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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-06
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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 <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
06.03.2003GEN. OZKOK: “TURKISH ARMED FORCES’ POSITION ON US TROOP DEPLOYMENT IS THE SAME AS THE GOVERNMENT’S” FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GEN. OZKOK: “TURKISH ARMED FORCES’ POSITION ON US TROOP DEPLOYMENT IS THE SAME AS THE GOVERNMENT’S”Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said yesterday that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) hold the same view as the government on deployment of US troops in Turkey for a possible northern offensive into Iraq. Ozkok’s statements came at a time when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is widely expected to submit a new proposal following a parliamentary vote Saturday which failed to allow stationing of US troops on Turkish soil and sending Turkish forces into northern Iraq, and are likely to boost support for a parliamentary approval of a second proposal concerning the issue. Ozkok stressed that the military respected Parliament’s rejection of the first proposal but that allowing the US to open a northern front against Iraq would shorten a war, minimize casualties. Ozkok stated Turkey had received assurances from the US regarding Turkey's security and financial concerns, adding that he hoped the issue would be solved in the coming days. “Turkey is not capable of preventing the war on its own... our choice is between bad and worse,” Ozkok said. Ozkok remarked that the military had not made its views public earlier in order to avoid influencing the parliament. “If we had expressed our views, it would have amounted to pressuring the parliament for the approval of the resolution. It wouldn't have been democratic,” Ozkok said. In related news, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul characterized Gen. Ozkok’s statements as reasonable while Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said that he appreciated Ozkok’s remarks, adding that the timing of the statement was quite telling. /All Papers/
 US WEAPONS TO BE TRANSPORTED BY TURKISH STATE RAILWAYSUS officials agreed with Turkish officials to transport military supplies from Iskenderun Harbor to southeastern Anatolia by the Turkish State Railways. If Turkish government gives permission to dispatch the materials including weapons and ammunition, equipments, caravans, mobile kitchens and toilets, US officials will carry them with 35 wagon trains for each 300 locomotives and to be hired from the Turkish State Railways. A group of the US soldiers is also planned to be sent to the region of war by trains. /Turkiye/
 US JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN GEN. MYERS: “WE HAVE DIFFERENT ALTERNATIVES”US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers yesterday said that the US could carry out an effective operation in Iraq without Turkey’s support. Stressing that in any case, they had B,C, and D plans, “However,” Myers said, “they are difficult to carry out.” Meanwhile, US Central Forces Commander Gen. Tommy Franks said that if Turkey didn’t give support for opening a front in northern Iraq, the US would carry out a different plan which was secret. On the tension between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds, Franks said, “We are working both with Turkish and Kurdish representatives. We will try to solve problems to be arisen together.” /Turkiye/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN BOUCHER: “COORDINATION WITH TURKEY IS NECESSARY”US State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday that a military operation to northern Iraq should be carried out only by coordination between Turkey and the US. At a daily press conference, Boucher said that the US was against a unilateral operation in northern Iraq. Regarding recent demonstrations against Turkey in the region, the spokesman stated that the burning of Turkish flag had been an unfortunate event. Stressing that contacts with Turkish officials for their support were continuing, Boucher stated that the US would continue to support Turkey economically whatever its decision would be. /Turkiye/
 US DELEGATION VISITS TURKEYA delegation headed by US House of Representatives Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Democrat Robert Wexler is a paying a two-day visit to Turkey. Today the delegation is set to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and expected to inspire Gul to pass a new proposal in Parliament. /Turkiye/
 EU COMMISION APPROVES AID PACKAGE FOR TURKEYEuropean Union Commission yesterday approved next year’s draft budget, with 250 million euros aid for Turkey. Speaking at the commission’s meeting, EU Commission President Romano Prodi said that enlargement was the Union’s priority, adding that he hoped that it completes its enlargement process as soon as possible. The commission approved 1.3 billion euros aid for Bulgaria and Romania. /Aksam/
 DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER SENER: “THE AKP WILL HAVE NO DIFFICULTIES IN ACHIEVING ITS ECONOMIC TARGETS”Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would have no difficulties in reaching its inflation and growth targets for this year. Sener also said that he expected inflation to begin falling down after first months of this year. “If we achieve in bringing it down 6 or 7 points, it will be %20,” he said. Sener added that there was no revision in this year’s budget and that price increase in public sector was due to oil prices. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “IF TURKEY GETS ASSISTANCE PACKAGE FROM THE US, IT WILL BE USED TO RESTRUCTURE DEBTS”Appearing on television yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that if Turkey gets an assistance package from the United States, this package would be used to restructure Turkey’s debts. “The government will use the credits to restructure Turkey’s debts,” he said. “This will enable us to bring down short-time debts and increase the long- term debts.” /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS MEETS WITH OZKOK TO DISCUSS CYPRUS PLANTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday arrived in Turkey to meet separately with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to discuss recent developments on Cyprus. Speaking after their meeting, Ozkok said that it was a great honor to host Denktas at the General Staff. “As you know, attention of the world public opinion has been concentrated on the Iraq issue recently,” he said. “In fact, very important developments have been occurring in Cyprus. These developments are of vital importance for both the TRNC and Turkey.” For his part, Denktas thanked Ozkok for his support and sensitivity. He also said that both the TRNC and Greek Cypriot administration wanted some changes to the UN Cyprus plan, but that the UN was imposing on them to hold referendums. He remarked that holding such a referendum would negatively affect Turkish Cypriots’ rights on the island. “The Cyprus issue is a national case,” said Denktas, adding that peace had been settled on the island after Turkey’s Peace Operation in 1974. Denktas is expected to meet separately with Gul and Arinc today. /Milliyet/
 IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT ASKS TURKEY FOR PROTECTION AGAINST IPUK AND IKDP DESIGNS ON NORTHERN IRAQIraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) had requested Turkey’s protection against Iraqi Patriotic Union (IPUK) and Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party’s (IKDP) secret agenda of establishing an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq and driving the ethnic Turkmen population out of the region, Mustafa Ziya, ITF’s representative in Turkey, said yesterday. Ziya stressed that Iraqi Turkmen’s lives were under grave threat posed by IPUK leader Talabani and IKDP head Barzani who had long been provoking the region’s Kurds against the Turkmen population. “We have asked Turkish officials for protection both politically and militarily against Talabani and Barzani’s designs on northern Iraq in post-Saddam period,” said Ziya. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TOWARDS A SECOND PROPOSAL BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi writes on Turkey’s stance on the Iraq crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday told a press conference that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) believed that Turkey should join a US- led war in Iraq in line with its national interests.
If the TSK as a military institution which always kept away from unnecessary ‘adventures’ says that Turkey must take part in this war, it means that there are no other choices for us other than backing the US. In other words, Turkey will no longer see a new UN Security Council Resolution as a must. This is not because the US has managed to win international legitimacy, but because Turkey has no other options due to ever-increasing US pressure.
“Simply speaking, Turkey will suffer economic and political losses in both cases,” said Gen. Ozkok. “If we don’t support the US, we will suffer great losses which won’t be compensated. We won’t have the right to participate in Iraq’s political restructuring process. However, if we back the US, some of our losses will be compensated by the Bush administration and we’ll be able to provide humanitarian aid to the refugees in northern Iraq.”
By the way, Parliamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc recently remarked that he appreciated Ozkok’s statement, in other words, Arinc also believes that Turkey should change its stance.
Therefore, it’s very clear that the government is planning to prepare a new proposal to be presented to the Parliament. Our government has to find a way to persuade reluctant deputies. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in trouble since he trusted the members of his party and did not want to make a group decision on the issue. If he now tries to make a group decision on the issue, people would believe that he is afraid of a second failure. However, no matter what people thinks, I believe that he has to make such a decision.
What about timing? It’s clear that the US wants a war to start as soon as possible. The earlier, the better, the Bush administration says. Please excuse us the members of the Bush administration! But I can’t recall that we promised you that you can count on Turkey when starting this adventure!”
 AIMS SHOULD BE EXPLAINED BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the stance Turkey should have concerning the Iraq crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Everybody is aware of the presence of the Turkish soldiers in northern Iraq for a few years. Nobody has said anything up to now concerning this issue. However, the situation is different now. Kurdish leaders and the leading Iraqi opposition members say that they don’t want to see the Turkish soldiers in the region. The latest speeches made by these people show that their stance is as follows: A great number of Turkish soldiers will come to the region and occupy here, hinder the local people’s requests and intervene in its domestic affairs. Of course it isn’t true but there is such an impression and concern. In addition, it can’t be said that Ankara is doing what is necessary to change this wrong opinion.
Since the day news concerning a possible operation against Iraq started to be published, it had been said or written that Turkey would send a great number of soldiers to northern Iraq. In other words, the current military existence in northern Iraq was stated to have being extended due to certain aims. The different statements about these aims confused the people. First the soldiers were stated to have being dispatched in order to limit a possible migration in northern Iraq. Actually this argument didn’t seem to be persuasive. What’s more, local authorities in northern Iraq stated that they would overcome this problem but that they would request Turkey’s help if necessary. Different people had different arguments. For some people, the Turkish soldiers would protect Turkmens against the possible attacks and for some, it would prevent the actions of PKK-KADEK. Meanwhile, the real aim was stated to have been preventing the “undesired formations” in northern. The meaning of it was comprehended in different ways. Ankara meant the declaration of an independent Kurdish state by it. However, the inclusion of a federal structure into the “undesired formations” caused suspicion and concern. As a matter of fact, the statements made by the Kurdish and Iraqi opposition leaders show that this is the actual reason of their fear and lack of confidence. The leaders of these groups emphasize that they favor a democratic and federal Iraq within Iraq’s territorial integrity and that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state won’t be point at issue.
Now Ankara has to determine the things it will give permission in the process of Iraq’s restructure in the post-Saddam period and give a message clearly. Everybody knows that Turkey is against Iraq’s disintegration and the declaration of an independent Kurdish state. Certainly Ankara will consider it a reason for an operation. Actually the Turkish policy on the federal system is unclear. Certain circles consider a united Iraqi state’s having a federal structure and Iraqi people’s making a decision on such a constitutional order a threat against Turkey. Actually Ankara should discuss this issue realistically and determine its policy. It would be beneficial for Ankara to be in dialogue with the Kurdish and other Iraqi groups and establish a basis to give an end to the misunderstandings and lack of confidence, which caused the latest tensions.”
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