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Turkish Press Review, 03-08-12
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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
12.08.2003SENDING SOLDIERS TO IRAQ BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)
 GOVT, MILITARY LEADERS TO HOLD IRAQ SUMMIT TODAYA summit on Iraq is set to be held today at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul are expected to discuss the question of Turkey contributing soldiers to an Iraq stabilization force. During the summit, Ozkok and Erdogan will reportedly brief the group on the possible risks Turkish soldiers might face in Iraq. Erdogan is expected to say that deciding against deployment would be inappropriate. Gul is expected to brief the gathering on his visit to Washington last month and his discussions with the Bush administration on Turkey’s possible role. /All papers/
 GUL: “WE AWAIT A US RESPONSE TO OUR QUESTIONS ON SENDING SOLDIERS TO IRAQ”Turkey is waiting for a response from the United States on a number of issues it has raised on its possible contributions to an Iraq stabilization force, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday. Among these issues, explained Gul, were where Turkish forces would be deployed and under whose command they would serve. Asked what he expected from a government_ military summit on the issue today, Gul declined to comment, saying that doing so would be premature as the Cabinet was also due to discuss the matter. /Aksam/
 BABACAN: “OUR FOCUS SHOULD BE ON THE ECONOMIC LONG TERM”Turkey has seen a number of positive economic developments of late, but much remains to be done, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said yesterday. “From now on we should focus our policies on the long term, not the short,” Babacan told a conference chaired by Turkish Bankers’ Association (TBB) head Ersin Ozince. “We’re thinking of what kind of a country we want for our children.” Speaking after the gathering, Babacan said that the participants had told him their concerns about various banking sector issues. “We discussed economic problems and the fifth review of the nation’s International Monetary Fund- supported economic program,” he added. /Milliyet/
 KAPUSUZ: “A DECISION ON SENDING TROOPS TO IRAQ IS A VERY DELICATE MATTER”Speaking to reporters in Parliament, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Parliamentary Group deputy head Salih Kapusuz said that Ankara’s decision on whether or not to send troops to Iraq was very important for Turkey’s unity, security and even its development. Stressing that the government was continuing its contacts with all relevant groups, political leaders, and neighboring countries, Kapusuz said, “This is a very delicate matter. We’ll make our decision after looking at all the factors.” /Turkiye/
 CHP’S KOC: “WE DIDN’T START THE FIRE IN IRAQ, AND WE SHOULDN’T RISK OUR SOLDIERS’ LIVES TO PUT IT OUT”A leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) yesterday underlined that CHP deputies would likely oppose any measure authorizing Turkish troop deployment in Iraq. After filing a petition at the Constitutional Court requesting annulment of the recent additional vehicle tax, CHP Parliamentary Group deputy head Haluk Koc took exception with recent remarks by Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, the deputy chief of General Staff, who told journalists over the weekend, “Turkey cannot remain indifferent to a fire raging next door to us.” If there is a fire burning in neighboring Iraq, said Koc, then it’s the responsibility of those who started this blaze to put it out. “This isn’t Turkey’s problem,” he argued. “We cannot sacrifice even a single soldier in the desert.” /Turkiye/
 YTP LEADER CEM URGES LEFTIST SOLIDARITY IN UPCOMING LOCAL ELECTIONSNew Turkey Party (YTP) leader Ismail Cem yesterday called on Turkey’s main left-wing parties to join forces for a better chance of success during local elections slated for next year. In a letter to the leaders of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP), Cem proposed that just one leftist democratic candidate enter the race in each election region, while other leftist parties would support this contender. “Local elections represent a tremendous opportunity for us to save Turkey from our current incompetent, inexperienced rule, so let’s join forces to end their monopoly on power,” urged Cem. However, citing the YTP’s role during last fall’s election in splitting his then senior coalition party, DSP leader and former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday signaled a rejection of Cem’s call for unity. Former Foreign Minister Cem is an ex-DSP member, once speculated to be the aging Ecevit’s successor. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 NEVER WITHOUT AN ARAB COUNTRY!BY ERHAN BASYURT (ZAMAN)Columnist Erhan Basyurt writes on Turkey’s debate on whether or not to deploy troops in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“For days Turkey has been discussing whether or not to deploy its troops in Iraq. As a matter of fact, in the past we’ve sent our troops outside our borders to contribute to various peacekeeping forces. The reason we’re hesitating now is that the US presence in Iraq is considered illegitimate. Most regard US intervention in the region not as an action paved with good intentions but as a ‘self-seeking occupation.’ Furthermore, after toppling Saddam Hussein, Washington has failed to gain the Iraqi peoples’ confidence The ranks of those resisting the American presence in Iraq are swelling every day. The US has even failed to provide the Iraqis with such basic services as food and water. What’s more is the hostile attitude of US soldiers towards Iraqi civilians. Another sign showing that the US has failed to initiate a ‘democratization process’ in Iraq is that most of the members of its transitional government are opponents who before the war hadn’t set foot in the country for years.
The number of US casualties is mounting with each passing day. Turkish soldiers are very likely to be considered by Iraqis as collaborators with these ‘occupying’ US and British forces. As a result, they might find themselves the target of future attacks.
Our government should find a way to show the Iraqi people that our soldiers have nothing to do with this occupation. This seems possible only with a United Nations resolution or a NATO decision. If we send our troops there, our government must first stipulate that it won’t be the only Muslim country to take part. ‘Never without an Arab country!’ we should tell Washington. Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan or some Arab country should also participate in this peacekeeping force. Egypt, I believe, is the best candidate.
There are three issues that Ankara should make Washington understand: 1) The terrorist PKK_KADEK militants in northern Iraq must be completely eliminated. 2) Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen groups should have the right of representation at the Iraqi administration. 3) Turkish soldiers should have the right to enter all Iraqi territories, including the north. These must be our conditions to deploy our troops there. If we can’t keep ourselves out of the chaos, we should find at least ways to minimize our possible losses!”
 SENDING SOLDIERS TO IRAQ
 BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on Turkey’s stance on sending soldiers to Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Umit Ozdag, head of the Eurasian Strategic Research Center, believes that our southeastern border is being defended from Baghdad. Iraq’s future path is very important in terms of protecting Turkey’s borders. With the situation in Iraq, we should consider the long-term dynamics very carefully.
Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said on Sunday, ‘There is a fire burning at our neighbor’s, and we can’t just watch it and do nothing.’ What was the cost of the fires within our borders and Iraq in the second half of the 1920s? What could be the cost of the fire today? At this point, a broad strategic vision is necessary. I agree with Professor Ozdag, who told me, ‘Turkey should have a serious political role in Iraq’s reconstruction. We should send soldiers to Iraq and drive a hard bargain, not for the US’ military guardianship, but in order to carve out our political role in Iraq’s reconstruction.’ However, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has already stipulated that a United Nations resolution would be necessary. However, as Ozdag pointed out, the more countries get involved in Iraq, the more Turkey’s role will shrink. France and Russia, both of which have vetoes on the UN Security Council, were able to control 40% of Iraq’s oil during the Saddam Hussein era. As a result, the US doesn’t want these countries to be strong in postwar Iraq and in turn, they are trying to thwart American interests at the UN. Can Turkey stake its long-term interests on future votes by France and Russia?
I asked constitutional lawyer Erdogan Tezic about this thorny situation. ‘The Constitution addresses situations considered legal under international law, such as lawful defense, security and national interest,’ he said. ‘A UN resolution would strengthen this legitimization. However, even without a UN resolution, Parliament will decide if [sending troops] would be legal.’ If in our negotiations with the US we can ensure the political and military conditions required by our security and interests, we should send soldiers to Iraq. Of course this also carries risk, and our soldiers may face attacks. However, as Gen. Buyukanit said, ‘The Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] is able to carry out a wide range of duties.’ Indeed, one of the most important factors of Turkey’s strength in foreign policy comes from its army.”
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