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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-05
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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
05.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 BINGOL EARTHQUAKE TOLL STANDS AT 167 DEAD, 521 INJURED; RESCUE EFFORTS OFFICIALLY ENDAuthorities have announced the final toll of the 6.4 earthquake that rocked the eastern Anatolian province of Bingol last Thursday at 167 dead and 521 injured. Search and rescue operations officially ended yesterday after teams digging into the collapsed dormitory at Celtiksuyu Primary School pulled the bodies of the last two children from under the debris of the building. A tearful crowd applauded the rescue teams as they left the school site. A total of 198 children were asleep in their dormitories when the earthquake hit; 84 children and one teacher lost their lives, while 114 survived. /Hurriyet/
 GUL ATTENDS EU FOREIGN MINISTERS’ MEETINGForeign Minister Abdullah Gul attended unofficial meetings of the European Union foreign ministers over the weekend on the Greek islands of Kastelorizo (Meis) and Rhodes, just off Turkey’s coast. The ministers also visited the Turkish coastal town of Kas. Saturday night, the ministers discussed the Iraq and Palestinian issues, and Gul represented Turkey’s views on the topics. He also met with his Greek counterpart George Papandreou. During their meeting, the top diplomats discussed Turkish-Greek relations and the Cyprus issue, with both sides agreeing to a simultaneous proposal to the UN to ban land mines along the island’s green line border. Gul said that Papandreou’s stance on all issues had been positive. After the meeting on Kastelorizo, Gul and the EU ministers proceed to Rhodes. Gul was the first Turkish foreign minister to visit the island in some 15 years. Speaking to reporters, Gul said that an embargo imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be lifted. Pointing to recent developments on Cyprus, Gul said that ending the embargo would help strengthen mutual trust and pave an easier path to a peace settlement. /All Papers/
 PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ARINC VISITS BINGOL, BUSH SENDS MESSAGE OF CONDOLENCESParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday traveled to Bingol, the eastern Anatolian province that was hit by an earthquake last Thursday. Visiting the province and its suburbs, Arinc was briefed on the damage wrought by the disaster. Regarding the outrage surrounding buildings that collapsed during the quake, Arinc stated that the culprits responsible for these substandard structures would be punished. In related news, US President George W. Bush sent a written statement to Ankara conveying his condolences for the victims of the quake, adding that the US was ready to give any support needed to help repair the damage done. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT TO DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDIn a prelude to a planned government breakthrough initiative on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Parliament is expected to take up the topic some time this week. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is expected to give a briefing on the bid, and a session of the full Parliament will be held. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the opposition parties will also express their views on Turkey’s efforts to join the Union. /Turkiye/
 DE SOTO: “I ADMIRE DENKTAS’S DECISION TO OPEN CYPRUS’ BORDER GATES”Speaking to Greek Cypriot daily Politis yesterday, UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Alvaro de Soto said that he welcomed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’s recent decision to open the border gates for crossings between the island’s two nations. “Denktas has clear beliefs,” said de Soto. “I greatly admire him. His views are firm, and he doesn’t easily change his stance. The problem is that he was unable to bring a realistic resolution to the Cyprus issue during our talks.” De Soto remarked that he was surprised by Denktas’s decision to open the borders between the TRNC and Greek Cyprus since, in his view, the TRNC president had declared that the island’s Turkish and Greek residents could not live together. “Free border crossings are a sign of a changing policy on Cyprus, and his decision to open the borders was the correct one,” said de Soto. “My astonishment concerning the borders is due to my pleasure.” The envoy added that both sides should accept UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan as soon as possible in order to find a permanent resolution to the issue. /Aksam/
 TURKISH BUSINESSMEN TO VISIT WASHINGTON IN BID FOR SHARE OF IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTIONMore than 100 Turkish businessmen are due to fly to Washington today to seek contract opportunities in Iraq’s postwar reconstruction process. The businessmen are scheduled to hold a series of meetings with representatives from a group of US companies which are likely to receive the lion’s share of the reconstruction pie. The Turkish businessmen, however, are also expected to win a substantial share, especially in the food and construction sectors. /Hurriyet/
 FOREIGN TRADE UNDERSECRETARY KAYALAR: “FOR NOW, THE LIRA’S RISE AGAINST THE DOLLAR POSES NO THREAT TO EXPORTS”The rise of the Turkish lira’s value against the dollar in recent months is no cause for concern, said Foreign Trade Undersecretary Tuncer Kayalar yesterday. “This rise doesn’t pose any threat to our exports,” said Kayalar. “The bulk of Turkey’s exports are to European Union countries, and currently the lira-euro rates are fine.” Kayalar added that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was taking all necessary measures in order to protect the nation’s exporters. /Milliyet/
 APRIL INFLATION FIGURES RELEASEDThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) yesterday released month-on-month inflation figures for April. Inflation last month was 1.8% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and 2.1% on the consumer price index (CPI). The figures pushed year-to-year WPI inflation to 35.1% and CPI inflation to 29.5%. /All Papers/
 TWO TURKISH WRESTLERS WIN SILVER MEDALS IN EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPTurkish wrestlers Arif Kama and Fatih Cakiroglu both won silver medals yesterday at the 46th European Freestyle Wrestling Championship held in Riga, Latvia. The Turkish wrestling team competing at the championship came in second with a total of two silver medals and one bronze. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 TURKISH-US RELATIONS ARE IMPORTANT FOR BOTH COUNTRIES FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc writes on Turkish-US relations. A summary of her column is as follows:
“‘Turkish-US relations have already begun their recovery,” said Vural Akisik, the chairman of the Turkish-US Business Council, at a meeting last week.
Well, if this was the case, why did US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld zip straight off to London without even shaking hands with Turkish officials after visiting Incirlik Airbase near Adana? Rumsfeld’s recent visits to several Middle Eastern countries along with Afghanistan and Britain were considered a ‘victory tour’ by the international media. He declared the Iraq war completely over and also thanked all the countries which are currently allowing – and will continue to do so – American soldiers within their territories. The top US defense official told these countries about the Bush administration’s future plans for the US’ military presence in the region. Why wasn’t Turkey’s leadership included in Rumsfeld’s tour? As a matter of fact, Rumsfeld’s attitude at Incirlik was not favorable for either Turkey or his own country, as he acted as if completely unaware that he was standing at an airbase symbolizing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Certain circles within the Bush administration are claiming that countries which failed to support the US during the Iraq war must be punished. A debate about this is still raging in Washington. However, I believe that the famous American pragmatism would never allow such an emotional response to win out. Can President Bush really manage to complete his whole Middle East reconstruction business using such emotional policies? The US has actually entered a critical period in which it will need the support of not only governments but also the people. Popular support is going to be much more important than that of governments for Washington since the Bush administration is determined to rework the whole Middle East with the aim of eliminating all terrorist movements. The Bush administration is probably well aware of this very fact, which is why Washington should not consider our Parliament’s decision a betrayal. Ankara should also adopt a flexible policy. Even France changed its policies and announced that it would adopt a more ‘pragmatic policy’ in the postwar period. Both Turkey and the US should strive to overcome such difficulties.
Today a meeting will be held in Washington to discuss Iraq’s reconstruction. Turkish businessmen will also attend this gathering. Turkey is a very important country which should not be ignored during the reconstruction process. Let’s not forget that our country has great economic potential to do business in Iraq and also possesses enormous political experience in dealing with potential ethnic clashes in the country. Turkey can spearhead comprehensive cooperation in Iraq by demonstrating that it’s ready to help all Iraqi’s people regardless of their ethnicity. Turkey can really hold out a hand to the Iraqi people. That’s a fact that the US should not lose sight of.”
 ABSENT IN NAME, PRESENT IN INFLUENCE BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on Turkey’s influence in Iraq’s postwar era. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The postwar era is slowly being shaped in Iraq. However, Turkey is present in these efforts not in name, but rather in influence. The framework of a ‘multinational peacekeeping force’ was established during a meeting held in London last week. With this force, the soldiers will be divided into three parts in terms of command. British soldiers will work in the south of the country, US soldiers will work in Baghdad and its environs and in the north a multinational force under Polish command will patrol. Plans call for Italian and Spanish troops to be deployed in the region commanded by Britain. The US will have no soldiers from other nations under its command. Troops from Ukraine, Denmark, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Albania will be in the region under Polish command.
However, Turkey’s name hasn’t been mentioned in their planned peacekeeping force. The initial plans say nothing about soldiers from Turkey. Washington’s disappointment resulting from Parliament’s rejection of US troop deployments back before the war is playing a major role in Turkey’s exclusion from this force. ‘We waited for the United Nations resolution for 52 days,’ said one US official. ‘However, Turkey alone delayed the operation for 48 days, just four less than the delay caused by the UN’s 180 countries.’ The US doesn’t blame only the Justice and Development Party (AKP) for this delay. It emphasizes that the Turkish government wasn’t primarily responsible, but rather the Turkish state. The same official said that the proposal to deploy US troops in Turkey was scheduled for a vote at the National Security Council meeting one Thursday in March, but that then Turkey postponed the meeting. ‘We expected a resolution suggesting acceptance of the proposal,’ he added. ‘However, the military in Turkey preferred not to exercise its influence on the issue.’ Dispelling anytime soon this atmosphere of little confidence in the ‘Turkish state’ hanging over Washington seems a difficult task at best. However, it would be wrong to say that Turkey is being ‘ignored completely, ’ even if it was excluded in peacekeeping for Iraq. The US is consulting Turkey concerning the transitional government to be established there. From the very beginning, Turkey has been suggesting that a civilian figure would be best for Iraq’s administration.
Retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who recently called Kirkuk ‘a Kurdish city,’ received Turkey’s protest to this statement and delivered a note on this to Washington immediately. US President George W. Bush decided to appoint a diplomat ‘above’ Garner, namely Ambassador Paul Bremer, who has worked on the war against terrorism throughout his career.
Turkey’s ‘influence’ on the administration to be established in Iraq wasn’t limited to this. Turkey gave a list to the US of moderate Iraqi government figures drawn up on the basis of Turkish officials’ experiences. Now we see the process of Iraq’s reconstruction. If Turkish firms can participate in this process as ‘subcontractors,’ Turkey can overcome somewhat the bad feelings left by the rejected proposal.”
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