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Turkish Press Review, 03-07-10
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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 <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
10.07.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... ANOTHER ROAD MAP BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) HIGH TIME TO RECONSIDER BY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)
 SEZER: “THE US’ ACTIONS IN SULAIMANIYAH WERE DEPLORABLE  AND INEXCUSABLE”The three-day detention of 11 Turkish special forces by US troops in Sulaimaniyah, northern Iraq last weekend was a deplorable and utterly inexcusable action, charged President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday. Adding fuel to the firestorm in Turkish-US relations, Sezer said that the nation had been injured, adding that Ankara rightfully expected a full and convincing explanation from Washington for the detentions. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL: “SULAIMANIYAH INCIDENT WILL BE CLEARER AFTER JOINT COMMISSION COMPLETES ITS REPORT”The Sulaimaniyah incident in which 11 Turkish soldiers were detained by US forces over the weekend will be clearer after the investigation by a Turkish-US Joint commission, predicted Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. “I believe this was an isolated incident, but we will know better later,” said Gul, adding that the joint probe could be conducted without harming bilateral Turkish-US relations. Gul also cited the unexpected Ankara visit Tuesday of Gen. James L. Jones, the US’ senior military commander in Europe, as evidence of Washington’s good intentions. /Aksam/
 ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION DECIDES TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO SENIOR EX-DSP COALITION OFFICIALSParliament’s Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday decided to launch an investigation into prominent members of the 1999-2002 Democratic Left Party (DSP)-led coalition government on allegations of corruption within their administration. The figures include former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, former Deputy Prime Ministers Devlet Bahceli and Mesut Yilmaz, and former Economy Minister, now Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy, Kemal Dervis, plus more than 15 other ministers of the three-year coalition government. Under the Constitution, the investigation commission will draw up a report within two months and submit it to Parliament’s General Assembly. The commission also has the right to bring persons allegedly involved in corruption before the Supreme Court, Turkey’s highest judicial body, which is exclusively reserved for trials of premiers and other ministers. /All Papers/
 US VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY REPORTEDLY PLEDGES TO HEAD OFF “GENOCIDE” RESOLUTIONmid signs that the US Senate might soon vote on a resolution indirectly recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly telephoned US Vice President Dick Cheney to discuss the issue. In the conversation, Cheney is said to have pledged to block the resolution. The call was the second between the two leaders in less than a week, following close on the heels of a conversation to resolve a dispute over 11 Turkish soldiers detained in northern Iraq, an incident whose strains are still being felt. The vice president constitutionally serves as president of the Senate, a post little used except in close votes, but still has considerable sway in the Republican-majority body. /Turkiye/
 GENERAL STAFF SUSPENDS NEGOTIATIONS ON PURCHASE OF “KING COBRA” HELICOPTERS FROM US FIRMIn the wake of the US’ three-day detention of Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq over the weekend, the General Staff has reportedly suspended negotiations on the purchase of 145 “King Cobra” assault helicopters worth $4 billion from US company Bell Helicopter Textron. News reports say that well before the incident the contractual terms had almost completed, but that now the General Staff is holding off signing the agreements in protest of the US’ failure so far to apologize for the detentions. /Cumhuriyet/
 VERHEUGEN URGES EUROPE TO STOP “TWO-FACED” APPROACH TO TURKEY, SAYS ANKARA CAN IMPLEMENT EU REFORMSSpeaking to German daily Die Welt yesterday, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen urged the EU to cease its “two-faced” approach to Turkey, adding that however that Ankara needed to implement EU accession reforms by the end of next year. Charging that some Union member states publicly advocate Ankara’s membership bid but fervently oppose it behind closed doors, Verheugen called for this duplicitous attitude to end, saying that more “fairness” is needed in dealing with Turkey. The commissioner also said that for its part, Ankara needed to take advantage of the period between now and December 2004 – when its accession progress will be evaluated with an eye towards scheduling membership talks – to actually implement EU reforms which are not yet felt in daily life. The commissioner also predicted that the accession of Muslim-majority Turkey could widen the Union’s sphere of influence, making it more of a “Middle Eastern power.” /Milliyet/
 IPUK LEADER TALABANI TO VISIT ANKARAIraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani is expected to arrive in Ankara today for a working visit. The IPUK head is scheduled to meet with Foreign Ministry officials. In related news, Talabani has denied allegations that the detention of Turkish special forces officers by US troops in the northern Iraqi town of Sulaimaniyah over the weekend had been requested by the IPUK. “Such allegations are completely groundless,” said Talabani. /Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet/
 IMF TURKEY DESK CHIEF MOGHADAM: “THERE IS NO NEED TO MERGE THE FIFTH AND SIXTH REVIEWS OF THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM”An International Monetary Fund delegation chaired by new IMF Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday met with State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan and Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci to discuss recent economic developments and Ankara’s IMF-supported economic program. During the meeting, Moghadam said that there was no need to merge the IMF’s fifth and sixth reviews of the economic program, adding that the government should complete all necessary structural reforms as soon as possible. The IMF delegation is expected to examine recent budgetary developments through July 18 in order to decide whether state fiscal policy will achieve this year’s primary surplus target of 6.5%. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ANOTHER ROAD MAP BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on a new proposal to help both the Middle East peace process and Turkish-Israeli relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Israeli President Moshe Katsav put forth an interesting idea during a banquet thrown yesterday in Istanbul by the Foreign Economic Relations Council (DEIK). He suggested that five countries, namely Turkey, Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan, should establish economic cooperation in the Middle East. He added that other willing countries could participate in this cooperation. He said the Arab-Israeli conflict had been continuing for 55 years but that if political problems could be set aside, such a versatile cooperation could be accomplished for the benefit of the entire region. These words reminded me of a speech made years ago by then Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Perez during a visit to Turkey. Perez also suggested such a regional development system in the Middle East, but unfortunately this proposal was never carried through.
Katsav mentioned this idea as part of the new peace process known as the ‘road map.’ He said that peace would create new opportunities not only for Israel and Palestine, but also for all the countries of the Middle East. Actually Turkey could be the initiator of this project because we have friendly relations with all the parties and also have an enormous economic potential, including our water. In addition, Turkish leaders, including President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, have emphasized repeatedly that Turkish diplomacy was ready to support the efforts to see the road map through and could even host negotiations.
Nearly 100 Israeli businessmen accompanied Katsav during his visit to Turkey, which shows the great importance attached to the economic aspect of bilateral relations. Two concrete developments were announced at the end of Katsav’s contacts in Ankara. One of them was on the signing of an agreement concerning exports of Turkish water from the Manavgat River, near Antalya, to Israel at month’s-end, and the other concerns Israel’s $600 investment in the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) slated for this fall. As DEIK Board of Directors head Rifat Hisarciklioglu said, such economic leaps could accelerate relations. Of course spreading this cooperation with the participation of other countries would be very beneficial. Thus, the peace which everybody hopes for will come after it or alongside it.”
 HIGH TIME TO RECONSIDER BY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)Columnist Soli Ozel writes on Turkish-US relations in the wake of the Sulaimaniya incident. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The July 4 detention of Turkish soldiers by US forces in Sulaimaniya is unacceptable since in doing this, Washington showed a lack of respect its relations with Turkey, a country which it has called a close ‘strategic partner.’ Most media reports evaluated the incident as a clear signal that the Bush administration wants Turkey to withdraw its special forces from northern Iraq. However, other reports claimed that the State Department was completely unaware of the detention. As a matter of fact, the way the incident took place showed that it was a reaction of the American soldiers involved – rather than a planned strategic move – who took action out of anger. They were irate because they tend to see Turkey as a betrayer for its refusal to back them during the Iraq war. It seems that the relations between Turkish and US armies will no longer be good as they have been in the past.
We’ll wait and see whether or not both countries’ civilian leaderships can overcome this problem. Until the end of this month, Turkey will discuss whether Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s planned visit to Washington should go ahead as scheduled. Our politicians will decide on the issue probably after the joint commission set up to investigate the Sulaimaniya incident announces the results of its investigation. The US’ attitude towards Turkey during this period will also influence Ankara’s future decisions about bilateral relations. However, no matter what happens, we should all accept that the period of ‘strategic partnership’ has come to a close.
First of all, we need to consider whether the presence of our military in northern Iraq is really so essential. In light of the fact that the US has recently set up camp as one of our neighbors, we need to review our overall security policy. It seems that Turkey should withdraw its forces from the region for its own good. Most other columnists have recently agreed with this idea.
Sources told me that officials in Ankara are not well informed about the activities of our special forces in northern Iraq. Furthermore, NATO sources claim that besides these special forces, certain ultranationalist militants are providing ethnic Turkmen groups with armed military training in the region. Both the latest crisis and the presence of Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq are connected to another political hot potato: How will Turkey resolve the Kurdish issue? The timing of the Sulaimaniya incident is quite interesting. Some unknown official within the Bush administration approved the carrying out of such an operation in northern Iraq during a very critical period for Turkey when Ankara is taking significant steps for EU membership. In the wake of the incident, Turkey’s own anti-EU circles will get an automatic boost in profile, which is why the US policy has very important effects upon our domestic politics. It seems to me that it’s high time for Turkey to be calm and rethink both its identity and national interests. We need to think about our position in the region as well.”
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