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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-26
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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 : email@example.com Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 GOVERNMENT SENDS PROPOSALS ON IRAQ
 ISSUE TO PARLIAMENTLast evening, the government sent for debate in Parliament proposals to allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey as well as sending Turkish troops into Iraq. The proposals would authorize 62,000 US soldiers, 255 jets and 65 helicopters to be stationed in Turkey for a period of six months. As the proposals moved forward, signs could be seen of apparent rifts in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Speaking at his party’s Parliament group meeting, AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the government was trying to make the best decision in order to protect Turkey’s national interests. Stressing that the AKP’s deputies would be fully briefed on the proposals, Erdogan stated that there would be no group decision on the issue obliging the deputies to vote a particular way. Despite the absence of a group decision, Erdogan called on the deputies not to act personally, but rather to consider national interests and act in line with party discipline. In related news, AKP Group Deputy Chairman Salih Kapusuz told reporters that the proposals would be discussed during an extraordinary party group meeting today, and that his party would exchange views with Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies, after which a date would be set to debate the proposals in Parliament. /All Papers/
 YALCINBAYIR: “THE PROPOSAL ON US TROOPS
 LACKS A LEGAL BASIS”Deputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir said yesterday that the government’s proposal to allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey lacked a proper legal basis. “Parliament is set to vote on the proposal, and I will vote as my conscience dictates,” added Yalcinbayir. /Aksam/
 ARINC: “OUR PRIORITY IS THE BUDGET, NOT
 PROPOSALS ON IRAQ”Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said yesterday that the priority of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was Turkey’s 2003 budget, not a proposal for US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil. “Parliament is set to vote on the troop measures, and it may approve them as is or try to make changes,” he stated. “Or it could even reject them outright.” Arinc stated that Parliament was waiting for the arrival of the budget, adding that time was running out. Arinc is expected today to visit opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal to discuss issues such as the proposals on Iraq as well as the Cyprus issue. /Aksam/
 DYP LEADER AGAR: “RESPONSIBILITY FOR IRAQ
 PROPOSALS LIES WITH THE GOVERNMENT”True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar yesterday criticized the government’s stance on proposals regarding deployment of US troops and sending Turkish troops to Iraq. Stating that all responsibility for the proposals belonged to the government, Agar said that the government couldn’t “hide behind” the understanding that the matters were issues for Parliament to decide. “If you lack the power to rule and the courage to take responsibility, then you can’t really be a government,” said Agar, who is one of two DYP deputies in Parliament. Regarding the statements of certain Cabinet ministers yesterday that they had signed off on sending the proposals to Parliament without being fully convinced the measures were wise, the DYP leader stated, “This is an unacceptable situation. If they were unhappy with the proposals, then they should resign.” /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “THE GOVERNMENT HAS SURRENDERED
 TO US PRESSURE OVER IRAQ PROPOSALS”Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday charged that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government “had surrendered to US pressure” in sending a proposal to allow US troop deployments in Turkey in the absence of a firm deal on the terms of Turkey’s support. By doing so, “the government has shown that it had no strength left to resist the dictates of the US,” added Baykal. /Cumhuriyet/
 BULUC: “TURKEY HAS NO SECRET AGENDA ON
 NORTHERN IRAQ”Taking sharp exception to recent statements by Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) foreign policy chief Hoshyar Zebari that there would be clashes between Kurds and Turkish forces should Turkey send troops to northern Iraq in the event of war, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yusuf Buluc said yesterday that Turkey had no secret agenda concerning northern Iraq and that the country fully respected Iraq’s territorial integrity. “Turkey’s measures are aimed only at protecting our national security and heading off any exodus of immigrants into our borders,” stated Buluc. /Cumhuriyet/
 IRAQI KURDS REPORTEDLY ASK THE US FOR
 “PROTECTION FROM TURKEY” IN NORTHERN IRAQAs Turkey prepares to send troops to northern Iraq in case of a US-led war against Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani have sent a letter to the Bush administration requesting “protection from Turkish forces” in the region, US television network ABC reported yesterday. In the letter, Barzani and Talabani charged that Turkey’s real agenda was to end the Iraqi Kurds’ experiment in democratic self-rule in northern Iraq, adding that there was a risk of clashes should Turkish forces come into contact with the Kurdish population there. /Cumhuriyet/
 IKDP’S SAMI ABDURRAHMAN: “IRAQ’S KURDS ARE
 MORE WORRIED ABOUT ANKARA THAN SADDAM”Sami Abdurrahman, a top official of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP), alleged this week that Turkey's statements that it would send its forces into northern Iraq as part of a US-led “invasion force” represented a more serious concern to Iraq’s Kurds than even their longtime nemesis, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Quoted on the website kurdishobserver.com, Abdurrahman added that any Turkish military intervention or the establishment of US military rule in the country would meet with widespread popular resistance. “We feel less threat from the Baghdad regime than from the prospect of Turkish troops coming in,” said Abdurrahman. “Saddam has killed many of our people. He can kill more Kurds ... but this Turkish intervention, if it happens and I hope it won’t, is aimed at strangling the hopes and aspirations of our people." /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKMEN FRONT’S KETENE: “TURKEY SHOULD PREVENT
 ANY FORMATION OF A KURDISH STATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ”Orhan Ketene, the Iraq Turkmen Front’s representative in Washington, said yesterday that the prospect of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq posed a grave threat to both Turkey and Iraq’s native Turkmen population. “That’s why Turkey should do whatever is needed to prevent the formation of such an entity there,” added Ketene. Stating that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) should maintain the security of the region in case of a war, Ketene said, “If a Kurdish state is established in the post-Saddam era, in less than 15 years the Kurds could also try to carve out Turkey’s southeastern parts and add them to their own state.” /Cumhuriyet/
 STATE OF EMERGENCY RULE COULD BE REINSTATED
 TO MAINTAIN ORDER DURING POSSIBLE IRAQ CONFLICTThe government is considering reinstating State of Emergency Rule (OHAL) in certain southeastern Anatolian provinces near Iraq to maintain order in case of war, sources familiar with the matter said yesterday. Among the areas where OHAL could be reinstated are Diyarbakir, Batman, Mardin, Sirnak, Siirt and Hakkari. Representatives of the General Staff are expected to recommend the measures at a National Security Council (NSC) meeting scheduled for Friday and later to the government, if the NSC approves. OHAL was lifted last fall after 15 years in southeastern Anatolia, where it was designed to maintain order and security in the face of a PKK terrorist campaign that took 30,000 lives. The terrorist group was largely defeated within Turkey’s borders, but officials have expressed concern that war in Iraq could give rise to a renewed campaign, particularly if terrorists cross the border into Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL: “ANY CYPRUS PLAN MUST HAVE A BASIS
 IN TWO EQUAL NATIONS”Before departing for Athens on the second stop of his tour to push for a Cyprus resolution, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met yesterday in Ankara with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. In their talks, Gul stressed that any settlement for the island must proceed on the basis of the two equal states already present there. Later this week, Gul is expected to visit Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas to discuss Annan’s third Cyprus plan. /Milliyet/
 SIMITIS: “THERE’S STILL ENOUGH TIME TO
 REACH A SOLUTION ON CYPRUS”There is still enough time to reach a solution on Cyprus before the European Union accession process moves forward, said Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis yesterday. Speaking after meeting with visiting United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Simitis expressed optimism on the prospects for an agreement before March 30, when the UN hopes to hold separate referendums on a UN plan among both nations on the island. Simitis had previously expressed skepticism on the plan, which is designed to reunite the island ahead of Greek Cyprus’ scheduled April EU accession. For his part, Annan said that the present UN plan represented a unique opportunity which the two sides couldn’t pass up. Earlier, he extended a deadline for agreement on the plan back one week, to next Friday, March 7. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN: “THE UN’S THIRD CYPRUS PLAN IS
 GROUNDED IN THE ISLAND’S REALITIES”A working solution plan for Cyprus is now nearer than ever before, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared yesterday. Speaking after meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who later left for Greece to promote his third Cyprus plan, Erdogan praised Annan’s proposal, saying it was grounded in the realities on the island. “If the two sides reach a solution, this will show that problems can be solved through negotiation,” added AKP leader. “This will send a strong, hopeful message about the prospects for lasting peace.” /Milliyet/
 SEZER, ISO HEAD KUCUK DISCUSS WAYS
 TO IMPROVE ECONOMYPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer believes that Turkey’s economy will improve when its industries boost their production and exports and also create more jobs, said Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) Chairman Tanil Kucuk yesterday. Speaking to reporters in Ankara after meeting with the president, Kucuk said that their discussion had focused on ways to remedy various woes of Turkey’s economy. “Our group has always stress the need to remove obstacles to increased production, as well as ensuring that Turkish industry competes on a level playing field and in an encouraging environment,“ stated Kucuk. “Sezer is well aware of all these issues, and we agree on the need to address them.” /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SWAMP IN NORTHERN IRAQ
 BY ZEYNEP GURCANLIColumnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the possible aftershocks in northern Iraq of the Iraq crisis. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The biggest problem facing us now is that the US is preparing to overthrow Saddam Hussein, but it has no firm plans for Iraq’s future. US troop deployments in the region are continuing, and at the same time US officials are holding meetings with both Turkish officials and Kurdish groups. They are trying to determine Iraq’s future at the last minute without offending anybody. What’s worse, Turkey lacks a plan to present to the US concerning Iraq’s future. It only has its sine qua non and ‘red lines’ and of course its thousands of soldiers ready to move into the region to prevent untoward developments.
The northern Iraqi Kurds certainly have a plan. However, they lack the military force necessary to realize their ultimate goal of independence. Towards this goal, on the one hand they are trying to persuade the US and on the other hand to scare off Turkey with their threats of ‘clashes.’ It’s interesting that the northern Iraqi Kurdish groups have recently increased their rhetoric against Turkey. This increasingly threatening voice demonstrates that the US is moving closer to Turkey in its plans concerning Iraq’s future. However, while this situation developed in Turkey’s favor at the diplomatic level, it is likely to hurt Turkish soldiers. The real danger begins here.
Concrete developments during the Iraqi crisis appeared only recently. The Kurdish Parliament in northern Iraq convened and resolved unanimously to oppose foreign troops entering the region. Although Turkey stated that it wanted to participate, it wasn’t invited to a recent meeting of Saddam’s opponents in northern Iraq. The Kurds are trying to act as the de facto rulers of the region and have taken more steps to ensure this. They also didn’t invite northern Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen, whom they accused of collaborating and spying for Turkey, to this meeting. In addition, the pressure against Turkmen in the region controlled by Massoud Barzani’s group has increased. Certain Turkmen leaders were even arrested, which demonstrates these pressures. Developments probably won’t be limited to this.
The threats against Turkey started in northern Iraq, and this worries Turkish officials the most. It’s believed that the Kurdish groups, particularly Barzani’s Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) will support the opposition to war by using terrorism and will try to block Ankara’s plans concerning northern Iraq. It’s not farfetched to think that the greatest danger lying in wait for Turkey in the Iraq war will be a new wave of conflict.
This situation is causing a new dilemma for Turkey: either the danger of a new campaign of terrorism, or accepting an independent formation in its backyard. Therefore our deputies in Parliament should examine the proposal on Iraq from this point of view and then vote accordingly.”
 REASONS TO INTERVENE IN NORTHERN IRAQ
 BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on Turkey’s stance on the Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It’s no secret that Turkey already has troops inside northern Iraq. We all know that our country sends troops to the region whenever it deems it necessary.
Since a possible US-led Iraq war is looming, the Turkish Army is preparing to deploy many more troops in the region. There are several reasons behind our coming intervention in northern Iraq: 1) To prevent a rush of refugees fleeing Iraq to Turkey’s borders, and to instead house these people in refugee camps to be established in northern Iraq. Our government is anxious to avoid a repeat of the events of 1991 Gulf War when half a million Kurdish refugees fled to the border region. 2) To protect Iraq’s ethnic Turkmen groups. 3) To prevent a possible uprising of terrorist PKK militants in the region. 4) To block possible efforts of Kurdish groups towards such unpleasant developments as the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey is especially concerned that if Iraq falls apart, Iraqi Kurds could move to seize the northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk. Mosul is a key regional center, and Kirkuk is home to major oil fields. These are the reasons which Ankara regards as a basis for its interventionist northern Iraq policy.
As far as the first three reasons are concerned, I believe that Turkey will not need large numbers of troops. However, our country will have to deploy a great many soldiers in the region to stop Kurdish groups which want to establish their own state. Official sources believe that this is a matter of national security. The Turkish government fears the end of Saddam's regime may lead to a political meltdown, in which Kurdish groups take advantage of the chaos to pursue what they really desire, namely, independence.
However, some analysts don’t consider these arguments as convincing as the government does. For example, according to Baskin Oran, a political science professor at Ankara University, Turkey’s official northern Iraq policy lacks legitimacy: ‘If Turkey sends troops into northern Iraq to prevent a undesired future developments, it would be making a mistake like Bush is now. Bush’s war doctrine based on unilateral action is facing strong criticism and opposition.’ Professor Oran thinks that under these circumstances, Turkey’s intervention into northern Iraq might be considered an ‘occupation’ or an ‘imperialist action,’ which might cause irreparable harm along with clashes between Turkish and Kurdish groups. According to him, Turkey should develop diplomatic strategies to stop such Kurdish efforts instead of joining war efforts.
The Iraqi Kurds are very likely to demand more freedom from the US in return for the major role they will play in a war in the region. Turkey should try to find new ways to cooperate with the Bush administration in order to head off such untoward developments. Therefore, our government should work on new long-term strategies in line with our national interests.”
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