|Saturday, 24 October 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 03-01-06
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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> <map name="FPMap1"> </map> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
06.01.2003PRIME MINISTER GUL VISITS EGYPT BAHCELI: “THE MHP WILL GO ITS WAY” ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS OPPOSED TO AN OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ, BUT OUR COUNTRY STANDS READY” SIMITIS: “IF NO AGREEMENT CAN BE REACHED ON CYPRUS, THIS WILL HURT TURKEY’S EU BID” PEARSON TO CONVEY TURKEY’S TAKE ON IRAQ IN WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT MEETINGS TURKEY SIGNS EDUCATION AGREEMENTS WITH EUROPEAN UNION FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS ACTIVE PEACE DIPLOMACY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR) THE ANKARA-DAMASCUS-TEHRAN TRIAD BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 PRIME MINISTER GUL VISITS EGYPTAs part of his tour of Middle Eastern countries in a final attempt to seek a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday arrived in Cairo, Egypt. Following meetings with his Egyptian counterpart Atef Abeid and President Hosni Mubarak, Gul told reporters that in addition to the Iraq issue, bilateral relations had been discussed. Stressing that a war would harm all countries in the region, Gul stated, “We agreed to struggle to the very end in order to prevent war.” He also remarked that Iraq’s territorial integrity should be preserved. The Turkish prime minister then met with Amr Musa, secretary-general of the Arab League. During the meeting, both the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Iraq issue were taken up. Stating that the Arab world had recognized Turkey’s vital role in the region, Musa said that he would pay a visit to Turkey in the coming days in order to contribute to developing Turkish-Arab relations. In related news, in an interview with CNN International, Gul said, “We live in this region and I have visited regional countries to find a solution other than violence.” The Turkish prime minister also stated that Iraq should fully comply with the relevant UN resolutions and that regarding weapons of mass destruction, it should work to convince all parties that it posed no threat to the region. Previously, on the first stop of his tour of the region, Gul visited Syria on Saturday. /Hurriyet/
 BAHCELI: “THE MHP WILL GO ITS WAY”The Nationalist Action Party (MHP) yesterday held a meeting in Afyon of its Central Executive Board (MYK) and former parliamentary deputies. Following the gathering, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli told journalists that the participants had discussed the results of the Nov. 3 elections, in which the MHP lost its coalition partner status as well as all its seats in Parliament. Bahceli pledged after the polls not to seek another term as MHP leader. “The MHP will continue to go on its own way,” Bahceli said yesterday. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS OPPOSED TO AN OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ, BUT OUR COUNTRY STANDS READY”Speaking to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Executive Board over the weekend, AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he regarded negotiating on the basis of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan as doable. “Some circles claim that the plan isn’t acceptable as a basis for talks, but we think that it should be discussed, albeit with some changes,” said Erdogan. “What we are saying is that we should proceed rationally on the Cyprus plan and consider the future of both Cyprus’ Turks and the Turkish nation. We should negotiate on the plan.” He reiterated his view that the Cyprus policies pursued over 40 years hadn’t helped to reach a solution for the island. Also speaking on a possible United States operation against Iraq, he stated that the AKP government was opposed to such an operation. “The United Nations’ resolutions are binding for us,” said Erdogan. “We believe that international relations shouldn’t be based on power. However, in case of an operation the AKP government would take the necessary measures.” Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Erdogan said that the executive board hadn’t made any decision on his candidacy in the upcoming Siirt by-elections. “We will wait until Jan. 20, and decide what to do after that,” he added. Erdogan’s standing for a Parliament seat representing Siirt is designed to pave his way for the prime ministry. /Aksam/
 SIMITIS: “IF NO AGREEMENT CAN BE REACHED ON CYPRUS, THIS WILL HURT TURKEY’S EU BID”Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said yesterday that Greece would use its six-month term as European Union president to urge Turkey to help reach an agreement on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. Simitis, whose country holds the EU helm through June 30, said that if the two sides weren’t able to solve the Cyprus issue soon, this would adversely affect Turkey’s EU membership bid. “Solving the Cyprus issue should be considered alongside Turkey’s EU bid,” said Simitis. /Milliyet/
 PEARSON TO CONVEY TURKEY’S TAKE ON IRAQ IN WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT MEETINGSUS Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson has travelled to US State Department headquarters in Washington to attend a gathering of US ambassadors stationed abroad. While in the US capitol, Pearson is expected to meet with his superiors to discuss Turkey’s stance on the Iraq issue, and to suggest possible ways to ease its concerns about a war there. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY SIGNS EDUCATION AGREEMENTS WITH EUROPEAN UNIONThe State Planning Organization (DTP) recently signed agreements with the European Union Commission laying the groundwork for Turkey’s participation in several EU education programs. The objectives of these programs, among them “Leonardo da Vinci,” and “Socrates,” include promoting lifelong learning, encouraging universal access to education, and helping people acquire recognized qualifications and skills. The agreements aim to help Turkey get ready for full participation in these programs, towards which another agreement is expected in 2004. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 ACTIVE PEACE DIPLOMACY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli writes on Turkey’s Iraq policy. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Once upon a time, we used to call Turkey’s Iraq policy a ‘neighborhood initiative.’ However it’s now known as ‘active peace diplomacy.’ In fact, no matter its name, the policy that Turkey pursues whenever a military operation is looming against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has long been the same: to act in concert with our Arab neighbors in order to sustain peace and stability in the region.
There’s actually only one reason behind Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to Arab countries including Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia: Everybody is now well aware that the US is planning to overthrow Saddam Hussein at all costs. Though its level of support is still unknown, Turkey is likely to take part in a possible US operation in Iraq. That’s why Gul is currently paying visits to Arab countries. Turkey is now pursuing active peace diplomacy in order to minimize the possible devastating results of such an operation. Ankara is discussing what is likely to happen in northern Iraq in a postwar period. Our government wants to control the region since possible turmoil in Turkey’s neighborhood might threaten our territorial integrity. Arab countries will probably oppose Turkey’s entrance into northern Iraq, which is why we’re trying to persuade them that the Turkish Army needs to enter northern Iraq to protect our territories. Despite possible and probably strong Arab opposition, Turkish Army’s entering the region is not in doubt. Turkey and Arab countries are currently discussing ways to protect Iraq’s territorial integrity during a postwar period.
Turkey’s active peace diplomacy should also be seen as an effort to gain support from Arab countries, since we can never fully trust the US’ ulterior plans for the region. Turkey wants to establish strong cooperation between Muslim countries in case of a possible US betrayal. Since we recently improved our bilateral relations with Syria, Gul chose to begin his tour there. Maybe an Iraq war might provide our country with new opportunities. Turkey has once again realized that among its neighbors, it has a ‘superpower’ status. Our country might be a model country for the Muslim world, but what sort of Iraq policy the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will pursue is of paramount importance. If the AKP manages to develop a successful policy, Turkey might gain a great deal under these circumstances.”
 THE ANKARA-DAMASCUS-TEHRAN TRIAD BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on relations between Ankara, Damascus and Tehran vis-a-vis a possible war in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey now seems to be playing a more active role on the Iraqi problem with both diplomatic and military contacts. The visits paid recently by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to countries in the region are important in terms of formulating a common policy in case the US attacks Iraq. Countries in the region, particularly Turkey, would prefer the problem be solved without resorting to war. Gul is also making efforts towards that end. The countries that he visited support these efforts as well. However, the preparations being made by Britain and the US show that they are determined to stage an attack against Iraq.
With this probability in mind, Gul’s visits are very important. The strategic aims of Turkey and such neighboring countries as Syria and Iran require them to take a common stance in case of an attack. If the triad of Ankara, Damascus and Tehran shares a common stance, this would be a determining factor for the US and Iraq. All three of these capital cities think that Iraq’s territorial integrity should be protected, with the map remaining as is. Most probably Turkey, Syria and Iran will act in concert towards this goal. Likewise, the respect shown for Gul in Syria might be seen as the first signs of this. The process over the last five or six years that brought Turkish-Syrian relations to this point started when Damascus came to realize being closer to Ankara would be in its own best interests. The developments that resulted with the Adana Accord and Syria’s switch to an anti-PKK stance have of course caused Damascus to see this to a great extent.
Considering Iraq’s future, its territorial integrity and the US’ long-term intentions in the region, Ankara-Tehran relations are fully as important as Ankara-Damascus relations. Most probably a war will break out. However, whether or not there’s war, a common stance and cooperation among Ankara, Damascus and Tehran will spur a great deal of diplomatic traffic in the region.
Contacts on the military front are continuing as well. The US hasn’t yet been able to start inspections of Turkey’s airports and harbors, since a number of legal issues remain unresolved. A consensus hasn’t been reached with Ankara about how the law will regard soldiers coming from the US. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has sent a proposal to the US under which American soldiers would be subject to Turkish law. However, Washington hasn’t yet replied to this proposal. If Washington signs it, then the inspections could start. When the US will give an answer? Most probably US Chief of General Staff Gen. Richard Myers, who is to visit Ankara later this month, will answer this question. The first threshold the US must pass through to make headway with Turkey is this legal question. This needs to be dealt with first before any soldiers are sent.”
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