|Wednesday, 16 June 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 03-06-06
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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
06.06.2003ERDOGAN: “THE TSK IS LEADING TURKEY’S MODERNIZATION PROCESS” GUL: “THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE MGK TO GIVE ITS PERMISSION FOR HARMONIZATION LAWS” UN OFFICIAL DUE IN TURKEY TO PROMOTE “MICRO-CREDIT” POVERTY REDUCTION PROGRAM TUSIAD DELEGATION TO MEET WITH EUROPEAN BUSINESSMEN IN ATHENS REUTERS: “TURKEY’S GENERAL ARE ANXIOUS ABOUT THE AKP GOVERNMENT” TURKISH BUSINESS WORLD PROCLAIMS SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT REFORM EFFORTS EDUCATION MINISTRY, UNICEF BEGIN CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE GIRLS’ EDUCATION FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… MILITARY GUARDIANSHIP ISSUE NOW ON THE TABLE BY ALI BAYRAMOGLU (YENI SAFAK)
 EU PARLIAMENT APPROVES REPORT ON TURKEYThe European Union Parliament yesterday approved a report on Turkey as prepared and later revised by Dutch parliamentarian Arie Oostlander. The report says that if the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government determinedly continues its structural reforms, then Turkey might begin membership negotiations at the end of next year, adding that recent reforms passed by Parliament were welcome, but that they must be actually implemented. The AKP government has a great responsibility to carry out these reforms, stated the report. The EU is due to review Turkey’s accession progress in December 2004.Turkey’s Muslim population is not an obstacle to its EU bid, the report argued, but it also charged that the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) role in politics was holding back the nation’s full democratization. Addressing the Cyprus issue, the report contended that a resolution on the island was a fundamental prerequisite for Turkey’s EU bid. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN: “THE TSK IS LEADING TURKEY’S MODERNIZATION PROCESS”The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is the leader of Turkey’s modernization process, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly told a key European Union figure in Ankara yesterday. During a meeting with Erdogan, European Commissioner Representation in Turkey head Hansjoerg Kretschemer reportedly said that Turkey needed to move to a more typically European political structure, in particular one with less military influence. Erdogan then replied that Turkey’s harmonization with EU values was not an easy task, but that despite some disagreements, the government had a firm resolve to see through Ankara’s EU bid. The TSK is the leader of Turkey’s modernization process, he reportedly stated, adding that though the government-military National Security Council (NSC) had discussed EU harmonization, the final say on the issue belonged to Parliament. /Milliyet/
 GUL: “THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE MGK TO GIVE ITS PERMISSION FOR HARMONIZATION LAWS”After completing his contacts in Madrid, Spain as part of the NATO foreign ministers spring meetings, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday returned to Ankara. Speaking to reporters at Esenboga Airport, Gul said that the authority on the matter of Turkey’s European Union harmonization laws rested with Parliament. He said that important issues were discussed during National Security Council (NSC) meetings, and that the council only makes recommendations to the government, adding, “There is no need to get the council’s permission on all matters. After completing work on it, the government will send the sixth harmonization package to Parliament for debate.” On the recent situation in Iraq, Gul stated that there were many things left to do in the country, calling these “no easy task.” Regarding Poland’s expected command of a peacekeeping force in Iraq, Gul said that this country didn’t know the region well and so would need Turkey’s help. “We are discussing this matter with Polish officials,” he added. “We are giving them the benefit of our knowledge and experience.” Stating that Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal was set to visit the US next week, Gul said that for the time being he himself had no plans to do the same. /Turkiye/
 ZIYAL TO DELIVER LETTER FROM ERDOGAN TO BUSHPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is reportedly writing a letter to US President George W. Bush to be delivered by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal during his visit to the country next week. Yesterday, Erdogan met with Ziyal to discuss Turkish- US relations and Ziyal’s upcoming trip to Washington. In his letter, Erdogan is expected to evaluate recent developments in bilateral relations and to urge improvement in these relations in the days to come. During his visit, Ziyal is set to meet with Marc Grossman, current deputy secretary of state and former US ambassador to Ankara, as well as several congressmen. /Turkiye/
 UN OFFICIAL DUE IN TURKEY TO PROMOTE “MICRO-CREDIT” POVERTY REDUCTION PROGRAMProfessor Muhammad Yunus, a banker from Bangladesh and ambassador for the United Nations Program on HIV_AIDS (UNAIDS), is due in Turkey on Monday to promote his signature poverty reduction initiative, “micro-credit” loans to the rural poor. Yunus is set to meet with Turkish official and deliver a speech at a conference in Diyarbakir, speaking on how the government and international community can cooperate to fight poverty. In 1983 Yunus founded the Grameen Bank, a “village bank” which has lent out over $2 billion in small-scale loans to the rural poor. The Grameen Bank has focused on Yunus’ native country, but he plans to start a pilot program for Turkey in Diyarbakir, one of the country’s less-developed provinces. /Turkiye/
 TUSIAD DELEGATION TO MEET WITH EUROPEAN BUSINESSMEN IN ATHENSA Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) delegation chaired by Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday traveled to Athens to attend a meeting of the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE). UNICE, which bills itself as “the voice of European business,” is to hold a summit in the Greek capital today with an eye towards the June 29 EU summit in Salonica. UNICE is expected to make a number of decisions on business issues to be conveyed to the European heads of state. The summit will be the last under Athens’ current EU term presidency. /Sabah/
 REUTERS: “TURKEY’S GENERAL ARE ANXIOUS ABOUT THE AKP GOVERNMENT”Turkey's powerful generals are living through anxious times, distrustful of a government with Islamist roots and wary of its planned liberal reforms to open the gates of the EU, claimed a Reuters news agency report yesterday. “The ‘Pashas’ [generals] clearly see in some reforms a potential weapon to subvert the state and weaken their role as guardian against separatism and Islamism,” wrote Reuters correspondent Ralph Boulton. “That role is already under unprecedented scrutiny at home and by an EU demanding strict subordination of military to civilians.” In his news analysis, Boulton quoted one Turkish diplomat as saying, “The army is at a turning point. They certainly don't want to be portrayed as obstacles on the path to the EU. But at the same time it deeply disturbs them that the reforms are being championed by this of all governments.” Boulton also added that the military commanders had accused EU countries of aiding the terrorist group PKK-KADEK by failing to completely outlaw it on the continent. /Sabah/
 TURKISH BUSINESS WORLD PROCLAIMS SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT REFORM EFFORTSProminent Turkish businessmen organizations led by the Economic Development Foundation (IKV) yesterday issued a statement expressing their support for the AKP government’s latest reform package. The groups stressed that the AKP government’s sixth European Union harmonization reform package and all other efforts to improve Turkey’s democracy needed everybody’s support. The businessmen also called on the government to take all necessary steps as soon as possible to fulfill the EU’s political and economic criteria. /Sabah/
 EDUCATION MINISTRY, UNICEF BEGIN CAMPAIGN TO PROMOTE GIRLS’ EDUCATIONEducation Minister Huseyin Celik signed a protocol yesterday with Turkey’s UNICEF representative Edmund McLoughney on a joint campaign to promote girls’ education in 10 rural provinces. The campaign, aimed at school-age girls in provinces where schools are few and far between, is designed to narrow the educational gender gap with the slogan “Let’s go to school, girls!” along with other measures. Many studies have shown a correlation between better education for girls and higher living standards for women. /Cumhuriyet/ FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WHY WEREN’T WE THERE? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey’s lack of involvement in recent international developments. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It is commonly believed in many quarters that Turkey has been excluded from certain recent important international developments. For the media, these include:
Last weekend’s G-8 summit in Evian, France * The new Middle East peace process, started with US President George W. Bush’s initiative in Jordan 1. Efforts for establishing a new political and economic structure in postwar Iraq and the planned multinational peacekeeping force
The media and certain politicians are asking why Turkey hasn’t been present at these meetings and initiatives while many other countries, in contrast, have participated.
First of all, Turkey needn’t develop an inferiority complex just because it wasn’t invited to certain meetings. In addition, the importance and standing of a country on the international stage doesn’t depend on its appearance at this or that activity. Let’s re-consider the above list.
The G-8 summit was held with French President Jacques Chirac’s initiative and with the participation of 13 countries plus four international institutions from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Some of the guest countries were truly undeveloped, such as Senegal and Nigeria. Of course Turkey doesn’t fall in this category. Some of the issues discussed at the summit directly interested other guest countries such as China and India. Greece attended the meeting in its capacity as the European Union’s term president. So concluding from our not being invited that the West doesn’t want us and so is excluding us is both mistaken and humiliating.
The same thing can be said for the peace initiative in the Middle East. The ‘road map’ is a plan prepared months ago by the Bush administration along with the EU, the United Nations and Russia. Bush tried to impose this plan first on Arab leaders and then on Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Of course at this stage, Turkey can’t really help with it, but then it might be able to make contributions later. Thus, there is no need to feel that Turkey was excluded.
As for the Iraq issue, it’s a fact that for the time being the US is keeping Turkey at a distance from developments here. This is the result of the deep injury in Turkish-US relations caused by Ankara’s stance during the Iraq war. As we ask why we aren’t at the table, we should re-examine our Iraq policies and work on getting a future place at the table. Our participation in key international developments depends on our producing new and smarter policies.”
 MILITARY GUARDIANSHIP ISSUE NOW ON THE TABLE 2. BY ALI BAYRAMOGLU (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Ali Bayramoglu comments on the Turkish military’s role in politics. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Yesterday the European Parliament approved a report on Turkey which will surely have considerable influence on the country’s future path to European Union accession. The report opened a new chapter in Turkish-EU relations and the country’s pledge to pass necessary reforms for membership in the Union. And we once again witnessed that the bulk of the issue, for the EU, too, lies in Turkey’s worst chronic problem: The ‘military’s guardianship’ over our nation’s democracy, political parties and political life.
It is quite natural for the EU to voice such considerations as Turkey draws closer to the Union threshold, and time runs out for us to comply with its criteria. Nevertheless, this report constituted a first. The EU has so far refrained from addressing the military issue head- on out of awareness of Turkey’s sensitivities on the matter. But as we see now, the military guardianship issue has effectively become a part of the criteria and the EU’s agenda with Turkey.
Here’s what the report said:
The country’s military establishment has an overwhelming influence over the state and society, and it constitutes a barrier to Turkey’s future progress in strengthening its democratic, pluralist system. 3. The National Security Council (NSC) must be abolished in the long term, or its structure and function in the state mechanism must be changed. Military representatives must withdraw from institutions such as the Higher Board of Education (YOK) and the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) in order to provide them with real autonomy.
Moreover, it is very likely that the EU will later raise such issues as the status of the General Staff and military expenditures and decisions.
We have been discussing the military issue in Turkey for many years now. Significant intellectual and political struggles to eliminate the military guardianship over the country’s civilian politics have their roots in rejection of the military influence. As a matter of fact, no democratic standard, including the EU criteria, can co-exist with the military guardianship mentality. It is clear that there is a negative correlation between this mentality, rationalized by a ‘national security’ discourse, and a country’s level of plurality and maturity of political culture. For years, the architects of this mentality have tried to affirm and legitimize the institutions and practices of the military guardianship by directly citing the country’s ‘special conditions.’
We are at a point now where we either have to recognize that these ‘special conditions’ are actually imaginary ones which have pushed Turkey off the democratic path or we will turn them into real ones, which, in the end, would result in further deterioration of our democracy.
It is much clearer now why the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had certain anxieties about the European Union. Future EU harmonization packages set to follow the current one are likely to give raise to much more heated debates and sharp conflicts, should they propose further reforms on the issue.”
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