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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-01
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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
30.04.2003EARTHQUAKE STRIKES BINGOL, KILLING SOME 150, INJURING HUNDREDS MGK URGES GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT THE SECULAR STATE GUL TO VISIT IRAN FOR OIC MEETING AT MONTH’S END POWELL: “TURKEY’S PLACE IS IN EUROPE” DENKTAS: “THE TRNC HAS BEGUN TO CARRY OUT ITS OWN PLANS FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT” TRNC BORDER OPENING LEADS TO SPRING BREEZE OF FRIENDSHIP IKDP HEAD BARZANI SENDS LETTER TO FM GUL REPORTEDLY SEEKING FURTHER COOPERATION IN N.IRAQ US CITES KADEK IN NEW TERRORISM REPORT CB HEAD DOWNPLAYS ECONOMIC IMPACT OF POLITICAL TENSIONS FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… WE MUSTN’T NEGLECT FOREIGN POLICY BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE) THE RING OF MOCKERY BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
 EARTHQUAKE STRIKES BINGOL, KILLING SOME 150, INJURING HUNDREDSAn earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale shook the southeastern province of Bingol early this morning at 3:27 a.m. local time. Officials put the estimated death toll at around 150, including scores of children buried in a collapsed school dormitory, adding that some 300 people had suffered injuries. Search and rescue efforts are continuing to save victims trapped under the quake’s debris. Over 50 aftershocks were recorded in the region. The quake was also felt in many other provinces, including Elazig and Diyarbakir, causing panic among local residents. /Anatolian Agency/
 MGK URGES GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT THE SECULAR STATEThe importance of the principle of secularism, one of the basic pillars of the Turkish Republic, and its vigilant protection cannot be overemphasized, said a statement released by yesterday’s National Security Council (NSC) meeting. The statement urged the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to protect Turkey’s secular state amid signs of rising tension between the secular establishment and the avowedly moderate Islamist governing party. Tensions between the government and the secular establishment made headlines last week when President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and top military officials declined to attend a traditional state anniversary reception. The statement from the NSC, which brings together Sezer, government leaders and military officials, did not specify any forthcoming action that the government might take. /Aksam/
 GUL TO VISIT IRAN FOR OIC MEETING AT MONTH’S ENDForeign Minister Abdullah Gul is set to visit Tehran, Iran at the end of this month to participate in the 30th foreign ministers’ meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). Gul is also expected to pay an official visit to Bulgaria near mid-month, on May 12. /Aksam/
 POWELL: “TURKEY’S PLACE IS IN EUROPE”Turkey’s place is within Europe, so a European Union lacking it is by definition incomplete, said US Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday. Speaking to Greek daily To Vima, Powell stressed the importance of Turkey’s relations with the fellow nations of Europe, adding that it should be taken into the EU’s ranks as soon as possible. “Ankara knows what it has to do in order to fulfýll the Union’s criteria,” said Powell. Also touching on the Cyprus issue, Powell said that he was disappointed by the collapse in March of talks to reach a resolution on the island. Powell is expected soon to follow in his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul’s footsteps by visiting Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The visit carries great importance due to recent tensions between the two countries. /Aksam/
 DENKTAS: “THE TRNC HAS BEGUN TO CARRY OUT ITS OWN PLANS FOR A PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said yesterday that the TRNC had begun to carry out its own plans for a peaceful settlement on the island. During his visit to Sakarya University in northwestern Turkey, where he was honored with an honorary doctorate, Denktas told reporters that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan was ill-suited to forge a lasting resolution on the island. “The TRNC has opened its doors to Greek Cypriots for the sake of peace,” said Denktas, referring to last week’s opening of border gates between the island’s two countries. “This can be a foundation for our two peoples to come to know each other. If we cannot establish a joint state, then we can live as two friendly countries side-by-side.” Stressing that granting European Union membership to Greek Cyprus was a violation of the Turkish side’s rights spelled out in 1960’s international agreements, Denktas said that the EU’s “irresponsible” support to the Greek Cypriots had “spoiled” them. “After getting ahold of 12 Mediterranean islands, Greece now wants to take the 13th, and so encircle Turkey with a ring of islands,” added the TRNC president. /Turkiye/
 TRNC BORDER OPENING LEADS TO SPRING BREEZE OF FRIENDSHIPFollowing last week’s decision made by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to open its border gates with Greek Cyprus, enabling citizens of the island’s two nations to visit each other for the first time in decades, over 100,000 Cypriots from both sides have taken advantage of the unprecedented open-door policy. The citizens have visited each other in proportions roughly equal to their population sizes, which in practice means more Greek Cypriots have visited the TRNC. The international community has also welcomed the new winds of friendship on the island. The Times of London quoted Greek Cyprus’ Nicosia governor as saying, “From now on this issue is in the hands of the two peoples. The politicians will follow them.” He added that he was pleased with the recent developments on the island and that new steps would follow. “Along these lines, Turkish Cypriots may soon be able to work, trade or make use of the health services in Greek Cyprus,” said the governor. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TO VISIT TRNCPresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to pay a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on May 9, “European Union Day,” to hold a series of contacts there. He will also meet with President Rauf Denktas to discuss recent developments on the island. /Turkiye/
 IKDP HEAD BARZANI SENDS LETTER TO FM GUL REPORTEDLY SEEKING FURTHER COOPERATION IN N.IRAQIraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani on Monday sent a letter to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, reportedly requesting further Turkish cooperation during the postwar period in northern Iraq. Barzani also mentioned his appreciation of Turkey’s stance on northern Iraq during the war. In related news, Turkey is due to draw up a list of people who may take part in the Iraqi interim government to help the country in its transition to democracy. The list, which would include both Sunnis and Shiites as well as Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen so as to ensure a balanced administrative system, is expected to be delivered to the Bush administration later this month. /Cumhuriyet/
 US CITES KADEK IN NEW TERRORISM REPORTThe US State Department cited KADEK, the terrorist successor to the PKK, in its annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism 2002” report released yesterday, alongside similar groups the DHKP-C and Turkish Hizbullah. The report stated that despite the PKK’s name-change last year to the so-called “Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress” (KADEK) and its concomitant pledge to abandon armed attacks in favor of a political path, the terrorist group has persisted in arming an estimated 8,000 trained fighters in and around Turkey. Over the last two decades, the terrorist organization PKK_KADEK is responsible for claiming over 30,000 lives in southeastern Turkey. Turkey is a party to all 12 international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. /Cumhuriyet/
 CB HEAD DOWNPLAYS ECONOMIC IMPACT OF POLITICAL TENSIONSThere is no reason why current domestic political tensions should do any damage to the economy, said Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti yesterday. Speaking to reporters, Serdengecti said that the Iraq war had made no visible impact on Turkey’s economy, adding that the CB would strive to achieve its 20% inflation target for this year. He further remarked that the CB might launch inflation indexing later in May or June, but that external conditions were not appropriate for the measure just now. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WE MUSTN’T NEGLECT FOREIGN POLICY BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s foreign policy issues. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The US is feeling uneasy about our recent contacts with Iran and Syria. America is our ally, whereas Iran and Syria are not. What’s more, these two countries are on the official US list of terrorist states.
The unnecessary contacts with Iran and Syria make me uneasy too because we’ve suffered so much due to our large neighbor to the east and smaller neighbors to the south. They’re all smiles now, but we shouldn’t let ourselves be fooled or forget how they once looked down on us. We’ve tried sincerely to establish friendly relations with both Syria and Iran. However, their Persian and Baathist Arab racist nationalism and their jealousy of us were tiresome. Even today we’re ready to establish close relations with all of our neighbors, including Armenia. We should take a stand on our justified expectation of equal treatment.
Our relations with the Central Asian Turkic republics are in a lull right now. However, these ties should be kept constantly active. We should keep a close watch on this.
If the Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn’t want to be faced with awkward early elections, it needs to watch its steps in the foreign policy arena.”
 THE RING OF MOCKERY BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi writes on recent US media reports concerning a Turkish convoy transporting humanitarian aid to Kirkuk. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Everything we know about the Iraq war is confined to what US military officials are so gracious as to let us know. We unfortunately have no idea about other pertinent facts: How many civilians lost their lives? How many US soldiers turned a blind eye to looters or even gave them help? Why, I must ask, are we so under-informed? Because prominent US newsmagazine Time and other similar mainstream news outlets would never devote coverage to such shameful incidents even if they are all too well aware of them. However, the US media recently made a great ado about nothing when a handful of guns was seized in a Turkish convoy devoted to delivering humanitarian aid to the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk.
Here is what Time correspondent David Rohde reported: ‘Turkish Special Forces soldiers were caught trying to smuggle grenades, night-vision goggles and dozens of rifles into Kirkuk.’ In addition, Col. William Mayville, the commander of US forces in the city, made controversial media remarks on the issue, saying he was expecting the arrival of Turkish Special Forces in the region in an effort to incite Iraq’s Turkmen groups.
Yesterday, in an analysis of the situation, Hurriyet’s Sedat Ergin wrote that US officials very much regret these media reports as they’ve finally came to understand that the arms were there only to protect the safe passage of the convoy’s supplies. Thank God! The US has finally realized that Turkey has no intention of arming Turkmen groups! However, no matter what happens, Turkish convoys will be protected by US soldiers from now on. Americans don’t want to see unescorted Turks lurking about!
Let’s review a few basics of international relations:
If the necessary conditions arise, any state might send to another such special forces or teams. Some of them might even get caught. At that point, officials from the two states get in contact with each other, discuss the issue and come to an understanding. If there is no serious threat of spying or sabotage, the matter is closed and considered forgotten.
That’s why we can’t take seriously either the US media reports or their apologies afterwards. Let’s not forget that even Time admitted that US military officials in Kirkuk had been informed beforehand that a Turkish convoy was due there. In this case, I consider the Kirkuk fuss just another American show meant to browbeat or scare the Turkish leadership. This is nothing but a game in which the Americans are trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes.
We should know who we are dancing with.”
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