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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-09-15

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.176/05 15.09.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat sends a letter to the British term presidency of the EU.
  • [02] Talat argues that no right will be given to the Turkish Cypriots if a solution within the framework of the EU laws is reached in Cyprus.
  • [03] Turkish Cypriots living in London gathered 16.000 signatures in favour of the direct flights to the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [04] Soyer says that the pseudostate is the guarantor of all investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
  • [05] Erdogan addressed Foreign Relations Council on Cyprus, PKK, Iraq and Middle East.
  • [06] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's meetings in New York.
  • [07] Turkey will sign the optional protocol to UN Convention against Torture.
  • [08] Turkey welcomed the draft of UN Summit final declaration.
  • [09] Turkey and Georgia signed an economic protocol.
  • [10] Turkey's earnings from privatization is about to reach $20 Billion.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Turkish Cypriot columnist says that if the occupation regime was serious on the issue of the properties it would send away all settlers from Turkey and return the properties to their owners.
  • [12] Columnist: "How long more we would be patient".
  • [13] "Did the military pit Ulusoy against the foreigners?".

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat sends a letter to the British term presidency of the EU

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.09.05) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat sent a letter two days ago to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the British term presidency of the EU, Mr Jack Straw, one day before the meeting of the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the EU (COREPER), that took place yesterday in Brussels.

    According to the paper, in a statement yesterday before a meeting with the Chamber of the Turkish Cypriot Dentists, Mr Talat said that he asked the British term presidency "to give the Greek Cypriots the necessary motives" for a solution, instead of forcing Turkey to recognize the Republic of Cyprus with its present form.

    Mr Talat alleged that the pressures exerted on Turkey encourage the Greek Cypriots for the non-solution and claimed that the free trade and the opening of the ports should be valid for the Turkish Cypriots as well. Mr Talat reiterated the allegation that the occupied ports of the Republic of Cyprus should be opened for trade.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Talat argues that no right will be given to the Turkish Cypriots if a solution within the framework of the EU laws is reached in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.09.05) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat evaluated yesterday the report prepared by eight foreign professors who submitted it to the leaders of the communities in Cyprus and the political parties.

    The report, adds KIBRIS, has been prepared upon the initiative of the "Pan-Hellenic Committee for a European Solution to the Cyprus problem".

    Commenting on the report Mr Talat argued that it was prepared with an understanding that gives absolutely no right to the Turkish Cypriots. "It is a work with absolutely no value and aims at muddying the issue", he argued.

    Mr Talat said, inter alia, the following: "The report has been prepared with an understanding which is even beyond of the views of Papadopoulos and gives absolutely no right to the Turkish Cypriots. The professors who prepared the report do not know the Cyprus problem. This report, which makes a wrong diagnoses of the Cyprus problem provides for a solution within the framework of the laws of the European Union. It includes elements which even Papadopoulos does not dare to say, such as the departure of all persons from Turkey from the island, the return of all refugees to their homes and taking the decision based on the principle of the majority. ...". (I/Ts.)

    [03] Turkish Cypriots living in London gathered 16.000 signatures in favour of the direct flights to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.09.05) reports that the Turkish Cypriots living in London have gathered 16.000 signatures in favour of the direct flights to the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper writes that they submitted this document to Mr Chantel Mortimer, responsible for Cyprus at the British Ministry for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in order to convey it to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Jack Straw.

    In a statement to KIBRIS Mr Ismail Veli, one of the Turkish Cypriots who undertook the above-mentioned initiative, said: "When the promises given to us were not kept after the referendum, we gathered with our own means 16.000 signatures in the whole Britain for the beginning of direct flights and trade. Before the May elections in Britain, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jack Straw came to the Enfield region where many Turks live and ask for our vote. We took advantage of this opportunity and conveyed our expectations to him. Noting that Britain is the only country that will help Cyprus, Straw asked us to direct to the Labour Party our capacity of 16.000 signatures and told us that he would see us after the elections. However, we were not able to reach him in spite of trying everything since then. At the end, as a result of all these efforts, they called us from Foreign Ministry last week and told us to give the signatures to Mr Chantel Mortimer, responsible for Cyprus at the British Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in order to convey them directly to Jack Straw". (I/Ts.)

    [04] Soyer says that the pseudostate is the guarantor of all investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.09.05) reports that Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, has said that the pseudostate is the guarantor of all investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In a statement yesterday during a meeting with a delegation of the so-called Union of Tradesmen and Craftsmen of the Morphou and Lefka Area, Mr Soyer called on the inhabitants of the above-mentioned areas not to fear any more. He said that investments in the field of tourism will be directed to the area and that until December a 17 kilometer road will be build leading to the coast.

    "The guarantor of the investments made in the whole of the island, including the area of Morphou, is the state", he noted adding that after the regime announced its decision for investments in the field of tourism starting from the area of Kyrenia until Morphou, Kaprass and other areas, many local and foreign investors showed interest about them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Erdogan addressed Foreign Relations Council on Cyprus, PKK, Iraq and Middle East

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09.05) reported from New York that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at a meeting at the Foreign Relations Council on Turkish foreign policy in the 21st century, said: "Turkey and the United States have common interests on many issues from fight against terrorism to reform efforts in the Middle East, from efforts to find a solution to Israeli-Arab dispute to efforts to normalize situation in Iraq. In certain periods, we faced some disagreements in our relations with the United States. But we succeeded in overcoming all of them."

    Subtitle: Iraq and Kirkuk

    Referring to the recent developments in Iraq, Prime Minister Erdogan said: "We want a democratic Iraq having peaceful relations with its neighbours. Turkey has been defending from the very beginning that Iraq's integrity and stability should be protected."

    "We attribute great importance to the future of Kirkuk. Any tension in the city can trigger a chaos in the whole country. Also, presence of the terrorist organization PKK in northern part of Iraq poses a serious threat against Turkey's security. Turkey has already taken all necessary measures against the terrorist organization. But similar measures should also be taken in northern Iraq. As we stressed on numerous occasions, international cooperation is essential in fight against terrorism," he said.

    Noting that problems such as famine and epidemics have reached unacceptable dimensions, Prime Minister Erdogan said: "The industrialized countries spend nearly 1 trillion USD for armament every year. This amount should be spent to prevent famine and other problems in the under-developed countries."

    Subtitle: Relations with United States and EU

    Prime Minister Erdogan said: "Although integration with the EU is one of the priorities of Turkish foreign policy, it does not constitute an alternative to our special relations with the United States. Our relations with the United States and the EU complete each other."

    Subtitle: Greece and Cyprus

    Highlighting importance of developing relations between Turkey and Greece, Prime Minister Erdogan said: "Turkey targets to remove existing disagreements with its neighbours and improve bilateral relations with them. Our latest initiatives about the Cyprus issue aim to contribute to stability in the Mediterranean region. Cyprus is a dramatic issue. Instead of encouraging its people to make contributions to solution, the Greek Cypriot administration led them to reject the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan in the referendum. Since the Greek Cypriot administration, which has prevented solution in the island for years, was awarded with the EU membership, it became more uncompromising."

    Erdogan has also indicated that the Turkish government is trying to stave off Iraq from being a training ground for terrorist organizations. Asked thereabout the role Turkey may play to safeguard the territorial integrity of Iraq, Erdogan answered that Turkey has already assumed important role in this country. "We have taken steps to protect the Iraqi people from terrorist acts. We have initiated meetings of the neighbouring countries of Iraq at the level of foreign ministers. The next step would be to include the ministers of interior in such meetings. We have informed the Iraqi government that Turkey is ready to train Iraqi security forces. Turkey is providing humanitarian assistance to Iraq, including medicines and energy. We have close kinship relations with Iraq. The presence of terrorist organization PKK/Kongra-gel in northern Iraq makes us uneasy," said Erdogan.

    Subtitle: Process of democracy in Iraq

    In response to a question on how he sees the democratic process in Iraq, Erdogan responded that, wherever democracy goes, there is always pain initially. He stressed that an ethnic group in Iraq should not try to dominate other groups. "The new Iraqi constitution must prevent clashes among the ethnic groups," noted Erdogan.

    Subtitle: Middle East

    When asked about the role Turkey will play in the democratization process in the Middle East, Erdogan answered: "As soon as we came to power, we made developing our ties with our neighbours a priority. We wanted to make friends, not enemies. Today, we have good relations with our neighbours. We frequently visit Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and get visited by their representatives. Turkey played a key role in the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Asked about the steps Turkish government will take on the "Kurdish problem," Erdogan stressed that constitutional amendments were made in Turkey. "We have adopted new laws in order to fulfil the requirements of the Copenhagen criteria," said Erdogan.

    Subtitle: Alliance of civilizations

    Erdogan also elaborated on the initiative of "Alliance of Civilizations" co-sponsored by the Spanish Premier Zapatero. "We must try to create an image. This image should be an alliance of civilizations and a blow to international terrorism. There are groups who want clashes between religions. We have to form an alliance to prevent such clashes. Turkey is a rare country that is predominantly Muslim but also has a democratic government. We have adopted new laws to promote democracy in Turkey. Yet it is sometimes difficult to fully eradicate the habits and customs of a society. We will resolve all the misunderstandings and work for a better future," expressed Erdogan.

    Subtitle: Cyprus

    In reference to Cyprus, Erdogan reiterated that the Turkish Cypriots did vote 'yes' to the Annan Plan to find a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem. "As Turkey, we have fulfilled our promises regarding Cyprus. Greek Cypriots rejected the Annan Plan but got rewarded with membership to the European Union. No one should expect anything from us unless the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is ended," noted Erdogan.

    Subtitle: Erdogan's address to Turkish businessmen

    PM Erdogan later met Turkish businessmen in NYC. Giving information about the recent developments in Turkish economy, Erdogan said that the confidence and stability climate reigning in Turkey drew foreign investments to Turkey. "If we can draw more foreign capital, unemployment will lessen and Turkey's growth rate will increase," Erdogan said.

    Erdogan affirmed that the Turkish government would never permit anything that could threaten the security of citizens. "But we will not also make any concessions from democracy, human rights and freedoms," Erdogan stressed.

    When asked how a negative decision on Turkey's EU bid could affect Turkish economy, Erdogan said that "yes it can affect the economy in a negative way, but we can lessen its impact if we exchange information effectively with the media.(...) There is stability, confidence and enthusiasm in the country and we try to render ineffective harmful rumours about Turkey's EU bid..."

    Subtitle: Reception hosted by Bush

    Premier Erdogan attended a reception hosted by US President George W. Bush in the honour of heads of states and governments attending the UN Summit.

    PM Erdogan also received representatives of American Jewish Committee (AJC), Anti-Defamation League, B'nai B'rith and other Jewish associations in NYC.

    Giving information about those meetings, his Spokesman Akif Beki said that Erdogan referred to the Alliance of Civilizations project and stressed its importance. In the meetings, one of the attendees thanked Erdogan for the humanitarian aid which Turkey sent to the US after Hurricane Katrina and another one referred to Turkey's efforts for regional stability and democratization.

    Beki said that Pakistan-Israel meeting in Istanbul was also among the topics of the meetings and Erdogan explained generally Turkey's contributions to Middle East Peace Process.

    Erdogan also referred to Turkey's concerns about Kirkuk and noted that Kirkuk would not be handed over to one specific ethnic group.

    Subtitle: Armenian resolutions

    Erdogan also asked Jewish organizations for their support regarding the Armenian resolutions which would be debated in the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee, Beki said. Jewish representatives told Erdogan that they would continue to support Turkey about Armenian genocide claims.

    [06] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's meetings in New York

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09.05) reported from New York that the U.S. President George W. Bush hosted a reception in honour of heads of state and government who are currently in New York to attend the UN 2005 World Summit.

    During the reception, President Bush informed Prime Minister Erdogan on his meeting with Iraqi President Talabani. He said that he told President Talabani that Turkey felt uneasy about the terrorist organization PKK and he [Talabani] should do something.

    Meanwhile, Prime Minister Erdogan expressed his profound sorrow over loss of lives in the Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

    U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that they conveyed Turkey's uneasiness over presence of PKK in northern Iraq to President Talabani.

    Prime Minister Erdogan also held talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Greek Prime Minister Constantinos Karamanlis, and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

    Moreover, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in New York and discussed Middle East peace process. Erdogan and Sharon are both attending a UN summit in NYC.

    During their meeting, Erdogan once more welcomed Israel's pullout from Gaza Strip, while Sharon said that Israel withdrew from Gaza earlier than expected, and briefed Erdogan on the current situation in the region.

    According to sources, Erdogan and Sharon discussed what could be done to restructure Gaza Strip.

    After his meeting with Sharon, Erdogan met Afghan Vice President Ahmad Zia Masood and Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad. Having the opportunity to meet Ahmadi-Nejad for the first time after he was elected the president of Iran, Erdogan debated economic matters with him.

    Erdogan and Ahmadi-Nejad discussed ways to increase bilateral trade volume, and Turkey's natural gas purchase from Iran.

    [07] Turkey will sign the optional protocol to UN Convention against Torture

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09.05) reported that Turkey will sign the "Optional Protocol to UN Convention against Torture" during the 2005 World Summit in New York, said the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

    The Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will be signed during the World Summit on September 14th-16th prior to the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly.

    Turkey has been a party to the Convention since 1988. The Optional Protocol has been signed by 11 countries so far after it was released on February 4th, 2003. The protocol will take effect after it is approved by 20 countries.

    [08] Turkey welcomed the draft of UN Summit final declaration

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09.05) reported that the UN Summit which will bring together leaders of nearly 150 countries will start on Wednesday in New York. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will attend the Summit.

    Diplomatic sources said that Turkey welcomed the draft of the final declaration which will be issued at the end of the Summit, defining the guidelines of the road map of the UN for the next years.

    Sources said that the draft declaration also reflects the views of Turkey concerning fight against terrorism, and it says that ''UN strongly condemns terrorism (regardless of who committed it and where it was committed), which is one the most serious threats against international peace and security''.

    The document calls on all countries to avoid supporting and organizing terrorist acts, and to prevent terrorist groups to use their lands for their activities.

    The draft declaration also mentions the dialogue among civilizations. Turkey welcomes the reference to 'Alliance among Civilizations' initiative which is co-sponsored by Turkey and Spain, as well as the support of UN Secretary-General to this initiative.

    [09] Turkey and Georgia signed an economic protocol

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09.05) reported the Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen and Georgian Economics and Infrastructure Minister Irakli Chogovadze signed the Georgia-Turkey Joint Economic Commission (JEC) protocol in Tbilisi on Wednesday.

    Tuzmen said that they aimed to further improve commercial and economic relations between the two countries. ''We also decided to make Mediterranean-Black Sea-Caspian region a free trade zone,'' he added.

    [10] Turkey's earnings from privatization is about to reach $20 Billion

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (14.09-05) reported that the earnings from privatization in Turkey is about to reach 20 billion dollars particularly after the sales of Turk Telecom and Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corp. (TUPRAS).

    The revenues obtained from the sales made under the supervision of Privatization Administration Board (OIB) to date have exceeded 13.89 billion dollars and the total earnings reached 16.9 billion dollars.

    This amount will go up if the privatization of ERDEMIR Iron & Steel Corporation will be completed in September.

    The fresh money obtained from the sale of state run companies since the beginning of 2005 has already reached 1.34 billion dollars, officials said. The sales of state run companies which were concluded --but the money obtained were not yet transferred to the Treasury-- amount to 12.54 billion dollars. Turk Telecom and Tupras are among those companies.

    On the other hand, the twin towers and car repair shops belonging to State Monopolies (TEKEL) and Mersin Port have not yet been transferred.

    The money gained from privatization is particularly used to pay state debts and to finance the State Economic Enterprises (KIT). Some of those KITs also appear on the government's privatization list.

    Below is the list of privatized enterprises as of September 14, 2005:

    (Thousand US Dollars)

    -Already Sold or Transferred
    .Block Sale:                             458,250
    .Sale/ Transfer of Enterp. or assets:    273,719
    .Sale at IMKB:                           453,977
    .Transfer of immovable properties:        26,917
    ====================================     ========
    -TOTAL                                  1,348,115
    

    -Tenders Concluded & Waiting for Approval .TEKEL Twin Towers 100,000 .Turk Telecom 6,550,000 .Hilton Hotel 255,000 .Car repair shops 613,500 .Mersin Port 755,000 .Tupras 4,140,000 .Other privatizations 133,276 ======================= ==== ========= -TOTAL

    -Tenders Concluded by OIB 13,894,891 ============================ ========== -Ataturk Airport Terminal 3,000,000 ============================ ========== -GRAND TOTAL 16,894,891


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Turkish Cypriot columnist says that if the occupation regime was serious on the issue of the properties it would send away all settlers from Turkey and return the properties to their owners

    Commenting on the issue of the properties, Ali Osman writes, inter, alia, the following in his column in Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (15.09.05) under the title "If there is a will":

    "The most important reason of the non-solution of the Cyprus problem today is the issue of the properties. The Turkish Cypriot properties which remained in the south are under the guardianship of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus and are leased to Greek Cypriots. The Greek Cypriot properties remained in the north have given for use under the name of 'appropriation'. Afterwards, with an instruction from Turkey 'title deeds' for them were issued and an opportunity for their selling, being transferred and put under mortgage was created. Hose who have been benefited the most from this were the population transferred here from Turkey and some Turkish Cypriots.

    According to the law of this monster - state called TRNC, if the Greek Cypriots do not abandon their properties, they are considered as owners of rights on these properties. Now I want to give you an example of usurpation. Some days ago a Greek Cypriot, who used to live in Rizokarpaso since 1974, died. His children who live in the south came to the north and formed an estate through a Turkish Cypriot lawyer. When they were making the procedure, title deeds for 25 donums (Translator's note: A donum is a land measure of about 1000 square meters) belonging to the dead Greek Cypriot were given by the TRNC officials to a man from Turkey. And as soon as he took this property which came to him from nowhere, he sold it to a company for a considerable amount of money. After this, he certainly would not stay here. He went back to where he had come from! As far as we were able to know, the issue was transferred to the court. The Ministry of Housing asked the opinion of the Attorney-General on the issue. After evaluating the situation from the point of view of the laws of the TRNC, the Office of the Attorney General considered giving title deed to a man from Turkey regarding the 25 donums of land belonging to a Greek Cypriot who died. ...

    In a statement made the day before, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that an inventory regarding the immovable properties in the south and in the north belonging to the Turkish Cypriots is prepared. If they were serious on the issue of the solution, first they would send away all people from Turkey whom they had brought here and to whom they gave the Greek Cypriot properties. Afterwards they would return to everybody his property, because Turkey brought the problem to this situation. If it is going to solve it, this is where it should begin from."

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Columnist: "How long more we would be patient"

    Basaran Duzgun writing in the Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (15.09.05) under the above title is critical of the present Turkish Cypriot leadership and accuses them of remaining inactive in the face of problems facing the occupied area. He says:

    "Does the Turkish Cypriot side have the authority and the power to start initiative aimed at the solution of the Cyprus problem? For example: Could the Turkish Cypriot side take steps as regards property and territory? Or could it make arrangements as regards the closed town of Varosha and start bargaining?

    According to the Turkish Cypriot officials they have the "power" and "authority".

    On the other hand the widespread belief is that the Turkish Cypriot side has no power and authority. The decisions are taken in Ankara and implemented.

    It is not possible to take steps of which Turkey has not approved them.

    After 24 April referendum, Ankara has turned all its attention to the EU negotiation process. It has fixed its target as to start full membership negotiations with the EU. It has started to use the "Yes" vote of the Turkish Cypriots as a tool directed to this target. Ankara says to North Nicosia: `The situation is critical, do not engage in actions that might put me in difficult situation´. That is, it is urging, the Turkish Cypriots to remain silent. And North Nicosia submits to this. The President and the government for a long time, are avoiding to take result oriented initiative in the Cyprus problem. `Let the 3rde October pass by and then we will look into the issue approach, is an undeclared official police placed before us.

    Where will this policy lead us, which carries grave consequences? This is true from the point of securing Turkey´s EU membership but it also harbours in it, a policy that would condemn the Cyprus problem to another 20 years of non-solution and could make the Turkish Cypriots the prisoners of Turkey´s EU adventure.

    We will wait until 3rd of October. There remain only three weeks to 3rd October.

    Are we going to wait until 2006, if the EU puts the condition that negotiations with Turkey will start in 2006? How long would be our latency time and when it would come to end?

    The new government had made an exiting start; in order secure the implementation of the EU rules and standards on this territory.

    According to this, laws would be amended, the economy was going to be reviewed from top to bottom and the button would be pushed in order to secure full harmonization with Brussels.

    Immediate steps would have been taken regarding vital issues such as introducing Euro and becoming part of the EU Education system. The government yet to take a single step towards realizing these issues.

    In fact there are claims that just the opposite actions were being taken. Teachers trade unions say that "Integrationist" education policies of the past still going on and the businessmen continue to complain. The majority of the people want a EU level standard of living and they demand this from the government which enjoys first time in history an unprecedented popular support.

    The government which tied up the solution of the Cyprus problem to 3rd October is, avoid taking steps, in a strange manner, which will make us to get rid of our domestic problems. For example, the government is not even explaining the reason why we did not adopt Euro...Whom we are waiting for solving the domestic problems?

    Until when we will be patient? Who is putting obstacles and precluding taking steps?

    In decisiveness is our greatest enemy, and unfortunately we are now face to face with this enemy".

    (M/Y)

    [13] "Did the military pit Ulusoy against the foreigners?"

    Istanbul daily HURRIYET newspaper (12.09.05), under the above title, published the following commentary by Vahap Munyar:

    "The speech delivered by OYAK Holding Director General Coskun Ulusoy in Antalya last week suggests that a second "nationalist front" has been opened against foreign investments in privatization programs. OYAK Holding has been created by OYAK whose explicit name is Army Mutual Aid Association.

    Businessmen who were anxious about "losing Erdemir [Eregli Iron and Steel Works] to foreigners" formed an "Erdemir national team" led by TOBB [Turkish Union of Chambers and Stock Exchanges] and became a serious contender in the privatization of Erdemir.

    Ulusoy opened a second "nationalist front" by saying: "I am opposed to the privatization of Turk Telekom, TUPRAS [Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation], and Erdemir. However if they will be sold they must be bought by domestic organizations like us."

    Coskun Ulusoy is one of the top "princes" [former President] Turgut Ozal repatriated to Turkey [in the 1980's]. In view of OYAK's many years of successful partnership with a global giant like Renault, it is interesting that Ulusoy has suddenly taken a position of "let us not lose TUPRAS and Erdemir to foreigners" rather than saying "we are also contenders in the privatization program."

    When asked "why Turk Telekom, TUPRAS, or Erdemir should not be sold to foreigners," Ulusoy answered: "Because I think that they are among Turkey's strategic corporations."

    Ulusoy was later uneasy about his use of the word "strategic" and said: "Please do not think that I am acting out of fanatical nationalist sentiments. If we look at it that way then the word 'strategic' could be dangerous. No special significance must be attached to the word 'strategic' I used in reference these companies. In other words I am not arguing a prohibitionist view that 'we must not allow foreign investments in them because these are strategic enterprises.' I used the word 'strategic' because I could not find a better word. I wanted to underscore the conditions in which Turk Telekom, TUPRAS, and Erdemir were established and how they came to these days."

    Ulusoy added that, his stand on privatization notwithstanding, he is not in favor of any limits on foreign investments in the banking sector. Commenting on talks with foreigners about Oyakbank he said: "Why should we not talk to anyone who says that we have grown and become more beautiful?"

    Ulusoy then returned to TUPRAS and Erdemir and said: "If we are inside these companies we can think about Turkey better than foreigners would."

    Then he tried to explain what he means: "Let us say that we bought TUPRAS. Let us say that some day it becomes necessary to give up some profit for a brief period to protect Turkey's national interests. Then we would do that. Obviously we would not do that at the expense of ruining the assets of our 222,000 military shareholders. However it is quite obvious that we would take care of national interests much better than some foreigner."

    It is frequently pointed out that "OYAK is an autonomous enterprise" and that its "administration is not in any way affiliated with the army." Nevertheless, did the soldiers have a role in the "nationalist approach" Ulusoy has articulated or the "second nationalist front" he has opened with regard to privatization? Was Ulusoy expressing some concerns that the soldiers could not state officially?

    Naturally Ulusoy denied these charges: "My opposition to the privatization of Turk Telekom, TUPRAS, and Erdemir is entirely my personal view. It is not even the view of the OYAK Group."

    Nonetheless, Ulusoy's charge that "airplanes could not fly without TUPRAS" could not dissipate suspicions that this was a "military view." In any event, the TUPRAS contract will be awarded today and the group that is willing to risk the most money will win.

    We will see how far OYAK's power of defiance will go."


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