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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-15
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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
15.01.2003GUL: “OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING ITS BEST TO AVERT A WAR” BAYKAL: “TURKEY SHOULDN’T TAKE PART IN A WAR” YAKIS RECEIVES SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SHARA PEARSON: “THE US IS READY TO COMPENSATE TURKEY FOR ECONOMIC LOSSES INCURRED DUE TO WAR IN IRAQ” DENKTAS, CLERIDES, AND DE SOTO TO MEET TODAY 40,000 TURKISH CYPRIOTS MARCH IN SUPPORT OF UN CYPRUS PLAN US CYPRUS COORDINATOR WESTON VISITS ANKARA US STATE DEPARTMENT: “TURKISH CYPRIOT DEMONSTRATORS ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING” IN BID FOR TURKISH APPROVAL, BUSH ADMINISTRATION REPORTEDLY PARES DOWN TROOP-STATIONING REQUEST GERMANY AND THE NETHERLANDS TO SOON TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND FROM TURKEY FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... THE GOVERNMENT, US SOLDIERS AND IRAQ BY TAHA AKYOL THE VIRTUES OF DEMOCRACY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)
 GUL: “OUR GOVERNMENT IS DOING ITS BEST TO AVERT A WAR”The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is opposed to a US-led operation in Iraq, and it is continuing to do its utmost to avert war, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday. Speaking at the AKP’s group meeting, Gul addressed recent criticisms of the government’s stance on Iraq. “The AKP government is acting responsibly,” he asserted. “It is trying to find a way to end this crisis without war.” Also touching on his recent tour of Middle Eastern countries to promote efforts at peace, Gul said that the leaders he had met with were concerned about conditions in Iraq after a possible war, adding that a peaceful resolution to the issue was still possible. Gul said that the government had to consider the interests of the Turkish nation in case of an operation, but that the government’s most important responsibility was to prevent war before it had a chance to begin. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN BEGINS VISIT TO CHINARuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by a delegation of over 200 state officials, businessmen, and journalists, yesterday arrived in Beijing, China, to pay a three-day official visit. On the first day of his trip, Erdogan was received by People’s Republic of China Prime Minister Zhu Rongji. Following their meeting, during a joint press conference, Erdogan said that there were no political problems between Turkey and China. Stressing that Turkey fully supported China’s territorial integrity without reservation, Erdogan stated that Turkey stood opposed to any and all terrorist activities and advocated international cooperation along these lines. For his part, Rongji remarked that China had very good relations with Turkey. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “TURKEY SHOULDN’T TAKE PART IN A WAR”Warning the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government not to get involved in any Iraq conflict, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that Turkey shouldn’t take part in a “meaningless and useless” war in the region. Speaking at his party’s group meeting, Baykal criticized the government’s stands towards recent developments in international politics and the economy. Claiming that the ruling government had failed to put together a coherent and effective policy on foreign policy issues, Baykal stated that the government was simultaneously sending messages of friendship to both US President George W. Bush and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. “The government is trying to make political and commercial connections with Iraq before a war, while at the same time it is signing an agreement with the US to upgrade our air bases,” said Baykal. Regarding the Cyprus issue, he also criticized statements indicating a policy shift on Cyprus. “We couldn’t alter Annan’s plan, so let’s change our national policy, is that what this amounts to?” he asked. “This is not a coherent policy.” Charging that the government’s economy policy depended on price increases, Baykal said that the nation’s poor citizens would suffer because of it. /Turkiye/
 YAKIS RECEIVES SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SHARAForeign Minister Yasar Yakis yesterday received his Syrian counterpart Farouk al-Shara at the Foreign Ministry in Ankara. During the meeting, Yakis and al-Shara discussed a possible Iraq conflict as well as opportunities for further developing bilateral relations between their countries. Al-Shara also told Yakis that Syria had included KADEK, the terrorist successor to the PKK, on its official list of terrorist organizations. Following their talks, Yakis and al-Shara signed a protocol for establishing a political consultation mechanism between Ankara and Damascus. /Hurriyet/
 PEARSON: “THE US IS READY TO COMPENSATE TURKEY FOR ECONOMIC LOSSES INCURRED DUE TO WAR IN IRAQ”US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson yesterday held a meeting with a group of Turkish businessmen in Ankara. During the gathering, Pearson said that the US was determined to see through “regime change” in Iraq, meaning the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. He predicted that the impact on Turkey’s economy of a war in Iraq wouldn’t be as high as some publicized estimates, adding, however, that the US was preparing a package to compensate for Turkey’s losses. Speaking after the meeting, Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan said that the US was determined to carry out an operation against Iraq. /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS, CLERIDES, AND DE SOTO TO MEET TODAYTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas is set today to meet with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides and UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan’s Special Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto to discuss Annan’s Cyprus plan. The leaders will be seeking ways to reach an agreement on the plan before Feb. 28, a European Union-set deadline to facilitate a united Cyprus joining the EU. Many observers, however, predict the deadline will not be met, in part because Clerides has to attend to Greek Cypriot elections also scheduled for February. Tomorrow de Soto is set to go to Greece to meet with Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou. In related news, David Hannay, Britain’s special envoy to Cyprus, is also expected to travel to Cyprus tomorrow. /Milliyet/
 40,000 TURKISH CYPRIOTS MARCH IN SUPPORT OF UN CYPRUS PLANIn a repeat of similar public demonstrations held in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) late last year, an estimated 40,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets yesterday in support of the United Nations’ Cyprus plan and the TRNC’s joining the European Union alongside its neighbor, Greek Cyprus. During the rally in the capital Lefkosha, the demonstrators expressed frustration with TRNC President Rauf Denktas’s “overly rigid” stance towards negotiations on the island’s future, urging him to sign UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan before Feb. 28, the deadline the EU has set for reaching an agreement. In related news, Denktas said yesterday, “Unfortunately, no peace deal seems likely before Feb. 28, as there are too many points in the current UN proposal requiring serious revision.” Denktas added that if no agreement is reached before the deadline, the TRNC might hold a referendum on the UN proposal. Meanwhile, speaking about yesterday’s public demonstrations, Annan said that he appreciated the Turkish Cypriots marching and striving for peace and reunification on the island, adding that he was hopeful that a peace deal could be reached soon. /Cumhuriyet/
 US CYPRUS COORDINATOR WESTON VISITS ANKARATom Weston, the United State’s coordinator for Cyprus, paid a visit to Ankara yesterday to promote UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s solution proposal for the island. Weston spoke with Foreign Ministry Assistant Undersecretary Baki Ilkin, and then met with opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Inal Batu. Following their meeting, Batu said he had told Weston that Annan’s proposal needed to be revised to better reflect the realities on Cyprus, adding that no just and fair settlement would be possible without this. /Cumhuriyet/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT: “TURKISH CYPRIOT DEMONSTRATORS ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING”Commenting on recent popular public demonstrations in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in favor of a UN solution proposal, US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday that the Turkish Cypriots marching for peace were doing the right thing. “Large demonstrations in Cyprus show that the Turkish Cypriots understand the significant benefits of achieving a comprehensive settlement and achieving it now,” Boucher told a daily press briefing. “The UN's revised settlement plan currently on the table provides a basis for such a settlement, and we believe a settlement in Cyprus can and should be achieved by February 28.” /Hurriyet/
 IN BID FOR TURKISH APPROVAL, BUSH ADMINISTRATION REPORTEDLY PARES DOWN TROOP-STATIONING REQUESTAs part of its continuing efforts to secure the Turkish government’s full cooperation ahead of a possible Iraq operation, the Bush administration is reportedly paring down its request to station US troops on Turkish soil, reducing the number of soldiers involved from 80,000 to 15,000. This last-ditch effort is seen by the US as essential to position its forces for a possible northern offensive into Iraq. Turkey recently authorized US military officials to carry out inspections of Turkish air bases and harbors, but has yet to make a decision on the US request to station troops within its borders. /Hurriyet/
 GERMANY AND THE NETHERLANDS TO SOON TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND FROM TURKEYInternational Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Gordon McKenzie yesterday said that Germany and the Netherlands were nearly ready to take over the ISAF command from Turkey, ending its six-month-plus tenure leading the force in Afghanistan. Stressing that German Gen. Norbert Van Heyst would arrive in Kabul on Feb. 2, McKenzie stated that Dutch military officials would serve as deputy commanders. Some 2,500 German, 550 Dutch and 1,800 soldiers from other countries will make up the fresh force. Turkey is the second nation to command the ISAF since its formation in January 2002. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE GOVERNMENT, US SOLDIERS AND IRAQ
 BY TAHA AKYOLColumnist Taha Akyol comments on his conversation with Prime Minister Gul on Turkey’s policy towards a possible US-led operation against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Speaking recently to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, I asked him, ‘Your peace initiative, doesn’t it veer away from the US and point to the Middle East?’ He replied, ‘I told Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association [TUSIAD] Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan the same thing. Should we give the green light to the coming of 120,000 US soldiers to Turkey in order to show unity to our allies? This wouldn’t be fitting for a great country like Turkey.’ And what about the US administration’s opinion, I asked him. ‘They understand our concerns and consider them justified,’ he answered. ‘We meet with US Ambassador Robert Pearson often. I also met with our Ambassador in Washington Faruk Logoglu a short while ago. There are no problems in Turkish-US relations, nor can there be any. The US is pleased with my tour of the Middle East because they know our aim, and they know that we put pressure on Saddam Hussein.’
Of course the US wants Turkey to do more to show its support. Gul agreed but then added, ‘However, we have to favor peaceful means of resolution as much as we do the US, and use all our possibilities as much as we can.’ It’s good for us to pursue a peace policy, but are we fulfilling our obligations to our allies? ‘We have taken very positive steps and made progress,’ he replied. ‘Turkish and the US soldiers are gathering information and making plans by considering a host of contingencies. Of course we are working with our allies.’ Stating that he had been meeting with the General Staff concerning this issue, Gul added, ‘Tell me what you want from the soldiers so I can give them orders immediately!’ Gul declined to give any details on his recent meeting with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, saying only, ‘I was pleased with the meeting. They [the military] don’t consider the government indecisive. On the contrary, they think that our cautious policy is appropriate.’
As for what I think, the Iraq issue is a very complicated one, and matters of war and peace aren’t just black and white. Therefore a ‘finely balanced policy’ is necessary. Some forces in Turkey, for example TUSIAD, think that we are standing too close to Iraq, a situation which threatens to destroy our friendship with the US. Such a development would surely hurt us. Other forces, for example the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), are concerned that we are moving step by step ever closer to war. If this happens, we will be harmed as well. There is a delicate balance between these two risks. Maintaining this balance is a difficult task, and Mr. Gul is proceeding carefully on the issue.”
 THE VIRTUES OF DEMOCRACY
 BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli writes on Turkey’s hesitation to take an official stance on the Iraq issue. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Looking at Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent tour of the Mideast, one fact is striking: All the countries that Gul visited are opposed to a US operation against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. None, however, is powerful enough to resist the Bush administration.
Politically speaking, while Jordan and Saudi Arabia are kingdoms, dictators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia rule their countries with an iron fist. Iran’s shariah regime is nothing but extremist Islamic rule.
These countries’ leaders don’t take into consideration the voice of the people when they make their decisions, but rather only how they can maintain the status quo. In order to protect their own rule, these leaders are well aware that they have to establish or keep good relations with the US, which has openly proclaimed itself to be world’s policeman.
In fact, the leaders of all the Mideast countries governed by non-democratic regimes are currently quaking in trepidation, since they can’t keep their minds off one question: “After the US overthrows Saddam, will I be their next target?” No matter how much they’re opposed to a possible Iraq war, they all feel that they have to support the US in it.
What about Turkey? Despite all its shortcomings, Turkey is the only country in the region ruled by a democratic regime. That’s why our leaders need to ensure the approval of the people before taking an official stance on the Iraq issue. In fact, before the US, we’re more powerful than other Middle Eastern countries, since the will of the people is the most important element in our country’s political decision-making mechanism.
Since Turkey hasn’t yet made any official decision on the Iraq issue and due to conflicting signs such as our sending a trade delegation to Baghdad, the US is seriously concerned about our country’s official stance. In Washington, there are two opposing camps on the Iraq issue, the moderates and the hawks. Turkey’s hemming and hawing suits the interests of the moderates just fine. Even US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the Bush administration’s most renowned hawk who advocates Saddam’s immediate ouster, had to take a step back. Turkey’s hesitation also showed the world that Bush shouldn’t forget what he told the United Nations General Assembly last year, namely that the Iraq problem couldn’t be solved without securing the blessings of the international community.
US Secretary of State Colin Powell, one of the few US politicians exhibiting common sense, recently stated that Jan. 27 was only a date for the UN weapons inspectors to present their report on Iraq, stressing that it shouldn’t be considered a deadline since there might be more chances to reach a peaceful solution.
Looking at things from this angle, despite many criticisms, Turkey’s hesitant stance fits well with the plans and interests of circles worldwide which are opposed to war.
However, looked at from the domestic angle, we see a weak economy and also increasing tension among the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the bureaucracy and the military. Taking into consideration all these developments, there is but one question dominating our thoughts: How long will Turkey be able to resist the US?”
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