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Turkish Press Review, 03-02-27
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
27.02.2003LAMENT ON REALITYBY ORHAN BURSALI (CUMHURIYET)
 SEZER: “INTERNATIONAL LEGITIMACY SHOULD BE ENSURED BEFORE PARLIAMENT VOTE”President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday summoned Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc to the Presidential Palace. Sezer reportedly told Arinc that international legitimacy should be ensured before Parliament votes on a proposal authorizing the US to station its troops at Turkey’s airbases and ports for a possible Iraq war. For his part, Arinc expressed agreement with Sezer, adding that he was planning to convey this message to the government. Arinc then met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul. The prime minister, however, reportedly reiterated that there was no point in further delays of Parliament’s vote on the proposal. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “IF PARLIAMENT REJECTS THE IRAQ PROPOSALS, IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR TURKEY TO BORROW FROM INTERNATIONAL MARKETS”Speaking on CNN Turk yesterday, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that negotiations between Turkey and the United States were essentially concluded but that there were still some issues outstanding. “On the issues still awaiting agreement, we will go along for the time being,” stated Erdogan. “I believe that the nation will understand me.” Erdogan added that if Parliament rejected the proposal on allowing US troops to be stationed on Turkish soil, Turkey would in the future have difficulties borrowing from international markets. /Aksam/
 ARINC: “PROPOSAL ON IRAQ WILL LIKELY BE DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT TODAY”Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday said that a proposal to allow US troop deployment in Turkey as well as sending Turkish troops to northern Iraq might be debated today in Parliament. During a courtesy visit to opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, Arinc told reporters that he was still considering the measure. “It is highly possible that the proposal will be debated tomorrow [meaning Thursday] in Parliament, ” he said. Asked whether the two articles of the proposal would be voted on separately or not, Arinc stated that he would act impartially and in line with established rules and procedures. For his part, Baykal said that the two matters, allowing US troops to be stationed in Turkey and sending Turkish troops to Iraq, should be sent to Parliament in two separate proposals. Baykal has said that he supports the latter measure but opposes the former. /Turkiye/
 GOVERNMENT TRIES TO PERSUADE DEPUTIES TO SUPPORT IRAQ MEASURESThe leadership of the Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was busy yesterday trying to convince its deputies to vote in favor of a proposal on the Iraq issue expected to be debated in Parliament today. During a six-hour meeting yesterday, the Cabinet ministers briefed Parliament’s AKP deputies on the situation and laid out the case for the proposal’s passage. The AKP parliamentary meeting is scheduled to continue today ahead of an expected vote in the general assembly. /All Papers/
 ANNAN MEETS WITH DENKTAS TO PRESENT THIRD CYPRUS PLANUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan yesterday met with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Rauf Denktas to present his third revised Cyprus plan. Speaking after the meeting, Denktas said that he had told Annan of the hardships Turkish Cypriots would be subject to under the plan, adding that he found the plan unsatisfactory. “I asked Annan how we could ever accept a plan which would force half of our citizens to give up their homes,” added Denktas. Annan later met with new Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos to present him the plan. /Aksam/
 TRNC AMBASSADOR: “ANNAN’S PLAN WOULD END THE TURKISH PRESENCE ON CYPRUS”Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Ahmet Zeki Bulunc, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) ambassador to Ankara, said that the United Nations’ third plan for Cyprus would end the Turkish presence on the island and furthermore do damage to Turkey’s national interests. Bulunc added that the Turkish Cypriots hadn’t been properly briefed about the plan. /Milliyet/
 TURKEY’S EMBASSY IN BAGHDAD EVACUATED, IRAQ BORDER CLOSED TO TRADETurkey’s Embassy in Baghdad was evacuated yesterday and its entire staff, including Ambassador Osman Paksut, recalled to Ankara. In addition, Turkey’s border gate with Iraq at Habur was also closed to vehicle traffic and trade. Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said that the evacuation had been done as a precaution against unforeseen developments and that it didn’t mean that war was imminent. /Turkiye/
 NSC TO DISCUSS NORTHERN IRAQ ISSUEThe National Security Council (NSC) is set to convene tomorrow to discuss recent developments regarding Iraq and especially the Kurdish-controlled area of northern Iraq. The NSC is to review intelligence reports on the latest developments in Iraq. The council is expected to reiterate Turkey’s determination to protect Iraq’s territorial integrity. In particular, it is expected to stress that Turkey would do its utmost to block separatist Kurdish groups’ efforts to establish an independent state in the region, underlining that Turkey would regard any such development as a grave threat to its national security or even a “casus belli.” /Cumhuriyet/
 IRAQI VP: “IN CASE OF WAR, IRAQ WILL ATTACK ANY COUNTRIES COOPERATING WITH THE US, INCLUDING TURKEY”Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan yesterday stated that Iraq could attack both Turkey and Kuwait in case of a US-led war supported by these two countries. Stating that Iraq would not hesitate to retaliate against those who “collaborate” with the US, Ramadan said that if it faced attack, Iraq would of course defend its people and territories. “Countries which help the Bush administration will be regarded as accomplices of the US,” added the Iraqi official. Meanwhile, Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara Talip Abid Salih yesterday remarked that if a proposal authorizing the US to station its troops on Turkish soil was passed by the Parliament, it would mean that Turkey had joined a war alongside the US and would have to bear the consequences. Earlier this year, Abid had pledged that Iraq would not attack Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 US ENVOY KHALILZAD: “TURKISH FORCES WILL NOT ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ SINGLE-HANDEDLY”In case of war against Iraq, Turkish forces will enter northern Iraq only in concert with US troops, pledged a US government representative to Iraqi opposition groups yesterday. Speaking at a gathering in Salaheddin, northern Iraq, convened to discuss Iraq’s postwar future, with a large Kurdish contingent present, US Envoy to the Iraqi opposition Zalmay Khalilzad stated that the United States was opposed to any military power entering the region without US assent and cooperation. Northern Iraqi Kurdish groups have struck a more belligerent and anxious tone in recent days regarding possible Turkish intervention, warning of clashes between Kurds and Turkish forces should they enter northern Iraq. Turkey has pledged that its forces would be present in northern Iraq only for humanitarian purposes and to protect Turkey’s national interests. Also speaking at yesterday’s gathering, Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (IKDP) head Massoud Barzani, one of the most vocal leaders sounding such warnings, reiterated his call for the US to block the intervention of neighboring countries in the region. /Sabah/
 OFFICIAL CANDIDATE LIST FOR SIIRT BY-ELECTION APPROVEDThe official list of candidates slated to run in the Siirt by-election scheduled for March 9 has been approved by the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) and is due to be published in the Official Gazette today. The race is widely expected to pave the way for ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdoðan to assume the prime minister’s post, a position for which he was previously ineligible in last November polls. Last fall’s election in Siirt was invalidated by the YSK due to irregularities. The final list of candidates is as follows: Erdogan (AKP), Abdurrahman Kaysi (Republican People’s Party, CHP), Bayram Yurtcicek (Workers’ Party, IP), Deniz Ünver (Turkish Communist Party, TKP), Oner Gulyesil, Oner Ergenc, Ekrem Bilek, Abdulhalim Cýnar, Muharrem Kýrýk, Emine Serpil Renda, Zeki Karahan, and Yusuf Celik. /Star/
 BRIDGES, HIGHWAYS ADDED TO PRIVATIZATION SLATEThe government plans to privatize two bridges in Istanbul as well as a number of highways, the High Privatization Board (OIB) announced yesterday. In a decision published in the Official Gazette, the OIB announced that Istanbul’s Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges as well as the Edirne- Ankara, Pozanti-Mersin, Tarsus-Gaziantep, Toprakkale-Iskenderun, Izmir- Cesme and Izmir-Aydin highways were being added to the government’s ambitious privatization slate. Legal and financial preparations for the selloff are to carried out by the Housing and Public Works Ministry together with the Highways Directorate and the Privatization Administration Board, and are scheduled to be completed in three months’ time, with bidding tenders to follow. /Star/
 CB HEAD URGES ACTION TO BOOST GROWTH EXPECTATIONSSpeaking at a meeting of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ISO) yesterday, Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti said that Turkey’s growth target for this year was 5%, but that business surveys showed an expectation that actual growth would fall short. Serdengecti urged the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to implement economic reforms as quickly as possibly to remedy this situation. Also touching on inflation, the CB head remarked that some circles were not satisfied with the government’s performance to date on inflation, adding that he hoped this situation too would be addressed soon. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TAKEN HOSTAGEBY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on Turkey’s difficult situation concerning the Iraq crisis. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Parliament is about to make a decision that will affect our future in the long run, and even our grandchildren. Will we make things easier for the US, which insists on ignoring international law and attacking Iraq, or won’t we? On this issue, unfortunately Parliament doesn’t have any real free choice, because Turkey was taken hostage by the US, just like some innocent civilian. Even if it tries to resist this despotic force, it can’t. It knows that if it does what the despot wants, it would mean acting against its interests and wishes. Therefore there is one solution left, that is, doing what the despot wants and then at the first opportunity, breaking away from captivity and acting freely.
Yesterday Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded one politician calling for rejection of the proposal that this year Turkey has to repay loans totalling $73 billion. Maybe he meant between the lines, ‘Do you know how much a “no vote” would cost?” The things US President George W. Bush said to Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis and State Minister Ali Babacan at the White House last week unmasked this despot. ‘If we’re unable to get the support that we expect from Turkey, then we’ll act together with the groups [meaning Barzani, Talabani and other Kurdish groups] in northern Iraq,’ he told them. In other words, he meant, ‘If you don’t play with us, an independent Kurdish state will be established. If we don’t act together, the IMF and the World Bank will turn their back on you. And when that happens, don’t come knocking on our door expecting us to help.’ In other words, he was talking about the debt that Erdogan mentioned, but he saved the main issue for last: ‘You know about the Armenian bills in various US states. These bills might make it to the House of Representatives. The Armenian lobbies are looking forward to such a development.’ In other words, he meant, ‘If we officially recognize the so-called Armenian genocide officially, think of what will happen to you.’
All these things mean that Turkey is being forced to make a decision under threats and blackmail. In such a situation, is it possible for Parliament not to debate the proposal or to debate and reject it, since as yet there is no international legitimacy as required under our Constitution?
We can clearly see how Turkey was taken hostage. What’s more, it’s being forced to be an accomplice to murder.
However, unfortunately it has no other choice. The important thing is to find a way out of this deplorable situation the first chance we get.”
 LAMENT ON REALITYBY ORHAN BURSALI (CUMHURIYET)
Columnist Orhan Bursali comments on the prospect of a war in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Reality is glittering in all its purity. Everything is so bright. My eyes are dazzled; not by the flashing lights but by the shame for all we’ve seen and all we are to see, for all we’ve heard and will hear, for all we’ve learned from books, and for all our hopes and faith in a better future.
My eyes are burning as I see the great panegyrics on our triumphant civilization, the worship of the sublime human race in our books, and humanity’s masterpieces. I’m ashamed of Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, of having scaled the Himalayas and landed on the moon, of the discovery of the DNA helix, of groundbreaking inventions and discoveries of our times, of the theory of relativity, of our power and ability to create new forms of life…
I’m ashamed of all those grandiose thought systems that have guided our societies, of morals and ethical rules, of our living together in peace. I’m ashamed of Bertrand Russell, of Karl Marx and Karl Popper.
Picasso, Van Gogh, Mozart, Beethoven… They all can go to hell for all I care together with so-called noble emotions and the deepest resonances of humanity they created. Let all the museums and our entire cultural heritage be burned to the ground! Let all of those libraries stuffed with the creations of our human race go down in flames! God’s wrath onto those who destroyed Hitler!
An anchorman on TV, smiling happily, is saying that we are about to witness history take place, as the government has sent its war proposal to Parliament. He is inviting us to feel the inferno. We’re heading full throttle towards the end of the world. It’s as if we’ve sat down in a theater to witness the ultimate destruction of the universe some millions of years hence.
Are we witnessing history now? Oh, yes. Quite so. We are witnesses our own destruction, the collapse of morality. We are being called on to get rid of all the burdens that our civilization has placed on us and become free as a bird.
A country on the operating table is being prepared for vivisection, being torn into its constituent pieces. Its heart, kidneys, brain, arteries and eyes, and its mountains, soil and oil, and its people, history and culture, and its past and future and all the other things it has will be parceled up soon. Who will get what? The number one murderer of the world, carrying the sharpest saber in his hand, is now planning his move. How many parts should it be divided into? Should there be a federal state or three distinct ‘statelets’? Everyone is light as a feather, they’re scribbling easily and with the utmost freedom. Morality is stuck at the bottom of the deepest well with tons of immorality lying on the top of it.
The behemoth will seize the richest oil fields of the world. And it will cover the costs of its greatest attack on humanity, morality and civilization with the money it reaps from these oil fields.
Hail to the democracy to be established in Iraq, hail to the human rights the Iraqi people will be given!
The brightness of the prism clouds everything. My eyes are dazzled; not by the flashing lights, but by the shame.
Now we can turn to real politics. Yes, where did we leave off last time?”
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