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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-08
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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
08.07.2004FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ARINC THANKS GERMAN AMBASSADOR FOR EU BID SUPPORTParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday hosted a luncheon in honor of German Ambassador to Ankara Wolf Ruthart Born in gratitude for Berlin’s support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Germany is a close friend of Ankara and always supports us on international platforms, said Arinc. For his part, Born praised Ankara’s recent reforms on its path towards EU membership. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN MEETS BULGARIAN PARLIAMENT SPEAKEROn the second day of his visit to Bulgaria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Bulgarian Parliament Speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov. The two reportedly discussed bilateral relations as well as the respective EU membership bids of their two countries. Erdogan brought up Turkey’s support for Bulgaria’s NATO successful membership bid, asking in return that Sofia fully support Turkey’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN, GUL WELCOME EU COMMISSION REPORT ON TRNCSpeaking to reporters yesterday at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport upon returning from Bulgaria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he expected the EU Commission’s new report on the TRNC to be ultimately approved. He added that that the development proved that his government’s policy on the matter was the right one. In addition, also commenting on the package, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul hailed it as an “important step,” but added that much work remained to be done. /Turkiye/
 EU COMMISSION APPROVES TRNC AID PACKAGEThe European Union Commission yesterday approved a long-awaited package for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) including measures to provide aid and trade benefits to the nation. The package is a step towards ending the TRNC’s international isolation as a reward for the Turkish Cypriots’ support for reunifying the island during referendums this April. It proposes 259 million euros in aid over three years, plus trade benefits to boost the TRNC’s economy. In addition, it would allow direct trade between the TRNC and the other countries of the EU, including the reopening of Turkish Cypriot ports that have been closed for 30 years. On the other hand, the package says nothing about the issue of direct flights to and from the TRNC. Speaking at a press conference, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenther Verheugen said that the Turkish Cypriots both needed and deserved this support, adding, however that the package did not entail recognizing the TRNC. The commission’s plan needs to be approved by the EU Council in order for it to go into effect. /Turkiye/
 TALAT URGES BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TRNCCommenting on the EU Commission’s approval of a report proposing ending the trade embargo and granting economic aid to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), TRNC Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that the matter was not yet definite and urged caution, pointing out that the plan still needed to be approved by the EU Council. During a meeting in Istanbul with Turkish Businessmen’s and Industrialists’ Association (TUSIAD) head Omer Sabanci and other business leaders, Talat called on businessmen from mainland Turkey to invest in the TRNC when the EU plan is put into action. Stressing that prominent Turkish firms investing in the TRNC would help to attract capital from other countries, Talat stated that his country needed investment to create jobs and prevent population flight. /Star/
 ANKARA UNDERLINES ITS SENSITIVITIES OVER KIRKUKAt a weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said yesterday that there should be no attempts to change the demographic structure of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. Stressing that both Iraq’s immediate neighbors and the international community at large were concerned over the Kirkuk issue, Tan said that Ankara wanted Kirkuk’s various ethnic groups to live in peace and safety. Meanwhile, Ankara invited Iraqi interim government Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to visit Turkey to hold meetings. In addition, in mid-July, Ankara will host Syrian Premier Mohammad Naci Otri as well as Ehud Olmert, Israel’s industry, trade, labor and communications minister. /Turkiye/
 TURKISH-IRANIAN JOINT SECURITY COUNCIL TO MEET IN ANKARA NEXT WEEKPrior to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned visit to Tehran, Turkey and Iran are expected to discuss security issues during next week’s Turkish-Iranian Joint Security Council meeting in Ankara. The Turkish government is to ask Tehran what measures it has recently taken to fight PKK/KONGRA-GEL terrorists. /Cumhuriyet/
 IRAN CONFIRMS RECENT CLASHES WITH PKK_KONGRA-GEL TERRORISTSTehran yesterday confirmed that its troops had been involved in clashes with PKK_KONGRA-GEL terrorists for some time, with Iranian Deputy Interior Minister Ali Asghar Ahmadi stating that at least two Iranian soldiers and eight terrorists had died in the fighting. Ahmedi added that the most recent clash between Iranian security forces and terrorists had erupted about 10 days ago. In related news, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan yesterday told a news conference that Iranian officials were expected to brief their Turkish counterparts on the recent anti-terrorist operations at a bilateral security meeting scheduled for next week in Ankara. “We have yet to receive any official information about the reported clashes,” added Tan. /Cumhuriyet/
 ‘OPERATION ANKARA’ IN US’ LONG ISLAND ARRESTS TURKISH NATIONALSUS federal, state and local law enforcement agents raided dozens of businesses within the northeastern state of Long Island on Tuesday and arrested dozens of people on money laundering and immigration charges, reported US daily Newsday yesterday. While seven suspects were charged with laundering, four others were cited for immigration violations. According to Newsday, some 57 suspected undocumented aliens were taken into custody during the raids, part of a crackdown called ‘Operation Ankara,’ so named because most of the suspects are believed to be Turkish nationals. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TIME TO FLY BY GUNERI CIVAOGLU (MILLIYET)Columnist Guneri Civaoglu comments on changes in international policies concerning Cyprus. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The changes which ended the 30-year status quo in Cyprus policies are now bearing fruit. For instance, the 40-year embargo on the Turkish Cypriots has been broken. If business as usual had prevailed, the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) would have continued and Turkey’s hope for a date for EU membership talks would be but a dream. However, nothing is as good as one hopes and nothing is as bad as one fears. Yesterday’s EU decision will lift the three-decade economic embargo on the TRNC. From now on, TRNC citizens will be able to import and export products directly. However, one shouldn’t interpret this to mean that the EU recognizes (or will recognize) the TRNC. The EU’s decision has no political dimension. Its aim is to bring the TRNC’s economic level closer to that of the south in case one day they are re-unified. The TRNC’s economic weakness is seen a problem in these unification plans, and this situation gave the south pause.
One TRNC government minister told his friends on the way back from Brussels, ‘The EU is very far from recognizing us. They are trying to conduct diplomacy with us through non-governmental organizations [NGOs].’ Indeed, TRNC Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat was invited to Brussels, but only as the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP).
Things are leaning towards carrying out commercial transactions through Limasol Harbor in Greek Cyprus. But what about the TRNC’s own Magosa Harbor? This way seems doubtful. However, there is also the privatization route. If management of the harbor is contracted to an international TRNC- foreign consortium, would the problem be solved? Of course breaking the embargo is a positive development. However, the TRNC nation hasn’t fulfilled expectations of its production capacity. It has generally depended on contributions from Turkey. The TRNC will reap the rewards of its efforts. So the door of the cage is being opened. It’s time for the TRNC to fly with its own wings.”
 AFTER THE ECHR DECISION, NOW WHAT? BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on last week’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on Turkey prohibiting the wearing of headscarves in state schools. A summary of his column is as follows:
“I’m surprised to hear liberal writers and scholars interpreting the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision on Turkey prohibiting the wearing of headscarves in state schools as meaning ‘Europe is shying away from Islam.’ Few openly spurn the concept of ‘threat perception.’ I think those who do so are acting instinctively, because the concept has its origin in the state during the February 28 process [leading to the 1997 downfall of Turkey’s first Islamist government]. However, the ECHR decision limits freedoms via others’ freedoms and refers to displays of religion as a ‘perceived threat’ to other people.
Those protesting the decision are reacting to the state, using the concept as a pretext for pressure and even a coup d’état, but none have asked whether this threat perception exists among an important segment of society. There is a headscarves threat perception among Kemalists, secularists, nationalists, atheists and what have you. Even some citizens not belonging to any of these groups believe that women wearing headscarves are threatening them through implication. This feeling rose after the September 11 attacks. I don’t agree with these people’s fears, as I believe they are being discriminatory and excluding people. But… the mission of liberal democracy is to seek common ground in society and at length social peace. Therefore, liberal democrats, even if they exclude religious people, must also find a solution for these people.
What should be done? Should women wearing headscarves as required by their beliefs abandon the Koran’s commands and instead obey the rules of liberal democrats? God forbid! What should they do then? Our Islamists should rid themselves of the influence of Arab intellectuals, based on state control and the domination of one ideology, to which they turned as a reaction to leftist intellectuals during the ‘70s. The essence of the headscarf, which has become a symbol, is Middle Eastern (Iranian_Arab) fashion, and women in Turkey wearing them in accordance with the rules of Islam didn’t know much about headscarves. Headscarves spread with the rise of Islamism and became an ideological symbol in Turkey. Unfortunately, every women wearing headscarves is perceived this way.”
 CIVILIAN NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL BY MEHMET ALI KISLALI (RADIKAL)Columnist M. Ali Kislali comments on the new makeup of the National Security Council. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A new civil general secretary will soon be assigned to the National Security Council (NSC) in view of our harmonization with European Union laws. There are two ambassadors in the running for this post. Technically the degree of the change isn’t that large. But, as the post had been filled up to now by a high-level officer, this has facilitated his access to the General Staff and military relations vis-à-vis setting the meetings’ agendas. But from now on, such relations will be a bit more formal.
The impression made by the NSC shows us that the general secretary should be somebody who is a specialist in security issues, like a solider. But when we look closer, it’s clear that this can even be a diplomat versed in various matters.
When we look at the reasons for Ankara’s support for the EU’s demands about the NSC, we see things more clearly. A number of present and former members of the NSC don’t deny the anxiety of the civilian members about the presence of generals on the council. On the contrary, officials in a position to evaluate NSC conflicts say that the soldiers come to the meetings more prepared.
When we realize that the EU demands for change came about because of the appearance of the military dominating Turkey, the problem becomes solvable.
Foreign diplomats and colleagues always wonder why Turkish generals have more influence than do our politicians. However, the answer is easy: our politicians, albeit with some exceptions, are always concerned about the voters’ response at the next elections. But the military is free of this worry.
How will this situation, seen as strange and hard to understand by EU countries, ever change? Isn’t it possible that the most simple and realistic answer to the question is through reaching the level of more developed countries by further modernizing the civilian leadership? Otherwise, it’s clear that reducing the military’s influence won’t fulfill the public’s expectations.”
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