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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-08
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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
08.01.2003PRIME MINISTRY HOLDS ECONOMIC SUMMIT YAKIS: “TURKEY AND THE US HAVEN’T SIGNED ANY MILITARY AGREEMENT YET” TALABANI: “IN CASE OF A WAR, THE IPUK WILL BLOCK TURKEY FROM ENTERING NORTHERN IRAQ” ANKARA TO SEE HEAVY DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC THROUGH MONTH’S END BAYKAL: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN AIMS TO MAKE TURKISH CYPRIOTS INTO A MINORITY” NY TIMES: “ACCEPTING ANNAN’S PLAN WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR CYPRUS’ FUTURE” ERDOGAN MEETS AZERI PRESIDENT ALIYEV KANADOGLU: “AKP LEADER ERDOGAN CANNOT RUN IN THE UPCOMING SIIRT ELECTIONS” EUROPEAN COUNCIL INVITES GUL TO STRASBOURG TURKISH, GREEK CYPRIOT DELEGATIONS HOLD FIRST MEETING DEMOCRATIC PARTY ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATED FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… TURKEY AND THE TWO HORNS OF THE IRAQ DILEMMA BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM) TURKEY, THE US AND THE LAW BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 PRIME MINISTRY HOLDS ECONOMIC SUMMITPrime Minister Abdullah Gul held a meeting with economy officials yesterday at the Prime Ministry to discuss recent negative developments in financial markets. Present at the gathering were State Ministers for the Economy Abdullatif Sener and Ali Babacan, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, State Planning Organization (DPT) Undersecretary Ahmet Tiktik, Treasury Undersecretary Faik Oztrak, and Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti. Speaking after the meeting, Sener said that the officials had agreed to take needed measures on budget preparations and the primary surplus. He also said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would work to establish fiscal discipline. Sener stated that during the meeting, the participants had also discussed measures needed for the government to increase revenues and bring down expenses, adding that the AKP administration was determined to achieve its economic targets. /Aksam/
 YAKIS: “TURKEY AND THE US HAVEN’T SIGNED ANY MILITARY AGREEMENT YET”Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis stated yesterday that although Turkey had recently authorized US military officials to conduct inspections at Turkish bases, the two countries hadn’t yet signed any agreement on US-Turkish military cooperation in case of an Iraq operation. Stating that the US hasn’t had yet to officially respond to a draft agreement recently proposed by Turkey, Yakis said, “Turkish military institutions are quite sensitive on the matter of US troops deployed on home soil. Our nations have to sign an agreement laying out the official status of the US troops stationed here as soon as possible.” /Cumhuriyet/
 TALABANI: “IN CASE OF A WAR, THE IPUK WILL BLOCK TURKEY FROM ENTERING NORTHERN IRAQ”Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani yesterday stated that the IPUK wouldn’t cooperate with Turkey in case of a war in Iraq. According to Iranian news reports, Talabani remarked that the IPUK wouldn’t let additional Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) units enter northern Iraq if the US launches a war against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Stating that if Saddam didn’t end his dictatorship, a war was inevitable in the region, Talabani said, “A new democratic government should be formed in Iraq.” /Cumhuriyet/
 ANKARA TO SEE HEAVY DIPLOMATIC TRAFFIC THROUGH MONTH’S ENDAnkara is set to receive a host of important international visitors through the end of this month. Seeking support for a possible military operation in Iraq, British Defense Minister Geoff Hoon and Chief of General Staff Sir Michael Boyce arrived in Ankara last night. In addition to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, the British officials will meet with Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. Other upcoming visits include:
Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani is expected to arrive in Ankara today. * United Nations Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto will visit Ankara on Friday. * Syrian Foreign Minister Faruk El Sara will hold meetings in Ankara starting next Monday. * European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen is expected to visit Ankara in the last week of the month. US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers will hold contacts in Ankara on Jan. 24-25.
In addition, as part of the EU troika meetings to be held in Ankara on Jan. 31, George Papandreou and Franco Frattini, the Greek and Italian foreign ministers, respectively, are expected to visit Ankara. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN AIMS TO MAKE TURKISH CYPRIOTS INTO A MINORITY”Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal charged that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had taken a wrong turn with its recent Cyprus policies. Baykal said that the AKP government should determinedly put forth its stance on the Cyprus issue, adding that he didn’t understand what the government’s aim could be in branding 40 years of policy as “unsuccessful.” He also said that any solution plan that threatened to make the Turkish Cypriots on the island into a minority would not be acceptable. “UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan aims to do just that,” added Baykal. /Milliyet/
 NY TIMES: “ACCEPTING ANNAN’S PLAN WILL PAVE THE WAY FOR CYPRUS’ FUTURE”The island of Cyprus can look forward to a more promising future if Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) leader Rauf Denktas accepts a United Nations plan paving the way for a united Cyprus to join the European Union, said a New York Times editorial published yesterday. “If the Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, succeeds in blocking the agreement, the pain and unfairness of Cyprus's armed partition could be locked in for years to come,” said the influential US daily. “Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Turkish Cypriots favors the UN plan. Last month tens of thousands of them took to the streets demanding its acceptance. As important, the Turkish political leadership in Ankara on which Mr. Denktas's power ultimately depends is also pressing for a swift negotiated settlement. Unfortunately, Mr. Denktas refuses to get the message.” The paper added, “Mr. Annan’s plan may not be perfect, but rejecting it would be a worse alternative for both Cyprus communities.” /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN MEETS AZERI PRESIDENT ALIYEVAt the first stop of his five-day tour of Central Asian countries, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday arrived in Baku, Azerbaijan. After being received by Azeri President Haydar Aliyev, Erdogan said that their meeting had been fruitful. Stating that the two countries enjoyed very friendly relations, the AKP leader said, “Further developing our bilateral relations will serve the interests of both our countries.” For his part, Aliyev said that it was a pleasure to host Erdogan in Azerbaijan. “There aren’t problems between our countries which can’t be worked through,” he added. /Turkiye/
 KANADOGLU: “AKP LEADER ERDOGAN CANNOT RUN IN THE UPCOMING SIIRT ELECTIONS”High Court of Appeals Republican Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu said yesterday that any person who had been ineligible to stand in last November’s general elections would be similarly ineligible to run in upcoming by-elections in the southern city of Siirt. Such a stance would effectively block the candidacy of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gained eligibility under AKP-passed constitutional amendments just this month. Kanadoglu’s court has no jurisdiction over the elections process, but the senior jurist’s views could be influential. Claiming that the Siirt elections were not true by-elections, but rather a continuation of the Nov. 3 elections, Kanadoglu stated that the ban on Erdogan was therefore still applicable. Asked about Kanadoglu’s statements, Tufan Algan, chairman of the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK), told reporters that they represented the chief prosecutors’ own personal opinion. Stressing that the elections in Siirt would be held according to standard legal procedures, Algan said when an application for candidacy in the polls was made, objections, if any, would be considered then. The new elections, meant to address irregularities in the Nov. 3 polls, are due to be held next month. /Turkiye/
 EUROPEAN COUNCIL INVITES GUL TO STRASBOURGThe European Council Parliamentarians Assembly yesterday invited Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to Strasbourg to attend its general assembly sessions to be held at the end of this month. Gul reportedly accepted the invitation, and is planning to travel to Strasbourg on Jan. 27. /Star/
 TURKISH, GREEK CYPRIOT DELEGATIONS HOLD FIRST MEETINGTurkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot delegations recently put together at the behest of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan met for the first time yesterday to discuss Cyprus’ future. The two eight-member delegations met at Lefkosha’s UN Conference Center, where they addressed the island’s problems and prospects for a settlement. /Cumhuriyet/
 DEMOCRATIC PARTY ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATEDThe 57th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic Party (DP) was commemorated yesterday. Speaking at a press conference, True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar praised the performance of the now-defunct party, and in particular the role of the late-1950s DP government in brokering an independence arrangement for a united Cyprus. The late Adnan Menderes, the DP’s chairman and then government leader, was remembered along with other prominent DP officials. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKEY AND THE TWO HORNS OF THE IRAQ DILEMMA BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)Columnist Semih Idiz writes about a possible war in Iraq and its effect on the future of Turkish-US and Turkish-Arab relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“With each passing day we realize more and more how critical is the situation Turkey finds itself in. It’s not terribly difficult to guess what the US is thinking about our country right about now, as my colleague Sedat Ergin said in his column a few days ago that Ankara’s stance had led the US to extensively revise its military plans on Iraq. Moreover, Umit Enginsoy, the Washington correspondent for news channel NTV, yesterday reported US officials’ ‘disappointment’ about Turkey. It would be no a great surprise should the dimensions of the Turkish-US ‘strategic partnership’ be revised in a not-too-distant future. Americans are so sensitive about the Iraq issue that they will surely make Turkey share their disappointment. Here’s what one US diplomat told me recently: ‘In April, when the Armenian lobby pushes the US Congress on this whole so-called genocide issue, it will be very difficult for President Bush to throw his weight on Turkey’s side.’
But if our government has truly decided to pursue its foreign policy on the Iraq issue independent of US concerns, I can’t fault them for that. Yet this will no doubt cost Turkey a great deal. The problem is that while Turkey is trying to play the ‘independent,’ it cannot help toeing the US line once Ankara comes to realize the true gravity of the situation. There were reports yesterday saying that Turkish and the US intelligence services are working together to capture Saddam Hussein’s spies in northern Iraq.
On the other hand, there are similar delicate balances in Turkey’s relations with the Arab world, too. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent tour of Arab capitals has created a hopeful atmosphere. Yet the debates on Kirkuk and Mosul and Turkey’s possible intervention in northern Iraq in case of a war are casting a shadow on Turkish-Arab relations. Let’s not forget two things: In the past, Arabs have always strictly opposed and condemned Turkey each time the country carried out military operations in northern Iraq as part of our struggle against the terrorist PKK. Moreover, these countries see Kirkuk and Mosul as Arab soil. And still some of them even think of Turkey as ‘an imperialist force,’ as our country is successor to the Ottoman Empire.
All in all, the Iraq issue has left Turkey on the horns of a grave dilemma. On the one hand there is the risk that Turkish-US relations might be shattered, and on the other there are the Arabs.”
 TURKEY, THE US AND THE LAW BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the stances of Turkey and the US concerning the legal status of soldiers coming from the US. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US military officials due to inspect Turkish airbases have been unable to start their work because certain legal issues remain unresolved. Ankara is being insistent that nearly 150 US soldiers given this task should be subject to Turkish law. The General Staff has laid out the case on this issue to Parliament. Washington was also told through the Foreign Ministry and Parliament about the rules applying to these soldiers. Now Turkey is waiting for the US to answer its proposal. Is the law to which US soldiers are subject such an important issue? Our military’s answer to this question is as follows: ‘Of course 150 people aren’t so very important per se. In a way, they can be controlled. However, the law these soldiers will be subject to will also apply to the many other US soldiers in the pipeline. If Turkey agrees and thousands of US soldiers come to Turkey, they will be subject to this law as well. Therefore the US doesn’t want to immediately accept Ankara’s proposal.’ The US is requesting that the soldiers it sends be subject to NATO law. However, the General Staff replied that the US soldiers won’t be here on NATO business. This shows that the problem isn’t just 150 soldiers sent to do inspections, but rather thousands of soldiers that the US wants to deploy here en route to northern Iraq. The legal work carried out by the General Staff and the above examples demonstrate why Ankara is being insistent on this issue.
With the escalation of the Iraq situation, the Foreign Ministry and General Staff have been doing a great deal of legal work and examining many contingencies. For example, a 1926 agreement covering Turkey’s rights to Iraqi petroleum, subsequent developments, the legal situation of Turkmens in Iraq, the Turkmens’ rights and ways to protect them have all been examined. For example, Turkey also reviewed the declaration given by Iraq to the United Nations in 1932 when Iraq’s British mandate ended and it joined the UN. In this declaration, Iraq states that the rights of Kurds and Turkmens will be protected. Ankara also considers this declaration important as a document showing that Kurds and Turkmens have equal rights. It asks, ‘If Iraq’s integrity can’t be protected and its status changes during the operation, what will happen to the Turkmens and their rights? Who will protect and safeguard them?’ Ankara believes it important that Iraq’s territorial integrity should be protected and a strong central government established in Baghdad. It expresses this wish constantly, at all levels and platforms. It finds it too important for the Turkmens’ and Turkey’s future and security that Iraq should remain intact.”
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