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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-29

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

29.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] US DEFENSE SEC’Y HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARA
  • [02] SEVEN FALLEN SOLDIERS LAID TO REST
  • [03] BUSH: “TURKS SHOULD MOVE OUT FROM IRAQ AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE”
  • [04] TURKEY: “WE WANT TO PULL OUR TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ AFTER THE REGION IS PURGED OF THE PKK”
  • [05] EP SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR TURKEY ’S CROSS-BORDER OP INTO NORTHERN IRAQ
  • [06] INTER-UNIVERSITY COUNCIL URGES YOK HEAD TO RESIGN
  • [07] AKP’S FIRAT: “RECTORS EXCLUDING STUDENTS WEARING HEADSCARVES ARE COMMITTING A CRIME”
  • [08] PARLIAMENT COMMISSION APPROVES ESTABLISHMENT OF 43 NEW TOWNS
  • [09] REPETITION ON CYPRUS

  • [01] US DEFENSE SEC’Y HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARA

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates yesterday held separate talks with his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul, President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanýt. At a joint press conference with Gonul, Gates said that Turkey ’s cross-border operation in northern Iraq should be as short and precisely targeted as possible. Stating that striking a balance between Iraq ’s territorial integrity and Turkey ’s right to self-defense is important, he added, “ Turkey should work closely with all Iraqis officials, including Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani.” For his part, Gonul said that the operation was contributing not only to the safety of the Turkish public but also that of Iraqis as well as the stability of the region. “ Turkey will end its operation after achieving its goals,” he added. Afterwards, Gul received Gates and US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson. Later in the day, Gates also met with Erdogan. Erdogan reiterated that Turkish troops would return after achieving their goals. Responding to remarks by Gates on the duration of the operation, Buyukanit said that short-term is a relative concept, sometimes meaning a day, and sometimes a year. “We’ve been fighting terrorism for 24 years,” he added. “That’s why our fight against terrorism will continue.” Following the completion of his talks, Gates left Turkey . /Cumhuriyet-Star/

    [02] SEVEN FALLEN SOLDIERS LAID TO REST

    Seven soldiers killed during the current cross-border operation against the terrorist PKK were laid to rest yesterday. Among the thousands of mourners were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun, Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. The funeral of Gendarmerie Senior Sgt. Huseyin Dogan was held at Ankara ’s Kocatepe Mosque. Cpl. Fatih Gok was laid to rest in Kahramanmaras, and First Class Pvt. Ahmet Beyazit was laid to rest in Ordu. The funeral of infantry Cpl. Serdal Cecen was held in Tokat, that of Pvt. Ibrahim Okur was held in Mersin , infantry Cpl. Dursun Demirkol was laid to rest in Corum, and Gendarmerie Commando Cpl. Mustafa Yusuf was laid to rest in Cankiri. /Milliyet/

    [03] BUSH: “TURKS SHOULD MOVE OUT FROM IRAQ AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE”

    Turkish forces in northern Iraq should achieve their goals as quickly as possible and then pull out, said US President George W. Bush yesterday. “The Turks, the Americans, and the Iraqis, including the Iraqi Kurds, share a common enemy in the PKK,” Bush told reporters. “It’s in nobody’s interests that there be safe haven for people who … have the willingness to kill innocent people … I strongly agree with the sentiments of (Defense) Secretary (Robert) Gates, who said that the incursion must be limited, and must be temporary in nature. In other words, it shouldn't be long-lasting. But the Turks need to move quickly, achieve their objective, and get out.” /Hurriyet/

    [04] TURKEY: “WE WANT TO PULL OUR TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ AFTER THE REGION IS PURGED OF THE PKK”

    US and Iraqi officials agree that the terrorist PKK is a common problem, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday. In Baghdad to hold talks with top Iraqi officials, Davutoglu said they had explained to Iraqi and US officials that Turkey wants to pull its troops out of Iraq after the region is purged of the terrorist PKK. /Star/

    [05] EP SIGNALS SUPPORT FOR TURKEY ’S CROSS-BORDER OP INTO NORTHERN IRAQ

    The European Parliament yesterday made a move signaling support for Turkey ’s cross-border operation into northern Iraq . A report written by Portuguese MEP Ana Maria Gomes was passed by the EP Foreign Relations Commission. Before the vote, the committee rejected changes to make the report critical of Turkey , including one warning the operation would cause instability in the region. The report is expected to be passed by the full EP on March 12. /Hurriyet/

    [06] INTER-UNIVERSITY COUNCIL URGES YOK HEAD TO RESIGN

    Turkey’s Inter-University Council (UAK), an official platform for university rectors, yesterday called on Board of Higher Education (YOK) head Yusuf Ziya Ozcan to resign. During an extraordinary meeting in Ankara , the rectors discussed the issue of allowing headscarves at universities. A statement signed by 90 rectors and read out by UAK head Mustafa Akaydin said that Ozcan was incapable of representing Turkish universities. Instead of creating favorable conditions for university institutions to work cooperatively, Ozcan has erected an autocratic, centralist structure, the rectors said, and called on the president to remove him from office. In related news, the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office launched a probe into Ozcan’s statement that recent constitutional changes were enough to lift the headscarf ban at universities. The move followed several official complaints filed against Ozcan, one by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). A probe can turn into an investigation only upon approval by the education minister, Huseyin Celik. /Aksam/

    [07] AKP’S FIRAT: “RECTORS EXCLUDING STUDENTS WEARING HEADSCARVES ARE COMMITTING A CRIME”

    University rectors who don’t allow students wearing headscarves on campus are committing a crime, said ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy leader Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat yesterday. Accusing the rectors of acting unlawfully, Firat called on prosecutors to bring charges against these rectors. /Aksam/

    [08] PARLIAMENT COMMISSION APPROVES ESTABLISHMENT OF 43 NEW TOWNS

    Parliament’s Local Affairs Commission yesterday passed a bill proposing the establishment of 43 new towns and closing municipalities with populations less than 2,000. Before the vote, opposition party deputies boycotted the session, charging that the government was pushing the legislation for political reasons. The bill was subsequently passed by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies. /Turkiye-Aksam/

    FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [09] REPETITION ON CYPRUS

    BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on the situation on Cyprus in the wake of Greek Cypriot presidential elections. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “It’s like I’m watching a movie for the second time, but of course the setting is different now. The weariness I see on the streets and the problems and rumors in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) since last Sunday’s Greek Cypriot presidential election reminds me of the Cyprus of years ago, before negotiations started between the leaders in power then, TRNC President Rauf Denktas and the Greek Cypriot administration’s Glafcos Clerides. The economy was moribund and the market stagnant. There were no tourists and everybody was complaining about the government. Trade unions were ready to protest until the minimum wage was raised. But this time there’s the difference of current TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat. Denktas used to quarrel with the government, but he left domestic issues to the government. He used to focus on the Cyprus issue, Turkey and the world.

    But Talat is different. He’s both an actual party leader and a president, and he unavoidably feels torn. This time I saw that he’s very close to becoming a scapegoat. He’s angry at activists who criticize him for being unable to find a solution and who brand the government the ‘sub- administration’ of Turkey . He says no perspective which fails to see him as the leader of Turkish Cypriots can possibly promote peace. We used to hear similar things from Denktas. No, I’m not saying that Talat doesn’t want a solution " he does. He wants a solution on the basis of political equality and argues that Turkey ’s guarantorship can’t be given up. He also stipulates a new state of partnership to be formed by two equal states. As soon as Dimitris Christofias was elected Greek Cypriot leader, Talat held a press conference and made his stance clear. But Christofias isn’t doing the same. He’s not showing his hand. In a period when everybody’s talking about a new hope, Cyprus looks very hazy.

    This haziness wouldn’t be so important if only we had a government with an open vision for Turkey . But do we? At the key 2002 Copenhagen summit of the European Union, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) mishandled the Cyprus issue. Denktas opposed the Annan plan, and the Greek Cypriots were a shoe-in for EU membership. The reason for the confusion back then, just after our own November 2002 elections (which brought the AKP to power), was a lack of confidence, but the reason for the current confusion is overconfidence. The AKP believes that it knows best and acts wisely on every issue. But do you think a government stuck between the headscarf chaos and funerals of dead soldiers can deal with such an incomprehensible problem like the 44-year-old Cyprus issue? What’s more, there’s no leader like Tassos Papadopoulos now, who opposed a solution. Now there’s Christofias, and people think he’ll try to solve the issue.

    Although he carefully avoids spelling out what a solution would entail in his eyes, Christofias is getting support from not only Europe and the US , but also Russia . Meanwhile, there is Talat, who has treated the entire world very honestly. Following the defeat of the Annan plan in 2004, this honesty wasn’t expected. On the contrary, we’re still facing a TRNC administration and a Turkey soothed by promises from Europe . Did someone mention the example of Kosovo? Please examine it carefully. There was huge international support there from the very beginning. As long as Turkey lacks a strong, creative political leadership which can drum up international support close to that on Kosovo, history is gearing up for a repetition, with all its pressures, blackmail and fears.”


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