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Turkish Press Review, 04-10-21

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 : newspot@byegm.gov.tr <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

21.10.2004

FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH FRENCH OFFICIALS
  • [02] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: “IF TURKEY IMPLEMENTS THE EU’S CRITERIA, IT CAN BE A MEMBER”
  • [03] GUL: “TURKEY’S PATH TO THE EU SHOULD BE CLEAR”
  • [04] LAGENDIJK: “EUROPE’S DEFINITION OF MINORITY DIFFERS FROM TURKEY’S”
  • [05] FISCHER, REHN WEIGH IN FOR TURKEY’S EU BID
  • [06] TRNC GOVERNMENT RESIGNS
  • [07] EDELMAN: “SOME KURDISH GROUPS ARE TRYING TO ALTER KIRKUK’S DEMOGRAPHIC MAKEUP THROUGH FORCE”
  • [08] NSC TO CONVENE NEXT WEEK
  • [09] TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND NEXT FEBRUARY
  • [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [11] THE ISSUE OF MINORITIES BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

  • [01] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH FRENCH OFFICIALS

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday began contacts in France as part of his three-day visit to the country. Appearing on TV station France 3, Erdogan said that he had difficulty understanding the French public’s hesitation at welcoming Turkey’s European Union membership. Stressing that Ankara had enacted important reforms to harmonize to the Copenhagen criteria and taken steps for their implementation, Erdogan said he expected that the EU would recognize those efforts and open its door to Turkey. The Turkish premier then met with French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy. During their meeting, Sarkozy reportedly told Erdogan that President Jacques Chirac would have the final word on Turkey beginning accession talks. “Chirac has already made his decision,” added Sarkozy. That statement was interpreted as a positive sign of France’s stance on the matter. Following the meeting, Erdogan, accompanied by State Minister Ali Babacan, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun, visited Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Addressing a meeting of France’s International Affairs Institute, Erdogan said that even during its most trying periods, Turkey had never lost its perspective on unifying with the EU, adding that at the December EU summit, Ankara expected a date to soon begin talks with the Union. /Turkiye/

    [02] FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER: “IF TURKEY IMPLEMENTS THE EU’S CRITERIA, IT CAN BE A MEMBER”

    Speaking at a conference at Israel’s Tel-Aviv University yesterday, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said that Turkey’s majority-Muslim population was not an obstacle to its joining the European Union. Underlining that the EU was not a religious club, Barnier said, “Turkey is a secular nation. Religion is not a criterion for the EU. We have other criteria. If Ankara implements them, Turkey can become an EU member.” Asked about Israel’s possibly joining the EU, the French minister said, “Enlargement will continue.” Commenting on the controversial wall Israel is building in the West Bank, Barnier charged that it was a violation of international law. /Turkiye/

    [03] GUL: “TURKEY’S PATH TO THE EU SHOULD BE CLEAR”

    Turkey’s path to the European Union should be clear, said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday at a gathering of Europe’s parliamentary Greens in Istanbul. Gul said that Turkey’s EU integration process was progressing steadily toward the target of full membership. “The decision made at the Dec. 17 EU summit will be critical for setting the path of the Turkish-EU integration process,” added Gul. /Hurriyet/

    [04] LAGENDIJK: “EUROPE’S DEFINITION OF MINORITY DIFFERS FROM TURKEY’S”

    Europe’s definition of minority is different from Turkey’s, Joost Lagendijk, co-chairman of the Turkey-European Union Joint Parliament Commission, said yesterday. Stating that there can be discussions between Turkey and the EU about the subject, Lagendijk said that whether Turkey implements the EU’s definition would be seen in five or six years. Lagendijk also said that he also wasn’t satisfied with the expression “open ended” in the recent EU commission report on Turkey. “This won’t influence the decision to be taken on Dec. 17,” added Lagendijk, referring to the upcoming EU summit. “The decision will be positive.” /Hurriyet/

    [05] FISCHER, REHN WEIGH IN FOR TURKEY’S EU BID

    Addressing a three-day parliamentary meeting of Europe’s Greens in Istanbul yesterday, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer predicted that those who oppose Turkey’s European Union membership today would later see the futility of their position. “They will regret opposing Turkey’s EU bid,” said Fischer, adding that he would do his best to promote Ankara’s bid. He further called on the European Union Commission to set a date at the December EU summit to begin Ankara’s accession talks. Also addressing the gathering, incoming EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn praised Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. “In my country, Ataturk is known as a symbol of Turkey’s modernization,” he said. Rehn also praised the nation’s recent EU reforms, adding that its EU goal was meaningful and that membership would be beneficial for Turkey and the Union both. However Rehn predicted that Ankara’s accession talks could last for a decade and be difficult and complex. /Milliyet/

    [06] TRNC GOVERNMENT RESIGNS

    The government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) resigned yesterday. President Rauf Denktas accepted the nine-month long Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and Democratic Party (DP) coalition government’s resignation, and is set to meet with former Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu today to appoint him to form a new government. Eroglu will then be able to attempt the formation of a new coalition government among the parties in the 50-seat Parliament. “There will be efforts aimed at creating a majority government, but we think this may not be quite possible,” Serdar Denktas, chairman of the coalition’s junior partner, the DP, said yesterday. “Therefore it looks more likely that there will be early elections by the end of January.” The TRNC Constitution stipulates the holding of early elections if a new government cannot be formed in 60 days. The resigned government, chaired by Mehmet Ali Talat, will remain on duty up to the establishment of a new one. /Turkiye/

    [07] EDELMAN: “SOME KURDISH GROUPS ARE TRYING TO ALTER KIRKUK’S DEMOGRAPHIC MAKEUP THROUGH FORCE”

    Eric Edelman, US ambassador to Turkey, yesterday charged that some Kurdish groups were using force to try to alter the demographic structure of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, adding that the US was opposed to this. Speaking at Erciyes University, Edelman said that Ankara, Washington and Iraq’s interim government were all proceeding carefully on the issue of Kirkuk, adding that they favored the country’s territorial integrity. “Decisions on the city’s future will be made transparently,” added Edelman. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] NSC TO CONVENE NEXT WEEK

    The Natiomal Security Council (NSC) will convene on next Wednesday, a meeting delayed by two days due to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to France. Erdogan is expected to brief the gathering on his Tuesday meeting with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. /Milliyet/

    [09] TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND NEXT FEBRUARY

    NATO sources said yesterday that next February Turkey would take over the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for six or eight months. Following Turkey’s commandership, Italy, Britain and Spain are expected to command ISAF, which was established to support the interim government in Kabul following the collapse of the Taliban regime. /Aksam/

    [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [11] THE ISSUE OF MINORITIES BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the concept of minorities. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The European Union’s recent progress report on Turkey describes Kurds as an ethnic minority and Alawites as a religious minority. The concept of ‘minority’ was removed through Ankara’s initiative, but the content of the relevant paragraphs wasn’t changed. The problem concerns the term ‘minority.’ Meanwhile, a report was issued by the Prime Ministry’s Human Rights Consultancy Council (BIHDK) which deepens the concept of minority. Of course I agree with the elements of the report which defend personal freedoms. In addition, the criticisms that sometimes the word ‘Turk’ is used racially are correct. The BIHDK report defends the integrity of the state with the country but it opposes its integrity with its nation. It writes that the integrity of the nation is against the principle of modern cultural diversity. This is absolutely wrong! The concept of the integrity of the nation and cultural diversity are completely separate from each other. For example, Spain accepted local autonomies constitutionally, and the provision of ‘one and indivisible Spanish nation’ is included in Article No. 2 of its Constitution.

    The principle of the integrity of the nation is about public law. Different ethnic and religious representations cannot exist, there is only one national representation. Different public arrangements can’t be made in line with ethnic and religious identities. There’s one official language, the citizens’ common language of communications. The education system is established in compliance with it and cultural pluralism isn’t the essence of education, but a detail. In addition, people are free to express different ethnic and religious identities and cultural diversity and institutionalize them in foundations and associations. Just as in unitary France, the state can assist local cultural institutions. The issue of minorities has been a destructive security problem in the form of ‘intervention of a foreign country,’ and this problem could have been solved in the Treaty of Lausanne. Of course times and conditions have changed. However, the definition of ‘minority’ in our culture is based on this historical experience. During our War of Independence, Turks, Kurds, Alawites and Sunnis all fought as one, and our flag was the same and the language of the state was Turkish, and nobody objected. Our official language has been Turkish since the 1876 Constitution. The term ‘language of the state’ means the official language, and not even the EU has objected to this term. The War of Independence is a perfect basis. Now it’s not the time to create minorities, but to expand liberal freedoms for all our citizens within a unitary state.”

    ARCHIVE

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