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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-30
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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
30.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PARLIAMENT TO DEBATE NATIONAL PROGRAMParliament’s General Assembly is expected convene this week to debate a revised draft of the country’s National Program for the adoption of the European Union acquis communautaire. During the debate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is to brief the deputies on the government’s latest revisions to the program and hear observations and recommendations from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) plus the other minor parties represented in Parliament, the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP). /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “WE ARE DETERMINED TO MAKE TURKEY A DEVELOPED COUNTRY”The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is fully determined to make Turkey a developed country and to carry it to the place it has long deserved among the most respected nations of the world, said Prime Minister and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend. Speaking at a meeting of his party in the southern Anatolian city of Adana, Erdogan stated that Turkey was taking giant steps forward in its European Union membership bid but that the road to the Union was not without obstacles. “We are trying to overcome deep-rooted problems that have been holding Turkey back for a half- century now,” said Erdogan, adding that certain quarters in the country were trying to hinder the nation’s progress. “But we have no intention of retreating from our quest for the EU,” pledged the premier. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “THE EU KNOWS THAT OUR MEMBERSHIP WOULD BE MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL”Speaking on television over the weekend, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that next year would be a critical one for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. At its December 2004 summit, the EU is set to review Turkey’s accession progress. Gul said that both the EU and Turkey would benefit from Turkey’s membership and that the Union knew this. “The EU could benefit from Turkey’s large, powerful army. Turkey would contribute to the Union more than Latvia and Estonia,” said Gul, referring to two Baltic countries slated to join next year. However, he added that if Turkey were not able to join the EU, then it would continue its own way without the Union. Asked about Ankara’s National Security Council (NSC) becoming a civilian institution, Gul said that no state institution would be exempted from the nation’s reform process. The foreign minister stated that he expected the support of the opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) for reforms for Ankara’s EU bid. Also touching on Turkish-US relations, Gul said that last week, in the wake of a high-level Foreign Ministry visit to Washington, the US administration had sent a letter to Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok telling about Turkey’s contributions to the Iraq war, Turkish-US relations and the importance of Turkey and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). He stated that he believed the US would not conduct an operation against Syria or Iran. Gul added that Ankara favored good relations with Armenia and that there was nothing in Turkey’s past for it to be ashamed of. “We did not assimilate any nation,” said Gul. /Sabah/
 BABACAN: “THERE IS NO TENSION IN OUR RELATIONS WITH THE IMF”Appearing on television yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that there was no tension in Turkey’s relations with the International Monetary Fund. Touching on the nation’s IMF-supported economic program, Babacan said that the Fund’s fifth and sixth review of the program would not be merged and that the government would set a reasonable date for the sixth review. “We are now negotiating with the Fund to change the date of the sixth review,” said the economy minister. “The fourth review of the program was very important, since it determined details of the program for the first time and we faced some difficulty and disagreements, but we wrote what we believed was appropriate in the letter of intent (LOI).” Babacan added that he hoped Turkey wouldn’t need to borrow money from the IMF after next year. /Milliyet//
 DENKTAS: “THE FACTS ON CYPRUS MUST BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION”It is disappointing that the European Union chooses to ignore the existing realities on Cyprus, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said over the weekend. Speaking in Switzerland to the 14th annual meeting of the Crans Montana Forum, a group promoting responsible business ethics, Denktas pointed out that present on the island are two separate nations with two separate languages. “If a resolution on the island is truly desired, then these facts must be taken into consideration, ” he said. /Aksam/
 UNESCO DECIDES AGAINST INCLUDING MARDIN ON WORLD HERITAGE LISTThe United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has decided against including the southeastern Anatolian city of Mardin on its “World Heritage List” due to a recent negative report by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). UNESCO’s decision shocked Turkey, as Mardin’s inclusion on the list was believed to be definite. Mardin is associated with seven millennia of history, and was a cradle for numerous ethnic groups, among them Armenians, Surianis, Chaldeans and others. The city reflects the highlights of ancient Assyrian civilization and is famous for its historic houses made out of golden stone. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY SEALS THIRD SPOT IN CONFEDERATION CUPTurkey’s football team toppled Colombia on Saturday in France with a 2-1 win, thus giving it third place in the FIFA Confederation Cup. In addition, host France retained the cup by beating Cameroon 1-0 in yesterday’s final match. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE GOVERNMENT’S STANCE BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the repentance draft law recently announced by Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu and the response of the terrorist group PKK_KADEK to it. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Spokesmen from the terrorist PKK_KADEK have responded to the government’s repentance draft law earlier than expected. They charged that the bill announced by Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu amounted to a ‘declaration of war.’ They also stated a number of new requests, which in sum were as follows: Instead of the government’s plan, a general amnesty should be granted in a way that covers imprisoned terrorist leader Abdullah Ocalan, including giving him the right to enter politics. Concerning Kurdish- language education and broadcasting, Kurdish education in primary schools should be offered. Local administrations should be strengthened, and health and cultural services should be in the control of local administrations.
Before this response was issued, Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) leader Tuncer Bakirhan told a press conference that the draft law was insufficient and that he had requested a general amnesty and the return of political rights. The PKK_KADEK spokesmen also alleged that Turkey was planning to reach an agreement with neighboring countries and to suppress Kurdish actions in Iraq. They stated that they should be waging a ‘war of honor’ against this approach, but that they would wait until September for an agreement.
This situation shows that the government will face requests and pressure for a general amnesty. Its reform packages won’t be considered sufficient. Soon a request for a general amnesty from the European Union countries won’t be any surprise. At this point the Justice and Development Party (AKP) should make its political stance clear. The government might not respond to the PKK_KADEK but what will it say when the EU asks for the same things?
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared three ‘red lines’: no fundamentalism, racism or separation. Actually, all of these things are now being practiced in Turkey. For this reason, the government should make its political stance clear.”
 BEHIND THE SCENES DISCUSSIONS AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli writes on last week’s World Economic Forum in Amman, Jordan. A summary of his column is as follows:
Although Turkey focused on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell to the exclusion of almost all else at the recent World Economic Forum in Amman, a host of significant issues for our country were discussed during the meeting’s behind-the-scenes discussions. Here are some of them:
Since Turkey is the only Muslim democracy in the region, Gul’s speeches attracted great attention. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said openly that the European Union considered Turkey a ‘role model’ for the Middle East. ‘Turkey’s entrance into the EU would be an opportunity to reintegrate the humanistic tradition of Islam with the Mediterranean legacy, ’ he said.
Americans stayed mum about Turkey’s possible role in Iraq’s reconstruction. Stating that Washington placed a high premium on reestablishing security in the country, US Iraq administrator Paul Bremer predicted that an Iraqi army would be formed within two weeks. He also added that a council would also be established to deal with country’s political matters.
Here are some issues that might cause us troubles in the future:
The region’s water problems were one of the most important issues at the gathering. Although the official participants shied away from the issue, unofficial Syrian and Iraqi representatives urged Turkey to share the water resources of the Tigris and Euphrates with other countries that two rivers pass through. An unofficial Iraqi participant went too far, however, calling on the EU to put pressure on Ankara on this issue at a panel attended by the German and Spanish foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
The other problematic issue for Turkey was that of the oil pipelines. Re- activating the Mosul-Haifa oil pipeline, an alternative to Kirkuk- Yumurtalik, was frequently brought up during the meetings. In addition, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Adeli informed fellow participants of his country’s plans to build a new pipeline to transport Kazakh oil to the Persian Gulf. He asserted that this new line would be ‘the most cost- effective, shortest and safest’ method available.
Finally, here are the views of some representatives from international firms on Turkey, which is hoping for more foreign investment in the future:
Foreign businessmen asked Economy Minister Ali Babacan how Ankara would fight to eliminate bribery, which they charged was still endemic in the Turkish business world. These people believe that not only individuals but also political parties practice bribery in Turkey. Faced with this tough question, all Babacan said was his party didn’t even accept donations.”
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