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Turkish Press Review, 05-02-15
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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
15.02.2005FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 CABINET MEETSThe Cabinet ministers chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened yesterday. During their five-hour meeting, the ministers discussed various topics, including the recently announced Iraqi election results and Security Organization and Banking Laws set to be taken up by Parliament in the coming days. After the gathering, commenting on last month’s Iraqi elections, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek spoke of irregularities and cases where voting rules had been violated. “There will be certain imbalances and deficiencies in the Iraqi Parliament as the result of these elections,” said, adding, “We hope that these issues will be properly dealt with by Iraq’s Electoral Commission and the United Nations.” /Star/
 ERDOGAN BUSY WITH TRAVEL THROUGH EARLY MARCHPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to begin a visit to Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina today. During three days of talks, Erdogan is expected to meet with top officials in both countries. On Feb. 22, Erdogan will attend a NATO summit in Brussels where he will hold bilateral talks with leaders from European Union countries as well as US President George W. Bush, if possible. Furthermore, the Turkish premier is scheduled to take a seven-day tour of the African countries of Ethiopia, South Africa and Kenya beginning Feb. 28. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN CALLS ON IRAQIS TO TAKE OWNERSHIP OF NEW CONSTITUTIONPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday called on all Iraqis to take ownership of their forthcoming new constitution. Speaking to reporters before attending a meeting of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Executive Board, Erdogan said that though some irregularities had been seen, the recent Iraqi elections were a landmark on the road to democracy in that country. Complaining of a lack of participation in certain regions in the polls, Erdogan underlined that the new government would prepare a new constitution by October. “We hope that this constitution will ensure the integrity and unity of Iraq, and will prevent the domination of any ethnic group over others,” said the premier. /Turkiye/
 GUL MEETS TALBOTT, HAIGNERE, DISCUSSES REGION’S PROBLEMSForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Strobe Talbott, former US assistant secretary of state as well as head of think-tank the Brookings Institute, who is in Turkey to attend a panel on Turkish-US-Russian relations, an event jointly organized by Brookings and the Economy and Technology Institute affiliated with the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB). Talbott urged Turkey to use its influence on Iran to persuade it to stop developing nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies. “You should also cooperate with the EU to persuade the Bush administration to find a peaceful way to solve the problem,” added Talbott. For his part, Gul stated that the Turkish people do not regard Iran as an enemy or a country which poses a threat. “However we don’t want Iran to possess nuclear weapons, as this could lead to regional instability,” he added. “We don’t want more wars in our region, and we want problems to be solved peacefully.” In related news, Gul also met yesterday with French Minister for EU Affairs Claudie Haignere. Afterwards at a joint press conference, Gul was asked whether he believed the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk would be plunged into ethnic turmoil in the near future. “I believe that the Iraqi political process will continue in one way or another,” he began, explaining that he meant the interim government, Parliament, constitution, and new elections. “There will of course be significant risks in this period,” he continued. “It’s our task to minimize these risks, encouraging the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic groups. All ethnic groups must focus on Baghdad from now on, rather than merely dealing with their own local problems.” /Milliyet/
 CoE LAUDS TURKEY’S ANTI-RACISM EFFORTS, URGES FURTHER ACTIONThe European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) yesterday released its third report on Turkey as part of its country-by-country approach, whereby it analyzes the situation concerning racism and intolerance in the member states of the Council of Europe (CoE), of which it is part, and makes suggestions as to how to tackle these problems. The report praises Turkey’s significant progress in fighting racism, intolerance and discrimination, noting that Ankara has ratified several human rights treaties, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “Major constitutional and legislative reforms have been introduced, aimed at reinforcing fundamental rights and freedoms and combating racism and racial discrimination more effectively,” it adds. “There has been some progress as regards freedom of expression, particularly in languages other than Turkish, freedom of assembly and freedom of association for members of ethnic and religious minority groups. Officials have been given training in human rights and local human rights bodies set up.” The ECRI report also recommends that Turkish authorities take further action to strengthen constitutional, criminal, civil and administrative provisions to combat racism and racial discrimination, noting that a number of recommendations made in previous reports have been implemented only partially or not at all. “Despite the reforms, there are still some gaps in the Constitution and in criminal, civil and administrative law as regards action against racism and racial discrimination,” it alleges. /Cumhuriyet/
 EU, TURKEY TO DISCUSS POST-ELECTION IRAQThe European Union and Turkey are set to discuss Iraq in the wake of last month’s elections. Turkey’s special envoy to Iraq, Ambassador Osman Koruturk, is set to meet with EU External Affairs Commissioner Benita- Ferrero Waldner this Friday. The two will discuss the recently announced election results and the future policies of Ankara and the EU towards Iraq. /Hurriyet/
 ANKARA CONDEMNS ASSASSINATION OF LEBANON’S EX-PM HARIRIThe Turkish government condemned yesterday’s fatal car bombing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, expressing regret that such a terrorist attack threatened to spoil the peaceful atmosphere that Lebanon has recently achieved. “Turkey condemns this attack and views it with deep regret,” government spokesman and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said after a Cabinet meeting yesterday, lamenting that al-Hariri had worked hard to establish peace and stability in his country. /Star/
 TRNC’S TALAT MEETS WITH EC HEAD BARROSOTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels. At a press conference afterwards, Talat said that the commissioner assured him that EC support to the Turkish Cypriots would continue. “The commission continues to approach the financial assistance and direct trade regulations in the same manner as before,” added Talat. “The clearest symbolic step to lift the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is the direct trade regulations,” he added, referring to so-far unsuccessful efforts for direct trade between the TRNC and European Union countries. /Aksam/
 DE SOTO: “THE OPPORTUNITY TO UNIFY CYPRUS WAS MISSED”The opportunity to unify Cyprus was missed, said former Special UN Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto in a conference at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University yesterday. Stressing that many efforts has been made to unify the island, de Soto said that the issue remains a very complex one. “Clearly the European Union will accept a divided island if it doesn’t reach a solution in the years to come,” added De Soto. The envoy led Cyprus reunification efforts for several years, culminating in last year’s unsuccessful referendum on the Annan plan. /Aksam/ FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ANKARA’S TWO EXPECTATIONS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Iraq’s post-election era. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The results of Iraq’s recent elections were just as expected, that is, the new Iraqi Parliament will consist mostly of Shiites, Arabs and Kurds. These results disturbed Ankara, which is trying to understand why Turkmen turnout was low both in Kirkuk and throughout Iraq. The legality of these elections is debatable. However, this was expected. Ankara’s general evaluation can be summarized up as follows: ‘The polls’ results were suspicious. Sunni Arabs didn’t participate. This is one reason their legality is in question. In addition, Kurds are represented at a level above their actual strength. This is true of Shiites as well. However, one-third of Iraqis are unrepresented.’ In addition, Ankara has two expectations:
1. Sunni Arabs should be represented in the upcoming preparation of a constitution. They should be included in the Constitution Preparation Commission established by the new Parliament. The constitution should be written by a delegation representing all sectors of Iraqi society.
2. Kirkuk’s special status should be protected in the new constitution. If a federal structure is established, Kirkuk shouldn’t be part of this.
The Turkmen will continue to protest the election results. Will their objections accomplish anything at this stage? They shouldn’t get their hopes up. Clearly, the Kurds consider the results a victory. Turkey can’t do much about the elections. From now on, it can try to make sure Kirkuk isn’t part of a future Kurdish region. Arabs would reject this too. Kurds are the best-positioned group following the elections. They not only tightened their grip on Kirkuk and northern Iraq, but they will also grow influential in Baghdad. It’s believed that if Kurdish leaders gain influence in Baghdad and capture key posts, the separatist process will slow down, or even stop. So the Kurds are advancing with firm steps, helped by US support.”
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