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Turkish Press Review, 02-12-03
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> <map name="FPMap1"> </map> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
03.12.2002FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 CABINET TO DISCUSS EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGEThe Cabinet ministers chaired by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul are set to convene today with a special agenda. During their meeting, a 33-article European Union harmonization package will be discussed. After final revisions are made, the package will be sent to Parliament. /Turkiye/
 YSK ANNULS ELECTIONS IN SIIRT; ERDOGAN MAY RUN FOR SEATThe Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) yesterday decided to annul the results of the Nov. 3 elections in the southeastern city of Siirt on the grounds of certain irregularities in some ballot boxes. It is expected that new elections will take place at the beginning of February 2003, 60 days after the YSK’s ruling. Procedures and details regarding the Siirt elections will be set during today’s YSK meeting. In the wake of this ruling, the deputyship of the three winners of the Nov. 3 elections -- independent Deputy Fadil Akgunduz, the AKP’s Mervan Gul and the CHP’s Ekrem Bilek -- is hereby revoked. In related news, the YSK’s decision might pave the way for AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be elected to Parliament and then become prime minister. In order to lift Erdogan’s ban from holding public office, Article 76 of the Constitution would have to be amended. If Parliament amends this article, Erdogan is expected to run in the coming elections in Siirt. For an amendment to the Constitution, the votes of 367 deputies, a two-thirds majority, are needed. With 363 Parliament seats held by the AKP, the party would need at least four votes from the sole opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) or independent deputies to pass such an amendment. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “WE WILL DISCUSS THE YSK DECISION AT OUR PARTY BOARDS”Addressing yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) to annul the results of the Siirt elections held on Nov. 3, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that he would discuss the matter at the AKP’s administrative boards and then decide how to proceed. In related news, opposition Republican People’s party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that his party remained resolved to end political bans. About the YSK’s decision, Baykal said that CHP would support an amendment to Article 76 of the Constitution, which would in turn enable Erdogan to become a deputy and also prime minister. Moreover, Baykal stated that the CHP would support passage of the government’s EU Harmonization Package, which the AKP is trying to enact before the EU’s Copenhagen summit set to begin Dec. 12. /Turkiye/
 JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK: “TURKEY’S STATE SECURITY COURTS WILL BE ABOLISHED”Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday that a comprehensive reform package had been prepared in order to address a wide range of legal issues, from the criminal code to the law on foundations. Cicek also stated that Turkey’s State Security Courts (DGM) would be abolished, adding that certain specialized courts in charge of business and economic crimes as well as terrorist offenses would also be established. /Cumhuriyet/
 IMF DELEGATION MEETS AKP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALSInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) European Regional Director Michael Deppler and Turkey Desk Chief Juha Kahkonen yesterday met with representatives of Turkey’s new government. During a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, the privatization of Vakifbank and the collective bargaining process were discussed. /Turkiye/
 TUSIAD DELEGATION TO MEET WITH SCHROEDERA delegation from the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) headed by Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan is scheduled to meet tomorrow with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin. The delegation will seek support for Turkey’s getting a date for the beginning of its EU accession negotiations at this month’s Copenhagen summit. Michael Rogowski, chairman of the German Industrialists’ Association, will also participate in the meeting. /Hurriyet/
 TOBB HOLDS JOINT CONFERENCE FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDThe Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) yesterday held a joint conference with the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry (EUROCHAMBRES) in Istanbul to seek support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Speaking at the meeting, TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that the EU’s Copenhagen criteria should be applied to all candidate countries equally and objectively, and not in a way that unfairly discriminates between candidate countries. “Otherwise, the EU will lose its credibility,” he said. George Kassimatis, EURCHAMBRES deputy president and chairman of its Greek branch, said that Greece would support Turkey at the Copenhagen summit. /Aksam/
 TURKISH-GREEK BUSINESS COUNCIL CALLS ON EU TO GIVE TURKEY A DATEAt a meeting in Athens yesterday of the Turkish-Greek Business Council, businessmen from the two countries urged the European Union to give Turkey a date for its accession negotiations at the Copenhagen summit later this month. Also attending the meeting, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursat Tuzmen and Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos delivered speeches. Tsohatzopoulos said that Greece would continue to support Turkey’s EU membership bid. “The EU must extend a date for Turkey’s accession talks,” he added. /Hurriyet/
 US REPORTEDLY ASKS FOR TURKISH TROOPS, USE OF BASES AND HARBORS FOR IRAQ OFFENSIVE; WOLFOWITZ TO PRESENT REQUESTSThe US administration has delivered its requests of Turkey for a possible Iraq offensive to Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu, diplomatic sources said yesterday. Reportedly, the US has asked for use of Turkish airspace, military bases and harbors. The sources added that the US had also requested the active involvement of Turkish troops in the offensive if that proved necessary and also permission for US troops to use Turkish territories bordering northern Iraq to launch an operation from there. US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman are expected today to officially present the US requests to Ankara during their meetings with Turkish officials. /Hurriyet/
 DE SOTO: “THE UN EXPECTS BOTH SIDES TO DECLARE THEIR VIEWS ON ITS CYPRUS PLAN”UN Special Envoy for Cyprus Alvaro de Soto yesterday met with Prime Minister Yasar Yakis and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. Later speaking to reporters, de Soto said that the meetings had been very positive and that he expected both sides to declare their views on the UN’s Cyprus plan within a few days. After hearing out these views, the UN will determine a method to find a solution for the region, he added. /Milliyet/
 MOELLER URGES TURKEY TO SOLVE CYPRUS ISSUE BEFORE COPENHAGENEuropean Union Term President Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller yesterday visited ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. During their talks, Moeller said that the Cyprus issue should be solved before the EU’s Copenhagen summit scheduled to begin on Dec. 12. Moeller also said that it was time for Turkey to show courage and determination. “You have a great opportunity here on Cyprus, don’t miss it,” urged Moeller. “Such a chance may never come again.” Erdogan stated that the EU was applying double standards to Turkey, discriminating against it as compared with other candidate countries, and that the EU hadn’t set so many conditions on the other candidates. Moeller also met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. /Milliyet/
 RASMUSSEN: “IT’S STILL EARLY TO GIVE A DATE TO TURKEY”European Union Term President Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said yesterday that it was still early to give a date for membership talks to Turkey at the EU’s Copenhagen summit set to begin on Dec. 12. Rasmussen said that the EU would complete the accession process of 10 other candidate countries during the summit, adding that Bulgaria and Romania would probably be full EU members by 2007. He added that last summer Turkey had taken important steps for its EU membership bid by passing a number of harmonization laws, which he called a positive development. “However, it’s early to say that the EU will give a date to Turkey at Copenhagen,” added Rasmussen. /Aksam/
 KRETSCHMER: “A DECISION ON TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP HAS YET TO BE MADE”Hansjorg Kretschmer, the European Union Commission’s representative to Turkey, said yesterday that a decision on Turkey’s EU membership bid had yet to be made in the leadup to the EU’s Copenhagen summit set to begin on Dec. 12. “There’s no clear-cut answer as to whether or not the EU will extend a firm date for the start of Turkey’s accession negotiations,” added Kretschmer. /Cumhuriyet/
 PAPANDROEU TO VISIT TURKEYGreek Foreign Minister George Papandroeu is set to come to Turkey today to discuss a number of issues with government officials, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid and the Cyprus issue. During their talks, Papandroeu will reportedly offer to the officials to start negotiations on the UN’s Cyprus plan and to also continue these negotiations after the EU’s Copenhagen summit. He will also reportedly say that there is no need to sign any agreement prior to the summit since the discussions would continue after the meeting in any case. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 COOPERATION OR CONFLICT?BY ORHAN BURSALI (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Orhan Bursali comments on the Cyprus problem and possible solutions to it. A summary of his column is as follows:
“When Turkey’s foreign problems are discussed, our tendency towards polarization always seems to take precedence. We look down on discussing various opinions and producing solutions in Turkey’s favor. We love conflicts too much. The Cyprus problem is a typical example of this. Recently our TRT network spoke to a retired major general. He started to talk not as the specialist of a think-tank, but as a common propagandist. He used distortion and exaggeration to paint United Nations Secretary- General Kofi Annan’s plan as being in Turkey’s disadvantage. Then he came to his conclusion: ‘If Annan’s plan includes proposals appropriate to most of Turkey’s wishes, this is the result of 28 years of insistent policies. Then our policy has been successful, and so we should continue it.” How do you like this retired soldier’s point of view? He’s suggesting a policy of deadlock instead of producing opinions by considering the current strategic situation inn light of Turkey’s best interests. Turkey might have been right to steadfastly oppose policies at the hands of Greeks and Greek Cypriots which aimed to corner Turkey in the international arena. The policy of dividing Cyprus is based on this policy. We have paid the price for this for 28 years.
However, things have changed now. A period of cooperation, not conflict, has begun. Conflict brings hazards and cooperation brings benefits. We should solve our country’s problems with other countries as much as we can, steer clear of conflict and put Turkey into circles of cooperation. Is it possible to defend policies followed for 28 years for 28 more years and could these policies possibly benefit Turkey and Cyprus? Framing the issue in terms of ‘gaining territory’ and the ‘benefits’ of gaining territory is no longer valid. Now the world is directed at improving things through cooperation. Are we able to gain the greatest share of economic, cultural and social benefit and make plans to create the highest value for our nation’s welfare? Can we show the way to do this? Strategy specialists should make this their first priority.
I wonder if the aim of the Cyprus talks is to use tactics directed at gaining the maximum benefit. Or are they aiming at protecting the status quo and a policy of division by starting negotiations from a hard-line pretext stance, so as to say, ‘They aren’t addressing our wishes.’ Those who would admit Annan’s plan without any reservations are at the other extreme. Obviously changes in the Turkish Cypriots’ favor should be pushed. The maps joining the two nations might not be feasible. It would be beneficial if this joining took place over a long period. It would be a much more realistic attitude to wait for the problems to be resolved by themselves as cooperation in Cyprus develops and the benefits of cooperation start to be seen. What’s more, Annan’s plan provides Turks with great rights of political sovereignty. It should be our chief goal to strengthen this agreement with a better one and to usher in a new period of partnership.”
 THE US SHOWS ITS CARDSBY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on recent developments on the Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Diplomatic sources are now saying that the Bush administration, whose determination to launch a military strike against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is clear, has finally conveyed its official requests of our country to the Turkish Embassy in Washington. According to these sources, the US is demanding use of Turkey’s airspace, military bases, territories and ports during its planned Iraq military operation. The Bush administration also wants Turkey to deploy its own troops whenever and wherever needed. The US listed their demands in accordance with America’s long and short-term interests. However, there is no doubt that Turkey also has its own long and short-term interests, which is why our government shouldn’t neglect these interests in responding to the US demands. For instance, how can we trust the US, when up to now it has lent its full support to the opposition Kurdish groups aiming to establish an independent state in northern Iraq? The Bush administration has guaranteed that it would never support any efforts which could pose a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity. Can we really trust their promises? In addition, Turkmen groups in northern Iraq might not mean anything to the US, but they are very important to us. What will the US do about this issue?
Let’s imagine the post-operation period. After ousting Saddam Hussein, the US will leave the region. However, Turkey will remain a neighbor to Iraq. How can the Iraqi nation forget that Turkey deployed troops against their country? Will Turkey be able to mend relations between the two countries in the postwar period? Let’s not forget that our two countries currently have good relations.
Finally, let’s ask ourselves, what has the US operation got to do with Turkey anyway?
In an article recently posted on the website of Middle East Realities magazine, it was alleged that Iraqi opposition leader Ahmad Chalabi had met with the directors of US oil companies in Washington to discuss the postwar situation concerning Iraqi oil. In fact, nobody denies that the real motive behind the US’ determination to overthrow Saddam is the US oil companies’ desire to capture these resources. The same article also added that Larry Lindsey, Bush’s economic policy advisor, stated that a war in Iraq would provide a shot in the arm to the US business world. The only problem for the US is that France, Russia and China will likely to have serious concerns about US control over Iraq’s oil resources. The US is on the one hand trying to find a way to please these countries, and on the other selecting three of its own major oil companies to control the region. What a situation! Retired Ambassador Taner Baytok also recently expressed similar views on the issue. He called on the Turkish government to avoid pursuing policies at odds with the US plans and furthermore to hold meetings with US officials to clearly express its views and prevent any future misunderstandings.”
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