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Turkish Press Review, 07-10-26

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

26.10.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] ANKARA HOSTS BSEC MEETING
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “TURKEY, NOT THE US, WILL DECIDE ON ANY MOVE AGAINST THE PKK”
  • [03] IRAQI DELEGATION ARRIVES IN ANKARA TO TALK PKK
  • [04] RECTORS VOICE SUPPORT FOR FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
  • [05] WHITE HOUSE: “TURKEY HAS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE PKK TERRORISTS TO GET BACK ITS MISSING SOLDIERS”
  • [06] MASSIVE ANTI-PKK RALLIES CONTINUE
  • [07] WAR OF NERVES
  • [08] TO OUR READERS

  • [01] ANKARA HOSTS BSEC MEETING

    A top-level gathering of the 12-member Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was hosted in Ankara yesterday by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. The meeting, including countries from the oil-rich Black Sea region and 14 observer countries, as well as representatives from international organizations, took place amid debates over a possible military incursion by Turkey into northern Iraq. Addressing the gathering, President Abdullah Gul said that Turkey’s patience was wearing thin and it would not tolerate the use of Iraqi soil for the purpose of launching terrorist attacks. Pointing to the importance of Iraq’s stability, Gul said that establishing stability there would have positive effects on its neighbors and the region, as well as the international community. The president added that Turkey was determined to take all necessary steps to end the PKK threat and that Iraq should not be a source of danger to its neighbors. Also addressing the gathering, Babacan said that terrorism threatens the whole world and called on all countries to cooperate to help defeat it. Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis also spoke at the meeting, expressing her condolences for the victims of terrorism and condemning the terrorist threat. /Hurriyet-Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “TURKEY, NOT THE US, WILL DECIDE ON ANY MOVE AGAINST THE PKK”

    The Bush administration might not favor Turkey carrying out a cross-border operation, but the decision on what should be done belongs to Turkey, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. “The US should understand and support Turkey as an ally,” Erdogan told a press conference in Romania, which he is visiting. “Right now, as a strategic ally, the US is in a position to support us. We have to take steps and will do so.” Reiterating that the situation is near the breaking point, Erdogan stated that the military’s target is the terrorist PKK, not Iraq’s integrity or its civilians. Also at the press conference, Romanian Premier Calin Popescu Tariceanu also stated that he supports Turkey’s right to self- defense. /Sabah/

    [03] IRAQI DELEGATION ARRIVES IN ANKARA TO TALK PKK

    A nine-person Iraqi delegation yesterday arrived in Ankara. The delegation will begin his official contacts today and is expected to hold talks with officials from the General Staff, Interior and Foreign Ministries, and the National Intelligence Agency (MIT) to discuss how to end the terrorist PKK’s presence in northern Iraq. Members of the delegation told reporters that they would offer concrete proposals to Turkish officials on the issue. /Turkiye/

    [04] RECTORS VOICE SUPPORT FOR FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

    The Rectors Committee yesterday had a meeting in Ankara under the auspices of Supreme Board of Education (YOK) head Erdogan Tezic to discuss recent terrorist attacks. After the meeting, the group released a statement expressing full confidence and faith in the fight of the Turkish Republic and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) against the terrorist PKK. It added that everyone in Turkey should work to maintain this fight with determination, and that the PKK will never achieve its aims by trying to sow hatred and hostility among people who have lived on this soil for centuries. /Aksam/

    [05] WHITE HOUSE: “TURKEY HAS THE RIGHT TO PURSUE PKK TERRORISTS TO GET BACK ITS MISSING SOLDIERS”

    Speaking to reporters yesterday, White House spokesman Dana Perino said that Turkey has the right to take action to get back eight soldiers missing since last Sunday’s deadly terrorist attack. “We are trying to encourage the Iraqis and the Turks to work cooperatively with one another, ” she said. “Obviously Turkey has a right to defend itself. They have eight soldiers that are missing right now. They have a right to look for them. And what we would urge is that when they go after the PKK that they … make that targeted and limited just to that action.” In related news, ahead of an Iraq summit in Istanbul set to start next Friday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Ankara next Thursday and meet with President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to discuss the PKK issue. /Milliyet/

    [06] MASSIVE ANTI-PKK RALLIES CONTINUE

    Continuing a series of protests following the terrorist PKK killing of 12 soldiers last Sunday, thousands of Turks took part in demonstrations throughout the country yesterday. People took to the streets chanting slogans and carrying banners condemning the terrorist attacks. /All Papers/

    FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [07] WAR OF NERVES

    BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visit to Turkey next week and Turkey’s stance on the terrorist PKK attacks. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will arrive in Ankara next Thursday, one day ahead of her trip to Istanbul to attend the Istanbul summit on Iraq. I don’t know what this hastily arranged visit to the capital might signal. Is she coming to Turkey to try to convince Turkey not to carry out an operation into Iraq, or to tell us that at least some of the conditions Turkey has insisted on to head off an attack have been fulfilled? There is a common belief and pessimism in Ankara that Rice will come to Turkey to head off an attack. The lack of trust between Washington and Ankara has recently become very clear. I could see this when US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza, attending the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting yesterday as an observer, said that the US was trying to rescue the eight Turkish soldiers who were taken prisoner last Sunday. Reporters there heard a top Turkish official loudly dismiss this as “empty words” which were irritating Turkey.

    The recent developments not only on the Iraqi border but also in Ankara can certainly be called a war of nerves. Another sign of this appeared this week when Rice urged Turkey not to carry out a military operation. Visiting Bucharest, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan quickly replied that whatever the US might wish, the decision is Turkey’s. And President Abdullah Gul’s opening speech at the BSEC had a message for everybody: Turkey is running out of patience.

    Yes, the current conditions are unlike before the Iraq war started in 2003, when Turkey could do whatever it wanted in northern Iraq. Yes, there are serious differences between the Syrian issue of 1998 (when PKK terrorists were taking shelter there) and the Iraq issue of 2007. Yes, this time we’re dealing not with the late Saddam Hussein or Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, but with the US, which is supposed to control all of Iraq. Despite all this, in the past Turkey has proved its ability to cut off its nose to spite its face. (See the Cyprus issue.) So even if he and the government are worried that Turkey will get into the Iraqi quagmire, we should take Gul’s statements seriously, not only for the reasons I listed, but also because Gul spoke just after a six-hour National Security Council (NSC) meeting the day before, the first that he chaired. During that meeting, the NSC decided to recommend a series of economic sanctions to pressure the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq, but military measures weren’t even mentioned. But imagining that military options weren’t discussed during the meeting beggars belief. Gul made his speech yesterday fresh from sounding out the military and government. A General Staff statement yesterday thanked the huge crowds which have taken to the streets this week to protest the terrorist PKK. The statement came a few hours after the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) rescinded its ban on news broadcasts about the terrorist attack.

    These developments indicate rising pressure on the government, which wants to minimize public tension, to take action. In addition, what the Iraqi delegation which arrived in Ankara yesterday has to say is another matter of curiosity, because Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani are still resisting cracking down on the PKK. There are many reasons for this, including their fear that the terrorist group will target them as well. The Kurdish administration might not be able to take a lot of harm, from pipeline sabotage to God knows what. What’s more, the Kurds rely on the US occupation of Iraq, and thus feel they’re on the verge of an independent Kurdish state and are playing for high stakes. So maybe next week the government can tell Rice something similar to what Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal recently said: ‘Instead of Turkey stopping the PKK, why don’t you?”

    [08] TO OUR READERS

    In observance of Republic Day, the Turkish Press Review will not appear next Monday, October 29. Please join us again on Tuesday, October 30.
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