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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-17
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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
17.03.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN: “WE MUST ALL WORK TOGETHER FOR THE SAKE OF TURKEY’S PRODUCTION, EMPLOYMENT, AND SOCIAL AND REGIONAL PEACE”Speaking at the Ninth Provincial Consultative Assembly meeting of his party yesterday, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that all of the nation’s citizens had to work together for the advancement of Turkey’s production, employment, and social and regional peace. The AKP government will determinedly carry through anti-inflation policies, he pledged. Erdogan stated that reducing public sector debt and boosting growth were AKP priorities, adding that the government would easily achieve its 6.5% primary surplus target. /Milliyet/
 IRAQI OPPOSITION LEADERS VISIT ANKARAIraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani, Iraqi Turkmen Front leader Sanan Ahmet Aga and Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) representative Nechirvan Barzani yesterday arrived in Ankara to attend a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. US President George Bush’s envoy Zalmay Khalilzad will also attend the meeting to discuss with Turkish officials the future of northern Iraq’s Turkmen and Turkey’s stance in the region in the event of a war. /Turkiye/
 POWELL URGES TURKEY TO STAY OUT OF NORTHERN IRAQ, SAYS ERDOGAN IS STRIVING FOR YES-VOTE ON DEAL WITH USSpeaking to ABC's public affairs program “This Week” on Sunday, US Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that American officials have made it clear to Turkey that “the situation is volatile in northern Iraq and it would be better if there were no Turkish forces there, as part of any military operation that might take place.” Powell remarked that the US was well aware that Turkey was concerned about that region. “But they also know that we don't want to see anything happen that would precipitate a crisis between Turkey and the Kurdish populations in northern Iraq,” commented Powell. Powell also added that “although the Parliament already has voted not to accept the troops, I know that the new Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Prime Minister Abdullah Gul are trying to do everything they can to get that package through" in a new vote. “This issue has hit them at a rather difficult political time, but Turkey is a great friend of ours, a great ally of ours, we are very sensitive to their concerns about their relationship with the situation in northern Iraq and we're working very closely," he added. “I'm very pleased that Mr. Erdogan was willing, even before he became prime minister, to send the request to the Turkish Parliament in the hope that it would be passed. But it was not passed the first time in. And now that he is the prime minister, we are in constant touch with him, we are on the phone with him all the time. As you may recall, I had the foreign minister and the minister of economics in my home until midnight one night working on that economic package. I met with Mr. Erdogan and [then] Prime Minister Gul in Davos [Switzerland] a few weeks ago, and I know that they are trying to do everything they can to get that package through.” /All Papers/
 WASHINGTON POST CITES US DIPLOMACY TOWARDS TURKEY AS EXAMPLE OF “FAILED DIPLOMACY”In a news analysis published yesterday, the Washington Post argued that “six months after [US President George W.] Bush first appeared before the United Nations and urged a confrontation with Iraq, the United States appears to have lost diplomatic ground, not gained it, leaving it in a precarious international position as it prepares to launch a war,” citing particular US policy towards Turkey in this regard. The US daily criticized the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq crisis. “The decision by Turkey's Parliament to reject a US request to station troops in the country was another example in which the current administration has asked for more and expended less effort,” wrote the Post. “In 1990, [then US Secretary of State James] Baker made three trips to Turkey in five months. [George W.] Bush's father called the Turkish leader 55 to 60 times after Turkey agreed to shut down an oil pipeline to Iraq before the Persian Gulf War began, said Morton Abramowitz, then US ambassador to Turkey. The Turkish Parliament was asked to open its bases to the United States after the bombs began to fall. This time, not only did the United States want to insert 62, 000 troops in Turkey, but also it demanded a vote when the United States insisted it was trying to disarm Iraq peacefully; Turkish officials said administration officials demanded a vote as quickly as possible. Turkish officials made one trip to Washington, but [US Secretary of State Colin] Powell didn't visit Turkey once during this period. Bush had three calls or meetings with Turkish leaders, according to White House records.” /All Papers/
 GREEK CYPRIOT PRESIDENT PAPADOPOULOS: “WE’LL BE COMPLETELY FAIR WITH THE TURKISH CYPRIOTS”Greek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos stated over the weekend that the Greek Cypriot administration wanted to ensure the support of not only Greek Cypriots but also that of the Turkish Cypriots on its path towards European Union membership. Papadopoulos noted that the Greek Cypriot Cabinet had recently established a commission to focus on measures to be taken to address the problems of the island’s Turks. “With these measures, we want to convey to Turkish Cypriots a message that our EU membership would also be very beneficial for them,” said the new Greek Cypriot leader. “We’ll be completely fair with them. Turkish Cypriots will also benefit from the advantages of our EU membership.” /Cumhuriyet/
 GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER PAPANTONIOU: “SERIOUS CLASHES WOULD FOLLOW THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A KURDISH STATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ”Greek Defense Minister Yannos Papantoniou over the weekend predicted that if an independent Kurdish state were established in northern Iraq after Saddam Hussein loses power, Turkey would very likely intervene in the region, which would in turn lead to serious clashes between Turkish and Kurdish troops. He added that Greece was well aware of Turkey’s firm opposition to the establishment of a Kurdish state. Noting that the European Union, which Greece currently holds the rotating presidency of, lacked a specific policy on the Kurds, the Greek defense minister said that like Turkey, his nation also wanted to maintain the current borders and Iraq’s territorial integrity. /Hurriyet/
 INTERIOR MINISTER AKSU: “LIFTING EMERGENCY RULE HASN’T HINDERED OUR FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM”Speaking during weekend discussions of this year’s budget, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu declared that Turkey was no longer faced with the threat of separatist terrorism, notwithstanding the lifting of State of Emergency Rule (OHAL) last November. He stated that the three months since the conclusion of 15 years of OHAL proved that lifting the special security measures had in no way hindered Turkey’s fight against terrorism. “International consensus and cooperation are necessary for us to win this battle,” he added. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “THE GOVERNMENT MUST ACHIEVE ITS PRIMARY SURPLUS TARGET IN ORDER TO FACILITATE DEBT ROLLOVER”State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said yesterday that this year the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would pay down $93.4 billion in public debt. He stated that the AKP government fulfilling its 6.5% primary surplus target would be key in facilitating the rollover of Turkey’s debt and bringing down high interest rates. “The continued determined implementation of our economic program carries great importance, ” he said. “Our government is resolved to overcome its debt stock problem.” Babacan stated that structural problems were hindering Turkey’s growth but that if the government implements needed structural reforms, then the nation’s trust in the program would grow. He added that the independence of the Central Bank was one such reform. /Aksam/
 ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTER TUZMEN TRAVELS TO EGYPTEnvironmental Minister Kursad Tuzmen yesterday traveled to Cairo, Egypt accompanied by a delegation of 100 businessmen. As part of his contacts, Tuzmen is scheduled to meet with Egyptian Prime Minister Atef Obeid and Foreign Trade and Economy Minister Yusuf Boutros Ghali. During their talks, bilateral trade relations and other issues are to be taken up. Tuzmen is also to attend the opening of the 36th Cairo International Fair. The minister will return to Turkey on Wednesday. /Turkiye/
 RETIREMENT AGE LOWERED TO 61A bill regarding retirement age and salaries for civil servants was passed in Parliament yesterday. Under the bill, the retirement age was lowered from 65 to 61. Some 2,000 servants are expected to retire under the new regulation, including a number of diplomats. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 AT THE EDGE BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s foreign relations, particularly on Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We should know that our foreign relations are at the edge of a dangerous precipice. Since the Iraq crisis began, so many countries have stood in opposition to us. We steadfastly pursued peace, but these efforts proved incapable of even placating Saddam Hussein, who is incensed with us.
If democracy is an art, we haven’t exactly failed the test, but we certainly need to do a makeover exam. We’ve demonstrated our dazzling skill of turning our firm ally the United States against us, thus spurning the strategic alliance of the world’s only superpower. In short, we chose to ignore the bill that will surely come due following the Iraq operation.
In the same short period of time, we also showed our talent at incurring the wrath of the European Union. More than 20 Arab countries and 50-plus Muslim countries and even the five Turkic republics regard us coldly. They had no praise for our peace efforts. None of them helped us out with the United Nations plan for Cyprus, which we charged had been prepared to get rid of the island’s Turks.
We should look ahead to see where such a foreign policy could bring Turkey. If our nation, whose relations with everybody and every side are out of order, lacks a say in the future arrangement of the Middle East, how will it be able to stop decisions that could work against us?
Those offended at my words shouldn’t waste their time getting angry at me, but instead try to cure our foreign policy from such grave errors. Our republic has no need for a new political crisis on top of the recent economic one.”
 GRAVE PROBLEMS AWAITING ERDOGAN BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)Columnist Semih Idiz commnets on recent political developments concerning the Iraq issue and Turkey’s relations with Europe. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey is about to hit very troubled waters regarding the Iraq issue. All has been said and done to settle the problem through peaceful means, yet these efforts have amounted to nothing. The UN Security Council has gone completely bankrupt, as it proved unable to either give what the US wanted or to avert a war in Iraq, in all likelihood. Whereas Washington is now more determined than ever to topple Saddam Hussein, saying, ‘With or without Britain, I will do it.’ The system that keeps the US on its feet desperately needs such a war. For the Bush administration, the UN Security Council’s only relevance to the issue is passing a second UN resolution authorizing military intervention in Iraq, which is a must for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, to help him persuade the British public to side with the US. Indeed, Washington has already been convinced that the UN’s days are passed.
Following Parliament’s rejection of a motion earlier this month that would have allowed deployment of US troops in Turkey, the White House asked Ankara to open Turkish airspace to airlift troops and war materiel to northern Iraq. Yet Parliament is not likely to give the overflight permission either. Even if it does so, that would be too late for Washington’s war plans. In short, Turkey has done what the US had never expected from it. Thus, the US may soon want Ankara to share at least some part of its disappointment.
Under these circumstances, Turkey has to find urgent answers to certain challenging questions. For instance, if the US launches an attack on Iraq without Turkey’s aid, will Turkish troops intervene into northern Iraq single-handedly? The answer would surely have serious repercussions in the international community.
On the other hand, the question of how far Turkey could oppose the US in its war plans is also a crucial one, as we are on the verge of a cold war with Europe over both the Cyprus and Kurdish issues. What will the new government’s foreign policy be in an atmosphere of tension with both the US and Europe?
Of course Washington can never dare to completely burn its bridges with Ankara, for Turkey is certainly an important US ally. Nevertheless, it is certain that Turkish-US relations will in the future take a different path.
When it comes to Europe, the Cyprus issue has put our relations into a deadlock. Moreover, the Kurdish problem is likely to create even more tension. Given this, how would Europe react to Turkey’s intervention into northern Iraq on its own?
These are very difficult questions, ones to which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan must find urgent answers.”
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