|Thursday, 22 February 2024
Turkish Press Review, 04-10-07
Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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
07.10.2004FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION RECOMMENDS THAT THE EU START MEMBERSHIP TALKS WITH TURKEYTurkey yesterday took a significant step towards fulfilling its 40-year-old dream of joining the European Union when the European Commission gave a green light to start Ankara’s membership negotiations in a historic move that could extend Europe's borders to the edge of the Middle East. The European Commission’s progress report on Turkey praised the Turkish government for its “far-reaching” reforms, underlining that it believes Ankara has sufficiently fulfilled the EU’s Copenhagen criteria. “But more must be done to fight corruption, stamp out torture, improve freedom of expression and of religion and to boost women's and minority rights,” the report added. “The commission will recommend the suspension of the negotiations in the case of a serious and persistent breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law on which the Union is founded.” The commission set rigid hurdles for Ankara to meet before starting talks as it will have to meet minimal reform “benchmarks” in everything from food safety to setting cross-border banking fees. Stating that the commission's response to Turkey today was “yes” but a “qualified yes,” European Commission President Romano Prodi said, “We are giving them credit, if you like, but that credit is not a blank check. A Europe that is sure of itself, has a constitution and strong institutions and policies, is returning to economic growth and is based on a strong model of peace, prosperity and solidarity has nothing to fear from the integration of Turkey.” He also urged Turks to be patient in what would be long and difficult negotiations. For his part, Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen said the recommendation was adopted by a very wide consensus. “The choice was very clear,” Verheugen said. “Turkey was simply too good ... Progress was too good to say no. We can trust Turkey that the country will continue ... improving the situation.” The commission report needs to be endorsed by the EU executives when they meet at their December summit. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “WE HOPE TO BEGIN EU ACCESSION TALKS IN THE FIRST HALF OF NEXT YEAR”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in France for an official visit, yesterday held a press conference in Strasbourg on the heels of the release of the European Union Commission’s historic progress report recommending the start of Ankara’s accession talks. Erdogan said that in general the progress report was balanced, adding that he hoped accession talks with the EU would begin in the first half of next year. He stressed that he fully expected EU leaders to act on the report’s recommendation to begin Ankara’s talks. “Turkey has met all its obligations, ” he said. “We expect a positive outcome.” Later, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Erdogan said that full EU membership could take time and that Turkey would do its best during the negotiation process. /All papers/
 GUL: “TURKEY HAS TAKEN AN HISTORIC STEP”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the European Union Commission had made a historic decision both for Turkey and the EU. Gul made the remarks at an Ankara press conference following the official release of the EU Commission report advising the start of Turkey’s membership negotiations. Stressing that the report praised Ankara’s reforms to harmonize with the Union, Gul added, however, that it included certain proposals in line with criteria not applied to previous candidates. Remarking that Turkey had done its best and would continue to do so, the foreign minister called on EU leaders to begin talks with Ankara as soon as possible. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT BEGINS ELECTING NEW SPEAKERIn the first two rounds of balloting for a new Parliament speaker yesterday, neither ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate, incumbent Bulent Arinc or Serpil Yildiz, got the necessary two-thirds support of deputies (367 votes) to be elected. Today the third and the fourth rounds will take place in the General Assembly. If no winner emerges, the candidate who gets the most votes in the fourth round will become new speaker. /Turkiye/
 STRAW VISITS ANKARABritish Foreign Minister Jack Straw yesterday arrived in Ankara to hold meetings with Turkish officials. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is set to meet with his British counterpart this morning for breakfast where bilateral relations, Turkey’s European Union membership bid and Straw’s recent contacts with northern Iraqi Kurdish leaders Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani are expected to be discussed. Straw’s visit came on the day of the release of a historic EU report recommending that Turkey’s accession talks begin. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “WE’LL SUPPORT THE GOVT’S EU EFFORTS IN THE RUNUP TO THE DECEMBER SUMMIT”Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday said that he welcomed the European Commission’s historic progress report on Turkey proposing the beginning of Ankara’s accession talks, adding that his party would continue to support the government’s EU membership efforts in the runup to December’s EU summit, when the Union is to decide on starting those talks. In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said that he appreciated the report and added that the December EU summit would be pivotal. State Minister Kursat Tuzmen said that the report would help Turkey attract more foreign capital. Former President Suleyman Demirel also hailed the EU as a project of democracy, peace and politics, adding that Turkey should not be excluded from the pact. /Milliyet/
 EU COMMISSION’S KRETSCHMER: “NEGOTIATIONS ARE OPEN-ENDED BUT AIMED AT EU ACCESSION”Hansjoerg Kretschmer, the European Union Commission’s top representative in Ankara, said yesterday that Turkey had taken very impressive steps over last two or three years, adding that the government had pursued a very successful reform program. Speaking at a press conference on the day the commission released a report recommending the start of Turkey’s accession talks, Kretschmer said that such negotiations would be open-ended but ultimately aimed at EU membership. “The progress report on Turkey was positive, and there is a positive air surrounding the report,” he said, adding that it could take a decade for Ankara to become a full EU member. Kretschmer further predicted that Turkey could attract more foreign capital if it gets a date during the EU’s December summit to begin its accession talks. /Aksam/
 EU LEADERS WELCOME HISTORIC PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEYLeaders of European Union member states yesterday welcomed the historic EU Commission progress report on Turkey proposing the beginning of Ankara’s accession talks. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder hailed the report as positive and serious, adding that it reflected all of Ankara’s recent reforms. British Prime Minister Tony Blair stressed that Turkey was already a leading member of NATO and that he wanted to see Ankara in the ranks of the EU. Blair added that Ankara’s accession talks should begin as soon as possible. Ankara is seeking a start in the first half of 2005, when Britain holds the rotating EU presidency. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said that the Union should give a date at its December summit to begin accession talks. Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Gerrit Zalm stated that the progress report had laid the groundwork for the December summit. French President Jacques Chirac said, however, that the EU’s expansion into Turkey would depend upon a referendum in his country. /All papers/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT LAUDS EUROPEAN COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION ON TURKEYThe US State Department yesterday welcomed the European Commission's historic recommendation that Turkey begin membership talks with the European Union. “We welcome the EU's positive recommendation on Turkey,” said deputy spokesman Adam Ereli. “We have long supported Turkey's membership in the European Union and would certainly welcome a European Council decision in December [at the EU summit] to set an early date to begin accession talks.” /Hurriyet/
 DUTCH FM EXPECTS TURKEY TO BEGIN EU TALKS NEXT YEAREuropean Union Term President the Netherlands’ Foreign Minister Bernard Bot yesterday projected that Turkey would begin its EU accession talks in the second half of next year. Stressing that beginning talks on Jan. 1, 2005 would be “neither correct nor logical,” Bot said that the implementation of recent reforms contained in the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should be observed, adding that yesterday’s EU Commission progress report already pointed to certain shortcomings in Turkey’s democratization. Remarking that the progress of Turkey’s bid rested on its own shoulders, the foreign minister asserted that negotiations would last some 10-15 years. /Turkiye/
 WORLD BANK: “TURKEY IS NOW AT A CROSSROADS”The World Bank yesterday lauded the historic new European Commission report recommending that the European Union start membership talks with Turkey. “The World Bank stands ready to assist Turkey in this important process towards integration with Europe,” said Andrew Vorkink, the WB country director for Turkey. Hailing the EC report as a crossroads for Turkey and its economy, Vorvink pledged that the WB would increase its support in line with Ankara’s EU aspirations. “While much work and a number of years lie ahead for Turkey to meet the economic criteria for EU membership, the accession process has the potential in Turkey to positively affect the economy as harmonization reforms continue,” he added. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TIME FOR A MENTALITY REVOLUTION BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on Turkey’s need for a mentality revolution. A summary of his column is as follows:
“As I watched the TV news yesterday afternoon, I felt we were at a historic crossroads. Our Westernization movement has reached a critical new stage. However, we should be careful. There is an extremely optimistic atmosphere, one unwarranted by reality. I hope we don’t wake up from our Turkish dream to a nightmare. Thousands of Turks imagine they’ll be able to immediately travel to European countries whenever they wish. This shows the huge gap between expectations and reality. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan spoke to me a few days ago and complained about the bureaucratic mentality. Unakitan said destroying this mentality and ingraining ideas focusing on individuals would be our achievement at the end of our EU membership process. It won’t be easy for us, because separating our nation’s character from the structure and mentality of our state is impossible. These days should be seen as an opportunity to usher in a Turkish renaissance. Turkey’s EU membership process is the common wish of the US and the EU because the completion of our country’s democratic openings is now an obligation for the global system. The vital interests of the US and the EU depend on Turkey’s integration with the West. However, we can’t predict what might happen to us during this process.
Presidential elections, early general election scenarios and the political reins over the next decade will be influenced by this period. We could get a date for membership negotiations in December; the nation’s expectations would soar; the unemployed would hope for jobs, and these expectations would last for about a year. However, then our citizens could see that nothing has changed and they wouldn’t be pleased. Then the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would begin talking about early elections in order to reverse this. The AKP could think that if elections are held next April, it would have more leverage with the EU. So steps for the party’s domestic balances would be taken, with certain unwanted figures given their walking papers. This would be to ensure another single-party majority, with an eye towards the presidential elections. What about this scenario?”
 NO RETURN BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak comments on yesterday’s historic European Union Commission report on Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“As expected, the European Union Commission’s report on Turkey released yesterday came out in favor of giving Turkey a date for accession talks. Thus, the commission gave a green light for accession talks in the leadup to the EU summit on Dec. 17. While European Commission President Romano Prodi called the decision a ‘qualified yes,’ he said that the accession talks could be suspended if Turkey strays from the principles of democracy, human rights or the rule of law. According to Prodi, there are still questionable areas despite the recent reforms, and this can auger problems on the country’s path to membership. After the start of accession talks, Turkey’s ticket to EU membership will depend on it not deviating from democratic values. However, contrary to recent discussions, this won’t be an open-ended process.
Explaining yesterday’s decision, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said that this would be a ‘process for membership.’ It was important that Prodi’s analysis stressed that Turkey’s membership would actually be in the EU’s own interest. Prodi mentioned a target date of 2013, whereas Verheugen talked about a negotiation process of 12-13 years. Clearly one has to look at what is proposed in the commission report. Prodi and Verheugen laid out the view of the EU public and Turkey that EU membership will be ‘a long road,’ and their proposals to start the accession talks.
However, a mood among EU representatives along the lines of, ‘Great, we accept Turkey’s membership after 40 years,’ was conspicuously absent. The report had the air of being forced to try to act fairly after five years of efforts. It’s obvious that there is a resistance to Turkey’s membership within the commission and on the member state governments’ level. With the advisory report, the EU commission both relieved themselves of the pressure and handed off the ball to the leaders, who are set to meet in December, for a final decision.
Countries which want to wait until after the referendum for the European Constitution will try to have the decision in December postponed till after 2005. Ankara, on the other hand, will have to utilize the next two months to push for a decision to start accession talks next year. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s address to the EU Council yesterday was impressive. Both Turkey and the EU have passed the point of no return.”
Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article