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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-01
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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
01.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ARINC: “PARLIAMENT WILL HAVE THE FINAL WORD ON CYPRUS”Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday hosted a breakfast for reporters covering the assembly. Praising efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, Arinc said that Parliament wanted talks over the island to bear fruit. “But,” he added, “vital decisions concerning the future of the Turkish nation can only be made by the Parliament.” Speaking on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, the Parliament speaker stated that joining the EU was not Turkey’s only goal. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TOUTS AKP RULE AT CAMPAIGN RALLIESContinuing his party’s campaign for March 28 local elections, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday addressed rallies in the Mediterranean cities of Mersin and Adana. Speaking to throngs of citizens, Erdogan touted his government’s administration during its 15 months of single-party rule. Commenting on privatization, the premier pledged to sell off institutions which were burdening the state. He also stated that the Mass Housing Administration was working on initiatives to help citizens become homeowners. “The administration will construct and deliver the buildings in 12 months, and people will be able to buy them over 10 years through installments,” said Erdogan. /Turkiye/
 ANKARA HOSTS SUMMIT ON ELECTION SECURITYIn the runup to local elections set for March 28, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu yesterday held a summit in Ankara concerning security measures needed for the polls. Speaking to governors and other officials from 41 provinces, Aksu said that local administrations had the responsibility to ensure that the elections are carried out peacefully, with citizens able to cast their ballots freely. He also called on officials to take all necessary measures to make sure the polls are conducted democratically. /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “THE UN PLAN IN ITS CURRENT FORM THREATENS THE DESTRUCTION OF TURKISH CYPRIOTS”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday charged that accepting the United Nations Cyprus plan in its current form would spell destruction for the Turkish Cypriots, adding that it was therefore unacceptable. “There are certain changes that the plan needs,” stated Denktas. “We have yet to reach agreement on these.” He added that there were certain sine qua non issues for the Turkish Cypriots, including two equal states on the island and Turkey’s continued status as a guarantor state, and that if the two sides fail to reach agreement on these, then a simultaneous referendum should be held in the TRNC and Greek Cyprus. In related news, Denktas is expected to arrive in Ankara on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to evaluate the ongoing Cyprus talks. /Cumhuriyet/
 WESTON VISITS CYPRUS EN ROUTE TO ATHENS, ANKARAUS State Department Special Cyprus Envoy Thomas Weston yesterday arrived on the island to hold a series of contacts today with both Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to discuss the negotiating process. Tomorrow, Weston is expected to proceed to Athens, and then on Wednesday to Ankara. Meanwhile, after a weekend break, Cypriot leaders are set to meet today to resume the talks. /Turkiye/
 STRAW, GROSSMAN AND EU’S COX DUE TO VISIT ANKARAEuropean Parliament President Pat Cox is set to arrive in Ankara today. During his visit, Cox is expected to discuss Turkey’s European Union membership bid with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. Cox is also set to address the Parliament on Wednesday. US Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw are also expected to arrive in Ankara this week to discuss the Cyprus issue and Turkey’s EU membership bid with top Turkish officials. /Cumhuriyet/
 NYT PRAISES ERDOGAN’S PIVOTAL ROLE IN CYPRUS BREAKTHROUGHPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan deserves credit as co-architect of the historic breakthrough initiative to reunify Cyprus, wrote the New York Times yesterday. "For three long decades," said a Times editorial, “the people of Cyprus have been held hostage to a diplomatic impasse that sliced their island in two, separated families from their homes, poisoned relations between Greece and Turkey and thwarted Turkey's desire to strengthen its links to the West by joining the European Union. Now that impasse has abruptly yielded to hope ... [and] the two [leaders] who deserve the most credit are Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Secretary-General Kofi Annan of the United Nations ... Whatever the final outcome [of the current negotiations on the island], the bold and constructive leadership shown by the Erdogan government on this issue should clinch Turkey's long-stalled case for European Union membership ... His achievement ought to silence the European Union doubters for good. " _Hurriyet
 BAYKAL: “WE’RE MORE THAN READY FOR THE LOCAL ELECTIONS”We are very well prepared for local elections set for later this month, said opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal in an interview on ATV yesterday. “It’s natural to have some problems in naming the candidates, and every political party goes through this, but they can be overcome,” added Baykal. The opposition leader also visited Samsun to attend a meeting of local CHP candidates. /Sabah/
 CB HEAD: “THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T HAVE AN EXCHANGE RATE TARGET”Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti said yesterday that due to Ankara’s floating exchange rate, intervening in the forex market was out of question. “The government has no exchange rate target,” said Serdengecti. “If the current accounts deficit rises too much, then exchange rates will increase by themselves, without any intervention.” Also touching on the planned elimination of six zeros from the lira, Serdengecti stated that he expected some initial inflation from this, but added that this would be negligible. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 INTO MARCH BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s foreign policy agenda this month. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A successful foreign policy for us in March will depend on our working hard. However, certain developments are inevitable, for example, general elections to be held in Greece. Probably Athens’s policy on Ankara won’t change course after the elections. As for our own local elections later this month, if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) attracts more votes, this will give it a new mandate and determination. Or else it will see the ranks of its opponents swell. Parties besides the AKP and the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) are facing their first test since November 2002, and the results of this test will be important.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will have very intensive foreign contacts in March. All of these will be important, as our relations with France in particular need immediate work and should be brought to a higher level. French President Jacques Chirac’s concerns about Turkey must be allayed, or we’ll have difficulty gaining European Union memberhship.
The Cyprus issue is a very serious issue not only for us, but also for the other parties involved. Solving it would make things easier for Ankara as well as Greece, the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, the US, Britain, the EU and the United Nations. Of course in addition to the Iraq issue, the US’ Greater Middle East Initiative will keep Turkey very busy in March s well.”
 A GREAT CONSPIRACY? BY ASLI AYDINTASBAS (SABAH)Columnist Asli Aydintasbas writes on the United States’ Greater Middle East Initiative. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The new pet subject of conspiracy theorists is Washington’s Greater Middle East Initiative. However, the GME is a very transparent plan with no space for collusion. Its roots date all the way back to Sept. 11, 2001. Those who are still trying to see the world through simplistic Marxist lenses fail to see how dramatically the US was altered by Sept. 11. The Iraq war was nothing but an attempt to establish security in the Middle East. However, some insisted that it was about oil. As a matter of fact, buying oil from Saddam Hussein was easier and less expensive than waging a $100 billion war on Iraq.
US President George W. Bush first mentioned this project last November in an address to the National Endowment for Democracy. ‘Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty,’ said Bush. ‘Therefore, the United States has adopted a new policy, a forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East.’ In brief, Washington believes that the Middle East cannot continue business as usual. An absence of democracy leaves terror and violence free to paralyze the region. For the safety of both the US and the rest of the world, democracy, open societies and free markets must be established there.
The main projects under the GME will be unveiled to the world at the upcoming G-8 summit as well as NATO’s upcoming June summit in Istanbul. According to the rumor mill, the thrust of the project will be improvement of the following three areas in the Middle East: information, education and the participation of women. And the model which inspired this project is Turkey.
When it comes to the GME, nothing is yet clear. Americans can’t help but laugh since, grandiose conspiracies notwithstanding, even they don’t know what to do or how to do it. As a matter of fact, the outlines of the blueprint are ready, but construction has yet to begin.”
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