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Turkish Press Review, 05-01-07

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

07.01.2005

FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO VISIT SOUTH ASIAN DISASTER REGION LATER THIS MONTH
  • [02] ERDOGAN TO VISIT RUSSIA NEXT WEEK
  • [03] AT MEETING OF IRAQ’S NEIGHBORS, GUL WARNS ANY EXCLUSION AT POLLS WOULD CREATE LEGITIMACY PROBLEMS
  • [04] GUL MEETS WITH PLO LEADER TO DISCUSS WEEKEND PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS
  • [05] OZKOK MEETS WITH NATO COMMANDER, DISCUSSES MISSIONS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN
  • [06] ARINC: “PARLIAMENT CAN FIND A REASONABLE SOLUTION TO THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”
  • [07] EP HEAD BORRELL: “EUROPE MUST WORK TO DISPEL ANTI-TURKISH BIAS
  • [08] POLL: DANES FAVOR TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP
  • [09] DYP LEADER AGAR OPPOSES LOWER ELECTION THRESHOLD
  • [10] SOCIAL SECURITY HOSPITALS HANDED OVER TO HEALTH MINISTRY
  • [11] FORMER CHIEF IMF ECONOMIST HAILS TURKEY’S “SUCCESS STORY”
  • [12] FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [13] THE CHP SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUNG PEOPLE BY GILA BENMAYOR (HURRIYET)
  • [14] WHAT SORT OF A ROLE IN THE MIDEAST? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO VISIT SOUTH ASIAN DISASTER REGION LATER THIS MONTH

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday visited the Black Sea province of Rize to attend the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Youth Branch congress and to tour the region. Speaking to a crowd, Erdogan stressed how critical education, health, justice and security are for the country. He said that Turkey wanted to become a European Union member to help end conflicts between civilizations and to promote instead reconciliation and compromise. He also told reporters that at the end of this month he was planning to travel to south Asian countries recently hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunamis. “It is my duty to visit the region and lend support to victims of the disaster,” said the premier. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN TO VISIT RUSSIA NEXT WEEK

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accompanied by his wife is scheduled to pay an official visit to Russia early next week. A meeting with President Vladimir Putin is expected to focus on the Cyprus issue. Erdogan will ask Putin to make efforts to end the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). In related news, Erdogan, with an eye towards solving the Cyprus issue before this October, when Ankara is to begin accession talks with the European Union, will resume peace efforts during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland later this month. He is set to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and urge him to seek the Security Council’s backing for the most recent version of Annan’s Cyprus plan. /Turkiye/

    [03] AT MEETING OF IRAQ’S NEIGHBORS, GUL WARNS ANY EXCLUSION AT POLLS WOULD CREATE LEGITIMACY PROBLEMS

    In Amman, Jordan yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday attended a meeting bringing together the foreign ministers of Iraq’s neighboring countries. The meeting came as some Sunni groups in Iraq called for boycotts or at least postponement of Iraqi elections scheduled for Jan. 30. Gul’s counterparts from Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Eygpt attended the meeting, with Iran represented by its deputy foreign minister. Addressing the gathering, Gul said that exclusion of any group from Iraq’s polls would lead to legitimacy problems, as the country is trying to create a new administration. In a post-meeting declaration, the participants stressed that all Iraqis should participate in the upcoming elections. The ministers also agreed to hold their next meeting in Istanbul. During his stay in Amman, Gul met with his Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Ebul Geyt and briefed him on his recent contacts in Israel and Palestine, which Geyt hailed as fruitful. Later, Gul met with his Syrian counterpart Farouq al-Sharaa. /Milliyet/

    [04] GUL MEETS WITH PLO LEADER TO DISCUSS WEEKEND PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS

    Before attending a meeting in Jordan yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met with Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Mahmoud Abbas to discuss Palestine’s elections set for this Sunday. During their meeting, Gul briefed Abbas on his recent contacts with Israeli officials. For his part, Abbas, a leading candidate for Palestinian president, said that he expected Ankara would play a more active role in the peace process, adding that it should contribute to future peacekeeping forces in the region. Speaking afterwards, Gul said that the Palestinian nation would grow stronger through holding elections and praised the country’s continued reforms. /Milliyet/

    [05] OZKOK MEETS WITH NATO COMMANDER, DISCUSSES MISSIONS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN

    In Ankara for an official visit, Gen. James L. Jones, NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe (SACEUR), yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok to discuss a number of issues, including NATO’s missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] ARINC: “PARLIAMENT CAN FIND A REASONABLE SOLUTION TO THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”

    Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday received representatives from the Freedom of Faith Platform, a group advocating an end to legal restrictions on the wearing of headscarves. Turkey bars university students and public employees from wearing headscarves, which the secular establishment sees as a political statement in favor of religious fundamentalism. Stating that the ban should be discussed as an issue of freedom of thought and faith, Arinc told the platform members that Parliament would have the final say on the matter. “The majority of our parliamentarians favor abolishing the ban, ” he said. “I believe we’ll find a reasonable solution to this problem. A woman can wear a headscarf due to her beliefs, health problems or just because she finds it stylish. The right thing to do is to respect people’s beliefs and their right to dress accordingly.” He also urged the platform not to push their cause too insistently as it had already attracted tremendous controversy. “I think discussing this as an issue of freedom of thought, using different channels, would be more productive,” he added. /Sabah/

    [07] EP HEAD BORRELL: “EUROPE MUST WORK TO DISPEL ANTI-TURKISH BIAS

    Eliminating bias against Turkey as its European Union membership goes forward is both necessary and beneficial for Europe, wrote European Parliament President Josep Borrell in a guest op-ed for French daily Le Figaro yesterday. Borrell said that the EU had three major homework assignments this year, namely, enlivening the Lisbon strategy, approving the European Constitution, and moving Turkey’s membership forward. “We need to get used to heated discussions on Turkey’s membership bid,” he wrote. “This will be a test for our continent. We have to make a serious, concrete effort to dispel prejudices against Turkey. Ankara’s membership negotiations will be a long and open-ended process. Ultimately, I believe the Union will benefit from the enlargement.” /Turkiye/

    [08] POLL: DANES FAVOR TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP

    Nearly three-quarters of Danes favor admitting Turkey into the European Union provide it fulfills the EU’s political and economic criteria, says a new poll. The poll, conducted by the Epinion Institute and made public by the Danish Federation of Industrialists, shows 72% of Danes support Ankara’s EU bid. /Turkiye/

    [09] DYP LEADER AGAR OPPOSES LOWER ELECTION THRESHOLD

    Commenting on recent proposals to lower the 10% election threshold, True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar warned yesterday that doing so might sow instability in the country. Suggesting that fair representation might be accomplished through a model which retains the threshold but allocates 100 Parliament seats to parties failing to make the cut, Agar said his party was working on the issue. /Turkiye/

    [10] SOCIAL SECURITY HOSPITALS HANDED OVER TO HEALTH MINISTRY

    Parliament yesterday passed a controversial bill proposing handing over Social Security Authority (SSK) hospitals to the jurisdiction of the Health Ministry. Speaking to the deputies, Health Minister Recep Akdag stated that the bill covered not only SSK hospitals, but all hospitals under state institutions. He said that putting all health organizations under one roof would promote greater efficiency and quality as well as better cost control. /Turkiye/

    [11] FORMER CHIEF IMF ECONOMIST HAILS TURKEY’S “SUCCESS STORY”

    Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund, yesterday praised Turkey as one of the IMF’s “success stories.” Lauding Turkey’s positive economic developments, Rogoff stressed that last year it had beaten its inflation and growth targets. Also touching on Ankara’s EU aspirations, Rogoff predicted that its EU bid would accelerate the reform process and speed the country’s transformation. /Aksam/

    [12] FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS

    [13] THE CHP SHOULD LISTEN TO YOUNG PEOPLE BY GILA BENMAYOR (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Gila Benmayor comments on problems in the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). A summary of her column is as follows:

    “Ufuk Batum is a member of the Science, Administration and Culture Platform of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). He is a young, energetic CHP member, but he and those like him have no say in the party. There are many other young CHP members who could make great contributions to the party and deserved to be listened to.

    In the leadup to the CHP’s extraordinary congress later this month, Batum told me, ‘I hope it will be a meeting for the CHP to improve itself rather than an arena for a fight over the leadership.’ What should the CHP do to better itself? Batum had all a list: Meetings of the women and youth branches should be held more frequently. At least 40% of CHP aid from the Treasury should be allocated to the party’s local bureaus. The party’s revenue and expenditures should be made public, for example on the Internet. After hearing Batum, it’s clear that now the CHP isn’t transparent. But anyone can access the ruling Justice and Development Party’s budget on the Internet. The CHP hasn’t taken advantage of the Internet. Batum stressed this. ‘The party should take advantage of technology and practice a faster flow of information,” he said. Can you find information on the CHP on the Internet? I can’t. Another issue of concern to Batum is training within the CHP. The Istanbul Local Management Center, which was established for intra-party training, is not active. Another problem of the CHP is that it doesn’t finish the projects it starts.

    Batum said that he had prepared a report on India and China for the Science, Administration and Culture Platform. China and India are two rising giants. Developments in both countries are important for Turkey’s textile sector and many other industries. But the CHP has let the report collect dust, unread and unused.”

    [14] WHAT SORT OF A ROLE IN THE MIDEAST? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey’s role in the Middle East. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “When Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul started to tour the Middle East, everybody said that Turkey was ready to assume an active role to promote peace in the region. Gul will bring this message to Palestinian leaders and try to gauge their willingness. What sort of a role will it be? Certain officials said that Ankara didn’t want believe a ‘facilitating’ role of delivering messages from one capital to another to be sufficient, and so it wanted to assume the mission of a ‘mediator.’ Involved parties – Israel, Palestine and Syria – want Turkey to help them reach a deal, which is an important development.

    Turkish officials believe that a green light was given for this following Gul’s recent meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Foreign Ministry consultant Davut Ahmetoglu told me on the phone yesterday that there was ripe ground for more active Turkish intervention and that this had encouraged the Turkish side. So what will Turkish diplomacy do from now on? ‘Turkey will continue consultations with parties,’ he replied. This process requires patience. However, we should take advantage of the ripe conditions without tarrying. It seems Turkey will show its presence on the Middle East scene even if it doesn’t act as an official mediator in the coming weeks and months. What sort of a role will it be? Firstly, Turkey will act as a mediator in the exchange of messages and views between the parties. Gul’s contacts showed that the parties are insisting on the fulfillment of certain conditions before any negotiations are started. For example, Israel wants the violence to end. Syria stipulates that Hizbullah and Islamic Jihad will close their offices, and Palestine wants Hamas and other organizations to stop attacks. However, how will this vicious circle be broken? How can Syria meet Israel’s demands? How can Palestine control Hamas and similar organizations? How can Israel give up its ‘an eye for an eye’ policy? New solutions can always be found in diplomacy. Turkey is now determined to play such a role. Turkey is better positioned than other great actors who want to play a role in the Middle East – the US, the EU and the Quartet consisting of the US, the UN, the EU and Russia. Indeed, Gul’s contacts show that Turkey is optimistic about this issue and that it has confidence.”

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