|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-07
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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 REBUFFS CRITICS OF HIS VISITS ABROAD, TOUTS HIS GOVT’S “OPEN DIPLOMACY”Speaking at a meeting of his party yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan firmly rebuffed criticisms of his recent trip to Africa and the government’s foreign policy, and in the process accused some circles of trying to hold back Turkey’s development in the midst of a changing world. “Turkey needs to make progress in its relations with the world in all areas, ” he said. “Last week I visited two countries which haven’t been visited since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, and I want to stress that a static, isolationist diplomacy will not help us.” Erdogan stated that he had pledged to the nation to change Turkey’s foreign policy and conduct open diplomacy. “The fruits of our foreign policy are the result of this open diplomacy,” he said. “We’ll conduct open diplomacy in this new era, and our first step towards this goal was my visit to Ethiopia last week.” The premier further stated that he wanted Ankara’s relations with Europe, the Caucasus, the United States, and with the Far East to develop further. Also touching on economic developments, Erdogan stated that the recent inflation figures showed that the government would achieve its targets this year, adding that these positive developments refuted claims of “economic languor” in the country. /Cumhuriyet/
 ANKARA HOSTING TURKEY-EU TROIKA MEETING TODAYAnkara is set to hold a crucial Turkey-European Union Troika meeting today, the first such high-level meeting since Dec. 17, when the EU set Oct. 3 as the starting date for Ankara’s accession talks. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday held separate meetings with both EU Commissioner for Enlargement Ollie Rehn and EU Term President Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn to lay the groundwork for today’s gathering. After the meeting, Rehn said that they had had very fruitful talks focusing on what Turkey needs to be done before Oct. 3. He added that Gul had pledged to him to extend the Ankara Agreement to the new members of the bloc, including Greek Cyprus, before October. Asselborn also told reporters that his hope was that the values of the EU and Turkey would move closer together. He called on EU leaders to encourage Ankara to continue its reforms, adding that he believed that the Cyprus issue and other issues would be resolved through the Turkish government’s positive stance. For his part, Gul vowed to continue the implementation of reforms and underlined that Ankara would extend the Ankara agreement to other EU members when the time comes. /Turkiye/
 CICEK: “IT’S TOO LATE TO CRITICIZE THE NEW TCK”Commenting yesterday on recent criticisms on the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that it was late in the day to make such criticisms. Pointing out that the new code would go into force on April 1, Cicek asked, “Where have these critics been all this time?” Over the weekend, Sabih Kanadoglu, former chief prosecutor of the High Court of Appeals, claimed that the new code had been made in a rush prior to last fall’s European Union Commission report on Turkey and the Dec. 17 summit. He added that it was riddled with contradictions and shortcomings. /Turkiye/
 STUDENT AMNESTY TO BE DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT COMMISSION TOMORROWA controversial bill concerning student amnesty, which was sent back to Parliament by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer last week, is set to be taken up again at Parliament’s Education, Culture and Sports Commission tomorrow. If the bill is passed, some 700,000 students dismissed from universities since June 29, 2000 will be able to return to their former schools if they apply within two months. /Turkiye/
 NAZARBAYEV PAYS UNEXPECTED VISIT TO TURKEYKazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid an unexpected visit to Turkey on Sunday. Nazarbayev flew into Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport aboard a private plane, and reporters were barred from taking pictures of him at the airport. A Turkish official described Nazarbayev’s impromptu visit as a private one. /Star/
 SERDAR DENKTAS: “TODAY THE CTP-DP COALITION WILL PRESENT A NEW CABINET LIST TO THE PRESIDENT”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas said yesterday that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP)-Democratic Party (DP) coalition would present its new Cabinet list to President Rauf Denktas on Monday. “The new government program and the Cabinet will be declared tomorrow at the latest,” he said, adding that Prime Minister and CTP leader Mehmet Ali Talat’s expectation was also towards this end. Denktas stated that if Talat decides to run for TRNC president, then CTP Secretary-General Ferdi Sabit Soyer would be prime minister. /Aksam/
 KRETSCHMER: “TURKEY SHOULD CONTINUE ITS EU HARMONIZATION, INCLUDING HUMAN RIGHTS REFORMS”Speaking at a meeting of the Marmara Group Foundation yesterday, European Commission Representative in Ankara Hansjoerg Kretschmer said that Turkey was an important political partner of the European Union, adding that it should harmonize with the Union’s acquis communautaire and its liberal economic principles. Kretschmer stressed that the EU was a community of values and added, “EU candidates should fulfill certain criteria concerning democracy, human rights and the economy which are then taken into consideration during their accession talks.” Kretschmer stated that Turkey continuing its reforms was very important. “Among these reforms are ones on human rights, women’s rights and religious rights and freedoms,” he said. “Forging a dialogue between the Turkish nation and the European public has critical importance.” Touching on regional economic imbalances in the country, Kretschmer warned that this could also create political instability. “Ankara will be successful in its EU accession talks if it overcomes this,” he added. /Cumhuriyet/
 US TREASURY’S TAYLOR PRAISES TURKISH ECONOMYWashington is greatly pleased by Turkey’s economic policies, US Treasury Undersecretary John Taylor said over the weekend in an interview in New York. “They have taken steps to have a better monetary policy, better fiscal policy and it's working,” said Taylor. The Turkish Treasury last week announced that the US could withdraw an unused loan guarantee extended to Turkey in 2003 for its help in the Iraq war. Washington had earmarked a $1 billion grant, convertible into a loan of about $8.5 billion, as compensation for the economic damage caused by the Iraq war. However, Ankara told Washington that it wouldn’t require the support after agreeing in principle on a new $10 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The US House Appropriations Committee is currently discussing alternate ways to spend the money. In related news, US Treasury spokesman Tony Fratto said that plans to divert US funds from Turkey and to Iraq and Afghanistan reflect Turkey's improved economic condition. "Turkish authorities have been able to implement necessary fiscal and monetary reforms ... to strong growth, and is in less need of financial aid than Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. /Sabah / Star/
 ADB PRESIDENT: “TURKEY’S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE IS INCREDIBLE”The Turkish economy has made amazing progress over the past three years, said Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda over the weekend in Istanbul to monitor preparations for the ADB’s annual Executive Board meeting scheduled for early May. ''Turks have attained European Union standards in terms of economics,” he said. “We expect Turkey’s membership talks to start successfully. We’re also sure that Turkey will join the EU in the coming years.” He also added that since Istanbul is a global city, it was a wise and timely decision for the ADB to hold its meeting in this metropolis which has linked two continents for centuries. /Star/
 VISITING COPPEM MAYORS TOUR THE BOSPHORUSSome 120 mayors, members of the Standing Committee for Euro-Mediterranean Partnership of Local Authorities and Regions (COPPEM), toured the Bosphorus over the weekend as part of their local, inter-governmental cooperation efforts. As a result of the three-day meeting in Istanbul, COPPEM agreed to lend its full support to Turkey’s EU membership bid. The main aim of COPPEM, composed of 86 members representing municipalities of the 15 EU countries and 12 southern and eastern Mediterranean countries of the Euro- Mediterranean Partnership, is to improve the role of, and to strengthen cooperation between, local and regional authorities within the framework of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership. /Star/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 A JOINT FRONT AGAINST DAMASCUS AND TURKEY BY YASEMIN CONGAR (MILLIYET)Columnist Yasemin Congar comments on Syria. A summary of her column is as follows:
“If you’ve been following recent events from the eyes of Turkish columnists, then you could have some misconceptions about Syria. By reading columns about the recent developments in Syria, you could also think that the US had started a campaign against Damascus without cause. You should be careful about these views, otherwise you could think that the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was for the benefit of the US and Israel, because in this way they could increase their pressure on Syria. Thus, you can ignore the European Union’s claims and the UN resolutions. Moreover, you would also ignore the voice of the Lebanese people. I would have nothing to say if you, considering the recent visit by Syrian President Bashar Assad to Turkey and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s future visit to Damascus, would forgive Syria’s years of support for PKK terrorists and the way it let Abdullah Ocalan leave the country with a slap on the wrist and also its claims over the Turkish province of Hatay. But the government’s failure to join the international outcry calling for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon shouldn’t make you neglect this information.
France and the US led the call for Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon. This request later turned into an international consensus, because it found its root and response in the Lebanese people. Assad’s statement that Syria would withdraw from Lebanon is the result of Syria being left friendless. Sources in Washington say that Syria has no choice but to withdraw its troops and intelligence agents from Lebanon. During the revolt in the streets of Beirut by the Lebanese people, I asked a US official about whether Syria would withdraw. ‘What impresses me the most is that al- Jazeera is broadcasting all the events live without any censorship,’ he said. The revolts in the streets of Beirut gave a more important message than the recent elections in Iraq. Speaking about the statements by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, the same official said that Gul’s words are not the message that the entire world is trying to give Damascus.
The US claims that steps have started in the Mideast which are reinforcing each other and advancing the cause of democracy. US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accuse the regional countries which they criticize as ‘being out of step.’ And what will Ankara’s attitude be?”
 WOMEN’S RIGHTS, A BENCHMARK OF CIVILIZATION BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on women’s rights and tomorrow’s International Women’s Day. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Women from around the world have gathered in New York to discuss the progress made in the decade since the Fourth UN World Conference on Women in Beijing.
Turkey has sent delegates to the ‘Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women’ for the last three years and even held the position of chairwoman at these meetings for two terms, but lost its right to be represented on the committee.
Last year, the Copenhagen criteria adaptation process was going full steam and women in Turkey gained more rights than even their European counterparts. Then why have we lost a position which allowed us to make ourselves heard in the UN?
A member of the committee since 1997, Feride Acar held the position of chair for two years.
Why is Turkey no longer represented on the committee?
The reason is we don’t have a government that recognizes women’s rights as an indicator of a country’s level of civilization.
The committee is based on international compromises. Therefore, every member is backed by her own country. Turkey’s membership in 1997 was also the result of diplomatic efforts of a female politician [then Prime Minister Tansu Ciller] and the government in charge then.
According to a recent study conducted by the Women’s Environment and Development Organization, there hasn’t been any progress in women’s status since the meeting in Beijing, and the major threat to women remains poverty.
The research also reveals that rising military spending and militarism, along with fundamentalists’ opposition to women’s rights, are among the developing trends against women.
Equal rights for women in politics and the business world is another issue that remains untouched since the meeting in Beijing.
Moreover, if women had a voice in politics, political disputes would be solved through peaceful means, leaving no excuse to boost military spending and militarism, because peace is the indispensable priority of the female point of view.
The status of Iraqi women is a reflection of these problems. Women’s rights activists in Iraq are being murdered one by one. In an atmosphere of military conflict and growing radicalism, women’s rights can’t flourish.
Tomorrow is March 8, International Women’s Day. But the issue of women’s rights isn’t discussed only once a year. Although there hasn’t been much progress on the issue since the 1995 meeting in Beijing, equality between the sexes is now a priority to be considered in every aspect of life.
Today, it’s known that the level of civilization in a country is determined by the status of its women.”
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