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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-28

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

28.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF INVADING IRAQ”
  • [02] TURKISH DELEGATION VISITS BAGHDAD
  • [03] YOK HEAD DECLINES INVITATION TO INTER-UNIVERSITIES BOARD MEETING
  • [04] CHP ASKS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO HOLD UP UNIVERSITY HEADSCARF BAN
  • [05] US DEFENSE SEC’Y TO DISCUSS CROSS-BORDER OP IN ANKARA
  • [06] TALAT: “EU GUARANTEE FOR CYPRUS TALKS LACKS CREDIBILITY”
  • [07] TUSIAD OFFICIALS MEET WITH GOVT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE
  • [08] THE LANGUAGE OF POLITICS

  • [01] GUL: WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF INVADING IRAQ”

    Turkey has no intention of invading Iraq, as our only goal is to eliminate a threat to our country, said President Abdullah Gul yesterday. “No country lets an illegal armed power in its territory or near its border,” Gul told a group of radio and TV reporters. “If the state allowed such an illegal force, then we can’t call it a state.” He added, “Every fallen soldier we see hurts us deeply. But we would have seen even more if the ground operation (into northern Iraq) had been launched at a later date. Failure to act in a timely fashion leads to more casualties.” Stating that Turkey will show its determined to the very end, Gul said that their intention is very clear. When asked whether he had deliberately chosen last Friday, the day the ground operation was made public, to sign controversial constitutional changes to end the university headscarf ban, Gul said the operation had not been a factor in his timing for approving the changes. /Star/

    [02] TURKISH DELEGATION VISITS BAGHDAD

    A Turkish delegation yesterday traveled to Baghdad to hold talks with top Iraqi officials. The delegation, made up of Murat Ozcelik, Turkey’s deputy special representative to Iraq, Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign advisor to the premier, and Prime Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, first met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Davutoglu said that the presence of the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq could be tolerated neither by Turkey nor Iraq. “For us, continuing operations is not a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. It’s just the opposite,” he added. For his part, Zebari said that the PKK is a terrorist group which gets no support from the Iraqi government. However, he warned that the presence of foreign troops in the Iraqi territory was a sensitive matter for Baghdad. He added that they want to have good relations with Turkey. The delegation then held talks with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and gave him President Abdullah Gul’s official invitation to visit Turkey. After holding contacts at the US Embassy, Davutoglu said that US support for Turkey is continuing and that the PKK will be eliminated from northern Iraq. /Turkiye/

    [03] YOK HEAD DECLINES INVITATION TO INTER-UNIVERSITIES BOARD MEETING

    Board of Higher Education (YOK) Chairman Yusuf Ziya Ozcan said yesterday declined an invitation to attend today’s Inter-Universities Board (UAK) meeting, adding that the group had no standing to discuss the headscarf issue. In a written statement, Ozcan said that the UAK was meant only to deal with academic issues, not the headscarf issue. The UAK, made up of all of Turkey’s university rectors, will hold an extraordinary meeting in Ankara this morning to discuss constitutional changes to lift the university headscarf ban. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] CHP ASKS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO HOLD UP UNIVERSITY HEADSCARF BAN

    The main opposition Republican Party (CHP) yesterday submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court asking it to annul constitutional amendments to Articles 10 and 42 allowing women to enter universities wearing headscarves. The 58-page petition was signed by 111 deputies from the CHP and the Democratic Left Party (DSP) as well as Tunceli independent Deputy Kamer Genc. CHP Secretary General Onder Sav, flanked by top party officials, told reporters that the changes violate the Constitution and expressed hope that the top court will take up the matter soon. /Turkiye/

    [05] US DEFENSE SEC’Y TO DISCUSS CROSS-BORDER OP IN ANKARA

    Turkey must limit its military operations against the PKK in northern Iraq to days or a couple of weeks rather than months, said US Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday before beginning his visit to Ankara. Gates arrived in the capital to pay an official visit at the invitation of his counterpart Vecdi Gonul. President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to receive Gates, and he will also meet separately with Gonul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Their meetings are expected to focus on the duration and extent of the cross-border operation in northern Iraq, the results of the operation so far, and intelligence-sharing with the US. /Hurriyet/

    [06] TALAT: “EU GUARANTEE FOR CYPRUS TALKS LACKS CREDIBILITY”

    A European Union “guarantee” for Cyprus reunification talks has little credibility, said Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday. Responding to comments by former Greek Cypriot leader George Vasiliou, Talat said, “We’ve seen what such a guarantee means. For three years now the EU has failed to take up laws to allow direct trade with the TRNC. The EU has no claim to this issue, and Turkey isn’t currently a member of EU.” He added that any reunification talks should be held on the basis of the 2004 UN plan. Talat also criticized new Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias’ demand that all foreign soldiers should leave the island, saying that this belies the promise of a compromise. Talat is due to meet next Monday with Christofias and Michael Moller, the UN’s special envoy to Cyprus. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] TUSIAD OFFICIALS MEET WITH GOVT ECONOMIC COMMITTEE

    A delegation led by Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) head Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag yesterday held talks with an government economic policy committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Erken. During the talks, major economic problems, global risks and the economy’s structural reform process as well as the headscarf issue and the current land operation in northern Iraq were discussed. TUSIAD proposed that the government coordinate the Treasury’s borrowing calendar with the financial sector’s external debts schedule, adding that a project-based, competitive and innovative incentive model should be considered in preparing a new industrial strategy and promoting government policy as well as regional and sectoral incentive alternatives. /Sabah/

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

    [08] THE LANGUAGE OF POLITICS

    BY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)

    Columnist Soli Ozel comments on Turkey’s current cross-border operation into northern Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Turkey’s current cross-border operation into northern Iraq should be managed in a smart, well-balanced way, because debates in Turkey over the issue and the duration and results of the operation will be talked about worldwide. If no attention is paid to the duration, scope and damage done by an operation which was found justifiable and wasn’t criticized initially, Turkey might find itself abandoned. So we should be careful about our goals in northern Iraq and find a very good way to express our goals. The world - and not just Western countries - will look at Turkey through different lenses. Most of us might tend to forget that most of the people dying are also citizens of Turkey and might even believe in Turkey. Many of us might think that a problem which hasn’t been solved in 24 previous operations might be solved by more deaths now. Those who shout like the town crier, without remembering that terrorists also have parents, might not realize that they’re harming the country’s moral fabric.

    They might cut political arguments short, unaware of the war’s humanitarian dimension, and then talk about Turkey’s power. The government and others might believe that an anger which can only be controlled with the expectation of a political opening following the operation won’t actually break out and so continue to make vain excuses on the Kurdish issue. There is no way all this won’t cost Turkey. Most importantly, obviously, Turkey is carrying out this operation with US support and permission. For two months we have gotten intelligence for air attacks from the US. Evidently this time the US greenlighted the operation, because it wants to cooperate with Turkey on Iraq’s future and its Middle East policy. But it’s also clear that Turkey doesn’t have a blank check. The US defense secretary’s statements show US discomfort about the duration and scope of the operation and especially the possibility of civilians being harmed. What’s equally true is that neither Iraq, nor the Arab world or Iran can take this operation if it stretches out for a long time.

    A government which has dealt with the diplomatic side of the issue very well so far will still face further difficulties. All of its allies, and especially the US, its greatest supporter in this operation, will expect serious openings on the Kurdish issue. There’s still no sign this will happen, though. Our president is not showing a stance in line with this, excepting the first visit he paid to the southeast after he was elected. He only speaks as the president, without making embracing or unifying statements or giving warnings about this sensitive issue. He also fails to show moral leadership about what should be done after the guns fall silent by separating the PKK issue from the Kurdish issue and sharing everybody’s pain. A very difficult period awaits Turkey. A new period is starting on Cyprus which requires shaking up four years of torpor. Steps to be taken or not to taken on that issue will seriously affect relations between Turkey and the European Union. Turkey should stand strong in order to be able to take steps on that issue and similar ones. This can be done by dealing with the Kurdish issue comprehensively, from a democratic perspective.”


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