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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-27
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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
27.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GUL: “THE SEVENTH PACKAGE FOR THE EU WILL BE OUR LAST”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the seventh government package currently in preparation to harmonize Turkish law with EU norms would be the last. During his meeting with Parliament’s Harmonization Commission, Gul said, “We will fulfill all our remaining obligations in the seventh package, and then Turkey will declare that it is ready for EU accession talks.” Stressing that the draft National Program would be sent to political parties and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) beginning this morning, Gul said that the 960-page draft would be debated in Parliament on next Tuesday. “After its publication in the Official Gazette, the National Program will be Turkey’s commitment,” said Gul. “We are well aware that Turkey is in a critical period on its road to EU membership. All our country’s institutions are working determinedly and in harmony.” /Turkiye/
 NSC DISCUSSES NATIONAL PROGRAMThe National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday discussed recent developments in Turkey’s EU membership bid and a draft of the National Program during a five-and-a-half-hour meeting. A statement released after the meeting underlined that Turkey should fulfill its commitments made to the European Union in line with the Republic’s principals. Other topics such as foreign policy developments, including recent allegations that Greece has increased its harassment of Turkish planes over the Aegean, as well as the recent situation in Iraq were also taken up at the gathering. /All Papers/
 ARINC MEETS WITH HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT, SEEKS SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, who is in Hungary for an official visit, yesterday met with Hungarian President Ferenc Madl to discuss a number of issues. During their talks, Madl said that he appreciated Turkey’s support for Hungary’s membership in NATO. For his part, Arinc said that Ankara hoped Budapest would support Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Hungary itself is due to join the Union next year. /Anatolia News Agency/
 VERHEUGEN LAUDS TURKEY’S RAPID REFORMS, SAYS UNION’S DOOR IS OPENLauding the rapid pace of European Union reforms passed by Ankara in recent days, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said yesterday that the Union should keep its doors open to Turkey. “I find so many reforms passed in such a short period of time to be astonishing,” Verheugen told reporters in Berlin. “I didn’t expect the government to approve adjustment laws so rapidly.” In related news, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that his country, whose EU presidency is set to begin next week, would continue to support Turkey’s membership bid. /Anatolia News Agency/
 IMF’S DAWSON: “WE WELCOME THE PASSAGE OF SOCIAL SECURITY LEGISLATION, BUT OTHER MEASURES ARE STILL NEEDED”Speaking at a press conference in Washington yesterday, International Monetary Fund External Affairs Director Tom Dawson said that he appreciated Turkey’s progress on the nation’s economic program. “We welcome the passage of the social security legislation a few days ago for reforming the Is Kur employment agency,” said Dawson. “However, there are still measures that need to be taken as set out in the April letter of intent [LOI] and the May mission’s press release, which said the authorities needed to take steps to keep the fiscal program on track and accelerate key structural reforms in order to complete the fifth review of the economic program.” Asked about a possible merger of the sixth review and the fifth, whose completion has been delayed, Dawson said, “No, I don’t have anything on that at this point. We are still looking at the fifth review.” /Aksam/
 EUROPEAN ANTI-DEATH PENALTY, ANTI-CORRUPTION PACTS PASS PARLIAMENTTurkey’s Parliament yesterday ratified Protocol No. 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights concerning abolition of the death penalty. “The death penalty shall be abolished,” states the protocol. “No-one shall be condemned to such penalty or executed. The State may make provision in its law for the death penalty in respect of acts committed in time of war or of imminent threat of war; such penalty shall be applied only in the instances laid down in the law and in accordance with its provisions. The State shall communicate to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe the relevant provisions of that law.” In addition, Parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission yesterday unanimously approved the Council of Europe’s Criminal Law Convention on Corruption, which urges the signatory states to develop a common criminal policy aimed at protecting society from corruption, including the adoption of appropriate legislation and preventive measures. “Each Party shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences under its domestic law, when committed intentionally, the promising, offering or giving by any person, directly or indirectly, of any undue advantage to any of its public officials, for himself or herself or for anyone else, for him or her to act or refrain from acting in the exercise of his or her functions,” says Article 2 entitled “Active bribery of domestic public officials.” Among other issues that the convention handles are “Bribery of members of domestic public assemblies,” “Active bribery in the private sector,” and “Bribery of members of international parliamentary assemblies.” /Cumhuriyet/
 BAHCELI: “TURKEY’S NATIONAL UNITY IS BEING THREATENED”Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday criticized both the policies and performance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Claiming that recent and upcoming harmonization packages were threatening Turkey’s national unity and integrity, Bahceli alleged that the current government had been unable to make any notable progress on Turkey’s EU membership bid. He added that the government had also dealt a very weak hand in foreign policy. A former government coalition party, the MHP currently has no deputies in Parliament. /Turkiye/
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE HEAD INVITES TURKISH, GREEK CYPRIOT POLITICAL PARTIES TO STRASBOURGIn an attempt to move the Cyprus peace process forward, Council of Europe Secretary-General Walter Schwimmer yesterday invited representatives from both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political parties to visit the council’s headquarters in Strasbourg, France. “We should all do our utmost to reach a permanent solution on the island,” said Schwimmer. “I’d like to discuss with the leaders of both sides’ political parties some important issues related to their national interests. We’ll see what we can do to help Cyprus build a better future. We should strive to build a united state in accordance with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan.” /Cumhuriyet/
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY PUTS OFF VOTE ON TURKEY REPORTThe Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly yesterday announced that it would postpone its vote on a report on Turkey for six months. The report was prepared under the Assembly’s regular monitoring procedures to check whether Ankara has fulfilled its obligations regarding the EU’s Copenhagen criteria. Sources stated that the postponement represented Turkey gaining six additional months to implement in practice its recent legal reforms. /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKISH, ARMENIAN WOMEN TO MEET IN YEREVAN TO DISCUSS COMMON PROBLEMSNext week Armenia’s capital Yerevan is set to host a meeting of Turkish and Armenian women to discuss their common problems. The three-day gathering beginning Tuesday is expected to focus on the current social, economic, political and cultural situation of both countries’ women as well as their common problems and proposals for solutions. Among the attendees will be representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the media, scholars, and parliamentarians from both countries. /Hurriyet/
 MERCEDES-BENZ, FIAT TO BOOST PRODUCTION IN TURKEYMercedes-Benz Turk, a venture majority-owned by DaimlerChrysler international, plans to upgrade quality and production at its Istanbul Hosdere Bus Factory, Board of Directors Chairman Till Becker announced yesterday. “Everybody is pointing to Turkey as a model country,” said Becker. When the facility was established in 1999, Becker called Hosdere “the most modern bus factory in the world.” It already produces one-third of Mercedes’ buses worldwide. In related news, Italian automaker Fiat announced yesterday that it would focus on production in Turkey after closing 12 factories in Europe. /Anatolia News Agency/
 ANKARA HOSTS FIRST MILITARY BANDS FESTIVALThe First International Military Bands Festival organized by the Turkish Land Forces Command began yesterday in Ankara. The 10 participating bands, including four foreign contingents, commenced the four-day event by visiting Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum, led by Maj. Gen. Ismail Hakki Pekin of the Land Forces Command. /All papers/
 TURKEY TO FACE COLOMBIA FOR NUMBER THREE SPOT IN FIFA CONFEDERATION CUPAfter a 3-2 defeat at the hands of France in yesterday’s FIFA Confederation Cup semifinal held in Saint-Denis, France, Turkey will vie with Colombia tomorrow for the number three spot. France and Cameroon will be the final contenders for the cup on Sunday. /All papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKISH, US STANCES ON SYRIA AND IRAN BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the policy of Turkey and the US towards both Syria and Iran. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Everybody’s heard that following Iraq, the US’ next target is Iran. What will Ankara’s stance on this be? Clues could be found in Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s recent visit to Washington. The first impression is as follows: Turkey and the US are both uneasy about the regime in Iran. However, the depth of their respective feelings differs markedly. The US believes that Iraq’s regime must be changed. Though Turkey does want a change in the regime, it won’t break off its communications with Tehran if some of its concerns are addressed.
When he brought these issues up in Washington, Ziyal added, ‘These countries are our neighbors. We have to keep our relations on a certain level due to our nation’s security interests. Of course it’s natural for us to hold contacts with our strategic ally, the United States, in case of important developments.’ In diplomatic language, these words amounted to ‘secret support’ for the US’ policy on Iran and Syria. However, while expressing this support, Ziyal also cautioned US officials about the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) possibly following a ‘religious fellowship’ policy towards Syria and Iran, saying, ‘Turkey’s final stance will be determined within the framework of our parliamentary regime.’
In Washington, Ziyal mentioned two of Turkey’s concerns on the Iran issue. One of them was Iran’s nuclear program. He said that Turkey would look with disfavor on the production of nuclear weapons in its immediate vicinity and that Ankara would begin efforts on the international stage to make Iran’s nuclear program transparent. He also told about Turkey’s initiatives within the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Ziyal also indicated that Turkey’s other concern about Iran was the same as the US’: the Tehran regime’s support for terrorist groups.
The US is concerned with Iran’s financial and logistic support for such terrorist groups as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Turkey is also concerned about KADEK’s activities in Iran. Although the Iranians seem to be working to fight the PKK, it hasn’t yet recognized PKK successor KADEK as a terrorist organization. However, intelligence reports show that most of the components of the PKK-KADEK are still active in Iran. Common concerns about these two issues are creating a rapprochement between Turkey and the US.”
 AND THE CYPRUS ISSUE… BY ETYEN MAHCUPYAN (ZAMAN)Columnist Etyen Mahcupyan writes on Turkey’s way of dealing with the Cyprus issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“No doubt the Cyprus issue constitutes the most intense case of a Turkey trapped between the East and the West, its own past and future, and most of all between fantasy and reality, for this long-standing problem threatens an identity dilemma for the republican regime.
Today the Turkish state stands face-to-face with four most agonizing conundrums, each of which has its own historical adventures. Of these four, the non-Muslim and Kurdish issues could, in the final analysis, be defused through an overwhelmingly vigorous Turkish nationalism and thus be left out a possible identity crisis. Apparently, these people are not ‘Turks,’ and thus pose no grave threat to the perceived integrity of Turkish identity. Tensions between the state and Islamic sectors are ‘settled’ by the former appealing to secularism. The presence of a pious swathe of society doesn’t bother the state, as this group is itself left out of the secular republic’s ‘citizen imagination,’ and thus does not endanger the state in terms of identity. However, the case of Northern Cyprus is quite different and far more challenging, as half of its population is composed of Turks who emigrated to the island from Turkey after 1974. Therefore, they are expected to be secularists and Turkish nationalists, and to side with the state on the Cyprus problem. A contrary stance, especially when it’s openly demonstrated by taking to the streets and is backed by a firm opposition, which turns Turkey’s stomach.
Neither the rhetoric nor the administrative tools of the state are up to facing this problem in a democratic fashion. That’s why, in spite of the government’s recent compromising attitude on the issue, the state is trying to use a nationalist mentality to paper over the already tattered relations between itself and the Turkish Cypriots. In so doing, the state is trying to stave off an identity dissolution it finds itself unable to cope with for the sake of a more ‘sublime and sacred’ nationalist cause. The recipe is simple: Identification and homogenization of the interests of Northern Cyprus and those of Turkey. Thus the state kills two birds with one stone. The first is that a transition from the interests of the state to those of the people becomes possible, thus unifying the interests of the Turks of both Turkey and Northern Cyprus. And secondly, in this unification, because it has ‘unquestionable’ reference to nationalism, ‘Turkish’ identity becomes prior to the concrete demands of the Turkish citizens. The more the mainland asserts its nationalism, the harsher becomes the conflict between the Turkish Cypriots and the imagined Turkish identity of Turkey itself.”
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