|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 02-12-11
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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> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER, OZKOK, AND GUL MEET TO DISCUSS CYPRUS, TURKEY’S EU BIDPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok met yesterday to discuss a number of important issues, such as Turkey’s European Union membership bid, the United Nations’ revised Cyprus plan, and a possible US operation in Iraq. Ozkok presented a detailed report to Sezer and Gul about the new Cyprus plan presented to both sides on the island yesterday. After discussing it, the participants decided that the new plan fell far short of Turkey’s expectations and was in fact even worse than the first one. Addressing the subject of a 2005 date for Turkey to start EU membership talks, a date much discussed in press reports ahead of the EU’s Copenhagen summit beginning tomorrow, the participants called such a date “unacceptable” and vowed that Turkey would reject any such offer. Ozkok added that Turkey should continue doing its utmost to arrive at the earliest-possible date for Turkey’s EU membership negotiations. Also present at the meeting was Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal. /Milliyet/
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS IN FIRST ROUND OF VOTINGThe first round of voting on a three-article legislative package including amendments to Articles 76, 78 and 67 of the Constitution was held yesterday, with the amendments approved by a majority of the deputies. Under the Constitution, the second round of balloting will be held on Friday. The bill will be then presented to the president. With final approval of these amendments, the barriers before ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan becoming a deputy, and thus prime minister, would be lifted. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “TURKEY’S ACCESSION NEGOTIATIONS MUST START IN 2003 AT THE LATEST”Turkey’s European Union accession negotiations should begin sometime next year at the latest, said Prime Minister Abdullah Gul in an opinion piece appearing in today’s Le Monde. Gul said that Turkey’s goal was to reach the highest standards among the other EU member countries, but charged that the Union had as yet failed to recognize the nation’s valiant efforts to that end. Gul is expected to fly today to Copenhagen for the EU’s summit which begins tomorrow. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN MEETS US PRESIDENT BUSH; US LEADER REAFFIRMS HIS SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday was received by US President George W. Bush at the White House in Washington. During their 45-minute meeting, Bush told Erdogan, “We join you side-by-side in your desire to become a member of the European Union.” Following their talks, Erdogan told reporters that he and Bush had discussed the Iraq and Cyprus issues as well as Turkey’s EU membership bid. Before meeting with Bush, Erdogan met with Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Then the AKP leader flew to New York to meet with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, where the two leaders discussed recent developments on the Cyprus issue. In related news, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said that the Erdogan-Bush meeting had been “very cordial and positive.” Fleischer stated that the two leaders agreed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein jeopardized regional security and should be disarmed, adding however that “the US is committed to make certain that Iraq is whole, that there is no division within Iraq.” Speaking on Bush’s stance on Turkey’s EU bid, Fleischer said, “The president does believe that the European Union should give strong consideration to Turkey's accession into the EU. He thinks it's very important that the EU give consideration to a nation like Turkey, an Islamic democracy, an emerging country that certainly has made tremendous strides in terms of integration into Europe, and to an approach that is compatible with the transparency and the openness of Europe. So this is something that the president feels strongly about.” He added, “The President differs strongly with anybody in Europe who has suggested that because of Turkey's background, Turkey would not qualify [to join the EU]. The president does not think that that should be a disqualification.” /Turkiye/
 FISCHER: “TURKEY’S ACCESSION TALKS SHOULD BEGIN IN JULY 2005”Appearing on CNN Turk yesterday, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said that a substantial majority among the European Union’s members favored a joint German-French proposal setting a date for the beginning of Turkey’s accession talks in July 2005. “The EU will prepare a report in December 2004 to assess Turkey’s progress in complying with the EU’s political standards to that date,” stated Fischer. “If the report proves positive, Turkey’s accession negotiations will begin in July 2005.” In related news, EU Term President Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller said that the EU member countries had as yet been unable to find a middle way on a decision for Turkey, adding however, that the German-French proposal could pave the way for a result at tomorrow’s Copenhagen summit. Speaking to French newspaper La Croix, EU Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said that Turkey could be an EU member in 2013 at the earliest. /Hurriyet/
 STATE MINISTER BABACAN VISITS THE USState Minister Responsible for the Treasury Ali Babacan yesterday flew to the United States to meet with US government and private sector officials. Before his departure, Babacan told reporters that he planned to discuss with US Treasury officials a possible Iraqi operation and its negative effects on the Turkish economy. After completing his contacts in the US, Babacan is set to travel to Copenhagen to attend the European Union’s summit beginning tomorrow. /Turkiye/
 PAPANDREOU: “ACCESSION TALKS MAY START EARLIER IF A SOLUTION TO THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS REACHED”Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that if a solution to the Cyprus issue could be reached in the short-term, then Turkey’s European Union accession talks could start as much as six months earlier than the date they are eventually set for. Papandreou added that discussions on a would-be date for Turkey’s accession talks were centered on a joint German-French plan proposing July 2005 as the target date. “Negotiations could even begin earlier than that once a settlement on Cyprus is reached and Turkey takes a more constructive stance on the European Security and Defense Policy [ESDP],” said Papandreou. /Sabah/
 ISO URGES TURKEY NOT TO WAVER FROM ITS EU BIDTurkey’s determination to join the European Union has been proven, and the nation shouldn’t waver from its membership goal, said Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) Assembly Chairman Husamettin Kavi yesterday. Kavi made the remarks at an ISO meeting marking the 50th anniversary of the group, with distinguished guests such as President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in attendance. “A new process will begin at tomorrow’s Copenhagen summit,” said Kavi. “Turkey is determined on its EU membership bid and Parliament has passed a number of EU harmonization laws towards this end. It deserves to get a date at tomorrow’s Copenhagen summit.” Kavi added that the ISO would continue to explain how the nation would benefit from EU membership. Also speaking at the gathering, ISO Chairman Tanil Kucuk said that whether Turkey got a date at Copenhagen for its membership talks or not, its resolve t join the EU should remain firm. Kucuk added that the importance of the Union for Turkey was a two-way street. Sezer also addressed the gathering, calling foreign capital “vital” for the nation’s development, adding however that greater economic stability was needed to attract more capital. /Milliyet/
 RODRIK: “TURKEY’S ECONOMY HAS ACHIEVED A MIRACLE”Despite enormous economic difficulties over the past quarter-century, Turkey has recently made significant recovery and achieved near-miraculous results in a number of sectors, Dani Rodrik, a prominent economics professor at Harvard University, told a gathering in Turkey yesterday. Speaking to the Istanbul Chamber of Industry’s (ISO) 50th anniversary meeting, Rodrik stated that Turkey’s industrial production and exports had made enormous gains of late. In terms of efficiency and technology, some of Turkey’s most prominent businesses are on par with US and European concerns, he added. /Hurriyet/
 ECONOMY MAINTAINS ROBUST GROWTH IN THIRD QUARTERTurkey’s gross national product (GNP) posted a remarkable growth rate of 7.8% on the year in the third quarter, indicating that the economic activity which picked up in the second quarter had maintained its pace amid a recovery period from financial crises. In the first nine months, GNP growth was calculated as 6.2%, already higher than the official target of 4%. “With this 7.8% third quarter GNP growth, there’s stronger proof that growth for the full year will exceed 6%,” State Minister Responsible for the Treasury Ali Babacan told reporters yesterday. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.9% in the third quarter and by 6.5% in the first nine months, the State Institute of Statistics (DIE) reported yesterday. /All Papers/
 DENKTAS: “THE NEW CYPRUS PLAN IS THE SAME AS THE FIRST ONE”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said yesterday that the United Nations’ revised Cyprus plan presented to him yesterday was substantially the same as the earlier one. Denktas said that the new plan had done nothing to ease his concerns about the TRNC’s sovereignty, adding that a majority of the island’s other side, the Greek Cypriots, had also rejected the plan. “The plan won’t bring the two sides together, since the TRNC and Greek Cypriots aren’t being considered two equal states,” Denktas stated. “We will discuss the UN’s new plan through tomorrow.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan had pushed for the island’s two sides to agree to the plan before tomorrow’s European Union summit in Copenhagen, a gathering where the Union is expected to greenlight Greek Cyprus’s membership. /Milliyet/
 TURKEY AGREES TO BRIEF EXTENSION OF ISAF COMMANDTurkey could extend its command of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan due to delays in the succeeding nations’ preparations, but Ankara doesn’t want the extension to drag on indefinitely, reports said yesterday. Germany and the Netherlands were scheduled to assume co-command of the peacekeeping force on Dec. 20, six months after Turkey took over, but reportedly there have been delays in the preparedness of their forces. Those two nations, plus the US and Britain, have thus asked Turkey to extend its command. Ankara has reportedly agreed to this with the important proviso that the extension not exceed “a reasonable period of time.” /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 CONFUSED ABOUT COPENHAGENBY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)
Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the EU’s Copenhagen summit scheduled to begin tomorrow. A summary of his column is as follows:
“What kind of decisions will the European Union make on Turkey’s membership bid at the Copenhagen summit? In fact, we’re all confused about the possible results. The predictions I’ve heard are muddled and even contradictory.
Turkey has already proved its resolve and shown the world that it’s ready to do its utmost to join the EU. However, no matter how loudly we voice our concerns about the EU’s double standards, the reality of the situation seems stubbornly immutable. As of now, it’s almost definite that Copenhagen won’t deliver what Turkey both wants and deserves.
This doesn’t mean that Ankara will return from the EU summit empty-handed. If we get nothing but double standards again, a dangerous situation for Turkish-EU relations might ensue, since the Turkish government has no intention of holding back from harshly reacting to the Union’s unfair practices. However, most European countries wouldn’t like to totally estrange our country from the EU. This is the very dilemma that they’re facing now. On the one hand, the EU won’t set a date for Turkey’s accession negotiations, but on the other it will try to offer the Turkish government something new which might compensate for such a disappointment.
What about the Cyprus issue and the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP)? We again face a true dilemma. The parties on Cyprus have as yet failed to reach agreement on the UN proposal. Despite the absence of a solution, will the Greek Cypriot administration be officially invited to join the EU in Copenhagen? The EU is unfortunately likely to do just that, despite its full awareness that such a decision might exacerbate the problems on the island. Turkey would then cut off its relations with the EU vis-à-vis the Cyprus and ESDP issues. For a country returning from Copenhagen empty-handed, there will be no point in trying to improve its relations with the Union, especially concerning certain sensitive issues on which the EU persistently maintains a rigid and unyielding stance. Ankara will also continue to oppose the ESDP. Tension will keep rising and rising.
In brief, the Copenhagen summit is more likely to be a turning point for Turkish-EU relations, which will then pave the way for either new problems or an escalation of the current problems, rather than a gathering where all problems will be peacefully solved. However, it’s not too late for the EU to change the course of history. Anti-Turkey circles within the EU, those who believe that our country must be excluded from Europe, aren’t aware how they are betraying the Union’s principles. The mentality behind their opposition towards us contradicts the Union’s founding principles, precepts which promote a multi-cultural continent.”
 GUL: 2005 IS UNACCEPTABLEBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s stance on the European Union and Cyprus issues before tomorrow’s Copenhagen summit. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Before Prime Minister Abdullah Gul left to attend the EU’s Copenhagen meeting, a summit was held at the Presidential Palace yesterday. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer invited Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to the palace to discuss recent developments on several issues. After the summit, we talked with Mr. Gul and asked him the following questions:
- The European Union is talking about giving us a date in 2005. What’s your take on this?
- We couldn’t possibly accept 2005. We are definitely against this. It’s a complete non-starter, and we’ll say as much at Copenhagen.
- Well then, what date would Turkey accept? For example, some people say that 2004 would be appropriate. What’s your opinion?
- We will insist on receiving a date before the end of next year. 2004 would also be too late for us. [When the EU’s current expansion is completed] 27 countries will have their say on Turkey, and each of them will primarily be looking to protect their own share of the EU’s resources. Therefore we will insist on 2003. Nobody can tell us that we haven’t met the Copenhagen criteria. Maybe I’ll even carry our new reform package with me to Copenhagen. Perhaps the EU wasn’t expecting us to be this quick. We have a clear, courageous and brave stance, and we expect the same thing from the EU.
- How will you react if Copenhagen turns sour for Turkey and they decide in favor of 2005? What will we do then?
- We want to continue being hopeful. However, if we face such a situation, then we would think that they have shown their view. We also have a plan B. If they force such a situation, we can in no way accept it. We’re determined on this. I don’t like to offend other countries, but we can’t just sit patiently in the waiting room and put up with this [situation].
- What will be your stance on the Cyprus issue? This week Kofi Annan proposed a revised plan which he hopes Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas will sign before the summit.
- It’s not a positive document for the Turkish side. We’re thinking of de- linking the Cyprus issue from the EU.
- What would happen if they make Greek Cyprus an EU member and set 2005 as a date for Turkey?
- This would be an error of historic proportions, and the EU must be ready to take the consequences.
Mr. Gul is going to Copenhagen full of determination. It’s clear that the president, chief of general staff and opposition parties all support Gul. The summit at the Presidential Palace made our stances on the EU and the Cyprus issues crystal clear.”
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