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Turkish Press Review, 04-10-06
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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
06.10.2004FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 KEY EU COMMISSION REPORT SET FOR RELEASE TODAYThe final European Union Commission report on Turkey before this December’s EU summit is set to be officially released today. The report, widely expected to recommend that at the summit EU leaders should make a decision in favor of Turkey beginning its accession talks, will be a turning point in Ankara’s four-decade efforts towards EU membership. Following today’s release, in a final push to convince EU leaders to set a date on Dec. 17, Turkish leaders will be frequent diplomatic fliers. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aiming to begin talks in 2005 at the latest, is scheduled to travel to France at the end of this month to meet with the French and German presidents. All 30 members of the EU Commission will meet this morning to do their final review of the nine-page report. The report reportedly praises Ankara’s sweeping reforms to harmonize to EU norms, while also pointing to certain shortcomings. In addition, it is expected to state that Ankara’s implementation of reforms will be monitored via future biannual reports and underlines that the talks could be suspended in case of any violation. /Turkiye/
 SEZER: “DEVELOPING TURKEY FURTHER IS OUR NO. 1 GOAL”Now our main aim is to further develop Turkey and lead it to its rightful place among the world’s most powerful democratic countries, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said at a ceremony at Istanbul’s Marmara University ushering in the new school year yesterday. Calling on young people to maintain their faith in democracy and the Republic, President Sezer said, “I believe that you will never make concessions from our modern secular Republic or your determination to uphold the reforms and principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.” /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “I HOPE THE EU REPORT ON TURKEY IS OBJECTIVE”Speaking at a press conference yesterday before flying to France for an official visit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he hoped the European Union Commission’s progress report on Turkey due out today would be objective, adding that it should take into account all of Ankara’s steps and efforts for the nation’s EU bid. The premier stressed that Ankara had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria and that beginning accession talks and gaining membership were separate issues. In related news, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder yesterday reiterated his country’s support for Turkey’s EU membership, calling it an important matter. /Turkiye/
 IN STRASBOURG, ERDOGAN MEETS WITH TURKISH CITIZENS, AUSTRIAN MEDIAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in France for an official visit, yesterday met with Turkish citizens living in Strasbourg. Addressing the gathered expatriates, Erdogan reiterated that since Ankara had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria now the EU should keep its promise concerning Turkey’s EU bid. “I expect that the EU Commission’s progress report [due out today] will be positive,” he said, predicting that the Union would decide at its December summit to begin Ankara’s accession talks. Erdogan said that the government had made considerable strides over the last two years and taken important decisions for the nation’s EU bid. During the meeting, the Turkish citizens told Erdogan of the problems they face in France. Later, meeting with the Austrian media, Erdogan said that he expected Vienna to support Turkey’s EU bid. Asked whether Ankara had a backup plan vis-ŕ-vis EU membership, Erdogan said that all politicians had such plans. Erdogan is expected today to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). /Turkiye/
 GUL: “THE START OF OUR TALKS DOESN’T MEAN IMMEDIATE MEMBERSHIP”Speaking yesterday to Time magazine Europe, Foreign Minister Abdulah Gul said that though he expected Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union to begin, talks did not amount to full membership, something he said “will” happen some years from now. "We are not talking about being full members now," Gul told the magazine. "We are just talking about negotiations. And these will take time. We are realistic. It will take years." Asked how long Ankara was prepared to wait, Gul answered, "For other countries it took eight years... We know it won't be a short time." Gul also criticized proposals for a referendum on Turkey’s bid as “the wrong approach,” adding, “The [EU] constitution is the most important thing.” Predicting that the EU progress report on Turkey due out today would “definitely … be positive,” Gul said Turks’ support for the EU bid was overwhelming and rejected any suggestion that the nation would ever turn back. /Aksam/
 EU COMMISSIONER: “TURKEY’S MEMBERSHIP WOULD NOT BE A HUGE FINANCIAL CHALLENGE FOR THE EU”Speaking to German daily Berliner Zeitung, European Union Budget Commissioner Michaele Schreyer yesterday projected that Turkey’s membership would cost 15 million euros at most, adding that this sum was no reason to hold off starting talks with Ankara. Stressing that the EU’s economy would be energized by the start of Ankara’s talks, Schreyer underlined that financial aid to Turkey would be less than certain member countries received when they were candidates. He added that while the EU was aiming for Ankara’s full membership, this outcome was not guaranteed. /Turkiye/
 PRODI: “THERE WILL BE NO SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR TURKEY”European Union Commission President Romano Prodi vowed yesterday that the commission would not propose any special condition before Turkey when it makes its recommendation to begin membership talks. Commenting on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent statement that Ankara would reject any special conditions, Prodi said that everybody should be assured that Turkey would be under similar conditions and the standards previously applied to other candidates countries. /Turkiye/
 IRAQI AMBASSADOR: “TURKEY SHOULDN’T LEAVE IRAQ”Iraq’s newly appointed ambassador to Ankara Sabah Cemil Umran was received yesterday by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. Recent developments in Iraq and ways to boost bilateral relations were reportedly taken up during the meeting. Speaking to reporters later, Umran said that Turkey had an important role to play in his country’s reconstruction. Stressing that Baghdad was ready to cooperate with Turkish officials to end attacks on Turks in Iraq, the ambassador warned that should Turkey abandon Iraq this would only serve the aims of terrorists and would not resolve anything. /Turkiye/
 ISO CHAIRMAN: “EVERYONE SHOULD DO THEIR PART FOR TURKEY’S EU BID”Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) Chairman Tanil Kucuk yesterday urged the entire nation to do their part to advance Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Kucuk stressed that EU membership would help Turkey attract more foreign direct investment, adding, however that in itself this wouldn’t be enough. He added that next year domestic investments needed to be brought up further. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ANOTHER BEND ON OUR ROAD TOWARDS THE EU BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Ismet Berkan writes on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Today is a momentous day. The European Commission is due to issue its much- awaited progress report on Turkey, which will probably give Ankara the green light to start entry negotiations with the European Union.
No matter what the report says, what’s critical at the moment is whether or not it will recommend starting Ankara’s membership negotiations. The progress report will be one of the countless bends that we’ll have to navigate on our road towards the Union. Doubtlessly, what’s even more important is Dec. 17, the day the EU is set to hold the summit where it decides whether to start our membership talks. I don’t expect the EU leaders to give us an outright rejection, but let’s not forget we face a long and bumpy road ahead. On Dec. 17, the EU is to decide on not only Turkey’s future but also that of itself and indeed the world. If the EU manages to get through this bend, then we’ll be granted an unparalleled opportunity to alter the course of history. Turkey might serve as a bridge between different civilizations, a nexus between the West and the East. If the EU decides to do this, the ball will be in our court.
We shouldn’t forget that everything will hinge on our future performance if the EU decides in favor of our membership bid. No matter what the Union stipulates, everything will be on our shoulders because the negotiation process is essentially a period of harmonization, not bargaining. The most important aspect of our harmonization period will certainly be the economic one.
We mustn’t forget that Turkey simply cannot join the EU under its current state of economic underdevelopment. Therefore, in the years to come, Ankara must strive to ensure its sustainable economic development, close the income divide between different segments of society and establish a prosperous society. Now everything’s more serious than ever before. Unless we close the economic gap between different regions of our country, we cannot enter the EU. Therefore, we must develop projects along the lines of the US’ Tennessee Valley Authority project so as to encourage urban and rural development.
Now we must look to the future.”
 WHEN IT COMES TO TURKEY BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“French President Jacques Chirac has come out in favor of a proposal to hold a referendum on Turkey’s European Union membership. Such an idea was never applied to other EU candidates, and I wonder if it will set an example? The proposal has caused concern in Ankara, which considers it unfair since it’s planned only for Turkey. However, this proposal earlier got support from Jose Manuel Barroso, who is due to take over the European Commission’s presidency in November. Barosso said the proposal pleased him, calling it an expression of democracy. At this point, Turkey should expect a positive result from such a referendum, and this puts our EU bid at risk. Although the governments of many EU member countries favor Turkey, it’s well known that public opinion is against Turkey. Ankara will strongly object to this unprecedented proposal.
Obviously a referendum would put a ‘special condition’ before us, contrary to the Helsinki summit decisions. Another subject casting a shadow on Turkey’s bid is the issue of the free movement of Turkish workers in Europe. EU member countries have never welcomed this. If a proposal is made to restrict free movement through bilateral agreements, it would mean a change of status. A restriction of full membership means a special status. Such special conditions as a referendum and restricting free movement are unacceptable. We’ve done our homework and fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria. The EU should recognize this reality in its progress report and then put us through the same process as other countries. This is what we deserve.”
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