|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 02-12-25
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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
 SEZER: “PARLIAMENT SHOULD REDUCE THE
 NUMBER OF ITS DEPUTIES TO 400”President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday received members of Parliament’s Presidential Council at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. During the meeting, Sezer asked the council to take up the Political Parties Law and make necessary amendments to it. Along these lines, Sezer suggested that political party leaders should serve at their party’s helms for a maximum of two election cycles, translating to a decade at most. He also recommended that Parliament’s current roster of 550 deputies be reduced to 400. On the Iraq issue, the president predicted that Turkey would be the country to suffer the most harm in a possible war whether or not it were directly involved in the conflict. Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc also briefed the president on his recent visit to India. Sezer then received True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar, the DYP’s sole deputy in Parliament, and members of the party’s council.
President Sezer yesterday also issued a message marking Dec. 25, the day non-Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, and wishing all Christians living in Turkey a happy holiday. In the message, he highlighted the importance of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding in and among societies. /Turkiye/
 PRIME MINISTER GUL MEETS WITH BAYKALPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. During their one-and-a-half-hour meeting, Gul reportedly told the CHP leader about recent developments on the Iraq issue, which has been the focus of several recent government summits. Baykal told reporters that he had expressed to the prime minister his party’s views on the issue. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH RUSSIAN PRESIDENT PUTINRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Erdogan, who is currently on a visit to Russia, yesterday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During their talks, Erdogan expressed the Turkish nation’s concerns about the terrorist organization KADEK, also known as the PKK, since Turkey had lost tens of thousands of its people due to terrorism. Erdogan also asked for Russia’s support in the struggle against terrorist organizations. Putin said that Russia had great concerns about the breakaway province of Chechnya, which he blames for his own nation’s terrorism woes. “The Russian government has done what it had to do about Chechnya, and now it’s Turkey’s turn,” said Putin. He also congratulated Erdogan for the landslide victory of the AKP in Turkey’s November general elections. Two leaders agreed to form an international front against terrorism. Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Putin said that Turkey was a longtime, reliable partner of Russia and that relations between the two countries would improve. Erdogan said that the two countries should cooperate in economic areas. /Milliyet/
 IPUK LEADER TALABANI VISITS ANKARAIraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani yesterday visited Ankara ahead of a possible US-led military campaign in Iraq and met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. Following the one-hour meeting, Talabani told reporters that the IPUK would appreciate Turkey’s lending its forces to an international coalition intervening in the country. Talabani added that he had briefed Ziyal on a meeting of Iraqi opposition groups in London on Dec. 14-15. Talabani later met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. Following the meeting, Talabani said that he had asked for Turkey’s support, adding that he hoped that the IPUK could improve its relations with the new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL: “THE CHP SUPPORTS THE
 CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PACKAGE, AS IT
 RESPECTS THE NATION’S CHOICE
 IN NOVEMBER’S ELECTIONS”Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that he supported a constitutional amendment package proposing amendments to Articles 67, 76, and 78 of the Constitution, since he respected the nation’s decision in voting for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in November’s general elections. The package in question would pave the way for AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to become prime minister, a post from which he is currently banned. Baykal also characterized the amendment to Article 76 as a general and permanent regulation. Addressing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s veto of the same legislative package last week, he called Sezer a respected jurist and statesman who had rendered valuable services to the nation during his presidency. “However, I am trying to understand the reasons for his turning back the amendment package,” added Baykal. Before becoming president in 2000, Sezer led the Constitutional Court, the nation’s leading judicial body. /Milliyet/
 ECEVIT: “TURKEY WOULD INEVITABLY BE DRAGGED
 INTO ANY WAR IN IRAQ”Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader and former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said yesterday that the prospect of a war in Iraq was growing more probable with each passing day. Ecevit predicted that if a war broke out, Turkey would inevitably be dragged into it even if the country didn’t actively participate in the military campaign, as the US would carry out military operations near Turkey’s borders with Iraq. “I’m deeply concerned about the death toll and grave economic losses that Turkey could suffer,” added Ecevit. /Sabah/
 CABINET CONVENES, DISCUSSES ECONOMYThe Cabinet convened yesterday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. During the three-hour meeting, the Cabinet ministers discussed the current state of the economy, the country’s inflation targets for next year and the government’s privatization policies. /Cumhuriyet/
 GOVERNMENT DISCUSSES PREPARATIONS FOR
 POSSIBLE WAVE OF IRAQI REFUGEESA crisis coordination council convened at the prime ministry yesterday in order to discuss measures to be taken for a possible wave of refugees in case of a war in Iraq. The council estimated that a half a million refugees might rush to Turkey’s borders. Accordingly, Turkey is preparing measures to halt refugees coming between the 36th and 37th parallels and prevent them from entering Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL TO MEET TOMORROWThe Supreme Military Council is set to meet tomorrow to brief Prime Minister Abdullah Gul on a number of matters, including recent developments concerning Iraq, the Cyprus issue, and reactionary movements in Turkey which endanger its democratic, secular regime. Gul will also be briefed on the preparations of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for a possible war in Iraq. /Milliyet/
 ISRAELI CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF MEETS
 TURKISH OFFICIALSIsraeli Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon, who is currently in Turkey upon the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, yesterday met with Ozkok at the General Staff headquarters in Ankara. At the meeting, bilateral military relations were discussed. Then Ya’alon visited Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul. The Israeli general expressed his pleasure at visiting Turkey for the first time and remarked on the importance of such visits in maintaining and developing relations. /Turkiye/
 AMENDMENT PACKAGE PASSES AGAIN IN
 PARLIAMENT’S FIRST VOTEParliament yesterday held its first round of voting on an amendment package which was vetoed last week by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, passing it once again by a large majority. Following the second round of balloting on Friday, the legislation package is expected to be sent to the president without any changes being made to it. The president lacks the authority to veto the package twice. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKEY’S GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
 BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)Columnist Semih Idiz comments on recent developments on the Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Muslim countries currently face a great dilemma. Both the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the US and the Iraq issue have caused enormous problems for the Muslim world. As a country governed by the rule of law, Turkey stands apart from this world made up of Muslim dictatorships rather than democratic regimes. Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen are all governed by regimes totally dependent upon the Western world. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent visit to Great Britain showed that this country is also seeking new ways to improve its relations with Western countries.
Under diplomatic pressure from the US, Turkey might be forced to make a decision on the Iraq issue which could ultimately be harmful to its national interests. However, we should recognize that other Muslim countries are under yet more pressure. Even Germany is currently facing the same dilemma. The government in Berlin has stopped short of issuing a firm ‘no’ to the US, no matter how strongly it opposes an operation against Saddam Hussein.
In such a picture, Turkey –- a county with foots in both the West and the Muslim world -- bears a great responsibility. Our country has to assume an important political role on the Iraq issue. I believe that Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul must assume a ‘proactive’ diplomatic strategy as soon as possible. This strategy should first of all focus on determining common approaches amongst these two groups of countries. Gul and Erdogan should bear in mind that for over 20 years Saddam’s regime has brought rise to many problems and that it even spent a decade fighting its neighbor Iran, causing the death of millions of Muslims. He also attacked Kuwait and murdered thousands of Muslim Kurds in his own country. Ankara should understand that Saddam’s regime must be overthrown in order to ensure regional stability. If Turkey stays silent on this issue, other countries will try to get a share of the pie and draw up new maps for the region.
Erdogan and Gul’s proactive strategy should also focus on the US’ plans for the post-Saddam period. Turkey should tell the US that countries in the region should have the right to join discussions concerning the postwar period in the region.
In brief, I do believe that Turkey, as a ‘regional superpower,’ should avoid a ‘wait-and-see’ approach, and should instead pursue an active political strategy. Otherwise, our country will become a pawn of developments just over the horizon.”
 LACE UP YOUR BOOTS, BE READY TO MARCH
 BY MURAT CELIK (STAR)Columnist Murat Celik comments on Turkey’s role in a possible war against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Review your preparations and complete your final inspections: this is the order that the chief of General Staff sent to all the units of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). The plain meaning of these words in military terminology amounts to, ‘Lace up your boots, be ready to march.’ This order shows that we are in the penultimate stage before war. The order to be issued in the next and last step would be to deploy to your positions –- namely, ‘March!’ Turkey and the TSK haven’t yet reached this stage, but such an order would mean, ‘It’s make or break time,’ that is, ‘Boys, we’re in a shooting war.’ The order that was sent to the military units has certain technical requirements. The main headings of its checklist are as follows:
Go over your preparations again, make sure everything is ready. 2. Wrap up technical matters such as vehicle inspections. 3. Review all military equipment, especially weapons and munitions, and fix any problems. 4. Take full security measures. 5. If necessary, making necessary arrangements concerning personnel’s leaves of absence. Review the units rapid-reaction response.
During the Iraq summit at the Prime Ministry two days ago, the situation was evaluated from all angles. The military officials were present at the highest level during the first part of the summit. During this phase, which was attended by the chief of the general staff, his deputy, and the operations chief, the commanders gave technical information on the orders sent by headquarters to their units. The situation can be summarized as follows: ‘The decisions which will be reached by the government and enacted by Parliament will determine Turkey’s official policy and position in a possible war against Iraq. The TSK is taking a wide range of possibilities into consideration in terms of making its necessary preparations.’
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