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Turkish Press Review, 02-03-28
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> <map name="FPMap1"> <_map> Press & Information Turkish Press Turkish Press Review >> Foreign Press Guide Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER SPEAKS OUT ON PARLIAMENT'S PRESIDENTIAL PROPOSALSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer came out yesterday in support of a proposal to decrease the term of Turkey's presidents from seven years to five. However, he expressed opposition to a proposal that would allow presidents to serve two consecutive terms, saying that such an arrangement would "violate neutrality." Speaking on the constitutional amendment concerning the presidency currently before Parliament's Interparties Reconciliation Commission, Sezer said, "No matter how long he serves, the president should be elected for one term only. The '5+5' formula wouldn't suit the president's neutrality." Sezer also stated his support for a Democratic Left Party (DSP) proposal to allow for the election of presidents from outside Parliament. "There may be a need for a figure from outside Parliament. However, this is Parliament's own decision." Additionally, regarding the view that certain bills should be issued without the president's approval, Sezer said he opposed it saying, "If the president is the head of the administration, he must have the duties as well as authority of administration." /Turkiye/
 PAPANDREOU: "THE PKK IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION"Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday stated that it was a well-known fact within the European Union that the PKK had been conducting terrorist activities for years. Papandreou made the remarks in a written response to a motion prepared by two members of his own Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) prompted by Greek Foreign Ministry Spokesman Panos Beglitis' recent statement calling the PKK a "terrorist organization."
Stressing that it would be a "strategic mistake" to reduce the Kurdish problem to the activities of the PKK, who represent only an unimportant minority, Papandreou stated that Greece stood against all terrorist and separatist activities.
Recalling that a number of European countries had already prohibited the activities of certain PKK sympathizers, Papandreou stated that Greece had always advocated Turkey's territorial integrity.
Greek's capital Athens has played host to bureaus of the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK), a PKK branch, for years. Head of the PKK terrorist organization Abdullah Ocalan hid out for 15 days in Greece's Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya before he was captured. In contrast to past years, now PKK followers living in Athens are working to keep a low profile. They carried out activities against Greek police forces in the Lavrion refugee earlier this year. /All Papers/
 AMID FINGER-POINTING, TURKEY ASKS THAT GUN ATTACKERS BE FOUNDIsrael's government and the Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday issued statements blaming each other for Tuesday's West Bank gun assault on a Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) vehicle which killed two unarmed observers, one Turkish, and left a second Turkish officer injured. The PA announced that yesterday would be a day of mourning for Turkish Maj. Cengiz Toytunc and Swiss observer Catherine Berruex, both of whom lost their lives in the attack. In Ankara, Palestinian Ambassador Fuat Yasin pointed the finger at the Israeli Army's Special Forces, saying that they had donned Palestinian uniforms to make the assault but still used Israeli- issue bullets. The Israeli Army denied that any of its units were in the area when the incident occurred. Israeli radio stations laid the blame on both Palestinian militants and the radical group Islamic Jihad. Israel's Ambassador in Ankara David Sultan pledged to share any relevant information on the incident with the Turkish government. Officials in Ankara have requested those responsible for the incident be apprehended as soon as possible. One unnamed Turkish Foreign Ministry source stated that Omer Onhon, the ministry's official responsible for the Middle East, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and North Africa, had been sent to the region to meet with TIPH officials and to prepare a report concerning the incident. /Milliyet/
 ECEVIT CALLS FOR END TO MIDEAST VIOLENCESpeaking at the Forum Istanbul conference yesterday, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit called on the international community to bring an end to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Ecevit also said that Turkey was keeping in constant contact with both sides in order to bring them together. "Now that the US has decided to become more active in the matter, I hope that this violence will end," Ecevit added. /Hurriyet/
 CEM: "THE AGONY OF TOYTUNC'S DEATH IS FELT BY ALL OF TURKEY"Stating yesterday that the entire Turkish nation was feeling pain from Tuesday's death of Maj. Cengiz Toytunc on the West Bank, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said, "We are in contact with all the parties concerning this tragic incident. We are working to clarify how this could have happened." Saying that in recent months Turkey had had witnessed with alarm the escalating violence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Cem added, "We have previously stated that hostilities should cease and that both parties are responsible for this war. Unfortunately, this tragic incident has only confirmed our fears." Cem also told reporters that both parties were blaming each other for the gunfire that claimed Toytunc's life but that the truth of the matter would be investigated and eventually uncovered. /Aksam/
 YILMAZ: "BOTH ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DEADLY ATTACK"Deputy Prime Minister and Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday that both the Israelis and Palestinians were responsible for Tuesday's gun assault on the West Bank which left one unarmed Turkish observer killed and another wounded. "The security of our officers should have been ensured by both parties," he stated. We can't say with any certainty right now just who committed this terrible act, but ultimately both parties in the region are responsible." Calling the current conflict in the Middle East a "mad and meaningless" situation, Yilmaz added, "I'm afraid no winner can emerge from such a war." /Aksam/
 NSC TO DISCUSS PKK'S RECENT POLITICIZATION EFFORTSThe National Security Council (NSC) is scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss the terrorist group PKK's recent politicization efforts and the issue of the right to broadcast in mother tongue language. The Council will focus on the PKK's efforts to reform itself into a political movement by changing its name to the "Peoples' Freedom Party" as well as the European Union's reaction to those efforts. Turkey's concerns about both the EU's terrorist organizations list which failed to include the PKK as well as measures to be taken against the countries which support terrorism are also expected to be discussed at the meeting. Furthermore, State Minister Yilmaz Karakoyunlu will brief the NSC on the issue of broadcasting in Kurdish. /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND, WITH FORCE LIMITED TO KABULTurkey has accepted to take over the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, with the proviso that the force operate in the capital Kabul only, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said yesterday. Ecevit also said that a series of meetings on taking over the ISAF had been concluded. Ankara is planning to make an official announcement on the matter during the visit of Afghan interim government had Hamid Karzai which is due to take place today. /Hurriyet/
 IZGI: "PARLIAMENT IS AWAITING ECHR DECISION"Speaking to reporters yesterday, Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi said that Parliament was waiting for a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to decide which direction to take on the death penalty. Izgi added that concerning Cyprus the European Union could say as much as it wanted, but that Turkey's policy on the island would not change. /Star/
 NATO'S SYMPOSIUM ON QUALITY ASSURANCE TO BE HELD IN TURKEYNATO's sixth Symposium on Quality Assurance will be held on April 29-May 2 in Antalya. Information and experiences about quality issues with regard to defense equipment will be exchanged during the symposium to be attended by Turkish Defense Minister Sabahattin Cakmakoglu and NATO Deputy Secretary- General Robert Bell. Representatives of public, private and industrial institutions from many countries, mainly members of NATO and the Partnership for Peace, will attend the symposium. The meeting organized by the Quality Assurance National Administrators Group under NATO's National Armament Directors will discuss such issues as quality in the circle of life, standards and the importance of quality assurance, risk management, quality assurance in software, and the future of quality. /Milliyet/
 ECEVIT: "THE ECONOMY IS BACK ON TRACK"While some political and economic circles maintain that Turkey is still under the shadow of its recent economic crisis, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said yesterday that the economy was clearly moving on track. Ecevit yesterday attended the Forum Istanbul, whose theme is "Marching Towards 2003." Speaking at the meeting, Ecevit spoke about the governments' efforts to bring about an economic recovery and emphasized that the tripartite government coalition was not acting in a "politics as usual" manner. Pointing back a few years to the economic crises in Asia and Russia, Turkey's devastating earthquakes and last September'S terrorist attacks, Ecevit stated that the government had steadfastly continued to pursue its policies in the face of these events and that finally, it had begun to get positive results. He said that inflation and interest rates had begun to fall while the value of the Turkish liras and export revenue had increased. Recalling last year's disappointing negative economic growth of 8.5%, the prime minister said, "To head off negative developments and revive the economy, growth is a must. The Turkish people deserve it. If growth depends financially on strong resources, there is no need to be afraid of growth and power in our society." Underlining that in order to increase production, support for consumption was necessary, Ecevit said, "One of the ways to increase domestic consumption is to train and encourage entrepreneurs to target increased sales rather than high profits." /Turkiye/
 KIEKENS PRAISES TURKISH GOVERNMENT'S EFFORTSIn a speech at the Forum Istanbul yesterday, IMF Executive Director for Europe Willy Kiekens praised the Turkish government's efforts to overcome the country's recent economic problems. Remarking that the state Banking Regulation and Supervision Board (BDDK) had worked very hard to address problems in Turkey's banking sector, Kiekens stated that he believed the sector would reach international standards by the end of this year. "The Turkish economy will achieve recovery with the help of the IMF and the World Bank," said Kiekens. "However, new initiatives should be launched to attract more foreign investors." /Sabah/
 TURKISH CHAIR ESTABLISHED AT US UNIVERSITYFlorida Atlantic University officially established this week the Kenan Evren Chair for Turkish Studies at its Boca Raton campus. At a ceremony to commemorate the new chair, namesake and former Turkish President Evren and Culture Minister Istemihan Talay said that the desk would contribute to raising Turkey's profile in the United States. The chair was founded to foster study, improve understanding, and spearhead programs to promote Turkey. /Turkiye/
 JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU ACTION COMMITTEE VISITS ISTANBULA delegation from the Jean-Jacques Rousseau Action Committee, an organization formed to promote French culture worldwide, arrived in Istanbul yesterday to establish contacts with Turkish scholars. The committee will investigate how French literature is taught and presented in Turkey and will also participate in a number of panels where relations between Turkish and French culture will be discussed. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 HEADING TOWARDS A CRISIS IN CYPRUS BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)Columnist Semih Idiz writes on the recent biased statements by EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunther Verheugen. A summary of his column is as follows:
EU Commissioner for Enlargement Gunther Verheugen has lost his credibility with the Turkish side due to his biased statements. The EU has complicated this already complex situation. It is obvious that Verheugen's statements have played a role as destructive as that of a bull in a china shop. The Greek Cypriots which are feeling no pressure from the EU, and Verheugen's statements make them feel as if they have the luxury to sit on their hands and play for time. The only thing they are waiting for is the characterization of TRNC President Rauf Denkas, whom they know Verheugen does not like a bit, as 'intransigent.' The Greek-Cypriots will thus be rescued from the responsibility laid on their shoulders by Denktas when he opened the new negotiations process this January. In other words they will solidify the diplomatic advantage they gained by accepting Turkish requests for face-to-face talks. The Cyprus problem has a predictable character for both sides. Therefore, it is rather easy to make negative predictions. However, many Turkish Cypriots believe that they are on the verge of missing a historical opportunity in entering the EU because of Turkey. This shows that there is a wide difference of opinion between the younger and older generations on Cyprus. This gap in points of view in Northern Cyprus will only grow as the time for the Greek Cypriot administration's admittance to the EU nears, and we will be faced with problems we are not accustomed to. There are claims that an organization has been put up to intimidate dissidents through threats. Although these claims are not yet proven, it is rather unpleasant to hear such things. All these show that Northern Cyprus is headed towards a crisis. I sincerely hope that this prediction does not come true."
 SIGNING A HISTORICAL AGREEMENT BY MUHARREM SARIKAYA (HURRIYET)Columnist Muharrem Sarikaya comments on the signing of an agreement between Turkey and Greece regarding a natural gas pipeline. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Both Turkey and Greece spent the last century quibbling in the political arena and standing guard against each other in the military field. The presidents and prime ministers of both countries didn't make official visits to each other. The first steps to turn Aegean into a lake of peace were taken by Turkish businessmen. Foreign Minister Ismail Cem's initiating a dialogue with his counterpart George Papandreou helped to improve this climate. During Admiral Salim Dervisoglu's term of duty, erupting crises were solved through telephone diplomacy. All these developments led to the historical agreement which will be signed between Turkey and Greece today. Our nations will be connected to each other through a natural gas pipeline. The agreement regarding the construction of the pipeline will be signed in Ankara today by Turkish Energy Minister Zeki Cakan and Greek Development Minister Akis Tsohatsopoulos. The most important factor regarding this agreement is that it is the first joint venture on such a great scale to be signed by the two countries. When we take into consideration that over the last three years, the trade volume between the countries rose from $400 million to $1 billion, the importance of this project can be better understood. Energy Minister Cakan yesterday pointed out that cooperation in the field of energy had contributed a great deal to the improvement of economic and political relations. According to Cakan, the length of the Karacabey-Komotini (Gumulcine) natural gas pipeline will be 285 km. The 200 km. Karacabey-Ipsala stretch will be constructed by Turkey and the 85 km. Ipsala-Komotini section by Greece. Cakan also noted that Turkey would be a firsthand seller, and not be a transit country for the Caspian or Iranian natural gas. At first, 500,000 cubic metres of gas are planned to be sold. Greece will give a 'purchase guarantee' to Turkey for this amount and it will sell the natural gas it bought from Turkey to Europe if it wishes to do so. As Cakan has stressed, the pipeline will be instrumental in transforming the rapprochement between the two countries into economic cooperation. Thus, the political and strategic dimension of the pipeline will come to the fore rather than its economic aspect. Although Cakan didn't set a deadline for the completion of the pipeline, he said that they hoped it would be completed in a few years' time."
 THE DEATH OF MAJ. TOYTUNC BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi writes on the incident in which Turkish Maj. Cengiz Toytunc and Swiss observer Catherine Berruex lost their lives. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The police have no registration of the murderer of Maj. Cengiz Toytunc and Swiss observer Catherine Berruex, who were killed in a heinous attack near Hebron in the West Bank on Tuesday. It is very hard to find the culprit of such incidents in places like Palestine and Israel where the streets have turned into bloodbaths. Those fighting in this way try to send the message that death can be in the cards for you at any place and any time. The way they broadcast this message is by perpetrating the most hideous sorts of attacks. Even though we do not know the identity of the culprit in this incident, we know for a fact that the bloody incidents in the region began with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque when he was still opposition leader some 18 months ago. Certainly Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's failure to act to dissolve the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terror organisations operating in Palestine has played an important role in increasing the violence. In fact Arafat is as unreliable as Sharon is insincere. It is not easy for Turkey to teach an effective lesson to Toytunc's murderers by itself alone. In fact, if Turkey doesn't follow up on the issue, the denunciations of the attack by Israeli and Palestinian officials are bound gather dust in history's archives."
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