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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-26
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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
26.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS HOW FAR CAN IT GO? BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
 ERDOGAN: “TRYING TO DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE AKP IS A GRAVE ERROR”“No one has the right to sow the seeds of conflict and tension in this country,” he said, speaking amid a background of media reports claiming that certain army generals had expressed their discomfort with Turkey’s latest European Union harmonization package, fearing it might encourage “radical” political elements. Erdogan said that the economy was now stabilized and that the summer ahead, in which Turkey is due to pass the EU harmonization package, would bring many economic and social changes to the country. The premier stated that those who were jealous of the government’s achievements were only trying to stir up trouble, adding that these efforts could yield nothing but senseless harm. He also congratulated pop star Sertab Erener for her historic won in Saturday’s Eurovision song contest. In related news, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok is expected to hold a press conference today to clarify the military’s views on the EU accession issue. /Milliyet//
 BAYKAL: “THE AKP SHOULD AVOID STIRRING UP ARTIFICIAL ISSUES”The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government should avoid any actions that might stir up artificial issues or a contrived agenda, said opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday. Baykal made the remarks on television amid recent reports alleging tension between the government and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), and he added that the nation would never forsake its democracy or the republic. /Aksam/
 INDUSTRY AND TRADE MINISTER COSKUN: “TURKEY HAS MANY ‘KEMAL DERVISES’ READY TO TACKLE OUR PROBLEMS”Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun yesterday attended the First Erzincan Economy Summit. Addressing the meeting, Coskun reviewed the economic performance so far of the current administration. He stressed that the 2001 economic crisis had not been a simple one. “Everybody should keep in mind the situation we inherited,” said the minister. Underlining that it was Turkish citizens who had propelled the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power, Coskun said, “Some circles claim that Turkey cannot pay its $72 billion debt this year because the AKP lacks a Kemal Dervis,” referring to the current CHP deputy brought in as an economy minister by Bulent Ecevit’s administration. But, Coskun added, this country has thousands of such “Dervises,” and with them we are fully able to overcome all our difficulties. /Turkiye/
 FORMER PM ECEVIT CAUTIONS AKP TO AVOID TENSIONS WITH MILITARYThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government must take into consideration Turkey’s specific conditions stemming from the country’s founding principles and should avoid any “radical moves” which would jeopardize our republican regime, said former Prime Minister and Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Bulent Ecevit at a press conference yesterday. Asked about military’s reported opposition to certain provisions in the sixth European Union harmonization package, Ecevit stated that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in general and the National Security Council (MGK) in particular play very important roles in the country, adding that he found political speculations on the military to be distressing. “The TSK’s sensitivities should be afforded serious consideration,” stated Ecevit. “Governments should strictly avoid engaging in unnecessary disputes with the military.” The TSK sees itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secular regime, and its alleged role in the country’s civilian politics has been criticized by some domestic circles and international institutions, the European Union foremost among the latter. /Cumhuriyet/
 UKRANIAN PLANE CARRYING SPANISH PEACEKEEPERS CRASHES NEAR TRABZON, KILLING 74A Ukrainian plane carrying troops returning from peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan crashed this morning near the Black Sea city of Trabzon, reportedly killing all 74 people on board. The plane had been en route from Kyrgyzstan to Spain and reportedly crashed amid thick fog while approaching the Trabzon airport for refueling. The plane had carried 62 peacekeeping soldiers and 12 crew members. /Anatolia News Agency/
DE SOTO: “OUR STANCE ON CYPRUS WAS EQUAL TO BOTH SIDES”
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto said this weekend that both sides on the island were dealt with equally during the preparation period of Annan’s failed Cyprus plan. In an interview in Greek daily Elefterotipia yesterday, de Soto stated that many officials from both sides had been consulted while the plan was drawn up. “We didn’t try to impose our views on the Turkish Cypriots, contrary to what Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC] President Rauf Denktas has said,” he stated, adding that he tried to take into consideration both sides’ views. Responding to Denktas’s criticisms that the Turkish side’s views had been ignored when the plan was prepared, de Soto said, “When we first presented a draft plan to the sides, Denktas was reluctant and failed to address the plan in full. Thereafter we finalized it.” /Turkiye/
 ARMENIA: “WE’RE READY TO TALK ABOUT NORMALIZING RELATIONS”The Armenian Foreign Ministry said yesterday that its government was ready to begin talks with Turkey without any preconditions. Speaking to reporters, Foreign Ministry spokesman Dzyunik Agacanyan said that Yerevan wanted to begin to meet with Turkish officials to normalize bilateral relations between the two countries. “During the meetings, we can take up a range of topics and issues,” said the spokesman. The declaration came on the sidelines of Sunday’s parliamentary elections in Armenia, and just days after a resolution recognizing the so-called Armenian genocide passed a key US congressional committee. /Turkiye/
 SERTAB ERENER CAPTURES TURKEY’S FIRST-EVER EUROVISION CROWNPop star Sertab Erener made history on Saturday night by scoring first in the annual Eurovision song contest, the first-ever win for her country Turkey. Erener’s entry, “Every Way That I Can,” with music and words by herself and Demir Demirkan, was performed live in Latvia before an audience of millions across Europe and worldwide. Turkey first competed in Eurovision in 1975, and its previous best showing was in 1997, when Sebnem Paker’s “Dinle” (Listen) placed third. This year marked Turkey’s first entry in English, the language of most other performers. The historic win means that Turkey will play host to the Eurovision 2004 contest. /All papers/
 TURKISH DIRECTOR CEYLAN’S “UZAK” WINS CANNES’ GRAND JURY PRIZETurkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan this weekend was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for his film “Uzak” (Distant) at the 56th Cannes Film Festival. English pop star Sting handed out the prize to Ceylan at the festival’s closing ceremony. Meanwhile, Mehmet Emin Toprak and Muzaffer Ozdemir, who both tragically lost their lives to a traffic accident last year, shared the posthumous Best Actor Prize for their lead roles in Ceylan’s film. Born in Istanbul in 1959, Ceylan studied engineering and film direction. His first short film, “Koza,” was a competition entry at Cannes in 1995, while his first feature, “Kasaba” (The Town), was awarded the Caligari Prize at the 1998 Berlin Film Festival. Ceylan’s “Mayis Sikintisi” (Clouds of May) was awarded the Best Film Prize at the 2000 Brussels Film Festival. /All Papers/
 BESIKTAS SEALS TURKISH SUPER LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPBesiktas yesterday sealed its first Turkish league championship in eight seasons with a 1-0 victory in the big Istanbul derby against Galatasaray. With one game to play, Besiktas is in an unassailable position at the top of the 18-team Super League with 82 points, eight clear of second-placed former UEFA Cup winner Galatasaray. Thousands of fans of the Besiktas “black eagles” celebrated the team’s victory in Ankara, Istanbul and throughout Turkey. /All Papers/
 TURKISH WRESTLER SEREF EROGLU WINS GOLD AT EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPTurkish wrestler Seref Eroglu yesterday won a gold medal at the 50th European Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship held in Belgrade, Serbia- Montenegro. Eroglu toppled his Ukrainian opponent 5-2 in the final match, while teammate Serkan Ozden won a bronze medal in the men’s 74 kg category. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ZIYAL’S WASHINGTON VISIT SET TO MEND STRAINED RELATIONS BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal is soon to pay an official visit to Washington, the date for which has yet to be set. However, it will be a critical visit for both countries, as it presents an opportunity to mend strained relations in the wake of Turkey’s refusal to let US troops deploy here before the Iraq war. If Ziyal’s visit proves to the successful, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is expected to soon follow him. While Ziyal’s visit is intended as an effort to mend relations, Gul’s trip is expected to aim at reinforcing the strategic partnership between our two countries.
‘In times of crisis, it’s the meetings between bureaucrats which are key in mending and smoothing relations,’ one experienced diplomat told me. ‘Politicians, in contrast, pay visits to other countries as an expression of good will. If there is a serious problem between two countries, bureaucrats should visit the country first.’
The most important issue on Ziyal’s agenda with US officials is recent developments in Iraq. What kind of a role is Turkey to play in Iraq’s reconstruction? Since the US doesn’t favor Turkey’s participation in an envisioned ‘multinational stabilization force’ there, our government wants to determine what exactly its role will be. Ziyal is expected to propose to the Bush administration that Turkey contribute to the country’s economic and social reconstruction. As a matter of fact, Ankara is planning to develop projects for the construction of hospitals and schools throughout Iraq, having already completed preparations for doing so in both Kirkuk and Baghdad. In addition, our government is currently preparing projects for upgrading Iraqi agricultural systems.
However, the most important project to be proposed to the US officials is for our country to train Iraqi security forces. This proposal has already been conveyed to the Bush administration in a letter recently sent through US Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson. However, Washington has yet to respond.
Ziyal is also expected to tell the Bush administration that Turkey is dissatisfied by its exclusion from the stabilization force, and how important changing this negative impression is in order to bolster the strategic partnership between our two countries.
Ziyal’s visit will be critical in clarifying what the real problem is between the US and Turkey. All back channels will be bypassed, and the real recovery process will begin after his visit.”
 HOW FAR CAN IT GO? BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on the atmosphere after border crossings recently began on Cyprus. A summary of her column is as follows:
“We’ve been hearing about confused feelings, disappointments, and new friendships after the recent border opening on Cyprus. According to some Greek Cypriot journalists, the masses of Greeks crossing the border in defiance of their government are sending a message of solidarity. However, the warm feelings of the first days’ crossings is starting to fade. Soon people will begin to try to claim property. How long, I wonder, will Turkish and Greek Cypriots remain happy being ‘guests’ on soil they consider stolen? And those who say such disputes can be solved on an individual basis, aren’t they laying the groundwork for the ‘law of the jungle’ and mass chaos?
I’ve heard that neither country is cooperating completely on the legal niceties of the crossings, which is causing problems in terms of security and order. Crossing a border by showing your passport to a country you don’t recognize or waiting in line to apply for a passport from a country which doesn’t recognize you is a hard thing. I don’t think that Turkish Cypriots will accept ‘minority rights’ in return for European Union membership. Sooner or later everybody will insist on his own requests, and this will make the situation harder than expected. At that point, power games will begin and the more powerful player will direct this delicate situation however it wants. Turkish journalists also share this concern. The Turkish and Greek Cypriots say, ‘We’re enjoying this honeymoon, even though we never registered at town hall.’
Following the war in Iraq, Turkey’s direction has seemed muddled. I’ve started to hear people ask where Turkey is going and whether our decision- making process is stumbling. It’s strange that with such a powerful government in Parliament there is so much uncertainty in Turkey. Our government should establish clear decisions and a clear direction.”
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