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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-23
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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
23.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS..FROM THE COLUMNS... THE HARMONIZATION PACKAGE IS FOR OUR BENEFIT BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET) DIFFICULT WITHOUT THE PENTAGON BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)
 SEZER RECEIVES VISITING KAZAKH PRESIDENTPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday met with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is currently paying a visit to Ankara. Following their meeting, Sezer said that he and Nazarbayev had vowed to boost bilateral relations. Nazarbayev, for his part, said that Kazakhstan wanted to be included in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline consortium. Stressing his desire for a joint university to be established, he congratulated the Turkish Republic on its 80th anniversary. After the meeting of the Turkish and Kazakh delegations, officials signed bilateral trade agreements. In the evening, Sezer hosted a state banquet in honor of his Kazakh counterpart. /All Papers/
 SIXTH EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE SENT TO PRIME MINISTRYThe Sixth European Union Harmonization Package was sent yesterday to the Prime Ministry for review. The draft drawn up by Turkey’s EU Secretariat General with final preparation by the Justice Ministry includes 19 proposed amendments to 10 articles of existing law. Under the draft, Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law would be annulled, while private TV channel broadcasts in mother tongue languages would be permitted. In addition, international non-governmental institutions (NGOs) would be able to send delegations to observe Turkey’s elections. /Turkiye/
 WORK ON NEW RETIREMENT SYSTEM CONTINUESFollowing the Constitutional Court’s rejection last month of a measure setting 61 as the mandatory civil service retirement age, the government began work on a new retirement policy to address the court’s objections. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said yesterday that legal experts had drawn up four alternate pieces of legislation that would be taken up by the Cabinet next week. He stated that all the alternatives were based on a graduated retirement system. Sahin further remarked that some 1,500 civil servants who already retired under the annulled law would be able to return to work through applying to administrative courts. Retirement procedures begun for some 1,400 civil servants have been halted, he added. /Turkiye/
 JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK: “EVERYONE MUST MAKE UP THEIR MINDS AT ONCE ON OUR PROSPECTIVE EU MEMBERSHIP”As the time grows short for the nation to fully comply with the EU criteria before its December 2004 summit, every person and institution in Turkey must make up their minds on the country’s EU membership bid at once, said Justice Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday. “We have less than 18 months to pass the necessary reforms, but many legal issues still remain ahead of us awaiting urgent action,” stated Cicek. “Therefore, everyone has to make a thorough assessment, and then clarify their positions on the EU, whether pro or con. For its part, the government is surely in favor of Turkey’s EU accession.” Cicek’s remarks came in wake of the military’s reported opposition to provisions in the sixth European Union harmonization package which would allow mother tongue private TV channel broadcasts as well as international observation of Turkey’s elections. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHP LEADER BAYKAL: “TURKEY CANNOT BEAR ANOTHER DISAPPOINTMENT IN ITS EU MEMBERSHIP BID”Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday flew to Berlin accompanied by CHP Deputies Kemal Dervis and Damla Gurel as official guests of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder for the spring meetings of the Party of European Socialists (PES). Speaking to journalists upon his arrival, Baykal said that he was set to hold contacts with European leaders concerning Turkey’s EU accession. The EU has disappointed Turkey several times in the past, stated Baykal, but warned, “Turkey cannot bear another disappointment.” /Hurriyet/
 SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS HEAD OZKAYA: “WITHOUT LEGAL REFORM, TURKEY CAN’T HAVE AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY”Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Eraslan Ozkaya said yesterday that Turkey couldn’t have an independent, impartial judiciary until certain of its laws are changed, citing in particular the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors Law and the Judges and Prosecutors Law. “There will be a little confidence in the Turkish justice system until articles of these laws are annulled,” Ozkaya told an Ankara symposium on the “The Right to a Fair Trial.” Pointing out that Article 6 of the European Union Convention of Human Rights stipulates that justice requires for cases to be handled in a timely fashion, Ozkaya lamented that many cases in the Turkish system remain unresolved. Saying that the current situation must end, Ozkaya added that most cases filed against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights end up in rulings against it. /Aksam/
 GREEK CYPRIOTS ENTER TURKEY FOR THE FIRST TIME IN DECADESSome 266 Greek Cypriot doctors and nurses yesterday entered Turkey through the northwestern Ipsala border gate with Greece. Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement last week that Greek Cypriots could once again legally visit Turkey, it was the first visit by Greek Cypriot citizens in 40 years. The doctors and nurses seemed very excited to enter Turkey, where they can stay for up to a month. The nurses said they had been in Athens to take part in seminars and had planned to visit Turkey, so Ankara’s decision was welcome. Greece has yet to reciprocate Ankara’s decision by allowing Turkish Cypriots to pass through its borders, though Erdogan has called on it to do so. /Milliyet/
 ECONOMY MINISTER BABACAN: “I ANTICIPATE NO PROBLEMS WITH THE IMF”State Minister for Economy Ali Babacan yesterday flew to Athens, Greece to attend the southeastern European meeting of the World Economic Forum. Before his departure, Babacan told reporters that he didn’t expect any problems with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its ongoing fifth review of Turkey’s economic program. Regarding legal measures which Turkey pledged to implement in its latest letter of intent (LOI), Babacan said, “We are trying to pass them soon, but we cannot interfere in Parliament’s working schedule.” /Turkiye/
 IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT: “NO ONE CAN PASS JUDGMENT ON BEHALF OF IRAQ’S TURKMEN POPULATION”It is no one’s task but Iraq’s Turkmen themselves to decide on our own future, said a statement issued by the Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) yesterday. The statement came as a reaction to Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani’s recent remarks that Iraq’s Turkmen population, too, could take a part in the new interim government of the country. “There are over 3 million Turkmen in Iraq, and their role in the reconstruction process is not to be decided by any party leader,” said the statement. “The scope of Turkmen participation in the postwar era will be decided through democratic means and the free will of the Iraqi people.” /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS..FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE HARMONIZATION PACKAGE IS FOR OUR BENEFIT
 BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on today’s parliamentary debates on the sixth European Union harmonization package. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Today our Parliament is to debate the sixth European Union harmonization package. We will all watch the parliamentary proceedings on TV.
The EU is currently moving through a significant period of transformation. Since Turkey wants to become a member of the Union, our government cannot ignore this process.
First of all, we should accept this package for ourselves, not for the sake of the EU. We cannot resist change through the pretext that ‘the EU will never accept us.’ Won’t Turkey raise its standards of living even if the EU doesn’t approve our membership?
A society cannot make significant changes without the benefit of a strong leadership guiding it. However, the political leadership should also recall that it is the nation which grants it such a powerful authority. The people’s support should be ensured in order to implement reforms. The governments must pay attention to the needs and demands of the people. However, it seems that our government doesn’t take seriously the support of women, one of the most important segments of society. Let’s not forget that a society’s attitude towards women can be a yardstick of how modern and contemporary it is.
‘We can’t live together unless you find a solution to your so-called “honor killings”,’ says Europe. As a matter of fact, the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) violates the principle of equality between men and women, but the Justice and Development Party (AKP) seems to ignore the demands of Turkish women. ‘We can’t please everybody,’ said Justice Minister Cemil Cicek. And just who is this ‘everybody’? I guess he was referring to women’s organizations which have drawn up proposals to amend the TCK. With such an outdated approach, Turkey can never harmonize itself with the European standards of living.
Today will witness another significant event. The ‘Women’s Working Group on the TCK’ made up of nine non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will hold a press conference to voice its opposition to amendments proposed for the penal code. These NGOs believe the pending amendments to be insufficient, and so is proposing new arrangements. ‘Equality of the sexes is a central pillar of all democratic regimes,’ they say. ‘Certain regulations envisaged by the TCK should be abolished in order to do away with gender discrimination.’
Let’s pay attention to their demands.”
 DIFFICULT WITHOUT THE PENTAGON
 BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on allegations of a so-called Armenian genocide and the stance of both Turkey and the US towards these. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The tension between Turkey and the US due to our Parliament’s rejection of US troop deployments has started to bear fruit – rotten fruit. A new resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide has been presented to the US Congress through the pressure of the Armenian lobby. What’s more, this time the Armenians are following a clever strategy. Past resolutions covered the Armenian genocide alone, but this new one denounces all genocides worldwide, throughout history, including the Armenian allegations. Of course the resolution mentions the ‘Armenian genocide’ clearly and explicitly. The sections which interest Turkey are in the sixth and seventh paragraphs.
Besides the Holocaust and genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, the ‘Armenian genocide’ is mentioned in the sixth paragraph. The seventh paragraph remarks that in spite of the worldwide consensus against genocide, ‘genocides are still being denied.’ This remark is meant to refer to Turkey diplomatically without directly naming it. The pretext for passage of this resolution has been found: it is supposed to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the UN Convention on Preventing and Punishing Genocide, ratified by the US Congress in 1987.
A previous ‘Armenian genocide’ bill brought before the US Congress in the fall of 2000 was stopped by a letter written by then US President Bill Clinton to the House speaker and by last-minute intervention by the US Defense Department. However, the situation has since changed. The Jewish lobby on which we have long depended is holding its tongue this time, because the bill prominently condemns the Holocaust. In addition, the US State Department, which still considers Turkey a valued friend, lobbied to stop the US House Judiciary Committee from considering the resolution but failed in this effort.
However, we shouldn’t forget that the US State Department was also unable to halt the previous resolution. At that time, the US Defense Department saved its ‘reliable ally’ Turkey from the Armenian resolution. It told congressmen about the pricey weapons which Turkey buys from the US and added that crossing Ankara wasn’t a good idea. It also stated that Ankara shared common interests with the US in such complex regions as the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus.
However, the idea that Turkey and the US share common interests in the region was completely trounced by our rejection of the US troop deployments. Thus, it seems Turkey will be denied the Pentagon’s support just when it needs it the most. Clearly, things will be difficult this time without the Pentagon.”
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