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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-04
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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> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
04.02.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GUL MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADER BAYKAL TO BRIEF HIM ON IRAQPrime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal to brief him on recent developments concerning a possible US-led operation against Iraq. Speaking after their meeting, Gul said that this week was very critical. He stated that it was the AKP government’s duty to protect the nation’s interests and future as well as take all needed measures in case of a war. For his part, Baykal said that Turkey would face difficult days ahead if war breaks out. He added that northern Iraq was a delicate issue for Turkey and that the formation of a Kurdish state there should be blocked. /Turkiye/
 TURKISH, US OFFICIALS DISCUSS WAYS TO STEM WAVE OF REFUGEES DURING POSSIBLE IRAQ CONFLICTTurkish and US officials are currently discussing ways to prevent a possible exodus of refugees to Turkey’s territories in case of a war in Iraq. They have agreed to establish 15 refugee camps in northern Iraq to help people who are likely to flee from Iraq. The number of camps might be increased to 23, if needed, said the officials. Since the National Security Council (NSC) last week endorsed basing foreign troops in the country and also called for government and parliamentary approval for sending Turkish forces abroad, Turkey has recently speeded up its preparations for a possible Iraq war. "The NSC recommends that peaceful means continue to be sought, but also that the Parliament take steps in accordance with Article 92 against possible adverse developments as well as set into motion military measures necessary to protect Turkey's national interests," the Council said in a statement. Article 92 gives Parliament the authority to approve stationing foreign forces on Turkish soil or to dispatch Turkish troops abroad. Meanwhile, US newsmagazine Time reports in its current issue that Turkey has signed an agreement with the US to establish 17 refugee camps along the Turkish-Iraqi frontier. /All Papers/
 TURKEY, US REACH UNDERSTANDING ON ISSUE OF MOSUL AND KIRKUKTurkey, the US and Iraqi Kurdish groups have reportedly reached an unwritten understanding on the issue of Mosul and Kirkuk, two oil-rich cities of the region which also have sizable populations of ethnic Turkmen. Under this tacit agreement, the three players in the region have reportedly settled on the following points: 1) Neither Turkey nor Kurdish groups will enter Mosul or Kirkuk during a US-led operation in Iraq. 2) US military forces will be responsible for protecting these areas as well as their Turkmen population during such an operation. 3) However, Turkey reserves the right to intervene if Kurdish groups attempt to enter one or both of these two cities. /Hurriyet/
 SWEDISH FOREIGN MINISTER LINDH MEETS WITH ERDOGAN, GUL, AND YAKISSwedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh yesterday met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis. During her meeting with Gul, the two officials discussed such issues as Turkey’s relations with the European Union, human rights and women’s rights. Yakis was also present during the talks. Meeting later with Erdogan, Lindh thanked him for facilitating her visit to the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, adding that this showed that the AKP government was pursuing an open, transparent policy. Last year, when Diyarbakir was still under State of Emergency Rule (OHAL) and the previous government was in power, Lindh had not been allowed to travel there. Lindh added yesterday that she appreciated the government’s steps put forth for Turkey’s EU membership bid. /Aksam/
 TALABANI: “THE US NEEDS TURKEY’S PERMISSION BEFORE ENTERING NORTHERN IRAQ”Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani yesterday dismissed as “rumors” media reports that three US military aircraft had landed in an area under Kurdish control. "If American troops come to our areas, they must first get permission from Turkey,” said Talabani. “Otherwise they cannot come, unless they come by parachute, but I don't think a huge army will be able to come by parachute. We are expecting them, but not yet.” He also stated that it would not be good for future relations between Kurds and Arabs if the IPUK were to attack “Arab cities” in northern Iraq such as Mosul or Kirkuk. “If we attack Kirkuk, we would provoke Turkey,” added Talabani. “If we attack Mosul, this could sow animosity between Kurds and Arabs. For this reason, we are not planning to attack any Arab or Iraqi towns.” /Hurriyet/
 DENKTAS: “THE UN MAY PRESENT A NEW PLAN”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas met yesterday with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides to discuss the United Nations’ current Cyprus plan. Speaking after the meeting, Denktas said that it was possible that the UN would present a new plan for the island. This would be the third such plan since December. He also said that he had presented a document to Clerides yesterday which included proposals for a just and fair resolution to the Cyprus problem. /Milliyet/
 HANNAY: “IF THE SIDES ON CYPRUS DON’T REACH AN AGREEMENT BEFORE FEB. 28, THIS WOULD HURT TURKEY’S EU BID”Lord David Hannay, Britain’s special representative for Cyprus, who is currently on a visit to Turkey, yesterday met with Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Baki Ilgin to discuss recent developments on the Cyprus issue. Hannay said that if Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) leader Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides don’t reach an agreement on the UN Cyprus plan before the European Union-United Nations Feb. 28 deadline, this would affect negatively Turkey’s EU membership bid. He stated that he was still hopeful that an agreement could be reached on the plan before that date, adding that some of Denktas’s concerns seemed “unrealistic.” /Milliyet/
 CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR: “THE CB AND THE GOVERNMENT ARE WORKING IN HARMONY”Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti said yesterday that the CB and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government were working in harmony. “The CB’s point of view isn’t different from the government’s,” he stated. “There may be some difference in the details, but these can be worked through.” Serdengecti also said that pursuing any path besides one promoting economic stability and addressing Turkey’s public sector debt problem would be unthinkable. He added that a 6.5% primary surplus was sufficient to roll over Turkey’s debts. “Turkey needs to increase its primary surplus as much as possible,” stated the CB head. /Aksam/
 IRAQI DEPUTY HEALTH MINISTER VISITS ANKARAIraqi Deputy Health Minister Tahir Tevfik al-Tikriti yesterday arrived in Ankara to hold a series of meetings with Turkish officials. Speaking to journalists at Esenboga Airport, al-Tikriti stated that he was visiting Turkey in order to explore possible avenues of cooperation in health issues. He added that Iraq might ask for humanitarian aid from Turkey, and medicine in particular. /Star/
 TURKISH NATIONAL TEAM’S RECBER, GUNES NAMED BEST IN UEFA POLLTwo key figures in Turkey’s National Football Team, which made history last year by proceeding to semifinal competition at the World Cup in Korea, have been selected best in their class in a new poll. The United European Football Association (UEFA) poll names Rustu Recber, the team’s goalkeeper, and team coach Senol Gunes as the top goalkeeper and coach in Europe. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKEY AND THE US, TALKING WAR BY SEDAT ERGIN (HURRIYET)Columnist Sedat Ergin writes about negotiations on US requests of Turkey ahead of a possible war against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Yesterday, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government took a major step towards meeting US requests for a possible war against Iraq by officially beginning negotiations on details of cooperation between our two countries.
Under the 1980 Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the two countries, the US is allowed to use its military bases in Turkey only within the framework of NATO objectives, as both countries are members of the alliance. Thus there is now a legal vacuum regarding US use of these bases for a possible Iraq offensive, as NATO has yet to take an official stance on the issue. Under these circumstances, it is up to Parliament to pass a resolution allowing American troops to be stationed in our country, and a series of agreements is needed to clarify the scope of cooperation between Turkey and the US.
First of all, a protocol has to be drawn up regarding proposed upgrading and construction at Turkish airbases and ports the US wants to use. Moreover, another protocol is needed to regulate the legal status of some 4, 000 American personnel made up of engineers and logistics experts who will carry through the construction. These two problems await urgent solution, as the US is planning to start an operation by the end of this month.
Yet, there is more. At least 10 different agreements have to be drawn up concerning the legal status of US troops and their role in a war. For instance, two separate protocols are needed for those who will fight on the frontlines in Iraq and those who stay in Turkey and provide logistic support. Several other legal documents have to be drawn up to establish the ground rules for US troops’ entries and exits into and out of our country, planes’ takeoffs and landings, and ships that will use Turkish ports.
However, the most important issue of all is that Turkey must pressure the US to sign a binding agreement to compensate our country’s possible economic losses in case of a conflict.”
 BAYKAL’S CONDITION BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s meeting yesterday with Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is one by one taking steps which have been planned out before. Ankara has been following the path that was laid down during last week’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting and so is planning to meet the US’ expectations of it in stages. Gul yesterday told People’s Republican Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal what sort of path he’s planning to follow. Today a second step will be taken as Gul briefs the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group. After the US presents its evidence on Iraq’s alleged violations to the United Nations tomorrow, Parliament’s authorization will be requested for upgrades on our airbases and ports. The decisions about sending soldiers abroad and stationing foreign soldiers here will be made following the Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram) holiday. The second report due from UN weapons inspectors on Feb. 14 is being awaited so that information concerning this issue can be sent to the Parliament.
During Gul’s meeting with Baykal yesterday, the CHP leader laid out his party’s stance, saying that he was against stationing foreign soldiers in Turkey. Baykal reportedly told Gul that he would support sending Turkish soldiers abroad but not a proposal to allow US soldiers to be stationed in Turkey. Therefore Baykal asked Gul to bring these issues before Parliament in separate proposals. Baykal told Gul that if the matters are contained in a single proposal then the CHP would oppose this. Explaining why he’s against stationing foreign soldiers, Baykal said, ‘If Turkish soldiers go abroad to protect Turkey’s interests, of course we would support this. However, we can’t approve of foreign soldiers coming to Turkish soil and then proceeding to war. If we supported this, then people would get the idea that Turkey is entering a war with the US. In addition, Turkey would become a country in the frontlines of a possible war against Iraq, but Turkey has no such a war.’
Gul didn’t turn aside Baykal’s suggestions. Gul also favors taking steps one by one. He thinks that the Parliament should make its decisions in stages in order to be able to evaluate developments day by day. However, if circumstances suddenly and drastically change, then he might take more rapid steps. On the one hand, Gul will take steps in line with the military option, complying with the NSC, the General Staff, Foreign Ministry and the main opposition, and on the other, he will continue his search for a peaceful solution. He also wants to try this again in Europe. If the circumstances are appropriate, Gul will take steps in this direction as well.”
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