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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-03

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

03.03.03

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “EVERYBODY SHOULD RESPECT FOR PARLIAMENT’S DECISION”
  • [02] PM GUL ASKS IRAQI LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN TO OBEY UN RESOLUTIONS
  • [03] POWELL: “THE US RESPECTS TURKEY’S DECISION ON IRAQ PROPOSAL”
  • [04] OZKOK VISITS GUL TO DISCUSS RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON IRAQ
  • [05] IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: “PARLIAMENT’S DECISION WILL STRENGTHEN RELATIONS BETWEEN IRAQ AND TURKEY”
  • [06] GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER TO PAY A VISIT TO TURKEY
  • [07] US PRESS ON TURKEY’S REJECTION TO DEPLOYMENT OF US TROOPS
  • [08] DENKTAS’S ADVISOR SOYSAL CRITICIZES ANNAN’S CYPRUS PLAN
  • [09] GUL TO TRAVEL TO QATAR TO ATTEND OIC MEETING
  • [10] STATE MINISTER TUZMEN VISITS SUDAN
  • [11] RALLY OF TURKEY TAKES START IN ANTALYA
  • [12] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [13] THE US UNDERSTANDS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
  • [14] PARLIAMENT’S HISTORIC DECISION BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “EVERYBODY SHOULD RESPECT FOR PARLIAMENT’S DECISION”

    Following rejection of a proposal on Iraq at the Parliament, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Central Decision and Administration Board headed by its leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened yesterday. Talking to reporters, Erdogan said that everybody should respect to Parliament’s decision on the proposal. Turkish Parliament rejected Saturday the proposal empowering the government to allow US troops to be stationed in Turkey and sending Turkish troops to northern Iraq with a vote of 264-251 with 19 abstentions where 267 votes are required for its approval. Stressing that the government’s only concern was to raise Turkey’s respectability, ensure peace and protect national interests, Erdogan warned certain circles not to use the matter as a political material. “Every condition also serves an alternative. However, it should be kept in mind that every alternative has its own cost,” said the AK Party leader. Speaking on Turkish-American relations, Erdogan said, “As Turkish-American strategic partnership and deep relations were not established in one day, they can’t be destroyed in one day.” Following about 10-hour meeting, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said journalists that after a period of discussion, the government would declare its stance on the matter. Reportedly, under a strategy established during the gathering, Turkey will put forward three following provisions for the US to be fulfilled: a written commitment regarding the final situation of the discussions between Turkey and the US, a demand for a consortium including Turkey to decide on the weapons to be distributed and collected in the northern Iraq, as well as an equal status for Turkmen. In addition, Erdogan stated that a proposal wouldn’t be sent to Parliament until the US came up with a new demand. /All Papers/

    [02] PM GUL ASKS IRAQI LEADER SADDAM HUSSEIN TO OBEY UN RESOLUTIONS

    Talking to reporters before a gathering of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Central Decision and Administration Board yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that Turkey was the only democratic country in the region and that the decision about a proposal on Iraq was made in a democratic process. Stating that the public had witnessed all the developments, Gul said that Parliament had displayed its own will and that it should be respected. He also sent a message to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein warning him to fully fulfill UN Resolutions soon to avoid a war. Stressing that the government and his party would comprehensively evaluate the final situation, Gul said that all measures needed would be taken. In the meantime, the Prime Minister will hold a press conference today regarding the recent developments. /Turkiye/

    [03] POWELL: “THE US RESPECTS TURKEY’S DECISION ON IRAQ PROPOSAL”

    Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday received a phone call from the United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on Parliament’s decision over the weekend which rejected a proposal to allow US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil. During their talks, reportedly, Powell said that the US administration respected the decision, but that it expected that the proposal would be passed. He added, however, that the decision wouldn’t cause any problems between the two countries and that the US would continue to support Turkey’s economy. For his part, Gul stressed the priority and importance of strategic relations between the two countries, and that these relations would continue in many realms. Gul added that it wouldn’t be appropriate to present the proposals to Parliament within a week and that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) needed time for a new proposal. /Milliyet/

    [04] OZKOK VISITS GUL TO DISCUSS RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ON IRAQ

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday visited Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to evaluate Parliament’s decision rejecting the proposals on Iraq. During their meeting, Ozkok briefed Gul on the recent situation of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). “If Turkish troops enter the northern Iraq, this would cost to Turkey,” he said. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for the TSK to enter the northern Iraq under these conditions as it didn’t get enough support from the US.” Gul stated that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government asked for the US administration to warn the Iraqi opposition leaders who declared that they would consider Turkish troops as enemy if they enter northern Iraq, but that it wouldn’t get a positive response from the US. /Aksam/

    [05] IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: “PARLIAMENT’S DECISION WILL STRENGTHEN RELATIONS BETWEEN IRAQ AND TURKEY”

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Naci Sabri yesterday said that the Iraq administration had welcomed a decision of Parliament on Iraq over the weekend which rejected to allow the United States troops to be stationed in Turkey and that this decision would strengthen relations between the two countries. “Turkey is a neighbour of Iraq and they have historical and culturel ties and common interests,” said Sabri. “A possible war against Iraq will negatively affect Turkey.” He also remarked Turkey’s economic losses due to the 1991 Gulf War and said that if Turkey supports a possible US-led operation against Iraq, this would hurt the interests of the Turkish nation. Sabri stated that Iraq respected Turkey, adding that the Iraq administration wanted to continue good relations with Turkey which based on cooperation and common interests. /Aksam/

    [06] GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER TO PAY A VISIT TO TURKEY

    German Interior Minister Otto Schily is today to pay a visit to Turkey. Schily will meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek. He is expected to sign an agreement with Justice Minister Cicek to improve bilateral cooperation on security issues. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] US PRESS ON TURKEY’S REJECTION TO DEPLOYMENT OF US TROOPS

    The US press gave wide coverage to Saturday’s parliamentary vote on a proposal authorizing US troops to be deployed at Turkey’s military facilities, which was rejected by the Turkish Parliament by three votes. “The Turkish Parliament today dealt a heavy blow to the Bush administration's plans for a northern front against Iraq, narrowly rejecting a measure that would have allowed thousands of American combat troops to use the country as a base for an attack,” said the New York Times. “The defeat posed immediate military problems for American officials, who had been counting on Turkey's support to bring as many as 62,000 American troops into the country to build a northern front. A senior Pentagon official said today that the American military would be able to stage the operation without Turkey's help, but most military analysts agreed that it would be extremely difficult without a northern base.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post said, “A senior administration official in Washington described the Turkish vote as ‘absolutely a big deal,’ and said the administration must now decide whether to wait and see what the Turkish government does next, or immediately move forward with a backup plan to deploy the Army's 4th Infantry Division to Kuwait instead of Turkey. The defeat in the Turkish parliament was another setback in US efforts to win international support for a war against Iraq. The US push was further complicated today as Iraq began destroying its banned Al Samoud-2 missiles under the supervision of UN inspectors.” /All Papers/

    [08] DENKTAS’S ADVISOR SOYSAL CRITICIZES ANNAN’S CYPRUS PLAN

    The Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and the Turkish Union of Bars over the weekend held a joint meeting entitled “International Cyprus Conference.” Delivering a speech at the conference, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’s constitutional advisor Mumtaz Soysal criticized UN Cyprus plan prepared by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Soysal remarked that UN plan, which he believes ignores Turkish Cypriots’ concerns, was prepared in line with Greek Cypriots’ national interests. /Turkiye/

    [09] GUL TO TRAVEL TO QATAR TO ATTEND OIC MEETING

    Prime Minister Abdullah Gul is to travel to Qatar tomorrow to attend an Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting. The OIC meeting is expected to focus on the Iraq crisis and possible ways to find a peaceful resolution to the problem. /Star/

    [10] STATE MINISTER TUZMEN VISITS SUDAN

    As part of his tours of various countries to booster Turkey’s trade relations, State Minister Kursad Tuzmen is paying a visit to Sudan. Stating that Sudan had similarities with Turkey, Tuzmen said that the country had many opportunities for Turkish businessmen. “Turkey should act soon to enter Sudan market before other countries,” said Tuzmen. The state minister added that he would continue to visits to certain countries to develop economic relations with them. /Turkiye/

    [11] RALLY OF TURKEY TAKES START IN ANTALYA

    The third leg of the “World Rally Championship”, Rally of Turkey, ended in Antalya over the weekend. While some 58 automobiles participated in the race, Carlos Sainz from Citroen placed the first. /Hurriyet/

    [12] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [13] THE US UNDERSTANDS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Parliament’s rejection of the proposal. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The Parliament’s rejection of the proposal concerning the deployment of the US soldiers caused two results: the US understood Turkey and realized its mistake. The fact that the US reached this conclusion is understood from the phone call between Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and US Secretary of State Colin Powell. The Parliament’s decision showed the US that Turkey isn’t one of those countries which can be directed by pressures. The US learned through the proposal that pressure put on Turkey by ignoring Turkey and its public, without considering its pride important might turn upside down. It understood that there was a public and Parliament in Turkey but it’s too late now. Anyway, Parliament’s decision caused the US to realize its mistakes. It showed that it was a great mistake to consider Turkey a kingdom in the Middle East or an emirate and to put pressure on it as if the prime minister makes all the decisions alone. It was also understood that Turkey isn’t panicked and frightened that it will be ruined and destroyed if it doesn’t do what the US wants.

    Gul’s calm stance showed it as well. He told Powell that Parliament’s decision required a new process from now on. Gul neither promised to bring and pass the proposal, nor said that everything is over. Stating that Turkey was a democratic country, Gul said that following Parliament’s decision, a new process of evaluation had started. Gul attaches priority to the solutions to remove possible negative effects of the decision. Then he’s planning to start a new process concerning the Iraq crisis. He recalled that the US shouldn’t repeat its mistakes in this new process.

    Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal thinks that Parliament corrected a mistake with the decision it made. He emphasized that the government harmed Turkey and put it into a difficult situation with a mistaken policy. Baykal thinks that the government and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have always had a mistaken stance. Baykal said, ‘With the decision it made, Parliament acted in accordance with the public’s wishes and provided the government with the opportunity of correcting its mistake. The policies followed by the government and the AKP have always been mistaken and wrong since the beginning. They followed a policy hesitantly and took certain steps without waiting for the will of the public and Parliament. For example, they passed the first proposal, gave permission for the preparations for a great military operation and caused the US to trust Turkey. However, when they were doing these things, they didn’t take Parliament’s will and inclinations into consideration.’

    Now the US has two alternatives. Washington will either wait for Turkey or carry out its plans without Turkey. It knows what Ankara thinks. This evaluation shows that a new proposal won’t be brought to Parliament in a few days and a new evaluation and process are necessary. The US understood Turkey but it’s a little late. Now the US will decide to wait or not.”

    [14] PARLIAMENT’S HISTORIC DECISION BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

    Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkish Parliament’s rejection of a proposal on Saturday that would have allowed US troops to be stationed in Turkey to open a northern front against Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Parliament’s overturning a vote on Saturday that would have greenlighted deployment of US troops in Turkey for a possible northern front into Iraq created a great deal of excitement in the country as well as the international community. Parliament’s decision was no doubt the reflection of the national will on which no one could place any reservations. Yet everyone is free to express his or her comment on possible outcomes of the decision.

    Those who are now pleased with the decision argue that Parliament’s rejection of the motion was a victory of democracy, the popular sovereignty and the anti-war stance over imperialism, the US’ aggressive attitude towards the world and possible bloodshed in Iraq. Some even claim that Turkey did what no other state could ever dare to do.

    There are also certain circles who think that Saturday’s vote is very likely to bring about grave consequences for Turkey. They say that the decision has made it impossible for Turkey to prevent the establishment of a federal regime in post-Saddam era and protect the ethnic Turkmen population in northern Iraq. Moreover, they add that Turkey has inflicted a serious damage on its strategic partnership with the US, a damage which would surely have adverse repercussions for our country. When it comes to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), nearly one-third of the AKP deputies voted against the motion and showed their strong resentment with the party’s leadership and administrative cadres. In no democratic regime a government party like this one can rule and implement its policies. The AKP government should send another urgent proposal to Parliament concerning the deployment of US troops on Turkish soil and make sure that it be accepted this time. Otherwise the AKP has to step down from government at once. Moreover, the government has failed to inform its deputies on how critical the situation was. The parliament speaker acted as if he was the leader of the opposition, and the National Security Council (NSC) preferred to remain ‘silent’ about an issue so crucial to the country’s interests.

    Debates over Parliament’s historic decision seem likely to continue for a while both in Turkey and abroad.”


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