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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-16
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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
16.01.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GUL BRIEFS AKP ADMINISTRATION ON IRAQ, CYPRUSPrime Minister Abdullah Gul last night briefed the Justice and Development Party (AKP) Executive Board on his recent tour of Mideast countries aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue as well as on developments in Cyprus. Following the gathering, AKP Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat told reporters that his party and the government would continue to the very end their efforts to promote peace in Iraq. Regarding developments in Cyprus, Firat said that the government believed that Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas would continue his efforts for a just settlement. Stressing that certain points of UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan, especially those concerning land and migration, were unacceptable, Firat reiterated Turkey’s objection to these proposals. Meanwhile, in light of the prime minister’s recent Mideast tour, Turkish Foreign Ministry officials have started work aimed at finding a peaceful resolution in Iraq. Following completion of this work, ministry officials are to present alternatives to the government for consideration. /Turkiye/
 US OFFICIALS BEGIN INSPECTIONS ON TURKEY’S AIRBASES AND HARBORSFollowing its getting the greenlight last week from Turkey’s government to carry out inspections of Turkish airbases and harbors in the leadup to a possible Iraq operation, a US military delegation of 150 officials began carrying out its duties this week. The delegation is expected to complete the inspections by Jan. 23. After the delegation releases a report on its findings, upgrades of the facilities in question are expected. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN CONTINUES CONTACTS IN CHINAOn the second day of a three-day visit to the People’s Republic of China, Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Vice President and Chinese Communist Party Secretary- General Hu Jintao and National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Chairman Dai Bingguo. Following these meetings, Erdogan told reporters that he had discussed the Iraq issue with the Chinese officials. He stressed that China also favored finding a peaceful resolution. After completing his contacts in Beijing, Erdogan proceeded to Shanghai. /Turkiye/
 SENER: “AN IRAQ WAR WON’T DETER TURKEY FROM REACHING ITS ECONOMIC TARGETS”Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said yesterday that a possible US- led operation against Iraq wouldn’t prevent Turkey from reaching its economic targets for this year. Sener also predicted that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would reduce inflation to 20% by the end of the year. “All the economic data point to Turkey achieving its economic targets, ” he added. “The government is determined on this.” /Aksam/
 DENKTAS: “THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME BEFORE FEB. 28 TO REACH AGREEMENT ON THE UN CYPRUS PLAN”Speaking yesterday after meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides and Alvaro de Soto, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special Cyprus envoy, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said that there wasn’t enough time to reach an agreement on the United Nations’ Cyprus plan before a Feb. 28 deadline. “I’m quite disappointed to say that if the deadline isn’t extended, it will be very difficult to reach an agreement,” said Denktas. “It isn’t easy to overcome the plan’s shortcomings.” Denktas added that he had little faith in Annan’s plan in general, but that he would continue negotiations with good will. /Milliyet/
 US CYPRUS REPRESENTATIVE WESTON: “THERE’S ROOM FOR CHANGE IN ANNAN’S PLAN”US Special Representative for Cyprus Thomas Weston yesterday stated that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan might be altered after the completion of negotiations between the two parties on the island. Remarking that he believed the Turkish government was committed to solving the Cyprus problem, Weston argued that the security of both nations on the island was guaranteed under Annan’s plan. “Turkey’s official stance on the Cyprus issue is changing,” he stated. “The new Turkish government seems more determined to solve the island’s problems, regardless of whether or nor a settlement is reached on the basis of the UN plan. I believe that this is a very positive development.” /Cumhuriyet/
 MUBARAK: “TURKEY AND ARAB COUNTRIES ARE SEEKING A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO THE IRAQ PROBLEM”Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday remarked that Turkey and the Arab world were working together to seek a peaceful solution to the Iraq problem, one which would also be acceptable to the US. “During Turkish Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent tour of the Mideast, many proposals and perspectives were discussed,” said Mubarak. “We’re in close contact with the United States. In order to evaluate these proposals for peace, we need to learn what the US and Iraq think about them.” /Cumhuriyet/
 WOLFOWITZ VISITS ISAF COMMANDER IN AFGANISTANUS Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz yesterday met with Gen. Hilmi Akin Zorlu, the Turkish commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. Wolfowitz remarked that by leading the ISAF and in many other ways, Turkey was doing its utmost to protect peace and stability in the region. Wolfowitz and Gen. Zorlu reportedly discussed a number of security issues such as the establishment of an Afghan national army and police organization. /Cumhuriyet/
 PEARSON VISITS RED CRESCENT, DISCUSSES POSSIBLE WAVE OF REFUGEESUS Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson yesterday met with Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) Chairman Ertan Onen. After the meeting, where the two officials discussed measures to prepare for a possible exodus of refugees from Iraq to Turkey’s borders, Pearson stated that the US Red Cross and Turkish Red Crescent had always enjoyed strong cooperation. Pearson added that he had exchanged views with Onen on improving ties between the two organizations, which are devoted to peace. /Sabah/
 US EMBASSY TO BRIEF TURKISH PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POSSIBLE IRAQ WARThe US Embassy in Ankara is scheduled tomorrow to brief a group of Turkish parliamentarians on a possible war in Iraq. US officials invited members of the National Defense Commission and the Planning and Budget Commission as well as the acting group chairmen of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to the embassy for the briefing. /Star/
 IMF’S KRUEGER MEETS WITH OZILHANAnne Krueger, first managing director of the International Monetary Fund, yesterday met with Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan to discuss a number of issues, including a possible US operation against Iraq. Speaking after their talks, Krueger said that the meeting had been useful, and that they had discussed ways to boost Turkey’s growth. Ozilhan said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been unlucky in facing such issues as Cyprus, Turkey’s European Union membership bid, and Iraq in the first months of its term. Ozilhan stated that their meeting had been positive, and that he had told Krueger that an Iraq operation would have a huge impact on Turkey’s economy. “She said that the US would consider Turkey’s losses incurred in such an operation,” he added. Krueger also met with officials from the Turkish Banks’ Association (TBB) yesterday. Today she is expected to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and officials from the Treasury Undersecretary and the Central Bank. /Milliyet/
 SERDENGECTI: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT SHOULD WORK TO BOOST PUBLIC REVENUES”Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti said yesterday that problems carrying over from last year’s state budget entailed a great risk for this year’s inflation target of 20%. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) should take measures to increase its revenue stream and bring down public expenses, he added. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 HOPES FOR PEACE BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak comments on the possibility of a peaceful resolution in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“With the approach of Jan. 27, the date when the United Nations weapons inspectors are due to release their report on Iraq, other powerful nations have begun to express doubts about the US carrying out an operation single- handedly without a new resolution from the UN Security Council. During a recent European Union summit, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder reiterated that the Iraqi problem should be solved not through the use of force, but rather through international political pressure. Schroeder stated that Germany would by no means participate in an operation against Iraq, nor would it provide financial support. These two leaders’ words show that the US is growing more and more isolated in its policy thrust. In addition, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, under increasing pressure at home, has started to say that a second resolution is necessary. Although the US didn’t enter the 21st century as the world’s only superpower, its current policy on Iraq could provoke a new conflict similar to the last two world wars.
Although such UN Security Council members as Russia and China know that the US policy of having its way in the Middle East through Iraq is a declaration of global sovereignty dependent on petroleum, their rejection remains on the level of rhetoric alone, as they seem to lack the military power to back it up. Turkey is among those suffering the most. The US is hoping to send its land forces into Baghdad by opening a corridor through Turkey into northern Iraq. The number of US soldiers requested for this unprecedented mission, initially 130,000, has since dropped to 80,000 and finally 15,000. As our government and General Staff voiced objections to keeping more than 100,000 foreign soldiers on Turkish territory, the US started to revise its northern front plans. The final decision will likely emerge during US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers’s contacts in Ankara this weekend. On the one hand Washington’s hopes are dimming, but on the other it’s interesting that its inspections extended as far as Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul. Meanwhile, there is a series of questions calling for answers: If the government is really seeking peace, what was contained in its recent message to Saddam Hussein? Did it propose a ‘solution without Saddam’ to dissuade the US from war? Is Saddam afraid of being tried before an international court? Is the Iraqi leader being provided with guarantees that he could live in another country without fear of trial on condition that he paves the way for the democratization of his country and creates new balances that include Shiites and Kurds in Iraq’s administration? Maybe there’s still hope for peace to prevail in Iraq.”
 TURKEY AND WAR IN IRAQ BY TOKTAMIS ATES (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Toktamis Ates comments on a possible US-led military operation in Iraq and the pivotal question of Turkey’s involvement. A summary of his column is as follows:
“I have always maintained that the military is a profession requiring expertise, and that’s why I pay no mind to those lacking the necessary background, yet constantly mouthing off their uninformed views. I try to avoid going down that misguided road. Nevertheless, sometimes one cannot help but express an opinion on issues falling far beyond one’s knowledge and skills. For instance, since the beginning of the Iraq crisis, I’ve been asserting that the US cannot successfully wage war against Saddam Hussein should Turkey decline to deploy its ground forces in such a cause.
The reason I believe this is because during 1991’s Gulf War, Bush the Elder failed to topple Saddam even with over a half-million troops on the ground. Moreover, Kurdish groups in northern Iraq proved then and continue to this day to be incapable of achieving any military aims. Following the war, the US insisted for some time on its designs to form a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, while paying lip service to Turkey by saying that it was against it. In the end, Washington’s efforts to found a Kurdish state floundered. Anyway, it had already withdrawn its CIA-trained peshmergas from the region.
Although the US proved unable to establish Kurdish state, it has been successful in sustaining a de facto one which has been holding the reins in northern Iraq for years now, while depending on US financial assistance. For God’s sake, what else do you need to call an entity ‘a state’ if you already have a flag, a parliament and a cabinet? Thanks to the ineptitude of the people of the region in developing a sense of cooperation and solidarity among themselves, the US has shifted its policy on the issue.
And now, as far as I can see, the US is determined to divide up Iraq, yet is having problems drumming up the necessary financial and psychological muster. In 1991, the US public wasn’t opposed to military operation to liberate Kuwait from Iraqi invasion, as they believed it was being done in the name of defending democracy and the democratic rights of the Kuwaiti people. But today the situation is completely different. If it was Saddam whom Bush the Younger fingered for the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and if Washington hadn’t wasted its money in the Afghan mountains trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden, both the US people and the nation’s allies would have more easily given their consent to a possible war in Iraq. Yet, the Bush administration is now having a hard time convincing its allies as well as its own people, and it cannot decide what to do.
It seems to me that an Iraq war would already be underway by now had Turkey bought the story of securing its right to have a say in the post-Saddam era and decided to join the offensive the moment it was approached. Now how can the US launch an operation from northern Iraq in order to minimize the cost of a possible war without Turkey’s active involvement? It wouldn’t do any better by bringing the CIA-trained peshmergas back into the region. Can Turkey head off a war in Iraq by opting out of the US designs?”
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