|Thursday, 4 June 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 03-03-27
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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
 OZKOK: “TURKEY HAS NO ULTERIOR MOTIVES CONCERNING NORTHERN IRAQ”Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said yesterday that Turkish troops could end up entering northern Iraq if necessary, but neither to make war there nor to invade the region. Speaking at a press conference in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, Ozkok underlined that Turkey had no hidden designs on northern Iraq. Stressing that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would intervene if Turkish troops currently deployed in the region were attacked, in case of a refugee crisis or if attacks on civilians in the region led to instability, Ozkok said that under such conditions Turkey would send additional forces to northern Iraq. “As our strategic ally the US is pursuing war in the region, our actions will be carried out in coordination with them,” said the nation’s top military officer. He stressed that Turkey would give its full support to groups in the region, just as it had in the past, in order to head off any possible instability. He reiterated that Turkey favored Iraq’s territorial integrity and wanted its natural resources to be used by the Iraqi people alone. /All Papers/
 POWELL: “NEW US LOAN PROPOSAL REFLECTS OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR GREAT FRIEND TURKEY”The $1 billion dollars in loans proposed for Turkey in the new US war budget is a reflection of its commitment to its “great friend” Turkey, declared US Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday, adding that he hoped Turkey wouldn’t see any need to send more troops into northern Iraq. “The $6 billion economic package that we had been speaking of earlier… [has gone] off the table,” Powell told reporters in Washington. “But because of our friendship with Turkey and because of our realization that Turkey may have needs as a result of the conflict that’s taking place now, we thought it would be very prudent to put an amount into the supplemental [budget] that the president announced… that reflected our commitment to Turkey… It is a request that we’re putting before the Congress in this supplemental [budget] and we’ll see what needs exist in the future for these funds. Turkey is a great friend.” Addressing the northern Iraq issue, Powell stated, “We are monitoring the situation in northern Iraq so that we don’t see a humanitarian crisis develop which would lead to a flood of refugees heading toward the Turkey-Iraq border. And we hope that with those assurances, Turkey will not see a need to pursue incursions across the border… There has been no crossing of the border and Turkey continues to give us assurances that they see no need for that now.” Powell added that he was “in the closest consultation” with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and was “deeply appreciative” of the government’s efforts to fulfill US requests concerning the war in Iraq./Sabah/
 EU COMMISSION RELEASES ACCESSION PARTNERSHIP DOCUMENTThe European Union Commission yesterday released Turkey’s new Accession Partnership Document. The 27-page report presents a comprehensive analysis of developments in Turkey on its road to EU membership and sets out all the EU’s expectations from Turkey. The document will be presented to the EU General Affairs Council for approval during its meeting on April 14 in Luxemburg. The commission proposes some 1 billion euros in financial aid to Turkey to be disbursed in 2004-2006. /Turkiye/
 AKP PROPOSES LOWERING MINIMUM ELIGIBILITY AGE FOR PARLIAMENTARIANSParliament’s Constitutional Commission is set to debate today a legislative package from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) proposing amendments to Articles 76, 169 and 170 of the Constitution. Article 76 sets out the minimum eligible age for being elected to Parliament, which the package would lower from the current 30 to 25. In addition, the package includes amendments to the nation’s forestry law. Following hearings at the Constitutional Commission, the package is scheduled for a vote next week in Parliament’s general assembly. /Turkiye/
 KHALILZAD TO DISCUSS TURKEY’S POSSIBLE INTERVENTION IN NORTHERN IRAQ WITH KURDISH GROUPSIranian Foreign Minister Kemal Harrazi yesterday phoned his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to exchange views on the latest developments in Iraq. Meanwhile, US President Bush’s Envoy to the Iraqi opposition Zalmay Khalilzad, who recently paid a visit to Turkey, yesterday conveyed a message to the European Union member countries that Turkey had no ulterior motives in northern Iraq. Khalilzad is expected to visit northern Iraq today to discuss Turkey’s possible intervention in the region with Kurdish opposition groups. He will reportedly try to convince those groups not to oppose Turkey’s intervention, and is expected to return Ankara over the weekend to resume his meetings with Turkish officials. In addition, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ali Tuygan yesterday laid out Turkey’s stance on the northern Iraq issue to the EU countries’ ambassadors in Ankara. He reiterated that Turkey wanted to enter the region in order to provide Iraqi refugees with humanitarian aid. /Cumhuriyet/
 VERHEUGEN: “IF IT ENTERS NORTHERN IRAQ, TURKEY COULD DAMAGE ITS EU BID”Guenter Verheugen, the European Union commissioner for enlargement, warned yesterday that Turkey sending troops into northern Iraq could create serious problems in Turkish-EU relations, as the EU opposed such a move. “If Turkish troops were to enter northern Iraq, this would negatively affect Turkey’s EU membership bid,” he said, adding, however: “But forming a buffer zone in order to avert a possible humanitarian crisis would not pose a problem.” Turkish officials have repeatedly stressed that the purpose of its troops entering the region would be delivering humanitarian aid and preventing unrest in such a buffer zone. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “THE GOVERNMENT’S DETERMINATION TO IMPLEMENT THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM WILL BOOST THE MARKETS”The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s determination to continue its implementation of the nation’s economic program will serve as a helpful shot in the arm for the markets, declared State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan yesterday. “Tension in the markets due to the US-led war against Iraq is only natural,” Babacan told a meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Trade (ASO). “However, the markets will react positively when they see how determined the government is.” Babacan added that the government would not hesitate to take action on the economy whenever needed. Also speaking at the meeting, ASO Chairmen Zafer Caglayan said that markets would react badly if the US failed to carry through on $1 billion in loans proposed in its war budget earlier this week. /Aksam/
 TUSIAD LEADER OZILHAN: “THE GOVERNMENT’S PLEDGES ON THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM MUST BE FOLLOWED BY ACTION”The initial promise that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would carry out economic reform and provide stability after it came to power has as yet gone largely unfulfilled, charged Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday. Speaking at a TUSIAD meeting in Istanbul, Ozilhan said that political instability had plagued Turkey for many years, and that his group’s support for the AKP had been premised on its providing such stability. But the party appears to have been ill-prepared to take office, he remarked. Moreover, the business leader added, the AKP government has failed on the Cyprus front and neglected Turkey’s EU bid, thus endangering the nation’s future. Shifting to the government’s economic performance, Ozilhan complained that its pledges had fallen short in practice. “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the government is determined to continue implementing the economic program, but the markets are skeptical,” he said. “These determined words must be followed by action.” Ozilhan furthermore urged the government to extend the economic program to cover up to 2004- 2006 and to revise this year’s 5% growth and 16% inflation targets, adding that the program’s fourth International Monetary Fund review should be completed as soon as possible. “Although the government has made clear its will to complete the review, our new the letter of intent [LOI] is not yet ready,” he stated. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GEN. OZKOK’S SPEECHBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bila writes on the US and British stance on Turkey’s northern Iraq policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The speech that Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok gave at yesterday’s press conference clarified Turkey’s stance on the Iraq war, and conveyed important messages to the leaders of both the coalition forces and the Iraqi Kurdish opposition groups.
‘This is not our war,’ said Gen. Ozkok. ‘This is not our mission.’ These words made Turkey’s stance abundantly clear. I wish our politicians had shown such admirable specificity at the beginning of the Iraq crisis. Perhaps such a clear stance might have prevented the current tension between Turkey and the US. However, back then our politicians talked and acted as if Turkey supported this war and wanted to take part in it. But then they rejected giving help to the US. That’s why Turkey is currently being treated as a scapegoat in the international community. Both the US and Britain have started to make disparaging remarks against our country.
The US and Britain keep sounding warnings about the possible adverse effects of Turkey’s intervention in northern Iraq. At the same time, they are also trying to keep the lines of communication with Turkey open, since they are encountering serious problems in the war’s southern front. Both Bush and Blair need to answer a couple of critical questions:
‘If our Parliament had passed the proposal to allow the deployment of US troops on our soil, Turkish troops would also have entered northern Iraq. In other words, you would not have opposed Turkey’s intervention if that proposal had gone through. You were counting on Turkey at that time, but no longer. But why? What has changed? You believed that Turkey once had justifiable reasons for entering the region, but it doesn’t now?’
Our politicians should have asked these questions. They should have underlined that Turkey needs to enter the region so as to protect its own security and national interests.
‘I have difficulty comprehending those who claim there is a threat to them lying across the ocean,’ Ozkok added. ‘And yet when Turkey says the same threat exists on the other side of its own border, we are greeted by scoffs of disbelief. If developments get out of control, I hope our friends will not ask us to take action that they now oppose.’ Bush and Blair should consider these remarks. Ozkok also clarified under which conditions Turkey would feel it necessary to send its troops to the region. ‘Our biggest concern is an attack on our position, or a large refugee crisis resulting from unexpected developments in the war, or an attack on our stability from armed elements in the region, ’ the general added. ‘The purpose of an existing Turkish military force along the Iraqi border was to keep the peace and provide relief aid.’ Both the US and Britain should also clarify their stances on Turkey’s possible intervention in the region. Threatening a country on the one hand, and requesting its help on the other, is an attitude ill-fitting either nation.”
 OZKOK’S WARNINGSBY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on yesterday’s speech by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok in Diyarbakir. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Speaking to journalists in Diyarbakir yesterday, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok gave the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) view on the latest developments in the region. He was very pragmatic, frank, reasonable and open in his speech, just like his statements earlier this month. Excepting two issues, he was correct in all that he said. We agreed with Ozkok’s observations and evaluations to a great extent but his words sometimes contained certain political opinions, a habit which soldiers should generally steer clear of. For example, he said, ‘We won’t enter northern Iraq in order to fight or occupy it. We have no intention to establish a permanent buffer zone. Considering the unexpectedness of the war, we will ensure the greatest support for the groups there in order to prevent possible instability in northern Iraq. We won’t get involved in any heated clashes, except in defending ourselves. We have no hidden aims. We do not and will not have any enmity towards anyone.’
I repeat that these are the policies which Turkey follows and should continue to follow. However, Turkey might have decided to enter Iraq in order to fight or occupy there. In that case Ozkok’s views and this political path would be at odds, and Turkey would be faced with a domestic crisis. Ozkok’s warnings for the US and Britain and Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq were very appropriate because his statements, ‘This isn’t our war and this isn’t our mission’ and his longing for Iraq to become an ‘honorable member of the free and democratic world with its territorial integrity’ are also reflections of the views of the whole Turkish nation.
However, there were two issues carrying political characteristics in his message. For example, would the declaration of an independent Kurdish state be a reason for Turkey to use its right to defend itself? Similarly, if the Iraqi Kurds try to take Mosul and Kirkuk or attack the Iraqi Turkmen, would Turkey be content to merely sit by and watch this happen?”
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