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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-02
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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 <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
02.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TOLL OF BINGOL EARTHQUAKE STANDS AT 84; RESCUE EFFORTS CONTINUINGThe death toll from yesterday morning’s 6.4 earthquake in the southeastern province of Bingol stands at 84, with approximately 500 people injured. Dozens of students are still believed to be trapped underneath the collapsed dormitory at Celtiksuyu Primary School. Search and rescue efforts are continuing. Following the disaster, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the quake region accompanied by the ministers of the interior, public works and housing, education and health. Erdogan pledged that the state would use all means at its disposal to heal the wounds caused by the quake, adding that some 500 houses would soon be built in Bingol to shelter those left homeless by the disaster. The prime minister added that the state was planning investigations to find the culprits responsible for substandard buildings which collapsed in the quake and claimed many lives in the process. /All Papers/
 SEZER, ARINC EXTEND CONDOLENCES TO QUAKE VICTIMSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday both issued messages of condolences to those who lost loved ones in the earthquake in Bingol. The two leaders pledged that the state would spare no effort to mend the damage wrought by the quake. Pointing to other powerful Turkish earthquakes in recent years, the messages called for state officials to take necessary measures so as to minimize losses in future disasters. Meanwhile, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday visited the quake-stricken region and observed the ongoing rescue efforts there. He urged the government to punish those responsible for substandard buildings which collapsed in the quake. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN ISSUES CIRCULAR ON IRAQI RECONSTRUCTIONPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently issued a circular instructing all relevant state bodies to begin drawing up plans for Turkey’s contributions to Iraq’s reconstruction. Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim stated that the Foreign Ministry was currently holding a series of meetings on the issue with the attendance of private sector representatives as well as state officials. “There is a wealth of business opportunities for Turkey in postwar Iraq, especially in the communications and transportation sectors,” said Yildirim. /Hurriyet/
 GUL TO MEET WITH EU FOREIGN MINISTERS IN KASForeign Minister Abdullah Gul is set to meet with the foreign ministers of European Union countries tomorrow in the Mediterranean coastal town of Kas in order to discuss a number of issues, including Turkey’s EU membership bid. The foreign ministers will later proceed to the nearby Greek island of Rhodes to continue their discussions. /Milliyet/
 US COMMERCE UNDERSECRETARY: “WITH THE RIGHT COMPANY AND THE RIGHT BID, TURKISH FIRMS CAN CLAIM THEIR ROLE IN IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTION”Any experienced Turkish company ready to do quality work at a reasonable price in postwar Iraq can claim their share of the reconstruction pie, said US Commerce Undersecretary for International Trade Grant Aldonas on Monday. Speaking in Brussels, Aldonas denied Turkish media reports alleging that the US administration was reluctant to give construction business in Iraq to Turkish firms. “If a Turkish construction contractor who knows a great deal about construction in the northern part of Iraq based on prior experience is going to be the low-cost, high-quality bidder, they're going to get a hard look from a US contractor,” said the US official. “Because what the contractor is looking at is who is going to provide the highest- quality, lowest-cost services. And that's the way the system ought to work. The best thing we can do is ensure that what's going on there is driven by business considerations.” He also added that the US is still very supportive of efforts to share up Turkey’s economy. “There are certain steps that Turkey has to take on its own with respect to its fiscal and monetary policies and with respect to the International Monetary Fund, which would improve the prospects for economic growth,” said Aldoras. “Certainly we'll continue to engage in our discussions on the economic and commercial front. I know I was a part of the conversations with our Turkish counterparts and … there's a lot we can do at a very practical level on the commercial front to provide greater opportunities for US companies in Turkish markets and Turkish companies in US markets. And that process will continue. It's not something that is at all affected by the war in Iraq.” /Hurriyet/
 US TREASURY SECRETARY SNOW: “FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IS DEPENDENT ON TURKEY STICKING WITH ITS IMF PROGRAM”US Treasury Secretary John Snow stated yesterday that Bush administration funds allocated for financial assistance to Turkey would be conditional on the country's adherence to its IMF-backed economic program. “We will insist they stay on track with their IMF program,” said Snow. “And any loans made available to them will be on a conditionality basis.” US President Bush's wartime spending budget included a $1 billion grant for Turkey. After Parliament refused to open Turkey’s airbases to US troops prior to the Iraq war, the sum was cut from almost $6 billion earlier in the year. “I’ve spoken to Turkish officials about the package,” added Snow. Some Ankara officials had previously indicated that attaching conditions to financial aid was unacceptable. /Sabah/
 TURKEY TO REOPEN ITS BAGHDAD EMBASSY, CONSULATES IN NORTHERN IRAQIn light of the emerging stability in postwar Iraq, Turkey has decided to reopen its embassy in Baghdad as soon as possible. The building had been evacuated, leaving behind only a small security team, just prior to the Iraq war. Ankara has also decided to reopen consulates in the northern Iraqi cities of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniya, and Mosul. /Star/
 TUSIAD URGES MEASURES TO FIGHT UNEMPLOYMENTThe private sector should work to create 700,000 new jobs every year in order to fight unemployment, which has reached as high as 16% in Turkey’s non-agricultural sectors, said Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday. Speaking at a press conference showcasing a new report on “Turkey’s Labor Market and Unemployment,” Ozilhan urged the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to take new and more effective measures to bring down alarming rates of unemployment. “Economic stability is the key weapon in the fight against unemployment, and the government needs a long-term policy to address the problem,” he said. “Bringing down labor costs is also key for creating jobs.” The TUSIAD chairman also urged the government to pass a bill promoting employer flexibility. Also speaking at the press conference, Labor Minister Murat Basesgioglu said that sustainable growth was vital for reducing unemployment, adding that Turkey needed to achieve at least 6% growth. Arzu Yalcindag, the head of TUSIAD’s Social Affairs Commission, also said that the female labor force was very important for the European Union. /Milliyet/
 MAY DAY OBSERVEDMay 1 or May Day celebrations, attended by workers, civil servants, non- governmental organizations (NGOs), students and some political parties, took place yesterday in Sihhiye Square in Ankara. Some 3,500 policemen were sent to the area in order to keep celebrations in line, along with a helicopter, ambulances and fire trucks. It took two hours for groups marching towards the square to reach their destination. During the walk over, marchers shouted slogans against new labor laws as well as the International Monetary Fund. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 WHAT SORT OF A REGIME IN IRAQ? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the postwar regime to be established in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US President George W. Bush addressed the US nation tonight, stating officially that the war in Iraq had ended in terms of ‘military operations.’ Even Americans say that it will be difficult for the US, which won the war relatively easily, to go on to win the peace. As a matter of fact, the US has three goals in this period: firstly, ensuring peace and security in the region; secondly, rebuilding the infrastructure and economy of war-and-sanctions-devastated Iraq and thirdly, reconstructing Iraq politically. In other words, establishing a democratic regime to replace Saddam Hussein’s regime. The third mission, perhaps, is the most difficult one.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who has assumed this great duty, said recently that he had no intention of imposing any ‘administrative method’ on Iraq and that these decisions were up to the Iraqi people. These are fine words, but how binding are they? If, for instance, a majority of the Iraqi people favor the establishment of an Islamic order, will the US accept this? The Bush administration, which proclaimed that the US had launched the war in order to ‘save’ the Iraqi people from Saddam and give them freedom and democracy, is now facing such a dilemma. On the one hand, a la Garner, some people say that things should happen just as the Iraqi people want, and on the other, a la US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, some say that an Iranian-type regime cannot be established in Iraq.
When the US was attacking Iraq, it expected the Shiites living in the country’s southern region to welcome its soldiers as ‘saviors.’ However, some of the Shiites saw them instead as ‘invaders’ and nothing yet has changed their minds. This was a great disappointment for Washington. Then came the shock of Karbala: The US had thought that millions of Shiites would feel grateful to America because now that they can visit Karbala freely since Saddam’s overthrow, but instead it found itself faced by protests saying ‘Go home.’ Certain US official linked these reactions with the ‘activities of fundamentalist Shiites and Iran, both seeking to fill the power vacuum.’
The current issue of Newsweek discusses the difference between Iran and Iraq’s Shiites, stressing that the Iranian government doesn’t consider exporting its own regime to Iraq possible, but that perhaps Baghdad still might see an Islamic government. In Newsweek’s words, “Would the Americans accept such a development?’”
 TURKEY’S IRAQ POLICY BY CENGIZ CANDAR (TERCUMAN)Columnist Cengiz Candar writes about Turkey’s foreign policy towards Iraq and the Middle East in general. A summary of his column is as follows:
“No country can claim the title ‘regional power’ without possessing the requisite deep, detailed insight into, and the distinct ‘vision’ and understanding of, its own particular region. In today’s information-centric world, a ‘power’ needs to have more than mere military might. What is more important is so-called ‘soft power.’ For instance, take the US. Apart from the economic prosperity and technology-imbued military superiority which make the US a world superpower, it enjoys soft power to an extent unmatched by any other country. And information is the most important component of this soft power.
For example, what does Turkey know about Iraq? Does it take a comprehensive view of the country? Or rather, is Turkey’s vision of this nation merely confined to northern Iraq, or the region between our Habur Gate and Kirkuk, where one finds our once-Turkish-city of Mosul? If these suspicions are true, then this sort of vision (by the way, one cannot call it ‘Turkey’s Iraq policy’) relates only to Turkey’s security concerns but nothing more. Such a stance towards Iraq can only be explained by a defensive instinct.
Turkey’s Iraq policy is rather of a kind which a nation-state lacking confidence would assume. Is it possible for such a country to be a regional power and fulfill the tasks such a position requires? As a matter of fact, the civilian wing of the administration, having been encouraged by France and Abduallah Gul’s mode of making diplomacy, is leading Turkey to stagger into the region on the tail of Syria and Iran, in such a suspicious way as if a ‘secret agenda’ existed between Turkey and these countries. This foreign policy path is more like a ‘regional stunt’ rather than the manner of a regional power. This situation became even more obvious once the possibilities of Turkish-US ties in northern Iraq were exhausted.
The policy of the ‘other’ wing of the Ankara administration on Iraq is completely predicated on ‘the Kurdish concern’ and hence ‘the protection of Iraq’s Turkmen population.’ But Iraq’s US military-dominated postwar situation is ill-suited to alleviate our concerns over the Kurds, and moreover protecting our Turkmen kin is scarcely possible without US cooperation.
Iraq can in no way be understood without recognizing and getting to know its Shiite people, which constitute a substantial portion of the nation’s population. Turning a blind eye to the Shiites and singling out the Kurds and Turkmen would yield Turkey nothing in formulating a sound Iraq policy.”
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