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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-28

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> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press &amp; Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

28.11.2002

SEZER TOUTS TURKEY’S REFORM RECORD TO SCHROEDER GUL: “A NEW CONSTITUTION WILL BE FORGED THROUGH COMPROMISE” ERDOGAN MEETS WITH SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER ERDOGAN SEEKS CHIRAC’S SUPPORT BEFORE COPENHAGEN PARLIAMENT TO HOLD VOTE OF CONFIDENCE ON NEW GOVERNMENT STATE OF EMERGENCY RULE TO BE LIFTED SATURDAY TURKEY PLATFORM TO SEEK SUPPORT IN BRUSSELS DENKTAS: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN MAY BE NEGOTIATED” 10,000 TURKISH CYPRIOTS MARCH TO SUPPORT EU PLAN PRODI: “TURKEY ISN’T READY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP” DE SOTO, IN ANKARA, STEPS UP PRESSURE ON CYPRUS PLAN PAPANDREOU: “EUROPE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE AKP GOVERNMENT’S REFORM EFFORTS” OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF PREPARES CYPRUS REPORT EP CHAIRMAN COX: “THE EU SHOULD PROVIDE TURKEY WITH A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE” LINN AND CHIBBER: “TURKEY IS A MUSLIM DEMOCRACY THAT CAN BE A ROLE MODEL FOR OTHERS” ISTANBUL CHOSEN AS SITE FOR NEWSPAPER GROUP MEETING FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… WHAT ERDOGAN CAN’T EXPLAIN: THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN TURKEY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR) CORRUPTION AND POVERTY BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

CONTENTS

  • [01] SEZER TOUTS TURKEY’S REFORM RECORD TO SCHROEDER
  • [02] GUL: “A NEW CONSTITUTION WILL BE FORGED THROUGH COMPROMISE”
  • [03] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER
  • [04] ERDOGAN SEEKS CHIRAC’S SUPPORT BEFORE COPENHAGEN
  • [05] PARLIAMENT TO HOLD VOTE OF CONFIDENCE ON NEW GOVERNMENT
  • [06] STATE OF EMERGENCY RULE TO BE LIFTED SATURDAY
  • [07] TURKEY PLATFORM TO SEEK SUPPORT IN BRUSSELS
  • [08] ANAP LEADER YILMAZ RESIGNS
  • [09] DENKTAS: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN MAY BE NEGOTIATED”
  • [10] 10,000 TURKISH CYPRIOTS MARCH TO SUPPORT EU PLAN
  • [11] PRODI: “TURKEY ISN’T READY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP”
  • [12] DE SOTO, IN ANKARA, STEPS UP PRESSURE ON CYPRUS PLAN
  • [13] PAPANDREOU: “EUROPE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE AKP GOVERNMENT’S REFORM EFFORTS”
  • [14] OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF PREPARES CYPRUS REPORT
  • [15] EP CHAIRMAN COX: “THE EU SHOULD PROVIDE TURKEY WITH A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE”
  • [16] LINN AND CHIBBER: “TURKEY IS A MUSLIM DEMOCRACY THAT CAN BE A ROLE MODEL FOR OTHERS”
  • [17] ISTANBUL CHOSEN AS SITE FOR NEWSPAPER GROUP MEETING
  • [18] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [19] WHAT ERDOGAN CAN’T EXPLAIN: THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN TURKEY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)
  • [20] CORRUPTION AND POVERTY BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

  • [01] SEZER TOUTS TURKEY’S REFORM RECORD TO SCHROEDER

    On the second day of a two-day visit to Germany, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday met with German President Johannes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin. After a half-hour meeting, Schroeder told reporters that Turkey’s rapprochement to the European Union should be supported. “I think a more concrete signal than the one in Brussels will be given at next month’s EU’s Copenhagen summit,” said the German chancellor. For his part, Sezer said that during the meeting he had had an opportunity to tell Schroeder in detail about Turkey’s reforms carried out over the last year-and-a-half. Stressing that Germany had supported Turkey’s EU membership bid at various stages of this process, Sezer said that Turkey expected a continuation of Germany’s support during the Copenhagen summit beginning Dec 12. After completing his contacts in Germany, Sezer returned to Ankara last night. /Turkiye/

    [02] GUL: “A NEW CONSTITUTION WILL BE FORGED THROUGH COMPROMISE”

    Prime Minister Abdullah Gul reiterated yesterday that the new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had no hidden aims or secret agenda in its efforts to advance democratization and enact reforms. Addressing the ruling AKP’s parliamentary group meeting, Gul said that the AKP administration was trying to work through Turkey’s problems using compromise and dialogue. Stressing that the Nov. 3 elections were a milestone in Turkish political life, the prime minister said that it was the nation’s will that had made one party-rule AKP possible. Gul stated that his government wanted to fully carry out the Copenhagen criteria and international agreements. “While doing this, a brand new constitution is needed which will be prepared using cooperation and compromise,” added Gul. /Turkiye/

    [03] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH SWEDISH PRIME MINISTER

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), yesterday met with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Perrson in order to seek his support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid on the eve of next month’s Copenhagen summit. During their talks, Perrson asked Erdogan why he had been barred from being a deputy and holding other political posts, and Erdogan replied that the new AKP government would lift all political bans in Turkey. Asked by Perrson about Turkey’s Kurdish “minority,” Erdogan replied that “minority” was a misnomer. “This [Kurdish] problem can solved only by providing more individual rights and freedoms to the citizens,” said Erdogan. “Kurds in Turkey have exactly the same rights as I, Tayyip Erdogan do. The AKP is opposed to religious discrimination, racism, and factionalism.” Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lind, who was also present at the meeting, said she had never before seen such an approach from a Turkish politician and that she was pleased with Erdogan’s statements. Erdogan then extended an invitation to visit Turkey to Lind, who previously had been denied permission to enter the country. /Milliyet/

    [04] ERDOGAN SEEKS CHIRAC’S SUPPORT BEFORE COPENHAGEN

    As part of his tour of seven European countries to seek support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday visited French President Jacques Chirac. During their talks, Chirac said that he believed Turkey should be part of the EU, adding however that it might not receive a date at Copenhagen to start membership negotiations with the EU. Erdogan said that he wanted France’s support at December’s gathering. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Erdogan said that Chirac had promised to do his best to support Turkey at Copenhagen but had added that the 15 EU member countries would make a unanimous decision. /Milliyet/

    [05] PARLIAMENT TO HOLD VOTE OF CONFIDENCE ON NEW GOVERNMENT

    At today’s session of Parliament, a vote of confidence for the new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government will be held. The nearly two-thirds majority AKP is expected to easily win. Following the balloting, the Cabinet members see President Ahmet Necdet Sezer after paying a visit to Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum. /All Papers/

    [06] STATE OF EMERGENCY RULE TO BE LIFTED SATURDAY

    As of Saturday, the State of Emergency Rule (OHAL) will be lifted from the southeastern Anatolia cities of Diyarbakir and Sirnak, the last two locales where OHAL applied. The end of the OHAL will mark the official close of 15 years of emergency security measures in Turkey’s east and southeast in response to the terrorist threat which once existed there. Before the terrorist PKK group was routed and its organization broken, its terror campaign took 30,000 lives. /Star/

    [07] TURKEY PLATFORM TO SEEK SUPPORT IN BRUSSELS

    The Turkey Platform, an umbrella group made up of 200 domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs), yesterday held a meeting in Brussels to promote Turkey’s EU membership bid with the support and attendance of various European NGOs. At his opening speech to the meeting, Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey’s Parliament had passed a host of European Union harmonization laws and so wanted the EU to encourage and stimulate this reform process by giving Turkey a date at Copenhagen to start membership negotiations. “We want the EU to contribute to Turkey’s reforms,” said Hisarciklioglu. “We believe that the EU won’t act in a biased manner towards different candidate countries and so will take an encouraging approach towards Turkey just like the other EU candidates.” /Sabah/

    [08] ANAP LEADER YILMAZ RESIGNS

    During a Motherland Party (ANAP) Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) meeting yesterday, Mesut Yilmaz resigned from his party’s leadership per his declaration after his party’s defeat in the Nov. 3 elections. ANAP will hold an extraordinary congress on Jan. 11, 2003 headed by an acting chairman. /Turkiye/

    [09] DENKTAS: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN MAY BE NEGOTIATED”

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday sent a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan saying TRNC officials had decided to negotiate on the basis of the UN’s Cyprus Plan. The letter stated that agreeing to discuss the plan should not be misconstrued as accepting its provisions. “We don’t want to be forced to accept measures which the TRNC and Greek Cypriots are against,” wrote Denktas. /Milliyet/

    [10] 10,000 TURKISH CYPRIOTS MARCH TO SUPPORT EU PLAN

    Some 10,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets yesterday to show their support for the United Nations Cyprus plan recently proposed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The rally was a rare public demonstration of dissent against Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas, who has expressed numerous reservations about the plan. An umbrella group of 92 nongovernmental organizations called “Common Vision” organized the rally. “I believe we can find a solution for Cyprus before Dec. 12,” Ali Erel, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, told the gathering. Dec. 12 is the date Annan has set as a deadline for agreement to the plan, and the opening day of the European Union’s Copenhagen summit, where both Greek Cyprus and Turkey’s EU bids will be discussed. “We want a secure and comfortable solution for us and our children, but we also want our today,” continued Erel. “As Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul have both said, this 40-year problem needs to come to an end. We know that solving it hinges directly on the EU giving a negotiations date to Turkey [at Copenhagen].” /Sabah/

    [11] PRODI: “TURKEY ISN’T READY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP”

    European Union Commission Chairman Romano Prodi yesterday asserted that for now, Turkey’s EU membership could be not approved by either the European Parliament or by the EU member countries’ Parliaments. Speaking to French daily Le Figaro, Prodi said, “If Turkey gains EU membership now, I believe the EU Parliament would not view such a development favorably. Moreover, it is doubtful that many EU member countries’ Parliaments would now approve of this decision.” Stating that the EU Commission’s stance regarding Turkey had not changed, Prodi said that EU Commission representatives had recently unanimously approved a report saying that Turkey had yet not fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria. /Turkiye/

    [12] DE SOTO, IN ANKARA, STEPS UP PRESSURE ON CYPRUS PLAN

    In the wake of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’s recent declaration that he couldn’t consider UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan in its current form a basis for future negotiations, the UN has stepped up diplomatic pressure ahead of next month’s EU Copenhagen summit to convince Turkey to assent to the plan. Alvaro de Soto, Annan’s special envoy to Cyprus, yesterday visited Ankara to discuss recent developments on the Cyprus issue with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials. De Soto remarked that if the parties failed to reach agreement on the UN plan, they would have to bear the consequences, which would probably lead the island to worse problems. Meanwhile, the Turkish officials told de Soto that the UN was “unrealistic” to expect the Turkish side to sign the document without negotiating on certain controversial sections. The UN expects both sides to begin negotiating on the text as soon as possible and to sign the Foundation Agreement before December’s Copenhagen summit. However, Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides echoed Denktas yesterday, stating that he could not see the UN proposal as a basis in its current form. /Cumhuriyet/

    [13] PAPANDREOU: “EUROPE SHOULD ENCOURAGE THE AKP GOVERNMENT’S REFORM EFFORTS”

    During a visit to the US State Department in Washington yesterday, Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou had words of encouragement for both Turkey’s new ruling party and its European Union membership bid. “The [ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)] does have certain Islamist elements, but its power comes from its being a reformist party,” Papandreou said after meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. “We should encourage its reformist character, and this can be achieved if we support Turkey’s future in Europe. They can set an example for the Islamic world.” Papandreou added that the EU setting a date for Turkey’s membership talks would be an important step in supporting it. /Sabah/

    [14] OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF PREPARES CYPRUS REPORT

    The Office of the Chief of General Staff has prepared a report on UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan laying out a number of concerns about it. According to the report, the territorial adjustments suggested by Annan are unacceptable and the number of Turkish soldiers on the island could not be reduced below 10,000 as the plan proposes, due to security reasons. Expressing its concerns on the security of the Turkish Cypriots, the Office also stated that the territories demanded as concessions in the plan from the Turkish side were strategically critical and could not be given to the Greek Cypriots. The report also underlined possible problems which might emerge due to population transfers and cultural differences. /Hurriyet/

    [15] EP CHAIRMAN COX: “THE EU SHOULD PROVIDE TURKEY WITH A CLEAR PERSPECTIVE”

    European Parliament Chairman Pat Cox yesterday remarked that the European Union should provide Turkey with a clear perspective concerning its membership bid at next month’s EU Copenhagen summit. Cox stated that the EP appreciated Turkey’s recent reforms to improve its democracy and so had adopted a cautiously positive policy on its EU membership bid. “I don’t know whether Turkey will get a date at Copenhagen,” added Cox. “However, I do hope that relations between Turkey and the EU will continue to improve, whatever the results of the summit.” /Aksam/

    [16] LINN AND CHIBBER: “TURKEY IS A MUSLIM DEMOCRACY THAT CAN BE A ROLE MODEL FOR OTHERS”

    Turkey is an economically dynamic country and could become even more so if it gains European Union membership, wrote two top World Bank officials in an opinion piece appearing in yesterday’s Financial Times. “Turkey is a country with a huge economic potential and a Muslim democracy that can be a role model for many countries,” wrote Johannes Linn, the WB’s vice president for Europe and Central Asia, and Ajay Chhibber, its Turkey country director. “Turkey's progress could be accelerated if it was admitted to the European Union. Its level of economic development is in line with the average EU accession candidate, and not too far behind levels of development in Greece, Portugal and Spain when they entered. EU entry helped them to create more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable societies, and membership could help Turkey do the same.” Remarking that Turkey had the chance to create greater prosperity along with social justice following the recent elections bringing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power, the two World Bank officials stated that If Turkey's untapped potential can be unleashed, the next decade could be far more productive than the 1990s. “But it will require a big change in the way that the state, the market and the country's citizens interact,” added Linn and Chhibber. “Instead of a top-down, state-led development strategy, there must be greater reliance on the market and civil society within government guidelines.” /Hurriyet/

    [17] ISTANBUL CHOSEN AS SITE FOR NEWSPAPER GROUP MEETING

    The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) yesterday announced that it would hold its next summit, in 2004, in Istanbul. Founded in 1948, the WAN includes 71 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 100 nations, 13 news agencies, and nine regional press organizations. Media figures evaluated this decision as a clear sign of support for Turkey’s EU membership bid. WAN Chairman Seok Hyun Hong yesterday stated that his group believed that Turkey deserved to join the EU and that the WAN meeting would be a great opportunity for Turkey to promote itself. /Hurriyet/

    [18] FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [19] WHAT ERDOGAN CAN’T EXPLAIN: THE ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN TURKEY BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)

    Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the heated debate on the role of the military in Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ambiguous stance on this issue. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “The most sincere and outspoken person AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with during his tour of European capitals was Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Barosso. The Portuguese premier, with a single question he posed to Erdogan, gave a clear-cut picture of how Turkey is seen from Europe. He asked: “How long will it take for the European Union to be convinced that the picture in Turkey is no longer one of the military dominating the country’s civilian politics, and that no one is scared of fundamentalist Islamic rule in Turkey anymore?” Indeed, this is a very meaningful question.

    Even if, for the time being, the EU member countries aren’t speaking of it out loud, they believe that one of the most serious problems in Turkish-EU relations is the current power of the Turkish military to manipulate actions of the civilian government through mandates of the National Security Council (MGK). The reason why the EU doesn’t address this issue out loud is hidden in the second part of Barosso’s question. European leaders are aware that the overwhelming control of the Turkish military over the nation’s civilian government stems from the fear that Turkey’s regime could easily slide into Islamic rule. This is what Barosso told Erdogan in a diplomatic way. Erdogan felt quite comfortable in answering the second part of Barosso’s question, the part mostly related to Erdogan himself and his party. He stressed, as he does at every occasion, that the AKP had attracted votes from all sectors of society and thus represented not only its religiously oriented groups but in fact a broad swath of society. And Erdogan is trying to burnish this image by promoting Turkey’s EU membership bid.

    However, the core of the issue lies in the first part of Barosso’s question, to which Erdogan can’t give a straightforward answer. The military’s impact on civilian government in Turkey has been clearly cited in every document and report the EU has presented as one of the most serious defects in its conforming with the Copenhagen political criteria.

    The AKP has pledged to implement reforms in almost every area. But when it comes to the issue of the role of the military in Turkish politics, they prefer to remain silent, perhaps because of the delicate, critical balances in Turkey. Only once did he address this issue, in Sweden, confining himself to say merely that the boundaries of the military’s powers were clearly defined under the Turkish Constitution. Moreover, Erdogan is constantly trying to avoid getting involved in such a debate. What’s more interesting is that his attitude is proving to have implications in the AKP’s official government policies. Top AKP figures have declared that this issue would in no way be included in the letter which the AKP is to soon send to the EU. This letter includes matters stretching from the retrial of the Democracy Party (DEP) deputies to reforms in the freedom of the press and procedures in keeping criminal records. Yet, no word will appear on the impact of the military in Turkey or the legal status of military courts and their procedures. These issues are at the very cores of the EU’s belief that Turkey has failed to meet the Copenhagen political criteria.”

    [20] CORRUPTION AND POVERTY BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the struggle against corruption and poverty promised by the Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The Turkish nation’s new expectation is for a struggle to be waged against corruption and poverty. Clearly, the results of the Nov. 3 elections have a great deal to do with this expectation. Among the results of Turkey’s two recent big economic crises is the ‘economy of corruption.’ So many steps were taken to combat corruption by the previous government, but this effort faced numerous setbacks and problems. Things came to a head when the anti-corruption efforts hit the political and commercial power centers. The forces hit were so strong that some valiant ministers and administrators were unable to keep their posts. Now the new government has to wage this struggle anew, even if means hitting these centers again. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has enough seats to do this, and its single-party rule will also help the struggle. The shield of immunity should denied to politics and the bureaucracy in order to fight the centers of power established by political-business ties. However, the government’s reluctance on the immunity issue is disappointing the Turkish nation. AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Abdullah Gul shouldn’t shrink from taking this step. If they do so, they would sow doubt concerning the AKP’s ministers and deputies and shake the nation’s faith that it showed on Nov. 3. Another issue that the government should deal with immediately is the struggle against poverty. The bill for Turkey’s two economic crises has been borne largely by its workers with small, stable incomes. The salaries of workers, state officials and public servants and retired people decreased greatly in terms of their purchasing power, and those who lost their jobs were forced to the brink of hunger. Another expectation from the AKP is that it will transfer enough income to these people so that they can live securely and humanely. This transfer shouldn’t be limited to meager food, clothes and fuel aid, because this won’t really address the problem. The new government should create new jobs, encourage investments, provide these people with renewed income and increase their salaries with a comprehensive public personnel reform program. The new government shouldn’t forget that the bill for the two economic crises in Turkey was paid mostly by these people.”

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