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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-11-06
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 212/08 06.11.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITIORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 The contacts of the Turkish Cypriot delegation in Turkey. Statements by Soyer and Cicek. Reaction for the meetingsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) in its front page under the title The eyes focus on Ankara reports about the contacts of the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the delegation accompanying him in Ankara. Ferdi Sabit Soyer and its delegation held contacts yesterday in Ankara with the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with the Turkish Minister of State responsible for Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek. Cyprus problem and economic matters were high on the agenda of the meetings. The paper writes that Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the Turkish officials discussed in details the Cyprus problem, economic matters and the possible effects the global financial crisis might cause on the occupied areas. According to the paper, no statements were made after the meeting, since they were closed-door meetings.
However, the paper writes that the self-styled prime minister will give today at 15.00 a press conference at the illegal Tymvou airport after his return from Turkey. Political circles comment that the Turkish Cypriot delegation did not get what it expected to get from Ankara.
Meanwhile, the paper reports in detail in the meeting of the Turkish Cypriot delegation headed by Ferdi Sabit Soyer with the Turkish State Minister, responsible for Cyprus Affairs, Mr. Cemil Cicek. According to the statement made by the Press Office of the Prime-Ministry, the meeting took place in the new building of the Prime Ministry and lasted for approximately one and a half hour. The self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied Lefkosia, Mr. Turkekul Kurtekkin participated also in the meeting.
In his statements to the press after the meeting, Cemil Cicek expressed Turkeys full support to the negotiation process started in Cyprus on September 3rd.
He also expressed Turkeys support to the Turkish Cypriot people and said that Turkey will continue doing everything it can for the Turkish Cypriot people to reach prosperity, develop and strengthen.
Mr. Cicek stated also that during the meeting with Mr. Soyer and his delegation, they had the opportunity to exchange views on the issue of strengthening the close cooperation between Turkey and the TRNC.
Regarding the solution in Cyprus, Mr. Cicek reiterated Turkeys stance that the solution should be new partnership which will be constituted by two constituent equal states, by two equal peoples and would be based on the realities in the island with the continuation of active and effective guarantees of Turkey. Cicek further stated that Turkeys and Turkish Cypriots interests should be safeguarded.
Yeni Duzen reports on the contacts of the Turkish Cypriot officials in Turkey under the title Support, both for the solution and the economy.
Ortam: More money, more instructions!
Vatan: Turkeys support will continue, the TRNC will get stronger.
Meanwhile, under the title We work for progress before the EP elections, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (06.11.08) publishes statements made the night before yesterday by the self-styled prime-minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer during a dinner organized by Turkey's Economic Policy Research Foundation (TEPAV) in Ankara.
Addressing a group of academicians, Mr. Soyer referred to the ongoing negotiation process for achieving a solution to the Cyprus problem and said that efforts are exerted in order to have serious progress before the next elections for the European Parliament.
Ferdi Sabit Soyer also stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem should protect the Turkish Cypriots equality and include Turkeys guarantorship. He said that the Turkish Cypriot side is not in favour of a solution just for the sake of a solution.
Kibris reports also that the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) and the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Tradesmen and Artisans criticized the self-styled government for its contacts in Turkey.
Mr. Sener Elcil, General Secretary of Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union stated that the officials of the government went to Ankara because the local resources were not enough for the continuation of the political structure they had established in North Cyprus.
On the other hand, Mr. Hurrem Tulga, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Tradesmen and Artisans accused the government of not putting serious efforts in order to change the system, which was created for years now by pumping money from abroad. He said that he was not pleased at all of this situation.
 Avci suggested TOBBs congress to be held in the occupied part of Cyprus in 2009Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the ministers of foreign affairs and finance, Turgay Avci and Ahmet Uzun respectively participated yesterday in a working dinner organized by the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), under the title At which stage of the negotiations we are in the Cyprus problem?
In statements at the dinner, Mr Soyer said that the economic development of the occupied northern part of Cyprus is one of the important processes in which they should advance. He noted that the interest of TOBB for the developments on the Cyprus problem is very important and briefed the TOBB members on the negotiating process. He said that the solution of the Cyprus problem is important for them and added that the development of the economy is also important, because otherwise serious difficulties might be experienced in the future.
Furthermore, Mr Turgay Avci said that TOBBs work is important and asked for the representation of the Turkish Cypriots in the Unions international works. He said that the development of the economy of the TRNC is very important and added that the Turkish Cypriots should reach the economic level of the Greek Cypriots. Otherwise the Greek Cypriots will never want a solution, he alleged.
Mr Avci asked for TOBBs congress tourism to be spread to the occupied part of Cyprus. He suggested that all businessmens and TOBBs congress and works in 2009 to be held in the occupied areas of the island.
The vice president of TOBB, Faik Yavuz said that the Cyprus problem is always one of the main issues in the relations of Turkey with the EU and reminded that the EU, showing Cyprus as pretext, postponed the opening of eight chapters in Turkeys accession negotiations noting that Cyprus is one of the criteria for the completion of the other chapters. He said that the Cyprus problem is a political issue, but the business world is closely concerned with it.
 How the Turkish press covered the EU Progress Report for TurkeyUnder the title We worry for the pressure on the press, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (06.11.08) publishes a report on yesterdays announcement of the EU Progress Report for Turkey.
Announcing the release of the annual report on Turkeys progress, the EU Commissioner Responsible for the Enlargement, Olli Rehn, called on the Turkish government to respect the freedom of the press, noting that the EU was concerned about the Turkish government's pressure on the press. "I hope that political and administrative actors will adopt an attitude taking into consideration the freedom of the press," Olli Rehn said. He added that the EU calls on Turkey to mark 2009 as a year of reforms in the country.
As Hurriyet writes, Turkeys Progress Report is a-85-page document that makes reference to the issues of the Ergenekon trial, the Lighthouse (Deniz Feneri) case, the fight against the corruption, denying access to the Youtube webpage, the fight against terrorism, the need for Turkey to proceed with reforms, the lack of results in efforts for a civilian constitution in Turkey, the military-civil relations and the reform of the judicial system. The paper also writes that the report criticizes the Turkish military officials for being involved in issues that are beyond their authority, such as Cyprus, secularism and Southeast.
The Progress Report also praises Turkish President Abdullah Gul for playing a conciliatory role between political figures and non-governmental organizations, for the steps he made in Turkish foreign relations and his visit to Armenia.
Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (06.11.08) reports on Turkeys Progress Report under the title Freedom of press in the Progress Report.
[Tr. Note: Hurriyet and Milliyet make no reference on the provisions of the report regarding Cyprus]
On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports on the EU progress report for Turkey which was announced yesterday from the EU Commission. According to the paper, regarding Cyprus, the report underlines the fact that Turkey remains dedicated to find a solution on the Cyprus problem and it welcomes the efforts exerted by the two leaders in the island to start the negotiation process.
According to Kibris, the report underlines also that in case that Turkey will not take steps in the direction of normalizing its relations with the Greek Cypriot side and put into practice the Additional Protocol, then the Greek Cypriot side has the right to use its veto right in international organizations.
The report demands also from Turkey to contribute with concrete steps to the creation of a positive atmosphere for finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Turkeys Foreign Ministrys press release on EU Progress ReportAnkara Anatolia news agency (05.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:
In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that "the eleventh Regular Report on Turkey, published annually since 1998, and the Enlargement Strategy Paper outlining expectations regarding the future, has been published today by the European Commission."
"The European Commission prepares similar reports on candidate and negotiating countries on an annual basis. These reports only include adopted legislation and implemented measures. They do not take into account legislation or measures under preparation. References to shortcomings, as well as to areas that require improvement, are in line with the mandate of the Commission in its preparation of progress reports. As such, shortcomings in legislation and implementation will continue to be included in future reports on Turkey until we become a full member," told the MFA.
"This year's report is structurally similar to those of previous years. The areas in which further improvements are expected appear in this report much as they have in the previous ones. Expectations which have been outlined in the previous report but not yet been realized may continue to be included in the subsequent report," said the MFA.
"The purpose of the inclusion of some issues which may appear unfavourable should be interpreted as the identification of areas in need of attention and towards which efforts need to be channelled. Our views and points of clarification regarding the issues with which we do not concur will be conveyed to the Commission in due course as customary," told the MFA.
On the other hand, the Enlargement Strategy Paper, which is published as a common document for all candidate and negotiating countries, presents a general framework of enlargement and proposals for the ensuing stage in the process of membership for each candidate in accordance with the findings in the respective progress report. It therefore also includes a section on Turkey," stated the MFA.
"The Enlargement Strategy:
- as in previous reports, emphasizes accession as the objective of negotiations, and the consolidation of commitments of the EU, while underlining Turkey's contributions to EFSP missions,
- expresses that Turkey continues to sufficiently fulfil the Copenhagen political criteria, - extends the message that Turkey needs to give a new impetus to political reforms, - states that Turkey's strategic importance in some key areas is increasing, and in this context, brings to the forefront Turkey's importance regarding energy security, conflict prevention and resolution and the role it plays in the Middle East and South Caucasus in terms of regional security,
- specifies that the reforms undertaken in Turkey and accession negotiations have made it a stronger force for stability in the region,
- this year, for the first time, describes Turkey as a functioning market economy in terms of the Copenhagen economic criteria," told the MFA.
"We welcome the references to the strategic importance of Turkey's accession for the EU. Membership to the EU is a strategic aim of our country. Turkey's commitment to the objective of integration with the EU dates back 50 years and remains strong. We are fully determined to implement the political and economic criteria that will allow our people to attain the highest standards in all fields. The Turkish people and the public support we enjoy continue to encourage us towards this end," said the MFA.
"Turkey is continuing with determination its endeavours to fulfil both the political criteria as well as the EU acquis within the framework of the 33 chapters that relate to all facets of life. Indeed, Turkey has realized important reforms during the last nine month period," told the MFA.
"In the Turkish Parliament, 30 pieces of legislation have been adopted regarding alignment with the EU acquis and political criteria during the 2007-2008 legislative year. The new Foundations Law and the Law Amending Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which are among these pieces of legislation, have entered into force. We have also made progress in the area of implementation," said the MFA.
"We are in the final stages of completing the National Program, which we have been working on for some time. The draft National Program, which has been published on the internet and opened to public scrutiny, has been shared with 87 civil society institutions and political parties. The Commission has also been informed about it. Our efforts are continuing with a transparent and participatory approach," noted the MFA.
"Our President, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs have underlined the importance of Turkish-EU relations on various occasions; they have also stressed the significance of undertaking the necessary steps for the process to go forward," told the MFA.
"Turkey will continue to fulfil its commitments as regards the accession process. However, the EU also has responsibilities. As regards the enlargement process, it is essential that the EU acts not with a short-sighted perspective but rather focuses on its principle founding philosophy, in other words on peace, stability and attaining the status of a global power," also told the MFA.
 Lagendijk: The European Commission should have given Turkey a clear warningAnkara Anatolia news agency (05.11.08) reported the following from Brussels:
The Chairman of the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Joost Lagendijk and European Parliament's Rapporteur on Turkey Ria Oomen-Ruijten said Wednesday that Turkey has been too slow in its reforms last year.
"Turkey has been too slow in its reforms and I regret that the European Commission has not made this lack of progress clear enough in its report. The European Commission should have given Turkey a clear warning. Turkey's lack of reform could jeopardize their chances of EU membership," Lagendijk said.
"The European Commission report focuses on Turkey's strategic importance to the region. The EU welcomes the progress recently made by Turkey with its neighbour Armenia. This is a positive development. But the European Commission and the Turkish government risk placing too much emphasis on Turkey's strategic importance. The EU must make clear that progress made in foreign policy is no excuse for Turkey to drag its feet on internal reforms, especially where freedom of expression and human rights are concerned," Lagendijk said.
"One of the inadequate internal reforms is this year's modification of Article 301 regarding "insulting the Turkish nation". The EU anticipated that this would lead to fewer charges, but this was unfortunately not the case," Lagendijk said.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten is uncertain if the Turkish Government still intends to continue with its reform process.
"As the Commission concludes in its report, progress in the last year has been very limited. Very few of the issues highlighted in the European Parliament's Resolutions have been addressed. Looking back at the developments in Turkey in the last year, I wonder whether the Turkish Government is still willing to continue with the reform process. There has been no update of the national reform plan which was adopted several years ago," Oomen-Ruijten said.
"I am concerned by the ongoing polarization of the Turkish society. I urge the leaders of the political parties to seriously seek dialog and to agree, in the spirit of compromise, on a reform agenda for the modernization of Turkey," Oomen-Ruijten said.
"Impatience in the European Parliament is growing. We need a clear signal from Turkey that it wishes to continue with the integration process to which it committed itself in 2005," Oomen-Ruijten also said.
 Statements by the Turkish Cypriot Parties on Barrack Obamas election in the US PresidencyKibris reports on the statements issued by the Turkish Cypriot political leaders regarding Obamas election for its US Presidency.
Democratic Party (DP) congratulated the new elected President for his election victory and pointed out that the statement made in the past by Barrack Obama during his election campaign that the Turkish military force in Cyprus is an occupation force is an unfortunate statement. Democratic Party notes also the following: Turkey is not an occupation force, it is using the authority given to her by the agreements, Turkey saved both Turks and Greeks from the bloodshed, it brought peace to Cyprus.
Moreover, Mr. Omer Kalyoncu, General Secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) evaluated yesterday to the press the election of Mr. Barrack Obama by stressing the importance of the result of the elections in the US. He said that the result is considered to be an important point in the struggle against the racial discrimination.
Mr. Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) congratulated Mr. Obama and said that they are expecting that Mr. Obama will follow a stable and realistic policy regarding the Cyprus problem and the Turkish-American relations.
Mr. Rasit Pertev, chairman of the Peoples Party (HP) in his written statement said that the result of the election in the US is a part of the important changes that will happen in the world. Pertev made also the following comment: For America he is a black, for Cyprus is an honest leader.
 How the Turkish press covers the results of the American elections and the victory of the Democratic candidate Barrack ObamaThe results of the American elections and the victory of the Democratic candidate Barrack Obama are highlighted through extended reports and commentaries in todays Turkish press (06.11.08).
Hurriyet newspaper extensively covers the results of the American elections and the victory of the Democratic candidate Barrack Obama. The news is highlighted in the front full page of the paper under the titles American revolution and Both have been applauded.
Drawing attention to the highlights of each candidates speech, the paper under the subtitle A hope to the world after Bush, makes also a reference to how some of the world leaders have welcome the announcement of Barrack Obamas victory. The paper publishes statements made by the presidents of France, Russia, Iran, Israel and Egypt.
Under the title Congratulations by Gul, Hurriyet reports on the congratulatory message sent by the Turkish President Abdullah Gul to the new President of the United States as follows:
"I hope that a new era for the world begins. Your message of change and hope is one that meets the expectations of our day. It is a message that Turkey embraces.
You have been elected to lead your great nation at a time when the world is being tested politically and economically. Your message of change and hope is one that meets the expectations of our day. It is a message that Turkey embraces.
As two close allies and partners, Turkey and the United States have established closed relations of friendship which are based on vital interests. This friendship which is based on common values that are universally accepted such as freedom, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law, is an important asset for our countries. We attach a great value to this friendship of ours. The partnership between our countries does not only serves our bi-lateral relations, but also has particular importance as it contributes significantly to the preservation of peace, stability and security in a wide geography which includes the Middle East, the Caucasus, the Balkans and Central Asia.
Within this framework, I would like to stress our determination to further enhance the two countries strategic partnership and cooperation in every field and primarily in the fight against terrorism.
On his part, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulating Barrack Obama for his victory, has stressed that the Turkish-American relations should not be affected by government changes. He added that their bi-lateral relations should be defined by the strategic ties between the two countries and not by the government changes in the United States.
Mr. Erdogan also said: We evaluate some positions expressed during the election campaign as positions aimed out the election campaign and we think that they will remain there.
Under the title Every president knows the importance of Turkey, the paper reports on statements made by the US Ambassador in Turkey, Ross Wilson, on Barrack Obamas election. The American Ambassador has described the victory of Obama as the miracle of the American democracy and added that, if we look at the history and on the policy followed by the United States on foreign affairs and on the relations between the USA and Turkey, we could see that changes have of course taken place in the Turkish-American relations from president to president, but there was a firm continuity on the relations between the two countries. Every coming president realizes the importance of Turkey to the USA and vice versa and works with the Turkish leadership in a way which includes the continuation of the relations.
Referring to Turkey, the former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and former Ambassador to Turkey, Marc Grossman stated that the new government of the United States will continue to support Turkeys full membership to the EU and contribute to the efforts of Turkey for the fight against terrorism, as Hurriyet writes.
The aftermath of Barrack Obamas success is extensively covered in Milliyet newspaper under the banner headline Global hope.
The paper publishes in its front full page details on the US elections, while several reports and commentaries in the internal pages of the paper are referred to Barrack Obama and John McCain.
The messages by President Gul and Premier Erdogan to the new US president are also highlighted in Milliyet, while under the title How he sees Turkey?, the paper publishes the views of Barrack Obama on several foreign policy issues as these are published in his webpage.
On Cyprus, the paper writes that Barrack Obama expresses his views under the headline A just and lasting political solution to be searched in Cyprus and notes that the new US president is in favour of the continuation of the negotiations for reaching a political solution to the problem which will end the occupation of Turkey in the north part of the island and will lead the way for the establishment of peace and prosperity in the region.
Under the title The first sign of change in the USA, Milliyet publishes a commentary penned by Sami Kohen, who under the subtitle Is it good for us? writes the following:
Obama is a politician who does not know Turkey very well. On the other hand, his Vice-president Biden is a senator who has adopted an approach against Turkey on the Armenian, Cyprus and Kurdish problems
At a first glance, one can think that with the new government in Washington some problems could come up. Yet Obama realizes the importance of Turkey and the need of the USA for Turkey and for sure he will not delay in taking a stance according to this.
Even if some difficulties come up in short term, the understanding of the new foreign policy of Washington could be an opportunity for the establishment of the Turkish-American relations on a sounder basis.
 CHP proposed the convening of the Grand National Assembly in order to discuss Cyprus problem and Turkeys Foreign PolicyTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports that, Hakki Suba Okay, Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Kemal Anadol, MPs of Republicans People Party (CHP) of Turkey signed a common motion with which they are proposing the convening of the Grand National Assembly for the discussion of important matters of the Turkish Foreign Policy, like the evaluation of the recent developments on the Cyprus problem, the Kurdish issue, the Armenian issue etc.
 Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union called on National Unity Party (UBP) to cooperate for confronting the economic crisisKibris newspaper reports that the members of the administrative council of the Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union headed by the chairman of the Union, Mr. Cafer Gurcafer paid yesterday a visit to the National Unity Party (UBP) and met with its chairman, Mr. Tahsin Ertugruloglu. The meeting took place in the Headquarters of the Party. Tahsin Ertugruloglu and Cafer Gurcafer exchanged views on the issue of the global financial crisis. The Turkish Cypriot Contractors Union called on National Unity Party to cooperate for finding a solution on the economic crisis.
Mr. Cafer Gurcafer stated that they are exerting efforts for years in order to overcome the economic difficulties existing in the country and in their sector but still he said their proposal have not get materialized.
In his turn, Mr. Ertugruloglu accused the self-styled government of its inappropriate policies, by saying that this has led all the sectors to a break-up point.
 Attack in Britain by a Real Estates CompanyUnder the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports that, after the interest in the real estates market reached record levels, a real estates company under the name of Property International, has signed a representation agreement with 74 agents in Britain. The agents will encourage foreigners on the advantages of purchasing immovable property in the occupied areas of Cyprus, notes the paper.
The National Sales Director of the company, Lisa Hope said that until September this year they have broken their own record and added that the number of 39 sales, which were realized during that month, is four times higher than the average monthly sales in 2008.
Furthermore, the chairwoman of the administrative council of Property International, Katrina Mullin said that September 2008 was the most productive month from the point of view of their sales. She added: We are hopeful for 2009, because every day more investors are realizing the advantages of investing in developing markets such as north Cyprus.
Finally, according to the paper, it was announced that a meeting where the advantages and the disadvantages of selling property in the occupied areas of Cyprus will be held in Britain hosted by many Turkish and Greek Cypriot agents.
 Turkish Cypriot trade union said that the DPO is not reliable any moreTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports that the Health Workers Trade Union (Saglik Sen) has issued a written statement yesterday expressing its reaction to the announcement of the self-styled State Planning Organizations (DPO) data according to which the cost of living increase in the occupied areas of Cyprus was 1.2% in October. The chairman of the trade union, Kemal Oktar described as interesting the fact that the cost of living in the occupied areas was 1.2 %, while the cost of living in Turkey for the same period was 2.6%. He accused the self-styled government of making increases directly and indirectly in order to be able to keep up with its target regarding the budget.
 A protocol was signed between the Basketball Federation of Azerbaijan and the illegal Turkish Cypriot Basketball FederationTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.11.08) reports that a protocol was signed between the Basketball Federation of Azerbaijan and the illegal Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation during the latters visit to Azerbaijan between 27 and 30 October as official guest of the Azerbaijani federation.
According to a written statement issued by the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation, their aim was to improve the relations between the federations which started as a result of the good relations between the two countries.
The chairman of the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Basketball Federation, Okan Donangil said that they agreed with the chairman of the Basketball Federation of Azerbaijan, Nadir Nasibov to mutually provide possibilities for camping to teams from both countries and invite teams to participate in friendly tournaments. He also noted that they agreed that referees bound to the two federations will be able to referee matches in the local championships. He said that they signed a protocol and made official all these.
Mr Donangil noted also that Mr Nasibov promised to donate to them 100 balls as a gesture aimed at the development of basketball in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
 Erdogan to attend Financial Markets Summit in the USAAnkara Anatolia news agency (05.11.08) reported the following from Ankara:
The Turkish prime minister will pay a visit to the United States on November 13-17, his office said on Wednesday.
Turkey's Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan would participate in the Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy to take place in Washington D.C. on November 14-15, his office also said.
The summit is expected to bring together leaders of the Group of 20. Participants are to discuss the current financial crisis, its causes and efforts to resolve it.The G-20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank; Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general of the United Nations; and Mario Draghi, the chairman of the Financial Stability Forum; have also been invited to participate.
 Italian FM: EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the unionTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (06.11.08) reports the following:
The European Commission's latest progress report on Turkey, released yesterday, is "balanced," and its criticism is mostly "constructive," Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has said in initial remarks on Turkey's report card.
"There are also points we find to be unfair. We'll share these with the public once we finish reviewing the report," Babacan said at a Turkish-Italian forum in Rome yesterday.
Babacan also shared his opinion on the subject of strengthening civilian oversight of the military in Turkey, which the report cites as an area needing improvement. "In some periods in the past, there were times when certain elements of stability were necessary. But with the reforms and democratization processes of the past few years, an open society and democracy have emerged as the element of stability Turkey needs. This is why civilian-military relations in Turkey are shifting to a healthier base," he said. Babacan also pressed the EU to keep the enlargement process going, saying if the 27-nation bloc stops letting in new countries, it will lose it position as a soft power on the international scene.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, speaking at the same forum, voiced support for Turkey's EU bid, saying: "Many of the EU states have not yet completely grasped the contribution Turkey's membership would make. For this to be understood, Turkey needs to develop a potent communication strategy. EU countries know Turkey to be the same country it was 20 years ago. They don't know about today's Turkey. Such a strategy can break prejudices directed at Turkey. This strategy should also target the Turkish people. This can help prevent the public cooling off from the EU."
Frattini reiterated Italy's support for Turkey's full membership, saying it has strong, rational motives. According to Frattini, Turkish membership would contribute to the EU's strategic interests. Turkey's membership is crucial for security in the Middle East and the Caucasus, he noted, adding that Turkey's membership would also improve dialogue between religions and cultures. He also stated his opinion that the EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs the union. "Although it has 27 members, the EU is still very small, and it needs Turkey to grow," he said.
Emma Bonino, a member of the Italian Senate, said at yesterday's forum that Europe has not made significant progress in the area of security and lamented that the EU could not even realize its long-held plans to create a rapid reaction force of 60,000 soldiers for peacekeeping and crisis intervention. "We need Turkey in this issue," she said.
 Turkish parliament speaker meets his Austrian counterpartAnkara Anatolia news agency (05.11.08) reported the following from Vienna:
Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan held talks with Barbara Prammer, president of the Austrian Parliament, in Vienna on Wednesday.
Speaking at the meeting, Toptan said that Turkey and Austria had good economic relations.
"The trade volume between the two countries is expected to reach 2.5 billion USD by the end of 2008," Toptan said.
Noting that Turkey and Austria were the two countries that were affected the least by the recent global crisis, Toptan said the trade volume between the countries could be increased more.
Toptan also recalled that Turkey and Austria recently became non-permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council.
"These two countries were selected to represent Europe. Turkey is not outside Europe," he said.
Toptan also said that Turkey was ready to carry out all the necessary activities regarding the proper integration of the Turkish community in Austria.
Regarding the results of the U.S. presidential elections, Toptan said he hoped Barrack Obama's election as the new U.S. president would be the start of remarkable economic and political developments.
Prammer said during the meeting that she supported improvement of the relations between Turkey and Austria.
After his meeting with Prammer, Toptan received officials from the Austrian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITIORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 05 November 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 5 November:
a) Turkey-EU Ties:
Sarkozy is making serious efforts to keep his promise to adopt an impartial, balanced, and objective stand during his country's EU term presidency and therefore he is making preparations for opening two chapters with Turkey, explains in an article Sabah's Erdal Safak who is accompanying Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in his visit to Marseille. Nonetheless Sarkozy has not refrained from kicking Turkey under the table during his term presidency, notes Safak and criticizes the French president for "playing both ends against the middle." Stressing that the steps taken by Turkey for improving its ties with Armenia primarily and the negotiations in Cyprus have served Turkey's interests en route to the EU membership, Safak notes that Turkish officials are hopeful that Turkey's EU process has entered an irreversible path.
b) Iran's Nuclear Program:
Noting that Iran's nuclear program is one of the items that the new US President will have to deal with, Lale Sariibrahimoglu, in an article in Taraf, recalls that the Bush administration's aggressive policy against Iran constituted one of the disputes between Washington and Ankara. Ankara knows that Tehran is not innocent regarding its intentions to develop nuclear weapons, but it is concerned about the impact of a second war in the region, explains Sariibrahimoglu, adding: "Ankara also knows that a nuclear Iran will want to compete against the Turkish Armed Forces, which is an important conventional military force in the region." Stressing that in additional to being dependent on Iran in the field of energy, Turkey also wants to have good neighbourhood relations with Tehran, Sariibrahimoglu calls on the new US President to take this fact into consideration.
c) Ethnic Tension-Kurdish Problem:
Recalling that in the speech he had delivered after winning the 22 July elections Prime Minister Erdogan had talked about a single country, a single flag, and a single nation and had underlined that he considered even those who had not voted for the Justice and Development Party, AKP, Turkey's riches, Ece Temelkuran in an article in Milliyet stresses that when speaking about a single country, single flag, and single nation this time Erdogan actually declared the Kurds and those who have voted for other parties his enemies. Temelkuran emphasizes that after completing the operation that he had launched with the sentiments of a conqueror, Erdogan is now attacking the Kurds.
In an article in Milliyet Hursit Gunes draws attention to the uprising conducted by the Kurds against the state and accuses the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), of inciting the uprising. Also drawing attention to the mistakes made by the Turkish state regarding the solution of the Kurdish problem, Gunes criticizes Turkey for ignoring the Kurds at a time when it carries out its responsibilities toward the Turkomans in northern Iraq.
Who can say today that the DTP is not affiliated with the PKK, asks Milliyet's Fikret Bila in a commentary. Criticizing the prime minister for expressing support for the civilian who fired at pro-PKK demonstrators and describing it as "self-defence," Bila also criticizes DTP Chairman Turk for describing the violence displayed by the Kurdish demonstrators against security forces as "the reaction of the people." Bila warns of social chaos and turmoil.
Melih Asik, referring Erdogan's support for the use of shotgun against Kurdish demonstrators, says in an article in Milliyet: "How can a prime minister propose such solutions? Why do we have the police, the gendarmerie, the military, and the judiciary? The prime minister thinks that he is threatening the other side in the process of settling accounts with the DTP. However he is playing with fire and he is giving a green light to a civil war."
Taha Akyol in an article in Milliyet questions why the Kurdish problem has not been resolved for 80 years, why Turkey's official ideology has not been able to unite the Kurds and the Turks, and whether the AKP will be able to carry the mission of integration for long. These questions, says Akyol, are the outward expressions of the long, painful, and vital process that we sociologically describe as "nationalization."
The majority of the people living on these lands believe in the principle of a single flag and a single nation, but even those who do not believe in this principle have the right to live on these lands, underlines Ergun Babahan in a commentary in Sabah, adding: "If we say go to those who think differently we will lose the chances for coexistence in this country." Asserting that the delay in the solution of the Kurds' identity problems has led to despair among the Kurds, Babahan warns that if the regional people are not granted their democratic rights, the economic investments that will be made in the region will be meaningless.
Recalling that during its 10th congress the PKK had decided to escalate the actions "even at the cost of human life," Radikal's Murat Yetkin says in an article: "This is what Aktutun is all about." The support extended to Turkey by the United States, the fact that Iran and Syria no longer assist the PKK, and the improvement in the ties between Turkey and Armenia have contributed to the PKK's decision in this regard, explains Yetkin, adding that currently the PKK is trying to undermine the local elections in Turkey and to prevent Ankara from conducting close cooperation with Barzani. Prime Minister Erdogan is trying to develop a new viewpoint with regard to Turkey's most rooted problem and he is naturally experiencing the pains of this process, asserts Yetkin.
Vatan's Rusen Cakir, in an article, draws attention to the change undergone by the PKK after the capture of Ocalan in 1999. If Ocalan had not been in prison, the PKK would not have strengthened that much states Cakir and notes that despite the fact that the PKK had been moving toward a major ideological-political crisis at the end of the 1990s, the capture of Ocalan transformed it into "the organization for the liberation of Ocalan." However those who govern Turkey today and those who want to govern it tomorrow are not aware of this transformation and therefore they insist on old methods, Cakir emphasizes.
In an article entitled "DTP confuses me", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak criticizes the Democratic Society Party, DTP, for what he describes as its paradoxical line, "talking about a peaceful solution on the one hand" and "trying to stifle peace initiatives outside its control on the other," "claiming to be 'a party for Turkey'" even as it objects to Erdogan visiting the southeast, saying "the prime minister of Turkey cannot set foot in Kurdistan,'" and "issuing common sense calls" while also "pinning its hopes on the escalation of violence." He asserts that the DTP appears to be trying to have itself closed down by the Constitutional Court so its supporters could say, 'Let guerrillas fight now that all political channels have been blocked." He also recalls how he hailed the DTP's election to Parliament as "a great chance" for Turkey before he proceeds to say, "I do not know what to say now."
In a commentary entitled "The DTP and PKK's urban warfare: Why do they use children?", Today's Zaman writers Emre Uslu and Onder Aytac take issue with "many terrorism experts" over their citing of EU regulations that render Turkey unable to adopt measures to prevent children from taking part in anti-government protests as the reason why the PKK is putting children "in the front lines" of the ongoing riots. Uslu and Aytac assert that the PKK is using children in this way in order to set the stage for a confrontation between security forces and children that would discredit Turkey in the eyes of the international community.