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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-09
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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
09.07.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SEZER VISITS ROMANIAPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday traveled to Romania to pay an official visit. After meeting with his Romanian counterpart Ion Iliescu, Sezer said that in last 15 years, bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries had developed greatly. “Turkey has been the greatest partner of Romania in the region,” Sezer told a joint press conference. “Last year, our trade volume rose to $2 billion.” He asked for Romania’s support in ending the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). In addition, the Turkish president stated that the terrorist organization PKK_Kongra-Gel had a continued presence in Romania and urged stepped-up measures against it. For his part, Iliescu said that he was happy to host Sezer in Bucharest, adding that Bulgaria’s joining NATO would enable closer cooperation between the two countries and contribute to the region’s stability and safety. In the evening, Iliescu hosted a banquet in Sezer’s honor. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN PRAISES EXPORTERS’ PERFORMANCE DURING LAST ECONOMIC CRISISPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended a meeting of the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM) at Ankara’s Hilton Hotel. Erdogan stressed that the new revalued Turkish lira, minus the six zeroes of the current currency, would go into circulation next Jan. 1, as a result of the government's successful efforts to tame high inflation. Underscoring the importance of exports for economic growth and development, he added that the sterling performance of Turkish exporters during the most recent economic crisis had done much to help the economy recover, saving the country from being plunged into greater economic chaos like Argentina. /Aksam/
 GEN. BASBUG: “TURKEY HAS THE RIGHT TO PROTECT ITSELF”Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday held a press conference to give the General Staff’s views on various issues facing the nation. He said that Turkish troops would not leave northern Iraq as long as the terrorist organization PKK continues to take shelter there. Stressing that the US had not as yet taken any serious measures to rid the region of the terror group, Basbug said, “Turkey’s expectations have not been met. Turkey has the right to take necessary measures to ensure its own safety.” Criticizing the recent activities of four former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies released from prison last month, Basbug underlined that their trial was not yet over. “They have benefited from the hesitations in our bureaucracy,” said Basbug. Regarding the issue of the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk, the general said that any instability stemming from a change in its demographic structure would threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity as well as Turkey’s own security. “We expect Kirkuk to have a special status,” said Basbug. Asked about the meaning of “special status,” he said that the city should not depend on a regional administration but rather on Iraq’s central administration. /Cumhuriyet/
 TALAT: “THE EU COMMISSION’S DECISION WILL PRESSURE THE GREEK CYPRIOTS TO BE MORE COMPROMISING”Appearing on Turkish news channel CNBC-e, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that the EU Commission’s approval this week of aid to the TRNC and measures to end the trade embargo would pressure the Greek Cypriot side to assume a more compromising stance, which would inevitably contribute to efforts for peace on the island. “The commission’s decision is expected to pave the way for further harmonization with the EU,” said Talat. “The EU aid is to be used for strengthening our administrative infrastructure and ports.” /Cumhuriyet/
 EUROPEAN BUSINESS GROUP TOUTS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDA delegation from the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE) met yesterday with Dutch Prime Minister and current European Council President Jan Peter Balkenende to tell him what European business expects from the Netherlands’ EU Term Presidency. The UNICE document handed to the Dutch premier touted Turkey’s EU membership bid, praising Ankara’s recent reforms on democratization and human rights. The document also called on the EU to begin Turkey’s membership negotiations as soon as possible after the country fulfils all the necessary criteria. As six-month EU president, the Netherlands will head this December’s Union summit, where a decision is due on beginning those talks. /Aksam/
 ISRAELI DEPUTY PM SET TO VISIT TURKEY NEXT WEEKIsraeli Deputy Prime Minister Ahud Olmert is set to visit Ankara next week in the midst of a chilly period between Turkey and Israel over the Sharon government’s bloody operations against Palestinians. Olmert is set to arrive in Turkey on Tuesday for a meeting of the Israeli-Turkish Joint Economic Commission (KEK) set for Wednesday and Thursday. He is expected to ask Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the recent shift in Turkey’s Israel policy and convey Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon’s message to Erdogan on the latest unwelcome tension between the two allies. Olmert is also expected to sign an economic cooperation protocol with Turkish officials. /Aksam/
 TALABANI: “THE CEASEFIRE WAS BROKEN BY OCALAN”Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani said yesterday that terrorist groups that recently broke a ceasefire and resumed attacks against Turkey were being directed by Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned longtime leader of the terrorist PKK. Stressing that the PKK_Kongra-Gel, as it is now known, had some 4,000-5,000 militants in Iraq, Talabani added that a dispute among the terrorists had left the group divided. Remarking that the group had put everybody, including themselves, into a difficult position by resuming terrorist attacks, Talabani underlined that the Kurds did not want to fight anymore. /Turkiye/
 TWO TRUCK DRIVERS SLAIN IN IRAQDuring an attack on a truck convoy near the northern Iraqi city of Samara, two Turkish drivers were reportedly killed this week. Yesterday an Iraqi official stated that they had the late drivers’ passports and that he would inform the Turkish Embassy in Baghdad about the incident. /Sabah/
 WORLD BANK PREPARES TO AID TRNCIn the wake of the EU Commission’s recent steps towards ending the trade embargo on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the World Bank is also preparing to provide Turkish Cypriots with technical and financial aid. The WB is expected to grant an aid package to the TRNC to facilitate its economic reforms. The WB is reportedly waiting for both the EU’s stance and the political situation on the island to be clarified in order to initiate the aid process. /Star/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE REAL WORK STARTS NOW BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the EU’s recent decision to lift trade restrictions from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). A summary of his column is as follows:
“How will the EU Commission’s decision this week to lift trade restrictions from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) influence the Turkish Cypriots’ political and economic life? Firstly, let’s consider this decision. Following the referendums in Cyprus this April, the EU stated along with the US and the UN that the Turkish Cypriots’ isolation would end. Those who expected the immediate fulfillment of this promise thought the delays came not from technical reasons, but rather ulterior motives. Now, however, the package adopted by the EU Commission shows that the work has been carried out as promised and that the policy of isolation has been abandoned. The meaning of this is that direct economic ties will be established between the EU and the TRNC, the TRNC will be able to export goods to EU member countries from its own harbors and sell its products in accordance with a licensed customs tariff, and it will receive EU aid totaling 259 million euros for various projects. The political meaning of the decision is as important as its economic value, as it shows the EU is taking ‘de facto’ notice of the Turkish existence in Northern Cyprus. Actually, as EU officials reiterated, their new stance doesn’t mean that the TRNC is being recognized or will be recognized as an independent state. As EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said, the EU’s policy is meant to pave the way for the establishment of a united Cypriot state. However, it’s also clear that the EU’s new strategy is meant to rescue the Turkish side from unjust treatment and give it support.
Obviously the EU’s decision is an important boon for the Turkish side. However, getting the full economic benefits of the decision depends on the policies of the TRNC’s administration and relevant institutions. There are many measures needed immediately so the TRNC can do so. According to TRNC Chamber of Commerce head Ali Erel, a series of reform and harmonization laws should be enacted to boost production and productivity and sharpen the TRNC’s competitive edge. Other key measures include harmonizing agricultural production to EU standards, adjusting energy prices, revising the tax code and creating an attractive atmosphere for foreign capital. Erel told me yesterday that the government and Parliament should start to work immediately towards this end and that early elections should also be held to solve the current political crisis. Indeed, Turkish Cypriots should start their restructuring process as soon as possible so the EU’s decision will have the desired effect on the TRNC’s existence and future. The real work is now starting in the TRNC.”
 ISMAIL CEM’S CYPRUS CONTRIBUTIONS BY FERAI TINCColumnist Ferai Tinc comments on the EU moving to end the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Wednesday’s Istanbul concert by our own Sertab Erener and Greek pop star Sakis Rouvas in Istanbul reminded me of Ismail Cem, who as foreign minister in the 1999-2002 Ecevit government took important steps to overcome the fears of the two nations’ peoples. While the European Union seems likely to establish direct relations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the steps that paved the way for this process shouldn’t be ignored. In his book ‘Turkey, Europe, Eurasia,’ Cem wrote about the first steps of the transformation process in Cyprus and relations with Greece. Cem’s remarks are very interesting: ‘Our Foreign Ministry and the TRNC produced new thoughts and solutions. We developed solutions based on a confederation as well as details of a possible agreement. As a matter of fact, certain parts of the Turkish offer ended up being included in the UN plan for Cyprus, or they influenced the shape of the plan. Every positive feature of the plan was discussed with TRNC President Rauf Denktas…’
Thanks to the Cypriot Turks accepting the UN plan and the support of the Turkish government, the EU has taken the first steps towards lifting the embargo. Is this sufficient? I think not. The issue of how and from where the TRNC’s products will be transported to Europe is not clear. Europe’s attitude on air transport could be clearer, but this is a process. The European Commission’s proposal will come into force after the European Council approves it. The TRNC being able to seize this opportunity, that is, being able to develop an industry open for competition and encouraging domestic and foreign investment, depends on strengthening its infrastructure and doing the necessary legal work. TRNC Chamber of Commerce head Ali Erel is also stressing this issue. He warns that if these measures are neglected, then the EU’s decision will remain only on paper. The process in Cyprus is continuing. ”
 TURKEY AND IRAQI KURDS COMING TO AN AGREEMENT OVER KIRKUK BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on the situation of Kirkuk between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Following yesterday’s developments, it seems that the idea of a ‘special status for Kirkuk’ is attainable. Although there’s no confidence in the political judgement of Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK), who made this declaration, the Foreign Ministry didn’t contradict him. Moreover, ministry sources confirmed reports of Talabani’s ‘Brussels-style’ proposal for Kirkuk, adding that Talabani had agreed not to unite Kirkuk with the Kurdish or Arabic region. Pointing to the excessive number of Kurds flocking to Kirkuk, the sources charged that this was meant to skew a census set for Oct. 12, and called on Talabani to change his attitude, which is at odds with his proposal.
But there wasn’t any indication then of how Turkey saw this proposal. The answer came in the afternoon. Speaking at a monthly press conference, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug said they believed giving Kirkuk a special status and protecting this status would be a cure for the regions ills. It was after listening to Basbug that I concluded that Turkey was about to agree with the Iraqi Kurds on the Kirkuk issue.
In fact, Basbug said yesterday ‘Of course, this is the Iraqis’ decision,’ but later on he laid out why Kirkuk is important for ‘Turkey’s security.’ The first reason he cited was the region’s abundant oil, and the second was the native Turkmen. Lastly, he stated that cultural reasons were also important, as Iraq has a multiethnic structure.”
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