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Turkish Press Review, 03-01-21
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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
21.01.2003TURKISH-ORGANIZED IRAQ SUMMIT FACES DELAY OVER HOST COUNTRY GUL: “WAR IN IRAQ WOULD HARM TURKEY’S FRAGILE ECONOMY” BARZANI: “IF TURKEY OPENS ITS MILITARY BASES TO THE US, IT WILL BE CLOSER TO ACCEPTING WAR” FELICITY PARTY LEADER KUTAN VISITS TRNC ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH POWELL DURING DAVOS GOVERNMENT BEGINS USING COMPUTERIZED CENSUS SYSTEM DENKTAS, CLERIDES EXCHANGE PROPOSED CYPRUS PLAN REVISIONS US JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN MYERS CONCLUDES VISIT OF TURKEY OZKOK TO RECEIVE BRITISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BOYCE CHP CHAIRMAN BAYKAL: “IF TURKEY GETS INVOLVED IN AN IRAQ WAR, IT MAY FIND ITSELF ISOLATED” FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... DIPLOMACY OVER BREAKFAST BY MURAT CELIK (STAR) GUL’S HOPES AND THREE GOALS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 TURKISH-ORGANIZED IRAQ SUMMIT FACES DELAY OVER HOST COUNTRYA Turkish-proposed summit on the Iraq issue which had been expected later this week now faces a delay over which country will host the gathering, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday. Though Prime Minister Abdullah Gul proposed the summit to five Mideast countries -- Syria, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all bordered on Iraq but the last –- and named Ankara as the host, Syria has proposed that its capital Damascus serve that duty. A preliminary meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday with the participation of the respective countries’ foreign ministers, including Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. /Hurriyet/
 GUL: “WAR IN IRAQ WOULD HARM TURKEY’S FRAGILE ECONOMY”Speaking at a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was working on crisis management due to both Turkey’s economic difficulties and a possible US-led operation against Iraq. “The AKP government must revive Turkey’s economy,” he said “We have no excuse for neglecting this.” Gul stated that averting war in Iraq was very important in economic terms as well as for humanity itself and the future. “We should do our utmost to prevent such a war,” he said. “War in the region would impose heavy burdens on Turkey’s fragile economy. Nobody should imagine that such an operation would boost our economy. That’s not a realistic view.” However, Gul added that government officials hadn’t yet discussed these costs with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Also speaking at the meeting, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that the AKP government was aware of the importance of its 6.5% primary surplus target. “If we’re unable to reach this target, the damage to our debt rating would persist for a half-decade or more,” added Babacan. /Milliyet/
 BARZANI: “IF TURKEY OPENS ITS MILITARY BASES TO THE US, IT WILL BE CLOSER TO ACCEPTING WAR”Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Masoud Barzani said yesterday that should Turkey allow the US to use its military bases, the country would eventually accept a possible war against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Speaking to website “kurdistanobserver.com,” Barzani stated that the Turkish government was trying hard to stay out of a prospective Iraq conflict, but that if the US insisted on deploying its forces at Turkish bases, Turkey might not be able to maintain this stance for much longer. /Cumhuriyet/
 FELICITY PARTY LEADER KUTAN VISITS TRNCFollowing Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc’s visit last week to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Felicity Party (SP) leader Recai Kutan yesterday arrived in the capital Lefkosha. Kutan, accompanied by SP Deputy Chairman Temel Karamollaoglu and Executive Board member Oguzhan Asilturk, met with President Rauf Denktas, Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu and Parliament Speaker Vehbi Zeki Serter. During their meetings, the leaders exchanged views on the future of the island. Stressing that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan had been prepared very carefully both using judicial language and “concealing traps,” Kutan said that his advisors had examined the plan and he had told the public his view of it. Denktas stated that the proposal should be revised before a public referendum planned for March. Meanwhile, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and an accompanying delegation are also scheduled to pay a visit to the TRNC tomorrow. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH POWELL DURING DAVOSAs preparations continue for a possible US-led military campaign in Iraq, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to meet with US Secretary of State Colin Powell during the five-day World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland which begins on Thursday. Powell is expected to ask Erdogan to speed up Turkey’s decision-making process on US requests concerning a prospective war, such as using the country’s air bases and harbors as well as stationing US troops in Turkey to launch a northern offensive into Iraq. /Cumhuriyet/
 GOVERNMENT BEGINS USING COMPUTERIZED CENSUS SYSTEMAt a ceremony yesterday, the Turkish government officially began its implementation of a new computerized census system. The new system, called MERNIS, will enable a more efficient census, one for instance not requiring citizens to stay indoors, as in past censuses. Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that MERNIS was an important step forward in Turkey’s government becoming an “e-state,” one boasting top computer technology. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan also attended the ceremony. /Aksam/
 DENKTAS, CLERIDES EXCHANGE PROPOSED CYPRUS PLAN REVISIONSAt a yesterday meeting in Cyprus’ buffer zone, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides presented documents to each other which included their requested revisions to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. Denktas and Clerides are set to meet again tomorrow afternoon. UN Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto and the leaders’ advisors were also present at the meetings. /Turkiye/
 US JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN MYERS CONCLUDES VISIT OF TURKEYAfter completing his contacts with Turkish offcials, US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Chairman Richard Myers yesterday left Turkey. Myers arrived in Turkey on Sunday and visited US troops stationed at NATO’s Incirlik Airbase. Yesterday, Myers met with Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul. Speaking to reporters, Myers stated that US contacts with Turkish officials would continue on cooperation regarding the Iraq issue. “Turkey is our strategic partner,” he said. “We are trying to solve the Iraq issue first through peaceful means.” Meanwhile, two other important military officials are scheduled to visit Turkey later this week to discuss the Iraq issue. British Chief of General Staff Adm. Micheal Boyce and NATO Allied Forces Commander Gen. James Jones are expected to arrive in Turkey on Thursday and Friday, respectively. /Turkiye/
 OZKOK TO RECEIVE BRITISH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BOYCEBritish Chief of General Staff Adm. Michael Boyce Kingdom is to arrive in Ankara on Thursday to meet with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hilmi Ozkok for discussions of a possible military operation in Iraq. During their meetings, Boyce will reportedly try to persuade Ozkok that British troops should be included in a northern Iraq front in such an operation. /Aksam/
 CHP CHAIRMAN BAYKAL: “IF TURKEY GETS INVOLVED IN AN IRAQ WAR, IT MAY FIND ITSELF ISOLATED”Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal, who is currently in Rome participating in a meeting of the Socialist International, said yesterday that Turkey could find itself isolated both from Europe and the rest of the world if it got involved in a war in Iraq. Stating that the conscience of the Socialist International could never condone military intervention in Iraq, Baykal added that all of the leaders he had spoken with at the meeting had urged Turkey to take up Europe’s side, not the US’, on the Iraq issue. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DIPLOMACY OVER BREAKFAST BY MURAT CELIK (STAR)Columnist Murat Celik comments on his meeting with Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“I had breakfast with Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis on Sunday morning, and our conversation was dominated by two issues, namely Iraq and Cyprus. Just before we sat down to the table, Yakis remembered that he was scheduled to travel to Brussels on Tuesday and return to Turkey on Wednesday rather late. Then he talked with his staff about postponing the visit and called Prime Minister Abdullah Gul before making his final decision. The reason for Yakis’ postponing his visit is Turkey’s upcoming Iraq summit, scheduled to be held in Istanbul on Thursday with the participation of countries in the region. This ‘Regional Peace Initiative’ summit is to be held on the foreign ministers’ level, and Yakis will host his colleagues from Arab countries.
Now let’s talk about the agenda at the breakfast table… Yakis requested that our conversation be off the record, that is, the questions and answers would be for background, rather than direct quotation. Thus what follows are my impressions from talking with Yakis. In some parts of our talk, Yakis skillfully used the language of diplomacy, but other times he spoke in direct, ordinary language. I reached a conclusion from this detailed talk concerning Iraq: the current atmosphere is not yet clear, and in such an atmosphere, Turkey suffers the most. Ankara is in a dilemma, impasse and deadlock. Obviously Turkey has the most precarious situation in the region. On the one hand, there are the dimensions of our allied relationship with the US, and on the other, the region that Turkey must continue to live in and our neighbor Iraq. On the one hand, our resistance to firing a single shot, and on the other, the necessity to open our bases and harbors for US military forces. On the one hand, our messages to Iraq, and on the other, the truth that it would be better to send those messages through the Arab world. On the one hand, the view that Saddam Hussein leaving Baghdad would solve the problem, and on the other, the questions of how the Iraqi nation will see us in the post-Saddam era. On the one hand, a largely silent Turkish public opinion, and on the other, the government’s reproach to the US that it should meet with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and understand that Turkey’s anti-war sentiment has been under-reported. At this point, let me emphasize that the last three sentences have nothing to do with my breakfast conversation with Yakis, but rather are all my personal opinion. We all know how to say ‘No war,’ but what are we doing to show this? During such times, the Turkish nation could do so much to help out and guide the government.”
 GUL’S HOPES AND THREE GOALS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila writes on Turkey’s Iraq policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Recent news coming from Baghdad has boosted Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s hope for a peaceful solution to the Iraq problem.
After two days of talks between chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Mohamed ElBaradei, and senior Iraqi officials, Baghdad pledged to offer UN monitors more help in their search for evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Ankara was pleased with yesterday’s joint 10-point statement, noting that Iraq had granted access to all sites. Turkey had previously sent a message to Saddam Hussein calling on him to more actively cooperate with the UN weapons inspectors. That’s why after yesterday’s joint statement, Gul’s hopes for a peaceful settlement went up.
In his message to Saddam Hussein, Gul had recommended that the Iraqi leader improve his cooperation with the UN inspectors, permit UN officials to interview Iraqi scientists and show his readiness to respond to any question raised. Gul requested that Saddam take more active steps on these issues by Feb. 27, the date the UN weapons inspectors’ report on Iraq is to be issued.
Ankara considers yesterday’s developments very positive and promising. Turkish officials also believe that the Iraq summit to be held in Turkey this week will also greatly contribute to peace efforts. The summit is expected to take place on Thursday in Istanbul and to be attended by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria. Another summit is also to be held later with the attendance of the leaders of these countries plus Turkey.
Gul has three main points which he wants to discuss with these countries:
1) A peaceful resolution 2) Calculating and minimizing possible losses 3) Restructuring postwar Iraq
Gul’s chief advisor Ahmet Davutoglu identified these issues as the parts of a three-phase plan, adding that Turkey would decide its course of action on these issues after evaluating its neighbors’ stances.
‘In the first phase,’ said Davutoglu, ‘in order to force Saddam’s hand, Turkey will step up pressure on Baghdad after a declaration is issued at the Istanbul summit. The Turkish government wants Saddam to cooperate fully with the UN weapons inspectors. If Turkey and the Arab countries fail to avert a possible war, they will try to calculate possible losses and make every effort to minimize these for both themselves and the Iraqi people. In the third phase, if the US does end up waging a war against Saddam, Turkey and the Arab countries want to take an active role in restructuring postwar Iraq.’
Yet even as Ankara’s hopes for peace are rising, the Turkish Army is continuing its preparations for a possible war. Ankara wants to be ready in either case.”
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