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Turkish Press Review, 02-12-31
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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
31.12.2002GUL: “A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION IN IRAQ IS PREFERABLE, BUT WE’RE READY FOR ANY CONTINGENCY” YALCINBAYIR: “MILITARY DISMISSALS SHOULD BE OPEN TO JUDICIAL REVIEW” TUSIAD CHAIRMAN: “TO PROMOTE GROWTH, TURKEY SHOULD BRING DOWN INFLATION” NEW IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO MAKE PUSH FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION BEYOND THE ISAF, TURKEY TO AID AFGHAN SOCIAL RESTRUCTURING SOYSAL: “DENKTAS’S STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION WAS NO GAMBIT” ECONOMIC TOLL OF IRAQ WAR REPORTEDLY “TOPIC ONE” WITH US OFFICIALS GREEK CYPRUS, IN BID FOR LEVERAGE WITH THE US, REPORTEDLY TO OFFER PERMANENT AIRBASE FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... A DIFFICULT YEAR BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) IF DENKTAS RESIGNED, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
 GUL: “A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION IN IRAQ IS PREFERABLE, BUT WE’RE READY FOR ANY CONTINGENCY”Turkey favors peaceful means to settle the dispute over Iraq, but it stands ready to defend Turkey’s interests in the event of any contingency, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul told reporters yesterday. Speaking at the Foreign Ministry Residence, Gul tried to set out the outlines of Turkey’s Iraq policy in the face of a possible US-led war against that country. Gul said that from the moment it took office this November his government had faced a host of serious foreign policy issues, among them the European Union, Cyprus and Iraq. “But we know what we are doing,” he asserted. “Everything is under control.” Gul said that the government was carefully assessing the situation and reviewing its options. “On Jan. 26, we will convene a closed session of Parliament to discuss and decide on the Iraq issue,” he added. “Turkey is not an emirate, and I’m not an emir. Our country has a democratic system. And Parliament will have the final say about our stance on Iraq should things come war.” /Turkiye/
 YALCINBAYIR: “MILITARY DISMISSALS SHOULD BE OPEN TO JUDICIAL REVIEW”Decisions of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) to dismiss members of the military should be open to judicial review, Deputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir said yesterday. His remarks came on the heels of Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s decision to hold up several dismissals approved at last Thursday’s YAS meeting. Yalcinbayir added that his suggestion should not be seen as criticizing the YAS or defending acts which resulted in dismissals but rather as defending the right of individuals to a fair judicial hearing. /Cumhuriyet/
 TUSIAD CHAIRMAN: “TO PROMOTE GROWTH, TURKEY SHOULD BRING DOWN INFLATION”Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan said yesterday that when inflation falls from 40% to 20%, Turkey would be able to achieve a 3% growth rate. Ozilhan also said that TUSIAD would publish a report in 2003 on such important issues as Turkey’s European Union membership bid, the economic program, and other matters. Ozilhan stated that the report would lay out how Turkey could grow much faster with inflation under control. “We can grow at a higher rate for several years if we can manage to bring down inflation,” said Ozilhan. “Over the next year, TUSIAD will continue to diagnose Turkey’s problems and propose ways to solve them.” He also remarked that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government should strive to reach the 20% inflation target, adding that the notion that Turkey could grow economically under continued high inflation should be abandoned. “The AKP government should continue to fully carry out the economic program in 2003,” he stated. “For the nation to grow, it’s also very important that we decrease public debt. The government’s policies will be key in reaching this goal.” Ozilhan added that Turkey’s economic program was very important for the nation’s future. /Hurriyet/
 NEW IRAQI AMBASSADOR TO MAKE PUSH FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTIONA new Iraqi ambassador to Turkey is set to take up his post next week with a push against US preparations for war in his country. Ambassador Talip el-Dileymi is expected to hold meetings with Turkish government officials soon after his arrival in Ankara. Sources say he will try to make the case for a peaceful solution to the dispute over Iraq and urge Turkey not to support a US-led war. In related news, Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani is expected to visit Turkey next week to discuss a possible US operation with Turkish officials. /Cumhuriyet/
 BEYOND THE ISAF, TURKEY TO AID AFGHAN SOCIAL RESTRUCTURINGBeyond Turkey’s role in leading the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, set to end soon as succeeded by a German-Dutch co-command, the country is also working to help restore the social fabric of Afghan society. Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz, the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, recently signed a protocol on religious education with the Afghan Pilgrimage and Religious Foundations Ministry. Under the protocol, Turkey is to open religious schools in Afghanistan where Turkish will be the second compulsory foreign language. The Religious Affairs Directorate is also set to help the country train imams devoted to secularism. /Aksam/
 SOYSAL: “DENKTAS’S STATEMENT ON RESIGNATION WAS NO GAMBIT”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’s statement this week that he could step down if Ankara pressures him to accept a UN plan is no gambit or ploy, but rather a reasonable stance, one of Denktas’s key aides said yesterday. “The president’s remarks should be seen as normal,” said Mumtaz Soysal, Denktas’s constitutional advisor. “They came about as the result of a process of healthy reasoning.” Soysal added that Feb. 28, the deadline UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had set for reaching a settlement on the island, should not limit efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem. /Turkiye/
 ECONOMIC TOLL OF IRAQ WAR REPORTEDLY “TOPIC ONE” WITH US OFFICIALSMinister for the Economy Ali Babacan and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday held a meeting at General Staff headquarters in order to formulate Turkey’s official strategy on the Iraq issue. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok commissioned these two officials to prepare for negotiations with the United States over the matter. Babacan and Buyukanit reportedly determined how Turkey will approach the issue and the arguments that it plans to put forward during its meetings with the US. The two officials stated that the economic losses that Turkey could suffer due to a possible Iraq war should be at the top of the agenda with US officials. Babacan is to prepare a report on this issue to present to US Ambassador in Ankara Robert Pearson. /Aksam/
 GREEK CYPRUS, IN BID FOR LEVERAGE WITH THE US, REPORTEDLY TO OFFER PERMANENT AIRBASEAccording to a report appearing in Greek daily Vradini, the Greek Cypriot administration has decided to offer the United States permanent use of a military airbase within Southern Cyprus. The report said that the offer was designed to counter Turkey’s leverage with the US, as the new airbase would have the same status and capabilities as the current US Incirlik Airbase in Adana, Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A DIFFICULT YEAR BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the most important developments of 2002 both in Turkey and the world. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Once again, we have reached the end of another year. One cannot say that 2002 was a good year for the world, as it proved incapable of solving many problems which carried over from previous years. Some problems even worsened, and tensions and conflicts continued unabated. The world suffered from terrorism yet again. International terrorism made its mark in a host of countries, from Bali to Yemen. Although going under a different name, such as ‘the struggle for independence,’ violence had a serious impact on the international level. The Chechens in Russia were one example. The Palestinians’ resistance in the Middle East turned into a war. The Holy Land experienced some of the darkest days in its long history. A similar atmosphere of violence also brought India and Pakistan to the brink of war. Unfortunately, all of these problems are set to carry over into the New Year.
The worst of all is the problem of Iraq. Throughout the year, the world lived under the fearful shadow of President George W. Bush’s plans to attack the longtime US nemesis. It hasn’t happened yet so this perilous shadow will extend into 2003.
This year, there were also developments of a historic dimension. For example, the EU adopted the new euro currency on Jan. 1 and then just a few weeks ago set the stage for an unprecedented enlargement with 10 new members. Another momentous development is the establishment of cooperation between Russia and NATO, thus ushering in a new period of friendship between Moscow and the West. These developments will set the course for 2003 and beyond.
Now let’s review the situation of Turkish politics in 2002. Three very important issues marked this year: the EU, Cyprus and Iraq. In the first months of the year, Turkey’s ambitions were frustrated at the EU’s Seville summit. Casting a hopeful eye on December’s Copenhagen summit, Ecevit’s government hurriedly passed a package of reforms in August. Later, a new government came to power, which managed to get a date at the end of 2004 for our EU membership negotiations. The Cyprus talks started last January, and more than 50 meetings were held, but without any evident results. Later UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented a plan which sparked discussion and debate. These problems will also carry over into 2003.
The Iraq problem has been an enormous headache for Turkey. Ankara sought ways to work both sides of the war question while making preparations for eventual conflict, particularly concerning northern Iraq. This will be one of the most vexing problems in 2003. In any case, I hope that 2003 will be a better year, one ushering in both peace and prosperity.”
 IF DENKTAS RESIGNED, WHAT WOULD HAPPEN? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’ view of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus proposal. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Appearing on television, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas finally said, ‘If Ankara puts pressure on me to sign [UN Secretary-General Annan’s] proposal, I would step down. I wouldn’t sign it, they’d have to find someone else.’ Perhaps Denktas is now experiencing the most difficult days in his struggle to ‘provide Turkish Cypriots the chance to live freely in their national identity.’ If the people call upon a leader who had reached the stage of establishing an independent state from a society that was about to lose its national identity to then resign, he would feel betrayed. Is Denktas being called on to resign because he has lost his ability to negotiate? Or due to a change in his beliefs of 40 years standing? No, neither of these. It’s interesting that the people calling on him to resign are those who are looking after their own interests and those who would like to serve the Greek Cypriot administration. Is this the first time that people seeking Denktas’s resignation have seen him calling for recognition of the Turkish Cypriots’ right to sovereignty? If they knew this before, why do they oppose him when he says, ‘As long as our right to sovereignty isn’t recognized, I won’t sign Annan’s proposal’? Denktas might resign. Then those who replace him can put their own signatures to Annan’s plan. This way the people would be very pleased at the prospect of shortly becoming a European Union member with the Greek Cypriots and an improved economy. Of course there are those who curse Denktas. However, they would understand their mistake in 10 years’ time. Because then they would remember that they are Turks, but by then it would be too late. If Denktas is still around at that time, how could they go and apologize to him? If he has already passed away, how could they erect a statue honoring him?”
NOTE: In recognition of New Year’s Day, the Turkish Press Review will not appear tomorrow. Happy New Year, and please rejoin us on Jan. 2, 2003.
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