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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-14
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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
14.01.2003GUL MEETS WITH CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. OZKOK US AMBASSADOR PEARSON MEETS WITH ZIYAL SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SHARA PAYS VISIT TO ANKARA US MILITARY OFFICIALS ARRIVE AT INCIRLIK AIRBASE FOR INSPECTIONS PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ARINC VISITS TRNC DE SOTO: “YOU SHOULD CHOOSE EITHER THE UN PLAN OR A NO-SOLUTION IMPASSE” DENKTAS TO MEET WITH CLERIDES, DISCUSS UN PLAN YSK POSTPONES SIIRT BY-ELECTION UNTIL MARCH OZILHAN: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT SHOULD CLARIFY ITS STANCE ON IRAQ” AKP LEADER ERDOGAN TRAVELS TO CHINA GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PRIVATIZATION PROGRAM TOP IMF AND WORLD BANK OFFICIALS DUE IN TURKEY ON THURSDAY FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... DIPLOMACY WITH THE ARABS BY DERYA SAZAK WHERE DOES OUR FLAW LIE? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
 GUL MEETS WITH CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. OZKOKPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. During their meeting, the prime minister and Ozkok reportedly discussed Gul’s recent tour of the Mideast and a message from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein conveyed by State Minister Kursad Tuzmen as well as other developments in the region. Following the meeting, sources said that there was no distance between the government and the military on the Iraq issue, that in fact there was full cooperation and consensus. Reportedly it was also decided that Turkey’s efforts for a peaceful resolution of the Iraq issue would continue until the very end. /Turkiye/
 US AMBASSADOR PEARSON MEETS WITH ZIYALThe United States is closely following Turkey’s recent high-level contacts with Middle Eastern countries, and US Ambassador in Ankara Robert Pearson yesterday visited the Turkish Foreign Ministry to be briefed on these contacts. Pearson met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and exchanged views with him on Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as State Minister Kursat Tuzmen’s visit to Baghdad. Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Pearson remarked that he believed the Turkish and American governments would soon reach a settlement on US demands regarding the Iraq issue. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis held a meeting with top-level Foreign Ministry bureaucrats to evaluate Pearson’s visit. /Cumhuriyet/
 SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER AL-SHARA PAYS VISIT TO ANKARAAhead of a possible war in Iraq, Middle Eastern countries are seeking new ways to improve regional cooperation. Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara yesterday paid a visit to Ankara to discuss recent developments in the region with Turkish officials. Speaking to journalists at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport, al-Shara stated that he was very pleased to pay a visit to a friendly neighboring country. Answering questions on the Iraq issue, al-Shara added that he would discuss recent “significant and dangerous” developments with Turkish officials. “Turkey and Syria share common concerns on the Iraq issue,” said the Syrian minister. “That’s why I believe that our countries will establish a strong partnership.” Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis welcomed his Syrian counterpart in Ankara. Afterwards, al-Shara was received by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and also met with ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After these meetings, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer received the Syrian minister, who conveyed a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to him. Al-Shara told Sezer that Assad also wanted to pay a visit to Turkey. The two officials reportedly stressed that both countries believed Iraq’s territorial and political integrity should be protected. For his part, Sezer remarked that Turkey always advocated peaceful resolutions to the problems of the Middle East and wanted the Iraq issue to be solved in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions. /Cumhuriyet/
 US MILITARY OFFICIALS ARRIVE AT INCIRLIK AIRBASE FOR INSPECTIONSA delegation of 150 US military officials yesterday arrived at Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase in Adana to carry out inspections. Ahead of a possible Iraq conflict, the military delegation is to conduct inspections at Turkey’s bases and ports over the next 10 days. /Star/
 PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ARINC VISITS TRNCParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc accompanied by a delegation of 20 deputies yesterday arrived in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). At the airport, Arinc told reporters that the Turkish Parliament had always supported the just cause of the Turkish Cypriots. “Responsibility for the Cyprus issue belongs not only to the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey, but also to others trying to do away with the Turkish Cypriots.” Arinc then visited TRNC President Rauf Denktas. The president briefed the delegation on recent developments and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. Denktas claimed that if Annan’s plan were implemented as it stands now, in 5-10 years not even a single Turk would remain on the island. For his part, Arinc pointed to recent demonstrations on the island in favor of a settlement, adding, “These are normal occurences in democracies.” Stressing that the Turkish Parliament was made up of deputies from two parties working together in harmony, Arinc said, “This should serve as an example for the Turkish Cypriots as well.” /Turkiye/
 DE SOTO: “YOU SHOULD CHOOSE EITHER THE UN PLAN OR A NO-SOLUTION IMPASSE”UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto yesterday remarked that he believed that the parties on Cyprus could still reach a settlement on Annan’s Cyprus plan by Feb. 28, the deadline set by the European Union. “The leaders should choose either the UN plan or a no-solution impasse,” said de Soto. He stated that he would meet with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Galfcos Clerides on the island tomorrow. “The two leaders are carrying a great responsibility on their shoulders,” said the UN official. “This is a historic opportunity that should not be missed. Cyprus will be united or remain as a divided island.” Agreement on Annan’s plan is seen as necessary for the TRNC to take part in the already begun EU accession of Greek Cyprus. /Hurriyet/
 DENKTAS TO MEET WITH CLERIDES, DISCUSS UN PLANTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas is set to meet with Greek Cypriot administration leader Glafcos Clerides tomorrow at a lunch. Denktas yesterday met with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto. After the meeting, the president said that de Soto would also attend tomorrow’s meeting where the three men would exchange views on the plan proposed by Annan, for which a Feb. 28 deadline has been set for agreement. /Turkiye/
 YSK POSTPONES SIIRT BY-ELECTION UNTIL MARCHThe Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) yesterday announced that it was postponing a by-election in Siirt for one month, pushing back the date to March 9. The board cited “new legal arrangements” for its decision. It was not clear what impact, if any, the postponement would have on the bid of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to run in the special election, a move designed to pave the way for his assuming the prime ministry. /Turkiye/
 OZILHAN: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT SHOULD CLARIFY ITS STANCE ON IRAQ”Tuncay Ozilhan, head of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD), yesterday urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to clarify its stance on a possible United States operation against Iraq. “If Turkey doesn’t decide as soon as possible what to do in case of such an operation, this could affect Turkey’s economic balances negatively,” he told a TUSIAD meeting in Istanbul. “Turkey standing alone on this would undermine our future.” Ozilhan added that Turkey, as a democratic country, should not be seen as cooperating with a totalitarian regime. Ozilhan also criticized the government for what he called “populist economic policies.” Also speaking at the meeting, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that as Iraq was Turkey’s neighbor, any operation in the country would have a great impact. “Since delicate issues are involved, decisions should be taken very carefully and within the framework of democracy,” added Babacan. Responding to Ozilhan’s criticisms, Babacan denied that the government’s policies were populist, adding that its performance, dynamism, and determination were as fresh as the day it was elected over two months ago. /Milliyet/
 AKP LEADER ERDOGAN TRAVELS TO CHINARuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to the People’s Republic of China to pay an official visit. Erdogan was accompanied by State Ministers for the economy Kursat Tuzmen and Ali Babacan, Transportation Minister Binali Yildrim, Tourism Minister Guldal Aksit, as well as various deputies, businessmen and journalists. /Turkiye/
 GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PRIVATIZATION PROGRAMThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government yesterday unveiled its privatization program. Speaking at a press conference, State Minister for Economy Abdullatif Sener called the program “bold,” and said the government was determined to carry it through. “This privatization program will encourage entrepreneurs in Turkey,” said Sener, adding that the government’s privatization target for this year was $4 billion. The program indicated that institutions such as the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB), the Istanbul Gold Exchange (IAB), and the National Lottery would be slated for selloff. /Milliyet/
 TOP IMF AND WORLD BANK OFFICIALS DUE IN TURKEY ON THURSDAYTwo top officials from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are set to arrive in Ankara on Thursday for talks with state economic officials. Anne Krueger, first deputy managing director for the IMF, and Johannes Linn, the WB’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, are expected to discuss recent economic developments and Turkey’s economic program with government officials. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DIPLOMACY WITH THE ARABS BY DERYA SAZAKColumnist Derya Sazak comments on Turkey’s policy on a possible operation against Iraq by the US. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Prime Minister Gul’s government paid two important visits this weekend in its diplomatic initiative directed to Arab countries on the Iraq issue. State Minister Kursad Tuzmen was received by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul met with Iranian President Mohammed Khatami in Tehran. Turkey is pursuing an active peace policy. The US is massing troops in the Gulf region in preparation for a possible operation, and the government is looking for solutions without war before the Bush administration receives Ankara’s decision on its cooperation. As a result of these contacts, Parliament will produce a final decision concerning Turkey’s stance after the weapon inspectors present their report to the United Nations on Jan. 27.
Actually the situation is much more complex for Turkey than it was during the Gulf War 12 years ago. At that time, Iraq was occupying Kuwait. Likewise, the world refused to just stand and watch as an independent country was wiped off the map, and this refusal was reflected in a UN Security Council resolution. Turkey provided the coalition powers with the use of its facilities and opened Incirlik Airbase rather than opening a front directly on its neighbor Iraq. At that time, the first President Bush and Turkish President Turgut Ozal were in agreement on the need to use force against Iraq and ‘an Iraq without Saddam,’ but the army and the government were less sure. Today the General Staff and the US administration have a clearer stance, but the political power is hesitating to make a decision.
During the first months of the AKP government the atmosphere was different. Erdogan and Gul, flush from their election victory, were sending encouraging signals to the Bush administration concerning a possible operation against Iraq. During Erdogan’s visit to the White House, this was reflected in front of cameras but later the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, unable to get what it expected from the European Union summit on Dec. 12, started hedging in order not to stand alone with the US during a possible Iraq operation. Finally, this ambivalent policy went as far as knocking on Saddam’s door in Baghdad. When he visited the White House last year, AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Saddam a ‘dictator,’ but the trade minister’s visit to Iraq last week served to boost the legal standing of Saddam’s regime. Why did the AKP do this? Another contradiction is that Gul just signed a document giving the US the permission it wanted to inspect our air bases and airports. Actually the Bush administration is expecting to open a corridor into northern Iraq from Turkish territory and move US soldiers through our territory. However, meeting this request is impossible without the Turkish Parliament’s approval. I wonder if Gul’s government will say to his Arab friends, ‘We did our best but we are unable to make Saddam listen to us’ and give a green light to the US? Everybody is saying different things in Ankara now. We have been writing about this issue for weeks, so why doesn’t Parliament discuss our Iraq policy? And they told us that this new government would work with transparency.”
 WHERE DOES OUR FLAW LIE? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on State Minister Kursat Tuzmen’s recent visit to Baghdad and an incident during his press conference with Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramazan. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Americans used to have a joke, one that gently mocked their leaders but also bragged at how well their country’s system of government operates. ‘FDR proved that even a disabled man can be president’ the joke went. ‘Then Harry S Truman has showed that “the man on the street” could govern the country. Finally, of course, Dwight Eisenhower showed that to be president you didn’t need even a lick of sense.’ During Ronald Reagan’s term in office, everyone made fun of him, just as they now mock George W. Bush. Yet, through all this, the US system continues to run like clockwork.
True, if the foundations of a state’s overall system are laid down properly, individual administrative weaknesses don’t matter quite so much. In our country we, too, have our own individual administrative weaknesses, but our state’s established mechanisms chronically fail to compensate for them. A recent example was State Minister Kursat Tuzmen’s visit to Baghdad, where he faced a very unpleasant situation, much like one experienced in 1997 by Necmettin Erbakan, then prime minister and leader of the closed Welfare Party, when he was in Libya, participating in a joint press conference with Libya leader Muammar Qaddafi. At that occasion, Qaddafi publicly scolded Erbakan for some reason, yet Erbakan failed to say a single word in response. Similarly, Tuzmen and Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramazan were in the middle of a press conference when Ramazan suddenly got angry at a question posed at him and stormed out, ending the conference, and leaving Tuzmen, a minister of the Turkish state’s government, alone and in great shock. [Note from Press and Information Directorate: Ramazan cut short the press conference when asked about the issue of Turkey’s claim to oil revenues from northern Iraq’s Kirkuk and Mosul regions, currently unofficially administrated by Kurdish political parties in the area.]
Why is it always Turkish statesmen, but not US, British, French, Israeli or Greek ones who face such circumstances? Perhaps because those countries’ officials make thorough preparations well before such contacts so as to keep a tight rein on things, as they have the requisite system for this. But where does our flaw lie? Is it because we lack the necessary expertise in such systems, or because we simply don’t know how foreign affairs are conducted?”
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