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Turkish Press Review, 04-06-30
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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
30.06.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 BUSH: “AMERICA IS HONORED TO CALL TURKEY AN ALLY AND FRIEND”On the last day of Istanbul’s NATO summit, US President George W. Bush yesterday addressed a gathering at Galatasaray University. Bush stated that Turkey’s European Union membership would prove that the EU was not a religious club. Citing Turkey as an example of an Islamic country with a secular government that has found a place in the community of democracies, Bush said, “In some parts of the world, especially in the Middle East, there is wariness towards democracy, often based on misunderstanding.” He added that states attending the NATO summit have agreed to work together with nations of the greater Middle East to fight terrorism, control their borders and aid victims of disaster. But he said more action was needed. “We must strengthen the ties of trust and goodwill between ourselves and the peoples of the Middle East,” said Bush. He also cited the resurgent violence of the terrorist PKK as an example of the “struggle between political extremism and civilized values.” Praising Turkey, Bush added, "Your country, with 150 years of democratic and social reform, stands as a model to others, and as Europe's bridge to the wider world. Your success is vital to a future of progress and peace in Europe and in the broader Middle East – and the Republic of Turkey can depend on the support and friendship of the United States." In addition, the US president expressed his gratitude to Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan for hosting the gathering. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “THE SUMMIT HAS ENHANCED OUR PRESTIGE”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that Turkey’s hosting this week’s historic NATO summit had been a great success. Speaking at a post-summit press conference, Erdogan pointed out this was the first time Turkey had hosted an alliance summit since joining NATO 52 years ago, adding that the difficult job had passed with flying colors and that this had enhanced Turkey’s international prestige. He stated that the gathering had been very fruitful both for the important decisions made there and for Turkey’s promotion. Erdogan also thanked Istanbulites for their understanding during the summit. Commenting on the decisions made at the meeting, the premier said that they would be a historic turning point for the world’s future peace and stability. Speaking on NATO’s declaration on Iraq, Erdogan highlighted an important point for Turkey, namely that terrorist activities issuing from this country were a threat to neighboring states. Asked about the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, Erdogan said that Turkey would take over its command in February 2005 for a six-month period. /Turkiye/
 GUL, POWELL LEND SUPPORT TO ANTI-TRAFFICKING EFFORTSForeign Minister Abdullah Gul and US Secretary of State Colin Powell yesterday attended a signing ceremony between the Istanbul Municipality and the Foundation for Developing Human Resources paving the way for a future shelter for victims of human trafficking at Istanbul’s Hilton Hotel. Stating that both the Turkish and US governments supported the shelter project, Gul thanked Powell for attending the ceremony. Gul added that Turkey appreciated NATO’s anti-trafficking measures as important international steps. Powell also emphasized that the US placed great importance on the fight against human trafficking and that it was encouraging all countries do all they can to tackle this problem. /Cumhuriyet/
 SCHROEDER: “THE EU SHOULD KEEP ITS PROMISE TO TURKEY”Following the end of Istanbul’s NATO summit yesterday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder held a press conference. Schroeder began by praising Turkey’s success in hosting and organizing the summit. He said that if the European Union Commission’s fall progress report on Turkey was positive, during its December meeting the EU should set a date for Ankara to begin its accession talks. Stressing that Turkey had made great progress in recent years, Schroeder said that during the summit, leaders of the NATO member countries had the opportunity to see these developments up close. Reiterating Germany’s support for Ankara’s EU membership, Schoeder said, “The EU should keep its word given to Turkey 41 years ago.” /Star/
 TURKEY, GREECE CONFER ON REDUCING TENSION AND MILITARY SPENDINGTurkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and his Greek counterpart Spilios Spiliotopoulos met yesterday and gave each other important signals about cutting their armed forces and defense expenditures. Both ministers also discussed the issues of dogfights over purported airspace violations between Turkish and Greek fighter jets. /Milliyet/
 SEZER APPROVES ABOLITION OF STATE SECURITY COURTSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer has signed into law legislation abolishing State Security Courts (DGMs), the president’s press office announced yesterday. /Cumhuriyet/
 EUROPEAN COURT BACKS TURKEY’S HEADSCARF BANThe European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that the Turkish state had the right to ban the wearing of headscarves in state schools to secure the principle of the separation of religion and state. The Strasbourg-based court rejected appeals by two Turkish students, Zeynep Tekin and Leyla Sahin, who argued that the ban and their subsequent exclusion from class violated their freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Turkey had argued in its defense before the court that the headscarves violated the secular nature of the Turkish state. On the other hand, a report issued yesterday by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch (HRW) tried to argue the opposite of the court’s decision, saying that the Turkish government’s strict ban on headscarves for students and teachers inhibits academic freedom. /Aksam/
 TURKISH HOSTAGES IN IRAQ RELEASEDThree Turkish workers kidnapped in Iraq four days ago by a group led by terrorist Abu Musab al-Zargawi were released yesterday. The group had threatened to behead the hostages if Turkish firms in Iraq didn’t leave the country within 72 hours. It also called for protests against US President George W. Bush during his visit to Turkey this week for the NATO summit. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul stated that calls made by the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had greatly helped the release and thanked them for their efforts. /Turkiye/
 AFGHANISTAN’S KARZAI WELCOMES NATO DECISION TO BOOST TROOP LEVELSAmong the decisions made during the NATO summit, sending additional troops to Afghanistan was the most concrete. NATO approved boosting the number of its troops serving in Afghanistan from 6,500 to 10,000 within six to eight weeks. The forces will be deployed in the country before nationwide elections set for September to help to ensure peace during this period. At a press conference, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that he was very pleased by the decision, adding that the Afghan people needed a more secure life and a higher standard of living. /Star/
 BAYKAL SPEAKS ON IRAQ, INTERNATIONAL ORDEROpposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that the way to ensure stability in Iraq was not sending more soldiers or security forces, but establishing an order embraced by the Iraqi people. Speaking at his party’s group meeting, Baykal stated that the US wasn’t alone in working to provide the world order but that the European Union also had a determining role in this. /Milliyet/
 EMINE ERDOGAN HOSTS LEADERS’ WIVES ON BOSPHORUS TOURWives of leaders attending the NATO summit, including Laura Bush and Cherie Blair, the wives of the US president and British premier respectively, yesterday toured the Bosphorus on a boat with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wife Emine Erdogan. In addition, the group attended a luncheon hosted by Sabanci Holding Chairman Guler Sabanci at the Sakip Sabanci Museum. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 FAIT ACCOMPLI IN IRAQBY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on yesterday’s NATO summit and the power transfer in Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US President George W. Bush worked hard to conquer our hearts in Istanbul with his speeches praising Turkey. The NATO summit showed again that predictions our ties with Washington would break off have fallen flat. But Bush’s speeches and attitudes in Istanbul shouldn’t conceal the fact that he presented Iraq’s power transfer as a fait accompli. Bush shaking hands with British Prime Minister Tony Blair like they had won a victory can’t conceal the rout in Iraq, because the Bush administration, which told lies about weapons of mass destruction and expected to be welcomed by Iraqis, turned Iraq into a zone of international terrorism. Iraq became a country where people can’t find safety, where dozens are killed on a daily basis and where about 20 terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda and al-Ansar, are active. Some 135,000 US troops and an Iraqi government with no army will try to hold together a country where the prospect of a split is high.
We have to get used to living with a time bomb close by, because the Bush administration is trying to escape from a country it invaded with messages about democracy. The US was so unsuccessful in Iraq that it had to make the power transfer behind closed doors. Actually the Iraqis said to have taken sovereignty can’t do much either. They will have to cope with terrorism and the chaos which rose after the invasion. There will be Shiite and Sunni Arabs and Kurds, who will ever be suspicious towards each other and are like a ticking time bomb primed to explode. These groups, who are ready to fight over issues ranging from Kirkuk to the administration in Iraq, will always be there, creating a hell right next door to Turkey. Therefore, we should be calm in listening to Bush’s words and welcome his support for our European Union membership bid, but we shouldn’t forget what kind of a geography he left us in.”
 BUSH’S BOSPHORUS SPEECH BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on President Bush’s speech about this week’s NATO summit in Istanbul. A summary of his column is as follows:
“After a three-day visit to Turkey, with the Bosphorus and the Ortakoy Mosque in the background, US President George W. Bush made a speech to the world and especially to the region, which he called “the broader Middle East.” Differing from the speech delivered five years ago by then US President Clinton to our Parliament, Bush’s 35-minute address included some important messages and points that could help Ankara in its approach to some of its current problems.
The main themes of Bush’s speech were, in order of importance, the mission of NATO, Turkey’s importance, Ankara’s EU membership bid, the greater Middle East, and the Iraq issue. Speaking on the mission of NATO, he pointed to the new threats of the post Cold War era – especially the threats of terrorism and violence. Citing Turkey’s secular and democratic Constitution, he said our nation had proven that Islam and democracy can co- exist. Once again, Bush declared openly that the United States particularly wants to see Turkey join the EU. It is also significant that Bush persistently reiterated this just one day after French President Jacques Chirac chided him for going “beyond his domain” in his Turkish EU bid advocacy. Underlining the importance of democracy and liberty, Bush stated that this is what the communities of the Middle East demand as well, and the West should help them attain it. By saying that this would take some time over a large area, the president spoke of Turkey’s contributions as “a democratic partner” in the Greater Middle East Initiative. Bush indicated the importance of Monday’s handover of sovereignty to the Iraq’s new government and said it was on its way to becoming “the world’s latest democracy.” By talking about NATO’s decision in Istanbul to help in efforts in Iraq, Bush signalled that NATO has begun to play a role in the country.
It is also meaningful that Bush closed his address with the words of famed novelist Orhan Pamuk, saying that what has real importance is acting as a bridge between different cultures and civilizations.”
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