MASS APPEAL Oklahoma 1995, Bingol 2003: See any difference? - Hurriyet Earthquake not destiny, but theft allowed by state - Aksam Child killers in Bingol - Vatan Crooked contractors stole lives of children - Milliyet State, once again, under rubble - Aksam Boarding school of death - Sabah Scores of children under rubble - Turkiye Student (12): Please save my schoolmates - Sabah Greece sends aid again - Milliyet Aldonas: Turks will be denied Iraqi jobs a lie - Hurriyet Bush show in USS Lincoln - Milliyet Turkish, Greek Cypriots celebrate May Day together - Milliyet
OPINION MAKERS Murder, not earthquake - Cumhuriyet Earthquake shows organized political murder by politicians, contractors - Radikal 8-year old: Why did our school collapse? - Zaman Who killed these children? - Yeni Safak Mothers mourning, children weeping in Bingol - Yeni Safak Our neighbor Greece extends a helping hand - Zaman Greece sends 300,000 Euro in disaster aid - Cumhuriyet Powell threatens Syria again - Yeni Safak Bush ends `hot conflict' - Radikal ONW ends - Radikal Bloody welcome for Powell in Israel: 18 dead - Zaman TGS: AKP deliberately stirs tension - Cumhuriyet
FINANCIAL JOURNALS U.S. $1 billion grant for Turkey tied to loyalty to IMF program - Dunya Turkish businessmen want Iraqi natural gas to flow to Europe via Turkey - Finansal Forum
Earthquake: An 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Turkey's southeastern town of Bingol early Thursday, claiming 83 lives and injuring 499, papers report. At least 29 students are reported dead, and 98 are still under the rubble where a dormitory building housing primary school children collapsed. Initial reports said cries of children could be heard from beneath the shattered masonry. All dailies were in furious agreement that the high death toll was the outcome of a crime committed by `politicians, bureaucrats and contractors' who have allowed unlawful construction. "Radikal" says the boarding school was constructed as an `election bribe' in 1994. "Hurriyet" compares the `contractor's crime' that killed many primary school children to the 1995 bomb attack in Oklahoma which has claimed 168 lives. In a striking front page layout, the paper displays photos of rescuers carrying children out of the rubble of the Oklahoma attack and Bingol quake, stressing that the results have been exactly the same. The paper also reminds that Timothy McVeigh was executed in the States two years ago. The theme equates the contractors/politician with terrorists - same results. Greece has been among the first countries to extend a helping hand to Turkey by sending 300,000 Euros and a 25 strong rescue team to Turkey, reports note. Broadcasters said on Friday morning that Cochairman of Turkey, U.S. Caucus, Robert Wexler has applied to the Congress to consider disaster aid for Turkey.
Iraq: Dailies echo President Bush's remarks announcing the `end of major conflicts,' and the `beginning of reconstruction' in Iraq. Reports cite "Newsweek" that Bush was intending to assign former State Department official Paul Bremer, a close friend of Secretary Rumsfeld, to administer post-war Iraq. Papers also quote U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Grant Aldonas as denying reports that
SIPDIS Turkish companies would be given no deals in Iraq's reconstruction. Aldonas said Turkish firms offering suitable prices with high quality service guarantees would stand a chance to grab a share as subcontractors, papers note. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow said the American grant of $1 billion for Turkey would be conditioned to Ankara's adherence to the IMF economic program. Ankara prefers the grant to be freed of IMF conditions.
Turkish giants hopeful of Iraqi market: Turkey's leading business group, Koc Holding Group of Companies' owner Rahmi Koc said U.S. and British giants would extend business opportunities to Turkish companies in reconstruction of Iraq, "Milliyet" says. Koc said his group would get some construction jobs through its partner the British Balfour Beatty Co. He added that Ezcacibasi Corp., Turkey's leading pharmaceutical firm could sell medicine to Iraq at lower prices than U.S. and UK. Firms.
U.S. Istanbul Consulate compound for lease: "Hurriyet" says that the U.S. Consulate building in Istanbul would be sold or rented after the Consulate staff moves to its newly built compound in Istinye. There are many private companies and institutions interested in the historical complex, but contrary to press reports ("Milliyet" focusing on a group of anti-war intellectuals protesting accepting a donation from America in light of the looting of cultural treasures in Iraq) on Thursday, Americans were not planning to donate it to the Istanbul Arts and Culture Foundation, and that the decision would be made by the U.S. State Department, the paper underlines.
ONW `nearing end': Operation Northern Watch (ONW) reconnaissance flights operated from Incirlik AB to Northern Iraq since the First Gulf War in 1991. ONW was "deactivated" with a ceremony held at the base on Thursday. In attendance were Turkey's Air Force Commander Gen. Cumhur Asparuk and U.S. EUCOM Vice Commander Gen. Charles Wald, "Radikal" reports. Gen. Wald reportedly said 1400 of the 14,500 troops will remain in the base, indicating Incirlik will go back to its pre-1991 status.
`Kurds at the table, Turkomans excluded': "Cumhuriyet" reports that the Turkomans were left out of the group convoked by the U.S. in Baghdad to establish an interim government for Iraq. Iraqi Turkoman Front (ITF) complained that the Turkoman have been offered one seat instead of the expected six at the committee set up for Kirkuk's administration. Cumhuriyet worte that the ITC complained that Kurds have occupied many Turkoman zones including Kirkuk, attempting to annex it to the illegal Kurdish administration set up in Irbil and Sulaimanija.
a) Middle East Roadmap b) Restructuring Iraq
"Middle East peace" Erdal Guven wrote in liberal-intellectual Radikal (5/2): "The US is very determined not to see a repeat of any 9/11 type events. Thus the roadmap for the Middle East is one of efforts to prevent this from happening. The Bush administration formed a Palestine leadership, which is supposed to comprehend as well as implement the peace plan. The naming of a new Palestinian PM as well as the isolation of Arafat are all part of this effort. . However, Arafat's isolation is not sufficient to bring peace because there are some other important obstacles, such as Palestinian fundamentalist organizations and right wing Israeli political parties. . The concerned parties that are supposed to take action based on the roadmap are not providing strong hopes for the future either. Mahmoud Abbas is regarded as a US puppet and is not viewed as a strong leader by the Palestinians. As for Sharon, there is no need even to repeat the list of question marks about him. . The plan draws a basic framework, yet it fails to provide guidance for the settlement of the major issues, such as the Jerusalem issue, ultimate borders and the fate of Palestinian refugees. The peace in the Middle East is once again is a very tough mission to accomplish."
"What type of regime in Iraq?" Sami Kohen noted in mass appeal Milliyet (5/2): "As declared by President Bush, the military operation part of the Iraq war has ended. It is now time to rebuild Iraq. The US won this war rather easily. However as Americans also acknowledge, winning the peace might be a more difficult mission to achieve. In this new period, the US has set three main targets for success. The first is to establish peace and security in Iraq. The second is to revitalize Iraq's economy and infrastructure. The third is to revitalize Iraq's political system, in other words, to establish a democratic regime, which will unite the people of Iraq. . Regarding the very last part of the mission, which is the most difficult one, we keep hearing different tunes from the US officials. Is Washington really going to accept an Islamic regime in Iraq if it turns out to be the choice of the masses? That is the main issue to answer. Jay Garner is saying that the US will not impose any type of regime and will respect the people's decision. However, some other US administration officials, including Secretary Rumsfeld, state that the US will not allow an Iranian style regime in Iraq."