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Turkish Press Review, 02-12-04
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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
04.12.2002FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WOLFOWITZ, GROSSMAN GET TURKEY’S SUPPORT FOR POSSIBLE IRAQ OPERATIONUS Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman yesterday met with Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis in Ankara. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Wolfowitz said that he and Grossman had gotten Turkey’s support for a possible operation in Iraq. He further pledged that the US would compensate Turkey for its expenses incurred in such an operation. Wolfowitz and Grossman also met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul. /Milliyet/
 BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER STRAW PROMOTES CYPRUS PEACE PROCESSBritish Foreign Minister Jack Straw yesterday paid a visit to Turkey to hold a series of meetings with Turkish officials to promote the Cyprus peace process. Straw met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. According to diplomatic sources, there were three major issues on Straw’s agenda, namely, the Cyprus peace process, the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and a possible US operation in Iraq. Britain is second only to the US in its support for such as operation. Remarking that the UN’s recent Cyprus plan was a historic opportunity to reach a permanent settlement, Straw requested that Turkey take constructive steps to begin negotiations on the text before the start of the EU’s Copenhagen summit next Thursday. “The EU will approve the membership of the Greek Cypriot administration at the summit,” said Straw. “If the parties fail to reach a settlement on the UN text before the EU summit, then it will be more difficult for the Turkish Cypriots to negotiate with a EU member country.” /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “COPENHAGEN WILL BE A TEST OF THE EU’S SINCERITY”Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday stated that his party strongly believed Turkey deserved to get a date at next week’s European Union summit in Copenhagen for the start of its accession negotiations. “Turkey has already displayed its resolve to become a EU member,” said Erdogan. “Now it’s the EU’s turn to prove its sincerity. We’ll see whether the EU countries apply double standards in their relations with Turkey.” Meanwhile, US President George W. Bush invited Erdogan to visit his country on Dec. 10, next Tuesday. US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman, who jointly paid an official visit to Turkey yesterday, conveyed Bush’s invitation to Erdogan at a banquet at the US Embassy in Ankara. /Hurriyet/
 PAPANDREOU, IN ANKARA, REITERATES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDGreek Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday visited Turkey to discuss Turkish-Greek relations and the Cyprus issue. Speaking to journalists at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, Papandreou remarked that Greece was constantly seeking to improve its relations with Turkey. “I want to make sure that the new Turkish government is committed to improving bilateral relations,” said Papandreou. “That’s why I’m visiting your country. Greece always wants to maintain good relations with Turkey. I believe that so far we have played an active and positive role in Turkey’s EU membership bid. Greece will take over the EU term presidency in January, and our government wants to continue to support Turkey’s membership bid.” The Greek foreign minister is scheduled to meet today with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. /Sabah/
 MOELLER: “IT MAY TAKE 20 YEARS FOR TURKEY TO BECOME AN EU MEMBER”European Union Term President Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said yesterday that even if Turkey gets a date at next week’s Copenhagen summit to start membership negotiations, it could still take nearly 20 years for the nation to gain full EU membership. Speaking to daily Danish Jyllands-Posten, Moeller stated that Turkey had passed a number of EU harmonization laws for its membership bid, but that the EU wanted to see these laws actually implemented. “When I visited Turkey in 1990, the government vowed then to end torture, and they are pledging the same thing now,” added Deppler. /Milliyet/
 DEPPLER: “THE IMF SUPPORTS THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM OF TURKEY’S NEW GOVERNMENT”Michael Deppler, the European director of the International Monetary Fund, yesterday said that the IMF supported the economic program of Turkey’s new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara after his meetings with AKP officials, Deppler said that the two sides had agreed that the IMF would support the government’s economic program. He also said that the downward trend in inflation showed that Turkey’s economy is recovering. “The fall in inflation is even better than the targets, and growth is increasing due to stability in the markets, ” said Deppler. “I believe that Turkey is recovering from its economic crises. However, it still faces substantial challanges regarding debt and high inflation.” He also said that for the time being the government had no need for additional credit. Deppler added that another IMF delegation would soon visit the country. /Milliyet/
 EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE CLEARS CABINET AND IS SENT TO PARLIAMENTDeputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir said yesterday that the government’s EU harmonization package had been approved at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. Following a two-and-a-half-hour meeting, Yalcinbayir told reporters that the bill proposes amendments to 31 articles of 16 laws in the Constitution, including Articles 67, 76 and 78. The package is expected to be debated in Parliament on next Tuesday. /Turkiye/
 SCHROEDER, CHIRAC TO TAKE JOINT STANCE ON TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIPGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said yesterday that he would meet with French President Jacques Chirac in Storkow, Germany today to prepare a joint proposal on Turkey’s European Union membership bid to be taken up at the EU’s Copenhagen summit next week. Following a meeting with EU Term President Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Schroeder told reporters that he and the French president would discuss whether to extend a date to Turkey to begin membership talks and establish a joint stance on the matter. /Turkiye/
 INFLATION CONTINUES TO FALLThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) yesterday released month-on-month inflation figures for November that were lower than analysts’ expectations. Inflation in November was 1.6% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and 2.9% on the consumer price index (CPI). For the last 11 months, increases in the WPI totalled 27.5%, and 27.7% in the CPI. /Turkiye/
 OLGUN: “THE TRNC WILL A SOON ISSUE A RESPONSE TO THE UN PLAN”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Presidential Undersecretary Ergun Olgun said yesterday that the TRNC would send a letter to the UN Secreteriat-General as soon as possible iN reply to the recent UN Cyprus plan. The letter will detail the TRNC’s objections to the UN plan, he stated, and it will be written with the help of opposition parties represented in Parliament. Olgun added that a possible meeting of TRNC President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides may be held after Denktas returns to TRNC from New York, where he is currently undergoing medical treatment. /Miliyet/
 KESICI TO RUN FOR DYP LEADERSHIPFormer Motherland Party (ANAP) Bursa Deputy Ilhan Kesici yesterday declared that he would run for the leadership of the True Path Party (DYP) at the party’s congress on Dec. 14. Kesici stated that the DYP should elect a leader not only for the party itself but also for the center-right and Turkey itself, if it wants to attract broader support. In related news, former Antalya Greater Municipality Mayor Hasan Subasi has also declared his candidacy for the DYP leadership. Meanwhile, another candidate for the leadership post Mehmet Agar, the DYP’s sole representative in Parliament, yesterday visited the southeastern city of Gaziantep and met with party members there. Additionally, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchange (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu yesterday issued a statement saying that he would not stand as a candidate for the DYP leadership. “Turkey is moving through an important period,” the statement said. “I will continue to serve in the TOBB.” /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKEY’S CONDITIONSBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the conditions Turkey has set concerning its support for a possible US military operation against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We’ve seen a virtual flood of visitors to Ankara in recent days: US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Assistant Secretary of State Marc Grossman, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and the International Monetary Fund delegation… The Iraq issue, the European Union, Cyprus and our economy are all on the agenda. The Iraqi issue was topic A in the contacts with Wolfowitz and Grossman. The Americans are looking for an answer to their new military scenario envisioning an attack against Iraq from the north. This plan, which was conveyed to Turkish officials in the US and in Ankara, depends on Turkey’s support. As part of this plan, which envisages a land operation against Iraq from the Turkish border, the US is asking Turkey for permission to use 10 airports and Mediterranean harbors and for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to help out with its soldiers. During Wolfowitz and Grossman’s contacts yesterday, Ankara reiterated its view that it favors solving the problem without the need for a military operation but that if need be, Turkey’s economic losses should be compensated and military and political security concerning northern Iraq should be guaranteed. If an operation from the north is carried out, what are Ankara’s conditions for the US requests to be met? They are as follows:
1. Turkey’s losses from a war coming from the north would amount to approximately $20-25 billion. Ankara wants the US to compensate for these losses. In addition, Ankara thinks that this should be done not through ‘indirect aid’ dependent on US congressional legislation, but rather from the US Defense Department. Ankara told the US as much.
2. The US should not allow the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq. If a federation is established in Iraq, the Turkmens there should have the same status as the Kurds.
3. Peshmergas shouldn’t be used or armed during the operation, for the sake of the security of the Turkmens and Arabs in the region.
4. Security and control in northern Iraq should be left to Turkey. During these contacts, Ankara told Wolfowitz and Grossman that the US should increase its pressure on the EU to give a date to Turkey at the Copenhagen summit this month. If a military operation becomes inevitable and if it comes from the north, Ankara doesn’t favor the establishment of British control in the region. Turkey is also requesting that the TSK have control over Turkey’s security. The TSK seems to favor that in case of a military operation, it will have an active position for Turkey’s security and interests. Just as during the Gulf War, it doesn’t just want to just sit and watch developments from the border. However, it is paying attention to the acceptance and guarantee of Ankara’s conditions by the US. Of course Turkey would prefer to solve the problem without the need for a military operation.”
 HIGH TIME FOR A SETTLEMENT ON CYPRUSBY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the Cyprus issue and the urgent need to find a workable peace plan. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Glafcos Clerides are both trying in earnest to bury UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recent solution proposal for the island. Yet, no matter how hard they try, the current dizzying diplomatic traffic in Ankara shows that it’s high time to reach a settlement. Let’s be realistic. It is apparent that a solution, if one is reached at all, will be built, more or less, upon the framework Annan drew with the UN proposal. However, this in no way means that a settlement is a done deal.
We see that those who are firmly opposed to any solution on the island are still very influential and powerful. Moreover, it’s as clear as day that neither Denktas nor Clerides is sincere in calling the UN proposal a basis for negotiations, for I’m sure that they only said so under duress. As if they had mutually agreed to not to find a middle way, what one of them calls white the other then calls black. It’s like a seesaw; when one of them is up the other is down, or vice versa. This game has been continuing for 20 years now, and Denktas and Clerides assume that it will do so in the future.
However, both sides also know very well that rejecting the proposal wholesale would cost them a great deal. This is even more so for Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots who really want a solution on the island. I hear some saying, ‘We’ve seen so many of these missed “last chances” in the past, and couldn’t the recent proposal be just another of them?’ However, they don’t seem to realize that the whole world is being in the midst of a realignment. Their arguments could have been valid during the Cold War, but today they are obsolete.
Current developments make it quite clear that Turkey, though it knows quite well that it would cost the country dearly, isn’t likely to abandon its standard stance aimed up to now at maintaining the island’s status quo. And unfortunately, Ankara has a strong tendency to be hemmed in once again by the shallow perspective of Mr. Denktas.
Yet there is a problem. The UN proposal, whether it is good or bad, is fiercely supported by the United States, Great Britain and other members of the UN Security Council, and of course the European Union. The most enthusiastic supporter is the US. Speaking to Greek Cypriot newspaper Politis a few days ago, Thomas Weston, the US special coordinator for Cyprus, said that Annan’s proposal was perfect and that it constituted a well-founded basis for negotiations. He added that a solution to the Cyprus issue would also serve US interests and stressed that the US administration had no intention of abandoning its efforts until the problem is solved.
In other words, both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots opposed to a peace solution are headed towards further international isolation in the days to come. Without a doubt, this will in turn have negative consequences in certain other areas.”
NOTE TO OUR READERS: In observance of the Ramazan holiday, the Turkish Press Review will not appear on Thursday and Friday. Please join us again on Monday, Dec. 9.
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