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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-24
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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
24.03.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 NEW GOVERNMENT WINS VOTE OF CONFIDENCETurkey’s new 59th government headed by Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday won its inaugural vote of confidence in Parliament. Of the 512 deputies present at the session, 350 voted for and 162 against approving Erdogan’s government, which has a comfortable majority of 364 seats apart from the Parliament speaker. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 177 seats and the True Path Party (DYP) has three, with five independent deputies. Following the balloting, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer extended congratulations to Erdogan on the vote and wished all success to the new government. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO CARRY OUT THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM AND WEATHER THE WAR PERIOD”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged yesterday that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was completely determined to implement Turkey’s economic program. “Our economic program is strong enough to compensate for any fallout on Turkey’s economy of the war against Iraq which began last week,” said Erdogan. “Our government has taken all necessary measures to get through this war period smoothly.” However, Erdogan added that the government would take new measures to support the program if need be. “The AKP’s determination to ensure fiscal stability will support measures of the Central Bank and other public institutions,” he stated. /Milliyet/
 FOREIGN MINISTER GUL: “NEGOTIATIONS ARE CONTINUING WITH US OFFICIALS OVER NORTHERN IRAQ”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that negotiations with US officials on coordinating the countries’ respective roles in northern Iraq were continuing, stressing that Turkey would decide through its own will on whether or not to enter northern Iraq. “There is nothing negative in our talks with the Americans,” said Gul. “Everything is moving forward with coordination and mutual understanding." US troop activities in Turkey are continuing within the framework of Parliament’s permission and cooperation regarding humanitarian aid will continue in the future as well, he remarked. Gul added that Turkey had permitted a C-130 plane to land at Incirlik Airbase the previous day as it had carried wounded personnel. In related news, Gul yesterday had telephone conversations with his German and Greek counterparts, Joschka Fischer and George Papandreou, to convey Turkey’s stance on the Iraq war. In addition, Gul sent a message to Arab League Secretary-General Amr Musa during the league’s current Cairo, Egypt summit laying out Turkey’s Iraq policy. /Turkiye/
 PEARSON VISITS FOREIGN MINISTRY TO DISCUSS NORTHERN IRAQ, TURKISH SIDE SEES “SOFTENING”US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson yesterday visited the Foreign Ministry to discuss the issue of Turkey’s role in northern Iraq. During meetings with Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Ambassador Deniz Bolukbasi, the two sides reportedly held preliminary talks on Turkey’s possible entrance into northern Iraq. Whereas Pearson reiterated US concerns that Turkey’s entrance might cause trouble with the region’s Kurds and endanger the US-led war, the Turkish side reportedly saw signs of a softening of the US position on the issue. The talks are due to continue today with the participation of Zalmay Khalilzad, US President George W. Bush’s envoy to the Iraqi opposition. /Hurriyet/
 KHALILZAD TO ARRIVE IN TURKEY TO DISCUSS NORTHERN IRAQUS presidential envoy Zalmay Khalilzad is set to arrive in Ankara today to meet with Foreign Ministry officials to discuss a number of issues, among them Turkey’s entering northern Iraq, a move which the US has expressed opposition to. During the bilateral talks, the size and role of Turkish forces entering the region are expected to be discussed. /Milliyet/
 US PULLS BACK NORTHERN FRONT PREPARATIONS FROM TURKEYAfter the Pentagon formally abandoned plans Saturday to open a northern front through Turkey in the Iraq war, dozens of American ships waiting off Turkey’s Iskenderun and Mersin Mediterranean seaports started to head to the Persian Gulf yesterday. The US also started pulling back logistical stockpiles in southeastern Turkey. /All Papers/
 BELGIUM FOREIGN MINISTER MICHEL: ”TURKEY’S ENTERING NORTHERN IRAQ COULD HINDER ITS EU BID”Following the repeated US request that Turkey not send its forces into northern Iraq, a number of European countries have begun expressing similar sentiments. Speaking on television yesterday, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said that it would be “unthinkable” for Turkey to join the EU if Turkish troops entered northern Iraq. “If the Turks enter northern Iraqi ‘Kurdistan,’ they will have serious problems in their EU candidacy,” warned Michel. He added that in such a case Belgium would also withdraw its personnel from NATO patrol planes in Turkey, echoing Germany’s pledge on Saturday to do the same. /Turkiye/
 IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER SABRI: “TURKEY WOULD BE UNWISE TO SUPPORT THE US-LED WAR AGAINST IRAQ”Iraqi Foreign Minister Naci Sabri warned yesterday that a decision to support the US-led war against Iraq could end up hurting Turkey. "We hope that our Turkish neighbors will recognize their true interest,” said Sabri in Damascus, adding: “Whoever seeks to harm Iraq, will himself be inflicted with multiple harm." Speaking later in Cairo, Eygpt to reporters during the Arab League summit there, Sabri said that there was a contradiction between Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and the nation’s will. “Iraq is key to the region’s stability,” Sabri stated, warning that relations between the two countries would be damaged if Turkey supports the ongoing war. /Aksam/
 BUSH: “THE US HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT IT DOESN’T WANT A TURKISH MILITARY PRESENCE IN NORTHERN IRAQ”Speaking yesterday at the White House after meeting with his war advisors in Camp David, US President George W. Bush reiterated his administration’s policy against Turkish forces entering northern Iraq. “The US is making it very clear that it does not want a Turkish military presence in northern Iraq,” he told journalists. “They know our policy, and it's a firm policy, and, they know we're working with the Kurds to make sure there's not an incident with the Turkish military.” However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged over the weekend to send Turkish troops into the region, saying, "The presence of our troops will be a source of security and stability both for Turkey and the region." /Cumhuriyet/
 BAYKAL: “THE ECONOMY HAS NO SURPRISE RESOURCES”Speaking in Parliament yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal took exception to Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent statement that the government would find “surprise resources” to help the economy. “The AKP is in power now and it has no right to complain,” said Baykal. “The AKP has to put forth its targets as soon as possible and do its utmost to attain them. It shouldn’t forget that it won’t be in power forever.” /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 AS WAR RAGES, BUSINESSMEN WAITING AT THE DOOR BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on the war on Iraq and Turkey’s relations with Washington and Brussels. A summary of her column is as follows: “Even before the war ends, the Bush administration has asked a number of large US construction firms to draw up proposals on Iraq’s postwar reconstruction. ‘In a matter of days the administration is expected to award a series of contracts that could total $900 million for rehabilitation of roads and other infrastructure and to administer Iraq's ports and airports,’ said British daily The Financial Times. ‘Five large US engineering and construction companies, including Bechtel and Halliburton, were asked to bid for the assignment last month.’ US Vice President Dick Cheney was a member of Halliburton’s board of directors. Here’s another interesting detail from the Financial Times: ‘Iraq's oil sector will require $5 billion in investment over three years to return it to pre-1991 production levels, according to a study by Rice University's Baker Institute. That would jump to $15 billion to achieve full production levels. You don't have to scratch very deep here to see how much money is going to be involved.’ By the way, the Baker Institute was established by one James Baker, the same James Baker who was secretary of state during the 1991 Gulf War. The paper added, ‘The initial contracts are expected to go to US companies because much of the rebuilding will be paid for by the US government. There are other reasons for US executives' optimism about a postwar Iraq. The country will probably be blanketed by a large contingent of allied troops, eliminating a big security headache for contractors. Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq may also have the makings of a robust consumer market. Most important, the country's oil wells should give it a steady cash flow to pay contractors.’ The daily also quoted a lobbyist as saying, ‘There are not a lot of people pushing to get involved in Afghanistan or Bosnia. There's no long-term pay-off there. People are much more excited about Iraq.’ Bush is expected to ask Congress for supplementary funding for such construction activities. These are the facts. These are the realities of the world we’re living in. However, with the Iraqi people even now suffering under heavy bombing, such realism truly sickens me! All the latest developments in Turkey’s foreign relations show that our country will never be able to establish sound relations with the US or the European Union without solving both the Kurdish and Cyprus problems. If the Kurdish problem has been completely resolved, why are we so bothered with the idea of a Kurdish state being established in northern Iraq? However, today, the Kurdish issue is still one of the most important problems for our country, as it is doing great damage to our relations with the US and Europe. These countries do not want Turkey to enter into northern Iraq. Moreover, the Cyprus issue is also another headache for us. Let’s not fool ourselves: We can’t establish steady, tension-free relations with Washington and Brussels without first solving these problems.”
 WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL ON THE NORTHERN FRONT BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the Iraq’s role in the Iraqi war and especially northern Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In the first three days of the war, US and British forces moved forward without meeting the Iraqi army but as they moved further in, they encountered fiercer resistance than they had expected. It’s known that Saddam Hussein established defense lines around the inner parts of Iraq, near settlements. As US and British forces approached these places, they encountered resistance. They can no longer move forward as easily as they did in the first few days. There is a clear slowness in the US advance, and even news that it has been halted in places. Meanwhile, US and British losses are climbing, and captured US soldiers were shown on TV.
It’s not known how this resistance will affect the war’s outcome. However, it’s clear that it will be hard for the US to reach its goal as quickly and easily as it had planned. Besides the Iraqi military resistance, another setback the US hadn’t expected is that Iraqi people in the south, who are known to despise Saddam, didn’t welcome the US and British soldiers with open arms.
According to analysts, when the war from the south didn’t move forward easily, a serious gap formed in the north, making it difficult to maintain control. Guns fired by units attached to Saddam against Kurdish groups there are considered a serious security problem.
The lack of US forces to maintain security in the region is endangering an air operation through Jordan. The US seems to be seeking new avenues, and there are serious signals that it hopes to find a solution in Ankara. The beginning of contacts concerning Turkey’s entrance into northern Iraq should be evaluated in this respect. Today these contacts will continue with the participation of President Bush’s envoy to the Iraqi opposition, Zalmay Khalilzad. These developments might be able to relieve some of the tensions between the US and Turkey which emerged with our rejection of the US troop deployment proposal. The government later got authorization from Parliament to send our own soldiers into Iraq. The General Staff stated that it was drawing up all sorts of plans and preparations for this authorization. It seems there will be new developments and surprises on the northern front. We should be careful about the north over the next few days. Turkey will enhance its importance as long as it stays strong and self-confident.”
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