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Turkish Press Review, 03-03-31

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 : newspot@byegm.gov.tr <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

31.03.2003


CONTENTS

  • [01] PM ERDOGAN: “TURKEY HAS NO INTENTION OF INVADING NORTHERN IRAQ”
  • [02] GUL: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN THE NEEDED MEASURES TO AVERT A WAR-RELATED ECONOMIC CRISIS”
  • [06] 20TH INTERNATIONAL ANKARA MUSIC FESTIVAL TO BEGIN TODAY
  • [07] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [08] BEHIND THE FRONTS
  • [09] US BLUEPRINT FOR DISORDER

  • [01] PM ERDOGAN: “TURKEY HAS NO INTENTION OF INVADING NORTHERN IRAQ”

    In an interview published in German newspaper Bild am Sonntag yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had no intention of invading northern Iraq. “We have no hidden designs on the region,” said Erdogan. Stressing that Turkey had a long history of friendly relations with the Iraqi nation, the prime minister said there was no problem between the two nations. “However, recent developments in Iraq have worried us,” stated Erdogan. He added that like the rest of the international community, Turkey also favored a democratic regime in Iraq in the aftermath of the current war. /All Papers/

    [02] GUL: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT HAS TAKEN THE NEEDED MEASURES TO AVERT A WAR- RELATED ECONOMIC CRISIS”

    Thanks to the policies and actions of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, Turkey has avoided facing an economic crisis stemming from the war in Iraq, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul declared yesterday. “Even in the midst of war, a possible crisis has been averted, because our government took the necessary measures,” said Gul. “The importance of these measures is pivotal.” Gul added that Turkey’s stance on the war in Iraq was clear. /Milliyet/ [03] IRANI FM KHARRAZI: “WE OPPOSE TURKEY SENDING TROOPS INTO NORTHERN IRAQ”

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi urged Turkey not to send its forces into northern Iraq, stressing that Tehran was opposed to any such move. “We understand and share Turkey’s concerns but would not approve of Turkish troops entering Iraq,” said Kharazi, whose country shares a border with both nations. “We are obviously worried and we have told our friends not to dispatch their forces.” Kharazi added that Iran was concerned that northern Iraq’s Kurds might try to take opportunity of the current war to seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, something which Turkey has also declared its opposition to. /Aksam/[04] GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER: “IF SADDAM ATTACKS TURKEY, HE ATTACKS NATO AS WELL”

    Should Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launch an attack on Turkey then he is also attacking the entire NATO alliance, declared Greek Defense Miister Yiannos Papantoniou yesterday. Speaking to Greek daily To Vima yesterday, Papantoniou also however criticized Turkey’s policy on northern Iraq, calling it “irresponsible.” Papantoniou’s latter remarks echoed his comments of early last week, warning that Turkish forces could “lead to further conflict in the region” and redrawn borders which, citing the former Yugoslavia, he said must be avoided. Turkey has emphasized repeatedly in recent days that it would enter northern Iraq only to deliver humanitarian aid and military and. /Hurriyet, Aksam / [05] ISTANBUL HOSTING SEMINAR ON TERRORISM

    A seminar entitled “Terrorism: A Threat to Regional Stability” sponsored by the Regional Arms Control and Verification and Implementation Assistance Center (RACVIAC) is set to begin in Istanbul today. The aim of the four-day conference is promote understanding of the basic issues of modern terrorism, especially in the region of southeastern Europe, and to provide a realistic basis for developing the most effective strategy for its prevention and elimination. Some 56 participants from 20 member countries and international organizations as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were invited to the seminar. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] 20TH INTERNATIONAL ANKARA MUSIC FESTIVAL TO BEGIN TODAY

    The monthlong 20th International Ankara Music Festival is set to begin today. The festival organized by the Sevda-Cenap And Music Foundation will stage performances of a host of internationally renowned musicians through April 26. /Turkiye/

    [07] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [08] BEHIND THE FRONTS

    BY ASLI AYDINTASBAS (SABAH)

    Columnist Asli Aydintasbas comments on how fuller Turkish participation might have changed the Iraq war. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “The US Army has encountered fierce resistance in Iraq. Even after heavy bombing by coalition forces, Saddam Hussein is still alive and controlling Baghdad. The US was planning to bypass the large cities of southern Iraq and proceed directly to Baghdad. However, the coalition forces are now busy clashing with Saddam’s soldiers on the southern front. Washington has become aware that it is not possible to march immediately to the Iraqi capital without engaging these forces. US commanders have recently criticized Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for developing unrealistic strategies based on the idea that US forces could easily take Baghdad with a limited number of troops. These commanders want at least 100,000 more US soldiers deployed the region. Both the US nation and its media are increasingly dissatisfied and disappointed by the Iraq war, as more American soldiers are dying in this country every day.

    That’s why diplomatic circles in Washington are currently asking themselves one important question: ‘How did we lose Turkey’s support?’ They all know that if a northern front had been opened, victory in this war would have been far easier. ‘Losing France’s support was an diplomatic obstacle, but Turkey’s rejection made a great difference in the war,’ said one retired US diplomat. ‘There is no question that if we had a US armored force in northern Iraq right now, the end would be closer.’ Writing last week in US conservative magazine The National Review, Mansoor Ijaz stated that the Bush administration needed to hold Ankara's hand while its new government learns the ropes and decides who its friends are. ‘That is what real allies do in times of war, and the US must shoulder this responsibility,’ added Ijaz. ‘Turkish military calculations about the troops’ strength needed to combat a dilapidated Iraqi army that even the Turks knew they could defeat didn't square with the magnitude of troop deployments and technological capabilities the US had proposed to base in southern Turkey. Translation: The Turks believed Washington had already set its sights on Tehran, and possibly Damascus, for post-Iraq military operations and was casing the battlefield for those theaters.’ Ijaz also mentioned a popular rumor which has recently become popular within US conservative circles: ‘Politics tells an important part of the story. Pressure on Turkey's minority opposition leaders from European Union bigwigs France and Germany during the Turkish Parliament's first vote on Washington's aid-for-bases proposal showed just how politically naïve Turkey's Islamists were. The more experienced opposition took the wedge Jacques Chirac was driving into the trans-Atlantic alliance as an opportunity to negotiate a French policy reversal by offering to reconsider moving up the timetable for Turkey's admission as a full partner to the European Union.’ Last week the Washington Post published another probing analysis of Turkey, the US and the Iraq war. ‘One week into the war, the administration's inability to win Turkey's approval has emerged as an important turning point in the US confrontation with Iraq that senior US officials now acknowledge may ultimately prolong the length of the conflict,’ said the piece co-written by Glenn Kessler and Phillip Pan. ‘It is a story of clumsy diplomacy and mutual misunderstanding, US and Turkish officials said. It also illustrates how the administration undercut its own efforts to broaden international support for war by allowing its war plan to dictate the pace of its diplomacy, diplomats and other experts in US-Turkish relations said.’ The Post writers also argued that Turkey's rejection was especially surprising to administration officials because Turkey has loyally backed US military actions since the Korean War a half-century ago. ‘In retrospect, US officials say, they made unrealistic demands on the new government of Turkey, which was installed only in November, insisting on a vote on whether it would accept as many as 90,000 US troops even as President Bush was still publicly claiming he had made no decision to attack Iraq. US officials repeatedly set deadlines for action, but then took no action when the deadlines passed, costing the administration credibility and inflating Turkey's sense of importance.’ They also quoted a senior Turkish official as saying, ‘We tried very hard to prevent the war. Many believed it was possible. They didn't understand the Bush administration wouldn't listen.’ These pieces should be read by everybody interested in Turkish-US relations.”

    [09] US BLUEPRINT FOR DISORDER

    BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)

    Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the possible impact on Turkey of the US war in Iraq. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “The foundations of the US’ current ‘New World Order’ were laid back in 1997. This new order began first by dealing with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, continued with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and also put Northern Korea, Syria and Iran onto its list of ‘regimes needing change.’ The future Bush administration’s ‘hawks’ openly announced their goal of turning the 21st century into a ‘New American Century’ in a declaration issued almost six years ago. Several future members of Bush’s team -- including Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Ronald Rumsfeld, envoy to the Iraqi opposition Zalmay Khalilzad and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz -- were among the document’s signatories, along with Bush’s brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The declaration was at the time targeted at then President Bill Clinton’s administration, but it also drew a blueprint for policies to be applied by the hawks when they come to power.

    The main theme of the declaration was dividing the world into friendly and hostile camps according to US interests. It was also about ‘challenging’ regimes ‘hostile to US interests and values’ by boosting the US war budget and investing in its armed forces and weapons. The following sentence, quoted from the declaration, is quite revealing: ‘The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire.’ This is what the hawks have been doing since they came to power with Bush. Their principles, quoted from the 1997 declaration they pursued first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, are as follows: • ‘We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future; • ’We need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values; • ‘We need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad; • ’The US should accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.’

    Seeing this way of thinking, which first took concrete form in the 1997 declaration, one has to shudder. The misguided war in Iraq shows how Bush’s hawks are heedlessly charging forward to reach their goals.

    However, there are certain elements they had failed to take into account: the weak and hesitant US soldiers who no longer believe in war, the complex nature of the geography they faced and the inconstancy of US alliances.

    Nevertheless, we should see that now that the war’s started there’s no turning back. Although Iraq’s resistance has surprised the whole world and pleased us -- as we’re opposed to the US’ unilateral dream of hegemony -- a US defeat in Iraq would cause great disaster and hardship in Turkey. Add to a chaotic post-Saddam Iraq a Syria and Iran destabilized by US intervention and you can see what would happen next: an utter hell for Turkey. Looking at the issue from this point of view, we just hope that the US hawks don’t pull out of the region they destabilized without first cleaning up the mess they made.”

    ARCHIVE

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