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Turkish Press Review, 05-03-03
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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
03.03.2005FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 SEZER TURNS BACK STUDENT AMNESTY BILLPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday vetoed a controversial student amnesty bill which was passed by Parliament last week. Sezer, a former Constitutional Court chief justice, sent the bill to Parliament to be re- debated, saying that, as it was an amnesty bill, it needed the votes of 330 deputies (a three-fifths majority), as the Constitution requires. Hundreds of former university students have been waiting for the law’s approval to return to school. Parliament Education Commission head Tayyar Altikulac told reporters that the bill would be taken up at the commission and then by the general assembly next week. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN MEETS ETHIOPIAN PRESIDENT WOLDEGEORGIS AND PM ZENAWIOn a five-day visit to Ethiopia and South Africa, Prime Minister Rece Tayyip Erdogan arrived late Tuesday night in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, heading a large governmental and business delegation. He was welcomed at Bole International Airport by his Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi. Erdogan held his first round of official talks Wednesday morning with Zenawi and Ethiopian President Girma Woldegeorgis. "We would like to contribute to the economic development of Ethiopia," said Erdogan at a joint press conference with Zenawi. “We’ve agreed to establish a joint business council. Also, an agreement has been reached to quickly reopen the Ethiopian embassy in Turkey, which has been closed for some time.” The two countries also signed an agreement to eliminate double taxation and also agreed to enhance trade and investment relations, pledging that they would boost trade between the two nations from the current $100 million to $500 million a year. Zenawi also announced a new defense agreement with Turkey. "I want to stress we are not in the midst of a buying spree for arms to destabilize our neighbors,” he stressed. “This is just normal cooperation between two friendly countries." For his part, Erdogan said his country produced munitions and armored vehicles which would be available for sale under the agreement. In addition, Zenawi also expressed support for the Turkish Cypriots, hailing their positive attitude towards the UN Cyprus plan. Erdogan also opened the Addis Ababa office of the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) and attended a conference organized by the Ethiopian International Peace and Development Institute. /All Papers/
 US COMMANDER TO ARRIVE IN TURKEY TODAYGen. Burwell Bell, commander of the US Army in Europe (USAREUR), is set to visit Ankara today as the official guest of Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit to discuss issues of bilateral defense cooperation. During his two-day stay, Gen. Bell is expected to discuss with Turkish military officials Washington’s hopes to make more extensive use of Incirlik Airbase as a transportation hub. /Cumhuriyet/
 LOGOGLU: “RICE HAS PLEDGED TO TURKEY TO SOLVE THE PKK PROBLEM IN N.IRAQ”During her recent visit to Turkey, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged to Ankara that the US would solve the terrorist PKK problem in northern Iraq, said Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu yesterday at a press conference in the US capital. “Turkey wants to protect Iraq’s territorial integrity, and wouldn’t oppose the possible autonomy of ethnic groups if the country isn’t divided,” he said. He added that Turkey believed that Iran should stop developing nuclear weapons for the sake of peace and stability in the region. /Aksam/
 TURKEY WARNS GERMANY ABOUT BILL ON SO-CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDEGerman Ambassador to Ankara Wolf-Ruthart Born was yesterday summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry to convey Ankara’s concerns and dissatisfaction about a bill on the so-called Armenian genocide recently submitted to the Federal Parliament by main German opposition party the Christian Democrat Union (CDU). Deputy Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Nabi Sensoy also sent a letter to Born denouncing the bill and expressing Turkey’s sensitivity on the issue. In addition, Turkey’s Ambassador to Berlin Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik also sent a letter to the Federal Foreign Ministry, demanding withdrawal of the bill. /Hurriyet/
 WOLFOWITZ PRAISES TURKEY AS A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR THE MUSLIM WORLDTestifying yesterday before the US Senate Budget Committee for President Bush’s proposed fiscal 2006 Defense Department budget, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz praised Turkey as a good example for the Muslim world. He called on other Muslim countries to take Turkey as an example to improve their own democracies. Washington has recently stepped up diplomatic pressure on Ankara because the Bush administration wants to make more extensive use of Incirlik Airbase, in the Turkish southern city of Adana, as a military center for US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. /Cumhuriyet/
 EU’S KRETSCHMER CRITICIZES GOVERNMENTAnkara has slowed down its pace of reform since last December, when it got a date from the European Union to begin accession talks, yesterday argued European Commission’s representative in Turkey, Hansjoerg Kretschmer, at a press conference in the capital. Praising Ankara’s resolve to continue reforms and technical work to improve democracy and human rights, Kretschmer also however underlined that despite the government’s good will and determination it still had fundamental shortcomings in the implementation of reforms. “We haven’t seen any real progress in human rights since Dec. 17,” he added. /Cumhuriyet/
 US COMMANDER ABIZAID: “TURKEY SHOULDN’T BE CONCERNED OVER KURDISH MOVES IN IRAQ”In testimony yesterday before the US Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. John Abizaid, the commander of US military operations in the Middle East, called on Iraq’s neighbors including Turkey to help stabilize the country. Abizaid said that Turkey should not be worried about a possible Kurdish move for independence. “All Iraqis, including the Kurds, want to keep the country together,” he stressed. He also charged that Iran and Syria were being "unhelpful" in Iraq and contributing to the country's instability. /Aksam/
 ANKARA DENIES ARMS TRANSFER TO TRNCSpeaking at a weekly press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan yesterday denied recent allegations by the Greek Cypriot government that Turkey has been transferring weapons to Turkish Cyprus. He recalled earlier remarks made by US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher also denying the reports that Turkey had transferred US-supplied arms to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). In letters sent to European Union states, the Greek Cypriots claimed that Ankara was strengthening its forces on the island with high-tech weapons. /Milliyet/
 POLICE SUE TOXIC BOOTLEG RAKIPolice are carrying out a nationwide operation to seize a toxic, bootleg version of popular Turkish spirit raki which has already killed 12 people and hospitalized 34 others, some of them in critical condition. Nationwide, security forces have already seized thousands of undistributed bottles of the illegal raki, which contains excess methyl alcohol, and arrested gang members responsible for its production. A more extensive investigation is also underway. /Star/
 CHP’S CEM TO ATTEND PASOK CONGRESSIsmail Cem, chief advisor to the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, yesterday arrived in Athens to represent his party at a Greek socialist party PASOK congress beginning today. After meeting with PASOK leader George Papandreou, Cem said that during their meeting, the two had exchanged views on developing cooperation between the two leftist parties. /Star/
 YASAR TOPCU’S SUPREME COURT TRIAL BEGINSThe trial of former Public Works and Housing Minister Yasar Topcu at the State Supreme Court began yesterday. Topcu has been charged with irregularities in state tenders during his term in office. During his testimony, Topcu denied all the allegations against him. The court decided to hold the next hearing on March 28. /Star/
 CHP INTER-PARTY DISPUTES CONTINUEYesterday, 11 out of 15 deputies from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) recently reprimanded by the party’s Disciplinary Board held a press conference. Criticizing the board’s decision, the deputies said that the board had behaved like an illegal organization, adding that all organs in the party had fallen into dysfunction. The 15 members were rebuked by the CHP leadership for their support of Istanbul Sisli district Mayor Mustafa Sarigul, who challenged party leader Deniz Baykal at an extraordinary congress this January. /Turkiye/
 AGAR: “POLITICS HAS A NATURAL FLOW, AND RESISTING THIS IS IN VAIN”Speaking at a parliamentary press conference yesterday, True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar said that there was a “natural flow” in politics and that efforts to hold it back were futile. Commenting on the recent resignations from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Agar rejected Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent suggestion in order to stop the resignations, deputies should lose their Parliament seats if they leave their party. He said that the existence of diverse views in a party should be seen as normal, adding that under the Constitution, deputies were the representatives of the people, not the political parties. /Turkiye/
 FOUR TURKISH TRUCKERS KILLED IN IRAQIraqi militant group Army of Ansar al-Sunna on Wednesday said that it had killed two Turkish truck drivers transporting cement to US forces in the north of Iraq. An Internet statement said that the group had "carried out God's punishment" against Turan Unal and Huseyin. In related news, Iraqi policeman Hasan Salih yesterday announced that two Turkish drivers had also been killed by Iraqi militants in a convoy protected by Iraqi and American forces. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 LET’S LISTEN TO GUNDUZ AKTAN BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on an interview with former Ambassador Gunduz Aktan. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Gunduz Aktan the head of Strategic Research Center for Eurasia, yesterday gave an interview with Aksam columnist Nuray Basaran. I’d like to share with you some of his important views.
About the wave of anti-Americanism in Turkey, after listing US President George W. Bush’s policies deserving this enmity, Aktan said that still all these didn’t explain the Turkish public’s attitude. ‘There are reasons for this, but anti-Americanism seems to be beyond them,’ he added. Aktan said that the religious grassroots of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as well as nationalists have started to have feelings of intense doubt, fear and hatred. That is, according to Aktan, the views of diverse groups have started to coalesce on this issue. Religious people are in particular anxious about US policies in Iraq and have respect for the rebellion in Baghdad and Falluja, but close their eyes to what’s happening in the Shiite region. Religious views weigh large here.
About Turkey’s policy in Iraq, Aktan said that Ankara stands for the country’s territorial integrity. ‘If the US adopts a policy to promote democracy and economic development in the greater Middle East, then it should be based on the territorial integrity of the countries involved,’ added Aktan. Asked about alternate policies focusing on countries besides the US, Aktan stressed that such policies are both misguided and unnecessary. As to what the US should do, Aktan said that the Washington should work to respect Turkish rights and interests more than it has and that there is a serious problem. ‘The US has to give up its grudge about the 2003 motion [denying US troops the use of Turkey as a base for a northern offensive into Iraq],’ said Aktan.
According to Aktan, the government isn’t doing anything to bring the anti- American masses around to reason. On the contrary, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan adopted an anti-American stance, one which is diplomatically unacceptable. Aktan wondered if that the prime minister was reading such statements from a prepared text and who would write such things. Aktan charged that the prime minister is failing to heed the counsel of Foreign Ministry officials and advisors.”
 ERDOGAN’S VISIT TO ADDIS ABABA BY NURAY BASARAN (AKSAM)Columnist Nuray Basaran comments on Prime Minister Erdogan’s current visit to Ethiopia. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently added Africa as a brand new dimension to Turkish foreign policy and trade. Having already named 2005 ‘The Year of Africa,’ Erdogan began his trip aimed at improving bilateral relations and signing several agreements towards this end by visiting Ethiopia. Although currently we lack deep political and geographical links with Ethiopia, the Ottoman Empire did have such ties. Probably for these sentimental and historical reasons, Erdogan decided to make this country his first stop.
Ethiopia is in fact one of the oldest nations in the world with a 2,000- year history, and is also the first independent country on the African continent.
Ethiopia has long been involved in border disputes with its neighbors. During these conflicts dating back to 1978, Ethiopia received military aid from Russia and Cuba.
When World War I broke out, Ethiopia supported Austria and the Ottoman Empire, basically for two reasons: First, Ethiopia didn’t want to act in favor of its former enemies, the French and the British. The other reason was that the Muslim population in Ethiopian cities such as Ogedan and Cemma was sympathetic towards the Turks.
Ethiopia tried to improve its relations with Arab countries towards the end of the 1980s. But countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were reluctant to send military aid and equipment to Ethiopia. Therefore, it decided to forge closer ties with Israel. In return for sending back a number of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, the Ethiopian regime received military support from Tel Aviv.
Ethiopia, which developed historical ties with the Middle East, Europe, America, Turkey and even Russia decades ago, is now mostly known for suffering due to starvation, AIDS and internal conflicts. Nevertheless, Erdogan’s visit to Ethiopia is significant. It would be unrealistic however, to consider this trip more than sentimental and a reminder of historical memories. Both sides have probably come up with the same result. Next Erdogan is headed towards South Africa, the leading actor in the region with its vast economy and international role, for a more substantial visit.”
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