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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-07
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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
07.01.2003GUL VISITS JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH, PUSHES FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION IN IRAQ ERDOGAN RECEIVES GREEK POLITICAL PARTY LEADER MILITARY OFFICIALS BRIEF YAKIS, FOREIGN MINISTRY BUREAUCRATS ON IRAQ ISSUE ERDOGAN’S SIIRT CANDIDACY ON HOLD TILL JAN. 20 YAKIS: “TURKEY IS INVESTIGATING ITS RIGHTS TO OIL IN MOSUL AND KIRKUK” EROGLU: “THE TRNC COULD MAKE TERRITORIAL CONCESSIONS TO REACH AN AGREEMENT FOR CYPRUS” ARINC PAYS COURTESY VISITS TO CHIEF OF STAFF OZKOK, OTHER TOP MILITARY OFFICIALS ERDOGAN TO BEGIN CENTRAL ASIAN TOUR IN AZERBAIJAN TURKEY’S ECONOMY ACHIEVES HIGHEST GROWTH RATE IN EUROPE FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… CAN A COMMON FRONT PREVENT A WAR? TURKEY’S UNIQUENESS BY OMER CELIK (STAR)
 GUL VISITS JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH, PUSHES FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION IN IRAQPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday paid a visit to Jordan, his final stop on a three-nation Middle East tour to push for a peaceful resolution in Iraq rather than United States-led intervention. During his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah, Gul said that to head off a possible operation, Turkey would hold joint conferences, make declarations, and pay further visits to Middle Eastern countries. Gul also met with Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Ebu Ragip. Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Gul said that the Iraq issue constituted a grave crisis, and that his only aim was to defuse this crisis without the need for a military operation. Asked about a possible visit to Iraq, Gul said that he would probably pay a visit there, but that this was not yet certain. “I am doing my utmost to prevent a United States operation against Iraq, and now it’s Iraq’s turn,” said Gul. “It should comply with the UN resolutions. I want the Iraqi administration to act in good faith.” Gul added that all the leaders of Middle Eastern countries had pledged to continue their efforts to reach a peaceful solution in the region. Gul stated that last-minute maneuvers had averted wars many times. “The leaders I visited are most concerned about conditions after an operation,” he added. “They fear that such an operation could trigger terrorist activities.” /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN RECEIVES GREEK POLITICAL PARTY LEADERRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received Costas Karamanlis, the leader of Greece’s opposition New Democracy Party. Following their meeting at AKP headquarters in Ankara, Erdogan told journalists that he had no doubt that during its current European Union term presidency, Greece would contribute to Turkey’s EU membership bid. For his part, Karamanlis stated that Greece had long supported Turkey’s EU membership. He added that a settlement should be reached in Cyprus for the benefit of both sides. /Turkiye/
 MILITARY OFFICIALS BRIEF YAKIS, FOREIGN MINISTRY BUREAUCRATS ON IRAQ ISSUEGen. Bekir Kalyoncu and Adm. Kadir Sagdic yesterday briefed Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis and a number of Foreign Ministry bureaucrats along with the members of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission on the Iraq issue. The military officials reportedly requested that the government clarify Turkey’s stance towards a possible US-led military campaign in Iraq. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN’S SIIRT CANDIDACY ON HOLD TILL JAN. 20The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Executive Board (MYK) yesterday decided not to declare its nominees for deputy in upcoming by-elections in the province of Siirt until Jan. 20, which is the last day to apply to the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK). AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that Merve Gul, who was elected deputy for Siirt in last November’s elections, which were later invalidated for the province due to irregularities, had not officially withdrawn her candidacy, and that that was necessary before he could proceed with his own candidacy. Meanwhile, Gul yesterday stated that she was ready to withdraw for the sake of Erdogan whenever she is asked to do so. Newly eligible to become a parliamentary deputy by virtue of a constitutional change, Erdogan’s winning the seat for Siirt is expected to pave the way for his assuming the prime ministry. /Turkiye/
 YAKIS: “TURKEY IS INVESTIGATING ITS RIGHTS TO OIL IN MOSUL AND KIRKUK”Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said yesterday that he had instructed government legal advisors to examine a number of treaties in order to evaluate Turkey’s rights over oil fields in the Mosul and Kirkuk regions of northern Iraq. Stressing that the regions were traditionally areas where ethic Turkmens reside, Yasar said, “If we prove that Turkey has rights to oil in the region, we should clearly explain this to both the international community and related countries.” In addition, appearing on television, Yakis stated that Turkey favored the Iraq issue being resolved through peaceful means. “However,” he added, “we are taking into consideration all eventualities.” Regarding the Cyprus issue, the foreign minister said that the issue was not just the concern of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas but also of the people of Cyprus and Turkey itself. Yakis added that the problem would be solved through a common consensus. /Turkiye/
 EROGLU: “THE TRNC COULD MAKE TERRITORIAL CONCESSIONS TO REACH AN AGREEMENT FOR CYPRUS”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said yesterday that the TRNC could make territorial concessions in order to reach an agreement on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. The issue of the balance of land between the TRNC and Greek Cyprus has been one of the main sticking points in Annan’s plan. “Our main aim is for as few Turkish Cypriots as possible to have to leave their houses,” said Eroglu. He added, however, that the UN’s plan failed to take into account the existence of two equal states on the island. “Disregarding the fact that there are two nations on the island, and then trying to form one nation, is not workable,” he stated. “The Turkish Cypriots will remain Turk, and the Greek Cypriots will remain Greek.” /Hurriyet/
 ARINC PAYS COURTESY VISITS TO CHIEF OF STAFF OZKOK, OTHER TOP MILITARY OFFICIALSParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday paid separate courtesy visits to Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman, Air Force Commander Gen. Cumhur Asparuk, Naval Forces Commander Adm. Bulent Alpkaya and General Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Sener Eruygur. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN TO BEGIN CENTRAL ASIAN TOUR IN AZERBAIJANRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set today to begin a five-day tour of Central Asian countries, including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. First Erdogan will travel to Baku, Azerbaijan and meet with Azeri President Haydar Aliyev. Tomorrow, he is scheduled to meet with Azeri Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and then is to proceed to Ashkhabat, Turkmenistan’s capital. After meeting with Turkmen President Saparmurat Turkmenbasi on Friday, the AKP leader will fly to Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, where he is set to meet with President Nur Sultan Nazarbayev. He will return to Turkey on Saturday. In addition, Erdogan will pay a visit to Beijing, China on next Monday. A delegation of ministers, deputies, businessmen, representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and journalists will accompany Erdogan during his visits. _Turkiye
 TURKEY’S ECONOMY ACHIEVES HIGHEST GROWTH RATE IN EUROPETurkey’s economy grew by 7.9% last year, a growth rate higher than that of any other European country, said a report appearing in British newspaper The Guardian yesterday. The report stated that Turkey’s industrial output achieved a “miraculous” growth rate of 12%. Yet, the report added, high inflation still plagued the country and was hobbling further economic development. According to official figures released last week, Turkey achieved a 29.7% inflation rate last year, bettering a 35% government target and down sharply from about 70% at the end of 2001. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 CAN A COMMON FRONT PREVENT A WAR?Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey’s Iraq policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Will Prime Minister Abdullah Gul be able to head off a war in Iraq with his active peace diplomacy initiative, currently being pursued in his visit to Arab countries?
Wrapping up his visits to Syria, Egypt and Jordan, Gul yesterday remarked that he believed certain promising diplomatic efforts held the possibility of defusing the growing crisis in the region. Gul stated that Turkey and Arab countries share similar views on the Iraq issue and had reached agreement to act together as a common front whenever needed.
We really should admit that Gul’s recent diplomatic efforts have been very successful. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has shown the world its resolve to do its utmost to bring peace and stability to the region. However, the key question is whether the AKP will really be able to prevent a war in the region. Can a common front formed by Turkey and Arab countries really be successful in defusing the crisis? Being optimistic on this issue is very difficult. There are two chief reasons for my pessimism:
There are still doubts that such a common front can be durable and long lasting. In the past, Arab countries formed similar fronts for various reasons, but these alliances proved short lived.
There are serious doubts that this alliance will be an effective one. Why should US President George W. Bush, whose ambition to attack Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is well known, pay attention to the calls for peace from this common front? Indeed, why should Saddam Hussein take the views of this front seriously?
Let’s hope that I’m being overly pessimistic. Diplomacy has always been a powerful method for solving international problems. Let’s not sink into despair! However, what if these diplomatic initiatives fail to sway Bush or Saddam? What will our common front do under such circumstances? What will Turkey do?
Turkey’s position is a bit more complex and complicated. Our country faces a true dilemma: On the one hand, we really don’t want to take part in an Iraq war. On the other hand, it’s impossible for our government to turn its back on US demands, since the two countries have been strategic partners for a long time.
We can say that our government has so far done well. First, it announced that it would support the Bush administration. Then it launched a peace initiative, taking into consideration the Turkish people’s well-known opposition to a war in Iraq. Our government is currently sidestepping giving a straight answer to the US demands. Now it’s trying to form a common front with the Arab world. These are all admirable policies. Let’s hope that the US gives up its war plans! Let’s believe that diplomacy can win the day!
However, what if a war is waged in the region? In that case, such a policy would not be beneficial to Turkey. Turkey will then have to develop new strategies and assume new roles in order to protect its own national interests.”
 TURKEY’S UNIQUENESS
 BY OMER CELIK (STAR)Columnist Omer Celik comments on Turkey’s unique situation on the world stage. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey’s current active atmosphere obviously has unique characteristics. We are experiencing a very dynamic process both in our foreign and domestic policy. Turkey is trying to solve its domestic problems by taking steps to harmonize with the European Union, while at the same time its neighborhood is getting more and more tricky due to such issues as Iraq and Cyprus. Obviously this situation is a sign of problems that could flow back to Turkey. Therefore a possible war in Iraq clearly could affect Turkey’s stability, and this could pose a problem for our domestic politics. Here, Turkey’s unique status becomes more apparent. At present, Turkey is exercising the dynamics of being the successor to a great empire and moreover an established modern republic from the remnants of this empire. Meanwhile, Turkey’s location as indispensable part of the Western strategic alliance and its strategic place within Islamic history and culture are entering an interesting and strong dynamic of their own. All these situations are causing Turkey to discover its singularity with the necessity of historical conditions. The unfortunate attack against the US on Sept. 11 exposed a very serious problem in terms of what sort of relations Western powers will have with the rest of the world. It was a very involved strategic equation for which ordinary politics would prove insufficient. Just like every strategic equation, it demanded intensive examination. It was clear that the world had to achieve a new understanding of society and politics. Along these lines, the US’ stance was very important. Would it act in accordance with legal norms, or would it resort to force? Unfortunately, there is a definite tendency towards the latter. The US’ inclination towards attacking Iraq without seeking United Nations approval is making things more dangerous. But here, Turkey’s dynamics could provide hope for the world. Turkey, which is the only ‘interpreter’ between the Western and Islamic worlds and Asia, is turning into a ‘strategic axis’ to head off a more dangerous situation. Clearly the US needs Turkey for Iraq and other issues. This need derives not only from military reasons, because the US forces to the south are sufficient for an attack against Iraq. It also derives from the fact that Turkey is a conduit between different political statuses and civilizations. Consequently, Turkey is not only a vital contact for the Western alliance, but also has a historical resonance with the Old World. This situation is turning Turkey’s singular uniqueness into a new political tool. Now our unique status has an unprecedented chance, one for both Turkey and the world.”
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