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Turkish Press Review, 04-06-10
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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
09.06.2004FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SEZER: “ATATURK IS A MAN OF TOMORROW”President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday hailed Ataturk as the architect of modern Turkey and one of the key leaders in the shaping of the modern world. Speaking at the First International Ataturk Symposium sponsored jointly by Ankara University and the Kemalist Thought Association, Sezer said that Ataturk’s enduring importance comes not only from his accomplishments but also from his global thinking. He added that Ataturk, through leading the War of Independence, founding the republic and implementing countless reforms, was an historic figure respected worldwide. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH BUSH, WILL ATTEND REAGAN’S FUNERALPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Sea Island, Georgia to attend the G-8 summit there, yesterday met with US President George W. Bush. In related news, Erdogan is due tomorrow to attend the state funeral of former US President Ronald Reagan. /Aksam/
 GUL LENDS SUPPORT TO ALBANIA’S NATO BIDForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Albanian counterpart Kastriot Islami to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations and Albania’s NATO membership bid. Speaking at a joint press conference, Gul said that he hoped Albania’s bid would receive encouragement at the June 28-29 NATO summit in Istanbul. “Albania wants to be a member of NATO,” said Gul, adding that Ankara supported this. Gul stated that there were no political problems between the two countries and that commercial ties were developing, adding that a free trade agreement could soon be signed. He also said that he appreciated Albania’s contributions to the stability of the Balkans. For his part, Islami stressed the importance of relations between the two countries and hailed Turkey as an “honest strategic partner.” He added that he appreciated Ankara’s support for Albania’s NATO aspirations. /Cumhuriyet/
 AT G-8 MEETING, BUSH, SCHROEDER EXPRESS SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDUS President George W. Bush and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, both currently on Sea Island, Georgia to attend the G-8 summit there, yesterday met to discuss a number of issues, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid. During their meeting, both Bush and Schroeder reportedly praised Ankara’s European Union harmonization reforms and expressed their support for Turkey’s EU bid. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also attending the summit as a “friendly ally.” /Aksam/
 PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW DRAFT PRESS LAWParliament yesterday passed the new draft Press Law, which incorporates certain changes in accordance with European norms. In related news, State Minister Besir Atalay said that Parliament would also soon consider both the law governing state broadcaster TRT and the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) Law. /Sabah/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT: “TURKEY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO REGIONAL COUNTRIES WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE GME”Alan Larson, the US State Department’s undersecretary for economic, business, and agricultural affairs, said yesterday that Turkey could contribute significantly to regional countries within the scope of the US’ Greater Middle East Initiative (GME). Larson stated that Turkey constituted a bridge between Europe and the Middle East and that he was very pleased with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s attending the current G-8 summit. He stressed that Ankara had a democratic tradition and respected religious tolerance. Larson further praised Turkey’s economic successes, adding that regional countries could benefit from its experience. /Aksam/
 TRNC VISAS, TRAVEL EASED BY WASHINGTONWashington is continuing its initiatives to bring to an end the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). After it recently increased the duration of visas issued to Turkish Cypriots to two years, the US announced yesterday that American citizens, wherever they live, could go directly go to the TRNC using tourist passports. In related news, Thomas Weston, the US special coordinator for Cyprus, yesterday visited TRNC representative in New York Resat Caglar. /Cumhuriyet/
 EX-DEP DEPUTIES RELEASEDThe Court of Appeals Ninth Criminal Bureau yesterday ruled to suspend legal proceedings and ordered the release of former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Dogan. The court ruled in favor of a petition submitted by the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor’s Office to strike down a previous sentence on the former DEP deputies as well as its call for a retrial, granting a request made by their lawyer for the defendants’ release on their own recognizance. The defendants were to complete their 15-year sentences in mid-2005. /All Papers/
 JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK: “THE EU HAS RUN OUT OF EXCUSES”Commenting on this week’s release of four former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday that the court’s decision would provide relief to Turkey both domestically and internationally. The European Union will also search in vain for fresh excuses to frustrate Turkey’s EU bid, added Cicek. “The judiciary has done what was asked of it,” he said. “Now it’s time for others to do the same.” /Turkiye/
 EU LEADERS WELCOME RELEASE OF EX-DEP DEPUTIESCommenting on the release of four former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen yesterday hailed the move as “positive development” and a sign that Turkey is implementing EU reforms. European Council Secretary General Walter Schwimmer also stated that the decision would bolster Turkey’s image and squared with the spirit of recently passed reforms in the Turkish Parliament. In addition, European Parliament President Pat Cox, European Commission Turkey representative Hansjoerg Kretchmer and German Greens Party Deputy Claudia Roth also praised the release. /Turkiye/
 EUROPEAN COURT HOLDS HEARING ON OCALANThe European Court of Human Rights yesterday met in Strasbourg to hear an appeal against the Turkish government made by lawyers for Abdullah Ocalan, head of the terrorist group PKK. The court will reportedly announce its decision at a later date. If the court decides that Ocalan received an unfair trial, then the European Council may ask Turkey to retry him. Ocalan led the PKK during 15 years of clashes with Turkish security forces which took the lives of some 30,000 people. Since his capture in 1999, Ocalan has been jailed on Imrali Island. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DEMOCRACY PARTY TRIAL
 BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the Democracy Party (DEP) deputies’ release yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Democracy Party (DEP) ex-deputies were sentenced not for ideological offenses, but terrorist ones. The evidence shows that Leyla Zana and her colleagues were sentenced due to active membership in a terrorist group seeking division of the Turkish state. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has not ruled whether or not Zana and her colleagues are criminals, but instead saw certain shortcomings in their trial proceedings. For example, the court didn’t hear certain witnesses testify. Actually the court doesn’t have to listen to all witnesses. However, calling witnesses and making the court hear them is an important part of defense. Finally Zana and her colleagues were released yesterday.
The trial will continue without their detention. It is estimated that proceedings including the testimony of new experts and nearly 30 witnesses will continue for one and a half years. Zana et al were supposed to be imprisoned until May 2005. When the Court of Appeals made its decision to release them, it considered the stage of trial and the duration of imprisonment. That is, the retrial will last for more than a year and the remaining duration of imprisonment is 10 months. These legal grounds show that Zana and her friends haven’t been convicted, although they aren’t guilty. The arrest, conviction, yesterday’s release and the final ruling are all legal transactions.
Of course Turkey’s European Union membership process had an impact on the decision. Now we are changing our laws. ECHR decisions are becoming precedents in our national law. If Zana et al consider this legal process as clearing them of the crimes of separatism and terrorism, this is a great mistake. Now, in our country, which has taken important steps on the way to becoming a democratic state under the rule of law, Zana et al must clearly and honestly voice their opposition to terrorism.”
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