling of the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    The last two U.N. leaders, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Perez de Cuellar, have not visited Turkey, although they travelled to neighboring countries such as Iran and Iraq more than once.

    The last visit by a U.N. chief was that of Kurt Waldheim, who visited this country in 1975, 1975 and 1978.

    [04] Turkey 'number one' candidate to arm and train Bosnians

    At least $600 million needed to arm and train Bosnians in Turkey

    Turkish Daily News

    WASHINGTON- A leading American security expert has told the TDN that arming and training the Bosnians is of "vital interest" to the United States. But he also had reservations that unless U.S. personnel are also involved in the effort, such third parties will not be able to handle the job.

    Does he think Turkey would be able to handle the task, and at what cost? the TDN asked Richard Perle, a resident fellow at Washington's American Enterprise Institute.

    "There is no question that among the NATO allies Turkey is number one candidate for the job. For a lot of reasons, regional, political, historical, it is in a position to do so," Perle said. "But one thing Turkey doesn't have is money for this purpose. So far money has not been found. There is a great deal Turkey can contribute. The obvious way to do it is for Turkey and the United States working closely together, coming up with a co-operative plan that includes financing. The British and the French won't do it because they are opposed to arming the Bosnians. The same is true for Belgians and the others."

    Financing

    "But how do you do it?" he continued. "There is $50 million dollars in the current budget but that is for drawing down of U.S. equipment. Maybe another $50 million can be found, depending on what happens with the current budget impasse. But beyond that it's going to take new legislation -- if the U.S. is going to pay. So we mounted what's becoming increasing a 'tin-cup diplomacy' -- going around and asking for contributions. I hope that succeeds but it is not the best way to do it."

    When the TDN asked about the exact dollar values in question, Perle, who served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy in the 80s, referred to two different estimates given by the Pentagon.

    "When the administration was opposed to arming and training the Bosnians, it was eager to persuade Congress that this is not something we should do, the Joint Chiefs of Staff made an estimate that it would cost $4 billion," he said. "Some said at the time that this estimate was phony and developed for the purpose of making it look like an impossible task. New estimates are closer to $600 and $700 million, which proves that the earlier estimate was designed for the convenience of people [who did not want to arm and train Bosnians]. The real cost is probably somewhere in between."

    [05] Israel: Turkish interests in water must be safeguarded

    Amb. Rabinovich: 'Turkey is an important player in Middle East'

    By Ugur Akinci

    Turkish Daily News

    WASHINGTON- Israel's ambassador to Washington, Dr. Itamar Rabinovich, said during a Washington Institute lunch that Turkey is an important country in the region. The Israeli ambassador also added that Turkey's interests in the water issue must be integrated with the outcome of the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and Syria. But as to the Syrian-Turkish conflict, he said it was a "bilateral issue" that the two countries have to solve between themselves.

    Ongoing dialogue

    "If we speak about the new politics [of the Middle East], Turkey looms large in the region; it's a very important state," Rabinovich said. "It has a European dimension. It has a Middle Eastern dimension. It has dominated the region and has been an important player in the region and continues to be so. We have a good dialogue. We were visited by [Turkish Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs] Mr. Onur Oymen recently. We had very good talks with him. And ambassadors in Tel Aviv and Ankara talk to the governments and there is a dialogue that goes on. We would like to keep that partnership."

    Syria

    "There are two elements in which Turkey is mentioned in addition to this general sense. One is the Turkish-Syrian relationship," Rabinovich said. "It is a bilateral relationship and will have to be addressed and hopefully improved and resolved by the Turks and the Syrians. It's not something that we need to deal with."

    Water

    "And then there is the water issue," the ambassador continued. "The name of Turkey is invoked very often when water is mentioned. Turkey has been a partner to the Arab-Israeli peace process through the multilateral track, and it is fully aware of the work that has already been invested on the question of water in the working groups on water. And Turkey has a point of view in all of this.

    And what we all -- in all of these countries, in the United States, Syria, Israel, the Turks, and so forth -- what we'll have to do as the discussion proceeds in the coming weeks and months, and comprehensiveness and water are on the table, is [see] that the Turkish point of view, Turkish interests, are integrated into the equation that will have to emerge out of this."

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