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Turkish Press Review, 05-02-08
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
08.02.2005FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 MEETING WITH INDONESIAN PRESIDENT, ERDOGAN EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY IN FACE OF TSUNAMI DISASTEROn the first stop of his five-nation tour of the Asian disaster region, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday visited Indonesia’s tsunami- ravaged Aceh province. Later in the capital Jakarta, Erdogan met with Indonesian President Susila Bambang Yudhoyono. Afterwards, speaking at a joint press conference, Erdogan said that his nation shared Indonesia’s suffering, adding that Turkey had faced similar disasters in the past. “During my visit to Aceh I saw firsthand the gravity of the disaster,” he said. “I’m here to share your grief and seek ways to help.” Erdogan stressed that steps needed to be taken in the region to build hospitals, schools and public housing and to create jobs, adding that Ankara and Jakarta would work together on these. For his part, Yudhoyono said that he appreciated Turkey’s emergency aid and thanked both Erdogan and the Turkish nation. /Aksam/
 ARINC VISITS AZERBAIJANParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc who is currently visiting Azerbaijan, yesterday met with his Azeri counterpart Murtuz Aleskerov as well as President Ilham Aliyev. During their talks, Arinc lamented that 20% of Azeri territory is under Armenian occupation. Noting how the United Nations had officially called on Armenia to end this illegal land seizure, Arinc said, “However, Armenian officials have stubbornly resisted these calls.” /Turkiye/
 WASHINGTON POST: “AFTER MENDING FENCES WITH EUROPE OVER IRAQ, US TENSION WITH TURKEY REMAINS”Commenting on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s weekend visit to Turkey, the Washington Post reported yesterday that with the US-European rift on Iraq healing, Turkey now represents one of Washington’s biggest “challenges.” “Turkish public opinion is overwhelmingly opposed to the presence of US troops in Iraq, and officials in Ankara are nervous that autonomy in Iraq's northern Kurdish provinces will foment secessionist talk among Kurds in Turkey, who are the country's largest minority,” said the Post. “Turkey also is angered that the United States has not cracked down on [PKK terrorists] operating in northern Iraq.” In the face of this anger, Rice said before her visit that she planned to reassure Ankara of Washington’s “firm” commitment to a unified Iraq, said the newspaper. /Star/
 GREEK CYPRIOTS’ DISI LEADER TO VISIT ANKARAThis week Turkey will host a Greek Cypriot leader for the first time since Turkey’s 1974 Peace Operation on the island. A delegation from the right- wing main opposition Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party (DISI) led by Nicos Anastasiades is set to arrive in Ankara tomorrow to pay an official visit at the invitation of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The DISI is known for favoring UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan during last April’s referendum. The delegation is expected to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Fener Greek Patriarch Bartolomeos during its five-day stay. Commenting on the historic visit, Greek Cypriot administration leader Tassos Papadopulos said yesterday that Anastasiadis would express his own party’s views regarding the Cyprus issue, not that of the Greek Cypriot government. /Turkiye/
 BARZANI: “I WILL NEVER FORSAKE KIRKUK”Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKPD) leader Massoud Barzani yesterday declared that no matter the circumstances, he would never forsake the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. “No power or no state in the world will make us forsake Kirkuk,” he stated. In remarks published on an Internet website, Barzani said that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state was the Kurds’ “right,” but that neighboring states firmly opposed this. “We want to unify ‘Kurdistan’,” he said. “We don’t want to take land from Turkey, Iraq, Iran or Syria.” The Kurdish leader further stated that he wanted these countries to understand the realities of “Kurdistan.” “I hope Turkey will choose a policy of friendship,” added Barzani. /Aksam/
 AUSTRALIA BACKS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDTurkey will be a very important member of the European Union, said Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday, thus lending his country’s full support for Ankara’s EU aspirations. Downer stated that Turkey's EU membership would benefit not only the country itself but indeed all of Europe. Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new Turkish Embassy in Canberra, Downer said that Ankara’s membership process had the full backing of the Australian government. “The Australian government, whilst we can have no say in who joins the European Union or who doesn’t, throws its full weight behind Turkey’s application,” he added. “And I think it will be a great thing not just for Turkey if it joins the European Union but a great thing for Europe to have Turkey as a principal, a very important member. The Turkish government needs to know that there are a lot of governments outside Europe that share this view as well.” /Sabah/
 HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISORY BOARD RESIGNSThe Presidential Board of the Human Right Advisory Council affiliated with the Office of Prime Minister yesterday held a press conference announcing that all its members had quit their posts, including the chairman, Professor Ibrahim Kaboglu. A recent report prepared by the council on Turkey’s minorities had attracted great controversy. Kaboglu blamed the council’s en masse resignation on an inability to discharge their duties due to this controversy. /Hurriyet/
 AGAR LENDS SUPPORT TO AKP’S HEADSCARF STANCEOpposition True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar yesterday delivered a speech at the opening of a political school at the party’s Ankara provincial office. Agar said that his party had survived military coups to keep its place in Turkey’s political life. Regarding the headscarf issue, Agar expressed support for the AKP government’s efforts to lift the ban on wearing headscarves in universities. Stressing that his party had started work on the matter, Agar said, “If we come to power, we can abolish that ban.” /Turkiye/
 WB, WASHINGTON AND ANKARA SIGN $9 MLN PACT TO AID LOW-INCOME TURKISH FAMILIESThe World Bank, the US government and Turkey’s Treasury Undersecretariat yesterday signed a grant agreement under which the US will provide $9 million to the WB to be used to support the Social Risk Mitigation Project (SRMP). The agreement was signed by World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink, US Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman, US Agency for International Development (USAID) representative Thomas Mefford and Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci. The purpose of the pact is to provide support to the SRMP implemented by the Social Solidarity Fund and to strengthen Turkey’s social assistance system. Vorkink stated that the WB was happy to see Washington’s strong show of support for efforts to reduce poverty in Turkey. The entire SRMP loan totals $500 million, through which the WB is providing assistance to Ankara to support to society’s poorest and most vulnerable members. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 RICE’S VISIT BY NURAY BASARAN (AKSAM)Columnist Nuray Basaran comments on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s weekend visit to Turkey and the Middle East issue. A summary of her column is as follows:
“US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s meetings with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul were productive. Following recent sharp domestic criticisms of the US, Rice questioned the Turkish-US strategic partnership but was reassured by Turkish officials. Stating that the US has always tried to ensure Iraq’s integrity, Rice said, ‘Friends will sometimes disagree, but when we disagree, we have to do so from a basis that still understands the vital importance of this relationship.’ So, although Turkey has problems with its expectations from Washington, the US signalled that it places importance on Turkish-US relations. Rice also met in Israel with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. During these meetings, she expressed her support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. As he came to power through the recent elections, it’s likely that Abbas will try to take advantage of this US support as much as possible.
Israel, Palestine, Egypt and Jordan will hold a summit in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt this week, a meeting seen as a preliminary stop towards peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Before the summit, Israel confirmed the immediate release of 500 of 900 Palestinian prisoners with the remaining 400 to follow in three months as a goodwill gesture under the Road Map. On the Palestinian side, the Fatah movement pledged to end attacks on Israeli civilians, but no ceasefire came from Hamas. Israel doesn’t favor welcome Egypt’s becoming a mediator between the two sides. Israel would prefer to play the leading role between equal powers. In light of all these developments, Turkey’s playing the role of a mediator or leader in the Middle East peace process remains a mere wish for now.”
 REASONS FOR ANTI-US FEELINGS BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s weekend visit to Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s weekend visit to Turkey was lacking in fresh development on issues which directly concern Turkey, like northern Iraq, Kirkuk, PKK, Iran and Cyprus. However, Rice’s statements are important in two respects namely that they come from the US secretary of state and that they amount to a guarantee. Rice also emphasized the role of public opinion in the Turkish-US ties. “Each of us [Ankara and Washington] . . . have a responsibility with our publics,” she said, “because we have democracies to speak out for how important and central this relationship is to both of us; to remind all of us and our people of the long history that we have together, of what we have achieved together, of what we have supported for one another, and of what a prosperous future we have in working on the many difficult and complicated issues ahead, as well as the bright opportunities ahead.” The reason for this statement is Turkey’s recent anti-US atmosphere, which has raised serious concerns in Washington.
The government, Foreign Ministry and General Staff believe that the recent disagreements, especially in issues directly concerning Turkey, shouldn’t harm bilateral relations. Ankara prefers to see the relations from a wider perspective in light of various common interests, and to continue its dialogue with the US. Turkish public opinion on the other hand takes a decidedly dim view of US policy and actions. More and more people see the US as an enemy rather than a friend and ally. There are various reasons for this: One is the anger towards US President George W. Bush’s policies (the Iraq’s invasion, threats on neighboring countries, etc.). Bush’s image has become a stereotype encouraging anti-Americanism. Another reason is US actions towards Turkey and how it has disappointed Ankara (its reluctance to fight the PKK and deal with Iraqi Kurds’ activities in northern Iraq). These are being seen as a sign of bad US intentions towards Turkey. Extreme rightist and leftists play an important role in spreading anti-Americanism. They see the US’ hand behind every piece of bad news.
How could this situation be changed? Firstly, the public must see how good Turkish-US relations are in our own interests, and this could be accomplished through dialogue and mutual understanding. No doubt a key reason for rising anti-US feelings is the Bush administration, and therefore Washington bears a great responsibility. Ankara should also send the right messages to the public by explaining the importance of better relations with the US. Some disagreements cannot be a reason to turn back friendship and cooperation. It is easy to spread ill will, but the right thing to do is to act rationally without being overwhelmed by them.”
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