|Tuesday, 27 February 2024
Turkish Press Review, 04-10-27
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH CHIRAC, SCHROEDER TO DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin to discuss Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Speaking at a press conference beforehand, Chirac said that he hoped that Turkey joins the EU provided that it fulfills the Copenhagen criteria. “The recent EU Commission report was positive,” he said, predicting that Ankara’s accession talks with the Union would begin next year. He further stressed that proposals to hold a referendum in France were unrelated to Turkey getting its date to begin accession talks. “Turkey’s EU membership would promote an atmosphere of peace and democracy,” he said. Later, Erdogan attended a dinner hosted by Schroeder. Speaking afterwards, Erdogan said that they had discussed what could be done during Turkey’s EU membership process, calling the talks “positive.” /Aksam/
 GUL SEEKS CZECH SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDIn Prague yesterday for an official visit, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul sought support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid in meetings with Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and Parliament Speaker Lubomir Zaoralek. Speaking at a joint press conference with Svoboda, Gul said that he hoped Turkey would join the EU. “In the future we’ll be part of the Union,” predicted Gul. /Aksam/
 NSC TO CONVENE TODAYThe National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer is set to convene this afternoon at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. The meeting will be the first one with a civilian, Yigit Alpagon, filling the secretary- general post. In addition, newly appointed Land Forces Commander Yasar Buyukanit and Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Fevzi Turkeri will be part of the NSC for the first time. The top officials are expected to focus on domestic and foreign developments. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “THE EU’S MINORITY CLAIMS ARE A TRAP”Discussions about minorities are a trap for Turkey, warned opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday. Addressing his party’s group meeting, Baykal criticized the support some leftists have given for such discussions. “Recent discussions on peoples’ origins and identities are being held in the name of leftist ideology,” added Baykal. Criticizing proposals to call Alawites a minority, Baykal said, “This has nothing to do with our ideology.” /Huriyet/
 PRINCE CHARLES VISITS HISTORIC RELIGIOUS SIGHTS IN MARDINBritain’s Prince Charles yesterday toured religious and historic sights in the southeastern city of Mardin on the last leg of a two-day visit to Turkey. Under tight security measures, Charles visited the 535-year-old Kasimiye Madrasah (Muslim seminary), the fifth century Syrian Orthodox Kirklar Church and the 690-year-old Latifiye Mosque. The prince also visited the spectacular Deyrulzafaran Monastery, which dates back to the fifth century and for hundreds of years housed the patriarchate of the Syrian Orthodox Church. /Hurriyet/
 TRNC PREMIER TALAT REJECTS EROGLU’S OFFER OF NEW GOVTTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader and Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday rejected National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu’s offer to establish a new coalition government. Following a one-and-a-half-hour meeting, Eroglu said, “Our proposal included eight articles but due to a previous decision of the CTP, Talat rejected it.” He added that he would continue his contacts with other party leaders in the coming days. Eroglu was assigned last week by President Rauf Denktas to establish a new TRNC coalition government. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT SENDS FORMER MINISTERS OZKAN, ONAL TO SUPREME STATE COUNCILDuring a Parliament session yesterday, the assembled deputies decided to send former State Ministers Husamettin Ozkan and Recep Onal to the Supreme State Council to face allegations of approving illegal credit granted by Halkbank. Votes on former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz and former State Minister Gunes Taner over privatization corruption allegations are scheduled for today. The Constitutional Court rejected a previous Parliament decision to try the politicians at the council as the cases had not been considered individually. /Turkiye/
 EP COMMISSION DISCUSSES TURKEY REPORTThe European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission yesterday met to discuss a recent report on Turkey’s European Union aspirations by EP Rapporteur Camiel Eurlings. Former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard said that the report was not just and balanced, adding, “Beginning Ankara’s accession talks will contribute to improving human rights and democracy in the country.” Italian parliamentarian Emma Bonino charged that the report was aggressive and unacceptable. /Cumhuriyet/
 IMF DELEGATION COMPLETES SECOND ROUND OF MEETINGS ON STANDBYFollowing the completion of a second round of meetings with Turkish officials on a possible new standby agreement, International Monetary Fund Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday left Turkey. The IMF delegation headed by Moghadam is scheduled to pay another visit in mid-November to complete discussions on the pact. Meanwhile, Hugh Bredenkamp, the IMF’s senior resident representative in Turkey, said yesterday that the Fund expected Turkish officials would clarify details on tax and social security reform as well as banking law. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 CAN TURKEY REFUSE EUROPE? BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“First of all let me give the answer to the question in the headline: No, it can’t. It’s almost impossible for Europe to refuse us.
I believe that every European leader who knows their history should be aware that even the strongest anti-Turkey circles within the European Union will suffer if the old continent shuts its doors on Ankara.
In his address yesterday to a conference at the Turkish American Association entitled ‘High Hopes: An Overview of Turkey’s Accession to the EU,’ US Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman spoke along the same lines, stressing the recent change in European leaders’ stand on Turkey. It’s really striking that even Germany’s Greens Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who was a student leader in 1968, has changed his mind on our entry.
But what about France? Do the French leaders really want to close their doors on Turkey? And the German right, the Christian Democrats? If they really could do so, what’s stopping them? Why don’t they just say ‘no’ to Ankara instead of making proposals out of left field like ‘privileged partnership’ that they know we’ll never accept?
All these questions can be answered as follows: because they all know that Turkey’s full membership will ultimately benefit Europe. They are all aware that democracy is a regime of tolerance and compromise, and they will have to show tolerance for and compromise with Turkey in order to strengthen their democracy. In line with the principle of multiculturalism embraced by most European democratic circles, the old continent knows that it will have to coexist with Turkey in the future. The question is whether over the course of time this can become a voluntary coexistence.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is today set to report back to the National Security Council (NSC) chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on yesterday’s tripartite summit with French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. The leaders of France and Germany said that they expected December’s EU summit to approve starting entry talks next year for Turkey's bid to join the Union.
Everything can change in the negotiations. But what is more important for Turkey, starting its membership talks or starting them as soon as possible? Would it be worth it to make certain concessions to start our membership negotiations next May rather than November? If our government strives to persuade EU decision-makers to set the earliest date possible, is the price too high? If there is a clear advantage in starting membership talks as soon as possible, this really should be shared with the public.”
 THE TRNC’S WOES BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the situation in the TRNC and Turkey’s stance on it. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) government problems are continuing. Forming a new government has proved elusive since Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat presented the last coalition’s resignation. National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu, who is responsible for establishing the new government, is continuing his contacts. The lack of a coalition is quite harmful during this critical time. A failure to solve this problem might lead to new TRNC elections. If the election results mirror the current situation, it will be difficult to establish a stable government. Even with a constitutional amendment, it won’t be easy. During this unclear period for the TRNC, pressure from the Greek Cypriot administration and Athens on both Turkey and the TRNC is continuing. The TRNC’s troubles will have a negative impact even as Ankara faces new conditions during its efforts to get a date for European Union membership negotiations.
In addition, the Greek Cypriot foreign minister recently said that Turkey should recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as the ‘Cyprus Republic’ before it gets a date for membership talks. The recent European Parliament report said something similar. In addition, withdrawing Turkish soldiers from Cyprus is another condition. It’s not clear if the Greek Cypriot administration and Athens will hang a veto threat over giving Turkey a date. Even if they don’t, it’s uncertain how they will treat the conditions discussed during the negotiations. The EU didn’t keep its promises to the Turkish Cypriots and Ankara, and now it’s snuggling up to the Greek Cypriot administration. At the moment, harmony between Ankara and the TRNC is very important.”
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