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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-21
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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> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
21.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... OUR PATH TO THE EU : BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET) ANKARA’S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY : BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
 ERDOGAN, OZKOK DISCUSS EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to discuss the upcoming sixth European Union harmonization package as well as the Cyprus and Iraq issues. During the meeting, Erdogan and Ozkok reportedly exchanged views on Turkey’s EU membership bid, including the military wing’s objections to certain articles of the package such as amendments to Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which in its current form prohibits propaganda and assemblies aimed at damaging the Turkish Republic’s indivisible unity. The revised article would allow mother tongue private television broadcasts as well as international observation of Turkey’s elections, two provisions reportedly opposed by the military. Meanwhile, Erdogan yesterday presented a motion proposing that the full Parliament hold a comprehensive debate starting tomorrow on the EU harmonization criteria that Turkey has pledged to fulfill. The proposal stated that Turkish-EU relations were at a very critical stage and pointed out that in December 2004, the EU is due to decide whether or not to begin membership talks in line with Turkey’s successful implementation of the EU criteria in the eyes of the EU Commission. Pointing to the short time remaining, Erdogan said an unrelenting schedule was needed to fulfill all the necessary steps. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “OUR NATION HAS THE POWER TO DEFEAT THE OBSTACLES FACING IT”Turkey can tackle the crises and problems holding it back if only it wisely uses its own resources, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared yesterday. Addressing the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan said that his government was well aware of the issues currently facing Turkey. “Our government has established its targets in the short-, middle- and long-term. Our country’s issues aren’t insoluble as long as we are in the hands of honest, capable leaders and staff.” He also asserted that the AKP government had thus far been successful during its six months of rule. /Turkiye/
 FOREIGN MINISTRY DELEGATION MEETS WITH IPUK LEADER TALABANIA three-member delegation from the Foreign Ministry, made up of Ambassadors Ecvet Tezcan and Selim Karaosmanoglu plus Kerim Uras, the ministry’s Middle East Department chief, yesterday met with Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani in Baghdad’s Mansur district. After the meeting, Talabani told reporters that the Iraqi Kurds were ready to exert every effort for the establishment of an independent, democratic Iraq. /Cumhuriyet/
 FOREIGN MINISTER GUL: “TURKEY WON’T RETREAT FROM OUR EU GOAL”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday left for Islamabad, Pakistan to pay an official visit, the first by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it came to power last fall. Before his departure at Esenboga Airport, Gul told reporters that Turkey would take the necessary steps not to miss its chance to begin membership talks with the European Union. Stating that Turkey wouldn’t retreat from its path to Europe, Gul said, “Turkey’s modernization passes through EU membership. We have fortitude and take all necessary steps.” After arriving in Islamabad, Gul met with his Pakistani counterpart Hursid Mahmud Kasuri. During their meetings, the two sides resolved to boost economic relations in line with good bilateral political ties. Gul is scheduled to be received by Pakistani President Pervez Muserref today. /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “TURKISH CYPRIOTS WHO APPLY FOR PASSPORTS FROM GREEK CYPRUS WON’T LOSE THEIR TRNC CITIZENSHIP”Greek Cypriot Interior Minister Andreas Hiristu said yesterday that since the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) opened its border gates with its neighbor last month, nearly 20,000 Turkish Cypriots had applied for passports from Greek Cyprus. In related news, asked about the passport seekers, TRNC President Rauf Denktas said that Turkish Cypriots were trying to obtain passports from the Greek Cyprus, but not citizenship. He remarked that the Turkish Cypriots who get Greek Cypriot passports would not endanger their TRNC citizenship. /Aksam/
 ANAP CELEBRATES ITS 2OTH ANNIVERSARYThe Motherland Party (ANAP) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the party’s establishment at a ceremony at its Ankara headquarters yesterday. ANAP leader Ali Talip Ozdemir said that ANAP has been one of Turkey’s cornerstones and pledged that it would continue to serve the country in the future. ANAP was founded in 1983 by Turgut Ozal, later Turkey’s president, after a three-year transition back to democracy following the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup. /Cumhuriyet/
 PKK_KADEK REPORTEDLY INFILTRATES AREAS IN NORTHERN IRAQ BORDERING TURKEYA group of about 90 fighters of the terrorist group PKK_KADEK have reportedly infiltrated areas close to the Turkish border with northern Iraq, while another 300 terrorists were said to be currently en route to cross into Turkey. Following the capture of its leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999, the terrorist group PKK_KADEK had entrenched itself at the Qandil mountains along the Iraqi-Iranian border, and it is still believed to have an estimated 8,000 fighters in and around Turkey. Following the Iraq war, the terrorist organization is now trying to gain a foothold and become the third most powerful group in northern Iraq, just after the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) and the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK). The 15-year terrorist campaign of the terrorist PKK/KADEK was responsible for the loss of 30,000 lives in southeastern Turkey. /Cumhuriyet_
 BOMB EXPLODES AT CAFE IN ANKARAA bomb explosion killed one woman and injured another at a cafe in Ankara’s Kizilay district yesterday morning. Police officials found the shattered body of the suspected suicide attacker in the restroom of the cafe, where she was believed to be planting the bomb but died when it exploded prematurely. The suicide bomber worked for an extreme-leftist group which has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the past, said the officials. /All Papers/
 BREKK: “POSITIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS HAVE PRESENTED TURKEY WITH AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY”Odd Per Brekk, the International Monetary Fund’s Turkey representative, said yesterday that the government had an excellent opportunity to turn recent positive developments into a lasting improvement of the nation’s economy. “To this end, it needs to create a strong and consistent record of implementing its economic program,” said Brekk. “The government’s macroeconomic targets of 5% growth and 20% inflation for this year remain attainable.” He stated that an IMF mission headed by Juha Kahkonen would start discussions on the fifth review of Turkey’s IMF-supported program in Ankara tomorrow, adding that the mission’s discussions would focus on steadfast implementation of the government’s commitments so as to keep up the forward momentum. /Aksam/
 BABACAN: “OUR TASK IS TO FULLY IMPLEMENT TURKEY’S IMF-SUPPORTED ECONOMIC PROGRAM”State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan pledged yesterday that the government would continue to fully implement the nation’s International Monetary Fund-supported economic program, which he said had done much to help Turkey to take great steps towards economic stability. “What we have to do today is to continue implementing the program,” said Babacan. “Our government’s priorities are political, macro-economic and micro-economic issues.” Babacan reiterated that the government would achieve its 20% annual inflation target as well as take measures to achieve its 6.5% primary surplus target. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 OUR PATH TO THE EU : BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Turkey’s European Union membership prospects. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Discussions about circles supposedly opposed to Turkey’s European Union membership have flared up once again. While the government is preparing to pass the sixth harmonization package in Parliament, Kemalist ideology and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been fingered as possible obstacles to Turkey’s EU membership. Ankara hasn’t yet received a date for our membership negotiations. This is Ankara’s top goal, so it is taking new steps towards this end. It’s both following a policy of conciliation on the Cyprus issue and continuing to make needed EU-directed legal arrangements. In this respect, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that Parliament wouldn’t go on recess in July, favoring instead a one-month break. This decision is very appropriate, particularly in terms of the work we need to do on our path to the EU.
However, Turkey shouldn’t waste its time on fruitless discussions. There is no institution in Turkey which is opposed to EU membership, including the TSK. In various ways, the General Staff officers have signaled that they aren’t against Turkey’s EU membership. When they stated their opinions, however, they did voice certain doubts. They particularly pointed out the support of certain European Union members for terrorism against Turkey and their hypocritical policies.
The discussions in Ankara are focusing on whether or not the TSK is against Turkey’s EU membership. However, these discussions are neglecting the EU’s approach and the barriers it is placing in our path. Neither Kemalist ideology nor the TSK is blocking our EU membership. In addition, Ankara’s reforms and the General Staff’s contributions shouldn’t be forgotten in terms of fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria. Today there is no criticism that Europe can fairly level against Turkey. We’ve essentially met their criteria. Since last August, Turkey has taken important steps and nobody has hindered them. My hope is that the EU won’t create any further obstacles and will instead give us a date for membership negotiations. The rest will be easy.”
 ANKARA’S GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY : BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin writes on Turkey’s efforts to improve its democracy and Turkish-EU relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday stated that he wanted his colleagues, the members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), to complete their work by the end of July on the sixth reform package, which is being prepared in an effort to fulfill the EU’s Copenhagen criteria. In addition, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had previously stated that the AKP government must complete necessary harmonization of Turkish laws and regulations within two months, with the aim of improving the country’s democracy.
We need to evaluate the AKP’s EU policy together with the latest developments in the region. The EU Commission recently announced that it was planning to lift the Union’s embargo from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The Cyprus peace process recently gained a new momentum in the wake of Gul’s meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen in Brussels. Now everybody is expecting the EU to officially announce on June 4 that the embargo will be lifted. Vergeugen is then expected to visit the island. As a matter of fact, Gul and Verheugen discussed not only the Cyprus issue but also recent developments in Iraq in particular and Turkish-EU relations in general.
These issues were also discussed yesterday at a meeting between Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. The government and military will have to find common ground to mend our strained relations with the US. I believe that Turkey cannot mend its relations with certain foreign countries without first stabilizing our own political-military relations. We see that whenever there is a problem between these two poles, other countries try to take advantage of the crisis. The latest example was US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s shocking statements accusing the Turkish military of failing to convince parliamentarians over proposed US troop deployments.
Of course, such differences of opinion between various political agencies or military institutions are normal for a democratic regime. However, we need to understand that such crises will never benefit Turkey. On the contrary, certain foreign circles always try to exploit Turkey’s sensitivities, which is why during such a critical time, our government should stabilize its relations with the military.
Erdogan’s latest statement constitutes a great opportunity not only for the AKP but also for all political and military circles in Ankara. Let’s not forget that the Turkish military also supports our country’s EU membership bid, our president backs all democratization efforts, and even our main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) is lending its full support to the ruling AKP’s EU efforts. Turkey and all the decision makers in Ankara shouldn’t miss this golden opportunity.”
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