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Turkish Press Review, 02-12-26

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 &amp; Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

26.12.2002

SEZER: “AN IRAQ OPERATION WOULD AFFECT TURKEY NEGATIVELY” ERDOGAN: “OUR GOVERNMENT ISN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CYPRUS IMPASSE” YAKIS: “WE SHOULD WAIT FOR THE NSC DECISIONS ON IRAQ” CB GOVERNOR CALLS ANTI-INFLATION DRIVE “SUCCESSFUL,” BUT WARNS OF DIFFICULTIES CIVIL SERVANTS TO GET 6.5%-13.7% RAISES TURKISH HISTORIAN RECEIVES “KNIGHT MEDAL” CENTER FOR EUROPEAN REFORM: “EU LEADERS ARE APPLAUDING TURKEY’S REFORMS” TALABANI: “KURDISH GROUPS WON’T TRY TO TAKE MOSUL AND KIRKUK” US OFFERS TURKEY $20 BLN AID PACKAGE IN RETURN FOR SUPPORT IN IRAQ OPERATION FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] SEZER: “AN IRAQ OPERATION WOULD AFFECT TURKEY NEGATIVELY”
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “OUR GOVERNMENT ISN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CYPRUS IMPASSE”
  • [03] ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL MEETS
  • [04] YAKIS: “WE SHOULD WAIT FOR THE NSC DECISIONS ON IRAQ”
  • [05] CB GOVERNOR CALLS ANTI-INFLATION DRIVE “SUCCESSFUL,” BUT WARNS OF DIFFICULTIES
  • [06] CIVIL SERVANTS TO GET 6.5%-13.7% RAISES
  • [07] NEW MINIMUM WAGE TO BE SET TODAY
  • [08] TURKISH HISTORIAN RECEIVES “KNIGHT MEDAL”
  • [09] CENTER FOR EUROPEAN REFORM: “EU LEADERS ARE APPLAUDING TURKEY’S REFORMS”
  • [10] TALABANI: “KURDISH GROUPS WON’T TRY TO TAKE MOSUL AND KIRKUK”
  • [11] US OFFERS TURKEY $20 BLN AID PACKAGE IN RETURN FOR SUPPORT IN IRAQ OPERATION
  • [12] 80,000 US SOLDIERS?
  • [13] BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
  • [14] THE PROBLEM ISN’T ONLY IRAQ
  • [15] BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

  • [01] SEZER: “AN IRAQ OPERATION WOULD AFFECT TURKEY NEGATIVELY”

    President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday received True Path Party (DYP) leader and parliamentarian Mehmet Agar and members of the party’s Central Administration Council (GIK). During their meeting, Sezer said that a possible United States operation against Iraq would have negative effects on Turkey. Sezer stated that Turkey should try to find a way to minimize the costs to the nation of such an operation. “If the US decides to launch an operation in Iraq, the operation should be conducted within the framework of international law,” added Sezer. /Hurriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “OUR GOVERNMENT ISN’T RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CYPRUS IMPASSE”

    Speaking to the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ISO) yesterday, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended the government’s policy on Cyprus, saying that the less than-two-month-old administration couldn’t be blamed for the lack of a peace deal on the island. Nor is it fair to accuse the government of planning to “give away” Cyprus, he asserted. “Our policy is assured,” said Erdogan. “If the two sides on Cyprus have been unable to reach an agreement for 40 years, then responsibility for that lies on their doorstep.” /Milliyet/

    [03] ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL MEETS

    The Economic and Social Council chaired by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday convened to explore solutions for Turkey’s economic and social problems. During the council’s three-hour meeting, eight non-governmental organizations (NGOs) expressed their views on the Government’s program as well as its Urgent Action Plan. The council decided to meet every three months, or more often if necessary. /Turkiye/

    [04] YAKIS: “WE SHOULD WAIT FOR THE NSC DECISIONS ON IRAQ”

    At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis reportedly stated that Turkey hadn’t yet decided the level of support it would lend to a US operation against Iraq. “Turkey hasn’t made any promises to the US yet,” said Yakis. “Our discussions on the issue are continuing. Let’s not mislead the public. We should wait for the National Security Council [NSC] decisions. Turkey can’t make any official decisions before seeing the United Nations Security Council’s resolution or UN weapons inspectors’ report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.” /Sabah/

    [05] CB GOVERNOR CALLS ANTI-INFLATION DRIVE “SUCCESSFUL,” BUT WARNS OF DIFFICULTIES

    Turkey’s war against inflation is being made more difficult by forces within the country resisting for the sake of their own interest, said Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti yesterday. Serdengecti stated that some people benefited personally from high inflation and so were taking steps against anti-inflationary measures. “We should continue our structural reforms in order to bring down inflation,” he said. “For this year, the IMF’s inflation target is 20%, and the Central Bank’s target is 35%.” He stated that Turkey’s war against high inflation was continuing successfully, but that the rate was still too high. “We should continue our efforts,” added Serdengecti. Also touching a possible Iraq operation, Serdengecti said that the CB would issue warnings as needed in case of an operation, but there were also certain factors beyond its control such as oil prices. “An operation would certainly affect our economy, but it’s vital that Turkey not forsake its targets,” added Serdengecti. “We should stay on course with our economic program.” /Milliyet/

    [06] CIVIL SERVANTS TO GET 6.5%-13.7% RAISES

    Following a Cabinet meeting last night, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener and Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan told reporters that civil servants’ salaries would be raised by 6.5%-13.7% during the first three months of next year. In a press conference, the ministers said that a 6.5% pay hike would be given to senior civil servants and a 13.7% hike for lower-ranking civil servants, with the aim of reducing the wage gap between various grades. In addition, the Cabinet decided not to raise the salaries of Parliament’s deputies for the first quarter of next year, and not to buy any vehicles in 2003 for the public sector. /Turkiye/

    [07] NEW MINIMUM WAGE TO BE SET TODAY

    The Minimum Wage Establishment Commission is set to convene today for the fifth time to set a new minimum wage for the first six months of next year. After having worked on the topic since mid-October in line with reports from the Treasury, the State Planning Organization (DPT), and Hacettepe University, the commission is expected to announce the new wage to the public today. /Turkiye/

    [08] TURKISH HISTORIAN RECEIVES “KNIGHT MEDAL”

    Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, director-general of the Center for Research on Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCIA), yesterday was decorated with the “Knight Medal” by Senegalese President Abdullah Wad. Senegal’s government awarded the medal to Ihsanoglu in recognition of his studies to promote Islamic culture and his efforts to spur dialogue between the East and the West. /Turkiye/

    [09] CENTER FOR EUROPEAN REFORM: “EU LEADERS ARE APPLAUDING TURKEY’S REFORMS”

    The Center for European Reform (CER), a think tank devoted to improving the quality of the debate on the future of the European Union, recently issued a report on the EU’s enlargement process focusing on the decisions on candidate countries made at this month’s EU Copenhagen summit. The CER report stated that the European Council would reconsider Turkey’s progress in December 2004 on the basis of a report and recommendation from the European Commission. “If that report concludes that Turkey meets the criteria, the EU will open accession negotiations without delay, according to the presidency’s conclusions,” said the report. According to CER, this wording is a strong commitment from the EU, and effectively a conditional date for starting negotiations in 2005. The CER also underlined that Ankara had pushed very hard for a date to start accession negotiations with the EU before the Copenhagen summit and that the new government’s efforts to implement political reforms had been applauded by EU leaders. “The EU also offered an extended and deepened Customs Union, plus a substantial increase in pre-accession financial assistance,” added the report. “Significantly, the summit conclusions restated that Turkey’s candidacy depends on the same criteria as other countries. This was a clear rejection of the claims of EU politicians such as European Convention President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who stated recently that Turkey should never join on the grounds that it is not a European country and would destroy the Union.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [10] TALABANI: “KURDISH GROUPS WON’T TRY TO TAKE MOSUL AND KIRKUK”

    Speaking on news channel NTV yesterday, Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani said that Kurdish groups wouldn’t try to take advantage of an war in Iraq to seize Mosul and Kirkuk, two northern Iraqi cities with large ethnic Turkmen population. Talabani made the comments in Ankara after meeting with Sanan Ahmet Aga, leader of the Iraqi Turkmen Front. Also during his visit to Ankara, Talabani reportedly proposed that Turkey and the United States hold meetings with Iraqi Kurdish and Turkmen groups to discuss recent developments in northern Iraq. However, due to Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani’s cancellation of his visit to Turkey planned for this week, discussions on Talabani’s proposal are currently on hold. “The IPUK will highly appreciate Turkey’s support if the Turkish Army joins an international military coalition in a war against Saddam Hussein,” said Talabani. He also told NTV that he expected a US operation to begin at the end of February 2003, and that he thought it would be over in short order. /Cumhuriyet/

    [11] US OFFERS TURKEY $20 BLN AID PACKAGE IN RETURN FOR SUPPORT IN IRAQ OPERATION

    The United States has offered Turkey an aid package of $20 billion in return for the country’s support in an operation against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, diplomatic sources stated yesterday. The sources added that the US had requested a final decision on the issue from Turkey within four days. However, the Turkish government is reportedly waiting for the UN inspectors’ report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction due to be issued on Jan. 27. Meanwhile, Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday proposed that Parliament hold a closed session to evaluate recent developments on the issue. /Sabah/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [12] 80,000 US SOLDIERS?

    [13] BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on discussions on stationing 80,000 US soldiers in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Hurriyet and other newspapers recently reported the most important piece of information about a possible operation against Iraq: Behind the suggestion of opening a front in the north, there is actually the idea of locating a military force of 80,000 soldiers within Turkey’s borders. If someone can locate 80,000 people in a territory and then move them out, he deserves our congratulations. As far as I understand, the US soldiers won’t stay here forever. However, when the Iraq military operation ends, these soldiers won’t go back at once either, because they need to stay until a new regime is established in Iraq. The period of time projected for this is five years. Everybody knows that the US military force which originally came to Incirlik Airbase at then President Turgut Ozal’s behest during the 1991 Gulf War is still there. Just as I wrote these lines, Parliament was coincidentally discussing extending the mandate of the above-mentioned force in our country for the 13th time. Everybody is so accustomed to the presence of this foreign force in our country that if not for Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Sukru Elekdag, perhaps most of the parliamentarians would be blissfully ignorant of the discussion of its mandate. Some say, ‘US soldiers should come and be stationed in Turkey. They should overthrow Saddam Hussein under authorization of a United Nations Security Council resolution, establish a democratic administration there and then leave.’ But this way of thinking is nothing but self-deception. What’s more, have we forgotten that the US carried out an operation against Iraq in 1991 with the supposed aim of protecting human rights and democracy from Iraq’s attack? It’s interesting that when the US expelled Iraqi soldiers from Kuwait, it was also supporting Saudi Arabia, which has one of the most despotic regimes on the face of the earth. Likewise, the US expelled Iraq and saved Kuwait, but it was unable to bring democracy to Kuwait. But this wasn’t its real concern, so it wasn’t interested in establishing democracy in Kuwait. Therefore let’s be realistic. As Turkey can’t say no to cooperating with the US, we should limit our support as much as we can. Even bringing US soldiers in and locating them here for five years is too much. If the government and Parliament decide in favor of this, God knows what could happen next.”

    [14] THE PROBLEM ISN’T ONLY IRAQ

    [15] BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the US’ determination to carry out a military campaign on Iraq and Turkey’s possible role in it. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “While the prospect of a US–led war on Iraq grows more probable with each passing day, we still hope that it will never take place. If it is ‘inevitable,’ we wish Turkey would not be a part of it. Yet the bare facts are much more challenging. Is it possible to make Bush and Saddam abandon their quests by simply saying ‘no’ to war? Who can stand firm against the US, which is so determined to topple Saddam’s regime? Could the United Nations, European Union, Arab League or just Turkey do that? Is it possible for Turkey to stay completely out of this war? In other words, could Turkey pursue a stay-neutral policy, as it did during World War II? We should keep one thing in mind: Today, the circumstances are far different. Ankara must immediately understand that staying completely out of a war in Iraq might have grave consequences.

    While we debate Turkey’s prospective role in an ever-more-probable Iraq war, we should clearly assess the reasons why the US is so determined to strike at Iraq. Washington is speaking with one voice: ‘Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction which pose a grave threat to the free world.’ This is one of the reasons, while the other has to do with the US’ quest to take oil resources under its control. Yet the US’ real goal is much more comprehensive and suffused with hubris. The Bush administration wants to establish an altogether ‘new order’ across the entire region. And that involves necessary regime changes in certain countries in this region in line with the US’ strategic concerns. Thus, the whole problem comes down to overcoming such obstacles as Saddam in order to lay the foundations of US dominance over the Middle East. This is the underlying and long-term goal the US has its sights on in carrying out a possible military campaign in Iraq. With this situation, Turkey must realistically and practically define its position within the framework of the US’ strategy.

    Unsurprisingly, Ankara’s top political and military officials have begun to think more and more that Turkey shouldn’t stand outside of a war in Iraq. They see the disadvantages of doing so outweighing its advantages. Should Turkey decline to participate in a common front of this war alongside the US, this will no doubt end up costing us American support that we need in a great many areas. However, this is not merely the question of Turkey’s ‘dependency’ on the US. As I mentioned above, the US military intervention has to do with its broader designs for the future of the entire region. And Turkey cannot and should not stay out of this process. Can Turkey be a mere spectator to the establishment of a new order in Iraq, and especially in northern Iraq? As a ‘strategic partner’ of the US, is it not in Turkey’s interests to stand alongside Washington? Turkey’s place in a possible Iraq war is already defined. The only problem remaining is the degree of its involvement in this operation.”

    ARCHIVE

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