|Wednesday, 16 June 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 03-01-30
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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
 NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SET TO DISCUSS IRAQ, CYPRUSThe National Security Council (MGK) is set to convene tomorrow to discuss recent developments concerning a possible US-led operation in Iraq and the UN weapons inspectors’ report issued earlier this week. The Cyprus issue is also expected to be discussed at the meeting. /Aksam/
 PRESIDENT SEZER VETOES TAX AMNESTY LAWPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday vetoed a tax amnesty popularly known as the ‘tax peace’ law. In a statement, Sezer said that since 1980 Turkey had seen a tax amnesty roughly every two years, a trend which encouraged tax evasion and damaged the sense of justice among citizens who paid their taxes properly and on time. /Hurriyet/
 TURKISH MILITARY BEEFS UP AMMUNITION, EQUIPMENT
 ON IRAQI BORDERThe Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) yesterday began sending additional ammunition and materiel to the Iraqi border so as to forestall “adverse developments” in northern Iraq in case of war in the region, said a TSK statement yesterday. The additional buildup comes on the heels of a meeting between Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. The TSK statement stressed that these protective measures should not misconstrued as preparations for an offensive into Iraq. /Cumhuriyet/
 PEARSON TO VISIT PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ARINCRobert Pearson, the United States ambassador to Turkey, is set to visit Parliament Speaker Bulenc Arinc today to discuss a number of issues, most notably recent developments on a possible US-led operation against Iraq. /Turkiye/
 IRAQI, US AMBASSADORS TO SEPARATELY
 BRIEF PARLIAMENTARIANSFollowing a request from Iraq’s Ambassador to Ankara Talip Abid Saleh al- Duleymi, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission announced yesterday that the diplomat would brief parliamentarians on his country’s take on current developments between Iraq and the world. No date was specified for the briefing. In related news, US Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson is also scheduled to address a group of parliamentarians on the Iraq issue next Monday. Pearson’s briefing was postponed for a week so as to come after US President George W. Bush’s Speech of the Union Address delivered on Tuesday. /Star/
 DENKTAS, CLERIDES DISCUSS TRNC’S PROPOSED CHANGES TO UN PLANTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday met with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides to discuss the United Nations Cyprus plan. Speaking after the meeting, Denktas said that Clerides had responded to some of the TRNC’s proposed changes to the UN plan and that he would respond to others tomorrow. He stated that when this process was finished, the two sides would re-evaluate the situation. Denktas remarked that if Greek Cyprus rejected the TRNC’s proposed changes, no agreement would be possible, but that this would not be a “tragedy.” He added, “However, efforts to reach a settlement on the island will continue no matter what happens.” /Milliyet/
 DE SOTO MEETS WITH ERDOGAN TO DISCUSS CYPRUS PLANAlvaro de Soto, the United Nations’ special envoy for Cyprus, yesterday met with ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the UN Cyprus plan. Speaking after the meeting, de Soto said that he and Erdogan had discussed the Cyprus issue in general terms, and that he hadn’t presented a map to the AKP leader. De Soto stated that he had been heartened by Erdogan’s evident resolve to reach an agreement on the island. He added that if Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides were defeated in elections scheduled for Feb. 28, which is also the deadline set by the European Union and the United Nations for a settlement on the island, this would seriously damage the negotiations process. “Thus, the two sides should reach an agreement before that date,” urged de Soto. /Milliyet/
 PAPANDREOU: “I CAN’T UNDERSTAND THE TURKISH MILITARY’S SECURITY CONCERNS OVER CYPRUS”Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that he was at a loss to understand why the Turkish military placed so much emphasis on the island of Cyprus for Turkey’s security. “The United Nations Cyprus plan is itself about security,” Papandreou told Greek reporters. “And Cyprus’ EU accession will guarantee the security of the island.” Characterizing Turkey as a nation on the road to EU membership, Papandreou added, “So why then should Turkey feel insecure about Cyprus?” /Cumhuriyet/
 ECEVIT: “TURKEY IS SUFFERING FROM BIPOLAR LEADERSHIP”Bulent Ecevit, Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader and former prime minister who was roundly defeated in last November’s elections, yesterday charged that Turkey is suffering from a case of “bipolar leadership.” On the one hand we have a regular prime minister and on the other an irregular one, said Ecevit, clearly referring to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who currently is barred from holding the premiership. The former prime minister added that the nation could not bear this anomalous situation for long and so should end it immediately. Erdogan is widely expected to become prime minister after a special election overcomes the legal barriers in March. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS…
 MESSAGE OF WAR
 BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US President George W. Bush’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday painted his government as an administration resolved to bring about an end to the Iraq problem. In other words, the clock is ticking down to war in Iraq!
Although in his speech Bush neither declared a war against Iraq nor issued another ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, the powerful address demonstrated once again his determination to attack Iraq.
There were three main points in the speech: 1) ‘Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option,’ said Bush. The Bush administration doesn’t trust Saddam one bit. The US president made it clear he gives no credence to Iraqi claims of compliance with the UN resolutions. ‘The dictator of Iraq is not disarming, on the contrary, he is deceiving,’ he charged. Bush stressed that time was running out and the US was prepared to act alone if necessary. 2) Bush called on the UN Security Council to convene on Feb. 5 at which time Secretary of State Colin Powell is to present to them evidence about Iraq's weapons programs and links to terrorist groups. The Bush administration claims that intelligence sources and statements from suspects in US custody prove that Saddam is harboring terrorists, including militants from al- Qaeda. It seems that Washington has at last decided to show the world the evidence which it has so far withheld out of fear of jeopardizing its intelligence sources. 3) The thrust of the speech was that Bush would not wait much longer after presenting evidence to the UN Security Council, and that his country is prepared to act to disarm Iraq with or without UN backing. Therefore, he stressed, the time given for weapons inspections would not be unlimited. Along with other countries striving to arrive at a peaceful solution to the problem, Turkey should also take into consideration these main points. Our government should prepare its plans in light of these facts.”
 BUSH’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
 BY MUSTAFA BALBAY (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Mustafa Balbay comments on Bush’s annual State of the Union Address and the US’ stance on the Iraqi crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US President George W. Bush’s annual State of the Union Address was interpreted in different ways on different continents. Bush’s speech took the spotlight in the immediate wake of the United Nations weapons inspectors’ report issued the day before. Concerning my interpretation of Bush’s speech, I can say the following: Everybody planned what to say beforehand; after the weapons inspectors released their report and challenged Bush, he announced this to the public! Bush called on the UN Security Council to convene on Feb. 5 so Secretary of State Collin Powell could tell the world how Iraq has deceived it! When we look at both the US administration’s recent statements and Bush’s speech, the following points become clear:
- The US is already set on attacking Iraq at any cost. The debate inside their administration isn’t about how to move into Iraq, but rather how to get out. - The Bush administration has various documents proving that Iraq possesses all sorts of weapons. Maybe multinational companies doing business with Iraq provided the US with this information. These documents will be released on Feb. 5. - Bush faced similar resistance from the world before the US attacked Afghanistan, and it was unable to give satisfactory answers concerning its evidence. During that time, I wrote, ‘Whatever the US administration calls evidence is accepted as evidence.’ A similar process is beginning now. - It cannot be said that the US has made great achievements in Afghanistan in the short term. However, it may have stabilized the region for the medium term. Maybe it actually wanted this. Of course Iraq isn’t Afghanistan, but the goal seems to be the same: stabilizing the region and not leaving there without establishing an order under its control within 5- 10 years. - My colleagues have given Bush a host of nicknames, many quite derogatory. One writer for Le Monde Diplomatique calls Bush ‘the bandit.’ Clearly, the US is growing more isolated with each passing day.
A different sort of isolation awaits Turkey. The government can neither satisfy the US administration nor those who are opposed to war. The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) main cover is the National Security Council (MGK) meeting to be held tomorrow. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul expressed his satisfaction that Turkish and US military officials were talking to each other. ‘We are acting and shaping our Iraq policy according to the military’s requests,’ said the AKP. However, the military believes that for even a single foreign soldier to come to Turkey, a decision from the political leadership is necessary. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer summarized his view of the situation during meetings on Iraq as follows:
This war isn’t Turkey’s conflict, but the US’. - Such a war has nothing to do with Turkey. - Of course necessary measures to protect our security should and will be taken. It’s Parliament’s decision to decide whether foreign soldiers can be stationed in Turkey. It’s also a constitutional obligation to comply with international law so that Parliament can make such a decision.
The MGK meeting to be held tomorrow will connect the three dots on Turkey’s stance, namely the government, the military ad the Parliament. We know that the military is following developments closely. During contacts with US officials, Turkey asked them this: Following an operation against Iraq, what will you do? But the US doesn’t want to give us a clear, written answer to this question!
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