|Thursday, 2 April 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 03-02-06
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 GUL: “WE WILL SUPPORT THE US IN AN OPERATION AGAINST IRAQ”Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had done its utmost to avoid the need for a possible US-led operation against Iraq but that now it would do what the nation’s interests require. “Turkey will support the US in such an operation,” proclaimed Gul. “Last month’s Istanbul summit to seek a peaceful solution to the Iraq issue was appreciated by the United States and European Union countries as well.” He also said that the government had continued its peace efforts at the Davos, Switzerland World Economic Forum and in a letter to US President George W. Bush, adding however that all these initiatives had fallen short and avenues to peace were now exhausted. “I believe that now only the Iraqi leadership has the power to head off such a war, specifically by cooperating with the United Nations weapons inspectors in good faith,” Gul stated. “Now we have to consider the nation’s interests, and these require our acting alongside the US in a possible war. For the sake of our national security, we can’t be an onlooker to developments in our regional neighborhood.” He added that without Turkey’s participation a Kurdish state could be founded in northern Iraq, a development which the nation is adamantly opposed to. /Turkiye/
 GOVERNMENT PRESENTS PROPOSAL TO PARLIAMENT ON STATIONING US TROOPS IN TURKEYThe Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led government yesterday presented a proposal to Parliament to authorize the US to deploy its troops at Turkey’s airbases and ports in preparation for a war in Iraq. The proposal stressed that Turkey should pursue an Iraq policy that protects its own national interests. The government also proposed that US military officials be authorized to conduct upgrades at Turkish military facilities. Parliament is expected to discuss the proposals during closed sessions. /Sabah/
 THE TIMES: “TURKEY MIGHT ASSUME THE ROLE OF PEACEKEEPER AFTER AN IRAQ WAR”British daily the Times of London yesterday reported that Turkish troops could patrol a sector of Iraq as part of a peacekeeping operation after a war and the expected ouster of President Saddam Hussein. According to the daily, Turkey has already proved its credentials in peacekeeping operations through its successful command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, Afghanistan. “The Americans are hoping that the promise of a role for Turkish troops in a postwar Iraq might persuade the Ankara Parliament to approve a US troop presence in Turkey,” added the Times. “The involvement of Turkey in the US-led coalition is seen as one of the most important elements in the whole American strategy for Iraq, before, during and after a war. The Turkish Parliament is due to vote this week on whether to allow American troops to be based in Turkey for an attack on Iraq from the north, although there are indications the vote might be delayed.” /All Papers/
 NATO COUNCIL MEETING TO DISCUSS MEASURES TO PROTECT TURKEYThe NATO Council, a body comprised of 19 permanent national representatives to the alliance, is to hold an extraordinary session today to discuss the Iraq issue and possible ways of protecting Turkey in case of war. The council is expected to recommend swift completion of preparations aimed at ensuring Turkey’s national security, including measures to send AWACS surveillance planes and Patriot missiles to the country. Germany and France, who are urging restraint in the push to war, had earlier blocked a vote on such measures. Turkey, a NATO charter member, is the only country in the alliance which borders Iraq, and NATO doctrine says that an attack against one member is an attack against all. /Hurriyet/
 US TREASURY SECRETARY TAYLOR TO VISIT TURKEY, DISCUSS ECONOMIC FALLOUT OF IRAQ WARIn the latest in a series of high-profile US visits on Turkey’s role in a possible Iraq war, US Treasury Secretary John Taylor is due to arrive in Ankara today to discuss the possible economic fallout in Turkey of such a war. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday stated that Taylor’s visit carried great importance since he is expected to brief Turkish officials on Bush administration proposals designed to compensate for Turkey’s losses. Taylor is today expected to meet with State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan and Treasury Undersecretary Faik Oztrak, and tomorrow with Prime Minister Gul. /Hurriyet, Milliyet/
 TURKEY HOSTING HISTORIC IRAQI OPPOSITION SUMMITJust one day after the US presented the UN Security Council what it called proof of Iraq’s continuing weapons violations, Ankara is hosting a historic summit of Iraqi opposition leaders hoping to shape a post-Saddam Hussein future. The meeting brings together Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) Sanan Ahmet Aga, and Nechirvan Barzani, the nephew of Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani as well as prime minister of the so-called regional Kurdistan government. Joining them will be officials from Turkey’s Foreign Ministry and General Staff Office, as well as US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson and Zalmay Khalilzad, US President George W. Bush’s envoy to the Iraqi opposition. The Turkish officials are expected to convey a message to the Iraqi and US sides that Turkey would consider the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq a “casus belli.” /Sabah/
 TURKEY, US TO ESTABLISH IRAQ SUBCOMMITTEEUS President George W. Bush’s Envoy to the Iraqi opposition Zalmay Khalilzad, who is currently visiting Turkey for a historic Iraq summit to be held today in Ankara, yesterday met with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. “[Turkey and the US] have agreed to form a subcommittee that would work on a memorandum of understanding between the United States and Turkey on the political track,” Khalilzad tolod reporters after the meeting. /Cumhuriyet/
 PENTAGON ADVISOR PERLE: “TURKEY’S SUPPORT ON IRAQ IS INDISPENSABLE FOR THE US”Richard Perle, chairman of the Defense Policy Board, an important advisory panel to the Pentagon, yesterday said that the US launching an operation against Iraq without the benefit of Turkey’s support was all but unthinkable. “Turkey’s support for a US-led operation in Iraq is indispensable,” said Perle. “Regime change in Iraq will be beneficial not only for the US, but also for Turkey. Turkey and Iraq will then be able to improve their commercial ties.” /Cumhuriyet/
 DENKTAS: “THE TRNC NEEDS TURKEY’S SUPPORT TO NEGOTIATE ON THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said yesterday that he needed Turkey’s support to properly negotiate the United Nations Cyprus plan with Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides. Denktas also called it was his “duty” not to sign the UN plan in its current form, since it was clearly unacceptable. “We need to resist swallowing this plan, ” stated Denktas. “Turkey’s support, help, and determination carry great importance for us in this.” He added that the TRNC’s proposals for some changes to the plan had been rejected by Clerides, whom he described as ready to accept the plan as it now stands. /Aksam/
 IMF CALLS FOR DETERMINED APPROACH ON ECONOMIC PROGRAM TARGETSAn International Monetary Fund delegation will soon visit Turkey for the fourth review of the country’s economic program, once the government completes its Letter of Intent (LOI), IMF sources said yesterday. The IMF first wants to see demonstrated a determined approach towards reaching the program’s targets, the sources added. /Milliyet/
 TUSIAD CHAIRMAN OZILHAN URGES GOVERNMENT ACTION AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT, INFLATIONIf Turkey fails to take necessary measures to combat unemployment, a host of social problems could be exacerbated with serious consequences, warned Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday. Presenting a report on inflation and economic growth at a TUSIAD meeting, Ozilhan urged the government to continue its determined fight against inflation to pave the way for the nation’s prosperity. The government should also reduce public sector debt, facilitate the smooth functioning of markets, and take steps to attract foreign capital, he added. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 OR WOULD YOU PREFER THE SERBIA-MONTENEGRO MODEL? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi writes on Turkish-US relations, the Cyprus issue, and Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Sometimes things which at first glance seem wholly unrelated later, upon closer examination, turn out to have intimate, if tenuous, connections.
Could you ever imagine that Marshall Tito’s Yugoslavia, which used to be composed of six federal states, would one day crumble to pieces and that two of its remnants, Serbia and Montenegro, would form a confederation, thus declaring to the world the end of a 74-year-old state?
Yes, that’s exactly what happened two days ago when the Serbian and Montenegrin Parliaments adopted this new establishment and formed a new state with common defense and foreign policies and a common capital in Belgrade. And, while we were racking our brains as to whether the Belgian or Dominican Republic-Haitian model presented a better solution to the Cyprus problem, now, thanks to our good luck, we have another option(!) before us: The Serbia-Montenegro model. Let’s leave this issue for the moment and turn to some others (but we’ll be back).
Yesterday’s Hurriyet reported that US Vice President Dick Cheney had telephoned Prime Minister Abdullah Gul this week and told him, ‘You shall be quick and make a decision [on Iraq] immediately.’ And he went even further (with what earthly authority?) and told the premier, ‘(Please?) pass the necessary resolution in Parliament on Thursday [today] to allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey.’ Prime Minister Gul reportedly replied, ‘We will discuss this issue in Parliament on Feb. 18 [after the holiday]. I can’t make the Turkish people accept both opening a northern front into Iraq and giving concessions on Cyprus at the same time.’
In fact the prime minister’s intended meaning must have been something like this: ‘If you want your troops stationed in our country, then give us some help on the Cyprus issue.’
What sort of help could Turkey be expecting from the US on Cyprus? It could be Washington abandoning its longstanding policy of not recognizing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), or at least ceasing to block other countries from recognizing it. Or the US could help Turkey push for changes in UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan in line with the TRNC’s demands. Or it could be that the US supports a Serbian-Montenegrin model, a confederation, if not a Dominican Republic-Haitian model which is based on the presence of two separate states.
We do have a strategic partnership with the US, don’t we? If that’s really the case, then now the ball is on Washington’s court.”
 WORDS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak comments on the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) position in having to make a decision on the Iraq crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Here’s the latest twist in the Iraq crisis. Now the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has to make a decision on permitting US soldiers to ‘pass through the north’ as well as on upgrading Turkey’s airbases and ports. The US is insisting that Parliament make these two decisions before the Feast of the Sacrifice (Kurban Bayram) holiday. US Vice President Dick Cheney called Prime Minister Abdullah Gul this week, stressing, ‘Decisions postponed until after the holiday might delay the US operation at the beginning of March,’ which narrowed the government’s maneuvering room. Our political leadership has been trying to buy time for weeks, but now it’s do or die time.
From the very start, did Turkey have any chance of standing outside the developments in Iraq? Here, we really should give the AKP government its due. The foundations of our Iraq policy were laid before the Nov. 3 elections which brought the AKP to power. Cheney, who urged Gul to make a decision quickly, actually kicked off the process last year when he visited Ankara under the previous government. Last August the US conveyed its request to Ankara to upgrade these airbases and ports and to station US troops in Turkey for a northern front. These requests were discussed during a recent summit chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. After the Nov. 3 elections, the AKP’s single-handed victory encouraged the US. The US opened up its file on Iraq for AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he visited the White House. Clearly, Bush considered Erdogan’s words in Washington to be ‘encouraging.’ Then at December’s European Union Copenhagen summit, everybody saw that Erdogan’s policy of pressure towards Germany and France was quite clumsy. Neither French President Chirac nor German Chancellor Schroeder was convinced concerning Iraq. France’s veto at the UN Security Council, as a permanent member, makes it difficult for the US to convince the UN to make a decision in favor of military action against Iraq.
The US will launch an operation at the beginning of next month. If Ankara doesn’t permit US soldiers to pass into northern Iraq ‘in due time,’ the US strategy is likely to change. That’s why Cheney urged Gul to act quickly. Did Erdogan make ‘irrevocable’ promises to the Bush administration on Iraq? Sources who sat in on the Bush-Erdogan meeting say the AKP leader made no promise that would be binding on Turkey. After listening to Bush, Erdogan said that he would convey the US administration’s view to the government. A written report of the meeting was also delivered to the Foreign Ministry. Now it’s time to make a decision. In Erdogan’s words, ‘Either we’re part of the equation, or we stand outside it.’ This is the government’s difficulty. The Republican People’s Party (CHP) is saying no to war, so the AKP will have to bear this decision by itself. Truly this is a heavy burden.”
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