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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-03

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 : newspot@byegm.gov.tr Press &amp; Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

03.02.2003

GUL: “WAR AGAINST IRAQ IS ALL BUT INEVITABLE, BUT OUR EFFORTS FOR PEACE WILL CONTINUE” ECONOMY MINISTER TUZMEN VISITS SYRIA TO BOOST BILATERAL TRADE BAYKAL: “WE SHOULDN’T ALLOW THE STATIONING OF US TROOPS IN OUR COUNTRY” ISTANBUL DEMONSTRATION SHOWS SUPPORT FOR TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER LINDH TO MEET WITH GUL, ERDOGAN IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AZIZ: “I HOPE TURKEY WILL NOT SUPPORT A US-LED OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ” CITING PROTECTION AGAINST “ADVERSE DEVELOPMENTS,” TURKISH MILITARY ACCELERATES BUILDUP AT IRAQI BORDER WASHINGTON REPORTEDLY IMPATIENT WITH TURKEY’S “INDECISION” ON STAGING TROOPS, WILL PUSH FOR QUICK PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL US TO APPOINT NEW AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA THIS SUMMER TO SUCCEED ROBERT PEARSON FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… TIME TO SEE THE FOREST BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM) ISSUE ONE OF NEGOTIATIONS: THE POST-SADDAM PERIOD BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: “WAR AGAINST IRAQ IS ALL BUT INEVITABLE, BUT OUR EFFORTS FOR PEACE WILL CONTINUE”
  • [02] ECONOMY MINISTER TUZMEN VISITS SYRIA TO BOOST BILATERAL TRADE
  • [03] BAYKAL: “WE SHOULDN’T ALLOW THE STATIONING OF US TROOPS IN OUR COUNTRY”
  • [04] ISTANBUL DEMONSTRATION SHOWS SUPPORT FOR TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS
  • [05] SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER LINDH TO MEET WITH GUL, ERDOGAN
  • [06] IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AZIZ: “I HOPE TURKEY WILL NOT SUPPORT A US-LED OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ”
  • [07] CITING PROTECTION AGAINST “ADVERSE DEVELOPMENTS,” TURKISH MILITARY ACCELERATES BUILDUP AT IRAQI BORDER
  • [08] WASHINGTON REPORTEDLY IMPATIENT WITH TURKEY’S “INDECISION” ON STAGING TROOPS, WILL PUSH FOR QUICK PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL
  • [09] US TO APPOINT NEW AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA THIS SUMMER TO SUCCEED ROBERT PEARSON
  • [10] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [11] TIME TO SEE THE FOREST BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)
  • [12] ISSUE ONE OF NEGOTIATIONS: THE POST-SADDAM PERIOD BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)

  • [01] GUL: “WAR AGAINST IRAQ IS ALL BUT INEVITABLE, BUT OUR EFFORTS FOR PEACE WILL CONTINUE”

    Speaking yesterday at the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that a US-led operation against Iraq was at this point “all but inevitable.” Gul added, however, that the AKP government had done its utmost to avert war and that these efforts would continue until the last moment, as there was still a slim chance of a peaceful resolution. He also said that the next two weeks would be critical since Parliament is set to make a decision on Turkey’s participation in a war against Iraq. Stating that such a war would lead to a change in Iraq’s regime, Gul remarked, “Therefore, Turkey supporting an operation is appropriate since we should play a role in Iraq’s reconstruction process.” /Turkiye/

    [02] ECONOMY MINISTER TUZMEN VISITS SYRIA TO BOOST BILATERAL TRADE

    State Minister for the Economy Kursat Tuzmen travelled to Syria on Friday in a bid to improve Turkish-Syrian trade ties. After holding separate meetings with Syrian Finance Minister Muhammed Atras, Tourism Minister Sadullah Agha Kalaa, Industry Minister Issam Zaim and Communications Minister Mekrem Obeyd, Tuzmen returned to Turkey yesterday. /Milliyet/

    [03] BAYKAL: “WE SHOULDN’T ALLOW THE STATIONING OF US TROOPS IN OUR COUNTRY”

    Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday declared his opposition to Turkey allowing the United States to station troops on Turkish soil. Appearing on news channel CNN Turk, Baykal stated that the CHP’s deputies in Parliament would vote in favor of a resolution to send Turkish troops to northern Iraq but against one allowing US troops to be stationed in Turkey for a possible Iraq intervention. The CHP currently holds fewer than one-third of the seats in Parliament. “Turkey’s sending troops into northern Iraq wouldn’t mean waging a war against this country but would rather be an act of defense, as there will definitely be a power vacuum in the region in case of a conflict,” said Baykal. “However, allowing US troops to use our country’s soil as a staging ground would amount to rushing into war alongside the US.” /Hurriyet/

    [04] ISTANBUL DEMONSTRATION SHOWS SUPPORT FOR TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS

    Nearly 1,000 people participated in a public demonstration in Istanbul over the weekend in a show of support for Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. Some prominent figures taking part in the demonstration were True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar, Great Union Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) deputy leader Sevket Bulent Yahnici, and former Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel. Denktas is in the midst of a critical period, facing criticism at home and abroad as a Feb. 28 deadline for a settlement on Cyprus looms larger every day. /Turkiye/

    [05] SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER LINDH TO MEET WITH GUL, ERDOGAN

    Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh yesterday arrived in Turkey to hold separate meetings with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. During their meetings, recent international and domestic developments are expected to be discussed. Lindh is also expected to meet with officials from the governor’s office in the southeastern Anatolian province of Diyarbakir. /Aksam/

    [06] IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AZIZ: “I HOPE TURKEY WILL NOT SUPPORT A US-LED OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ”

    Iraq Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz said yesterday that since the Turkish public was certainly opposed to a US-led operation against Iraq, he hoped that the Turkish Parliament would decide not to support such an operation. Aziz stated that the 1991 Gulf War had imposed heavy burdens on Turkey’s economy and that a new war would do the same. He furthermore denied US charges that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. /Aksam/

    [07] CITING PROTECTION AGAINST “ADVERSE DEVELOPMENTS,” TURKISH MILITARY ACCELERATES BUILDUP AT IRAQI BORDER

    Ahead of possible US-led war against Iraq, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has accelerated the process of sending additional troops, weapons and equipment to the southeastern Anatolian province of Silopi, a small town near the Habur Gate bordering northern Iraq. Yesterday, some 800 troops and over 30 tanks and other armored military vehicles were sent to the region, while additional reinforcements are currently en route. According to official statements, the buildup is aiming at forestalling any “adverse developments” in northern Iraq and preventing a possible wave of refugees straining against Turkey’s borders in case of war. Turkey has not formally agreed to participate in any offensive against its neighbor Iraq. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] WASHINGTON REPORTEDLY IMPATIENT WITH TURKEY’S “INDECISION” ON STAGING TROOPS, WILL PUSH FOR QUICK PARLIAMENTARY APPROVAL

    Even after the influential National Security Council (MGK) decision on Friday to support US requests for cooperation ahead of a possible Iraq conflict, the US is reportedly still impatient with the lack of a firm decision from the Turkish government, diplomatic sources said over the weekend. Turkey’s active support is seen by the US as “crucial” to its military strategy, the sources added, and Washington will pressure the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to speedily push a resolution through Parliament before the beginning of next week’s Feast of the Sacrifice holiday (Kurban Bayram). Parliament’s approval is constitutionally required for an official go-ahead for the US to station troops and use Turkish airbases and harbors, as Washington has requested. While Turkey’s leadership has consistently called for a second UN resolution authorizing military force against Iraq to secure its cooperation with the US, Washington’s patience has worn thin as the timeframe for a military buildup in Turkey, expected to take several weeks, has grown increasingly narrow. US President George W. Bush’s recent assertion that the Iraq issue would be resolved in “weeks, not months” has been widely interpreted as signaling an imminent offensive. /Cumhuriyet/

    [09] US TO APPOINT NEW AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA THIS SUMMER TO SUCCEED ROBERT PEARSON

    The Bush administration has settled on its choice for a new ambassador to Ankara to succeed current ambassador Robert Pearson at the post this summer, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Their choice, Eric Edelman, 51, US Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security advisor and a Pentagon aide when Cheney was defense secretary during the first Bush administration, has yet to be formally nominated to the post. Pearson has served in Ankara as ambassador since 2000. The Times described the position as being “even more important politically and more difficult diplomatically” in the current volatile international climate. /Cumhuriyet/

    [10] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [11] TIME TO SEE THE FOREST BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the possible effects of the Iraqi crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “According to some observers, the Iraqi war to come won’t last long. Of course the fighting will claim many civilian lives. The Kurds will support the US in this war, and the Sunni Arabs won’t be hostile towards the US. Maybe when they see the first US tank, they will immediately desert Saddam Hussein and go over to their ‘saviors.’ The Shiites in the south are the ‘x factor’ in this calculation. However, it’s not believed that Iran, which doesn’t owe anything to Saddam, will provoke the Shiites against the US at this stage. To the contrary, Tehran is expected to take a cautious and pragmatic stance. In addition, it’s believed that Washington will give priority to the Middle East conflict after the war in order not to further exacerbate hostility in the Islamic world. As part of this, US President George W. Bush is expected to push for the eventual establishment of an independent Palestinian state, one with its own territory.

    Meanwhile, Iraq will be reintegrated into the international economy, and this situation will provide those who stood alongside the US with new opportunities. While the US protects Mosul and Kirkuk during the initial stage, Iraq’s Kirkuk-Yumurtalik pipeline into Turkey will be reopened within a short period of time.

    It’s believed that the real problem for the US will come from hostility among the Iraqi people. The Shiites have their own bloody accounts to settle since the last Gulf War. Kurds also have years-long scores to settle. Probably we won’t have to wait for long to see how this all unfolds.

    If Washington enters a war without the support of the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, and a consensus from them, it would be effectively destroying the post-World War II international framework. The UN would lose its significance in short order, and the EU would be divided, making it impossible for it to establish common foreign and defense policies. As for NATO, in which all decisions are made by reaching consensus, it will face the risk of disintegration. All these might seem far-fetched scenarios, but they aren’t. We already see the situation headed this way in the UN Security Council’s inability to set parameters to the US’ ambitions, in 10 EU members’ rebellion against France and Germany (which are working against the US) and in Turkey’s difficulty in getting NATO support.

    In sum, the possible impact of the Iraqi crisis for Turkey isn’t limited to factors just within Iraq. Following the war, a new order, good or bad, will emerge not only in the Middle East, but also throughout the entire world. Our strategists should consider this because Turkey’s place in this new order will be very important for us. In other words, it’s time to not only see the trees, but also the forest.”

    [12] ISSUE ONE OF NEGOTIATIONS: THE POST-SADDAM PERIOD BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)

    Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on Turkey’s stance on the Iraq issue. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “The leaders of eight European countries last week issued a joint declaration of solidarity with the United States in its confrontation with Iraq, stating that Iraq's continuing failure to comply with the UN disarmament resolutions threatens to undermine the authority of the Security Council and furthermore represents a danger to world peace. Following this significant development, a very important decision was made closer to home at Friday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting: The NSC issued an advisory decision that Turkey should lend its active support to the Bush administration in case of a war.

    In light of this, Turkey and the US are expected to complete their negotiations on military issues in a very short while. However, a number of political and economic issues still remain unresolved. In exchange for the use of its territory by US troops and fighter jets against Iraq, the Turkish government is asking for significant economic support to make sure there’s no repeat of the recession that followed the 1991 Gulf War. Ankara and Washington recently reached agreement on a ‘flexible, adaptable’ plan. Under this plan, the US is expected to release to Turkey a new loan tranche bearing a minimal interest rate. The exact amount of money to be released has yet to be determined. The Bush administration is planning to revise the plan in line with unfolding developments during its Iraq operation. Therefore, negotiations on economic issues are expected to continue up till the time a new regime is established in Iraq.

    The political issues surrounding a US-led operation in Iraq are even more complex. Turkey and the US are currently bargaining on the future of Iraq in a post-Saddam period. Turkey wants a secular and democratic government to be established in Baghdad after the US operation. Our government is extremely concerned about Iraq’s territorial integrity. If a federation based on ethnic or religious foundations is established in the region, Turkey is likely to strongly oppose this new regime. The NSC also made a significant decision on this issue at its Friday meeting: Turkey will recognize a federation based on geographic conditions to be established in the post-Saddam period, if and only if Mosul and Kirkuk are not governed by a single religious or ethnic group. In addition to being oil-rich, those two cities have sizable populations of ethnic Turkmen as well as Kurds.

    Although Turkey and the US seem to have similar views on political matters, Washington is choosing to hold back its final word until after the operation is wrapped up. US officials claim that both Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdish groups are fated to play important roles during this time. But if Turkey declines to play a pivotal part in an Iraq operation, US officials have implied that the Kurdish groups are more likely to undertake the responsibility for sustaining peace and stability in the region. They also stress that it would be normal for the Kurdish groups to ask for recompense, a prize if you will, from the Bush administration in return for their support.

    Therefore, the Bush administration’s message is quite clear: ‘Turkey will have the right to take part in restructuring post-Saddam Iraq, provided that it actively participates in the military operation.’ The latest decisions of the NSC have shown us that our political and military officials are very well aware of this message.”

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