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Turkish Press Review, 04-10-13
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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
13.10.2004FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 CHILEAN PRESIDENT MEETS SEZERVisiting Chilean President Ricardo Lagos yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer. After their meeting, Lagos said that he was pleased to be the first Chilean president to visit Turkey. He also expressed best wishes for Ankara attaining its goal of European Union membership, adding that Turkey and Chile could cooperate in many fields despite the great geographical distance between the two. The visiting leader then met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. In addition, during an inter-delegationary meeting, an accord for cultural exchange was signed. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “CYPRUS IS NOT A PRECONDITION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP”Commenting on Greek President Costis Stefanopoulos’ recent statement that Athens considers resolution of the Cyprus issue a precondition for Turkey’s European Union membership, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday, “The Copenhagen criteria do not include any condition on Cyprus. Such statements hold no interest.” Speaking to reporters before attending his Justice and Development Party’s Executive Board (MYK) meeting, Erdogan stated that Ankara was trying to fully implement the Copenhagen criteria and would continue to do so. /Turkiye/
 US JEWISH LEADER: “ERDOGAN CAN PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN THE QUEST FOR MIDEAST PEACE”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received a delegation from the American Jewish Committee led by Executive Director David Harris and Strategic Affairs Director Barry Jacobs. During their one-and-a-half-hour meeting, Harris told Erdogan that his group saw Erdogan as a political leader worthy of trust in the quest to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Erdogan reportedly stated that Turkey attached great importance to forging peace in the Middle East, adding, however, “A psychological and political infrastructure needs to be built before a settlement can be reached.” Furthermore, stressing that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul could pay a visit to the region when conditions become suitable, Erdogan remarked that the wall being constructed in the West Bank would in no way serve to the cause of peace. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL CRITICIZES PROGRESS REPORT, SAYING IT NEEDS “REALISTIC EVALUATION”Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized last week’s European Union Commission progress report on Turkey, saying that it needs to be evaluated realistically. “The progress report puts obstacles in front of Turkey’s full membership,” he charged. Baykal reiterated that there were certain unacceptable conditions in the report, such as making Ankara’s accession talks open-ended. /Aksam/
 AYDIN TOUTS NEW EU MEMBERSHIP INITIATIVEState Minister Mehmet Aydin said yesterday that following the European Union Commission’s release of its historic Turkey report, Ankara had begun a landmark initiative to introduce Turkish culture and Islam to EU countries. Stressing that a 600-strong team was busy in intensive work in the leadup to the December EU Summit where Ankara expects a date to start negotiations, Aydin said that the prime minister and Cabinet in particular would pay visits to the EU countries to promote Turkey. “We must dispel prejudices,” added the state minister. /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “MAKING TURKEY’S EU BID CONTINGENT ON CYPRUS IS UNACCEPTABLE”Speaking to Turkish daily Cumhuriyet yesterday, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said that making a resolution on Cyprus a precondition for Turkey’s European Union membership was unacceptable. His comment followed statements from Greek Cyprus and Athens this week that the Cyprus issue must first be resolved before Turkey can join the EU. Asked how he would react if Turkey recognizes Greek Cyprus, another precondition stipulated by the Greeks, Denktas said that he would not accept this. He added that even though the Turkish Cypriots had accepted the UN’s Cyprus plan, the EU had not kept its promise to end the TRNC’s international isolation. /Cumhuriyet/
 BELGIAN PM GIVES SUPPORT FOR BEGINNING TURKEY’S TALKSBelgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt yesterday expressed support for Turkey beginning its accession talks with the European Union next year. Addressing his country’s Parliament, Verhofstadt said that he hoped the Union would decide at its December summit to begin talks. /Milliyet/
 SCHROEDER: “THE ONLY GOAL OF ANKARA’S ACCESSION TALKS IS FULL EU MEMBERSHIP”In a guest editorial for German daily Die Welt yesterday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said that the only goal of Ankara’s expected accession talks with the European Union was the nation’s full EU membership. Schroeder stressed that since Ankara had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria, last week’s historic EU Commission progress report had recommended beginning its accession talks, adding that his government shared this view and would support Turkey at the December EU summit. Schroeder added that the EU should keep its promise concerning Turkey’s EU bid if Ankara continues to implement its reform program. /Aksam/
 GERMAN FM CRITICIZES CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS’ ANTI-TURKEY DRIVEGerman Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer yesterday criticized opposition German Christian Democrat leaders’ recent announcement that they would initiate a petition drive against Turkey’s EU membership bid. “I find their Turkey policy irresponsible,” he said. “Such an initiative will also hurt Turkish citizens living in Germany. Ultra-rightist groups will probably take advantage of such anti-Turkey campaigns, as they pave the way for xenophobia and racism.” /Star/
 BARZANI: “KIRKUK IS A SYMBOL OF PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE”Speaking before leaving Turkey yesterday, Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani characterized the northern Iraqi city Kirk as a Kurdish city, adding, however, that it was also a symbol of peaceful co- existence. Barzani stressed that he generally had a common stance with Ankara concerning the issue, despite some small differences. /Aksam/
 BUREAUCRATS, BUSINESSMEN DISCUSS NATION’S ECONOMYThe Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) yesterday held its third Industry Congress entitled “Harmonization with Global Change.” Addressing the gathering, Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener said that this year Turkey’s growth was expected to exceed inflation. “The transformation of world markets is accelerating, so those who fail to adapt themselves to recent changes will not survive,” warned Sener. Underlining the importance of speed in business, ISO Executive Council head Tanil Kucuk said that not only the private sector but also the government and bureaucracy must keep pace with the latest developments. For his part, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TUSIAD) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu underlined the importance of efficiency as the most important criterion for investments. “Ankara must promote home-grown entrepreneurs because we’re living in a new world now, one where local initiatives are more important than central investment programs,” he said. In addition, in an address on “The Impacts of Globalization on Developing Countries,” Martin Wolf of Britain’s Financial Times warned about the negative effects on Turkey of the rapidly growing Chinese economy. He urged Ankara to take advantage of opportunities to improve the nation’s economy in line with the European Union’s economic criteria. /Hurriyet/
 EP’S GREENS TO HOLD ISTANBUL MEETING TO PROMOTE TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDThe European Parliament’s Greens Group is set to hold a meeting on Oct. 19- 21 in Istanbul as a show of support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. The gathering is expected to convey a message to EU leaders that if it succeeds in meeting fully the Copenhagen criteria, Turkey must be accepted into the Union. Greens’ EP Chairman Daniel Cohn-Bendit will attend the meeting, where an “Istanbul Declaration” is expected to be released. Many EU officials, Turkish government ministers, writers and thinkers as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will come to Istanbul for the gathering. /Sabah/
 GREEK PRESIDENT STEPHANOPOULOS: “TURKISH ENTRY WILL PROMOTE PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE BALKANS”Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos yesterday stated that Turkey’s entry into the European Union would be beneficial not only to the country itself but also to the neighboring Balkan region. “Turkey’s EU membership is very important because it will lend peace and stability to the Balkan countries, ” he said. In related news, Bulgarian President Georgi Purvanov suggested that his country should join forces with Turkey, Greece and Romania in a regional alliance to promote Balkan development. /Sabah/
 GERMANY EXTRADITES ISLAMIC MILITANT KAPLAN TO TURKEYGerman-based militant Muhammed Metin Kaplan, a longtime fugitive from Turkish justice, was extradited to Turkey yesterday, hours after a German court approved his extradition. Kaplan will face treason charges for allegedly trying to destroy Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Germany has outlawed Kaplan's Caliphate State group, which calls for the overthrow of Turkey's secular government and its replacement with an Islamic state. Kaplan's extradition was made possible after Ankara abolished the death penalty and assured the German government that Kaplan would get a fair trial. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 YILMAZ WEIGHS IN BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz’s views on Turkish-European Union relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“This week on news channel Haber Turk, former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz weighed in on the current state of Turkish-European Union relations. During his terms as both premier and deputy PM, Yilmaz pursued a path towards EU membership. If the Motherland Party (ANAP), (which Yilmaz led until recently) were in power today instead of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yilmaz would make the same decisions. Under the Ecevit government, the most difficult decision was ending the death penalty in August 2002. Today Yilmaz supports the steps taken by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government. He even wants other EU requests to be met, like opening Christian schools for clergy. However, Yilmaz harshly criticized last week’s historic EU report.
Yilmaz zeroed in on the following sentence in the report, ‘Whatever are the results of the negotiations, Turkey should attach itself to the values and institutions of the EU.’ Yilmaz said that this stipulation could lead to something other than full membership and that with this approach, the EU isn’t keeping its promise to Turkey. Yilmaz charged that the report was generally rude in manner. These criticisms carry more meaning coming from Yilmaz, who supports the steps taken by Erdogan’s government and lauds their success. Yilmaz is also urging Ankara to insist that the report be corrected in this direction before the December EU summit. The government has said it would work for this. However, the difference with Yilmaz is that he believes if these defects aren’t corrected and a net perspective of membership negotiations isn’t given by Dec. 17, Ankara should stake everything. He himself did this after the 1997 Luxembourg summit. Ankara will experience hard days until the summit. The government should plan responses to all contingencies.”
 WHAT’S THIS ARGUMENT ABOUT? BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on recent discussions about minorities. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Although there was no question who are minorities and who aren’t, the recent European Commission progress report brings up the issue of minorities, and this gave rise to various voices. Some claim that Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin are a minority, and some even claim that they are the essential founders of the Turkish Republic.
Some people claiming to speak in the name of our Alawite citizens say that the Religious Affairs Directorate should be abolished, the Haci Bektas Veli dervish orders connected to the Culture Ministry should be turned over to Alawite associations, and that a constitutional guarantee should be given to this sect. They invite the government to speak with Alawite groups.
The EU report made requests towards democratization and our people living in an environment where there is respect for the rule of law and human rights. This made some people very excited, as if they had uncovered a treasure. One could think that Turkey had collapsed and the fight to share its heritage had begun.
I must tell them that they shouldn’t get so excited. If the requests are respect for human rights and a democratic state with the rule of law, nobody would deny these. For example, our Alawite citizens complain about not being represented in the Religious Affairs Directorate, which is true and a proper request. The directorate should also consider our Alawite citizens’ religious needs. So what would abolishing the directorate mean? It’s surprising to hear that those who supposedly speak in the name of our Alawite citizens, who also believe in the secular state, couldn’t understand the directorate’s function for the secular system.
Maybe this isn’t the real question. Those who raise their voices want to be recognized by the state as a unity. This is the real question. I think this is the crux of the discussion about being seen as a fundamental component or a minority. If there was such a representation right, then there would be impositions and requests for special privileges. They don’t realize that this could threaten Turkey’s unity. Of course every citizen of Turkey can benefit from every right and freedom equally. This is their basic right, but further requests would have an evil intent.”
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