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Turkish Press Review, 03-10-02
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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
02.10.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… SOVEREIGNTY AND STIPULATION BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 PARLIAMENT BEGINS NEW LEGISLATIVE TERMParliament yesterday began the second half of its legislative year with an opening speech by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Addressing the parliamentarians for over an hour, Sezer offered a wide-ranging analysis of events both domestic and foreign. Regarding the Iraq issue, Sezer said that the Turkish Constitution stipulated international legitimacy in order for Parliament to send troops abroad. “The Constitution requires Parliament to determine whether the international legitimacy condition has been fulfilled before deciding on troop deployment,” Sezer said. Concerning Turkey’s European Union harmonization reforms, Sezer praised Parliament’s recent hard work towards this goal. The president also stated that recent economic figures signaled positive developments and urged the government to continue to determinately carry out the economic program. Pointing to the corruption problem, Sezer said that in order to effectively combat it, deputies’ immunity should be limited. /All Papers/
 LEADERS MEET AT ARINC’S RECEPTIONParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday hosted a reception to mark Parliament’s convening for the second half of the legislative year. Present at the reception were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Cabinet ministers, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, top military commanders and other high-level officials and bureaucrats. Speaking to reporters, Arinc called “mistaken and artificial” recent disputes spurred by a minor party’s election fraud conviction. Following the Supreme Board of Elections’ (YSK) decision on the matter, if need be, said Arinc, Parliament will do its job. Meanwhile, Erdogan told reporters that the government would soon make its final decision on whether or not to send troops to Iraq. In addition, Ozkok stated that the Turkish military was ready to do its duty in line with the government’s decision on troop deployment. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN CALLS ON AKP MEMBERS NOT TO COMMENT ON DEHAP COURT RULINGSpeaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on party members not to comment on Monday’s Supreme Court decision finding the minor Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) guilty of election fraud, adding that Parliament would have the last word on the issue. The premier stated that his party’s sole interest and obligation was to serve the nation. Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul also briefed the gathering on a possible Iraq troop deployment, saying that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had discussed the issue with US officials during his recent visit to New York and that the government was waiting for his return to Ankara to make a final decision. Gonul added that he favored a troop deployment in order to aid the Iraqi people. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL MEETS WITH ITALIAN FM FRATTINI, DISCUSSES TURKEY’S EU BIDForeign Minister Abdullah Gul, who is currently in Rome for an official visit, yesterday met with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini to discuss a number of issues, including Iraq and Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Speaking after their meeting, Frattini said that the EU’s progress report on Turkey scheduled for release on Nov. 5 would be positive. /Cumhuriyet/
 ROW OVER “GENOCIDE” RECOGNITION COULD DERAIL SWISS FOREIGN MINISTER’S VISITIn the wake of a recent recognition by a Swiss canton of the so-called Armenian genocide, the Foreign Ministry has demanded the cancellation of a visit by Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey scheduled for next week. The action by the canton of Vaud late last month follows a similar recognition two years ago by the canton of Geneva and reportedly also calls into question the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which provided a basis for the modern Turkish Republic. Calling Ankara’s protest “exaggerated” Calmy-Rey said yesterday, “This decision ill serves the progress in bilateral relations achieved in recent years.” /Sabah/
 CHIEF OF STAFF OZKOK RECEIVES EUROPEAN DEFENSE OFFICIALSChief of Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday received his Croatian counterpart Gen. Josip Lucic as well as Leonid Maltsev and Pandeli Majko, the respective defense ministers of Belarus and Albania. The visiting officials met separately with Ozkok in his office. On Tuesday, Ozkok also met with British Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sir Michael Walker, as well as Boris Tadic and Yevgen Marchuk, the respective defense ministers of Serbia- Montenegro and Ukraine. /Turkiye/
 VERHEUGEN: “THE CYPRUS ISSUE SHOULD BE RESOLVED BY NEXT MAY”EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said yesterday that the Cyprus issue should be resolved by May 2004, when Greek Cyprus is set to join the Union. Appearing on television on the anniversary of Greek Cyprus’ “independence,” Verheugen said that when the EU decides in December 2004 whether or not to begin accession talks with Turkey, Greek Cyprus would have the right to veto these negotiations. He called on both sides to reach a resolution on the issue within the framework of the United Nations’ Cyprus plan. “If they fail to reach an agreement by next May, this may threaten Turkey’s EU bid,” he warned. /Ankara/
 EU COMMISSIONER PATTEN: “TURKEY WILL PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTION”Turkey, along with other regional countries, will play an important role in Iraq’s reconstruction process, said European Union’s External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten yesterday. He added that he believed these countries would contribute to Iraq’s stability. /Milliyet/
 IMF DELEGATION CONTINUES ITS CONTACTSAn International Monetary Fund (IMF) delegation led by Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday continued its contacts with Turkish officials as part of the sixth review of Turkey’s IMF-supported economic program. During a meeting between the delegation and officials from Turkey’s Finance Ministry, Treasury and State Planning Organization (DPT), proposed incentives for provinces where per capita income is less than $1,500 were discussed. The IMF reportedly expressed disapproval for the idea due to fears it would cause tax revenue shortfalls. Additionally, the IMF delegation reportedly urged that existing tax incentives in free trade zones be reduced. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 SOVEREIGNTY AND STIPULATION BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila writes on the conditions of an $8.5 billion US loan to Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Our Parliament, the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), reconvened yesterday for its new legislative term. The TGNA is the world’s first and only Parliament which led a war of independence. It is this country’s supreme institution.
Right now our country is discussing the conditions of an $8.5 billion US loan to Turkey. According to the recently signed loan agreement, Turkey must cooperate with Washington in Iraq and furthermore must not unilaterally deploy troops in northern Iraq. I believe that this condition is directly related to Turkey’s sovereignty.
State Minister Ali Babacan, who signed the loan deal on Turkey’s behalf in Dubai, stated that the loan agreement’s provisions had been reviewed by our Foreign Ministry and that no objections were raised before its signing. Asked about the issue, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that if the government had wanted to reject the deal, it could have done so. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Ankara said that the provision in question was added to the agreement by the US Congress in April since at that time Turkey was amassing soldiers and weapons at its Iraq border. The US officials added that the provision didn’t constitute any obstacle to joint military operations but was instead aimed at preventing Turkey from making unilateral moves. Moreover, our ministers said that the agreement might be implemented with a government decision, without any parliamentary approval. Both Gul and Babacan think that the two countries might hold joint operations in northern Iraq if necessary.
However, if one country stipulates conditions limiting another country’s moves in the international arena, that clearly amounts to a restriction of the latter’s national sovereignty. In this case, this is indeed a political condition. If Ankara accepts this loan, that means it’s making concessions to its sovereignty for the sake of $8.5 billion. This provision was written unilaterally by the US Congress, although it is linked directly to our foreign policy. Whether or not to send our troops to northern Iraq is a very important issue that must be debated by our Parliament. This provision means that Ankara is no longer able to make decisions on its own, even on issues of national security.
Sovereignty is not redeemable for money, which is why I believe our government should immediately issue the necessary response to the author of this indecent proposal.”
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