|Thursday, 27 February 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 07-01-17
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 ERDOGAN SAYS ANKARA WON'T BE BYSTANDER TO DEVELOPMENTS IN KIRKUK, IRAQSpeaking at his party's group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan commented on a number of issues, including recent developments in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Stressing that Ankara was closely following developments in Iraq and Kirkuk, Erdogan added, however, that it couldn't be a mere bystander to these developments. Erdogan stated that the government was stating its views on Kirkuk, adding that Ankara has always favored Iraq's territorial integrity. Stressing that Turkey has contributed to Iraq's stability and security up to now, Erdogan added that this support would continue. /Sabah/
 GUL MEETS WITH TURKMEN LEADER, DISCUSSES RISING TENSION IN IRAQForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) leader Sadettin Ergec to discuss the rising tension in Iraq. Speaking afterwards, Ergec said that he had met with Gul to thank him for Ankara's steps to support Iraq's unity, adding that Gul had further pledged all necessary moral and political support. Asked about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks saying that Ankara wouldn't allow a fait accompli in Kirkuk, Ergec said that he believes this is Turkey's political view. Asked about a possible Turkish intervention in the region, Ergec stressed that he and Gul had talked about moral and political support only. In related news, Gul is expected to pay an official visit to Washington next month. He will meet with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during his stay to discuss Iraq, the terrorist PKK, and the Middle East. Later, he will hold contacts in New York. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT TO HOLD CLOSED SESSION ON IRAQAfter Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul accepted Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's proposal to hold a closed Parliament session on the Kirkuk issue, a closed session was scheduled for next Tuesday. During his party's group meeting yesterday, Baykal warned that the violence in Iraq might spread to Turkey and said a leaders' summit should be held. He said that there might be certain disadvantages to discussing the issue publicly. While awaiting Gul's reply yesterday, Bakal said that Turkey could enter Iraq, but only for defense purposes. /Hurriyet/
 DYP'S AGAR PROPOSES "BENELUX" MODEL FOR IRAQ, REGIONStating that Turkey sending soldiers should be considered a last resort for the Iraq issue, True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar yesterday proposed an "expanded Benelux model" for the country. The model envisages an economic and commercial cooperation area starting from Georgia and extending to Iraq. Speaking on news channel NTV, Agar said that the Iraq issue was very important for Turkey and added, "Turkey should act responsibly and coolly. It shouldn't stir up passions due to our upcoming elections." Agar added that he hoped that Turkish democracy would maintain its foresight concerning the issue of May's presidential election and further urged that general elections be held before Parliament elects a new president. /Cumhuriyet/
 US AMBASSADOR WILSON SPEAKS ON IRAQ, TURKEYWhile Parliament is preparing for a special session on Kirkuk, US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson said yesterday that the US would convey its views on the issue to the Turkish government and that Parliament discussing the issue was very appropriate. Asked about the prime minister's remarks that Turkey can't be a bystander to the Kirkuk issue, Wilson told reporters that the Iraqi people should decide on Kirkuk's future. Wilson added that Kirkuk's future was a very important issue in terms of Iraq's political development and that both Washington and Ankara should recognize this. /Star/
 US STATE DEPT: "WASHINGTON WILL WORK WITH TURKEY TO ENSURE SECURITY ALONG THE IRAQI BORDER"US State Department spokesman Tom Casey yesterday told a press conference that that US President George W. Bush had expressed the US' willingness to cooperate to ensure security along the Turkish-Iraqi border. When asked about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's complaints that the US government hadn't taken sufficient steps against the terrorist PKK, Casey pointed to Bush's remarks on his new Iraq strategy. Casey said that Bush places importance on Turkey and Iraq working in cooperation with the US while dealing with any security issues on their shared border. Casey added that these remarks were also supported by previous US efforts. /Aksam/
 REHN: "THE EU'S PROMISES MADE TO TURKEY SHOULD BE KEPT"Speaking after his meeting with Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema in Roma yesterday, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said that the promises the EU made to Turkey would be kept. Asked about what might happen if French Interior Minister Nicholas Sarkozy, who has disparaged Turkey's EU bid, is elected France's president, Rehn stated that periodically questioning Turkey's EU accession perspective harms both the Union's credibility and Turkey's reforms. "I believe that the EU should be honest and determined on Turkey's bid," he added. "The promises made to Turkey should be kept, so we can prove our honesty." /Turkiye/
 TURKEY'S SRI LANKAN CONSUL GENERAL HONOREDDeputy Parliament Speaker Ismail Alptekin yesterday received Bharathi Davina Wijeratne, Turkey's honorary consul general in Kolombo, Sri Lanka, and his wife, Mano Wijeratne, at his office. Alptekin gave Parliament's medal to Wijeratne to recognize the work he has done for Turkey in Sri Lanka. /Cumhuriyet/
 BABACAN: "THE GOVT WON'T CHANGE ECONOMIC POLICIES FOR THIS YEAR'S ELECTIONS"Speaking at a meeting organized by international rating agency Standard & Poor's yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that the government wouldn't implement election-based economic measures, adding that 2007 was just a year of elections, but not more than that. Babacan added that for his party to be successful in this fall's general elections, it would continue its economic policies and reforms. "Otherwise, we could face certain problems," said Babacan. /Sabah/
 IMF CHIEF DOWNPLAYS POSTPONED ELECTRICITY PRIVATIZATIONInternational Monetary Fund Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato yesterday said that such decisions as postponing the privatization of electricity distribution shouldn't be overblown in an atmosphere where elections will be held soon, as all governments of the world do similar things before elections. Speaking at a press conference at IMF headquarters in Washington, Rato said that the economic program in Turkey was being conducted very successfully and that many reforms have been implemented. He added that they have complete confidence that the Turkish people are aware of the advantages to the country of economic reforms and macroeconomic stability. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A KURDISH STATE AND THE KIRKUK QUESTIONBY AVNI OZGUREL (RADIKAL)
Columnist Avni Ozgurel comments on Turkey's policy on Kirkuk. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The state which we didn't want to talk about is being born. The US was determined to establish a Kurdish state. This is no surprise. It couldn't be established earlier because conditions didn't favor such a development, but now it has borne its fruits. Clearly there's nothing Ankara can do at this point. Military intervention and other words are big lies. We can laugh at people who talk about Turkey closing its EU bid and going into a fight against the US.
One pessimistic scenario says that the US would tell Kurdish region leader Massoud Barzani to postpone the Kirkuk referendum in order to prevent a Turkish reaction. When should it be postponed until, then? Until after Turkey's elections. That is, at the end of this year. Then? Then Kirkuk is Kurdish soil. It's useless to contradict this. This is the outcome.
One can also have hopes that the US is taking us seriously after US officials told the US Congress that this could lead to a conflict with Turkey. The answer to the question of whether Kirkuk is gone now is that it's already in the hands of the Kurds. The Turkmen of Kirkuk have suffered as much as the city's Kurds. For example, since the '80s, Saddam Hussein hanged retired military official Abdurrahman, scholar Necdet Kocak, Halit Akkoyunlu and businessmen Adil Serig only to see what the Turkish reaction would be. But he continued after seeing that there was no reaction. On March 28, 1991, he killed 87 Turks. He continued and attacked the Turkmen who were protesting this issue in front of the Iraqi Consulate in Istanbul, and two young people died. We didn't react. Think about this and look into the history of Kirkuk and see for yourself."
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