MASS APPEAL 11 camps for 500,000 refugees - Hurriyet Government wants to gain time on Iraq - Sabah Despite warnings, Bush determined to hit Iraq - Turkiye Ankara decides on Iraq: Count us in! - Milliyet
OPINION MAKERS U.S. inspects bases; Iraqi opposition in town - Cumhuriyet NSC to say final word on Iraq - Zaman Ankara cautious on Iraq - Yeni Safak State leaders discuss U.S. demands - Radikal Constitutional package unchanged, back to Presidency - Yeni Safak
FINANCIAL JOURNALS Markets uneasy over Iraq - Dunya Saddam seeking human shields - Finansal Forum
Iraq: Tuesday's papers report that no political decision came out of the government leaders' meeting on Iraq, which was also attended by the Chief of General Staff. Dailies expect the position of Turkey to be shaped at Friday's National Security Council meeting. However, reports claim that the leaders have agreed to join the U.S.-led operation against Iraq. "Vatan" daily speculates that, cornered between U.S. pressure and the party grassroots, the AKP wants to avoid the impression of being the `gendarme' of Western countries against the Muslim world. The government is inclined to seek parliamentary approval to open bases and send troops to Northern Iraq, reports say. Dailies and broadcasters report that U.S. experts have started inspections on Turkish air bases. Northern Iraqi Kurdish leaders Barzani and Talabani are in Ankara today to hold meetings with the MFA, Turkish intelligence, and the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Gul and opposition CHP leader Baykal will discuss Iraq at a meeting today. On Wednesday, the parliament will vote on the extension of ONW for another six months. On Thursday, the Supreme Military Council will convene. "Hurriyet" reports that Prime Minister Gul will visit Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to feel the pulse on Iraq. "Milliyet" features a headline containing Turkey's `conditions' regarding the Iraq war: -- Ankara is against deployment of large numbers of U.S. troops in Turkey. Small special teams are acceptable. -- Ankara wants Muslim countries in the international coalition against Iraq. -- A UN or NATO decision is essential for military action against Baghdad. -- Missile defense systems should be established at bases to be used by the U.S. Dailies also believe that Turkey will demand 12 billion dollars in `reparations' for possible war losses. "Hurriyet" claims that Turkey will set up eleven camps in Northern Iraq to accommodate an estimated 500,000 refugees.
Wolfowitz op-ed: "Radikal" carries an op-ed on Iraq by Deputy SecDef Wolfowitz in its entirety as it appeared in the Washington Post on December 23. The op-ed is captioned "To Strike or Not To Strike." The paper highlights Wolfowitz's comments that the world has grave concerns that Saddam might use his most dreadful weapons. Wolfowitz writes that the U.S. must take the potential risks into account when considering an action against Iraq.
Election in Siirt: The CHP has criticized the Supreme Election Board (YSK) for delaying the election calendar in Siirt province, where poll results were canceled by the board on December 3. Reports speculate that the AKP is unsure about a clear victory for Erdogan in Siirt, who needs to enter the parliament before taking over the post of Prime Minister.
Constitutional changes package: The parliament's Constitutional Commission on Monday reviewed the constitutional amendment package that would allow AKP leader Erdogan to be elected to parliament. The Commission re- approved the package without changes, papers report. The parliament will vote on the package on Friday. President Sezer vetoed the package last week, saying it was designed to address Erdogan's personal situation. Deputy Prime Minister Yalcinbayir reportedly said that AKP does not want to challenge the President, but rather expand democratic rights for all.
Zeugma/HP's Packard: "Hurriyet" criticizes HP's David Packard for "forgetting his promise" of 100 million dollars in financial support to excavate the ancient city of Zeugma, in Turkey's Gaziantep province. Only 20 percent of the city has been excavated, and work has been halted after Packard's initial grant of 5 million dollars was spent, Hurriyet complains. The paper says that U.S. Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson has sent a letter to Packard, urging him to continue to support the Zeugma project. Hurriyet says that a response is being awaited from Packard.
EDITORIAL OPINION: Iraq
"The critical questions in the Turkish-American bargain" Sedat Ergin notes some disagreements between Turkey and the US in mass appeal Hurriyet (12/24): "The US is waiting for a clear decision by Ankara before making its final plans about Iraq. Ankara, on the other hand wants some clarification from Washington on some critical points before making its decisions. Specifically, Turkey is concerned about the following points: - What kind of compensation plan the Bush administration is willing to commit itself to on behalf of Turkey. The Turkish Treasury will need a huge amount of cash to cope with the shock effects of the war. President Bush has offered Turkey a cash amount of just 3.5 billion dollars over two years. The amount is considered `extremely insufficient' here in Ankara. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of Congressional approval for a compensation plan for Turkey. - The uncertainties regarding northern Iraq, as well as US plans for the post-Saddam era in Iraq. The US is planning to implement a federal structure in the post-Saddam era, and its design is not acceptable to Turkey. Turkey wants to take some protective measures to control an expected refugee influx from northern Iraq in the case of a military operation. The US, however, is opposed to these measures. It should come as no surprise that the number of Turkish troops deployed in northern Iraq will increase considerably in case of a war. . The task of Turkish troops will not be limited to stopping the refugees. By stationing troops in northern Iraq, Turkey wants to be able to prevent `undesired developments' there. Turkey also wants to have a say in the shaping of Iraq's future. . Washington plans to implement a three-party cooperation mechanism in northern Iraq together with Turkey and the Kurdish groups under US supervision. Turkey, however, is against such a model, in which the Turkish army and Kurdish groups are given equal power. If a three-party mechanism is to be applied in northern Iraq, Turkey wants to play the leading role. Turkey is aware of the fact that its role in Northern Iraq will determine its status at the table for discussing the future of Iraq in the post-Saddam period."
"The war is in February" Yilmaz Oztuna opined in the conservative-mass appeal Turkiye (12/24): "The war against Iraq will begin soon, because the US has already obtained, however reluctantly, support from the six Gulf countries as well as Turkey and the UK. Sometime in February, Turkey will find itself in the midst of a war, which is very likely to start with heavy air bombardment. . Through its colossal military power, the US will topple Saddam, many innocent people will be killed, and, in the end, the four-star American generals will station themselves in Baghdad. A similar scenario will then be implemented for Iran, until all the Gulf-oil reserves are distributed under US supervision."