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Turkish Press Review, 03-10-27
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
27.10.2003FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN: “WE ARE LEAVING THE CRISIS ERA BEHIND US”Speaking at the opening of Istanbul’s Lighthouse Anatolia Logistics Center yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey was leaving its days of economic crisis behind. Stressing that three kinds of support were critical for Turkey’s advancement, Erdogan said, “These are, namely, the government, the private sector and associations as well as foundations.” In addition, pointing to yesterday’s start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Erdogan urged everyone to aid the poor to the best of their ability. Then, speaking to a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Istanbul Provincial Chairmanship, Erdogan stated that his government advocated freedom in all realms, including the freedoms of thought and belief. /All Papers/
 EDUCATION MINISTER, UNIVERSITY RECTORS DISCUSS NEW HIGHER EDUCATION LAWEducation Minister Huseyin Celik and a delegation of university rectors led by Professor Ayhan Alkis yesterday convened to discuss proposed reforms to the higher education system. Following their three-and-a-half-hour meeting, Celik told reporters that the group had had fruitful talks. Stressing that everybody was agreed on the need for radical changes to the system, the minister stated that both sides would continue their work on the topic. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN TRAVELS TO G-20 MEETINGS IN MEXICOState Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan yesterday flew to Mexico to attend meetings of the G-20 countries. Speaking at a press conference before his departure, Babacan said that the government was considering enacting a number of banking sector reforms. “We hope to reduce mediation costs,” he said. Also touching on next year’s budget, Babacan stated that the economic blueprint was being carefully prepared. “The new budget is one of the most realistic budgets in recent years,” he added. /Milliyet/
 TOBB HEAD: “NO COUNTRY INVESTS MORE IN TURKEY THAN DOES GERMANY”Speaking at an Ankara press conference marking the establishment of the Turkish-German Chamber of Trade and Industry, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that Germany invested more in Turkey than any other country, adding that the countries’ annual bilateral trade volume totalled $12 billion. Hisarciklioglu said that the first seven months of this year had seen $261 million in foreign direct investment in Turkey, but called for further efforts to boost this sum. “The government should try harder,” he said. For his part, Turkish- German Chamber of Trade and Industry head Kemal Sahin said that there was a need to create 10 million jobs in Turkey and that foreign investment could help make this a reality. /Cumhuriyet/
 WOLFOWITZ: “TURKISH TROOP DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQ IS A SENSITIVE ISSUE”Turkish troop deployment to Iraq is a sensitive issue, said US Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz yesterday. Wolfowitz stated that Ankara’s assent to send its troops to Iraq was an important development that the US welcomed, but that such a deployment would be risky. In Baghdad yesterday, the US occupation authority was attacked by rockets with Wolfowitz inside. He was unharmed, but one US colonel was killed and 15 people were wounded. /Milliyet/
 TUZMEN: “THERE IS NO IRAQ CURRENCY TRANSFER CEILING”A reported measure to limit currency transactions into and out of Iraq to $10,000 is not in effect, said State Minister Kursat Tuzmen yesterday. “The policy was wrong-headed in any case, since Iraq lacks a banking system to make money transfers,” he added. “We negotiated this issue with the United States, the United Nations and the Iraqi interim government.” Last week Tuzmen warned that such a policy could cripple Turkey’s trade with Iraq. /Hurriyet/
 PARLIAMENT TO CONSIDER 2004 BUDGET THIS WEEKDiscussions and debates over the 2004 budget are set to dominate Parliament this week. Finance Minister Kemal Unakýtan is scheduled to deliver an address on the government’s plans and goals, and the budgets for Parliament itself, the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK), the judiciary and the Presidency will be in the spotlight. /Star/
 PRESIDENTIAL, REPUBLIC CUP HORSE RACES HELDPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and other ministers as well as deputies yesterday attended horse races in Ankara. The horse Ultramar was victorious in the 65th Presidential Cup Race, while Ozgunhan won the Republic Run. Sezer presented the prizes and cups to the horses’ proud owners. /Turkiye/
 WEEKEND CELEBRATIONS ANTICIPATE REPUBLIC’S 80TH ANNIVERSARYOver the weekend, various activities were held throughout the country to mark the 80th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, which officially begins this Wednesday, Oct. 29, Republic Day. A performance by orchestras and folklore groups at Ankara’s Ataturk Sport Hall hosted by Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu was attended by government ministers, high-level officials and throngs of citizens who enthusiastically celebrated the anniversary. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 WASHINGTON’S STANCE BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Washington’s stance on Iraq and what Turkey’s should be. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The US had been eagerly waiting Ankara making a decision on Iraq troop deployment as soon as possible, but why has it changed its mind now? This might be a response to our keeping it waiting for months at Iskenderun Bay earlier this year. However, most probably it’s because of the objections voiced within Iraq. The US was unable to predict this or overcome it. It couldn’t foresee that the Iraqi people would want to continue the present anarchy.
The US doesn’t know the Asian continent or its people, so naturally now it’s in mired in mistakes. However, we shouldn’t pretend we can’t see the factors concerning us. In this space I’ve warned our Parliament many times that it should have requested permission and authority before the summer recess because it was obvious that the United Nations wouldn’t be able to stand the US’ pressure and give permission for troop deployment in Iraq. As a great many countries might be involved in this, the need for Turkish soldiers would decrease.
At the beginning of the war in Iraq, we said we didn’t want British soldiers in northern Iraq, and this was a harbinger of future difficulties. The bureaucracy has the ability to block the political will. In addition, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn’t really want to send Turkish soldiers to Iraq. Obviously we’re acting confusedly over the Iraq issue. What will we do when the Syrian and Iranian issues are added to this? We will again follow developing incidents, but we won’t try to understand their underlying factors. However, clearly if the PKK tries to vex us, we won’t wait for any other country’s permission to enter Iraq.”
 IS THERE ANY OTHER OPTION? BY SELCUK GULTASLI (ZAMAN)Columnist Selcuk Gultasli writes on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A couple of weeks ago, I wrote that next year the EU is very likely to present three options to Ankara, which can be summed up as follows: First, Turkey might begin its membership negotiations, for the sake of which our government has recently approved a considerable number of reform packages. Second, the EU might instead highlight the deficiencies and discrepancies in our implementation of these reforms, and so put off the beginning of our membership talks for another year. Finally, the EU might propose a ‘special partnership’ with our country, which is the formula called for by the European Parliament’s Christian Democratic deputies.
EU watchers believe that the third option is no longer possible since our government has successfully approved significant reform packages on its path towards full membership. As often noted by EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, the current government has been very successful in its efforts towards improving Turkish democracy, which is why next year it would be more difficult for the EU to fault our country for failing to take effective measures. Therefore, a fourth option comes to mind:
Under this scenario, if Brussels says ‘no’ to Ankara despite our government’s valiant efforts, it will have to pay a heavy political price, one which will strike a huge blow on Turkish-EU relations due to a resulting crisis of confidence. If refused by Brussels, Ankara might even take advantage of the situation as a clear victim of blatant injustice. Therefore, Brussels would do better to set the beginning date for Turkey’s membership talks next year.
After receiving its date, Ankara will probably carry through the simple regulations of the EU acquis communitaire post haste. I don’t think Ankara is going to encounter serious problems with economic legislation or the Customs Union. The EU acquis communitaire has 31 comprehensive sections covering important issues from internal affairs to fisheries. Under the fourth scenario, in the future the EU and Turkey would be the actors in a never-ending melodrama featuring heated discussions of critical issues like national security, justice, foreign affairs, etc. The authors of this scenario believe that Turkey is unlikely to fulfill certain EU criteria touching upon sensitive issues, which is why Ankara itself is expected to propose a special partnership with the Union. Consequently, the EU will seem to pursue a fair Turkey policy and will also have the opportunity to approve the memberships of Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, both of which have large Muslim populations. This move would silence critics of the EU’s exclusionary policies.
However, there are also certain circles which refuse to take this scenario seriously, since in all the EU’s history every country which fulfilled the necessary criteria so far has managed to join its ranks. But, let’s not forget that the EU has a staff highly skilled at developing interesting formulas for Turkey. Therefore, we’ll have to wait to see the true answers to our questions.”
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