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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-24
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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
24.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN: “A SETTLEMENT ON CYPRUS WILL REQUIRE STEPS FROM BOTH SIDES”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that both Cyprus’ Turkish and Greek sides needed to take steps in order to reach a settlement on the island. In an interview with Greek daily Elefterotipiya, Erdogan said, “One-sided initiatives will end up fruitless. For a resolution, both sides can progress only through bilateral understanding.” Regarding Greece’s claim that last week Turkish fighter jets had harassed a Greek passenger plane, Erdogan called the allegations “regrettable,” adding, “Turkish jets would never harass a civilian plane. I don’t credit it.” /Turkiye/
 GUL RETURNS TO TURKEY FROM WORLD ECONOMIC FORUMAfter completing his contacts in Amman, Jordan as part of the World Economic Forum (WEF), Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul returned yesterday to Ankara. At Esenboga Airport, telling reporters about his recent meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Cyprus issue, Gul said, “Whether it’s Annan’s plan or not is unimportant. The important thing is not the name attached, but the contents of a plan to satisfy both sides.” Stating that he had suggested to WEF President Klaus Schwab that Turkey host the 2005 Davos meeting, Gul said that Schwab had welcomed the idea and that work on the topic would begin soon. Pointing to his face-to-face talks with various countries’ leaders during the WEF, Gul stated that the Palestinian, Swiss and Greek foreign ministers were all expected to visit Turkey in the coming days. /Turkiye/
 CABINET SUPPORTS SHORTER COMPULSORY MILITARY SERVICEThe nation’s Cabinet met yesterday to discuss a number of issues, including a proposal to shorten the term of compulsory military service for males. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, government spokesman and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that the government supported the General Staff Office’s proposal to shorten compulsory service, a step forward in Turkey’s EU accession. However, Cicek declined to give details about when the measure might be implemented. In addition to shortening military service from 18 months to 15, the proposal would also cut the number of active-duty soldiers by 17%. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “TURKEY HAS BEEN NEGOTIATING WITH THE US ON A POSSIBLE $8.5 BILLION LOAN PACKAGE”For the last two or three weeks, Ankara has been negotiating with Washington over a possible $8.5 billion loan package, said State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan yesterday. Last month the US Congress approved a $1 billion grant for Turkey, leverageable for about $8.5 billion in loans, to help compensate its losses due to the Iraq war. The amount was disbursable at the discretion of the US State Department, officials from which Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal met with in Washington last week. Speaking in Amman, Jordan, at the World Economic Forum meetings, Babacan said there were no obstacles to the loans and that the US waned to tie down the details soon to disburse the funds. “Our government’s plans have assumed all along that no more loans were forthcoming, so this will act as an unexpected boost to the economy” said Babacan. “The payment plan will be shaped according to Ankara’s conditions.” The negotiations will be completed by telephone, he added. News of the imminent loans could be taken as another sign that the rifts in Turkish-US relations caused by the Iraq war are now well on their way to mending. /Aksam/
 IMF TURKEY REPRESENTATIVE BREKK URGES TURKEY TO MOVE FASTER ON ECONOMIC REFORMSSpeaking at an economic forum in the southern province of Antalya yesterday, International Monetary Fund Turkey Representative Odd Per Brekk said that Turkey should act more quickly to implement reforms required by the IMF- supported economic program. Brekk stated that he had hoped the fifth review of the program would be completed as soon as possible, adding that he believed the government would soon implement social security reform and carry through pending privatizations. /Milliyet/
 EU ANNOUNCES FINANCIAL AID FOR GAP PROJECTEuropean Union Commission representation in Turkey head Hansjoerg Kretschmer said yesterday that the Union had decided to henceforth extend 500 million euros in grants every year to Turkey’s Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP). The sums would be used to improve education, agriculture, and social and cultural life in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern Anatolia regions. /Anatolia News Agency/
 DYP CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARYThe True Path Party (DYP) yesterday celebrated its 20th anniversary. Speaking at the gathering, DYP leader Mehmet Agar criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (DYP) foreign policy. Over the last decade, the DYP has both held the prime ministry and was a coalition partner, but in last fall’s elections it fell below the parliamentary representation threshold. Agar himself was elected to Parliament as an independent, and since joining the DYP has been its sole deputy. /Milliyet/
 US SENATORS LOTT, ROCKEFELLER TO LEAD DELEGATION TO TURKEYProminent US Senators Trent Lott and Jay Rockefeller, a Republican and a Democrat, are set to lead a US senatorial delegation to Ankara next week. Lott and Rockefeller are expected to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu as well as Foreign Ministry officials. Their visit comes on the heels of Foreign Minister Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s fence-mending visit to Washington last week. /Star/
 FORMER PM ECEVIT SENDS WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO PARLIAMENT ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSIONBulent Ecevit, prime minister during the 1999-2002 Democratic Left Party (DSP)-led coalition government, yesterday submitted written testimony to Parliament’s special Anti-Corruption Commission. Ecevit reportedly stated in his five-page testimony that the coalition government had waged war against corruption to an extent unmatched by any other government in Turkey. Responding to commission testimony by former coalition partner Motherland Party leader Mesut Yilmaz saying that Ecevit’s May 2001 media statements triggering an economic crisis had been sharper than was appropriate, Ecevit said only, “Back then I might have listened to Yilmaz, but not now.” The ensuing crisis devastated most ordinary Turks, while other financial players reaped profits from the chaos. The Anti-Corruption Commission has notably so far heard from Mesut Yilmaz and former Deputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkan, among others. /Cumhuriyet/
 TOBB TO SET UP JOINT CONTACT GROUP WITH US THINK TANK CSISThe Union of Turkish Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) and Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) have agreed to set up a joint contact group in the interests of boosting Turkish-US economic and trade relations. The agreement establishing the group is due to be signed on Friday by TOBB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu and CSIS officials in Washington. /Anatolia News Agency/
 TURKEY KNOCKS BRAZIL OUT OF CONFEDERATION CUP, SET TO FACE FRANCE IN SEMIFINALSTurkey’s football team knocked world champions Brazil out of the Confederation Cup with a 2-2 draw in yesterday’s match played in St. Etienne, France. Both sides finisHed with four points and the same goal difference but the Turkish team went through on goals scored – four to Brazil's three. “We had our chance to qualify, and we took it,” said team coach Senol Gunes, who also led the team in its historic performance in last year’s World Cup. “We had wanted to play France in the final. Now it will have to be the semifinal.” Turkey is due to face that match on Thursday. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE MIDDLE EAST’S DEMOCRATIZATION, AND TURKEY’S BY DAVUT DURSUN (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Davut Dursun writes on the democratization of the countries of the Middle East and Turkey’s own situation. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Since the 1980s, the biggest political hot potato of the Middle East has always been the democratization of the region’s established regimes. That’s why Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at both this week’s World Economic Forum in Amman and the Islamic foreign ministers’ meeting in Tehran in early June stressed the importance of democracy and called on all Muslim countries to take effective steps towards further democratization.
1. In his speech to the World Economic Forum, Gul presented a road map for the region proposing radical changes to the status quo. He underlined certain goals that should be reached such as the rule of law, transparency of the state structure, the encouragement of participatory democracy and rational utilization of resources ... etc. He had previously highlighted the same points when addressing the Islamic world’s representatives in Tehran.
One might find it strange that Turkey’s foreign minister calls on other countries to take steps towards further democratization, as the world knows that our country has encountered many problems in its own democracy since the establishment of its multiparty democratic system. However, despite some bumps in the road, everybody should accept that we have also taken many significant steps forward. Our country is still exerting enormous effort to surmount its problems, which is why we are experienced enough to give advice to our neighbors.
The Middle East has unfortunately deprived itself of the opportunity to transform itself through its own inner dynamics. All significant transformations and new formations in the region have taken place due to foreign influence. It has always been the superpowers of the world which have shaped the political and social structure of the region.
Therefore, future changes to the Middle East’s status quo are dependent upon foreign dynamics. This formula applies both to Turkey and the other countries of the region. We are all aware that without the EU’s urging, such democratization packages would not have been dealt with in such short order. The more the EU encourages us, the more willing we become to improve our democracy. Therefore, it is clear that without the assistance of foreign powers, the democratization of the Middle East (including Turkey) will never be completed. In addition, since the foreign dynamics influencing the political structure of the region have recently changed, Middle Eastern countries can no longer sustain their status quo by ignoring these changes. The path laid out by Foreign Minister Gul served as a warning not only to our neighbors but also to certain domestic circles set against further democratization. Turkey needs a similar way forward as well.”
 COAL AND OUR DEPENDENCE ON ENERGY IMPORTS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Turkey’s coal reserves and the problem of dependence on sources abroad for energy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey’s Zonguldak coal region is sinking further and further with each passing day. This region for producing coal, which seems to have been abandoned to its fate, is the victim of wrongheaded policies. While the problem of energy has been very much discussed recently, looking at the Zonguldak coal region would be beneficial for both our country’s economy and the greater good. Turkey is discussing the energy issue from two angles:
Charges of corruption in the energy sector Turkey’s dependence on sources abroad to meet its energy needs
Figures supplied by Energy Minister Hilmi Guler on corruption in the energy sector are shocking, for according to the minister, the cost of corruption to the sector is fully $41.5 billion. At this point, we are anxiously awaiting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s promised explanation as to how Turkey is being robbed, as well as the findings of Parliament’s special Anti-Corruption Commission.
As for the second angle, Turkey is becoming a country increasingly dependent on sources abroad for its energy. The most concrete example of this is natural gas. Turkey has accelerated its investments in natural gas, but now has more supplies than necessary, by Guler’s hand. However, Turkey has failed to make use of its other energy resources, for example, its Zonguldak coal.
The results of studies made by scientists are both surprising and sad. Dr. Ilgin Kursun of Istanbul University’s Mineral Engineering Department and department head Professor Ali Kahriman said the following: The world’s known oil reserves have a lifespan left of 45 years, natural gas 65 years and coal 240 years. According to scientists, coal will be the most reliable and important energy resource through the 21st century. However, Turkey is turning its nose up at its own coal resources. Our Zonguldak coal region has reserves of 1.3 billion tons. This resource isn’t being used except for meeting the needs of the Catalagzi Power Plant, because it is expensive. Turkey seems to be dependent on sources abroad for coal as well. For instance, in 1970 Turkey imported only 16,000 tons of coal, but by 1999 our imports had skyrocketed to 9.5 million. However, the coal reserves in Zonguldak can be extracted economically and can also help the economy. Scientists consider this possible. We can’t strengthen our economy or rescue ourselves from our dependence on imports without taking advantage of rich underground resources. Both Kahriman and Kursun suggest that modernization works can begin in the Zonguldak region.
Considering the figures supplied by Guler on losses due to energy corruption, the importance of investments in this field become that much more clear. Ankara and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Zonguldak should heed these scientists’ urgings.”
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