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Turkish Press Review, 03-10-31
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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
31.10.2003ERDOGAN: “WE WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE TO RAISE THE NATION’S STANDARD OF LIVING” WHAT’S OUR LEVEL NOW?BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)
 KARS CELEBRATES 83RD ANNIVERSARY OF ITS LIBERATIONPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended ceremonies in Kars to mark the 83rd anniversary of its liberation. Addressing the citizens of this northeastern Anatolian city, Erdogan said that his government was working hard to raise Turkey to the level of modern countries. Then Erdogan dedicated a new monument to Ataturk and talked with the citizens about their problems. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “WE WILL CONTINUE TO STRIVE TO RAISE THE NATION’S STANDARD OF LIVING”Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the government would continue to strive to raise the nation’s standard of living. Erdogan stated that inflation was falling as a result of determined implementation of the nation’s economic program. He also said that reforms to the banking and energy sectors would continue, adding that the government would also try to solve the problems of the agriculture sector. The premier further pledged that the government would continue to battle to end the scourge of corruption. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “PARLIAMENT’S APPROVAL WILL BE SOUGHT FOR US LOAN”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that a recent $8.5 billion US loan would be presented to Parliament for its approval. “I think an agreement which is for longer than one year should be presented for Parliament’s approval,” he stated. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN, GUL OFFER DIFFERING REACTIONS TO ADVANCE EU PROGRESS REPORTTurkey’s prime minister and foreign minister yesterday offered differing reactions to a widely discussed advance copy of the annual European Union progress report on Turkey, the official copy of which is due to be released next week. The leaked report praises Turkey’s reforms on paper, but faults a supposed lack of implementation “We’ve already begun to practice those reforms,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “We will accelerate this next year. Now the EU is saying our implementation has been ‘fair to middling.’ These are flimsy excuses to delay our accession talks.” Next December the EU is set to decide whether or not to begin Turkey’s accession negotiations. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, however, characterized the report as “objective.” Indicating that the report was as expected, Gul said that Ankara was aware of the deficiencies mentioned and that a monitoring group was being set up for precisely this reason. /Sabah/
 BUSH ISSUES MESSAGE MARKING TURKEY’S REPUBLIC DAYUS President George W. Bush yesterday issued a message to mark the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic. He remarked that the vision of Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk of a secular, democratic and peaceful Turkey was as important today as it was 80 years ago. Bush reiterated that the US would continue to actively support the admission of Turkey to the EU, and that while Ankara continued its reforms, the US would work for closer and stronger bilateral relations with its longtime ally now more than ever. Noting that Turkey and the US had a strong partnership based on shared values, friendship and mutual respect, Bush said that such ties were bolstered by cooperation in the areas of security, energy, trade and human rights. Bush said that this partnership was being strengthened during Turkey’s progress towards EU membership and both countries’ efforts for freedom, democracy, tolerance and prosperity in Iraq and the Middle East. The US is grateful for the vital contributions of Turkey in the war against terrorism, said Bush, including its contribution to the international peacekeeping force in Afghanistan. Bush concluded by expressing his best wishes for the continued success and prosperity of the Turkish Republic. /All Papers/
 WOLFOWITZ: “TURKEY’S GENEROUS OFFER IS KEY”US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers and US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz on Wednesday attended the Republic Day reception held by Turkey’s Embassy in Washington, D.C. Asked about the prospect of Turkish troop deployment in Iraq, Wolfowitz said that what was important was the generous offer that Turkey had made on this issue, which he said proved that Ankara was willing to take risks. There is great sensitivity to foreign soldiers in Iraq at the moment, he added. Wolfowitz noted that Turkey and Iraq would always remain neighbors and that the US hoped that both would be secular and democratic. International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger and Turkey Desk Chief Reza Moghadam as well as former US Ambassador to Ankara Robert Pearson also attended the reception. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN: “SIX ZEROS WILL BE ERASED FROM THE TL IN 2005”State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, who is currently in New York to attend the meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, said yesterday that a draft bill to erase six zeros from the Turkish lira in 2005 was already ready, adding that the issue would first be discussed by the Cabinet and the Parliament. “Our inflation in 2005 will be in the single digits,” he predicted. Babacan also met separately with US Treasury Secretary John Snow and Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan to discuss recent economic developments. During their talks, Snow and Greenspan reportedly said that Turkey could use a recent $8.5 billion US loan whenever it wants. In related news, Anne Krueger, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, praised Turkey’s recent positive economic developments and said that the nation’s economic program was on track. Krueger stated that she hoped the IMF Executive Board would convene next month, but that this hadn’t yet been decided. /Milliyet/
 MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, BOSTON MAYOR HONOR TURKISH REPUBLIC DAYOn Wednesday the governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, and Thomas Menino, the mayor of the state’s most populous city, Boston, both issued proclamations officially making this Oct. 29 “Republic of Turkey” day in their jurisdictions. They did so to honor Turkey’s 80th anniversary. A ceremony was also held at Boston’s City Hall even as the city’s eighth annual Turkish Culture Festival began. /Hurriyet/
 AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS’ LISS: “BREMER’S STATEMENT WAS UNFORTUNATE”US Iraq administrator Paul Bremer’s recent remarks casting Ottoman Emperor as a colonialist power were unfortunate, said a key US Jewish leader yesterday. “Those remarks don’t reflect the views of the US administration, ” said Norman Liss, a top official at American Jewish Historical Society. Speaking at a New York reception for the 80th Turkish Republic Day thrown by Turkey’s UN ambassador, Liss charged that Bremer’s view was mistaken, as the Ottoman Emperor was no colonialist. American Jews value highly close Turkish-US ties, he added. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COUMNS...
 WHAT’S OUR LEVEL NOW?
Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s past and present. A summary of his column is as follows:
“This week we celebrated the 80th anniversary of our Republic. Our 10th anniversary in 1933 was celebrated with great fanfare. Some 15 million people wit great hopes for the future just after the War of Independence lived in Turkey at that time. The people trusted the state so much that they were unaware of how much poverty and deprivation they lived under. Our 15th anniversary in 1938 was celebrated very simply. Until the end of 1934, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was very ill. He was in Istanbul at that time and was unable to participate in the celebrations. He died just 12 days after the 15th anniversary. Our 20th anniversary took place during World War II. Our 25th anniversary in 1948 followed the 1946 elections in which we had a very strong opposition party: the Democratic Party (DP). Our 30th anniversary (1953) was 500 years after the sultan’s conquest of Istanbul, and the DP was at the peak of its success. Just one year later, the DP received 57% of the votes, something no other party could match. The next time this happened was last November, when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a landslide election.
In short, the Republic was Ataturk’s masterpiece of genius. Ataturk carried out the most radical revolutions in our history. However, our entrance into the 21st century wasn’t terribly impressive. The distance between us and the level of contemporary civilization now yawns wider than the gap of Ataturk’s own era.”
 DOES ANKARA HAVE A PLAN B FOR IRAQ?
Columnist Erdal Guven writes on Turkey’s Iraq policy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It’s now clearer than ever that Iraq doesn’t want the deployment of our soldiers on its soil, at least under the present circumstances. Washington and Ankara have at last managed to grasp this fact. The Iraqi opposition has gained a victory over the American plans. Of course, since the Iraqi ground is extremely slippery, we can’t predict the future. There are currently many factors in the country which might suddenly alter this picture. The opposition might break down in the future. Thus, we can’t argue that Iraq’s doors are closed to our soldiers forever.
The Turkish troop deployment issue had very important political and strategic aspects which would have provided our country with great opportunities for control over developments in the region. Now Ankara must find other formulas to boost its status in the region. In other words, we must ask ourselves whether or not Ankara has a plan B on the Iraq issue.
First of all, we must clarify what kind of a regime we want to see in Iraq. Then we should develop policies and strategies towards this end. Turkey is directly influenced by the region’s developments, which is why our politicians so often make the argument that Ankara can’t remain indifferent to the issue. Setting up a stable democratic regime would not only bring about positive developments for the Iraqi people, but also help our country to mitigate the adverse effects of the current chaos. Considering how the Iraqi opposition to Turkish troop deployment feared the arrival of our soldiers would exacerbate instability in the country, it becomes clearer how grievously mistaken was our Parliament’s decision authorizing the deployment in the first place. As a matter of fact, it was a dangerous decision with respect to our national interests.
Luckily, there are other ways we can contribute to peace and stability in the region. First, we need to establish solid, constructive relations with the Iraqi administration. That administration wants the foreign occupation to end as soon as possible. It wants peace, stability and democracy. Ankara’s mission should be to lend its full support to Iraq’s leaders to help them achieve these goals, which would benefit the entire region.
Ankara should understand that its interlocutor in the region is the Iraqi Governing Council, which is the most representative administrative body that the country has ever seen, no matter how it was formed. Ankara has adopted a hands-off attitude towards the council due to its powerful Kurdish elements. However, as a matter of fact, we should now be ready for the establishment of a federal Iraq. Under the circumstances we face now, the alternative to a federal state would be yet another dictatorship. If we continue to pursue our past Iraq policy, we’ll lose out.”
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