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Turkish Press Review, 03-08-04
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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
04.08.2003MILITARY TRANSITION BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 YAS MEETING CONCLUDES WITH PROMOTIONS, DISMISSALSThe Supreme Military Council’s (YAS) three-day meeting concluded yesterday after a banquet given by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and after making decisions on a number of military promotions and dismissals. Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit was appointed as commander of the First Army. Buyukanit’s promotion paves the way for him to rise to chief of General Staff in 2006 should he be appointed as Turkish Land Forces commander at next year’s YAS meeting. In addition, Adm. Ozden Ornek was named new commander of the Turkish Naval Forces, while Gen. Ibrahim Firtina became Turkish Air Forces commander. Notwithstanding a provision of the seventh European Union harmonization package allowing civilian leadership of National Security Council (NSC), Gen. Sukru Sariisik was named NSC secretary-general, a move which could cause controversy amidst the country’s efforts to comply with the EU political criteria. In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reported to have placed reservation on a number of dismissals put forward by the military, in a repeat of similar actions by then Prime Minister Abdullah Gul which drew public attention during last December’s meeting. /All Papers/
 DEPUTY PM SAHIN: “IN CASE OF A VETO, PARLIAMENT WILL RE-APPROVE SEVENTH EU PACKAGE AS IS”Should the just-passed seventh European Union harmonization package be vetoed by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament will simply re-pass it in its present form, pledged Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin yesterday, reiterating the government’s determination to fully comply with the Union’s political criteria. “I believe that Sezer will approve the package,” stated Sahin. “But if he sends it back to Parliament for review, we would re-approve the package without making any changes.” /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL: “WE SHOULD ASK THE CITIZENS BEFORE
 SELLING OFF FORMER FORESTLAND”The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) yesterday held its 30th Ordinary Congress at Istanbul’s Lutfi Kirdar Congress and Exhibition Hall. Addressing the assembled party members, CHP leader Deniz Baykal criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and its head, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Commenting on a just-passed law allowing the state sale of former forestland, one largely voted against by CHP deputies, Baykal stated that his party was greatly concerned by this measure and its impact on the nation’s future. The CHP leader remarked that the matter should be resolved by consulting the will of the nation, in a possible reference to putting the issue to a referendum. He also declared his party’s objection to the new Board of Higher Education (YOK) bill. /Turkiye/
 IMF RELEASES $500 MILLION LOAN TRANCHEFollowing its completion of the fifth review of Turkey’s International Monetary Fund (IMF)-supported economic program, the IMF Executive Board on Friday voted to extend a $500 million loan tranche to Turkey. Regarding other tranches to be released, the Fund will hold meetings on the sixth review in November and on the seventh at the start of next year. Turkey is set to use $4.5 billon in total in $500 million tranches by the end of next year. Now Turkish economic officials are expecting the United States to disburse $8.5 billion in loans committed for Turkey during the Iraq war. US officials had tied that sum to Turkey demonstrating compliance with IMF guidelines. /Turkiye/
 IRAQ’S GOVERNING COUNCIL COULD OFFICIALLY INVITE FOREIGN TROOPSDue to difficulties in convincing countries to contribute troops to an Iraq stabilization force, the United States is looking for a new strategy to spread the burden of postwar peacekeeping there. Under the reported new plan, Iraq’s interim Governing Council is set to invite deployments from countries currently in talks with the US on contributing troops. Pakistan and India are among the first countries to be invited under this plan. Turkey is insisting that its troops, if deployed, would serve under a United Nations or NATO mandate umbrella, or else it would need the Iraqi council’s official request. /Turkiye/
 BAHCELI: “THE MHP IS STILL STANDING TALL”Following its defeat at the polls last fall, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) has defied its detractors by not fading away, but rather continuing to stand tall, declared MHP leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday. Speaking to MHP faithful at the 14th Erciyes Triumph Convention in Kayseri, former Deputy Prime Minister Bahceli criticized the current government’s policies, charging, “This administration has made unbelievable concessions on the Cyprus issue and committed the sin of forgiving separatist terrorists.” He also called on the government to follow a foreign policy that emphasized national honor and respect. During the weekend convention held on the Tekir Plateau in the central Anatolian city, some 6,000 tents were pitched and MHP supporters enjoyed various activities. The MHP was a partner in the three-year coalition government which ended last fall, but currently it holds no seats in Parliament. /All Papers/
 GIANT CONCERNS EYE TURKISH LOTTERY PRIVATIZATIONThe prospect of the privatization of Turkey’s state-owned National Lottery Authority has captured the interest of a great many companies, both domestic and foreign. Prominent Turkish concerns such as Oyak, Koc, Dogus and Sabanci, plus foreign companies like the Greek lottery administration, Italy’s Sisal group, the UK’s Camelot, France’s Scientific Games and US firm the Gtech Corp. have so far unofficially expressed their desire to administer Turkey’s lottery. /Hurriyet/
 SPAIN EXTENDS 326 MILLION EURO LOAN TRANCHE TO TURKEYSpain has released a loan tranche of nearly 326 million euros to Turkey, Spanish Economy Minister Rodrigo Rato announced over the weekend. Rato released a press statement saying that Turkey had taken the lion’s share in Spanish credits to foreign countries and that the disbursement of this latest tranche had given economic relations between Turkey and Spain a new momentum to. The credits are expected to be used for upgrading Turkey’s transportation system. /Hurriyet/
 JULY INFLATION RATES RELEASEDThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) over the weekend released month-on- month inflation figures for July. Inflation last month was -0.5% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and -0.4% on the consumer price index (CPI). The figures pushed year-to-year WPI inflation to 25.6% and CPI inflation to 27.4. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 FROM THE COLUMNS
 MILITARY TRANSITION
 BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the transition process in Turkey’s military. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Naturally, in addition to civil arrangements, Turkey is making military arrangements in its process of harmonization to the European Union. The Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) new arrangements are the natural result of this process. The TSK has no hesitation concerning Ankara’s EU membership goal. The TSK, with its constructive stance towards the EU harmonization process, is also preparing arrangements concerning it. The National Security Council (NSC) is one example for this. Keeping the NSC Secretariat-General military for one more year as a transition for the establishment of a new model is only realistic.
If the NSC Secretariat-General becomes a civilian post, such questions as what position a general, a lieutenant general, two major generals and other military personnel should take in this body need to be addressed. In this one-year period, arrangements will be made and steps for the operation of civilian mechanisms will be laid out. In addition, this weekend’s Supreme Military Council (YAS) meetings took place before the laws had been fully enacted, which will be another factor in the transition period.
In this one year, the TSK might also take steps to harmonize the EU and NATO. For example, NATO’s transfer of the Southeastern European Land Forces Command or other steps required by decisions which might influence the TSK... Likewise, the TSK might disband the Aegean Army next year and reorganize these troops under the First Army umbrella. Such an arrangement might be considered a gesture towards Greece.
The TSK is continuing its work of revamping and restructuring itself according to the shifting situation. Its skill at deployment, technology and restructuring will enhance the TSK’s importance in the region. Therefore, relations between the government and the army should be carried out in mutual harmonization.”
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