|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 03-07-03
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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
 ERDOGAN GETS PORTUGUESE PM’S SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently on a state visit to Portugal, yesterday met with his Portuguese counterpart Durao Barasso to discuss a number of issues, including relations between the two countries. Speaking after their meeting, Barasso said that he appreciated Turkey’s steps towards its European Union membership and that Lisbon would support Ankara at the December 2004 EU summit to begin its accession negotiations with the Union. “We will do our best for Turkey to begin accession talks,” he said, adding that a resolution of the Cyprus issue was also a must. Asked about the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) stance on the nation’s EU bid, Erdogan said that the TSK was not opposed to Turkey’s EU membership and that the government and the TSK were in agreement on the recently passed sixth EU harmonization package. Later meeting with Portuguese businessmen, Erdogan said that there was a great potential for economic cooperation between the two nations, but that they had yet to fully develop it. “We need to strive to advance economic ties between our countries,” urged Erdogan. “Our bilateral trade up to now has been rather limited due mostly to distance, but this obstacle is surmountable.” In related news, Turkey and Portugal signed a mutual employment agreement allowing the family members of diplomats and diplomatic administrative and technical personnel plus international organizations’ representations to take jobs to earn money. Turkey has signed similar such agreements with the United States, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Poland. /Aksam/
 GUL: “THE SEVENTH EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE WILL TAKE ITS FINAL SHAPE NEXT WEEK”Speaking to reporters before leaving for Great Britain yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that the government had yet to put the final touches on a seventh European Union harmonization package for Turkey’s EU bid, adding that the package would take its finished form next week. Asked about Italy’s just-begun EU term presidency, Gul said that Ankara’s relations with Rome were going very well and that Italy’s term presidency would work to Turkey’s benefit, reiterating the nation’s determination to join the Union. Asked about the situation in postwar Iraq, Gul said that northern Iraq was an indispensable part of the country and that he would discuss the situation with his British counterpart Jack Straw. Touching on Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok’s current visit to Israel, the foreign minister said that Turkey was always ready to contribute to peace between Israel and Palestine. /Turkiye/
 BERLUSCONI EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDOne day after his country took over the rotating EU term presidency from Greece, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi yesterday gave a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg presenting his nation’s agenda at the Union helm for the next six months. Berlusconi recalled that the beginning date for Turkey’s membership negotiations was due to be determined at the end of next year and reiterated his full support for Turkey’s membership bid. “We should support the reform period initiated by Ankara to fulfill the EU’s Copenhagen criteria,” added the Italian premier. /Cumhuriyet/
 JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK ARRIVES IN BAKUJustice Minister Cemil Cicek arrived in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku early today for a two-day official visit. Speaking to reporters at Bine Airport, Cicek said that he planned to discuss opportunities for bilateral cooperation during his meetings with Azerbaijani officials. Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Justice Minister Fikret Madedov, who welcomed Cicek at the airport, told reporters that a ‘cooperative pact’ between the two countries’ justice ministries would be signed during Cicek’s visit. /Anatolian News Agency/
 FORMER US SENATOR BOB KERREY: “TURKEY SHOULD HOST A SUMMIT ON IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTION”Former US Senator Bob Kerrey yesterday stated that the Turkish government should organize a summit in Istanbul to discuss significant issues faced in Iraq’s reconstruction. Recommending that both Turkey and the US move beyond bilateral tensions from the wake of Ankara’s refusal of US troop deployments before the war, Kerrey stressed that the two countries were close allies which should mutually strive to solve their problems. “Iraq’s future must be discussed in Istanbul with regional countries under the joint leadership of the US and Turkey,” said Kerrey. /Hurriyet/
 TURKISH SCHOLAR APPOINTED RAPPORTEUR AT UNITED NATIONSThe Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that the United Nations’ Commission for Human Rights had elected Dr. Yakin Erturk as its special rapporteur for violence against women, one of the commission’s inspection mechanisms. /Anatolia News Agency/
 FINANCE MINISTER UNAKITAN: “THERE IS NO NEED FOR FURTHER BUDGETARY MEASURES”As Turkey’s economic indicators are now positive, there is no need for Ankara to take additional measures on the state budget, said Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan yesterday. Unakitan further predicted that there would no problem in reaching this year’s primary surplus target of 6.5%. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS…
 DANCE WITH THE US BY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)Columnist Soli Ozel comments on Turkish-US relations in the aftermath of Ankara’s refusal five months ago of US troop deployments. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We are now witnessing an extraordinary discussion about the future of Turkey’s foreign policy. One of the reasons for this is the crisis in Turkish-US relations caused by Ankara’s refusal of US troop deployments back in March. Thus, everybody talking about this issue is thinking hard about how the future of Turkish-US relations should be shaped and making suggestions and evaluations according to their own political leanings. However, now both the Cyprus and European Union issues are being evaluated more carefully than in the past in terms of the aims of our foreign policy. Obviously Ankara’s refusal of the US troop deployments created a trauma both for our policymakers and for Washington. US military leaders are angry because the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) didn’t give help when they needed it. They’ve been expressing this anger emotionally. What’s more, US officials prefer to put the blame on our military instead of confronting their own mistakes.
Meanwhile, Turkey is experiencing the shock of its ‘red lines’ evaporating into thin air. Turkey neither adopted a new approach towards Iraq after 1999, nor evaluated politically the situation when the worst of the Kurdish terrorist campaign was over, both of which are affecting the current situation. A few days after Parliament’s refusal, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said that Turkey’s preference stood between good and bad. Probably he meant that Turkey didn’t favor a war but that he also understood the need to act together with the US in order to prevent undesirable developments in northern Iraq. Turkey has always stated its opposition to the Kurds establishing a state, but devoting all its attention to northern Iraq has prevented Ankara from dealing with Iraq more comprehensively.
As Gencer Ozcan wrote recently in Foreign Policy magazine, ‘developments since 1991 show that Turkey’s policies on Iraq are largely limited to the issue of northern Iraq. These policies are aimed at eliminating the Kurdish separatist organization’s existence in the region and preventing the establishment of a Kurdish state in Iraq.’ As a result of tying its stance to the US’, to a great extent Turkey has lost its right to speak in northern Iraq. The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s initiating a policy on all of Iraq is an important development, albeit a late one. This new stance shouldn’t be considered only a step for rapprochement with the US. Turkey should have done this before. Our steps for democratization on the path to EU membership will make such a policy easier. While evaluating our relations with the US and discussing what we should do next, we should act in light of this new basis.”
 THE KURDISH ISSUE BY NURAY MERT (RADIKAL)Scholar and columnist Nuray Mert comments on one of Turkey’s most controversial problems, namely the long-standing Kurdish issue. A summary of her column is as follows:
“I’ve been receiving mails and messages from some of my readers for some time now complaining that I hardly ever comment on the Kurdish and southeastern Anatolia issues. Well, they are right, for I usually avoid commenting on these problems. I must deny that I tend, as some of my ‘gentle’ readers have suggested, to swerve on the issue, but I am wary of my critical approach to the problem being misused as a tool by certain quarters to support their ultra-nationalist tendencies and the state’s official view. As you know, political matters in our country can never be discussed free of categorical frameworks, and this is especially true with the Kurdish issue. On the one hand, there is this official, nationalist perspective, one which perceives the issue as a source of instigation and treachery, and on the other there are liberals and leftists who insistently defend every Kurdish action and deed unquestioningly. Trapped between these two extremes, it is very difficult to find a sound, distinct platform for discussion.
I have earlier argued in one of my rare columns on the problem that the Kurdish issue was caught between an ultra-rightist Turkish nationalism and a leftist Kurdish nationalism. I say ‘leftist’ in reference to the current terminology, for I believe that in fact the Kurdish policies have effectively moved to the right since the 1980s. Moreover, focusing so single-mindedly on the Kurdish issue is damaging the Turkish left. Since the 1980s, the leftist perspective has been formulating a policy exclusively focused on ‘identity’ politics, which in fact implies a strong commitment to the right. In addition, I would not for the world agree with those who assess and back the Kurdish cause by saying, ‘The nationalist causes of oppressed peoples, no matter when and where, are always in the right.’ The issue of nationalism is a long story. But let me say briefly that as a person who carefully steers clear of any nationalist outlook, and especially of Turkish nationalism, I just can’t bring myself to have any sympathy for Kurdish nationalism either. This doesn’t mean that I reject every political demand shaping up around Kurdish identity. We have even seen times when the Kurdish language was completely banned in this country. No one can argue that ours is a smoothly functioning democracy. But let’s admit one thing: One side sees the Kurdish demands for basic ‘cultural rights’ as separatism, and the other side, the Kurdish nationalists, sees obtaining these rights as a first step to building a nation. Liberating the Kurdish issue from the hands of these shallow perspectives will be difficult indeed. As a matter of fact, we live in a country where both Turks and Kurds are closer to nationalist politics than democratic ones. Not that this geography is incapable of producing a democratic order, but the development of a democratic culture requires a historical experience and an intellectual background. Unfortunately, this country lacks both.”
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