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Turkish Press Review, 04-06-23
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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
23.06.2004FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... A SMALL “GREATER MIDDLE EASTERN INITIATIVE” BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)
 ERDOGAN CALLS ON NATO PROTESTORS NOT TO DAMAGE TURKEY’S REPUTATIONCommenting on opposition from various groups to Turkey’s hosting next week’s NATO summit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that people’s right to protest certain events was a fact of democracy. Speaking at his Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan dismissed the groups protesting the summit as “marginal.” He underlined that freedom had limits and that all parties should avoid actions which might damage Turkey’s reputation. “The mentality of chanting slogans like ‘Go home’ is old fashioned and should be changed,” said the premier. Stressing that the summit would greatly help to promote Turkey, Erdogan stated that Istanbulites would regrettably face certain inconveniences during the gathering. “We must take measures to ensure the security of world leaders, which is the obligation of a good host, and we ask everybody to bear with this.” /Star/
 ERDOGAN VISITS AMASYAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to the northern Anatolian city of Amasya to attend a festival marking the 85th anniversary of the Amasya Declaration, one of the milestones in the beginning of Turkey’s War of Independence. Addressing a crowd of citizens, Erdogan said that Turkish people would forever carry the spirit of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his colleagues to preserve the nation’s sovereignty. /Sabah/
 GUL: “WE SHOULD BELIEVE WHAT THE ISRAELI OFFICIALS SAY”Asked about recent allegations regarding Israel’s relationship with Kurdish groups in northern Iraq, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday told reporters that Israeli officials had assured him that these reports were untrue. Stressing that everybody knew Ankara’s sensitivities over the matter, Gul said, “We should believe what Israeli officials say and should trust them. I hope our trust will not be abused.” /Hurriyet/
 ANKARA TELLS TALABANI OF ITS CONCERNS OVER N.IRAQAnkara yesterday warned Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani of its concerns about Iraq’s territorial integrity, Kirkuk’s demographic makeup, the rights of Iraqi Turkmen and the terrorist group PKK’s activities in northern Iraq. Talabani, who is currently visiting Turkey at the invitation of the Turkish Foreign Ministry in the runup to the June 30 handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis, met with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. After their meeting, Talabani told reporters that he was aware of Ankara’s concerns over Kirkuk and the Turkmen. Stressing that his group supported preserving Turkmen’s rights, Talabani said that the various peoples of Kirkuk would decide on their city’s future. He also condemned the terrorist PKK’s activities against Turkey, calling them attacks against democracy. /Turkiye/
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE ENDS MONITORING OF TURKEYThe Council of Europe (CoE) Parliamentary Assembly yesterday passed a resolution ending close monitoring of Turkey for alleged democratic shortcomings, boosting Ankara’s hopes of beginning its accession talks with the European Union. The report follows on the heels of Turkey’s release of four former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies as well as numerous legislative reforms. “The assembly believes Turkey has in the past three years clearly shown its will and ability to fulfill its obligations as a member of the Council of Europe,” said the resolution. However, it urged Ankara to further improve its human rights situation. Turkey had been under CoE monitoring since 1996 for alleged human rights violations. /Aksam/
 FOREIGN MINISTRY HAILS COE DECISION TO END MONITORING OF TURKEYThe Foreign Ministry yesterday hailed the Council of Europe’s decision to end monitoring of Turkey, saying, “Our country has now overcome a hurdle towards starting its accession talks with the European Union.” The statement further stressed that the government’s firm resolve to adopt EU norms in fields such as human rights and the rule of law would continue. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT’S SUMMER RECESS SLATED TO BEGIN ON JULY 15Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Salih Kapusuz yesterday met with Kemal Anadol and Ali Topuz, the deputy chairmen of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), to discuss the Parliament’s agenda and its summer recess. During their meeting, the three reportedly decided that Parliament would go on summer recess on July 15 after debating 18 bills, three of which have yet to be presented to the Parliament. /Turkiye/
 IRAQI INTERIM PRESIDENT: ‘I’M OPPOSED TO CHANGES IN KIRKUK’S ETHNIC MAKEUP’Iraqi Interim President Ghazi al-Yawar yesterday visited the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk alongside Paul Bremer, the top US administrator in Iraq. During his visit, al-Yawar said that he was opposed to changes in the city’s ethnic makeup. “Kirkuk is a city where people should live together,” he said. “Nobody should be forced to leave Iraq.” /Turkiye/
 BABACAN, IMF DELEGATION AGREE ON DRAFT LETTER OF INTENTSpeaking at a joint press conference with Riza Moghadam, the International Monetary Fund Turkey desk chief, State Minister Ali Babacan yesterday said that Ankara and the IMF had agreed on a draft letter of intent (LOI). Babacan added that this year’s 5% growth target could be reached easily and perhaps exceeded. “Ankara will take the necessary measures for the continuation of the stable economy,” said Babacan. He stressed that how the government will continue its relations with the IMF in 2005 and later, after its current standby agreement ends, was taken up at these negotiations. “It is important that Turkey create an economic program for the next three years,” he said. “The content of the program is important. We shared all our program plans that can be made with the IMF. We’ll decide on one path and implement that program.” He added that they expected that the IMF would complete the eighth review plans in mid-August after the LOI was presented. For his part, Moghadam said that the government should continue implementing monetary policy with sound fiscal measures, adding that structural reforms to the banking sector should also continue. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A SMALL “GREATER MIDDLE EASTERN INITIATIVE”
 BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Gunduz Aktan comments on the Greater Middle Eastern Initiative. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Greater Middle Eastern Initiative (GME) is proving to be a frustration, because the project lacks the financial resources to support its economic planks, and this might make it unable to reach its political aims. Countries in the region might not find this project attractive, as they will all be under great pressure on democracy yet unable to ensure political progress. The GME is envisaged to be implemented only by countries which accept participation in it. In other words, there won’t be any obligations. The project won’t be a prescription either. It will be implemented in accordance with the different conditions in different countries. The G-8 meeting’s decision initiating the GME can be considered a success for US President George W. Bush. Thus, a timetable was set to ensure the gradually increasing participation of the UN and the Iraqi people in establishing peace and normalization in Iraq. We will see if there will be other developments during next week’s NATO summit in Istanbul. France and Germany have stated their opposition to NATO’s taking on new duties in Iraq. At this point, the US might consider it sufficient to maintain NATO’s support for the Polish troops there. Bush will visit Ankara as part of the NATO summit, and unfortunately this visit will be carried out under the worst conditions. The US hasn’t fulfilled its commitments about the PKK terrorist organization. It invaded Iraq due to the fight against terrorism. However, it caused the revival of the bloody PKK terrorism which had previously ceased. It’s a very acute foreign policy problem.
Iraq’s interim Constitution in effect until next January has serious problems. Negotiations towards an actual constitution might cause a civil war due to the excessive rights granted to Kurds. In the government to be established under this Constitution, Turkmen are represented by the wrong person. Meanwhile, Turkmen leaders have become the victims of strange ‘victims.’ The Kurds are altering Kirkuk’s ethnic makeup, and the Constitution treats Turkmen as minorities alongside tiny Christian groups. However, the Turkmen population is almost equal to that of the Kurds. Ignoring Turkmen this way will cause serious future problems requiring radical solutions.
In addition, gestures by the US to satisfy the Turkish Cypriots have not gone forward. It’s not making efforts to establish direct flights to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) or imports and exports to and from the TRNC. The Bush administration is hoping to hold a second referendum in Southern Cyprus and for a solution that makes the Greek Cypriots happy. The only thing left for Bush to satisfy Turkey is impressing the International Monetary Fund.”
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