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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-07
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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 : email@example.com Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
07.02.2003PARLIAMENT APPROVES US UPGRADES AT TURKISH AIRBASES AND PORTS NATO AGREES TO PROTECT TURKEY IN CASE OF WAR, BUT DEFERS DECISION ON IRAQ CRISIS TURKEY HOSTS IRAQI OPPOSITION SUMMIT GUL: “WE WILL WORK FOR PEACE IN IRAQ TILL THE VERY LAST” GUL DISCUSSES IRAQ WITH MIDEAST AMBASSADORS IRAQI AMBASSADOR SALIH: “TURKEY’S SUPPORTING A US-LED OPERATION IS TANTAMOUNT TO JOINING A WAR” ERDOGAN: “CYPRUS NEEDS A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION” ANNAN CALLS ON ANKARA AND ATHENS TO SUPPORT SETTLING CYPRUS ISSUE US ENVOY WESTON ARRIVES IN ANKARA TO DISCUSS CYPRUS DENKTAS: “CLERIDES SAYING HE WILL SIGN THE UN PLAN IN ITS CURRENT FORM IS JUST A BLUFF” ERDOGAN TO RUN IN SIIRT BY-ELECTION US TREASURY’S TAYLOR MEETS WITH BABACAN, DISCUSSES TURKEY’S ECONOMIC LOSSES IN EVENT OF IRAQ WAR FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS CLEAR BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) CAN WE BREATHE EASIER NOW? BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES US UPGRADES AT TURKISH AIRBASES AND PORTSAhead of a possible US-led war against Iraq, Parliament yesterday approved a proposal allowing the United States to make upgrades to Turkish airbases and ports for a possible stationing of US troops. The decision came one day after Prime Minister Abdullah Gul declared his government’s support for US plans to carry out a military campaign against Iraq and was approved in a closed session by a vote of 308-193, with 9 abstentions. The government is expected to put another proposal before Parliament on Feb. 18, after next week’s Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram) holiday, regarding a US request to station its troops in Turkey for a possible northern offensive into Iraq. In related news, about 50 AKP deputies voted against the proposal, citing their opposition to a war in the region, while all the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies also voted down the proposal. /All Papers/
 NATO AGREES TO PROTECT TURKEY IN CASE OF WAR, BUT DEFERS DECISION ON IRAQ CRISISAhead of a possible war against Iraq, NATO once again failed to make up its mind on the issue at a NATO Council extraordinary session yesterday, but Secretary-General George Robertson said that the member countries had agreed to take measures to protect Turkey, a NATO charter member, in case of a conflict. Stating that he had presented the council a proposal concerning Turkey’s request for protection, Robertson added that if no member country raises any objections before next Monday, the proposal would go forward as approved. NATO is expected to send AWACS surveillance planes and Patriot missiles to Turkey to ensure the country’s national security against possible attacks from Iraq. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY HOSTS IRAQI OPPOSITION SUMMITAnkara yesterday hosted a summit of northern Iraqi opposition leaders convened in order to discuss a post-Saddam Hussein future. Participating in the meeting were Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKPD) leader Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Sanan Ahmet Aga, and Nechirvan Barzani, the nephew of Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKPD) leader Massoud Barzani as well as prime minister of the so-called regional Kurdistan government. Also present were US President W. Bush’s Envoy to the Iraqi opposition Zalmay Khalilzad and Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ali Tuygan. During the meeting, Tuygan said should Turkish forces enter northern Iraq the Kurdish groups should accept them as allies. He also warned the Kurds not to attempt to found an independent state in the region, adding that nobody should try to benefit from such a war, clearly suggesting that the Kurds should not try to take control of the oil-rich cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. For his part, Khalilzad urged the other participants at the meeting to heed Tuygan’s words. Talabani stated that Turkey and the US were coming to protect the northern Iraqis and that they were all allies. However, Barzani warned that if neighboring countries intervened in the region this could lead to unrest and chaos. /Milliyet/
 GUL: “WE WILL WORK FOR PEACE IN IRAQ TILL THE VERY LASTHolding out an olive branch on the same day Parliament approved measures paving the way for the arrival of US troops in Turkey, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that he still had hope the Iraq issue could be resolved peacefully, without the need for a US operation. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will continue pushing for peace till the very last, vowed Gul. “We are waiting for a [second] UN resolution [on Iraq],” he added. “We will also hold a meeting soon with the participation of officials from Arab countries. However, if war comes then Turkey will do whatever is necessary.” /Aksam/
 GUL DISCUSSES IRAQ WITH MIDEAST AMBASSADORSPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with the ambassadors to Turkey of Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iran to discuss recent developments in the standoff between the United States and Iraq. During the gathering, Gul proposed that the ambassadors make a last attempt to reach a peaceful solution by convening another such gathering. Also present at yesterday’s talks was Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, who afterwards called the meeting a follow-up to last month’s Istanbul summit to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis. /Milliyet/
 IRAQI AMBASSADOR SALIH: “TURKEY’S SUPPORTING A US-LED OPERATION IS TANTAMOUNT TO JOINING A WAR”Responding to the news that Turkey’s Parliament had approved upgrades of certain facilities in preparation for their possible use by US forces, Iraq’s Ambassador to Turkey Talip Abid Salih said yesterday that such a move was tantamount to joining a war. “If Turkey allows US troops to be stationed here, this is tantamount to taking part in a war,” stated Salih. “Countries which help the US will later realize their mistake.” Salih added that he was not threatening Turkey, merely giving advice. Yesterday’s Parliament vote paves the way for US troops to come to Turkey, but the latter action has yet to be authorized, and will face a separate vote on Feb. 18, after the Sacrifice holiday. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN: “CYPRUS NEEDS A PEACEFUL RESOLUTION”The Cyprus issue is in need of a peaceful resolution, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. Since thousands of Turkish Cypriots had recently taken to the streets to protest for a settlement, Erdogan added, no one can deny the existence of a problem. There are two equal states on the island, stated the AKP leader, and Turkey and Greece are the island’s guarantor countries. He further urged the sides to reach an agreement before the United Nations’ Feb. 28 deadline. /Turkiye/
 ANNAN CALLS ON ANKARA AND ATHENS TO SUPPORT SETTLING CYPRUS ISSUEUN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has sent letters to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis urging them to support reaching a peaceful resolution to the Cyprus issue before a Feb. 28 deadline, reports said yesterday. Annan asked Ankara and Athens, as the two guarantor states to the island, to start bilateral contacts on Cyprus’ security issues at once. /Cumhuriyet/
 US ENVOY WESTON ARRIVES IN ANKARA TO DISCUSS CYPRUSUS Special Coordinator for Cyprus Tom Weston yesterday arrived in Ankara to promote a settlement on the Cyprus issue before Feb. 28, the UN deadline for peace talks on the island. Following his meeting with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal, Weston told reporters that he was hopeful that a resolution could be reached before the deadline. Diplomatic sources characterized Weston’s current visit to Turkey as significant, as it comes on the heels of US Vice President Dick Cheney’s phone conversation with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul on Wednesday. The Turkish premier reportedly asked for US help on the Cyprus problem in return for Turkey’s support for a possible US-led Iraq offensive. /Cumhuriyet/
 DENKTAS: “CLERIDES SAYING HE WILL SIGN THE UN PLAN IN ITS CURRENT FORM IS JUST A BLUFF”Speaking to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Parliament yesterday, TRNC President Rauf Denktas dismissed Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides’s claim that he would sign the UN Cyprus Plan in its current form as nothing but a bluff. He added that he hadn’t come to Parliament to make a decision on the UN plan, but rather to brief the deputies on recent developments. Denktas charged that Clerides had rejected all his proposed changes to the plan. Speaking after the briefing, Denktas said that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had sent a letter to the Turkish and Greek prime ministers urging them to reach an agreement on the island’s security, adding that he approved of this effort. “We will continue on our path even if the two sides on Cyprus are unable to reach an agreement before the Feb.28 UN deadline,” he stated. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TO RUN IN SIIRT BY-ELECTIONJustice and Development Party (AKP) Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday officially applied to the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) to stand in a by-election in the southeastern Anatolian province of Siirt. Erdogan was legally barred from running for Parliament in last November’s general elections which swept the AKP into power, a situation which was quickly remedied by the AKP deputies once in office. The Siirt by-election, scheduled for March 9, is widely expected to pave the way for Erdogan to become prime minister. /Sabah/
 US TREASURY’S TAYLOR MEETS WITH BABACAN, DISCUSSES TURKEY’S ECONOMIC LOSSES IN EVENT OF IRAQ WARUS Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs John Taylor yesterday met with Economy Minister Ali Babacan to discuss the possible economic fallout in Turkey of an Iraq war. Turkey estimates that the nation’s economic losses due to such a war could run as high as $32 billion, whereas the US is reportedly planning to give Turkey aid in the neighborhood of $15 billion. Today Taylor is due to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IS CLEAR BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN Security Council and what comes next. A summary of his column is as follows:
“After US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation on Wednesday to the UN Security Council, the world split into two camps: those believing that Powell made a ‘convincing’ case, and those who found his evidence insufficient. The number of the latter easily dwarfs the former.
What Powell’s address has in fact showed the world is that the Bush administration is determined to attack Iraq.
We have already seen the true intentions of those who believe that Iraq is actively working to deceive the UN inspectors. However, what about the others? We don’t know whether the countries which have found Powell’s evidence unconvincing will be able to avert a possible war. Germany wants the US to hand over its evidence to UN weapons inspectors for further examination. France is requesting that the UN send more inspectors to Iraq. Russia believes that the UN inspectors need more time to finish their work.
However, the Bush administration believes that such efforts have no hope of stopping Saddam and so seems determined to act in line with its own plans and strategies without taking into consideration the reservations of many countries. The US armed forces are getting ready for war, and the Bush administration is trying to tie together a firm coalition with countries likely to lend their support to a US-led war in Iraq.
What will happen now?
The UN weapons inspectors will accelerate their work and present another report to the UN Security Council on Feb. 14. I believe that the US will then try to persuade the Security Council to pass another resolution giving it the international OK for a military offensive. However, if Russia, France or China vetoes the US demands, then all bets are off. Such a development would be a real letdown for the US. If the Bush administration attacks Saddam despite these countries’ objections, it will probably face strong opposition and criticism. However, I don’t expect that this will happen. I believe that the UN member states will be able to prepare a document in line with their own national interests. Under such a document approved by all the UN member states, countries which are currently opposed to a military operation will turn the other way and let the Bush administration do what it wants. With the UN, it has always been so.”
 CAN WE BREATHE EASIER NOW? BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Parliament’s vote yesterday to take steps to cooperate with the US against Iraq. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies’ obligation to decide about cooperating with the US against Iraq in a closed session yesterday proved that one can’t escape responsibility just by saying, ‘I’ve washed my hands of it.’ Prime Minister Gul took the initiative for Ankara cooperating as Washington requested by saying, ‘We’ve done our best for peace. It’s not our responsibility anymore.’ If a process that is becoming more and more complicated had been explained to the nation and its possible consequences discussed much more, then maybe the government wouldn’t have had to make such a decision. We can’t say that it’s not our responsibility anymore, and it will be our responsibility until the Iraqi nation is saved from Saddam Hussein. This so-called relief takes place amid escalating threats of war, with conflict growing closer day by day. Now the Iraqi nation is in a bind: Saddam or war? No to both of them. Humanity should find a different way.
If this is about ridding Saddam’s regime from weapons of mass destruction and making him comply with all the UN Security Council resolutions, then solutions besides a military operation can surely be found. After listening to the evidence presented by Powell to the UN Security Council, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said things which should not be ignored. He suggested that the number of weapons inspectors should be increased and a headquarters established in Iraq. An atmosphere of security could be formed with the UN resolutions so the Iraqi nation could raise their voices against their regime. ‘Human shields’ can be established not in order to guard Saddam, but to protect the Iraqi nation from Saddam. For this purpose, first of all world governments should stop dealing with Saddam and his regime. It’s not impossible as long as they pursue commercial relations and oil agreements. International cooperation should be established in order to save the Iraqi nation from Saddam through peaceful means, instead of establishing a coalition for war. Our Parliament made the easiest decision in the most difficult way. It will be more difficult to make decisions after the Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayrami) holiday.”
THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE TURKISH PRESS REVIEW WILL APPEAR ON FEB. 17, 2003 DUE TO THE FEAST OF THE SACRIFICE HOLIDAY.
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