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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-24
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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> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
24.01.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 AT ISTANBUL SUMMIT, MIDEAST COUNTRIES URGE IRAQI COMPLIANCE WITH UN RESOLUTIONSForeign ministers from six key Middle East countries yesterday held a summit in Turkey to seek a way to avert a US-led war in Iraq. The group of nations called on Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to be "more active" in his cooperation with United Nations weapons inspectors. The call came at the end of a one-day meeting in Istanbul, which brought together the foreign ministers of Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. All but the last share a border with Iraq. In a joint declaration issued after the meeting, the foreign ministers urged Iraq "to demonstrate a more active approach in providing Iraq's inventory of information and material concerning its capabilities of weapons of mass destruction." Since the countries fear war could shake their economies and cause turmoil in the region, they are keen to avoid conflict and the economic hardships which are likely to ensue. For months, Turkey has expressed trepidation at the prospect of war and vowed not to approve any attack without a second UN resolution explicitly sanctioning use of force. “We call solemnly on the Iraqi leadership to move irreversibly and sincerely towards assuming its responsibilities in restoring peace and stability in the region,” said the joint declaration which was read out by Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis at the end of the summit. The six countries also had an important underlying message for the US, that it was the UN Security Council alone that was responsible for legitimizing any military attack on Iraq. "The specter of war in Iraq is looming large,” added the declaration. “The countries of this region do not wish to live through yet another war and all its devastating consequences. The UN Security Council is entrusted with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. It is thus fully seized with the task of determining the state of Iraq's compliance with its resolutions and ensuring their full implementation.” /All Papers/
 GUL: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT’S PRIORITY IS THE ECONOMY”Speaking at a meeting of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was making the economy its priority, and that its policies would show its determination to boost Turkey’s economy. “The nation’s economic indicators have greatly disappointed us,” he stated. “The people voted for us, so we don’t have the right to give them any excuses. We are determined to revive the economy.” He said that the government had initiated a number of economic reforms, adding that this reform process was a great opportunity for the nation. The government is open to constructive criticisms from any institution in Turkey, he remarked. Last week TUSIAD Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan criticized the government for what he branded “populist policies.” Speaking at yesterday’s meeting, Ozilhan said that TUSIAD was always ready to discuss Turkey’s problems with government officials, and that it would not shrink from telling them the truth, no matter how harsh. /Hurriyet/
 GUL MEETS WITH GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER FISCHERPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with visiting German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in Ankara. Speaking after the meeting, Gul said that the two leaders had discussed a number of issues such as a possible war in Iraq, Turkey’s European Union membership bid after the Copenhagen summit, and the Cyprus issue. Gul also said that relations between the two countries carried great importance. For his part, Fischer said that he was opposed to military intervention in Iraq and praised the efforts of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to avert such a war. “We are trying to find a peaceful solution in the region,” he stated. “However, Iraq should comply with the United Nations resolutions.” /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN TRAVELS TO DAVOS ECONOMIC FORUMRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday flew to Davos, Switzerland to attend the 2003 World Economic Forum. Erdogan was accompanied by State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Health Minister Recep Akdag, and Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is also expected to travel to Davos tomorrow. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN REELECTED AKP LEADERRecep Tayyip Erdogan was reelected chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday, just one day after a high court decision had put his leadership in doubt. Wednesday’s Constitutional Court ruling saying that Erdogan was no longer the AKP leader left open the door for his reelection. In rapid response to that opening, the party’s Founders’ Council, chaired by Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, yesterday put Erdogan back at the AKP’s helm. After his reelection, Erdogan told cheering supporters, “I see every obstacle as an opportunity.” /Milliyet/
 BRITISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BOYCE VISITS TURKEYBritish Chief of General Staff Adm. Michael Boyce yesterday paid a visit to Turkey to discuss the latest developments in Iraq with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. A delegation headed by Adm. Boyce met with Gen. Ozkok and a number of high-level Turkish military officials. Boyce reportedly conveyed a message to the Turkish officials that his country wanted to take part in a planned joint northern offensive with the US during a possible Iraq war. Britain is also requesting the use of Turkish airspace and bases in case of a war. For his part, Ozkok reminded his British counterpart of the fact that only political institutions in Turkey, not the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), are authorized to make an official decision on this issue. He added that Turkey does not favor Britain stationing its troops in southeastern Anatolia, stressing that the British government should convey its requests to the Turkish government, not the nation’s military officials. /Cumhuriyet/
 CYPRIOT LEADERS AUTHORIZE UN TO DETERMINE COMMON FLAG AND NATIONAL ANTHEM FOR ISLANDThe leaders of the two nations on Cyprus have agreed to let the United Nations select a common flag and national anthem for a possible united island, Brian Kelly, spokesman for the UN’s Cyprus peacekeeping force (UNFICYP), announced yesterday. If Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Galfcos Clerides are able to reach agreement on the UN Cyprus plan before a Feb. 28 deadline, the UN will sponsor a competition to find an appropriate flag and anthem. Meanwhile, the European Union yesterday conveyed a message to the two leaders that the EU wants to host a Cyprus summit if they reach an agreement on the UN plan. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, who helped greenlight Greek Cyprus’ EU accession last December, stated that the EU wanted to hold a meeting to aid both nations in overcoming their economic problems. /Aksam/
 FOLLOWING INSPECTIONS, US MILITARY DELEGATION LEAVES TURKEYA US military delegation yesterday left Turkey after completing 10 days of inspections at the nation’s airbases and seaports. The delegation is to prepare a report on these Turkish facilities to be presented to the Pentagon. If The Turkish government authorizes the US to use its bases and ports during a possible Iraq war, the US is planning to invest approximately $300,0000 to upgrade these military facilities. /Turkiye/
 BAHCELI VISITS TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTASNationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday visited Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas to express his support for Denktas during the ongoing negotiations with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides. Speaking after their meeting, Bahceli said that Turkey should hold a referendum in order to find a solution to the Cyprus issue. “It would be appropriate and useful to consider the Turkish nation’s views on the issue,” added Bahceli. Denktas said that Cyprus was an important cause for the TRNC and Turkey alike. /Milliyet/
 CIA TO FOLLOW TURKISH PRESS FOR INTELLIGENCE CLUES ON IRAQThe CIA, the chief US government organization responsible for gathering foreign intelligence, is reportedly setting up a working group specifically for the purpose of following Turkish press outlets for intelligence clues on Iraq. The working group will be responsible for following Turkish newspapers, magazines, news agencies, TV channels and radio stations to find out anything that might be relevant to US policy on Iraq. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 AFTER THE ISTANBUL SUMMITBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the Istanbul summit and Ankara’s possible stance concerning a possible US-led operation against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Can the Istanbul summit find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi problem? The countries in the region, including Turkey, think that the danger of war is increasing with each passing day. Therefore they think that the Istanbul summit and possible future summits won’t be enough to avert a possible war. However, the common antiwar stance of the countries in the region, which gathered under Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s initiative, is important. This stance will make the prospect of war breaking out more difficult and even if it can’t hold back the US, it will make Bush think twice.
The US posture is making it seem as if a war will break out any day now. Therefore following the Istanbul summit, Ankara will have to make some urgent decisions. For example, it will have to deal with the results of US inspections held at its airbases and seaports and the US requests concerning them. The US will request permission for additional investments and arrangements necessary to upgrade these facilities. Ankara must decide whether it will give permission for the construction and other work. If Turkey does give this permission, what might this lead to?
At this point, the soldiers expect the government to make a decision in Parliament on the issue of permission. However, the government doesn’t seem to be willing to include Parliament. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Parliament aren’t welcoming the US requests. The political leadership is looking for ways to meet this request without having to go through Parliament by, for example, carrying out the work within the framework of NATO. This alternative is being discussed. There’s a general opinion that work carried out under NATO wouldn’t require Parliament’s approval. However, if the NATO mechanism is used, certain unpleasant results could emerge. For example, Britain and Greece acting together under NATO’s umbrella. That’s why the military wing prefers Parliament making the decision.
Turkey’s decision on this issue will be an indicator of other decisions on the US operation. If Turkey says yes to the US concerning its airbases and seaports, then it would also be signaling that it may well give a green light to stationing or allowing passage of US soldiers. Otherwise the impression will be that it won’t give such permission. Earlier, the military leadership declared that it was impossible for them to act without first getting go-ahead from the political leadership. Ankara’s first decision will be about its airbases and seaports. Its decision on this issue will go quite far in clarifying Turkey’s overall stance.”
 TURKEY’S IRAQ POLICY BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s Iraq policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The possibility of averting a war against Iraq is still low. Saying that it’s very low is only acknowledging the harsh realities of politics, because there’s no chance of President George W. Bush and his Republican supporters taking a step back. Such a development would strengthen Saddam Hussein and make the US look ridiculous.
Of course we can’t ignore France and Germany’s moves to renew and emphasize their friendship at Versailles this week. The European Union’s foundation was originally laid on their resolve never to fight again and to cooperate instead. Two true statesmen, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, saw this through with a remarkable prescience.
Germany’s stance is clear: it’s opposed to US domination over Asia and US attempts to trounce Germany’s oil interests. One can’t say the same of France. Will France have the chance to exercise its veto against the US at the UN Security Council? Probably not. To the contrary, we think that the US will bypass both the United Nations and the Security Council in its determination to carry out an operation against Iraq.
We Turks don’t hide our hatred of war and our love and devotion towards peace. The Turkish Republic is doing its best to promote peace. However, such initiatives as suggesting to Saddam Hussein that he draw up a new Iraqi constitution would give this dictator the chance to draw breath for another year and keep deceiving the world. Ankara has to consider its Iraq policy in the long-term and look towards the postwar era.”
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