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Turkish Press Review, 05-02-16

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

16.02.2005

FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] ON MINI BALKAN TOUR, ERDOGAN VISITS ALBANIAN CAPITAL
  • [02] LEADERS REBUFF CoE REPORT ALLEGING SHORTCOMINGS IN TOLERANCE
  • [03] GUL CHAIRS AKP CENTRAL EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING
  • [04] GUL PLEDGES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION
  • [05] MUMCU QUITS CABINET POST, PARTY
  • [06] BAYKAL CALLS ON US TO BE MORE ACTIVE ON CYPRUS
  • [07] TURKEY TO RESIST INCLUSION OF GREEK CYPRUS IN CUSTOMS UNION
  • [08] GUARDIAN COLUMNIST: “KURDISH SUCCESSES IN IRAQ’S ELECTIONS HAVE HEIGHTENED TURKEY'S WORRIES”
  • [09] BABACAN PLEDGES 10% VAT CUT
  • [10] AMBASSADOR KORUTURK TO MEET EU COMMISSIONER IN BRUSSELS
  • [11] UNESCO CALLS FOR TALKS OVER RETURN OF ANCIENT ARTIFACT
  • [12] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [13] TURKISH-US RELATIONS BY M. ALI KISLALI (RADIKAL)

  • [01] ON MINI BALKAN TOUR, ERDOGAN VISITS ALBANIAN CAPITAL

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to the Albanian capital Tirana as part of his two-day mini Balkan tour. “Turkey supports Albania's bid to join NATO,” Erdogan said during a joint press conference alongside his Albanian counterpart Fatos Nano. “Turkey places a high premium on its relations with Albania. Our countries attach the highest importance to bilateral relations, which are currently making good progress." The two premiers also expressed their common desire to further enhance bilateral cooperation, especially economic cooperation. “The Balkan countries all have different ethnic groups and religions,” Erdogan added. “We should see this as a treasure. We should encourage their peaceful coexistence by laying the past to rest.” Erdogan was then received by President Alfred Moisiu. /Hurriyet/

    [02] LEADERS REBUFF CoE REPORT ALLEGING SHORTCOMINGS IN TOLERANCE

    Turkish politicians reacted harshly yesterday to a new Council of Europe (CoE) report which contends that despite legislative reforms, gaps remain concerning racism and intolerance in Turkey's Constitution and its civil, criminal and administrative codes. Although the report, issued by the CoE’s European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), praises Turkey’s significant progress in fighting racism, intolerance and discrimination, it also advises striking religious affiliation from national IDs and putting an end to allegedly compulsory “religion courses” in the schools. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his government would decide what to do about the report after examining it carefully, and would submit it for parliamentary debate if necessary. Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said the report was mistaken in asserting the existence of compulsory religion courses in Turkish schools. “Before criticizing, one should learn the facts about what one is criticizing; the ECRI obviously has incorrect information about our country,” he added. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also stressed that it was up to Ankara to decide about the issue. Also weighing in, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal commented that the EU should not intervene in such a sensitive matter. In addition, many other politicians and bureaucrats criticized the report, charging that it is based on incorrect and biased information which distorts the country’s realities. /Star/

    [03] GUL CHAIRS AKP CENTRAL EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETING

    The ruling Justice and Development Party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) chaired by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul convened yesterday. Before the meeting, Gul reportedly spoke on the telephone with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently paying an official visit to Albania. The gathering focused on the topics of a student amnesty proposal and who will head the Culture and Tourism Ministry in the wake of Erkan Mumcu’s surprise resignation. During the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, Education Minister Huseyin Celik was named acting head of the ministry. In addition, it was decided that the amnesty proposal, set to be taken up in Parliament’s Education Commission in the coming days, would cover students expelled since 2000. /Turkiye/

    [04] GUL PLEDGES TO FIGHT CORRUPTION

    Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that combating corruption was a priority for the government. “As long as this government is in charge, corruption will not be tolerated. If any of you has any information on the matter, let us know,” said Gul. Pointing to a rising crime rate in large cities, especially Istanbul, Gul set out new measures to be taken as part of an Emergency Action Plan. He vowed that the government would protect the peace and safety of all Turkey’s citizens. In addition, Gul touted the government’s recent decision enabling some 35 million people covered by the state Social Security Authority (SSK) to buy drugs from pharmacists rather than hospitals, saying, “The shame of waiting in long queues to buy drugs is a thing of the past thanks to the government’s new policy.” /Turkiye/

    [05] MUMCU QUITS CABINET POST, PARTY

    In a surprise move, Culture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu yesterday resigned from both his Cabinet post and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Pointing to certain disagreements in the Cabinet, Mumcu, a deputy from Isparta, stated that he resigned as there was no possibility of him further contributing to the government or the party. Mumcu was a leading figure in the Motherland Party (ANAP) prior to fall 2002, when he resigned to join the nascent AKP, which swept into power that November. With yesterday’s resignation, the number of AKP seats in Parliament fell to 366, still leaving it large majority. Speaking to reporters, both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul declined to comment on the matter, saying that Mumcu had acted of his own accord. /All papers/

    [06] BAYKAL CALLS ON US TO BE MORE ACTIVE ON CYPRUS

    Addressing his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that the US and other countries should act together to reach a settlement on Cyprus. Calling on the US, Britain and Russia to have direct contacts with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) government, Baykal said that doing so would spur Greek Cypriots to be more cooperative in finding a resolution. Stressing that recent US initiatives toward cooperation in transportation and trade with the TRNC had caused panic among the Greek Cypriots, Baykal said that if similar developments follow, a basis for compromise could be reached in Cyprus. /Turkiye/

    [07] TURKEY TO RESIST INCLUSION OF GREEK CYPRUS IN CUSTOMS UNION

    The Foreign Ministry is preparing to express Turkey’s objections to a protocol extending its Customs Union with the European Union. With the additional protocol, the EU Commission proposes that 10 new EU members, including Greek Cyprus, be covered by the Customs Union, but Ankara will reply that members who were accepted before the recent expansion have yet to be included in the protocol. Ankara will also request that an article demarcating territory on Cyprus should be clarified. The EU has urged Turkey to sign the protocol extending the Customs Union to the 10 new member states before the start of its accession negotiations set for this fall. Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot government. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] GUARDIAN COLUMNIST: “KURDISH SUCCESSES IN IRAQ’S ELECTIONS HAVE HEIGHTENED TURKEY'S WORRIES”

    Simon Tisdall, a columnist for British daily the Guardian, commented yesterday that Kurdish successes in Iraq’s recent elections have heightened Turkey’s worries about a future Kurdish drive for independence and the disintegration of territorial integrity in Iraq. “With domestic pressure increasing on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, [state] ministers have hinted at renewed military intervention,” Tisdall added. Tisdall also wrote that US reluctance to suppress 4,000 PKK terrorists in northeast Iraq could tempt Ankara to do the job. /Aksam/

    [09] BABACAN PLEDGES 10% VAT CUT

    We will slash Turkey’s value added tax (VAT) from 18% to 8%, said State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan yesterday on a visit to Bursa. “We need time to realize this, but this will also influence textile prices,” added Babacan. /Milliyet/

    [10] AMBASSADOR KORUTURK TO MEET EU COMMISSIONER IN BRUSSELS

    Turkey’s Special Representative to Iraq Osman Koruturk is set to travel to Brussels on Friday to meet with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU commissioner for external relations and european neighborhood policy. Koruturk is expected to discuss with Ferrero-Waldner post-election developments in Iraq. As the EU wants to play a more active role in the country, the commissioner’s messages to Koruturk will be of considerable significance to both Turkey and the region. /Cumhuriyet/

    [11] UNESCO CALLS FOR TALKS OVER RETURN OF ANCIENT ARTIFACT

    The UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) this week called for Germany and Turkey “to continue comprehensive bilateral negotiations” about returning to Turkish possession the Sphinx of Bogazkoy, an ancient Hittite artifact. The sphinx was brought to Germany in 1917 for an exhibition and is still on display at the Berlin Museum. /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [13] TURKISH-US RELATIONS BY M. ALI KISLALI (RADIKAL)

    Columnist M. Ali Kislali comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “As you know, in March 2003 our Parliament rejected a motion for the deployment of US soldiers in Turkey for the imminent invasion of Iraq. At that time, certain colleagues of mine thought that Turkish-US relations had collapsed, with the US losing its respect for us. They thought the US would establish bases in Iraq and wouldn’t need us anymore. Then the US deputy defense secretary criticized Turkey, and the General Staff was blamed. Turkey was asked to apologize. At that time, Washington thought Ankara should come to its senses and heed its warnings. Then US forces in Iraq detained eleven Turkish soldiers in Sulaimaniyah, Iraq and put sacks on their heads. Since then, the Turkish public has been a strong enmity against the US. Reevaluating the situation, Washington thought that this atmosphere should be ended because Turkey still looms large in US plans.

    I’ve been following Turkish-US relations since the 1950s, and nobody can claim that I’m an enemy of Washington. Certain journalists and politicians almost apologized during the US campaign to woo Turkey. They reminded us that the US delivered PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey and argued that the US could accept Turkey as a strategic partner again. They also mentioned how the US secretary of state’s recent visit relieved us concerning the Iraq issue. Former US Ambassador to Turkey Marc Grossman once said, ‘Relations with Turkey are too mature for certain disagreements to linger. There might be differences of approach between friends, but the important thing is to remember that we’re still friends.’ A colleague of mine who reports from Washington said Turkey’s mistakes in the past could be forgotten and that the old atmosphere of a ‘reliable friend’ could be regained. Can the US missteps on Turkey be rectified only through the efforts of recent weeks? It seems this won’t be easy. As certain journalists can’t consider the issue from a broad perspective, there are two obstacles, even if they try to spread a positive atmosphere. One of them is the existence of such institutions as the Foreign Ministry and the General Staff, which can evaluate past incidents with records on hand. The other is the discomfort of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) conservative grassroots over US policy in Iraq. Turkish officials believe that the Turkish-US relations cover a wide area embracing mutual interests. At this point, it seems harder to solve the problems in our relationship. The urgent problems of both Turkey and the US are clear. Mustn’t we strive to balance our relations, instead of acting carelessly just because the US helped us? If we could negotiate with the US over the last half-century, we should be able to do this too.”

    ARCHIVE

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