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Turkish Press Review, 05-02-23
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
23.02.2005FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH BUSH, EU LEADERS IN BRUSSELSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Brussels to attend the NATO summit there, yesterday met with US President George W. Bush to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations. Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Erdogan said that relations between Ankara and Washington were positive. “We’re not trying to derail our relations with our strategic partner the US,” he said. Erdogan stressed that Ankara would donate €100, 000 to aid Iraq and would continue its help training Iraqi security units. During the summit, Erdogan also met with Danish Premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi and Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis to discuss bilateral relations. /Aksam/
 GUL: “THERE IS NO TENSION BETWEEN ANKARA AND WASHINGTON”Appearing on television yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that there was no tension between Ankara and Washington, adding that cooperation between the two countries was continuing. “Sometimes our interests may be at odds, but there is no hostility between us,” he said. “Claims that there is tension between our countries are artificial and overblown.” Gul added that there was no crisis in relations with the US. /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL: “ERDOGAN MUST FIRST GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF HIS OWN RECORD”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent charge that the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had a record of being involved in corruption drew sharp criticism yesterday from CHP head Deniz Baykal, who told the premier that he should first clean his own house. Speaking at his party’s group meeting, Baykal reproved Erdogan, calling on him to give an account of his own record. “The premier has no right to slander our party,” said Baykal. “He must respect the CHP as a citizen of this Republic.” In addition, Baykal underlined that contrary to recent media reports of growing anti-Americanism in Turkey, Turkey’s official institutions have always respected and stood by Washington as a close ally. /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL TO TRAVEL TO SWEDENOpposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is due to travel to Stockholm, Sweden today to attend the European Socialist Party (ESC) leaders’ meeting. The gathering will focus on creating job opportunities in Europe, with Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson expected to deliver the opening speech. /Cumhuriyet/
 “SICK MAN” EDITORIAL DRAWS SWIFT CRITICISM, CONDEMNATIONThe Wall Street Journal yesterday published a number of letters criticizing last week’s controversial essay by editor Robert L. Pollock, a piece whose claim that anti-Americanism in the Turkish media exceeds even that of the Arab world led to a transatlantic firestorm. Turkish Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu over the weekend sent a letter to the WSJ lambasting the contentious piece, underlining his extreme dissatisfaction with Pollock’s style and way of describing Turkish-US relations. In addition, Assembly of Turkish-American Associations (ATAA) Deputy Chair Gunay Evinc wrote that opposing the Bush administration was not the same as being anti-American. “Most Turkish people share the views of the half of the US nation which disapproves of Washington’s Iraq policy,” she said. In addition, Kufi Seydali from Austria also stressed that the Turkish people are not opposed to the US. “Turkey is neither a banana republic nor a second-class country,” he added. “Turkish citizens don’t hate either Americans or Jews.” Denouncing Pollock’s arguments, all these letters underscored that Turkey has been a steadfast ally and friend to the US and that the strategic partnership between the two countries should be preserved despite certain differences of opinion. /Hurriyet/
 WASHINGTON HAILS TRNC ELECTION RESULTS AS “REAFFIRMATION” OF SEARCH FOR SETTLEMENTUS State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Monday expressed Washington’s satisfaction with the results of the weekend elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). “In their vote on Sunday, Turkish Cypriots exercised their right to participate in free, fair and democratic elections,” Boucher told reporters. “We welcome the result as a reaffirmation of the Turkish Cypriot commitment to a comprehensive solution and reunification of the island with Greek Cypriots. The United States will continue to work with United Nations' Secretary-General Kofi Annan to promote a just and durable solution to the longstanding division of the island, based on the secretary-general's settlement plan.” /Star/
 EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT URGES GREEK CYPRIOTS TO REJOIN PEACE TALKSAttending ongoing meetings of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Socialists MEPS urged Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopulos to respond positively to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Premier Mehmet Ali Talat’s call for new peace talks. A declaration made by the EP’s Socialist group said that it was ready help Turkish Cypriots and the TRNC government develop more active policies to integrate them into the work of the European Union. In addition, Liberals and Greens also called on the EU to develop relations with the TRNC and praised the outcome of last weekend’s elections. “We’re satisfied with the triumph of PM Talat. Now it’s time to work to resolve the Cyprus issue,” said EP Greens Group Co-Chairman Monica Frassoni. /Turkiye/
 BRITISH FOREIGN COMMITTEE CALLS FOR DIRECT FLIGHTS TO TRNCIn the wake of the Turkish side’s intense efforts, the international community has finally begun initiatives to end the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). After steps taken by the United Nations and the European Union, the British House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Commission has prepared a report on Cyprus. The 90-page report makes a series of proposals, including putting pressure on the Greek Cypriots and urging British and other EU member states to begin direct flights and trade with the TRNC. /Turkiye/
 KORAY AYDIN TRIAL AT STATE SUPREME COURT BEGINS TODAYFormer Public Works and Housing Minister Koray Aydin is set to begin his trial at the State Supreme Court today. The court will consider a Parliament investigation commission report alleging corruption and irregularities during Aydin’s term in office. /Turkiye/
 GEORGIAN DEFENSE MINISTER VISITS ANKARAVisiting Georgian Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili was received yesterday by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and met with his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul in Ankara. The officials’ talks focused on military cooperation between the two countries. /Turkish Daily News/
 WB’S VORKINK URGES ANKARA ON SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMWorld Bank Turkey Representative Andrew Vorkink said yesterday that the most important and involved issue facing Ankara was carrying through social security reform, adding that the need for this was urgent. “The WB will help Turkey to carry out this reform,” Vorking told a conference in Ankara. For his part, Labor and Social Security Minister Murat Basesgioglu said that a draft for social security reform would soon be sent to the Prime Ministry. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 BUSH IN EUROPE BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on US President George W. Bush’s European tour. A summary of his column is as follows:
“This week US President George W. Bush went to Europe to attend the first NATO summit since being elected to a second term. Following courtesy meetings with the Belgian king, queen and prime minister, Bush met with French President Jacques Chirac to talk about Iraq, Iran and Syria. The aim of his visit was to exchange views on Washington’s suggestion that it make common ground with Europe in its Greater Middle East Project (GME). It was clear that if France didn’t support the US’ projects, Europe’s relations with Washington will remain weak. Actually many EU member states have sent soldiers to Iraq, but none but Britain was willing to make a strategic alliance with the US. The US plans for the Middle East were based on the strategic alliance between Israel and Turkey. When Turkey expressed hesitation, the US had to rethink its plans.
Bush will also meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovakia, thus completing his five-day European tour. He agreed with Chirac that Syrian soldiers should leave Lebanon. The US, which is set to start a diplomatic offensive against Syria and Iran, is starting to review the situation of the world’s second strategic superpower. Bush will try to convince Putin that he won’t act against Russian interests concerning Middle East oil. However, France will get the biggest share because it’s unlikely to have a serious conflict with the US. It tried to lead Turkey to oppose the US, and Ankara pleased Paris. However, Turkey gained nothing. Some politicians believe that if war breaks out, then the US would lose to an Iranian-Syrian alliance, if Turkey supports the latter. However, Israel is coming up with new projects, glad that it’s the only US ally in the region.”
 THE RANCH IS WAITING FOR A GUEST BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)Columnist Erdal Safak comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Another American, Benjamin Franklin, was praised as a contributor to humanity; I was also expecting such a welcome, but Secretary of State Condolezza Rice told me to be realistic, said US President George W. Bush in his visit this week to Brussels. Meanwhile, thousands were demonstrating in front of the nearby US Embassy.
While Bush was calling on European leaders to support the ‘spread of democracy,’ US officials were casting an eye at new polls conducted by the Associated Press. According to the opinion polls, in France 84 percent of the public opposes Bush’s mission, as do 78 percent in Germany, 66 percent in Britain and more than 50 percent in Italy and Spain (this reflects their hatred of Bush’s policies, but not the US or the man himself). In sum, the polls show, Europe is not a friendly continent for Bush. According to Sophie Meunier, a research associate in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, there are two categories of anti-Americanism in Europe: Those who are against US policies, and those who are against the US itself. Meunies said that those in the first group could change their views if political differences were bridged. Well then, why does the US see only Turkey as a target [to change its public’s views], while there are so many negative feelings in ‘Old Europe’? There are reasons for this.
The first is that with its 82 percent against Bush, according to a BBC poll, Turkey has the highest anti-Bush feeling in Europe. The second is that a sizeable chunk of the Turkish people goes beyond anti-Bush feelings and sees the US itself as a ‘threat.’ According to an opinion poll by the Pew Research Center 71, percent believe that the US itself is a threat to Turkey. In other words, a country we’ve had an alliance with for 50 years and fought on the same side, is now seen as an enemy. The third and most important reason is that this antagonism has been exacerbated by conspiracy theories. The US resents Ankara’s indifference towards this issue, which is seen as disinformation by Washington. What could be done to change the negative atmosphere? I think the government should consider giving a briefing to the press on Turkish-US relations. Another step could be an official visit by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to the US. I would advise them not to go to Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas. After Franco-American relations improved, reporters asked Bush whether he would invite French President Jacques Chirac to his ranch in Crawford, but Bush replied that he was looking for a real cowboy.”
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