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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-15
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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
15.07.2004FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ARINC HOLDS PRE-RECESS RECEPTIONParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday held a reception of fellow deputies marking the imminent, though delayed, start of Parliament’s summer recess. Addressing the gathering, Arinc praised the deputies’ hard work over the legislative term, adding that they passed nearly 250 laws. “We’ve adopted important laws which will ease Turkey’s European Union membership bid, and they were appreciated by many nations,” added Arinc. /Turkiye/
 ISRAELI DEPUTY PM OLMERT MEETS WITH GUL, SEZERForeign Minister Abdulah Gul and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday held separate meetings with visiting Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations. The Turkish leaders reportedly offered to help broker peace between Israel and Palestine. Olmert said he had had a “friendly, sincere and serious discussion” with Gul. “We are happy about our relationship ... Turkish- Israeli relations are continuous, stable and will continue to grow.” he told CNN Turk. For his part, Gul reportedly said that relations between the two countries had begun centuries ago and that Olmert’s visit would strengthen them further. Olmert denied reports about Israeli involvement in northern Iraq. In his meeting with Olmert, Sezer said that the Turkish government and public alike were very sensitive about northern Iraq and that his statements were therefore appreciated. Later, delivering a speech to the Turkish-Israeli Joint Economic Coummission (KEK), Olmert urged Turkish companies to invest in his nation. Also addressing the gathering, Agriculture Minister Sami Guclu said that the trade volume between the two countries should be boosted, adding that Turkey and Israel could make joint ventures. /Turkiye, Sabah/
 GUL: “TURKEY SHOULD PROTECT ITS ART HERITAGE ABROAD”Turkey should work to protect priceless Turkish works of art outside its borders, said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. “In approximately 20 countries, Turkey left behind works of art of which it can be proud,” Gul told a meeting on Turkish cultural heritage abroad organized by the Foreign Ministry. Gul also called for a team to be established to protect these invaluable works. /Hurriyet/
 AKSU, GREEK OFFICIAL DISCUSS SECURITY COOPERATIONGreek Public Order Minister Yorgos Vulgarakis yesterday visited Turkey as the official guest of Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu. Saying that the two had discussed such issues as security cooperation for next month’s Olympic Games in Athens, Vulgarakis praised the meeting as positive. The Greek Minister later met with Fener Greek Patriarch Bartolomeos in Istanbul. /Hurriyet/
 SENER: “CYPRUS IS TURKEY’S NATIONAL CAUSE”Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener yesterday received representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). During their meeting, Sener said that Cyprus was Ankara’s national cause. Sener touted warm relations between Ankara and the TRNC, adding that these close ties get stronger with each passing day. He praised Turkey’s 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation as a “turning point,” saying that it had safeguarded the life and property of the Turkish Cypriots. /Turkiye/
 TALAT MEETS WITH DUTCH EU SECRETARY, DISCUSSES TRNC’S ISOLATIONTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Minister Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday met in Lefkosa with Atzo Nicolai, the Netherlands’ state secretary for European Union affairs, who was visiting the TRNC to discuss ways to end its international isolation. The Netherlands currently holds the EU’s Term Presidency. Speaking after the meeting, Talat criticized his southern Greek Cypriot neighbors, charging them with stepping up efforts to isolate the TRNC since they joined the EU in May. “The Greek Cypriots are even trying to keep us from breathing,” said Talat. He further stated that the TRNC’s isolation should be brought to an end since his countrymen had accepted the UN’s Cyprus reunification plan in an April referendum. For his part, Nicolai expressed support for ending the TRNC’s isolation, adding that the Netherlands would do its best on the issue. Later, speaking at a press conference in Istanbul, Talat called on Greek Cypriots to act with common sense. /Turkiye/
 TRNC PARLIAMENT REJECTS EARLY ELECTIONSThe Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) Parliament yesterday rejected Prime Minister Ali Talat’s proposal to hold early elections. Elections will be held later than September, the date Talat had sought. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 THE NEW EUROPE AND TURKEY BY OKAY GONENSIN (VATAN)Columnist Okay Gonensin writes about Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The prospect of Turkey joining the European Union has provoked fierce debate in its member countries, with a decision looming by the end of this year on whether to start membership negotiations. Discussions are still continuing in the old continent over whether Ankara has made sufficient progress towards democratization.
In fact, the EU is expected to set a date for the opening of Ankara’s accession talks. ‘Let’s set a date but drag out the negotiations as long as possible,’ say certain EU circles.
Ankara acts as if its bid will end after its gets a date. If the EU really sets a date for Ankara, it would be a truly historic development. However, nothing will change unless Ankara abandons its post-date ‘mission accomplished’ mentality because our ultimate target is not merely starting talks, but actually joining the Union’s ranks.
There’s no need to recount the social and economic differences between Turkey and the old EU members. Everybody knows how the gap has widened even further over the last 35-40 years.
Charging that the EU is applying double standards, certain circles in Ankara argue that the Union’s just-inducted members actually look a lot like Turkey. The average per capita income in the longtime members is 25, 000 euros. Adding in the new members, this average drops to 22,000 euros. Let’s take a closer look at the per capita income of some new EU members which are despised by certain circles in Ankara:
Slovenia: 17,700 euros The Czech Republic: 14,400 euros Hungary: 13,600 euros Estonia: 10,000 euros Poland: 9,500 euros Lithuania: 9,400 euros Latvia: 8,500 euros
Most of these countries were once a part of the Soviet bloc. Over the last 10 years they established their own democratic institutions and managed to improve their economies. Every citizen of thvery poorest of these countries, namely Latvia, is four times wealthier than ours. Therefore, Ankara’s mission won’t be accomplished merely by completing political and democratic reforms. Conversely, our ‘real’ duty will begin after resolving these problems. Until this huge economic gap is closed, Turkey will be kept waiting for EU membership”
 BRINGING STABILITY BY ZEYNEP ATIKKAN (AKSAM)Columnist Zeynep Atikkan comments on the stance of the ruling Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the recent European Court of Human Rights headscarf ruling. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have committed themselves to Turkey’s European Union membership. As a result, inevitably all the winds blowing from Europe have an impact on the AKP, just like the hubbub over the recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling on Turkey prohibiting the wearing of headscarves in public places. As the ECHR’s decision is a ‘road map’ leading to our goal, we shouldn’t get angry at this decision, but evaluate it coolly. Integration with the EU is a thorny process, and it should be looked at like harmonizing with a family’s house rules. Cool, careful and reasonable approaches are always needed on this road. In spite of its majority in Parliament, the AKP hasn’t developed cool and mature reflexes. When the US or the EU praises the AKP, it over-rejoices like a child getting a prize. When something unpleasant happens, the government firstly panics and then gets very angry. The ECHR’s ruling followed this pattern. When Erdogan was caught between the EU goal and his party’s base, he said, ‘There’s no such thing as a public space.’ Perhaps by these words Erdogan meant that public spaces are areas of integration. It’s natural that in such spaces, differences may influence each other. As he was angry, he immediately banished the difference between public spaces and private ones. Then he corrected himself, saying, ‘Public spaces aren’t state spaces.’
This sensitivity comes from the fact that the AKP has continued its political struggle centered on freedom of religion and conscience. At this point, he also gets the support of media figures who call themselves liberals. Now the headscarf is a symbol of freedom of religion and conscience. As a retreat would be difficult due to political considerations, new covers are being prepared with new concepts. It seems there will be a power struggle over public space.
Constitutional law professor Ibrahim Kabaoglu told me yesterday that in order to properly ground these discussions, a distinction should be made between ‘private space,’ ‘social space’ such as parks, gardens and cafes, and ‘public space.’ Under this distinction, ‘private space’ is the freest and ‘social space’ provides the best atmosphere for developing freedom. Rules weigh the most in public spaces. These spaces shouldn’t be diminished, firstly because we should strengthen our democracy, and secondly because we should bring stability to the EU.”
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