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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-04
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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
04.03.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PREMIER MEETS WITH SEZER, BRIEFS HIM ON SATURDAY’S PARLIAMENTARY VOTE ON US TROOPS DEPLOYMENTPrime Minister Abdullah Gul met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer at the Presidential Palace yesterday. During the 40-minute meeting, Gul briefed Sezer on recent political developments following a parliamentary vote on Saturday which failed to approve a proposal that would have allowed deployment of 62,000 US troops on Turkish soil to open a northern front into Iraq. /Cumhuriyet, Sabah/
 OZKOK REPORTEDLY CAUTIONS GUL AGAINST ADVERSE DEVELOPMENTS IN NORTHERN IRAQFollowing Saturday’s parliamentary vote which failed to approve a proposal that would have allowed stationing of US troops in Turkey and sending Turkish forces to northern Iraq, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok cautioned Prime Minister Abdullah Gul against any adverse developments that could emerge in northern Iraq and threaten Turkey’s national security in the event of a war against Saddam Hussein, sources reported yesterday. Meeting with Gul on Sunday at the Prime Ministry, Ozkok reportedly told the premier that in the new political situation after Parliament’s refusal of the proposal, urgent measures should be taken in order to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state in the region. /Cumhuriyet/
 ARINC: “IT WOULDN’T BE POLITICALLY CORRECT TO RE-SUBMIT PROPOSALS ON IRAQ UNCHANGED”Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said yesterday that it wouldn’t be politically correct to re-submit proposals on Iraq unchanged which Parliament rejected over the weekend, adding that the decision shouldn’t be criticized. “This decision strengthened Parliament, its deputies, the AKP and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and especially the AKP government,” he said. “My position as Parliament Speaker requires me to be objective in parliamentary proceedings.” Arinc stated AKP and CHP deputies had taken the decision together but that nobody should be blamed because of it. He stated that it was impossible for him to contradict the government and his party’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, adding that there was no leadership struggle within the party. /Milliyet/
 KURDS IN ARBIL PROTESTS TURKEYYesterday, a demonstration was held in Arbil, a city in northern Iraq under control of the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani to protest Turkey. Claiming that Turkey was planning to enter northern Iraq during a possible US operation in Iraq, thousands of Kurds chanted slogans and held banners against Turkey’s intervention in the region. Meanwhile, a statement issued by the IKDP and the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK), stated that the two parties formed a joint leadership in political, military, administrative realms. “Forces in Iraqi Kurdistan to act under the Joint Higher Leadership aim at ending the dictatorship in Iraq and establishing a democratic, pluralistic federal system,” said the statement. It remarked that IKDP leader Massoud Barzani and IPUK leader Jalal Talabani would be co-presidents of the joint leadership. /Turkiye/
 GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER SCHILY: “KADEK IS ON GERMANY’S TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS LIST”German Interior Minister Otto Schily, who arrived in Ankara as the official guest of his Turkish counterpart Abdulkadir Aksu yesterday, said that KADEK, the continuation of the terrorist PKK, was on Germany’s terrorists organizations list. “KADEK, as the terrorist successor to the PKK, is banned in our country, but unfortunately that doesn’t apply for other European states,” added Schily. PKK/KADEK is responsible for claiming over 30,000 lives in southeastern Turkey. /Cumhuriyet_
 GROSSMAN: “TURKEY IS MISSING THE CHANCE TO RESTRUCTURE IRAQ AFTER A POSSIBLE US-LED OPERATION”Marc Grossman, United States undersecretary of state, said yesterday that Turkey was missing the chance to participate in the restructure process of Iraq after a possible US-led operation against it. Grossman stated that the US respected Turkish Parliament’s decision which rejected allowing US troops to be stationed in Turkey, but the decision disappointed the US. “However, Parliament’s decision won’t affect the US determination to conduct an operation against Iraq.” Grossman also said that the US was opposed to Turkey’s sending its troops to northern Iraq unilaterally and that he had concerns due to tension between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds. /Aksam/
 GOVERNMENT SENDS BUDGET FOR 2003 TO PARLIAMENTFinance Minister Kemal Unakitan said yesterday Turkey expected its economy to grow by five percent in 2003 with gross national product (GNP) at TL 354, 600 trillion. Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said earlier on Monday his government would send the long-overdue budget to Parliament later in the day, in an apparent bid to ease markets worried about the impact of war on the economy. Unakitan told reporters at a news conference where he unveiled this year’s budget that financial targets take into account the fallout on Turkey’s economy of a possible Iraq war. “There will be some effects from developments in our neighboring country. We have calculated the budget taking these into account and I don’t believe we’ll have a problem,” he said. The minister said exports this year were expected to total $39.2 billion, while imports were seen at $54.7 billion. The consolidated budget allows for TL 146, 900 trillion in spending, leaving a deficit of TL 46,100 trillion, he said. “We are targeting interest payments on debt in 2003 to be 18.5 percent of GNP. This figure was 19.1 percent in 2002,” the minister said. /Turkish Daily News/
 NEW ECONOMIC MEASURES ANNOUNCEDAfter Parliament rejected the government’s proposal on Iraq on Saturday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday held a press conference to announce a new economic package. The package proposes economic measures worth of TL 15.7 quadrillion, and people will pay additional real estate and motor vehicle taxes. Gul said that the government would continue the financial discipline and ensure harmony between policy of revenues and inflation target in order to reach the earlier set inflation target. “It is obvious that our government has made our economy more resistant to external shocks when compared with the past as a requirement of the structure of the economic program. We have to do all these to put our economy on the right track. Because, we should be determined to make Turkish economy robust in order to compete and have happier days in the future,” said Gul. /All Papers/
 TRNC PRESIDENT DENKTAS: “ANNAN’S PLAN NEEDS REVISION”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday said that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan was needed to be revised. Remarking that Annan asked them to come The Hague and sign for a referendum, Denktas said, “We have no time to examine the plan comprehensively.” Stressing that the TRNC had wanted a resolution to be reached on the Island soon, “However,” he said, “We can’t sign a plan by force which undermines Turkish Cypriots’ rights.”
 CB HEAD: “WE CAN INTERVENE IN EXCHANGE RATE IF THERE IS ANY NEED”Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti said yesterday that the CB would intervene in exchange rate if there were any need. “There is a liquidity surplus for now, but if markets need more liquidity, the CB is ready to meet it by present market regulations,” he stated. “It carries great importance to protect the stability of financial system and the CB is ready to take necessary measures quickly to enable markets to work efficiently.” Serdengecti said that economic measures declared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was positive. “These measures will help Turkey ensure financial discipline and eliminate negative effects of a possible war against Iraq on Turkey,” added Serdengecti. /Milliyet/
 KAHKONEN: “THE GOVERNMENT’S ECONOMIC MEASURES ARE SATISFACTORY”Juha Kahkonen, the International Monetary Fund Turkey desk chief, yesterday said that economic measures declared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government were satisfactory. Kahkonen stated that Turkey’s 2003 budget seemed appropriate for 6.5% primary surplus target. /Aksam/
 FEBRUARY INFLATION FIGURES RELEASEDThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) yesterday released month-on-month inflation figures for February. Inflation in February was 3.1% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and 2.3% on the consumer price index (CPI). The figures pushed year-on-year WPI inflation to 33.4% and CPI inflation to 27.0%. /All Papers/
 FEBRUARY EXPORTS SOAR TO $2.9 BILLIONTurkey’s exports this February soared by 26.1% to reach $2.9 billion, said figures released by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM). Exports for the January-February period this year also rose 34% when compared to the same period last year, added TIM, to total some $6.4 billion. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PROPOSAL AND BY-ELECTION BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the proposal on Iraq and by-election to be held in Siirt. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A decision was made on the proposal on Iraq and it’s uncertain whether a new one will be brought or not. Clearly, it’s a matter of courage to bring a new proposal to Parliament. Maybe it’s not only a matter of courage, but also a matter of ‘political ability.’ Speaking to journalists concerning the decision on the proposal, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, ‘We might have made a binding group decision and said that it was the requirement of Turkish policies, but we didn’t. We knew that if we had done such a thing, the people would have criticized us about the lack of democracy inside the party.’ If this is Mr. Erdogan’s way of thinking, then we are done for because if he wins by-elections to be held in Siirt next week and becomes a deputy, he might be the prime minister soon.
Truly, the only thing that we were incapable of understanding about the issue of proposal is why the AKP didn’t want to make a Parliament group decision. Because the Parliament groups are the basic institutions of parliamentarian democracy and the Parliament group decisions are the integral parts of this whole. It’s the right of each party, which has a group at Parliament, to discuss every subject, which the Constitution doesn’t prohibit to be brought to Parliament. Mr. Erdogan must have confused the subjects that can’t be brought to the group with just the opposite ones. Therefore Mr. Erdogan skipped a subject which nobody can criticize in terms of the democracy inside the party. Therefore the thing that he claims that he knows is wrong.
Clearly, Erdogan thought that if he wanted, they would do that. However, he has the broadest information on each AKP deputy who entered Parliament. Therefore he must have seen the number of those saying, ‘It’s not religiously permissible for a Muslim to shed another Muslim’s blood’ and the AKP deputies who welcomes the developments supporting Kurds in northern Iraq sympathetically. Now a new surprise might be waiting for Erdogan in Siirt. If Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP), which received 32% of the votes in Siirt in November elections, supports Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidates this time, then the AKP’s votes of 17% might not be enough for electing Erdogan. Because then two seats out of three would be the CHP’s. If the remaining one seat is given to an independent candidate, not Erdogan but the independent candidate would enter Parliament. The story of a new proposal would end that day.”
 A SECOND TRY BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak writes on Turkish Parliament’s stance on the Iraq crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Will the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) prepare another proposal authorizing US troops to be stationed at Turkey’s military facilities?
Looking at AKP members’ recent statements trying to prevent any possible fluctuations in financial markets after US Secretary of State Colin Powell phoned Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, I guess that a new proposal might be prepared in line with the future developments concerning the Iraq crisis.
Sources state that Office of Prime Minister is currently looking for a new way to reach consensus with the members of Parliament. Let’s take a look at the latest developments: Gul met with Chief of General Staff Hilmi Ozkok and then President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. A number of AKP members recently remarked that negotiations with the US have not completed yet. The IMF and Bush administration reiterated that their economic assistance to Turkey would continue without any hitches. Washington’s recent remarks that it respected Turkish Parliament’s decision should not be regarded as a democratic reaction but another strategy indicating that Bush will never give up negotiating with Turkey. In other words, a new negotiation process is about to begin. The US still hopes that a proposal authorizing its troops will pass the Turkish Parliament within a week.
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix is expected to present a new report to the UN on March 7. The US is trying to find a diplomatic way to overcome the crisis created by France vetoing another resolution which would legitimize use of force upon Iraq.
Ankara is in fact expected to prepare a new proposal if the US manages to win international legitimacy by a new UN resolution. On the other hand, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s influences upon their political party are currently under suspicion. Will Parliament which recently rejected a proposal change its stance? I don’t think so. There are many ministers which will not sign such a proposal. They are resisting against Gul and Erdogan. I believe that a new proposal would not be accepted at Parliament.”
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