|Friday, 22 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 04-07-19
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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
 SEZER GIVES STATE DINNER IN HONOR OF PAKISTANI
 PRESIDENTPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday gave a state dinner in the honor of his visiting Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf. Also present at the occasion was Pakistan’s ambassador to Ankara, Sher Afghan Khan. /Aksam/
 IN FRANCE, ERDOGAN TO SEEK SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accompanied by a delegation is set to travel to France today to pay an official visit. During three days of contacts, Erdogan will seek French support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. He is scheduled to meet with his French counterpart Jean- Peirre Raffarin and President Jaques Chirac, and address French businessmen at a conference as well as meet with representatives of the Turkish community living in France. The premier is to tell French officials about Turkey’s reforms on the road to the EU membership and Ankara’s expectations that this December it will get a date to begin its accession talks. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL: “WE’RE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENTS
 IN KIRKUK CLOSELY”Speaking to Turkish daily Hurriyet yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that Ankara was following developments in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk closely, adding that everyone was aware of Ankara’s sensitivities on the issue. “We’re interested in Iraq’s stability and so we have this responsibility,” said Gul. “There are things we’ll do on such an important issue.” Gul added that developments in Kirkuk could pose a threat to the entire nation of Iraq, so everybody should act carefully in order to prevent this. In related news, a summit of foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighboring countries is due to be held in Cairo this week. /Hurriyet/
 84TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESIDENTIAL COMMAND OF ARMED GUARD CELEBRATEDThe 84th anniversary of the Presidential Command of the Armed Guard was celebrated yesterday. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, and National Security Council Secretary-General Gen. Sukru Sariisik were present at the ceremony. /Hurriyet/
 GOVERNMENT WORKS ON CIVIL SERVICE REFORMThe government has been working on a new regime for state personnel. The draft legislation proposes comprehensive arrangements to the civil service law, including a requirement that three-fourths of government workers be under contract. It also proposes that the current ranks of some 2 million civil servants be sharply thinned to 500,000. In addition, fringe benefits are also to be changed in line with European Union norms. /Star/
 TRNC TO OPEN NEW BORDER GATE TO GREEK CYPRUSThe Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is planning to open a new border gate between itself and neighboring Greek Cyprus. Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that Bostanci Gate in Guzelyurt is set to be open soon to ease traveling into Greek Cyprus. In related news, Talat yesterday met with Yannakis Kasulides from Greek Cyprus’ DISI Party. During their meeting, Talat and Kasulides exchanged views on finding a settlement to the Cyprus issue. /Turkiye/
 NEW US CYPRUS ENVOY KENNEDY TO VISIT TRNCFollowing the visit of a group of US senators last month to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) office in Washington, Laura Kennedy, the new US State Department coordinator for Cyprus, is set to visit the island this week. Kennedy, a deputy assistant secretary for European Affairs, is the replacement of Thomas Weston, the previous envoy. Firstly, at the beginning of this week, Kennedy will arrive in Ankara to discuss with Turkish officials issues of bilateral relations, Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Iraq and terrorism. On Wednesday, Kennedy will proceed to the TRNC through Athens. During her meetings there, US financial aid totaling $30.5 million plus air travel are expected to be taken up. The US recently announced that the funds would be granted to the TRNC this year to support the country’s economic advancement. /Cumhuriyet/
 BELGIAN TURKISH DEPUTY APPOINTED STATE MINISTEREmir Kir, a dual Turkish-Belgian citizen, yesterday was appointed a state minister in the Belgian government. Kir won a seat in the Belgian Parliament in last month’s regional elections running from the country’s Socialist Party. /Sabah/
 JUDICIAL RECESS TO BEGIN TOMORROWA month-and-a-half summer recess for most of the nation’s courts is due to begin tomorrow. During the recess, the courts will remain available to hear urgent cases. Heavy sentence courts recently established to replace the abolished State Security Courts (DGMs) are excluded from the recess. The new judicial year is due to begin on Sept. 6. /Hurriyet/
 EU’S SOLANA CRITICIZES SCHROEDER’S PROPOSING “CONDITIONAL YES” FOR TURKEY’S EU TALKSSpeaking to Spanish daily El Pais yesterday, European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticized the recent proposal of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder that Turkey given a “conditional yes” for the start of its EU membership negotiations. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 FROM THE COLUMNS
 IF EUROPE GIVES A CONDITIONAL YES
 BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on what might happen if the European Union gives Turkey a conditional date for membership negotiations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has predicted that the EU will give us a conditional yes. For Schroeder, this means that our membership negotiations won’t start immediately. Let’s say plainly that if such a decision is made during the December EU summit, Turkey should reject it and walk away from the table. Neither Europe nor Turkey needs another decision like the one made at the 1997 Luxembourg summit. If such a decision is made, there will be intensive discussions in both Turkey about the EU. For this reason, in such a situation, the government can leave the table, saying, ‘Turkey has reason to doubt Europe’s trustworthiness and reliability.’ Europe can make a straightforward decision about Turkey in December, that is, giving the authority to the European Commission to start membership negotiations with Ankara. The decision to start negotiations is actually more important than starting them. After this decision just sitting at the table and starting negotiations is a technical and bureaucratic matter. Nobody can estimate the length of these negotiations. Some optimists believe they will end in five or seven years, while pessimists expect 15. The average estimate seems to be 10 years.
We don’t know what sort of a Europe we will face and where Turkey will be over the next decade. For this reason, it might be absurd to talk about full membership now. However, neither we nor Europe know what’s currently important. Turkey has no patience for new conditions, dodges and stale delaying tactics. We should be as sincere to Europe as it is to us. If Europe thinks, ‘Unfortunately a promise was given to Turkey in 1963. We should keep that promise but if we delay it, Turks will voluntarily give up and save us,’ we should help them by refusing. We’re aware of our shortcomings on the quality of democracy and the respect for human rights and the rule of law, and we’re doing our best to address them. Of course we’ll do so with or without Europe. However, keeping Turkey in suspense and erecting new hurdles is nothing but racism and discrimination. We should tell Europe about this religious and cultural racism.”
 THE EU’S HESITATION
 BY FEHMI KORU (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Fehmi Koru comments on Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We were all taken aback by German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s recent statement that the European Union was planning to launch a series of ‘conditional negotiations’ for Turkey. Anti-EU circles are now raising their voices in protest louder than ever.
Let’s not forget that the approval of Turkey’s accession to the Union would be no ordinary development in the old continent’s history. Nobody should expect the EU to readily welcome our country. There are many considerable differences between Turkey and both the new EU members and the other candidates: First of all, our population is very large. Secondly, if Turkey joins the ranks of the EU, its boundaries will extend to the problem countries of the Middle East, which are known as ‘bandits’ by Europeans. Moreover, the vast majority of our population is Muslim. Most importantly, our country has yet to be successful in implementing the Copenhagen criteria, and our economy is still racked by crises. Finally and not surprisingly, Europeans are concerned about our past, something of which Turks are conversely proud. The EU countries don’t let these facts slip from their minds for even a second.
Europe is currently trying to decide whether Turkey should remain a friend, either as an EU member or as a peripheral country: Let’s face the fact that the honest response would be the latter. However, EU membership is a strategic necessity for Turkey, as Ankara will inevitably suffer greater foreign policy problems in the future unless it makes it into the Union.
The next five months before the year-end EU summit will be key since the member countries are expected to test Ankara’s determination on its path towards membership. Therefore, our government must be very careful in the implementation of the reform packages to make a smooth process. Let’s not forget that the Europeans are hesitant about our membership and so will be looking for a pretext to give us a ‘conditional yes’ at this December’s summit. What Schroeder did was actually a sort of a trial balloon.
Turkey’s EU membership won’t be an easy decision to make for either side. Having proved its resolve, our government has been making good progress on its path. Now it’s high time for us to display our determination to our European fellows so as to help them overcome their hesitancy.”
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