|Saturday, 28 March 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 03-01-20
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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
 MIDEAST COUNTRIES TO ATTEND IRAQ SUMMIT IN ANKARAFive Middle Eastern countries responded positively over the weekend to Turkey’s invitation to an Ankara summit in a bid to peacefully resolve the Iraq issue. Syria, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt -- all nations bordering on Iraq save the last –- said they would attend the summit convened by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul set to begin on Thursday. Meanwhile, Syria launched a separate initiative to host a meeting of regional foreign ministers in the leadup to the Turkish summit. The foreign ministers of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan and Kuwait are expected to attend the Damascus meeting. In related news, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called Gul yesterday to thank him for his efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue. /All Papers/
 PEARSON: “THE US SUPPORTS TURKEY’S EFFORTS FOR PEACE”US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson yesterday met with ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Following their one-hour meeting, Pearson told reporters that the US administration appreciated Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent call for a summit of regional countries in an effort to avert war in Iraq. Stressing that the US had supported every effort to persuade Iraq to take a more cooperative stance, Pearson said, “We hope that the meeting will be successful.” For his part, reiterating that Turkey was one of the countries with the most to lose in case of a war in Iraq, Erdogan asked the US administration to wait for the result of Turkey’s initiative. /Turkiye/
 NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL ROBERTSON: “IN CASE OF AN ATTACK FROM IRAQ, THE ALLIANCE WILL STAND BY TURKEY”NATO will stand firmly by its member Turkey in case Iraq attacks it during a war in the region, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson declared yesterday. Under the terms of the alliance, Robertson pointed out, an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all, adding that nothing would deter the alliance’s members from fulfilling their obligations. Addressing the causes for a possible war, which NATO has yet to take an official stance on, Robertson said the roots of conflict lay not in oil, as some have alleged, but rather in the world’s deep concern over Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. The NATO leader added that the alliance’s position on a war would be determined in line with the relevant United Nations resolutions. /Aksam/
 GUL: “THE AKP IS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE TURKEY’S ECONOMIC PROGRAM”Speaking at a meeting of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was determined to continue Turkey’s economic program and carry out needed structural reforms. Gul also said that the government’s number one goal was to bring down interest rates. “In order to achieve this, we first need to reduce public sector debt,” added Gul. Also speaking at the meeting, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that the government would soon hold a series of meetings with businessmen to listen to and hopefully solve their problems. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, addressing the gathering, defended tax amnesty programs as a valuable tool during past economic crises, but said that the AKP government had no such amnesties currently in the works. TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that the economy should be the government’s priority, and further urged the government not to pursue populist policies. Hisarciklioglu added that it was important to take steps to ensure fiscal discipline, adding that in the absence of public sector reform, the state’s finances could not be sound. /Milliyet/
 US JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN MYERS VISITS TURKEYUS Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers yesterday arrived in Turkey upon the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. In addition to Gen. Ozkok, Myers is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul today. /Turkiye/
 WESTON: “THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT HAS PROMISED TO DO ITS ALL TO HELP SOLVE THE CYPRUS PROBLEM”Speaking to Greek Cypriot daily Fileleftheros over the weekend, US Special Representative to Cyprus Thomas Weston stated that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had promised to do its utmost to help the two sides on Cyprus reach a permanent solution. “Turkey’s prime minister, foreign minister and the ruling AKP leader have recently made statements indicating that Turkey needs to change its current ‘no-concession’ Cyprus policy,” said Weston. “They have all promised to strive very hard to help both sides on the island reach an agreement.” Meanwhile, Javier Solana, the EU’s high representative for common foreign and security policy, also spoke to Greek daily Ethnos over the weekend, remarking that he believed a little more effort from both sides might suffice to reach a permanent solution for the island. /Cumhuriyet/
 TRNC PRIME MINISTER EROGLU: “ANNAN MIGHT PRESENT A NEW PLAN”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu stated over the weekend that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was expected to soon present a new Cyprus plan to the leaders of the two nations on the island. Criticizing the EU for inviting the Greek Cypriot administration to join the Union on its own even in the absence of a permanent solution, Eroglu said that the Cyprus’ Turkish citizens should very calmly and carefully evaluate the UN’s current proposal. “Signing the UN document without negotiating on it would amount to digging our own graves,” said Eroglu. /Cumhuriyet/
 BAYKAL WARNS ITALIAN LEFT NOT TO BE FOOLED BY KADEKOpposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, in Rome for a meeting of the Socialist International, over the weekend met with Perio Fassino, the leader of Italy’s United Leftist Democratic Party. Baykal and Fassino reportedly discussed the latest developments in Iraq as well as KADEK, the successor to the PKK terrorist organization. Warning the Italian official about KADEK, Baykal stated that all European countries should be careful about terrorist organizations and in particular should steer clear of double standards on this issue. “Italy and all other European countries should revise their policies on KADEK,” added Baykal. “KADEK is the successor to the terrorist PKK group, which threatened Turkey’s territorial integrity for many years and murdered thousands of innocent people. If Italy wants to support Turkey’s efforts at further democratization and its EU membership bid, it should take a stance against KADEK. If European countries continue to turn a blind eye to such activities, these terrorist organizations will continue to take the blood of innocents.” /Sabah/
 HIGHER PLANNING COUNCIL SETS 2003 ECONOMIC TARGETSThe Higher Planning Council held a meeting over the weekend to set the government’s economic targets for this calendar year. At the meeting, the council targeted Turkey’s annual growth rate at 5%, primary surplus at 6.5%, and inflation at 20%. New government measures to increase revenues and reduce expenditures are expected in order to reach these targets. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 PKK HOPES FOR BOOST FROM IRAQ WARBY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on plans of the terrorist group PKK to take advantage of a possible war in Iraq. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Following last week’s terrorist attack in Lice, in eastern Anatolia, which claimed one soldier’s life and injured five others, statements from the terrorist PKK made clear that the group is pursuing a new agenda of provocation. This attack took place in the first months of a government determined to take brave steps forward for democratization. Circles which stand to lose power in an environment of democracy are hoping to take advantage of the current crisis atmosphere surrounding Iraq. The PKK says that it considers the incident in Lice tantamount to a declaration of war -- in other words, it’s looking for an excuse. Speaking in December, Osman Ocalan, member of the so-called Presidential Council of KADEK, the successor to the terrorist organization PKK, said, ‘We give them until Feb. 15. We aren’t starting war yet, but if conditions don’t get better before that date, we’ll start planning for war.’ In spite of KADEK’s promise to Europe and the US to make itself a purely political organization, he was threatening that KADEK might start an armed insurrection.
In a weekend column, Milliyet’s Can Dundar published a document telling of contacts between the PKK and US officials. The document, which was found by Milliyet reporter Namik Durukan in northern Iraq and which seems to be an actual PKK report, reveals that US officials have held contacts with the PKK about the future of northern Iraq. ‘What pleases us is that our organization was not treated with suspicion,’ the report wrote. ‘This shows that our meetings will bear fruit.’ During their meetings, the PKK promised to solve the Kurdish problem as part of a ‘democratic solution’ carried out by protecting the country’s integrity. In addition, they requested that Washington serve as a mediator between on the one side Barzani and Talabani, the generally recognized Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq, and on the other the terrorist group. However, the US doesn’t have a record of keeping its promises. This time the PKK is leaning towards threat and blackmail to position itself better in Iraq’s future. It’s sending the message, ‘Don’t mess with the PKK.’
Following the attacks in Lice, the PKK abandoned its posture of supporting democracy and human rights. Speaking recently, terrorist head Osman Ocalan said that the group would fight not only in Turkey but also in the Middle East, using new tactics and harsh methods, and called on young people to ‘meet in the free mountains.’ The PKK’s top echelons are threatening Turkey with starting another separatist campaign in order to gain money from a war in Iraq. Terrorism and the threat of war… Is this development, which coincided with Turkey’s preparations for new democratic reforms, just a coincidence? Why is the tactic of blackmail gaining ground? Obviously the nation is not to blame…”
 DIPLOMACYBY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)
Columnist Derya Sazak writes about a possible US military attack on Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In his influential book ‘Diplomacy,’ Henry Kissinger, the former US secretary of state and Nobel Peace Prize winner, characterizes his country’s situation in the post-Cold War era as follows: ‘In the new world order, the US can neither wash its hands of the world altogether nor take the full reins of it.’ Through the mid-1990s, when Kissinger made the above- quoted evaluation, the old superpower Soviet Russia had already quit the scene and the Gulf War had culminated in the withdrawal of Iraq’s forces from Kuwait. Bush the Elder’s new world order was gradually being consolidated.
The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center came at a time when the US had already declared its global superiority in the 21st century, and at that time no one suspected in the slightest that the new order wouldn’t last. Moreover, there was no nation capable of balancing out the US’ ‘omnipotence.’ This imbalance thus created an invisible enemy, and on Sept. 11, the birthday of the ‘asymmetrical war,’ the country went through the trial of fire. Since that day, the US has been trying to restore its almighty position by cloaking its cause under the country’s ‘security interests,’ waging war in Afghanistan and getting prepared for another one in Iraq. The US is formulating a new strategy at the expense of international law.
The military option has overtaken the diplomatic one. The US’ target is Iraq. UN weapons inspectors are in Baghdad and continuing their work, and they are scheduled to present a report to the Security Council on Jan. 27, a report which will help George W. Bush make up his mind about his orders to US forces in the Gulf region.
US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers is currently in the midst of a very important visit to Ankara which will see a number of critical contacts. Yet the final decision on Turkey’s scope of involvement in a possible Iraq offensive will be made not by our military but by the government and Parliament.
In considering the US request to station 15,000 troops in Turkey for opening a northern front into Iraq, let’s not forget the Vietnam War and the mire the US was dragged into during those years. We need this perspective to fully evaluate Washington’s claims that a war in Iraq will last ‘only a few weeks’ should Turkey allow that front to go forward. To see why, it is worth quoting at length from Kissinger’s book:
‘When John F. Kennedy was president, the number of US military personnel stationed in Vietnam was about 900. By the time he was assassinated, it was over 16,000. At that time, acting US Assistant Secretary of State William Bundy estimated the probability that 40,000 troops could control what was going on in Vietnam was only 70%. Yet, an attempt to halt developments there would have cast a shadow on the US’ credibility in the international arena, and could have accomplished nothing more than delaying the complete collapse and failure to come.’
US officials proved unsuccessful in convincing the world that their goal wasn’t to sweep Vietnam off the map or change its government. Whatever the possible consequences of a war against Saddam, isn’t the US about to embark upon a similar adventure in Iraq some 40 years after Vietnam?”
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