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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-29
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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
29.01.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 GUL: “THERE MAY BE ANOTHER SUMMIT TO PROMOTE PEACE IN IRAQ”Appearing on television yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that Turkey could participate in another meeting with its Middle Eastern neighbors to reach a peaceful resolution in Iraq. This meeting would be held in Damascus, Syria, rather than Istanbul, the venue for the last summit on Iraq, said the prime minister. Gul called the next two weeks “critical” in deciding whether war would come, adding that it would be difficult for Turkey to stay on the sidelines during such a situation. Also touching on the Cyprus issue, Gul said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should negotiate pragmatically and in good faith. He added that time was running out to reach an agreement for the island before Feb. 28, a UN-EU deadline. “The [AKP] government will take steps in the interests of both the TRNC and Turkey,” Gul added. /Aksam/
 GUL, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER BLAIR CONFER ON IRAQ ISSUEPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday received a telephone call from British Prime Minister Tony Blair. During their conversation, Blair briefed Gul on recent developments concerning a possible US-led operation against Iraq. Blair is also expected to meet with United States President George W. Bush on Friday to discuss the Iraq situation. Britain has been the closest ally to the US in the leadup to a possible war, and US officials have been courting Turkey aggressively in recent weeks to cooperate in war preparations. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN: “THIS WEEK IS CRITICAL IN THE LEADUP TO A POSSIBLE WAR IN IRAQ”Speaking on television yesterday, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that this week was a critical one with regards to a possible US-led operation against Iraq, adding that he was still hopeful for a peaceful resolution of the situation. Asked if he would visit Iraq, Erdogan said that he had no plans to do so. He remarked that Turkey enjoys a strong relationship with the United States and that he wanted this bond to continue. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will take all measures needed in case of a war, said Erdogan, adding that the AKP government wanted Iraq to maintain its territorial integrity. /Turkiye/
 DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER YALCINBAYIR: “IN CASE OF A WAR, THE US SHOULD COMPENSATE TURKEY’S ECONOMIC LOSSES”Deputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir yesterday remarked that the US should pay financial compensation to Turkey in case of a war in Iraq. “The Bush administration should compensate any [economic] losses that Turkey incurs, since it is putting pressure on our country to support it during a possible Iraq war,” added Yalcinbayir. “This should be considered a price for the panic they have caused in our country.” /Star/
 BAYKAL: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT SHOULD STAND BY DENKTAS”Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal spoke out against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s policy on Cyprus, urging the administration to be firmer in standing by the Turkish Cypriots. Baykal said that just as Greece Prime Minister Costas Simitis supported the leader of Greek Cyprus, so AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan should throw his support behind Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas, and suggested that failing to do so could leave Denktas in a precarious position. Also touching on a possible US-led operation against Iraq, Baykal said that such an operation lacked any political, moral, or legal basis. Turkey shouldn’t participate in such an operation, stated the CHP leader, adding, “Our party is opposed to war in the region.” /Milliyet/ DE SOTO: “REACHING A SOLUTION FOR CYPRUS DEPENDS ON BOTH SIDES”
Alvaro de Soto, the United Nations’ special envoy for Cyprus, yesterday arrived in Turkey to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. Speaking to reporters afterwards, de Soto said that their meetings had been very fruitful. He said that the prospect of reaching an agreement on the United Nations Cyprus plan depended on both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cyprus. “Both sides should be politically eager to reach an agreement,” stated de Soto. “It’s important to reach an agreement before the end of next month [the Feb. 28 deadline], so the two sides should act quickly.” He added that changes to the UN Cyprus plan were possible if the TRNC, Greek Cyprus, Turkey and Greece all wanted this. /Turkiye/
 US TREASURY UNDERSECRETARY: “TURKEY’S COMMITMENT TO ITS ECONOMIC PROGRAM IS CLEAR”In a sign of the US government’s confidence in Turkey’s economic performance, a US Treasury official yesterday said he trusted the Turkish administration’s resolve to continue carrying out its economic program. “We have close contacts with Turkish economic officials,” said US Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor. “The US has no doubts concerning the Turkish government’s commitment to its IMF-backed economic recovery program. We believe that the program will be implemented in full, without any hitches.” /Sabah/
 IFC CHAIRMAN DALLARA: “TURKEY’S ECONOMIC REFORMS ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION”The head of the World Bank’s private sector development arm, the International Financial Corporation, yesterday praised the reform process of Turkey’s economy, saying this transitional period was leading to better days ahead. “In my view, Turkey’s new government will be able to develop a successful economy policy,” said Charles Dallara, chairman of the IFC. “Our organization will continue supporting the Turkish government. I personally have full confidence in its leadership.” /Sabah/
 BORDER CAMPS REPORTEDLY PLANNED TO AVERT WAR REFUGEE CRISISIn preparation for a possible wave of refugees during a war in Iraq, Turkey has laid plans for 18 refugee camps on both sides of its border with northern Iraq, reports said yesterday. The Turkish government is hoping to stem an uncontrolled tide of Iraqi refugees into its territory during such a war. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 WHAT DOES ERDOGAN WANT? BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance on the Cyprus issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“If one had to sum up the recent situation concerning Cyprus on the part of Turkey and Turkish Cypriots, this much could be said: ‘The Turks are constantly bickering. Let them continue to do so.’ A person could easily reach this judgment. Although the issue has been bandied about for weeks, it’s still unclear what Ankara is saying and what the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has against Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticizing Denktas since UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan for the island was first presented late last year. In addition, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is closing ranks with Erdogan, proclaiming that they have a ‘new policy’ concerning Cyprus. At first Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said similar things, but recently he denied that there was any Turkey-TRNC rift and said that the government supported Denktas.
Although he isn’t prime minister, Erdogan is the government’s voice on all the issues facing Turkey. The Cyprus issue, Annan’s plan and Denktas are among the issues that he is most concerned about. Now we need to ask this: As the leader of the party in power, what is Erdogan seeking for Cyprus?
He wants a solution. - But what sort of solution? - He thinks Annan’s plan can be discussed and both sides should sit down to the negotiating table to find a solution. - But Annan’s plan is already being discussed and a solution is being sought concerning the plan anyhow.
However, Erdogan is continuing to make the same criticisms and accusations. Then a person could ask himself, does Erdogan want Denktas to accept Annan’s plan as is and sign it?
No. Erdogan doesn’t want the plan to be accepted in its current form either. He thinks some changes are necessary. - So what is Denktas doing now? - He’s telling the United Nations and the Greek Cypriots what parts of the plan he wants changed. So why is Erdogan continuing to criticize Denktas?
There’s no good answer to this last question. Erdogan, Gul and Yakis have all met with Denktas. During these meetings, did Erdogan and Gul ask anything of Denktas? If they did, did Denktas balk? Did Erdogan or Gul suggest to Denktas that he should change certain articles of Annan’s plan? Did Erdogan make any suggestion to Denktas on his stance towards Greek Cypriot leader Clerides? When Erdogan said, ‘Cyprus isn’t Denktas’s personal matter, it’s a national matter,’ just what was he implying? Erdogan has to clearly lay out his view of the Cyprus issue, Annan’s plan and his vision for a solution. Just saying, ‘We favor a solution’ isn’t enough. If he has a solution in mind, he should let Denktas know.”
 AND AFTER A WAR, WHAT THEN? BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna writes about the aftermath of a possible war in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“As I write these words, US President George W. Bush’s annual State of the Union Address still lies in the future, but it’s not too difficult to guess what’ll say. He will once again try to convince the world that Saddam Hussein is a horrible horrible man and a desperate liar. However, I doubt Bush’s speech will serve him any better in his attempts to justify his cause against Iraq.
But at this point there’s no stopping the US from carrying out its designs. Its basic goal is to establish a firm and unassailable foothold in the countries ringing the Persian Gulf and then re-draw the map of the region. An Iraq offensive is the first step of this overall project. The borders the Ottoman Empire set for the Middle East lasted for some 400 years, and now it seems very likely that the current British-defined borders are about to dramatically change.
I’m deeply concerned that Ankara lacks a comprehensive grasp into the US designs and furthermore has no proper assessment of the situation awaiting our country after a possible war, and therefore is inadequately prepared. We will once again be shocked by developments there, just as we were taken aback by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. We don’t like trying to foresee the future. Instead we only try to save the day. We hate any change in the status quo. We have lost our reformist spirit and we get goosebumps at the mere mention of the word ‘change.’
President Bush will meet with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Friday. Britain and even Israel are aware of the US designs, and both are quite familiar with the principles of ‘Pax Americana.’ But are we? I think we lack even the curiosity to wonder what they really are. For instance, has Turkey discussed and reached an agreement with the US on the postwar situation in Turkey and Iraq?
In an unmistakable reference to Turkey and Kuwait, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said yesterday that Iraq would strike back against any country which allows US soldiers to use their soil to launch an attack against Iraq. He may be bluffing. Yet one thing is quite clear: war is now closer than ever.
The US cannot delay a possible Iraq war for two more months. Turkey must get prepared for the aftermath of a quick and dirty US military campaign against Saddam.”
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