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Turkish Press Review, 07-07-05

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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

05.07.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “PUTTING TERRORIST GROUPS ON LISTS ISN’T ENOUGH”
  • [02] IN CANKIRI, GUL REBUKES BAYKAL
  • [03] FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES BAYKAL’S ALLEGATIONS
  • [04] DP’S AGAR: “I’M THE ONLY LEADER IN THE PKK’S CROSSHAIRS”
  • [05] JULY 4 CELEBRATED AT US AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE IN ANKARA
  • [06] US DIPLOMAT: “THE US ISN’T TAKING CONCRETE STEPS AGAINST THE PKK”
  • [07] US COMMANDER CLAIMS WASHINGTON, ANKARA COOPERATING AGAINST PKK
  • [08] HOW FAR?

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “PUTTING TERRORIST GROUPS ON LISTS ISN’T ENOUGH”

    Merely putting a terrorist group on an official list of such groups is not enough to combat terrorism, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Speaking at the Fifth World Chambers Congress in Istanbul, Erdogan said that the fight against terrorism should be waged with international cooperation. Stressing that Turkey has supported efforts against international terrorism, Erdogan said, “If the fight remains on the national platform, humanity will pay a heavy price.” He underlined that Ankara expected concrete steps from its allies to back its fight against PKK terrorism, adding that just putting terrorist groups onto lists was not enough. Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also addressed the gathering. Pointing to progress Turkey has recently made in many areas, Albright said that she knows of Turkey’s fierce loyalty to its democratic institutions and ideals. /Turkiye/

    [02] IN CANKIRI, GUL REBUKES BAYKAL

    Campaigning yesterday in Cankiri, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul rebuked main opposition leader Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, saying, “While they spent their lives creating factions and controversies, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has provided service.” In related news, speaking to news channel 24, Gul addressed the subject of a controversial 2003 agreement between Turkey and the US under which Washington was to loan or grant Ankara a certain sum of money. Also touching on a possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq, Gul said, “If you conduct foreign policy on the basis of controversy or adventurism, you can’t do a proper job.” He added, “If you use foreign policy on security issues, on wars and operations, this will lead to disaster. This doesn’t mean that a war can’t be conducted. If it’s necessary, you can intervene. But these things are done with marked composure and in accordance with the recommendation of our soldiers. We’re not interested in Iraq’s territory. Our aim is to counter the terrorist group. So we’ll decide on these issues through the counsel of our soldiers.” /Aksam-Star/

    [03] FOREIGN MINISTRY DENIES BAYKAL’S ALLEGATIONS

    The Foreign Ministry yesterday denied main opposition leader Deniz Baykal’s allegations that an agreement the government had signed with the US had kept Turkey from conducting a cross-border operation into northern Iraq. “Not conducting a one-sided intervention has never been a precondition of the agreement,” said a ministry statement. “Turkey has never made a commitment on a one-sided intervention through this agreement.” /Star/

    [04] DP’S AGAR: “I’M THE ONLY LEADER IN THE PKK’S CROSSHAIRS”

    Campaigning in Sivas yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Baykal also spoke with reporters about the current issues before a campaign stop in Malatya. Meanwhile, opposition Democrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar attended a campaign rally in Eskisehir. Speaking to news channel TGRT, Agar said that he was the only leader in the terrorist PKK’s crosshairs. /Hurriyet/

    [05] JULY 4 CELEBRATED AT US AMBASSADOR’S RESIDENCE IN ANKARA

    July 4, the US Independence Day, was celebrated yesterday at a reception held at the US ambassador’s residence in Ankara. Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, State Minister Ali Babacan, former Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, and National Security Council Secretary-General Yigit Alpogan attended the reception hosted by US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and high-level officials from the General Staff did not attend the celebration. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] US DIPLOMAT: “THE US ISN’T TAKING CONCRETE STEPS AGAINST THE PKK”

    Some US officials are raising concerns that the US has not been moving aggressively to allay Turkish concerns about terrorism. They say US policymakers are underestimating the risk that should Turkey pursue the PKK into northern Iraq, this could lead to a wider conflict with Kurdish forces, which are a key part of the Iraqi army. One senior US diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that US government has not focused enough attention or resources to address Turkish concerns, adding that the possibility of Turkey invading northern Iraq before the July 22 general elections was very high. Furthermore, Mark Parris, a former US ambassador to Turkey now a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that arresting PKK members in northern Iraq was not so easy. “A lot of crockery can be broken in that part of the world,” said Parris. /Milliyet/

    [07] US COMMANDER CLAIMS WASHINGTON, ANKARA COOPERATING AGAINST PKK

    A senior Pentagon official said yesterday that the US was sharing intelligence about the terrorist PKK with the Turkish military and government. At a briefing on recent US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brigadier Gen. Perry Wiggings, deputy director for operations at the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters that they understood Ankara’s concerns about the terrorist PKK taking shelter in northern Iraq. He said that his administration was now focused on the situation in Iraq, and that a change in the situation in northern Iraq would not be good. The commander added that US officials had worked together with their Turkish counterparts in the past and would continue to do so. /Turkiye/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [08] HOW FAR?

    BY CUNEYT ARCAYUREK (CUMHURIYET)

    Columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek comments on a possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq and the government’s stance on the issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The most controversial issue of recent months has recently heated up. Some think that the government has woken up from a deep slumber. Sources from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) claim that the government has started to work to get Parliament’s approval for a possible cross-operation. Are things really like this, or what’s the real situation?

    There’s been no reaction against a possible operation from soldiers, the main opposition party, or the public. If we remember how Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul hadn’t considered such an operation and many times said they wouldn’t seek Parliament’s approval, why did the government see it necessary this time to seek approval?

    Do Gul’s remarks that a cross-border operation could be carried out before July 22 general elections indicate that they’ve decided to take one? However, AKP sources say that parliamentary approval would get the public’s attention and boost the AKP’s chances in the elections. They see this national cause as a way to win over votes.

    Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal has already said that his party’s deputies would attend a special Parliament session to support a motion to greenlight an operation. However, he added that his support would be conditional on the government using its authority after getting Parliament’s approval.

    Baykal is right to put forth this condition, as the government is being criticized for its passive stance towards the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq, and it has started to consider a motion in order to rebut these accusations.

    If Erdogan and Gul foresee an operation before the elections, they could use another route to avoid having to call Parliament back to get its approval. Article 92 of the Constitution gives the government the authority to carry out a cross-border operation without such approval.

    But only a determined government ready to carry out an operation despite US opposition could decide to use this method.

    The northern Iraqi Kurds don’t want US forces to withdraw from the country, as they see these forces as their insurance against Turkey. At every opportunity they say that Washington is their friend.

    We can’t say that a cross-border operation would proceed as it would have had it been held four or five years ago. On the expanding enemy front, there is the terrorist PKK, Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, and Baghdad, which will support them by saying that Turkey attacked its lands, with the US behind them!

    This government has an uninspired foreign policy, is unable to persuade the US, and is looking at a cross-border motion as a political tool. The question is, how far will it go?”


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