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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-05
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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
05.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN RECEIVES MOLDAVAN PM TARLEVPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his visiting Moldavan counterpart Vasile Tarlev. The two leaders signed six agreements boosting bilateral cooperation in various areas. At a joint press conference, Erdogan said that Turkey favored Moldava’s territorial integrity and that issues should be solved by dialogue. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TO ATTEND AKP PROVINCIAL CONGRESSES IN RUNUP TO SPRING 2004 LOCAL ELECTIONSPrime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is getting ready for a busy summer, during which he is set to attend 22 AKP provincial congresses in the runup to next April’s local elections. He is set to start his tour on June 22 from Tekirdag and Istanbul. The AKP reportedly considers the Young Party (GP) to be its only rival during the upcoming elections. “Don’t let the GP become successful,” Erdogan told his party’s provincial chairmen in a meeting on Tuesday. “Organize well for the local elections.” The GP fell just below the representation threshold in last fall’s parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, the prime minister will address Turkey’s citizens on state channel TRT on Friday to tell them about recent government initiatives. /Turkiye/
 GEN. ERUYGUR ASKS AZERBAIJANI PRESIDENT TO SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION OF TRNCChief Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Sener Eruygur yesterday asked Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev to throw his support behind international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). During an official visit to Baku, Eruygur was received by Aliyev. During their meeting, Eruygur reportedly pointed to the intense pressure on Turkey to accept UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. Eruygur stated that now was the proper time for the recognition of the TRNC, stressing that Turkey needed the support of Azerbaijan, one of its key allies. /Turkiye/
 VERHEUGEN: “TURKEY HAS 18 MONTHS LEFT TO COMPLETE ITS REFORMS, AND THE GOVT IS DETERMINED CARRY THESE OUT”Speaking at the European Parliament yesterday, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said that Turkey had 18 months left in which to carry out necessary reforms for its EU membership bid. “Turkey doesn’t have much time, but I believe that the government is determined to implement the reforms,” said Verheugen. “The EU will continue to support Turkey’s reform process.” The EU is due to review Turkey’s accession progress at its December 2004 summit. /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS: “THE EU’S ECONOMIC PACKAGE FOR THE TRNC IS UNACCEPTABLE”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday expressed dissatisfaction about a recently announced European Union package designed to promote economic development and European integration in the TRNC. Denktas blasted the package as “unacceptable” unless it were substantially revised so as to conform with the realities on the island. “As it stands now, the package is nothing but yet another attempt to bring us under Greek sway,” added the Turkish Cypriot president. /Milliyet/
 CENTRAL BANK CUTS KEY INTEREST RATESTurkey’s Central Bank yesterday cut its key overnight borrowing rate by three percentage points to 38 percent in the aftermath of the release of May inflation figures. The CB said it was cutting its overnight borrowing rate from 41 percent and its lending rate from 48 percent to 45 percent. In addition, it slashed its one-week borrowing rate from 41 percent to 38 percent. A CB statement said that the bank was aiming for price stability as well as the inflation target decided jointly with the government. Private banks use the key CB rates as benchmarks for their own interest rates. The rate cuts had been long expected and called for, but the CB said that its decision had been based on inflation considerations and nothing else. /All Papers/
 MEDIA LEADER ERCAN ARIKLI LAID TO RESTVatan Media Group head Ercan Arikli, who lost his life after being struck by a bus on Tuesday, was laid to rest yesterday in Istanbul. A commemorative ceremony was also held at the entrance to Vatan’s headquarters. Present at the ceremony were Arikli’s family, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, Vatan Board of Directors Chairman Zafer Mutlu, colleagues and fellow journalists, along with many businessmen, artists and other mourners. /All Papers/
 REVISION REPORTED IN TURKEY’S NORTHERN IRAQ POLICYDue to the shifting postwar political and strategic balances in northern Iraq and the country in general, Ankara has reportedly decided to revise its policy on Iraq. Accordingly, instead of confining its policy mainly to Ankara’s security concerns in northern Iraq, Turkey is to assume a wider perspective taking in a broader picture of the country’s situation. Moreover, Ankara is planning to relax its so-called “red lines” regarding Kurdish groups in the region and adopt a more flexible position aimed at alleviating Iraqi Kurdish concerns that “Turkey could intervene in northern Iraq at any moment.” However, Ankara has no intention of wavering from its steadfast opposition to any independent Kurdish state being formed in the region. /Hurriyet/
 YSK REPORTEDLY OPPOSED TO FOREIGN OBSERVANCE OF ELECTIONSThe Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) strictly opposes a provision of the government’s sixth European Union harmonization package which would allow international non-governmental institutions (NGOs) to send observers to Turkey’s elections, YSK sources said yesterday. “We allowed such foreign representatives to monitor our elections in the past, including last year’s general elections,” said one source. “But to legally oblige our permitting this would contradict the constitutional principle of our country’s independence.” /Cumhuriyet/
 EP DEPUTIES OBJECT TO OOSTLANDER’S TURKEY REPORTA large group of European Parliament (EP) deputies voiced strong criticisms during yesterday’s debate of a report on Turkey prepared by Dutch parliamentarian Arie Oostlander, and had their objections formally recorded in the official record. Their group statement said that the EU’s stance towards Turkey should be free of any religious considerations, adding that its EU candidacy could not be rejected on the grounds of cultural differences. The EP lacks any authority to make binding decisions on Turkey’s EU membership bid, but such reports can be influential. The full EP is due to vote today on Oostlander’s report, which was revised from an earlier draft after objections from Turkey and other quarters. /Cumhuriyet/
 OZPETEK FILM WINS FOUR ITALIAN MOVIE AWARDS, INCLUDING BEST PICTURE“Karsi Pencere” (The Window Opposite), the latest film from famed Turkish director Ferzan Ozpetek, yesterday picked up four awards from Italian movie magazine Ciak. In addition to Best Picture, composer Andrea Guerra was honored for the Best Score, Giovanna Mezzogiorno as Best Actress, and Serra Yilmaz as Best Supporting Actress. The film, an Italian-language production also known as “La Finestra di fronte,” has also been nominated for nine awards in the Nastrsi d’Argento (Silver Ribbon) awards, Italy’s second- highest film accolade, which are due to be handed out on June 14. Ozpetek’s other films include “Hamam” and “Le Fate ignoranti.” /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DEMOCRACY HAS WORKED, BUT... BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on Turkish-US relations and Turkey’s democracy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We’re all closely following US President George W. Bush’s tour of Europe and the Middle East from our TVs. Besides the G-8 meeting and the Palestinian-Israeli peace summit, the US president is holding meetings all over the world, from Poland to Russia to Egypt. He is trying to determine what went wrong between Europe and his country during the Iraq war and to mend strained relations. However, Turkey was invited to none of these meetings and was absent from Bush’s itinerary. Our prime minister is watching these meetings on TV like everybody else.
The reason is quite simple. Bush thinks that since Turkey refused US troop deployment within its territories prior to the Iraq war, its future attitude concerning the next possible crisis is a question mark. Bush knows or thinks he can predict what other US allies and anti-US circles would do during such a period of crisis. However, Turkey is an enigma to Washington, which is why this is a period of pronounced distance, of coldness. Under these circumstances, Turkey should immediately decide which way it will go.
Washington’s attitude is clear. Although it recently opened its doors to Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal, it has yet to make an appointment with our foreign minister, ignoring his clearly-expressed wish to visit the US. By the way, what would happen if our prime minister or foreign minister were to visit Washington now? What would change if they met with Bush, Cheney or Powell? Wouldn’t they be scolded once more as if they had done something wrong? ‘We wanted cooperation so badly, but your government let us down,’ the US officials would probably say. Would our top- level officials dare to promise future cooperation Parliament’s independent will notwithstanding? We can of course argue that our Parliament did the right thing and safeguarded our nation’s interests. ‘Parliament resisted the US despite our economic difficulties,’ we can proudly say. However, Turkey owes its present situation – in other words its isolation from world politics – to a Parliament which paid heed to the feelings of ordinary citizens. Previously the US has made countless statements promoting Turkish democracy. The US has always favored the improvement of our democracy. Maybe Turkish democracy worked for the first time, but it worked erroneously...”
 WHERE IS THE US HEADED? BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on Turkish-US relations and the postwar period in Iraq and the Middle East. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The US is not only our ally, but also now our neighbor, because it’s settled in the region and holding sway there again. When our ‘faraway ally’ became our ‘neighbor,’ strife followed. The US and Turkey have different stances on northern Iraq’s Kurds. The US is putting great pressure on Iran and Syria, but Turkey is looking after its own security and economic interests and so doesn’t want to break with these two countries. Of course breaking with such a huge country, that is, the US, wouldn’t work to Turkey’s advantage, but is being a huge country enough?
How much does the West, especially the US, know about this region? Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the US has considered Saudi Arabia’s regime to be ‘dangerous.’ However, it used to believe the Saudis to be their own ‘American fortress’ in the region. Now the US is facing a dilemma: The Mideast’s closed regimes produce threats of terrorism against the US or else foster and nourish terrorism. Yet at the same time, the transition to democracy opens the door for masses angry at the US taking power. US academic Yitzhak Nakash’s 1995 book ‘The Shi’is of Iraq’ is a very valuable account. However, politically Nakash was thinking along these lines: ‘Iraq’s Shiites are different from Iranian ones, that is, they are moderate. Recently fundamentalism has been emerging from Islam’s Sunni and Wahabi elements. The US should cooperate with Iraq’s Shiites.’ I think the Shiites’ revolt against Saddam Hussein caused Nakash to see them as similar to himself. However, the US wasn’t welcomed in Iraq with bouquets of flowers as some expected, and the Shiites are leading the revolt, and of course democracy will bring the Shiites to power in Iraq.
The US is keeping the pressure on Iran and Syria in hopes of deterring Iran from the Iraqi Shiites and keeping these two countries down by so as to facilitate peace in Israel. If peace were established in Palestine, one of the region’s shackles would be lifted. The Arab world would turn to a more pragmatic and liberal direction. This would benefit both Turkey and the rest of the world, if only one condition is fulfilled: the ‘peace’ which the US makes them sign should be fair and realistic. Otherwise such a ‘peace’ would only encourage more radicalism in the region. The Iraq war has already damaged the US’ image, and cries against it are growing louder every day. The US should wake up from its Mideast slumber and moreover recognize once again the Turkey’s value and important role.”
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