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Turkish Press Review, 02-04-04

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 &amp; Information Turkish Press Foreign Press Guide Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

04.04.2002


CONTENTS

  • [01] SEZER: “NO BARGAINING WITH THE PKK”
  • [02] CEM: “TURKEY COULD HOST MIDEAST PEACE SUMMIT”
  • [03] COUNCIL OF EUROPE: “THE PKK IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION”
  • [04] TURKEY ASKS IRAN TO EXTRADITE PKK TERRORIST
  • [05] KARZAI’S VISIT TO TURKEY BEGINS TODAY
  • [06] YILMAZ, CILLER SPEAK OUT MIDEAST CONFLICT
  • [07] BAHCELI REQUESTS TIMETABLE FROM EU
  • [08] DUTCH PARLIAMENTARIAN ADDRESSES PKK ABSENCE FROM TERRORIST LIST
  • [09] DEPUTY OZAL JOINS ANAP
  • [10] PKK ESTABLISHES NEW POLITICAL PARTY
  • [11] INFLATION FIGURES BEAT EXPECTATIONS
  • [12] BOGAZICI’S FOUNDING RECTOR DIES
  • [13] ISTANBUL TO HOST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
  • [14] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [15] TURKEY’S ESDP PROBLEM CONTINUES BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)
  • [16] WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN PALESTINE BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

  • [01] SEZER: “NO BARGAINING WITH THE PKK”

    At a conference entitled “Turkey’s and the World’s Vision at the Dawn of 2002” held yesterday, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer offered his views on recent foreign and domestic affairs. Stressing that Turkey was determined to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria to join the European Union, Sezer stated that Turkey would never make concessions from its national interests for the sake of EU membership. He remarked that EU membership should not be considered the sole choice for the Turkish nation but rather one of various alternatives in Turkey’s multidimensional foreign policy. “Turkey’s bid for EU membership is not standing in the way of our pursuing sound, rational foreign policy,” said Sezer. “Turkey should develop policies to improve relations with its neighboring countries. The EU countries can’t exclude Turkey from discussions concerning its future.” Continuing with the issue of the PKK terrorist group, Sezer addressed the PKK’s recent efforts to reform itself into a political movement by changing its name and stressed that Turkey would never bargain with the PKK, no matter its name or purported status. /Cumhuriyet/

    [02] CEM: “TURKEY COULD HOST MIDEAST PEACE SUMMIT”

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem said yesterday that he would like to bring together in Turkey representatives from both Israel and the Palestinians in order to find a solution to the current Mideast conflict. Cem conveyed his suggestion to US Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson in the hopes that US support might lend his suggestion momentum. Cem also said that the US had a special responsibility towards the Middle East, and called on Washington to play a leading and active role in the search for a peaceful settlement. Cem reminded Pearson of Turkey’s success at February’s historic Organization for the Islamic Conference-European Union (OIC-EU) Joint Forum, adding that the same success could be achieved with this initiative if Turkey gets the US’ backing. If Turkey manages to bring both sides together, the summit would likely be held at Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. Pearson reportedly said that the idea of Turkey hosting such a summit had merit, as Turkey is one of the few nations which enjoys good relations with both Israel and the Palestinians. /Hurriyet/

    [03] COUNCIL OF EUROPE: “THE PKK IS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION”

    The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly released a report yesterday addressing the situation in Turkey’s southeastern region. The report expressed satisfaction with the progress of the government’s “Return to Villages” project. Additionally, it described the PKK as a “terrorist organization” and laid the blame for migration out of the region on the PKK’s campaign of terrorism and violence. The council report went on to condemn the PKK’s terrorist activities and called on it to end the violence.

    [04] TURKEY ASKS IRAN TO EXTRADITE PKK TERRORIST

    Turkey has asked Iran to extradite top PKK terrorist commander Cemil Bayik. Turkey’s Ambassador to Iran Selahattin Alpar said yesterday, “We have official information indicating that Bayik is in Iran, and we have accordingly asked Iranian authorities to extradite Bayik to face justice for the crimes that he committed in Turkey.” /Star/

    [05] KARZAI’S VISIT TO TURKEY BEGINS TODAY

    A visit by Afghan interim government leader Hamid Karzai to Turkey, which had to be postponed late last month due to an earthquake in northern Afghanistan, is set to begin today. Karzai, accompanied by the Afghan ministers of foreign affairs, health, higher education and information and culture, is expected to arrive in Ankara this afternoon. During his two-day visit, Karzai is scheduled to be received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and to meet with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit as well as Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. Major topics on the agenda for talks include the latest developments regarding command of the Afghan peacekeeping force, Turkey’s possible contributions to the restructuring of the Afghan military and economy, humanitarian aid and regional issues. /Turkiye/

    [06] YILMAZ, CILLER SPEAK OUT MIDEAST CONFLICT

    Leaders of two of Turkey’s political party leaders yesterday evaluated recent developments in the Middle East in the wake of Israeli troops’ laying siege to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Speaking at the group meeting of the Motherland Party (ANAP), Deputy Prime Minister and ANAP Chairman Mesut Yilmaz remarked that the Middle East conflict posed a major threat not only to the region but also to world peace in general. “Turkey can’t protect its national interests with a passive Middle East policy,” said Yilmaz. “That’s why Turkey should pursue an active policy and do its best to end the escalating violence in the Mideast. First of all, Israel should be persuaded to end its operations in the Palestinian territories. In addition, the Palestinians’ suicide bombings and armed attacks should also be brought to an end.” True Path Party (DYP) Chairman Tansu Ciller also weighed in on the situation yesterday, voicing criticism that government policy on the conflict was “unclear,” especially considering its relations with Israel. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] BAHCELI REQUESTS TIMETABLE FROM EU

    Deputy Prime Minister and Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli met yesterday with European Parliament Turkey-EU Joint Parliament Committee Co-Chairman De Heer Joost Ladendijk and the delegation of parliamentarians accompanying him. The meeting, which was also attended by EU Commission Representative to Turkey Karen Fogg, lasted for almost 45 minutes. Reportedly, issues where MHP and EU views are at odds, such as the death penalty and Kurdish broadcasting and education, were not discussed. When asked by Ladendijk how the MHP viewed the EU, Bahceli said, “If MHP was opposed to the EU, would it have accepted the National Program?” Bahceli told the parliamentarians that he didn’t want the EU to be a pawn in the terrorist PKK’s “politicization game.” Furthermore, he requested a timetable with a view towards Turkey starting full EU membership negotiations by the end of this year. /Sabah/

    [08] DUTCH PARLIAMENTARIAN ADDRESSES PKK ABSENCE FROM TERRORIST LIST

    Gerrit Jan van Oven, a Dutch parliamentarian currently visiting Turkey at the head of a delegation, yesterday spoke to reporters about the failure of the European Union and individual EU member countries to recognize the PKK as a terrorist group. Characterizing the PKK terrorist group as an “organization,” van Oven said that it was hard for the Netherlands to call a group “terrorist” if it had not actually committed terrorist acts on Dutch soil. Meeting with Turkish State Minister Nejat Arseven, van Oven addressed the PKK’s absence from the EU’s terrorist list by saying that a new list was in the works. “The EU hasn’t yet completed the new list,” he said, “and discussions on the matter are continuing.” Van Oven is deputy chair of a parliamentary committee on EU relations in his home country. /Turkiye/

    [09] DEPUTY OZAL JOINS ANAP

    Ahmet Ozal, Malatya deputy and son of late President Turgut Ozal, yesterday relinquished his independent status in favor of joining the Motherland Party (ANAP). Counting Ozal, the number of ANAP deputies in Parliament has now risen to 79, while that of independents has fallen to 13. /Turkiye/

    [10] PKK ESTABLISHES NEW POLITICAL PARTY

    The terrorist organization PKK has reportedly established a new political party in northern Iraq called the “Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party.” European representatives of the party held a press conference yesterday in Brussels to brief reporters on their party’s program and to argue that the party would advocate for a free and democratic Iraq. /Cumhuriyet/

    [11] INFLATION FIGURES BEAT EXPECTATIONS

    Inflation figures for March released yesterday by the State Institute of Statistics (DIE) were lower than many analysts had expected. Monthly inflation in March was 1.9% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and 1.2% on the consumer price index (CPI). The figures for year-on-year WPI and CPI inflation were 77.5% and 65.1%, respectively. /Turkiye/

    [12] BOGAZICI’S FOUNDING RECTOR DIES

    Professor Aptullah Erdogan Kuran, the founding rector of Bogazici University and the first chairman of its History Department, died this week in Istanbul. Kuran is to be buried in Asiyan Cemetery in Istanbul today following a ceremony to be held at Bogazici University and funeral prayers at Bebek Mosque. /Sabah/

    [13] ISTANBUL TO HOST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

    The International Istanbul Film Festival will open its curtains to audiences on April 13-24. The festival’s section called “From Literature to Film” will present an outstanding selection of movie literary adaptations from countries as varied as Albania and Cuba. /Milliyet/

    [14] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [15] TURKEY’S ESDP PROBLEM CONTINUES BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on Turkey’s European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). A summary of his columns is as follows:

    “While concentrating on the situation in Middle East, Afghanistan and Cyprus, we seem to have forgotten some other areas of Turkey’s foreign policy, but developments have continued. The last of them concerns the ESDP, which seemed to have reached a satisfactory conclusion, but which in fact still remains unresolved. This extremely complex issue had appeared to be at an end following long, hard negotiations held in Ankara and London with US and British officials. In these negotiations, the US represented NATO, while Britain represented the EU. The talks ended up agreeing that the proposed EU army under the ESDP could not be used against a member of NATO and that the EU could only use NATO supplies and facilities with the full agreement of all NATO members. All of the EU member countries accepted this arrangement, except Greece, which is still balking. Athens is arguing that no non-EU country can be in a position to be able to influence EU military decisions, even if that country belongs to NATO. In rejecting the “Ankara agreement,” Greece signaled that it couldn’t tolerate the diplomatic advantage that Turkey had gained with the support of all the other EU members. As long as Greece continues to reject the Ankara agreement and exercise its veto, this issue cannot be considered a done deal for Turkey. Therefore, Turkey cannot let down its guard. But recent developments point to a way that Ankara can soon concretely show the EU its determined manner on this issue. The place to make its stand will be Macedonia, where NATO is to withdraw its forces and transfer military responsibility to the EU. According to sources close to European Parliament Turkey-EU Joint Parliament Committee Co-Chairman De Heer Joost Ladendijk, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem conveyed Turkey’s determination to the EU side during a one-and-a-half-hour meeting he held with Ladendijk. So in short order, unless Greece lifts its veto on the current ESDP agreement, Ankara is preparing to prevent the command transfer of the international force in Macedonia from NATO to the EU. In other words, if such a transfer occurs, it will block the EU taking benefit of its alliance with the North Atlantic Council, where NATO decisions can be taken only by full consensus. In fact, at this point Turkey is fully in the right. Readers may recall how the guarantees which were given to Turkey in Washington during NATO’s 50th anniversary celebrations then faced attempts at derailment at the hands of NATO members who also belong to the EU. When Turkey sharply rejected these attempts, long discussions resulted in the Ankara consensus. In summary, Turkey wants Greece to sign the Ankara agreement, which should be a binding agreement for the EU.”

    [16] WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN PALESTINE BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

    Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the Middle East issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The Palestinian issue has entered a new period. In the new conditions of the second millennium, it is hard to estimate the situation’s future course. After a full week of Israeli attacks, it is perhaps more difficult to establish an independent Palestinian state now than it was before.

    During recent meetings of the 20-plus member Arab League and the 60-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), nothing was achieved for the sake of an independent Palestine. It is obvious that certain Arab countries are trying to delay the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. More than 25 years ago, Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Palestine and let it open an office, which later became an embassy, in Ankara.

    The Arab Union and countries such as Iran have not really concerned themselves with the tragedies in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Azerbaijan or the Cyprus issue, or the struggles for independence of the Turkic-speaking countries. The same thing can be said for the Palestinian issue.

    Ultimately, the issue remains in the hands of the United States. No one can deny that former US President Bill Clinton, who sat at the top a country where the Jewish lobby is extremely strong, was sincerely eager to find a solution to the problem. He really wanted to bring peace to the Mideast before the end of his two terms. But it was not expected that his Republican successor would lean on Israel as much as Clinton did, expectations that have been borne out.

    Today it is unclear whether Arafat’s era has ended or not. Reducing the tension is what is most urgently needed now. Israel must withdraw from the occupied lands, but we see no intention of that happening. Israel is pursuing terrorists city by city and house by house in Palestine. In reality, it wants to scare the Palestinians. However, one should remember the proverb that an animal is often most dangerous when it is pushed into a corner.

    Since Israel is unable to absorb the Palestinian population, it wants greatly to move large numbers of them. Already four million Palestinians are living outside of Israel-Palestine, with two-and-a-half million of them in Jordan alone.

    The United States doesn’t yet feel avenged for Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The name of the Osama bin Ladin, allegedly the terrorist who planned the attacks, has already dropped from the world’s agenda. In my opinion, Israel is trying to benefit from the world’s wave of revulsion against terrorism. The Israelis brought a ferocious ruler to power, but a moderate one will succeed him and create better conditions.”

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