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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-07
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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 <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
07.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 PRESIDENT SEZER VISITS EARTHQUAKE REGIONPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer accompanied by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman yesterday visited the earthquake-stricken eastern province of Bingol. Sezer toured the area and was briefed by local officials about the damage wrought by last week’s quake as well as ongoing reconstruction work. Speaking to Bingol residents, Sezer expressed his condolences to the quake victims, adding that the area had been declared a “disaster region” and that the state would meet all the survivors’ needs. /All Papers/
 PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN TO VISIT TRNCFollowing a recent invitation from the Turkish Cypriot government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to pay a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on Friday. Erdogan is scheduled to meet with TRNC President Rauf Denktas and Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday denied rumors that Erdogan would propose a gradual pullback of Turkish troops from the TRNC. The troops were first deployed there in 1974 when Turkey launched a Peace Operation to protect the Turkish Cypriot population following a Greek Cypriot coup. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL: “NEW EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE IS IMMINENT, TO BE PASSED BY JULY”Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the government was resolved to pass a new reform package by July to help Turkey further harmonize itself with European Union norms. Gul yesterday received his Kyrgyz Republic counterpart Askar Aytmatov. Following their meeting, Gul told reporters that the government had nearly finished work on the new harmonization package expected to be passed in Parliament before July. Speaking at a meeting held at Turkey’s EU Secretariat General, the foreign minister stated that integrating the nation into the EU had been its most important project for a half-century. Stressing that Turkish-EU relations had reached a critical point in recent years, Gul said that all sectors of society would act together to attain their common EU goal. /Turkiye/
 DEFENSE MINISTER GONUL: “NO ALLIANCE HAS BEEN FORMED AGAINST THE US”Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said yesterday that allegations of Turkey, Iran and Syria forming an alliance against the United States were patently false. In Washington to attend a meeting on NATO-Ukrainian relations, Gonul delivered a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank. Denying claims that Turkey had begun to break away from the West, Gonul said that since its foundation the Republic of Turkey had turned its face to the West. “Nobody can change this reality, and nobody has any intention of doing so,” added Gonul. /Turkiye/
 WOLFOWITZ CRITICIZES TURKEY FOR NOT BACKING THE US IN IRAQ WAR, SETS OUT FRAMEWORK FOR MENDING TIESSpeaking to CNN Turk yesterday, US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticized Turkey for not backing the United States in its war against Iraq and urged Ankara to now follow Washington’s line in relations with Syria and Iran. He stated that he had been particularly disappointed by the Turkish military. “I think for whatever reason they did not play the strong leadership role ... that we would have expected,” he said. “Turks overwhelmingly opposed war against a fellow Muslim country, fearing it could destabilize the economy and the region. Many analysts believe Turkey’s military did not feel Washington was taking its security concerns seriously, including fears that the strengthening of Iraqi Kurdish groups could inspire Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.” Wolfowitz urged Ankara to step up and say, “We made a mistake … Let's figure out how we can be as helpful as possible to the Americans.” Turning a new page in bilateral relations depends on Turkey’s close cooperation on Iraq, said Wolfowitz, but also on its cooperation concerning Iran and Syria, other regional powers that Washington has accused of sponsoring terrorism. “I’d like to see a different sort of attitude [on Ankara’s part] than I have yet detected,” he said, adding, “Maybe it’s there, I haven’t been to Turkey in a while.” He said that Turkey and the US could still mend ties by closely cooperating in rebuilding Iraq. "We have an opportunity in cooperating on maybe the most important project of this century, which is to build a free, democratic Arab country to the south of Turkey and frankly, if we can work together to achieve that in Iraq, it will more than repair whatever damage has been done," said Wolfowitz. “Turkish companies are keen to participate in Iraq’s reconstruction.” He added that the US hadn’t gotten the full support that it expected, but that Turkey had paid a greater price for that than the US. /Aksam/
 GUL: “WOLFOWITZ’S STATEMENTS WERE SINCERE AND PRAGMATIC”Responding yesterday to remarks by US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz criticizing Ankara’s stance on the Iraq war, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul called the top defense official’s remarks sincere and pragmatic. “One needs to read the whole statement in order to evaluate it properly,” said Gul. “I did read the whole statement and found it sincere and pragmatic.” Gul added that Wolfowitz had given positive signs in his speech for the further development of Turkish-US relations. /Aksam/
 TURKEY TO REOPEN ITS EMBASSY IN BAGHDADIn light of improved security conditions in Iraq’s capital, Turkey has decided to reopen its embassy in Baghdad, the Foreign Ministry announced yesterday. Ambassador Osman Paksut and the embassy’s staff are set to fly to Iraq tomorrow to resume Turkey’s diplomatic relations with the country in the postwar era. Turkey ordered the facility evacuated for security reasons just before the Iraq war. /Cumhuriyet/
 IMF’S KRUEGER ARRIVES IN ANKARAInternational Monetary Fund Deputy Manager Director Anne Krueger arrived in Ankara yesterday. Krueger met with State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan at a banquet at Ankara’s Bilkent Hotel, where they were joined by IMF Executive Director Willy Kiekens and Turkish Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci. Krueger and the accompanying IMF delegation are expected to hold a series of meetings with Treasury officials today. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 RELATIONS WITH THE US IN THE POSTWAR PERIOD BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkish-US relations in the postwar period in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“What is Turkey’s place in the US’ Pax Americana in Iraq’s postwar period? How will the new policy of the Bush administration affect Turkish-US relations from now on? The answers to these questions can be summarized as follows:
1. Turkey isn’t at the forefront of Washington’s new strategy for now.
2. The problem of northern Iraq will be a key factor in Turkish-US relations in the days and weeks to come.
3. Despite certain current disagreements and problems, common bilateral interests will eventually lead the two countries back to cooperation.
Let’s examine in detail these three principles. Turkey didn’t support the US before or during the war in Iraq, which caused disappointment and anger in many Washington circles. The US administration hasn’t let us off the hook yet, so it’s no longer treating us as a ‘strategic ally.’ As evidence of this, Ankara wasn’t invited to a recent international peacekeeping force conference in London and is being shut out of projects for Iraq’s reconstruction.
There are mutual fears and a lack of confidence in the aims of Washington and Ankara. Basically the points of view of Washington and Ankara on northern Iraq are different. The US is giving the Kurds, who fought alongside it during the war, an important place in its strategy. Ankara views this development with great suspicion and concern. The US is discussing the establishment of a federal structure in Iraq, but Turkish officials neither trust the Kurds nor welcome any plans for a federation. If Ankara and Washington cannot see eye-to-eye, a new Iraq crisis might lead to a very bumpy road in future bilateral relations.
In spite of all problems as I mentioned in the third item above, Turkey and the US should formulate their policies on many issues so as to again act together in line with their common interests. Even if Incirlik Airbase’s mission is over, Turkey’s geostrategic position and its standing as a political, economic and social model for the region are still important for the US. Many in the US administration think they can’t really afford to ignore Turkey. US pragmatism will eventually lead to a rejection of a ‘hands-off attitude’ towards Turkey. Ankara needs to pursue a more serious- minded, realistic and steadier strategy on northern Iraq, and it should act with the US in a more coordinated way. Most importantly, both Turkey and the US should focus their relations not on missteps from the recent past, but rather with eyes firmly fixed on the era to come.”
 THE US HAS ALREADY MADE UP ITS MIND ON TURKEY BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Ismet Berkan writes on the shifting sands of Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“There is a reason why today we have published the full text of yesterday’s remarks on Turkish-US relations made by US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Everybody interested in the future of relations between our two countries should read this text very carefully. Wolfowitz's comments focused on the ties between Ankara and Washington as well as the stance our country took before and during the Iraq war. He highlighted the tensions that damaged Turkish-US relations after Ankara refused to allow the deployment of American GIs to open a northern front against Iraq. Wolfowitz stated that he had been disappointed by Turkey’s stance, adding that Washington regarded the rejection as a turning point in bilateral relations. Mincing no words, he didn’t hesitate to say that Turkey’s diplomatic importance had diminished for the US in the wake of its Iraq victory. The Bush administration holds both Turkey’s government and its military responsible for the country’s failure to support the US. “I think for whatever reason, they did not play the strong leadership role ... that we would have expected,” Wolfowitz said. He also added that the Iraqi people did not want to see Turkish soldiers in Iraq. “Turning a new page in relations depended on Turkey's close cooperation on Iraq and also on Iran and Syria,” remarked the US top defense official. “Turkey and the US can still mend ties by closely cooperating in rebuilding Iraq. We have an opportunity in cooperating on maybe the most important project of this century, which is to build a free, democratic Arab country to the south of your country and frankly, if we can work together to achieve that in Iraq, it will more than repair whatever damage has been done.” Reading between the lines, here is Wolfowitz’s plain meaning: Turkey must do whatever the US wants it to do. For those familiar with Wolfowitz’s past remarks and statements, you already know that he has never before directed such harsh remarks towards Turkey nor employed such a negative tone. Yesterday, he overtly stressed that Turkey cannot pursue independent policies on certain sensitive issues. He also added that Turkey should step up and admit that it made a mistake on the Iraq issue. According to Wolfowitz, Turkey must say that it should have known how bad things were in Iraq and try to figure out how it can be as helpful as possible to the US now. However, this is a suggestion that Turkey can never accept. Therefore, we must face up to the fact that things have changed between our two countries. Nobody should expect a perfect partnership like the one we enjoyed in the past. If we want to mend fences, we should find new and better ways to communicate and cooperate with each other.”
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