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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-26
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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
26.03.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GUL: “TURKEY WANTS TO ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ IN ORDER TO PREVENT A REFUGEE CRISIS”Turkey plans to send its troops some 20 kilometers (12 miles) into northern Iraq to prevent a flood of refugees across its borders, but will withdraw the forces if their presence proves counterproductive, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul pledged yesterday. “Following the 1991 Gulf War, hundreds of thousands of starving, freezing Kurds created a humanitarian disaster for Turkey, and we don’t want to be faced with the same problem again,” said Gul. “We want to keep all refugees at the border. This is clear.” He added that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was determined to prevent a crisis. “It is natural that we are acting in coordination with our allies during a time of war, but Turkey will decide whether it will intervene in northern Iraq when needed,” said Gul. “There is no negativity in negotiations between Turkey and the US,” he added. /Aksam/
 NSC MEETING TO DISCUSS WAR AND NORTHERN IRAQ SITUATIONThe National Security Council (NSC) is due to meet on Friday, with new Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in attendance for the first time. The gathering is expected to focus on the ongoing Iraq war and possible contingencies in northern Iraq. Specifically, the role of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on the Turkish-Iraqi border, Kurdish groups in the region, and the presence of terrorist group PKK_KADEK in northern Iraq are expected to be discussed. Also on the agenda could be Turkey’s response to terrorist threats, a refugee crisis, or a Kurdish state forming in the region, or if the rights of Iraq’s 2.5 million ethnic Turkmen are ignored. /Cumhuriyet/
 NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL ROBERTSON: “NATO HAS NOT MADE ANY DECISION ABOUT A TURKISH PRESENCE IN NORTHERN IRAQ”NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said yesterday that the alliance had yet to make any decision about Turkey’s proposals to send its troops up to 20 kilometers (12 miles) into northern Iraq. Referring to Turkey’s pledges that such deployment would be for humanitarian purposes only, Robertson added, “There is no upsurge of [northern Iraqi] refugees in the region at the moment, so the issue does not arise as to whether NATO agrees or not.” The planned deployment by longtime NATO member Turkey had drawn criticism by alliance members opposed to the US-led Iraq war. /Aksam/
 TURKEY ASSURES EU COMMISSION ON HUMANITARIAN AIMS IN NORTHERN IRAQTurkey has assured the European Commission that it has no intention of staging a military operation in northern Iraq, said commission spokesman Reijo Kemppinen yesterday. Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Kemppinen added that Turkey’s Ambassador to NATO Ahmet Uzumcu had told commission President Romano Prodi that any Turkish military presence in the region would be for humanitarian purposes only. In related news, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said yesterday that he didn’t believe the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq would necessarily destabilize the region. After a telephone briefing on Ankara’s plans by Turkish leaders, Solana added that he expected Turkey to keep its word concerning its conduct in the proposed northern Iraq “buffer zone.” /Aksam/
 US PROPOSES $8.5 BILLION IN LOANS, LOAN GUARANTEES TO TURKEYThe Bush administration’s war budget submitted to the US Congress on Monday includes $1 billion in cash grants for Turkey, which in turn is leveragable for up to $8.5 billion in loans. The administration hopes to pass the budget, which requires congressional approval, by April 11. While the White House noted that Turkey had not requested the funds, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher added that the US “thought it prudent to put aside some money to help our friend and ally Turkey deal with economic consequences” of the Iraq war. White House spokesman Ari Fleischer also cited Turkey’s “impressive progress” in economic reform as a reason for the grant. A previous Turkish-US deal had envisioned up to $6 billion in grants, contingent on US troop deployments that the Turkish Parliament rejected, though it later approved US warplane flights in Turkey’s airspace. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the funds proposed by the US administration weren’t related to the issue of opening a “northern front.” He remarked that the money was instead intended to help compensate for Turkey’s losses due to the US-led Iraq war. /All Papers/
 EU COMMISSION TO APPROVE ACCESSION PARTNERSHIP DOCUMENT TODAYThe European Union Commission is to release Turkey’s new Accession Partnership Document today following its approval by the commissioners. The document covers developments in Turkish-EU relations as well as expectations from Turkey. Sources said that the document proposes increasing the EU’s accession financial aid to Turkey and extending some 1.07 billion euros in financial aid from 2004 to 2006. At last year’s Copenhagen summit, the EU envisioned beginning membership negotiations with Turkey in December 2004, contingent on progress in a number of areas. /Turkiye/
 SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER’S VISIT TO TURKEY BEGINS TOMORROWSpanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio is to pay an official visit to Ankara tomorrow. According to a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement, Palacio is to be received by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The visiting minister is also expected to hold inter-delegations meetings with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. /Cumhuriyet/
 FITCH CUTS TURKEY’S RATINGInternational ratings agency Fitch said yesterday that it had cut Turkey’s long-term rating from B to B- with a negative outlook, citing concerns about 2003 funding and volatile domestic debt valuations. However, the agency affirmed its short-term rating of B. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 BEFORE THE WAR AND AFTER BY SUKRU SINA GUREL (CUMHURIYET)Columnist and former Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel comments on Turkey’s stance on the Iraq war. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The countries waging the unjust, immoral war on Iraq have found themselves in serious trouble. US and British forces have encountered great problems within Iraq’s territories. Both Bush and Blair, who have of late terrified the world with their aggressive posturing, are facing unexpected developments. They were hoping to end the Iraq war in very short order. However, they have failed, because all of their assumptions are one-by-one falling short. But what did they expect? Let’s diagnose this gap between expectations and reality.
Firstly, they were mistaken in their assumptions about possible reactions from both their own nations and the international community. Bush believed that he could easily persuade the American public on the legitimacy of such a war in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He planned to base his aggressive doctrine of preemption on the idea of ‘potential threats.’ However, he completely failed to predict the US’ ever-growing opposition to the war.
Secondly, the Bush administration believed that the Iraqi people were so eager to get rid of Saddam Hussein and his oppressive regime that they would welcome their US ‘liberators.’ He thought that the Iraqi people would shower the US Army with garlands and not stand in its way. In addition, Bush’s assumption that Turkey’s support was a done deal also failed. The AKP government found that it couldn’t turn a blind eye to the overwhelming antiwar sentiment of the Turkish public. Our Parliament did not allow Turkish soil to become a US base in this war.
What might happen in the near future?
If US and British forces fail to capture Baghdad relatively quickly or the Iraqi resistance persists, the alliance will encounter even larger problems in the future. The Bush administration will have to destroy the country using a harsher military operation, one actually supposed to liberate its people. After such a war, there might be nothing left to be liberated. Under such circumstances, the US and British plans for postwar Iraq will fail utterly and a new world order will come in its wake. Ultimately, in the long run, the Bush administration and its supporters are very likely to be the losers.
Turkey should consider what might happen after the war. First, our country should take measures to cushion us from the war’s blows. Turkey should provide Iraqi refugees with humanitarian aid in northern Iraq and try to prevent a rush towards its borders. However, we should also plan how Turkey can play a positive part in the war scenarios, in our role as a country which is committed to the rule of law and democracy. Future developments after the war in the long run are more important than the conflict itself.”
 WHAT WENT WRONG? BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the mistakes made by both the US and Turkey in the leadup to the war in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The US is busy taking back equipment which it brought for the fourth US Army division, but other equipment is remaining in Turkey. Even its Sikorsky helicopters are preparing for flight. I asked, ‘The Sikorskys’ authorization for base modernization is limited to three months. How can they and the other equipment stay in Turkey much longer?’ And I got this answer: ‘They can stay on the condition that they are here for humanitarian purposes. Actually we’ve also permitted the medical treatment of injured US soldiers in Turkey.’ The US needs Turkey for logistical help in Iraq’s reconstruction in the postwar period. Turkey is giving its permission for this, and so now begins a new period of reconciliation in Turkish-US relations. The $1 billion in US aid pledged Monday is important in financial terms, but it’s also important in terms of being a positive sign.
My colleague Fikret Bila has written that the US might once again seek to send its soldiers through Turkish land. A new proposal could be prepared. Besides the fight against terrorism and Turkey’s status as a bridge nation - - factors which figure in the Turkish-US ‘strategic partnership’ -- the US’ need for Turkey is continuing and even increasing during this Iraq war. Turkey gave it permission for overflights and opened the door for humanitarian aid. If the war continues under more difficult circumstances, the US might need to use our bases and an acceptance of ‘full cooperation’ for a land operation as well. Ankara’s stance is as follows: ‘Opening bases is a separate issue. If the US really needs us, it would be better to reconsider full cooperation and for both sides to act more constructively.’ Actually both nations can now see more clearly the negative consequences of Parliament rejecting full cooperation back on March 1, that is, Turkey is suffering from serious economic difficulties and facing a storm over northern Iraq, and the US is facing unexpected serious problems on its southern front.
What was the US’ mistake? Actually it made many. First of all, it was a mistake to even begin this war. Clearly it planned it poorly. It made many blunders in its meetings with Ankara, too. For example, when Turkey was on the verge of agreeing to a set of terms, the next day the US inexplicably threw these terms out and started again from scratch. As a result, a crisis of confidence ensued. What’s more, even our public thinks that we handled this issue badly. However, we don’t want anti-US sentiment to take hold in Turkey.
US President George W. Bush should read the book ‘What Went Wrong’ by famed US historian Bernard Lewis and think through the possible results of these problems in the long run. At the stage we face now, both our nations should act decisively to show that the Turkish-US partnership is alive and well.”
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