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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-10
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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
10.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… BUREAUCRATIC OLIGARCHY BY NURAY MERT (RADIKAL) A TEST FOR TURKEY BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
 SEZER APPROVES LABOR LAWPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday approved a Labor Law that was prepared after long discussions between the government, worker representatives and employers. The new Labor Law includes new regulations on employee-employer relations. Labor and Social Security Minister Murat Basesgioglu told reporters that he welcomed the president’s approval, adding, “The new law is a comprehensive measure bringing forth new concepts and institutions to our working life.” /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN TELEPHONES BERLUSCONI, DISCUSSES BLUE STREAM, TURKEY’S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday telephoned his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi to exchange views on the Blue Stream natural gas pipeline, a project partially financed by Italy. The two reportedly agreed to set a date for the project’s completion ceremony after consulting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Telling Berlusconi that Turkey’s sixth harmonization package would soon be debated in Parliament, Erdogan asked the Italian leader to support Ankara’s further advancement towards EU membership. On July 1, Italy is set to become the EU’s new term president for six months. /Turkiye/
 LUXEMBOURG PM JUNCKER PRAISES TURKEY’S EFFORTS TOWARDS EU MEMBERSHIPPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his visiting Luxembourg counterpart Jean-Claude Junncker to discuss a number of issues, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid. During their meeting, Juncker said he appreciated the government’s efforts for the nation’s EU bid, but added that the EU also needed to see implementation of the reforms. For his part, Erdogan urged Juncker to work to add KADEK to Luxembourg’s list of terrorist organizations. Speaking after their meeting, Juncker said that Turkey’s human rights situation was progressing with each passing day, adding that if Parliament both passes and implements the harmonization package, then Turkey might begin accession negotiations with the Union in the first half of 2005. /Milliyet/
 GUL MEETS WITH OZKOK, DECIDES TO SEND EU PACKAGE TO PARLIAMENT TODAYForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to discuss the sixth European Union harmonization package and other matters. Speaking after their meeting, Gul said that they discussed a number of issues such as Cyprus, the Agean disputes, NATO, and Turkey’s EU bid, and decided that it was appropriate for the government to send the EU harmonization package to Parliament today, without any further delay. In related news, Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday met with Gul to discuss the harmonization package. Speaking after their meeting, Ozilhan said that he appreciated the government’s efforts to pass the package, adding that its implementation carried great importance for Turkey to begin membership negotiations with the Union. “As a non-governmental organization [NGO] we stand by our government, because we see its determination on the issue,” he said. For his part, Gul said that the TUSIAD head had briefed him about his recent visit to the United States. /Aksam/
 GUL: “THE EMBARGO ON THE TRNC MUST BE LIFTED”The illegal economic embargo on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) must be lifted, declared Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. Meeting with TRNC Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu in Ankara, Gul said both Ankara and Lefkosa were always ready to take positive steps for a lasting settlement on the island. “However,” he added, “these initiatives shouldn’t be one sided. The European Union’s economic embargo on the TRNC must be lifted, and soon.” The European Union recently announced a new economic assistance package for the TRNC, but it fell short of actually lifting the embargo. /Turkiye/
MALAYSIA, PAKISTAN BEGIN ERDOGAN’S SUMMER STATE TRIPS ABROAD
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a busy travel schedule beginning this week and stretching, with breaks, through the middle of next month. This Thursday he is due to travel to Malaysia, where he will stay through Saturday, whereupon he will proceed to Pakistan for a three-day official visit. Accompanied by several government ministers, Erdogan will discuss regional and bilateral relations with his counterparts in these countries. He is also scheduled to attend the European Union’s Salonika summit on June 20-21 where the Iraq, Middle East, and European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) issues will be discussed. In addition, on July 1-2, he is scheduled to visit Portugal, and on July 11-12, Austria. /Turkiye/
 US CONGRESSMEN SEND LETTER TO BUSH PROTESTING WOLFOWTIZ’S CRITICISMS OF TURKEYSeventeen members of the US House of Representatives, including Rep. Barney Frank, yesterday sent a letter to President George W. Bush protesting recent controversial remarks by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz critical of Turkey. Early last month, Wolfowitz set off a firestorm by saying the Turkish military should have done more to ensure parliamentary passage of a measure for US troop deployments prior to the Iraq war. Many in Turkey accused Wolfowitz of undermining Ankara’s democracy, a grave error in the current regional-Middle Eastern climate, criticisms recently echoed by a number of US congressmen, including long-serving Senator Robert Byrd as well as Frank, who last month openly called on the House floor for Wolfowitz’s resignation. In yesterday’s letter, Frank and his colleagues accused the senior defense official of disrespect for Turkey’s democracy, adding that Wolfowitz’s remarks should not be taken to reflect their own views. /Cumhuriyet/
 PERLE: “LACK OF SUPPORT FROM ANKARA ON SYRIA AND IRAN WOULD BE DISASTROUS FOR TURKISH-US RELATIONS”Turkey’s support on Washington’s looming agenda in the Middle East is crucial for healthy bilateral relations, argued a key Pentagon advisor yesterday. Speaking in Washington at an American Enterprise Institute panel on the future of post-Iraq war Turkish-US relations, Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle said that the Bush administration would seek Ankara’s future help in dealing with countries alleged to support terrorism and in containing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). In particular, he warned that a lack of support from Ankara for the US approach on Syria and Iran would be “disastrous” for healthy bilateral relations, already strained since the Iraq war. “There are a number of issues on which our two countries should always cooperate,” added Perle, a noted hawk. /Cumhuriyet/
 ZIYAL TELLS US AMBASSADOR PEARSON OF TURKEY’S NEW POSTWAR IRAQ POLICYForeign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal yesterday reportedly briefed US Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson on Turkey’s recently revised policy on Iraq. Ziyal told Pearson that Turkey had adjusted its Iraq policy to the current postwar conditions by taking into consideration the region’s new facts on the ground. He also stressed that Turkey was ready to launch significant projects in Iraq on economic, commercial and social issues. /Hurriyet/
 WASHINGTON POST: “SHIFT IN US MILITARY STRATEGY COULD END UP REPLACING BASES IN TURKEY”In a news analysis published yesterday, the Washington Post argued that the Bush administration was creating a network of far-flung military bases designed to counter terrorists and other unpredictable threats, in a strategy shift that could end up replacing existing bases in Turkey and other countries. “The new network of bases corresponds to what defense officials call an ‘arc of instability’ that runs from the Andean region in the Southern Hemisphere through North Africa to the Middle East and into Southeast Asia,” wrote correspondent Vernon Loeb. “Many of the major bases on which [the US] had relied, such as those in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Germany and South Korea, will be replaced by dozens of spartan ‘forward operating bases’ in southern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, maintained only by small, permanent support units, [Andy] Hoehn [deputy assistant secretary of defense for strategy] and other defense officials said.” /All Papers/
 EU OFFICIAL: “ANNAN’S PLAN IS THE BEST AND ONLY SOLUTION TO THE CYPRUS PROBLEM”Speaking to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, European Union delegation on Cyprus head Adrian Van Der Meer stated yesterday that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan was the best and only solution to the island’s problems. “Annan’s plan is based on the idea of equality between the two sides,” argued Van Der Meer. “We support a unified Cyprus made up of two equal constituent states. The [current] presence of two separate states violates the principles of international law.” /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKISH DIPLOMAT ULKUMEN, RESCUER OF JEWS DURING WW II, DIES AT 89Selahattin Ulkumen, a Turkish diplomat who saved scores of Jews from being sent to concentration camps during World War II, died of a cardiac arrest over the weekend. He was 89. In 1944, Ulkuman was Turkey’s consul-general on the Greek island of Rhodes when its occupying Nazi forces ordered the deportation of all Jews. He bravely stood up against deportations and protested to the German officer in change, and later issued exit visas to Jewish families, a stand that ended up saving some 40 Jewish families from almost certain death. His house in Rhodes was bombed in retaliation, and his pregnant wife later died from injuries. In 2001, Ulkumen – nicknamed a “Turkish Schindler” – was honored with the Supreme Service Medal, Turkey’s highest honor, as well as a medal from Israel for saving Jews. Jerusalem’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum awarded Ulkumen the title of Righteous Among the Nations in 1990. "All I did was carry out my duty as a human being," Ulkumen told daily Vatan of his heroic acts. /Turkish Daily News, wires/
 MODERATE QUAKE IN BANDIRMA, NO CASUALTIES REPORTEDA moderate earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale last night struck the town of Bandirma in the northwestern province of Balikesir at approximately 11:14 p.m. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Balikesir Governor Atil Uzelgun had told him that no casualties were being reported, but that reports were still coming in from outlying areas. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 BUREAUCRATIC OLIGARCHYBY NURAY MERT (RADIKAL)
Columnist Nuray Mert writes about a perceived bureaucratic domination over democratic institutions in Turkey. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Evaluating the contours of Turkish politics at the grand opening for a shopping mall over the weekend, our ‘merchant politician’ Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, ‘There’s a bureaucratic oligarchy in Turkey, a group which plays even with politics with the tip of its finger.’ As you may know, our prime minister loves making grandiose statements, and apparently this time, he sincerely believed that what he said was completely novel and groundbreaking. Someone should tell him that the so- called ‘bureaucracy issue’ has been discussed for many years now, and that the progress of the debate is far from being explanatory or sound.
Making bureaucracy the scapegoat for all our country’s problems has been a widely accepted political practice since the time of our late President Turgut Ozal. There are various reasons for this. – Have you gotten yourself into political hot water? Just blame the bureaucracy and let the rest take care of itself! – Let’s remember what our great politician Mesut Yilmaz, who last fall successfully swept away the Motherland Party (ANAP) from the political scene, once said at a group meeting in November 2000: ‘The status quo is ANAP’s greatest enemy.’ Well, I guess that he now consoles himself with thoughts that it was the same status quo that led to the demise of his party.
As I stated above, opposition to ‘the status quo,’ ‘the system,’ ‘bureaucracy’ and ultimately ‘oligarchy’ has been endemic since Ozal. Our ‘great’ Turkish liberals always complain that appointed bureaucrats rule over the elected politicians. However, this is a very shallow analysis of democracy and politics. First of all, depicting bureaucracy as consisting of mere unnecessary formalities is both wrong and deceptive. Criticizing the functions and authority of bureaucracy is one thing; rejecting bureaucracy is another altogether. A preservation of the bureaucratic framework to ensure the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances does not serve to enervate democracies. On the contrary, they are the very grounds upon which healthy democracies function. The barrier to democratization in Turkey is not bureaucratic institutions but rather a lack of mutual understanding among different state positions. As a result, tensions keep cropping up between political institutions.”
 A TEST FOR TURKEY BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the sixth European Union harmonization package. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The government seems to be determined to present the sixth harmonization package to Parliament this week. This will be a test for Turkey’s democracy. For the first time, our political leaders will bring a reform to Parliament without first getting the military’s say-so. The military leaders object to certain articles of this package. Obviously Parliament will support it, as will the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The real problem is how the military will react. What will the General Staff’s reaction be? The package will be brought to Parliament before the National Security Council (NSC) meeting to be held at the end of this month, so can the military leaders block it? Or will the commanders reconcile themselves to merely express their opinions and concerns?
Government officials consider Turkey’s taking this brave step necessary for the following reasons:
The sixth harmonization package is one of the legislative measures which Turkey must take to comply with the European Union accession criteria. Turkey has made a commitment which it must meet it as soon as possible. 3. The government has noted the military’s view. However, our political leaders are adopting the reforms and considering their implementation as a requirement of Turkey’s EU strategy. In fact, other reform packages are set to follow this one. Abandoning or making concessions to the package so as to not cross the military would send a dangerous message that our politics are dominated by the military and so put Turkey into a difficult situation in the eyes of both the EU and international public opinion.
Actually, in their latest statements, our military leaders have emphasized the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) devotion to Ankara’s EU bid and tried to dispel certain negative impressions on this issue. However, the General Staff is concerned about certain political reforms, and for this reason it’s questioning the EU’s intentions. This is continuing to be a subject of discussion not only between the military and civilian sectors, but also among some civilian circles with conflicting opinions.
In fact this isn’t about just the harmonization program, meeting the EU’s expectations or paving the road for membership negotiations. Aren’t we always saying that the Turkish people deserve modernization and the democratic rights and freedoms which they have long sought? Even if Turkey had no EU bid, could it give up these reforms? Meeting these criteria is necessary to advance Turkey’s national interests, isn’t it? Accepting and implementing the sixth harmonization package and the coming reform laws is a test for our nation. It is a test of our devotion to democracy and modernization.”
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