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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-20
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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
20.02.2003WASHINGTON REPORTEDLY GIVES TURKEY 48-HOUR DEADLINE TO DECIDE ABOUT COOPERATION ON IRAQ OFFENSIVE UNITED STATES GIVES TURKEY NEW OFFER ON SUPPORT FOR IRAQ OPERATION NATO BEGINS MILITARY PLANNING FOR TURKEY’S DEFENSE US CARGO SHIP UNLOADS MILITARY VEHICLES, MATERIEL AT PORT OF ISKENDERUN UNDER AGREEMENT WITH US, TURKISH SOLDIERS IN IRAQ WOULD BE UNDER TURKISH COMMAND BARZANI: “IF TURKISH TROOPS ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ, THIS WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS” FOREIGN MINISTRY: “ANKARA KNOWS PAPADOPULOS AND HIS POLITICAL PAST VERY WELL” ERDOGAN: “TURKEY NEEDS A WRITTEN GUARANTEE FROM THE US CONCERNING THE ECONOMIC PACKAGE” ANNAN TO VISIT TURKEY ON SUNDAY TO MEET WITH SEZER, GUL FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... A MILITARY CONSENSUS BY MURAT CELIK (STAR) POINTS OF CONTENTION WITH THE US BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)
 CABINET DISCUSSES IRAQ ISSUECabinet ministers headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul convened yesterday to discuss the Iraq issue. Following their four-hour meeting, government spokesman Abdullatif Sener told reporters that Gul had fully briefed the other ministers about recent developments on the issue. Sener stated that no decision had been made at the meeting on proposals concerning Turkey’s possible cooperation with the United States in an Iraq operation. Stressing that the government was acting under a great responsibility, Sener said it would work to protect Turkey’s interests. /Turkiye/
 GUL, YAKIS AND BABACAN DISCUSS IRAQPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal to discuss recent developments on the Iraq issue. In related news, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the US should wait for a forthcoming additional UN weapons inspectors’ report to be issued before going taking further action, adding that the AKP government hadn’t made any commitments to the US administration. /Milliyet/
 WASHINGTON REPORTEDLY GIVES TURKEY 48-HOUR DEADLINE TO DECIDE ABOUT COOPERATION ON IRAQ OFFENSIVEWashington has given Turkey a 48-hour deadline to decide whether to allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey for a possible northern offensive into Iraq, reported news channel CNN yesterday. However, US Secretary of State Colin Powell denied the existence of any such deadline. “Time is moving, but we don't have a deadline. We are waiting to hear back from the Turkish government,” said Powell. /Cumhuriyet/
 UNITED STATES GIVES TURKEY NEW OFFER ON SUPPORT FOR IRAQ OPERATIONUS Ambassador in Ankara Robert Pearson yesterday visited Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal to convey the US administration’s reply to Turkey’s demands in return for giving the US support during a possible operation in Iraq. The US reportedly proposed a new offer to Turkey which includes additional financial compensation. Under the new offer, the US would extend to Turkey $4 billion in funds outright, erase some $2 billion in military debt, and channel to Turkey $1 billion in expected postwar Iraqi oil proceeds. In addition, the offer extends favorable terms for loans as well as pledges to re-evaluate Turkey’s economic losses in six months’ time. In related news, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday visited President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to discuss the US’ most recent offer. /Turkiye/
 NATO BEGINS MILITARY PLANNING FOR TURKEY’S DEFENSENATO’s 19 members yesterday approved a decision taken by its Defense Planning Committee (DPC) last week greenlighting measures to help bolster’s Turkey’s defense, thus officially overcoming a monthlong deadlock within the alliance. Germany, Belgium and France had initially opposed the measures, designed to help protect longtime member Turkey from an attack by Iraq during a possible war, arguing that such measures might precipitate conflict, but eventually all but France were persuaded that this was not the case. The decision was then taken through the DPC, a body which France voluntarily withdrew from in 1966. NATO military authorities called the measures stipulated in the DPC decision “necessary and applicable.” Following the NATO ambassadors’ approval of the DPC decision, the DPC directed the proper military bodies to implement the measures as required, among which are a civil emergency planning mechanism designed to stem a possible wave of Iraqi refugees as well as protect against weapons of mass destruction. /Cumhuriyet/
 SEZER: “NATO ACTS IN SOLIDARITY”President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday issued a message to mark the 51st anniversary of Turkey’s NATO membership. Stressing that Turkey had been a strong, reliable and trustworthy NATO member for over a half-century, Sezer stated that the alliance played an important role in ensuring peace and stability as well as protecting democracy, prosperity and freedom in the Europe-Atlantic region. /Turkiye/
 US CARGO SHIP UNLOADS MILITARY VEHICLES, MATERIEL AT PORT OF ISKENDERUNAs negotiations between Turkey and the United States continue on A US request to station its troops in Turkey for a possible northern offensive into Iraq, an US ship unloaded over 500 armored military vehicles and materiel at the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun yesterday. The unloading came at a time when the Turkish Parliament has yet to take a decision on allowing US forces to be deployed on Turkish soil. Five more US ships loaded with tanks and other vehicles are waiting off the coast while another 35 supply ships are currently en route to the area. /Cumhuriyet/
 UNDER AGREEMENT WITH US, TURKISH SOLDIERS IN IRAQ WOULD BE UNDER TURKISH COMMANDTurkey and the United States yesterday reportedly reached a agreement on military matters in negotiations concerning Ankara’s possible support for an Iraq operation. Under the deal, the US agreed to the principle that Turkish soldiers would be under the exclusive command of Turkish officers. However, the two countries also agreed to inform each other of troop movements and provide coordination through liaison officers. It was also agreed that Turkey’s forces in northern Iraq would number above 50,000, while those of the US would be fewer. /Cumhuriyet/
 BARZANI: “IF TURKISH TROOPS ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ, THIS WILL CAUSE PROBLEMS”Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (IKPD) leader Massoud Barzani said yesterday that if Turkish troops enter northern Iraq during a US operation against Iraq, this would cause problems in the region. “People are opposed to Turkish troops coming into the region,” said Barzani. /Milliyet/
 FOREIGN MINISTRY: “ANKARA KNOWS PAPADOPULOS AND HIS POLITICAL PAST VERY WELL”Foreign Ministry spokesman Yusuf Buluc told a weekly press conference yesterday that Ankara knew Tassos Papadopoulos, the new president-elect of the Greek Cypriot administration, and his political identity and past very well. Buluc stated that Papadopulos had a political career having its roots in the terrorist Greek Cypriot organization EOKA which in 1963 committed massacres of Turkish Cypriots on the island. Though only president-elect until March 1, Papadopoulos is set to conduct negotiations on behalf of Greek Cyprus up to the Feb. 28 deadline for an agreement between the island’s two nations. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “TURKEY NEEDS A WRITTEN GUARANTEE FROM THE US CONCERNING THE ECONOMIC PACKAGE”Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the United States had proposed a $30 billion financial compensation package to Turkey in order to get its support for US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil. He added, however, that Ankara was demanding a written guarantee on the package from US officials since it was unsure the US Congress would approve the deal. “It would take six or eight weeks for the US Congress to approve the package,” said Erdogan. “Yet the US officials say that they want to start an operation imminently. But what if Congress doesn’t approve the package after the operation begins?” He stated that negotiations between the US and Turkey shouldn’t be considered mere “bargaining” since the 1991 Gulf War had done great damage to Turkey’s economy, the effects of which were still continuing. /Star/
 ANNAN TO VISIT TURKEY ON SUNDAY TO MEET WITH SEZER, GULUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan is set to visit Turkey over the weekend to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to discuss the Cyprus issue and the UN’s plan for the island. Annan said that this visit carried great importance due to both the Cyprus issue and the looming possibility of military action against Iraq. Speaking at a meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Annan said that the possibility of a war was putting the world into a state of uncertainty and fear. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A MILITARY CONSENSUS BY MURAT CELIK (STAR)Columnist Murat Celik comments on a military consensus reportedly reached by Turkey and the US. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey and the US have reached a consensus on military matters concerning Iraq because Ankara got what it wanted from the US in this area. Now a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is ready for their signatures concerning the war that is likely to come. While hard bargaining is continuing on the political and economic fronts, let me tell you how the MoU was shaped, some of its details and how the consensus was reached.
Contrary to what many in the public thought, there was never any ‘crisis of command’ between Turkey and the US. No proposal for ‘bringing Turkish soldiers under US officers’ command’ was ever made at any of the tables sat at by the two countries’ military officials. Actually, the US leaked such news to the press in order to see how Ankara would react. When Turkey basically said ‘don’t even consider such a thing,’ the issue never came to the table. Thus, the MoU contains the sentence, ‘The forces of the two countries will carry out their duties under their respective national commands.’ Turkish and US units will work only in ‘coordination.’
What is the content of the MoU? In brief, everything but the number of soldiers and the period of their deployment. As these two issues depend on proposals yet to be passed by the Parliament, they aren’t covered by the MoU. The MoU does cover principles of military activities in detail. One of the most important issues is the status of US soldiers coming Turkey. The consensus that was reached is as follows: ‘US soldiers will be subject to Turkish law within Turkey’s borders and in terms of their relations with citizens of the Turkish Republic, and they will be subject to US law within themselves.’ The highlights of the principles in the MoU can be listed as follows: points that soldiers will land on, routes they will pass through, conditions to be obeyed in the process of passage and dispatch, legal conditions, and methods for mutual briefing.
Certain important signs concerning the timetable appear in US military planning. If Parliament authorizes and the government accepts the US soldiers, a settling period of 15 days will start after US ships anchor at the Port of Mersin. The US units need two weeks to be ready to cross over the border. This is the period envisaged so the soldiers and equipment can reach their places through highways, railways and by air. The timetable of US military planning implies the first week of March for a political and economic consensus. Of course the US has to meet the Turkish government’s expectations on the minimum level, and the US’ proposals on the economy as of yesterday were very far from what Ankara could accept.”
 POINTS OF CONTENTION WITH THE US BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol writes on Turkey’s stance on the Iraq issue and points of contention with the United States. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Turkish government is currently disappointed by the US stance on a number of critical points concerning the Iraq issue. Our government is also concerned about news recently appearing in the US media saying that Turkey was ‘driving a hard bargain’ in order to get the highest possible amount of financial compensation from the Bush administration.
The economy is, of course, very important for any country. The Americans themselves are in fact very canny at bargaining over financial issues. For instance, this provision:
‘The Turkish government should pay the cost of security passes issued to the US personnel authorizing them to enter Turkey’s airbases and ports!’
How much does the production of these cards cost? $10,000.
A superpower is bargaining with Turkey over a paltry $10,000!
There’s no point in criticizing Turkey for pursuing its own national economic interests! Such criticisms are ridiculous!
As a matter of fact, the real points of dispute with the US are not economic but political:
Reconstituting the Iraqi army. Turkey wants Iraq to be a nation with a single united army. However, the US opposes this idea. It’s clear that the US has promised the Iraqi Kurds that they will be able to retain their own armed forces in a postwar period.
Constituent elements in the post-Saddam period. Turkey wants Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen groups to take part in the reconstruction of the nation’s political fabric. However, the Bush administration again opposes this idea. As a matter of fact, it’s evident that Bush doesn’t want to disappoint Iraqi Kurdish leaders such as Barzani and Talabani, who oppose granting Iraq’s Turkmen more political rights in a postwar period.
The lack of a written agreement on political matters. The US accepts the need for a signed agreement with Turkey on economic matters, but on political issues considers a joint declaration to be sufficient, rather than a written agreement signed between the two countries laying out all the details as Turkey wishes.
For these three reasons, our government is balking at backing the US in a military operation against Iraq. The US and Turkey recently found themselves at a political impasse. Then the Turkish government presented another proposal to the Bush administration.
US Ambassador in Ankara Robert Pearson yesterday wanted to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. However, Gul refused his request. Pearson then met with Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. According to diplomatic sources, their meeting was a productive and positive one.
I believe that our government is being skillful in addressing these points of dispute with the US. On the one hand, it’s conducting itself like an independent country in line with its own national interests, and on the other, it’s also trying to protect the US-Turkish strategic partnership without harming the our bilateral friendship. It seems to me that Turkey and the US will reach an agreement very soon now.”
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