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Turkish Press Review, 03-08-08
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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
08.08.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN: “TURKEY MAY SEND TROOPS FOR IRAQ STABILIZATION”The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Decision and Administration Board (MKYK) convened yesterday. Chairing the three-hour meeting, AKP leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that government officials were comprehensively examining the question of a possible Turkish troop deployment to Iraq and continuing to monitor all developments in the region. Stressing that Turkey wanted to have a hand in Iraq’s reconstruction process, Erdogan said that the government would take all factors into consideration in deciding whether to send troops. The premier stated that following a summit chaired by the president at the Cankaya Palace and a Cabinet meeting on the issue, Parliament could hold an extraordinary session next month. Signalling that Turkish troops being deployed to Iraq should not be an unexpected development, Erdogan said, “We should reach a consensus during the summit, and then explain our decision to the people.” Also speaking at the meeting, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said, “Turkey wants to help the Iraqi people. The matter shouldn’t be framed as [being primarily about] helping US soldiers.” Following the discussion, the board decided to send a delegation of Arabic-speaking deputies as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to travel all around Iraq to gauge the public mood there. In addition, Erdogan is expected to address the nation on television tonight on recent developments. /Sabah/
 GUL MEETS WITH SEZER, DISCUSSES IRAQ, US VISITForeign Minister Abdullah Gul was received yesterday by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. After the meeting, Gul told reporters that he had briefed Sezer about recent developments in Iraq and his visit last month to Washington. He stated that during his meetings with officials there, the question of US financial support for troops that Turkey might send to Iraq had not been addressed. “A number of countries have already sent troops,” he added. “Under similar conditions, Turkey could do the same thing.” Stressing that the matter was still under consideration, Gul said that the government would make its final decision after completing all its evaluations. /Turkiye/
 IPUK, IKDP REJECT US REQUEST TO ALLOW TURKISH TROOP PASSAGE THROUGH N.IRAQ FOR PEACEKEEPING ASSIGNMENTNorthern Iraqi Kurdish leaders have refused a US request to allow 12,000 Turkish troops to move through the region en route to a possible peacekeeping assignment in the central Iraqi city of Falluja, British daily The Financial Times reported yesterday. The FT quoted an Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) official as saying that any introduction of Turkish troops into Iraq would damage Kurdish support for the US-led effort to form a new government and could spark violence between Turkish forces and the Kurdish peshmerga. “Turkish peacekeepers could be airlifted into central Iraq, where they could patrol areas dominated by fellow Sunni Muslims, but it would be expensive,” added the paper. The request came last weekend from Gen. John Abizaid, head of US Central Command, at a meeting in the northern city of Mosul with the leaders of the IPUK and the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic party (IKDP), said the FT. The daily characterized Gen. Abizaid's request as “the most concrete sign that Turkey and the US have agreed on cooperation” in Iraq’s stabilization. /Cumhuriyet/
 POWELL: “TURKISH TROOP DEPLOYMENT NEEDN’T CAUSE ANY STRAINS WITH IRAQ’S KURDS”The United States is confident that Turkish contributions to Iraq’s stabilization forces can be managed so as to be acceptable to all groups in the country and in particular so as not to cause any strains with its Kurdish population, US Secretary of State Colin Powell told a press briefing yesterday. Speaking in Washington, Powell also stated that the US and Turkey were cooperating to eradicate the terrorist group PKK_KADEK from northern Iraq. “We [are] work[ing] with our Turkish friends to try to end this threat through assimilation of people back into normal society so that our Turkish friends are not under any kind of terrorist threats from these sorts of organizations,” explained Powell, possibly referring to a recent repentance law that reportedly had US support. On the broader matter of US expectations of Turkey’s peacekeeping contributions, Powell said he had asked Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in Washington late last month to “move quickly” on the matter, but added, “I think it will take them some time to analyze this within the Turkish government, but we are satisfied that the request will be given every consideration.” /Hurriyet/
 SIXTH INTERNATIONAL SHOE FAIR OPENS IN ANKARAThe Sixth International Shoe Fair opened in Ankara yesterday. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Trade and Industry Minister Ali Coskun, and State Ministers Besir Atalay, Guldal Aksit, Kursat Tuzmen attended the event’s opening ceremony. /Hurriyet/
 BERLUSCONI TO ATTEND WEDDING OF ERDOGAN’S SONItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is set to come to Turkey this weekend to attend the wedding ceremony of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son. /Anatolia News Agency/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVS AND RISK ANALYSIS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on doing political and military risk analyses of Turkey’s sending soldiers to Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In principle, Ankara received the US request for Turkish soldiers to be sent to Iraq positively. The strategic stance of both the government and military officials is that sending soldiers to Iraq fits in with Turkey’s interests. Both political and military officials think that enabling political reconstruction, stability and territorial integrity in Iraq would be beneficial for Turkey. In terms of strategy, Ankara is aiming to act with the US to prevent Iraq’s disintegration and also work in line with the European Union. In such a situation, it’s considered a strategic opportunity that the US is facing difficulties in establishing security and so needs Turkey. If Ankara can follow a policy in line with the US and Iraq’s integrity can be ensured, it would influence Europe’s attitude towards Turkey.
Ankara thinks that by following policies in line with the US’ expectations, it can end the PKK_KADEK threat and strengthen Iraq’s physical and political integrity for both its own benefit and ours. However, it’s also weighing the military and political risks of sending soldiers. The General Staff is doing the militarily risk analysis and the Foreign Ministry is handling the political side.
The military risk analysis contains three basic elements:
1. The supply_reinforcement lines would be both long and dangerous.
2. Possible attack by Kurdish groups and Arab nationalists, provocative actions and PKK_KADEK terrorists escalating armed attacks.
3. The risk of street fighting, urban warfare.
The dangers in terms of political risk are as follows:
1. Tensions in Ankara’s relations with the Arab world.
2. Souring ties with the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq.
3. Possible tension with certain European countries might hurt Turkey’s EU membership bid.
In sum, Turkey is considering the pros and cons of sending its soldiers to Iraq. In addition, the government should work to clear up all the ambiguous points on the issue.”
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