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Turkish Press Review, 02-04-08

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

08.04.02

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning


CONTENTS

  • [01] PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS: “WE NEED TURKEY’S HELP”
  • [02] CEM GOES TO THE PHONES TO END MIDEAST CONFLICT
  • [03] CEM: “WAR AGAINST TERRORISM DOESN’T JUSTIFY ISRAELI AGRESSION”
  • [04] AKP LEADER BLASTS ISRAELI INCURSION
  • [05] GOVERNMENT TO WEIGH IN ON CYPRUS’ FUTURE
  • [06] INTELLIGENCE REPORT: “IRAN CONTINUES TO SUPPORT THE PKK”
  • [07] TURK: “NO PLANS FOR NEW AMNESTY BILL”
  • [08] ANKARA-ISTANBUL TRAIN PROJECT TO LAY RAILS
  • [09] ANADOLU AGENCY CELEBRATES 82ND ANNIVERSARY
  • [10] CILLER PLEDGES HELP TO TOURISM INDUSTRY
  • [11] MAJOR TAX REVISIONS ON THE WAY
  • [12] FINANCIAL RELIEF GRANTED TO QUAKE VICTIMS
  • [13] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [14] WAR OR PEACE? BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
  • [15] PALESTINE AND LEGALITY BY COSKUN KIRCA (AKSAM)

  • [01] PALESTINIAN OFFICIALS: “WE NEED TURKEY’S HELP”

    A group of deputies from Parliament travelled to the Mideast this weekend and met with Palestinian authorities in Jerusalem to discuss the region’s volatile situation. The delegation included deputies from the Motherland Party (ANAP) and the Felicity Party (SP). During the meeting, the Palestinians asked the delegation for immediate aid and support in ending the current Israeli Army offensive in the West Bank. Palestinian State Minister for Jerusalem Ziyad Ebu Ziyad pointed out that Turkey has good relations with the West, its Mideast neighbors and with Israel, and that the latter state places great value on its relationship with Turkey. “We expect the Turkish government and public to pressure Israel to change its behavior,” said Ziyad. /Hurriyet/

    [02] CEM GOES TO THE PHONES TO END MIDEAST CONFLICT

    Foreign Minister Ismail Cem was busy over the weekend with a telephone campaign to help end the bloody conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Cem conducted an intensive round of telephone diplomacy with foreign ministers from the United States, Israel, Greece, Egypt and Qatar. Cem talked by phone to US Secretary of State Colin Powell to give him Ankara’s views on the escalating violence in the region. Cem suggested to Powell, whom US President George W. Bush dispatched to the Mideast on Sunday, that a conference with the participation of all related parties should be organized to help end the conflict. Stressing the need for a joint push for peace, Cem said, “All the parties should gather to discuss the Oslo and Madrid agreements as well as the Saudi plan. Turkey stands ready to host such an initiative.” After conveying concern to his Israeli counterpart Shimon Perez that the situation would escalate unless Israel’s West Bank operation is halted, Cem was also briefed by Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou on his recent visit to Egypt. Furthermore, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Term President Qatar’s Foreign Minister Hamed Casim exchanged views with Cem on Turkey’s proposal to host a joint conference. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] CEM: “WAR AGAINST TERRORISM DOESN’T JUSTIFY ISRAELI AGRESSION”

    Appearing on NTV this weekend, Foreign Minister Ismail Cem gave his views on the latest developments in the Middle East. Cem remarked that although Turkey took its own national interests into consideration when evaluating the Mideast conflict, it also placed a high premium on developing a fair and impartial policy towards both parties in the region. Addressing some Israeli officials’ recent statements drawing parallels to the losses Turkey suffered in its fight against terrorism, Cem stated that the experiences of Turkey and Israel were not comparable and that such comparisons could not be considered as an excuse for Israel’s “aggressive policies” against the Palestinians. Pointing out that Yasser Arafat was the official leader of the Palestinians and a Palestinian state which Turkey recognizes and is close to, Cem remarked that Israel was being unfair to him by laying siege to his territories. “Israel is now trying to wipe out all of his administration and authority,” said Cem. “This is what I call an extremist policy.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] AKP LEADER BLASTS ISRAELI INCURSION

    Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared yesterday that “saving the Palestinian nation” constituted a vital duty of humanity. Lashing out against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government for their “cruelty” against the Palestinians, Erdogan said that a Palestinian state should be established in the region. “Then both Israel and Palestine should live in peace, with both respecting the other’s existence,” he added. /Turkiye/

    [05] GOVERNMENT TO WEIGH IN ON CYPRUS’ FUTURE

    Turkey’s government is preparing to publicly declare at the end of this week its views on the future of Cyprus, official sources said this weekend. The government plans to weigh in on a number of subject, principally relating to any new arrangements between the two states currently existing on the island. Those subjects include: what authority any future pan-Cyprus government should have, territorial shares, sovereignty issues, native Cypriots’ return, and property disputes and distribution. /Hurriyet/

    [06] INTELLIGENCE REPORT: “IRAN CONTINUES TO SUPPORT THE PKK”

    A report recently prepared by Turkish intelligence sources lays out evidence purporting that Iran is continuing to support the terrorist organization PKK. According to the report, approximately 800 PKK militants have taken shelter in seven separate camps within Iran’s borders, and Iranian state intelligence agency SAVAMA is providing these militants with weapons. The report said that SAVAMA had close contacts with the PKK’s so- called chairmanship council. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] TURK: “NO PLANS FOR NEW AMNESTY BILL”

    Speaking at a Supreme Court of Appeals Solidarity Association meeting over the weekend, Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said that a bill was being prepared to address gaps in the law created by recent Constitutional Court annulment decisions. However, he added, the legislation in question was not a new amnesty bill. /Star/

    [08] ANKARA-ISTANBUL TRAIN PROJECT TO LAY RAILS

    Transportation Minister Oktay Vural said yesterday that a project for a “fast train” between Ankara and Istanbul was currently in the planning stages. Actual construction on the new line should begin by year’s end, he predicted. /Star/

    [09] ANADOLU AGENCY CELEBRATES 82ND ANNIVERSARY

    The semiofficial Anadolu (Anatolia) News Agency celebrated its 82nd anniversary over the weekend. Executive Board Chairman and General Director Mehmet Guler said on Saturday that the agency would continue to report news accurately, objectively and in a timely manner. Stressing that its staff had no agenda beyond good reporting, Guler said that Anadolu was Turkey’s eye, ear and voice. State Minister Yilmaz Karakoyunlu also marked the anniversary, pointing out that Republic of Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk had established just two organizations before founding the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) in 1920, namely, the Anadolu Agency and the Prime Ministry’s Directorate General of Press and Information. /Turkiye/

    [10] CILLER PLEDGES HELP TO TOURISM INDUSTRY

    True Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller met yesterday in Antalya with representatives of travel agencies and related professional groups. Pointing to tourism’s great contributions to the Turkish economy, Ciller said, “The DYP wants to increase Turkey’s tourism revenues to $70 billion by 2015.” Noting that Spain, France and Italy earn tourism revenues totalling some $30 billion each year, Ciller decried the fact that Turkey has yet to reach even $10 billion annually. /Turkiye/

    [11] MAJOR TAX REVISIONS ON THE WAY

    Turkey’s government is preparing a series of major revisions to its tax code to be legislated and implemented in stages this year. The initial stage will involve the Cabinet taking a look at the Special Consumption Tax (OTV) as well as a bill mandating that the source of funds put forward as capital for a company or bank not be questioned. The new OTV is set to gather over a dozen taxes and fund deductions under a single category. In addition, the second bill is designed to facilitate capital movement by streamlining “source of funds” regulations. The bill would end inquiries as to the source of money for capital shares in companies and banks. These changes to national tax laws are taking place as part of Turkey’s pledges to the International Monetary Fund. Even more far-reaching revisions are due for discussion this fall. Among these changes are new regulations on the taxation of institutions, exemptions and exceptions, and taxation of dividend shares, as well as new accounting standards to deal with economic inflation. /Turkiye/

    [12] FINANCIAL RELIEF GRANTED TO QUAKE VICTIMS

    A government measure went into effect yesterday to ease certain financial burdens on the victims of the devastating 1999 earthquakes in Turkey’s Marmara region. Under the Finance Ministry directives published in the Official Gazette, taxes and fees, default interest and fines, income tax debts, mandated education contributions and other obligations will be cancelled or erased. /Milliyet/

    [13] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS

    [14] WAR OR PEACE? BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila writes on the war continuing in the Middle East. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The process led in the late ‘90s by former US President Clinton, then Israeli Prime minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat covered great distance on the way towards peace. However, ultimately they were unable to complete this process and Palestinian leader Arafat’s tactical mistakes played an important part in the failure to reach a solution. President Bush then succeeded President Clinton, and in Israel Sharon succeeded Barak. Following these changes, the peace process between Israel and Palestine soon degenerated into a war process. Suicide bombings by the Palestinians increased resulting in over 100 innocent Israeli civilians losing their lives. Israel retaliated by invading Palestine with a bloody military operation. The Israeli Chief of General Staff Command gave the official number of Palestinian dead at around 200. It is not hard to guess that this number will increase. The cost of the operation is not only limited to 300 dead. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Abdullah’s peace proposal, which was supported by many countries including Turkey, to fulfill its promise failed. Prince Abdullah had suggested that Arab countries would recognize Israel in return for its withdrawal from the territories it occupied after 1967. However, the current operations by Israel, Sharon and Bush’s efforts to bypass Arafat politically if not kill him, dashed all hopes of peace. It will be hard to revive the Saudi plan after this stage. Furthermore, it can be said that the radical terrorist organizations which cannot be controlled by Arafat will try to continue their campaign. In the end Sharon showed his people that he would take revenge. However, it is hard to say that the Sharon administration’s acting in line with ‘eye for an eye’ principle has either brought peace to the Israelis or managed to eradicate terrorism. But we can say this: he has buried hopes for peace for a very long time.”

    [15] PALESTINE AND LEGALITY BY COSKUN KIRCA (AKSAM)

    Retired Ambassador Coskun Kirca writes on the Middle East problem. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “When the efforts to make Palestine into a country for the Jews began in Europe towards the end of the 19th century, Zionists who wanted to buy land there were rejected by the Ottoman sultan. If Arabs had not betrayed the Ottomans during World War I, all of Palestine could have remained Arab territory. The claim that Ottomans hampered the freedom of Arabs is a lie made of whole cloth by the Arabs themselves which they then believed. The Arab states and Turkey could have formed a ‘commonwealth,’ in other words a group of independent states. Their envy against the Turks led the Arabs to accept mandates from Britain and France. Nonetheless, the Republic of Turkey voted against the UN plan to divide Palestine into two, for Jewish and Palestinian states, and showed a friendship towards the Arabs which they did not deserve. The Arabs rejected this plan and took the offensive to exterminate the Israeli state established in 1948. However, they were badly defeated and proved that they were incapable of defending their homeland. Israel was born and was going to live. Turkey would change its position according to the new conditions and it did so. Israel was the land the Jews had left thousands of years ago which had become an Arab land in the meantime. An Israeli citizen born in 1948 is 54 years old today and believes the land he is living on to be his own country. There is only one solution left, and that is to establish a Palestinian state right next to Israel, in the West Bank and Gaza strip. Today, there is no one left, including the Saudis, who do not recognize this country. Therefore, the only course to take is to enter into negotiations. However, these negotiations should be conducted by rational people. ‘You will accept the presence of Israel, demand a right to return to those who left the country when Israel was established, and turn Israel into an Arab state!’ This is not a proposal to be taken seriously. The nature of Arafat’s intentions can be clearly understood from the fact that, when the negotiations came to a standstill due to this proposal, he freed all the Arab terrorists he had arrested. If previously the Israelis voted Sharon into office rather than Barak, this is Arafat’s fault. As he hasn’t taken any measures to stop terrorist attacks on innocent people, he has reaped what he has sown when the Israeli army entered the West bank and Gaza.”


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