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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-24
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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
24.02.2003PARLIAMENT LIKELY TO VOTE TOMORROW ON US REQUEST TO STATION TROOPS IN TURKEY US REPORTEDLY ASKS TURKEY TO LET IT ESTABLISH AIRBASE IN BATMAN ERDOGAN: “AS WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY, PARLIAMENT’S DECISION MUST BE RESPECTED” YAKIS: “THE US SHOULD FASTRACK COMPENSATION FOR TURKEY’S ECONOMIC LOSSES” TURKISH AMBASSADOR LOGOGLU: “TURKEY AND THE US ARE CONFIDENT AN AGREEMENT IS NEAR” IKDP’S ZEBARI: “IF TURKISH TROOPS ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ, THERE COULD BE CLASHES” RUSSIAN ENVOY PRIMAKOV: “NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE IRAQ WON’T BREAK UP AS THE RESULT OF WAR” ANNAN VISITS ANKARA IN LATE PUSH FOR CYPRUS AGREEMENT ACCORD ON TURKISH-GREEK NATURAL GAS PIPELINE COULD BE SIGNED TODAY UZAN RE-ELECTED YOUNG PARTY LEADER FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS SINCE THE LAUSANNE TREATY... BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET) THE WARNING VOICE INSIDE OF US BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
 PARLIAMENT LIKELY TO VOTE TOMORROW ON US REQUEST TO STATION TROOPS IN TURKEYAs Ankara and Washington have reportedly finally reached agreement on a US request to base its troops in Turkey for a possible northern front into Iraq, the Turkish Parliament is expected to vote tomorrow on the deal concluded between the two nations. Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis told reporters yesterday that a Cabinet meeting is set for today to discuss the issue and that Parliament would more than likely vote on the request tomorrow. After an US cargo ship unloaded armored military vehicles and materiel at the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun last Thursday, over 50 ships filled with US troops along tanks and other equipment are on their way to the region, awaiting only approval from Parliament to disembark. /Turkiye/
 US REPORTEDLY ASKS TURKEY TO LET IT ESTABLISH AIRBASE IN BATMANThe Bush administration has requested that Turkey let it establish a US airbase in the southeastern Anatolian city of Batman in addition to the current NATO base at Incirlik, near Adana, diplomatic sources said this weekend. The request came at a time when at-times intense Turkish-US negotiations between were still continuing on whether Ankara would allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey for a possible northern offensive into Iraq, yet the sources characterized the request as a part of a broader US strategy to secure a long-term military foothold in the wider region of the Balkans, the Caspian Basin and the Middle East. The plan would have far-reaching consequences not only for Iraq but also for the other two countries included in the Bush administration’s “axis of evil,” namely Iran and North Korea, the sources added. While mainly US forces use NATO’s Incirlik Airbase, whose presence in Turkey is established under the nation’s membership in the alliance, it is not clear what the status of the Batman base would be. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “AS WE LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY, PARLIAMENT’S DECISION MUST BE RESPECTED”Turkey is a democracy, not a kingdom or an empire, so it is Parliament’s place to decide whether to allow US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil, declared Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. “Our Parliament will make a historic decision on the stationing of US troops in Turkey, and it’s everybody’s responsibility to respect that decision,” he stated. “It’s not up to the AKP alone to decide,” he said. Erdogan later met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis to discuss recent developments concerning Iraq. /Milliyet/
 YAKIS: “THE US SHOULD FASTRACK COMPENSATION FOR TURKEY’S ECONOMIC LOSSES”Washington should put an economic compensation package on the fast track once Turkey and the US reach an agreement on stationing US troops on Turkish soil, since waiting for US congressional approval could take too long, warned Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis yesterday. Yakis said that an accord between the two nations was close, but added that Parliament wouldn’t hold a vote until the deal was in hand. On the US compensation for Turkey’s losses, he said that a war’s negative impact would be felt immediately, so Turkey would need immediate aid. The US Congress could take two months or more to approve the funds, he predicted, adding, “But in two months the war could already be over.” /Aksam/
 TURKISH AMBASSADOR LOGOGLU: “TURKEY AND THE US ARE CONFIDENT AN AGREEMENT IS NEAR”Appearing on CNN yesterday, Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States Faruk Logoglu said there should be no doubt that Turkey wants to support the US efforts in Iraq as sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, adding that he believed a deal on this support was very near. “And over the weekend, even at this very hour, Turkish and American teams are talking in Ankara to finalize agreement on three basic areas: economic, military and political,” Logoglu said on CNN’s “Late Edition,” a program aired in both the US and Europe. “If that is in place, then the final decision would be made by the Turkish Parliament this week, when it convenes its first meeting, maybe on Tuesday. The talks are still continuing, it's better to be a little bit cautious, but we are quite optimistic and confident.” Logoglu added that he would like to correct the mistaken impression in some quarters the talks were fundamentally about money. “The economic package is just one pillar of what we are trying to obtain,” he stated. “Even if Turkey gets the right economic assistance package, it will not mean that it's going to be easy to get it through the Parliament. I think given the fact that we have 95 percent of the Turkish people opposing war, this is a democracy, and that's one of the main facts about what we are trying to do in Turkey.” He stated that the two countries were trying to bridge their gap through creative efforts on both sides, but declined to address specific numbers on a financial package since the talks were still continuing. “The Turkish government is making its best effort to come to a supportive position,” he added. /Hurriyet/
 IKDP’S ZEBARI: “IF TURKISH TROOPS ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ, THERE COULD BE CLASHES”Stressing that ethnic Kurds had no desire to establish an independent state in northern Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) foreign policy chief Hoshyar Zebari claimed yesterday that there was no need for Turkey to send troops into the region. In a press conference in Arbil in northern Iraq, Zebari stated that if Turkish troops enter northern Iraq by force, there would be fierce clashes between them and the region’s Kurds. /Turkiye/
 RUSSIAN ENVOY PRIMAKOV: “NO ONE CAN GUARANTEE IRAQ WON’T BREAK UP AS THE RESULT OF WAR”Turkey is right to be wary of the unforeseen consequences that war in Iraq could bring, warned former Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov from Baghdad yesterday. Primakov, a Mideast expert and current head of Russia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, made the comments to Hurriyet while on a mission from Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to head off war. On the eve of 1991’s Gulf War the ex-top Soviet undertook a similar, and unsuccessful, mission to avert conflict. “No-one can guarantee that Iraq would not fall apart after a war,” commented Primakov. “Like Russia, Turkey cannot avoid feeling the effects of any war in Iraq, so it’s normal that our peoples are both opposed to war. One huge risk for Turkey is Iraq breaking into several pieces, with could result in a Kurdish state being founded in northern Iraq. If that occurs, the Kurdish minority in adjacent areas of Turkey could also try to break off and join that state.” /Hurriyet/
 ANNAN VISITS ANKARA IN LATE PUSH FOR CYPRUS AGREEMENTUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday arrived in Ankara to discuss the Cyprus issue with Turkish officials. At a press conference, Annan said that Ankara was the first stop of a tour which would also include Greece and the island of Cyprus. Pointing out that the European Union is due to meet on April 16 with 10 incoming members -- including Greek Cyprus -- to sign accession agreements, Annan stated that he hoped that the agreement was signed in the name of a united Cyprus. Towards that end, the UN and EU have set a deadline of this Friday, Feb. 28, for a Cyprus accord. While in Turkey, the secretary-general is scheduled to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis, as well as ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Meanwhile, Annan’s Special Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto last night met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. /All Papers/
 ACCORD ON TURKISH-GREEK NATURAL GAS PIPELINE COULD BE SIGNED TODAYA historic accord making natural gas sales from Turkey to Greece and the rest of Europe a reality is set to be signed today, according to Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Ministry. A ministry statement said that recent negotiations between Turkish, Greek and European Union officials over a natural gas pipeline connecting the neighboring countries had borne fruit. The accord is to be signed by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler and Akis Tsohatzopoulos, Greece’s development minister. EU Commission Vice Chairman Loyola De Palacio was also involved in talks paving the way for the agreement. /Hurriyet/
 UZAN RE-ELECTED YOUNG PARTY LEADERMedia mogul Cem Uzan was re-elected leader of the Young Party (GP) again at its extraordinary congress over the weekend. During the congress, Uzan criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policies on Cyprus, Iraq, and the International Monetary Fund. Last November, the GP failed to reach the threshold for representation in Parliament. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 SINCE THE LAUSANNE TREATY... BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on recent developments on the Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“This weekend, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to discuss recent developments on a proposal due at Parliament authorizing the US to station its troops here for a possible Iraq war. Sezer considers it vital that the UN Security Council pass a new resolution to provide international legitimacy for any Iraq war. For his part, Gen. Ozkok believes that Parliament should pass this proposal to protect Turkey’s national security.
Gul recently told the Bush administration that it would be very difficult to persuade Parliament on this issue since most of the deputies and Cabinet members are opposed to war. Gul stressed that the US should fulfill Turkey’s requests so as to facilitate the Parliament’s authorizing the US troop deployment.
It seems that the Bush administration heard Gul’s message loud and clear, as developments over the weekend demonstrate.
Washington has offered $6 billion in grants, or a substantially larger sum if Turkey opts for loans. The US is planning to take control of all Iraq’s oil revenues and national assets to destroy Saddam’s economic infrastructure and force Iraq to pay war indemnities! Turkey’s losses will be compensated from a ‘war indemnities fund’ to be established in the postwar period.
And what about political issues? The Bush administration is planning to establish a transitional administration in the post-Saddam period as follows:
A transitional military administration to be led by a US general will be established to ensure peace and stability in the region. A Turkish general is expected to represent our country within this structure.
A transitional civilian administration will be formed, one that will include a Turkish bureaucrat and ambassador.
A consultative assembly will be set up with the representation of Sunni and Shiite Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen and other ethnic groups.
Upon Turkey’s insistence, the US has recently agreed to change Iraq’s Turkmen groups’ constitutional status to let them take part in the postwar political structure. In addition, Turkey and the US have also reached an agreement on the Kurdish issue. The number of weapons to be given to Kurdish groups will be limited and strictly controlled by US officials. After the war, there is to be a single, united Iraqi army.
Although the two countries have agreed on a number of sensitive issues, the negotiations are still continuing. I believe that the most important negotiations lie ahead, during the period of restructuring Iraq. Why is Turkey still being so reluctant and extremely cautious? The main reason is we already know that Kurdish groups in northern Iraq want to establish an independent state, a development which would very likely threaten our national security.
As far as these developments are concerned, this is the most critical period for Turkey since the Lausanne Treaty, the 1923 peace accord signed by Turkey. The diplomatic efforts and negotiations of Gul and his Cabinet are going well. Our parliamentarians should lend them their full support.”
 THE WARNING VOICE INSIDE OF US BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on the complex situation in a possible postwar Iraq. A summary of her column is as follows:
“British Prime Minister Tony Blair isn’t the only person saying, ‘Our goal is to remove Saddam from power.’ US Secretary of State Colin Powell also told reporters, ‘Our aim is to put an end to Saddam’s regime, which is squandering the wealth of the Iraqi people on weapons of mass destruction.’ The Pentagon last week established an Office for Restructuring and Humanitarian Aid to Iraq, and the US’ preparations for the post-Saddam period show that no matter what Baghdad does from this point onward, the conclusion is pre-ordained. Understanding that the US has such a secret agenda makes it impossible for us to take the stated goal of disarming Iraq seriously. If the situation had been the opposite, maybe the inspectors would have been successful and regime change would have been accomplished without a war. History won’t forget this nagging doubt. The situation isn’t good. The combination of the US mobilizing the United Nations for the disarmament of Iraq but also having a hidden agenda is threatening all the world’s gains of the last century. The UN, NATO and the underpinnings of all alliances are losing their meaning.
An Iraqi friend of mine recently sent me an article written by a dissenter living under the Baghdad regime. I don’t know his name because it’s secret. The article basically emphasizes the risks of the post-Saddam period. The writer says that the Iraqi people wouldn’t tolerate a ‘temporary international coalition administration,’ headed by a US general or a similar figure. The article stresses that people shouldn’t be deceived into believing that the nation, even though it is suffering under Saddam’s administration, would thereby welcome foreign invaders with joy.
Washington is planning to distribute aid packages to the nation together when dropping its first bombs. I wonder if it’s considering whether this initiative, which may be welcomed with joy by extremely poor people, will be also welcomed by experienced Iraqi people who became poor following the 1991 Gulf War. ‘The opposition living in exile can’t represent us and thus it shouldn’t be included in any postwar government,’ the dissident continued. ‘The Iraqi people can’t stand either the presence of foreign soldiers or a government formula that they didn’t ask for. The insistence on such a formula would cause armed conflicts.’
We have armed Kurdish groups in Iraq’s north, Islamic Shiites with Iranian support numbering 10,000 in the south, many opposition forces spending their lives waiting for the day they will be in power, and millions of others who believe that they are Iraq’s real owners… The situation is very complex. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen during the post-Saddam period. How long will the instability continue? When will a democratic and unified Iraq be established? Even if it’s established, will it have any staying power? Nothing is obvious yet. No matter what some people say, instability is sure to persist for a long period to come.”
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