|Wednesday, 26 April 2017|
Turkish Press Review, 01-01-18
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 IMPORTANT MESSAGES FROM SEZERPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer gave an important speech at Cankaya Presidential Palace, where the second 'New Year's Day' reception was held. While answering questions from journalists, Sezer said, "Democracy can be improved with the politicians. Within the framework of the European Union (EU), the government is continuing its preparations for the national program. The year 2000 was a lost year. I vow the year 2001 will not also be lost. Being a member of the EU is not the most important question. However, it is necessary for Turkey to be a modern country. Democracy can be improved with the politicians. Politics also should be cleaned up. That which will ensure democracy and clean up politics are the politicians themselves. Constitutional change is not necessary for the abolution of the death sentence; certain arrangements in law will be enough for this. /Hurriyet/
 ECEVIT'S STATEMENTPrime Minister Bulent Ecevit warned France for the last time concerning the so-called Armenian genocide bill up for vote in the French National Assembly today. Ecevit summoned the French Ambassador to Ankara, Bernard Garcia, to his office and warned him that if the bill passed, the relations between the two countries would be in serious crisis. Ecevit wanted Ambassador Garcia to relay this warning to the President and the Prime Minister of France. While the Armenian bill is expected to pass, the relations between France and Turkey are also expected to reach a critical stage. A high-ranking official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Turkey was doing its best to prevent the passage of the bill, and they had given a list of all political, military, commercial, economic and cultural sanctions, which can be carried out, to the government. In the list there are some measures such as postponing planned visits; decreasing mutual contacts to a minimum; delaying cultural projects; excluding France, mostly Paris, from military biddings; and applying a covered embargo to France. /Milliyet/
 MUTAFYAN PROPOSES SUPPORTThe Patriarch of Turkish Armenians, Mesrob Mutafyan, stated concerning the so-called Armenian genocide allegations that the headache was still continuing and that Turkey and Armenia should set up direct contacts and solve the problem. He added that if direct contacts are not achieved, third parties would become involved in the issue and misuse it. He noted his readiness to give spiritual support for the establishment of this dialogue between the two countries. /Aksam/
 EU PLEASED WITH THE DELAYThe delay in completing the 'National Program' in answer to the Accession Partnership Document (KOB) prepared by the European Union (EU) outlining the necessary stages for EU membership was considered 'natural' by the EU. The Commission's member responsible for expansion, Gunter Verheugen's speaker Jean Cristophe Filori, said, "We are not worried about the issue. We consider it normal." Filori recalled the KOB is not yet official as the Commission has not approved it, and added, "It is very normal for Turkey to wait for this extraordinary process to come to an end. As the EU, we expect Turkey to prepare a National Program reflecting the requirements explained in the KOB. The important thing is the determination of Turkey concerning the publication of the National Program." /Milliyet/
 EU CANDIDATE MEMBERS TO JOIN EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT AGENCYThe EU Commission approved procedures enabling the 13 candidate members to join the European Environment Agency prior to their acceptance as full members. The EU Commission officials stated that the agency was the first EU institution accepting candidate members (including Turkey) prior to being accepted as full EU members. Turkey first attempted to join the Agency in June 1999. /All papers/
 POWELL'S STATEMENTThe former Chief of the Joint Chief of Staff, Colin Powell, and the US Secretary of State-elect, gave a signal that the Cyprus issue will be considered important during the new administration. The new President and his staff would try to convince the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Rauf Denktas, to return to the negotiations table. Powell speaking before the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, answered questions and talked about the Cyprus problem as a wound that still hasn't healed. Powell added, "This problem is a source of difficulty between Turkey and Greece. We will be here for the solution of the problem. Turkey and Greece have different approaches concerning the problem of Cyprus. The Greek-Cypriot Administration favors a federation with two nations and two divisions." Powell described Turkey's opinion only as 'a little different from the Greek opinion'. He added, "We will continue to work for ongoing friendly relations between these allies. We support the process of negotiations under the leadership of the United Nations (UN). We should try to encourage Denktas to return to the negotiations." /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS' RESPONSE TO VERHEUGENPresident of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Rauf Denktas said he believes the EU Commissioner responsible for Enlargement, Gunter Verheugen, cannot diagnose the Cyprus problem in a realistic way. Verheugen has previously said that full EU membership negotiations could not be held separately with northern Cyprus and added that it was a dream to consider that northern Cyprus could become an EU member together with Turkey in the future. /Aksam/
 CASTRO PUBLISHES A BOOK ON ATATURKLegendary Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, published a book on the biography of the Great Ataturk, the Turkish War of Independence, the establishment and the revolutions of the Turkish Republic. This book, written in Spanish, is distributed throughout Cuba. During his meeting with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, the Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs, Felipe Perez Roque, told them Castro had published a book on Ataturk. During the meeting, Roque gave a written message from Castro to Sezer and an verbal message to Ecevit. In his message, Castro mentioned his and the Cuban people's respect for Ataturk. Meanwhile, Roque said he was very excited when he visited the Mausaleum of Ataturk prior to his official visits. The guest Minister was received by Sezer and Ecevit. Roque also met with State Minister Rustu Kazim Yucelen and his Turkish colleague Ismail Cem. Cem and Roque, after a meeting held at the Foreign Ministry Residence, signed the 'Agreement to Fight Against Drugs and Psychotropic Materials Smuggling'. Cem said relations had been strengthened thanks to the mutual visits and the cigar factory in Istanbul, which is one of Cuba's first investments, will be active by February. /Hurriyet/
 PERSSON: "WE WILL GIVE IMPORTANCE TO TURKEY"Swedish Prime Minister Persson said in his speech delivered during the general session of the European Parliament yesterday that during Sweden's EU Term-Presidency for six months, they would attach importance to Turco-EU relations. He added: "Within this framework, the National Program to be presented by Turkey will play a significant role". /Cumhuriyet/
 HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER TO VISIT TURKEYHungarian Foreign Minister Japos Martonyi will pay an official visit to Turkey between January 22 and 24, Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said yesterday. /Turkish Daily News/
 TURCO-GREEK COOPERATIONA partnership agreement was signed yesterday between the Gantek Technology and the software company, Intrasoft, a member of the Intracom Group, one of the leading institutions in Greece. With the agreement, Intrasoft became a 20 % shareholder in Gantek. /Sabah/
 JOINT EXERCISE NOT AIMED AT ANY THIRD COUNTRYThe Foreign Ministry said yesterday the 'Reliant Mermaid-3' exercise to be jointly carried out by Turkish, US and Israeli naval forces was not aimed at any third country. Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Huseyin Dirioz said that the exercise was fully aimed at humanitarian objectives. /Cumhuriyet/
 CONSENSUS REACHED ON THE 69TH ARTICLEConsensus was reached on the Constitution's 69th Article to be changed as: 'the higher number of votes is necessary to decide to close a party and the closed party is not banned from elections'. /Milliyet/
 MILITARY PLANE CRASHESA military aircraft carrying two crew members crashed into the side of a mountain in northwestern Turkey yesterday, a Turkish Air Force official said. It was not immediately clear why the F-4 warplane went down. It is reported that the crew of two died during the accident. /All papers/
 EVLIYA PARLAK JOINS DSPEvliya Parlak, who resigned from the Virtue Party (FP), joined the Democratic Left Party (DSP) yesterday. Parlak is a deputy from Hakkari. The number of DSP seats in the Parliament is now 136. /Aksam/
 14 NEW ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS IN IZMITIt is reported that with the $20 million in credits the Izmit Municipality received during a competition held by the EU, 14 new environmental projects will be implemented. The Izmit Municipality ranked first in the 'Healthy Environment' part of the competition last year. /Cumhuriyet/
 EARTHQUAKE IN OSMANIYEYesterday, an earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale occurred in Osmaniye. No casualties were reported. /Cumhuriyet/
 KARS-TBILISI RAILWAY PROJECTThe railway project regarding the construction of railway track between Kars and Tbilisi will be put back on the agenda when Georgian Head of State Eduard Shevardnadze visits Turkey late this month. /Turkish Daily News/
 DOWSON: "WORLD APPRECIATES TURKEY"The Foreign Relations Director of the IMF, Tom Dowson, relayed important information to the world regarding Turkey. He pointed out Turkey's positive performance following the financial crisis last year and said: "With the measures taken following the crisis last year in the Turkish financial markets, Turkey has not deviated from the ecomomic program. Extremely correct steps are still being taken". Dowson held a press conference in the IMF centre in Washington yesterday. /Sabah/
 PRIVATIZATION'S TARGET FOR THE YEAR 2001: 2.1 US BILLION DOLLARSThe Privatization Board will make a privatization of 2.1. billion US dollars. According to the news received, Chairman of the Privatization Board, Ugur Bayar, gave information on the privatization practices for the year 2000 to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Bayar said a total of 2.7 billion US dollars was earned from privatization as part of the 2000 program. Bayar added that privatization amounting to 169 million US dollars was in the agreement stage and that another privatization amounting to 45 million US dollars, was awaiting a decision by the Supreme Council of Privatization. /Milliyet/
 REGULATIONS IN BANKING SECTOR ARE NEEDEDState Minister Tunca Toskay, who held a meeting with the IMF delegation yesterday, told reporters after the meeting that the government was in consensus with the IMF over the need for a radical overhaul of the banking sector. He said measures were needed to aid the real economy in face of pressures in the banking sector. /All papers/
 IMKB INDEX RISESThe Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB) index rose by 4.1 % yesterday and reached 10,944 points. It is reported that foreign investors purchased shares worth $12 million creating a positive atmosphere in the IMKB. /Sabah/
 THREE INTERNATIONAL BIDDERS FOR EMEK HOTELSThe privatization bidding for Emek hotels will soon be concluded, said Finance Minister Sumer Oral. He said that the best bids were from Swissotel, Millennium and Copthorne and Radisson SAS. In a press conference held in Ankara yesterday, Oral gave information on the results of bidding process for Emek hotels owned by the Pension Fund. Oral hopes agreements will be signed with these bidders before the middle of this year. /All papers/
 FITCH GIVES THE HIGHEST RATING TO 'HURRIYET'The international credit rating institution, Fitch, gave an 'A', which is one of the long-term highest ratings, to 'Hurriyet' daily. Deputy Chairman of Dogan Publishing Holding Company, Soner Gedik, said, "Hurriyet confirmed its local rating and proved that it is one of the companies with the highest credit rating in Turkey." /Hurriyet/
 TOURISM TO BE THE LOCOMOTIVE OF ECONOMYThe American firm Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, an international advisory service, announced that tourism will be the locomotive of the economy. Within the framework of its estimations for the year 2001, Morgan Stanley announced the number of tourists will reach 11.5 million with an increase of 11.8 %. In light of these estimations, the income to be earned by Turkey for the year 2001 is expected to reach 9.2 billion US dollars. /Turkiye/
 INTEREST IN HISTORIC PLACESThe Antalya Directorare of Culture reported that an income worth 3.2 trillion TL was received last year from 2 million tourists who visited the museums and historic places in Antalya. /Cumhuriyet/
 ZEHRA CIRAK RECEIVES CHAMISSO AWARDAn Istanbul born Turkish poet now living in Berlin, Zehra Cirak, received the Adelbert von Chamisso worth 25,000 DM. She will accept her award during a ceremony to be held at Munich's Bavarian Fine Arts Academy on February 22. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE CRACK IN THE WEST BY SAHIN ALPAY (MILLIYET)Columnist Sahin Alpay writes on the concerns in the West over the European Joint Security and Defense Policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Ten years after the end of the Cold War, the situation in the Western Alliance can be summed up as follows: There is a lack of confidence both on the part of the EU, and that of the US and Turkey, in NATO. The US, on the one hand wants to increase EU's share in the protection of peace and stability in Europe, and therefore, supports the European Joint Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). On the other hand, the US is concerned over the EU Rapid Reaction Force initiative becoming independent from NATO and thus turning into a European Army.
The EU is concerned over the focus of US attention shifting to the Far East, and consequently, turning its back on European Defense. The National Missile Defense System proposed by the US will escalate the arms race with Russia and China. The shadow of competition between the defense industries on both sides falls on the background of disagreements between the US and EU.
Turkey has proposed to contribute greatly to the Rapid Reaction Force which will tackle the crises in Europe. However, she wants to take place in the planning and decision-making mechanisms of the force in return for this contribution. The EU suggests Turkey, who is not a member, take a place in the councilling mechanism. This being the case, Turkey is against the use of NATO facilities by the EU force.
Ankara has given the signal that she would be satisfied with restricting herself to her geopilitical region. Although a compromise is expected in the end, this has not yet happened.
Meanwhile, the disagreement over the ESDP has been interpreted by some EU circles as Ankara's wish to enter the Union, without fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, via the back door. In those Turkish circles opposing entrance to the EU, suspicion that the ESDP could be used against Turkey is being voiced.
Prof. Ali Karaosmanoglu said in a statement, "Certainly, the Copenhagen criteria affects Turco-EU relations regarding the ESDP. The EU cannot ignore Turkey's geo-strategic location, its military power, and great potential, yet prefers to keep her at the doorstep of the Union considering the drawbacks in her democracy. In the final analysis, for the EU, the question is beyond Turkey's participation in the decision processes, but rather takes on the character of a 'Eureopean identity' and a 'legal' problem.
In the long run NATO will be left in history. Will Turkey ensure her security by being a part of the EU? Or, will she rely on strategic relations formed with the US and Israel? It seems that earning a European identity by fulfilling Copenhagen criteria as soon as possible is becoming a security issue."
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