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Turkish Press Review, 03-07-30
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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
30.07.2003AFTER GUL’S VISIT TO WASHINGTON BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE) PKK_KADEK IS THE KEY POINT BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH OZKOK, DISCUSSES
 POSSIBLE TROOP DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQChief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Prime Ministry. During their meeting, Ozkok and Erdogan discussed the prospect of Turkish troop deployment in Iraq as part of the international stabilization force there. Ozkok gave the premier the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) position on the issue and reportedly told him that if a decision is made in favor of deployment, Turkish forces would be ready to move in 45 days. News sources reported that the TSK was opposed to a formula under which Turkish troops could be deployed in Iraq upon an invitation from the Iraqi Governing Council, as this body presently lacks any international recognition. In addition, Ozkok reportedly conveyed his concerns over the seventh European Union harmonization package and its proposed changes to the structure of the National Security Council (NSC). /All Papers/
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL
 AMENDMENT PACKAGE, REPENTANCE DRAFT LAWParliament approved a two-article constitutional amendment package yesterday lowering the age of eligibility to stand in parliamentary elections from 30 to 25 and also allowing the sale of former state-owned forestland. Three hundred and sixty-eight deputies voted in favor of the package, one vote more than the number required to pass the amendments without going to a public referendum. However, under the Constitution the president has the power to send the package back to Parliament for review or to resort to referendum, either for the amendments separately or for the package as a whole. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer seems likely to approve the article lowering the eligible age for parliamentarians but to call for a referendum on the former forestland measure, an issue which has caused a great deal of public controversy. In a separate action, Parliament also approved a repentance draft law designed to encourage militants of the terrorist group PKK_KADEK to lay down their arms. The repentance law is considered to be an initial step in joint Turkish-US action against the terrorist group, which is still believed to have an estimated 5,000 trained fighters in and around Turkey, especially in northern Iraq. The US reportedly assured Ankara during Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to Washington last week that it would eradicate the terrorist group from the region. The issue was also taken up earlier this month in meetings between top Turkish military officials with US Gen. James Jones, the supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, and Gen. John Abizaid, the new head of US Central Command, when the two visited Ankara. /All Papers/
 GROSSMAN: “TURKISH FORCES CANNOT BE
 DEPLOYED IN NORTHERN IRAQ”If Turkey decides to send troops to Iraq as part of the stabilization force there, its forces cannot be deployed in the north of the country, as that could lead to undesirable complications, said US Deputy Secretary of State Marc Grossman yesterday. In an interview with CNN Turk’s Mehmet Ali Birand, Grossman urged Ankara to make up its mind on the possible troop deployment as soon as possible, saying that the coalition forces were in need of military support. Grossman, a former US ambassador to Turkey, also reiterated the US’ pledge to eradicate the terrorist group PKK/KADEK from northern Iraq. /Milliyet_
 SYRIAN PRIME MINISTER MEETS WITH ERDOGAN, GUL, SEZERSyrian Prime Minister Mustafa Miro accompanied by five of his Cabinet ministers yesterday arrived in Ankara to pay an official upon the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the Syrian delegation’s meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and others, including Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, subjects up for discussion were bilateral relations, the situation in Iraq, the Middle East peace process and cooperation in the fight against the terrorist group PKK_KADEK. Then Miro met with Erdogan and was received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Speaking to a state dinner given in Miro’s honor, Erdogan said that good bilateral relations would not serve only both countries’ interests but indeed that of all the states in the region. For his part, Miro stated that Syria placed great importance on its friendship with Turkey and was determined to strengthen bilateral ties. /All Papers/
 INDEPENDENT DEPUTY JOINS AKPIn a surprise development, independent Sanliurfa Deputy Sabahattin Cevheri yesterday joined the ranks of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). With his action, the AKP’s majority in Parliament grew to 366, while the number of independents fell to three. /Turkiye/
 CULTURE AND TOURISM MINISTER MUMCU TRAVELS TO JAPANCulture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu yesterday flew to Tokyo, Japan to pay a six-day visit to the country. Mumcu is set to attend the opening of an exhibit of Turkish antiquities at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, including works from the Hittite, Byzantine and Ottoman eras. Over 200 pieces on loan from 14 Turkish museums will be on display at the museum through the end of October. /Turkiye/
 BLUE STREAM GAS PURCHASES TO RESUME ON FRIDAYEnergy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler announced yesterday that the purchase of Russian natural gas through the Blue Stream Pipeline would resume on Friday as envisaged in the existing contracts between the two countries. The resumption marks the end of a contract dispute between Turkey and Russia which has left the pipeline idle since April. /Anatolia News Agency/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS…
 AFTER GUL’S VISIT TO WASHINGTON
 BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on developments since Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to the United States last week. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to Washington ended successfully. The door of hope has opened on reviving our relations with the US. It’s clear that both sides are willing. However, our deputies still haven’t forgotten the negative feelings from the Sulaimaniya incident. You might find it excessive, but I believe many people are waiting for another parliamentary proposal to put the US in its place. The General Staff would be the most influential player, so the deputies and certain other circles could veer sharply away from emotionalism and enter the realm of realpolitik. If the chief of General Staff states that sending troops to Iraq would be in the nation’s best interests, hesitation on the issue would be allayed.
Clearly, those who support the status quo don’t look fondly on either the US or the European Union. They dislike both. They don’t want to open up. Consequently, Turkey will be deciding whether it will live under the thumb of those supporting the status quo or instead boldly enter international politics and take our place in the sun.
I wonder if it’s too difficult to embrace both the US and the EU. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is working determinedly for Turkey’s EU membership. The AKP seems to understand that a Turkey enjoying friendly relations with the US will take its place in Europe more quickly.”
 PKK_KADEK IS THE KEY POINT
 BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila writes on Turkish-US relations and the problem of the terrorist group PKK_KADEK. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The most crucial reason behind Turkey’s desire to deploy its troops in Iraq is the problem of the terrorist group PKK_KADEK. Ankara expects Washington to keep its promises on this issue. Military sources often remark that the US’ attitude on this sensitive matter will play a key role in overcoming the recent tension between the armies of the two countries. They also underline that Turkey cannot tolerate being put off with trumped- up excuses.
‘Turkey is clearly the most important country capable of contributing to peace and stability in the region,’ said one military source. ‘However, Turkey’s support depends wholly upon how the PKK/KADEK issue is resolved between Ankara and Washington. The US should surrender PKK/KADEK militants to Turkey along with their weapons. This is the only way to establish a basis for sound cooperation between the two countries. Otherwise, Turkish soldiers cannot serve as peacekeepers in the region.’
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also conveyed similar messages to US officials during his recent visit to Washington. Sources state that Gul clearly expressed Ankara’s views on the issue during his meetings with top US officials like Secretary of State Colin Powell and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. ‘Turkey never regarded the US as who it should speak to on this issue, because no political authority existed in northern Iraq,’ Gul reportedly said. ‘However, now there is a central authority in Iraq, and the US represents it, which is why Washington is now our interlocutor. The terrorist PKK_KADEK must be completely eradicated. As long as it exists, Turkey cannot serve peace and stability in the region.’
According to sources, the US has responded positively to Turkey’s request. Washington is now waiting for Ankara to approve a bill allowing amnesty for repentant militants of the PKK_KADEK, which is publicly known as the ‘Return to Home’ Bill. [Note: This opinion piece does not reflect Parliament’s approval yesterday of the bill in question.] Washington expects that membership in PKK_KADEK will plummet after this bill is passed by Parliament. However, if the law doesn’t have the expected impact, the US military is to force PKK_KADEK militants to obey the law. The final alternative is to launch another military operation to eliminate them. This is the ‘PKK_KADEK road map’ drawn up by US officials.
According to the officials, the US is very likely to make a simultaneous move with Turkey to implement this road map as soon as Ankara deploys its troops in Iraq. Although it has yet to be officially announced, the key point for both countries is the problem of PKK_KADEK.”
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