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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-03
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
03.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 SEZER TO FLY TO ROMANIA TODAY FOR TRILATERAL SUMMITPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer is due to fly to Romania today for a trilateral summit between Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria where he will meet with his counterparts from those countries, Ion Iliescu and Georgi Purvanov. The three presidents are expected to exchange views on a number of regional and international issues as well as cooperation between the three countries. /Star/
 GUL TO PARTICIPATE IN NATO FOREIGN MINISTERS’ SPRING MEETINGSForeign Minister Abdullah Gul is set to participate in the NATO foreign ministers’ spring meetings beginning in Madrid, Spain today. Gul is to expected meet with his counterparts from fellow member countries at the North Atlantic Council, NATO’s top decision-making body. The council is to review the implementation of decisions and initiatives begun at last year’s Prague summit. /Star/
 DENKTAS: “IF TURKS WERE EXPANSIONIST, GREEK CYPRUS WOULD BE TURKISH LAND BY NOW”Greek Cyprus would have already been Turkish land if the Turks had any expansionist tendencies, said Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday. Taking sharp exception to Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos’ recent remarks that talks between Turkish and Greek Cyprus would be aimed towards ending the “Turkish invasion” of the island, Denktas charged that Papadopoulos was deliberately turning a blind eye to massacres of Turks perpetrated by the Greek Cypriots between 1963 and 1974, when Turkey itself intervened in the cause of peace. “Pretending as if nothing happened during those years will avail Papadopoulos nothing,” added Denktas. /Hurriyet/
 US REJECTS TURKISH CALL FOR ANNUAL PARTNERSHIP MEETINGSWashington has rejected Ankara’s call to hold annual meetings of the Joint Defense Group and Economic Partnership Group, two important bodies reinforcing partnership relations between Turkey and the US. The US rejection was characterized by some sources as a reaction to Turkey’s “less- than-supportive” attitude towards the US in its war against Iraq. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY, GREECE CONTINUE TO DISCUSS AEGEAN ISSUESTurkey and Greece are continuing contacts to find resolutions to their issues over the Aegean. Yesterday, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal met with Greek Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Anastase Skopelitis in Ankara. Following their three-and-a-half hour meeting, the officials said that their talks had been fruitful. Turkey wants to comprehensively address such issues as the continental shelves, airspace, islets and territorial waters, while Greece claims that the sole Aegean issue is continental shelves, which it says should be decided by the Court of International Justice. The next meeting on these issues is scheduled to be held in Athens in July. /Cumhuriyet/
 CICEK: “TURKEY’S EU BID IS A VITAL ISSUE, ONE WHICH THE NATION CAN’T FORSAKE”Speaking after yesterday’s six-hour Cabinet meeting, Justice Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek said that the nation’s European Union membership bid was a vital issue for Turkey, one which the nation could not forsake. “The government’s National Program will be published at the end of this month,” said Cicek. He said that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had briefed his fellow Cabinet ministers on recent developments concerning Turkey’s EU bid, adding that the stance of the EU countries had been very positive of late and that the government would carry out all needed reforms as soon as possible. “Parliament will work overtime if necessary to pass the EU harmonization package,” he stated, saying that the government didn’t want to miss the EU opportunity and that there was no need for hesitation on the package. Also touching on social security and health services, Cicek said that members of both public and private pension funds could now receive medical treatment at health institutions affiliated with the Health and Labor and Social Security Ministries. /Turkiye/
 GEN. OZKOK: “BY LEAVING KADEK OFF ITS TERRORIST GROUP LIST, THE EU IS ENCOURAGING TERRORISM”The European Union is effectively encouraging the terrorist organization KADEK-PKK by not including its most recent name on the Union’s official list of terrorist groups, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok charged yesterday. Speaking at the opening day of the Silk Road-2003 Flag Officers Seminar, Ozkok stated that terrorism was one of the most dire issues facing the world today. “KADEK’s absence from the EU list constitutes a kind of support for the bloody acts this terrorist organization has perpetrated up to now,” he asserted. Last spring – after years of delay – the EU added the PKK to its terrorist list, whereupon the terrorist group quickly changed its name to KADEK, which has yet to be added to the list. In addition, Ozkok stressed that Turkey wanted to participate actively in the reconstruction of Iraq and make substantial contributions to that process. He also called for the preservation of Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the use of its natural resources to provide prosperity for the Iraqi people. /Turkiye/
 CB HEAD TO MEET WITH ERDOGAN TO DISCUSS RECENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS, POSSIBLE INTEREST RATE CUTCentral Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti is expected to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today to brief him on recent economic developments and the CB’s monetary policy. During the meeting, Serdengecti will reportedly discuss the balance between interest rates and currency exchange rates. One of the key issues to be discussed at the meeting could be a possible interest rate cut, an issue on which the CB has yet to decide. The CB is weighing the issue on the basis of recent inflation figures, the budget, and monetary policy. Serdengecti last week also briefed Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan on recent developments on Turkey’s budget. In related news, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan reiterated yesterday that the CB was an autonomous institution which would independently decide on a possible interest rate cut. “Price stability is important, but I believe that the CB will also consider other factors,” said Babacan. /Milliyet/
 ANNUAL CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT REVISED UPWARD TO $6.1 BILLIONState Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan announced yesterday that Turkey’s expected annual current account deficit, previously set at $3.7 billion, had been revised to $6.1 billion due to problems in structural reforms. He cited appreciation of the lira, higher private sector demand, and the Iraq war’s negative effects on tourism as factors driving the revision. “We’ve also revised our tourism revenues to $7.9 billion,” added Babacan. “However, April statistics show the primary surplus target of 6.5% on track. We have taken all necessary measures to reach this goal.” Babacan added that structural reforms had been deviated from somewhat, but that regulations as part of these reforms would be completed as soon as possible. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN RECEIVES HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received members of the Bursa Cinar High School boy’s basketball team, winners of a gold medal at last week’s World High School Basketball Championships held in Brazil. Erdogan and Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin both congratulated the young athletes on their success. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE MILITARY’S FOREIGN POLICY BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the Turkish Armed Forces’ new stance on foreign policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Statements made recently by high-ranking commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) demonstrate that the General Staff’s stance on foreign policy has changed a great deal. Considering in particular the statements of Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and his deputy Gen. Yasar Buyukanit last week concerning international issues, the TSK now has a more distinct, independent and critical stance on foreign policy. The evaluations made previously by certain generals on certain issues had signalled the TSK’s new stance.
Basically the TSK’s views on relations with the West (including the US and European Union) agree with policies which have been followed for a long time now. Likewise, Gen. Buyukanit emphasized this issue in his remarks on the EU. In his statements dealing with NATO, Gen. Ozkok confirmed Turkey’s faith in this partnership. However, neither commander hesitated to express their doubts on the West about certain problems, to take a critical stance and to express their intention to follow a different policy.
In spite of Gen. Buyukanit’s statements about the TSK’s determination to help Turkey join the EU, his reservation about certain EU conditions were clear. In addition, yesterday Gen. Ozkok criticized the EU’s stance on the PKK-KADEK terrorist organization and even accused the West of supporting this group. Turkish military leaders have diverging opinions concerning the reforms which the EU expects Turkey to fulfill. The TSK’s top ranks are concerned that these legal changes will create a threat to Turkey’s territorial integrity and national unity. In other words, as Gen. Buyukanit stated, there is a difference of ‘perception of threat’ in these circles. Clearly this approach is at odds with the stance of the government and the diplomatic staff.
Western analysts were surprised at the TSK’s hesitation to promote solidarity with the US before the war in Iraq. Now some Americans say that they are unable to figure out the new approach of the Turkish military leadership, but their expectations are mistaken. As far as Gen. Buyukanit’s meaningful statements last week are concerned, we can say that the TSK is very sensitive about the US’ insistence and very disturbed about these kinds of pressures. All these issues show the TSK’s new stance on foreign policy.”
 THE GENERALS’ MESSAGES TO ‘POWERFUL COUNTRIES’ BY ERHAN BASYURT (ZAMAN)Columnist Erhan Basyurt comments on recent statements by two top Turkish military leaders, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and his deputy Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) role in our political decision-making mechanisms has been the object of recent criticism from both the European Union and the United States.
The EU argues that military affairs in Turkey are not controlled as they should be by the civilian administration, a situation which it sees as an obstacle to starting Turkey’s membership negotiations. It also claims that the TSK is blocking certain political reforms that our Parliament needs to approve towards fulfilling the EU’s political criteria.
The US had taken an impartial stance on this issue prior to the Iraq war, but is now criticizing the TSK for entirely different reasons. Some US officials have accused the Turkish military of failing to ‘veto’ the elected civilian government’s position on the war in Iraq. The Turkish army’s statements during the war stressing ‘red lines’ and ‘unilateral action’ were regarded by these US officials as ‘unpleasant threats.’
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok last week spoke to a group of Turkish journalists to address recent media reports alleging a growing disaffection with the current Islamist-oriented government among low-level Turkish soldiers. Vehemently denying these reports, Gen. Ozkok tried to lay out the reasons behind the Turkish military’s recent stance on Iraq. Then just a few days later, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit delivered a key speech at a ‘Globalization and International Security’ symposium, a speech carrying sharp messages to both the EU and the US. Stressing that there had been much media speculation over the military's unhappiness with the current government, Buyukanit blasted such reports as nothing but ‘unjustified attacks.’ He also added that the TSK had never opposed Turkey’s EU membership, a goal which it has always seen a ‘must’ for the country’s welfare. He also called on the EU to give up its prejudices against Turkey.
Buyukanit also conveyed important messages to the US, using the veiled term ‘powerful countries,’ which includes both the US and developed European countries. Underlining that developed and developing countries have divergent definitions of national threats, he criticized ‘powerful countries’ for imposing their own understanding of security on other countries and jeopardizing these countries’ national interests in the process.
He also added that powerful countries had tried to chasten developing countries by using ‘asymmetric strategies’ such as ‘supporting separatist indigenous movements’ and ‘cutting financial assistance.’ Buyukanit also argued that globalization was sometimes a tool for powerful countries to exploit developing countries, for instance by taking advantage of ethnic tensions.
The statements by these two generals demonstrate that the TSK has new perspectives on Turkey’s national policies.”
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