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Turkish Press Review, 05-03-04
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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
04.03.2005FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH S.AFRICAN DEPUTY PRESIDENT, DISCUSSES BILATERAL RELATIONS, CYPRUSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in South Africa for an official visit, yesterday met with Deputy President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria to discuss bilateral relations. Speaking at a joint press conference following their meeting, Erdogan said that the two had discussed ways to further develop political, economic, and commercial ties between the two countries. “We also discussed the Cyprus issue and relations between Northern and southern Cyprus,” said the premier. “I reiterated that Ankara supports peace on the island under the umbrella of United Nations’ initiatives.” Asked whether South Africa will take concrete steps on the Cyprus issue in the United Nations and the international arena, Zuma said, “Erdogan briefed me on the Cyprus issue. He explained what Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have done on this issue. We’ve received information from Greece about this issue as well. They are also in favor of peace and a solution. We all know the results of last year’s referendum [on the Annan plan, which Greek Cypriots rejected but Turkish Cypriots accepted]. We know the embargo and isolation of Northern Cyprus continues. We support a permanent solution within the scope of the United Nations. We will try to provide every type of support to all solution proposals within the scope of the United Nations.” Erdogan stated that Turkey was also ready for peaceful steps on nuclear energy. “We would never take part in any activity that could threaten peace,” he said. “Africa is an important continent for Turkey in our foreign policy. We declared 2005 ‘The Year of Africa’.” /All papers/
 SEZER APPROVES SPECIAL PROVINCIAL ADMINISTRATION LAWPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday approved a law on special provincial administration which passed Parliament as part of a reform package on local administration. However, Sezer will apply the Constitutional Court to annul Article 13 of the law. /Sabah/
 GUL: “TURKEY IS TAKING DETERMINED STEPS IN ITS EU PROCESS”Turkey is taking determined steps in its European Union process, said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday during his visit to the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council (TUBITAK). Asked about recent criticisms by European Commission Representative in Turkey Hansjorg Kretschmer that since last December Turkey has slowed its pace of reform, Gul said, “I can’t reply to him in my capacity as foreign minister.” Gul also stated that Turkey had made its preparations for membership and that the EU should do the same. “Turkey is taking determined steps in its EU process,” added Gul. “We’re very determined to pursue this process successfully.” /Star/
 KRETSCHMER: “TURKEY’S ENTIRE BUREAUCRACY SHOULD WORK HARD TO CARRY OUT EU REFORMS”Speaking to Reuters yesterday, European Commission’s Representative in Ankara Hansjoerg Kretschmer criticized Turkey, saying that recently it has been slow in implementing reforms for its European Union membership bid, adding that he wasn’t accusing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. “The entire bureaucracy should work very hard to carry out the reforms,” he said. Kretschmer stressed that many people in the EU member states were opposed to Turkey’s EU membership. Touching on a referendum on Turkey’s EU planned by France, Kretschmer said that if Ankara adopts EU standards and makes progress in becoming a liberal democracy, the French public’s view of Turkey would turn positive. /Milliyet/
 EIB VICE PRESIDENT: “VERHUEGEN IS TROUBLED FOR LETTING GREEK CYPRUS JOIN THE EU BEFORE A RESOLUTION WAS REACHED”European Investment Bank Vice President Wolfgang Roth said yesterday that former European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen was troubled by the EU letting Greek Cyprus join the bloc last year before a resolution was reached on the island. “Verheugen has few regrets in his political life, but he does on this issue,” he said. Speaking to Turkish journalists in Luxembourg, Roth said that he believed former French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy would change his negative stance on Turkey’s EU bid if he wins France’s presidency. /Cumhuriyet/
 WASHINGTON AGAIN DENIES REPORTS OF ARMS TRANSFER TO TRNCThe US State Department yesterday reiterated its denial that weapons had been transferred from Turkey to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). At a State Department press briefing, deputy spokesman Adam Ereli reiterated that, Greek Cypriot claims notwithstanding, there has been no transfer of US-supplied weapons to the TRNC. Asked why the US had urged Syria to pull out from Lebanon, but wasn’t doing the same with Turkey and the TRNC, Ereli dismissed any parallel between Lebanon and Cyprus and pointed to the US position supporting the UN plan for the island’s reunification. Turkish troops are in Cyprus in its role as a guarantor state. /Star/
 US CHIEF OF STAFF MYERS: “THE MOTION ON AMERICAN TROOPS WAS REJECTED AS THE RESULT OF DEMOCRACY”US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers said yesterday that Parliament’s rejection of a 2003 motion to allow US troops to use Turkey as a base for a northern offensive into Iraq had been the result of democracy. Myers also commented that there weren’t any problems in relations between Ankara and Washington. “Turkey is a close US ally and we have a strategic partnership,” added Myers. “Turkey has shown close cooperation in our military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.” /Hurriyet/
 US COMMANDER VISITS TURKEYGen. Burwell Bell, commander of the US Army in Europe (USAREUR) yesterday arrived in Ankara to meet with Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Speaking before their meeting, Buyukanit said that Bell was in Ankara at his invitation, adding that they would discuss security issues. For his part, Bell said that he was pleased with Buyukanit’s invitation and reaffirmed the friendship and partnership between Turkey and the US. /Cumhuriyet/
 LOGOGLU: “THE US HAS PLEDGED TO DEAL WITH THE PKK IN N.IRAQ”Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Faruk Logoglu said yesterday that during her recent visit to Ankara, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had vowed to Turkish officials that the US would deal with PKK terrorists in northern Iraq. Speaking to reporters in Washington, the ambassador stated that Ankara was not opposed to any group’s autonomy in Iraq as long as the country’s territorial integrity was ensured. He said that in the future all groups in Iraq should have a voice and that no group should be dominated or have an advantageous position. Commenting on the prospect of Syrian forces retreating from Lebanon, Logoglu said that this was possible, but might take some time. /Turkiye/
 TALAT: “TRADING MARAS FOR OPENING MAGUSA TO INTERNATIONAL TRADE IS IMPOSSIBLE”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that giving the city of Maras to Greek Cypriots in return for opening the port of Magusa to international trade was out of the question. Talat said that the proposal made by Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos to that effect was unacceptable. “His real purpose is to disrupt the economic development of the Turkish Cypriots,” he charged, adding that the TRNC administration was ready to undertake the joint management of all ports on Cyprus. /Cumhuriyet/
 ESKIYAPAN RESIGNS FROM CHPMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kayseri Deputy Muharrem Eskiyapan yesterday resigned from his party. Eskiyapan was among 15 deputies recently censured by the CHP Disiplinary Board for supporting Istanbul Sisli district Mayor Mustafa Sarigul during his challenge to party leader Deniz Baykal at an extraordinary congress in January. Speaking at a press conference in Parliament, Eskiyapan said, “I’ve never been involved in irregularities in my life. I didn’t deserve this.” He added that supporting a legitimate candidate couldn’t be a crime. /Turkiye/
 CELIK: “WE WON’T RETREAT ON THE STUDENT AMNESTY”Education Minister Huseyin Celik said yesterday that Parliament would soon re-debate a Student Amnesty Bill which was vetoed and sent back by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters, Celik said that the president had characterized it as an amnesty bill which therefore needed the approval of three-fifths of Parliament. Stressing that the issue would be discussed by the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) organs, Celik said, “We’ll do what’s necessary.” He added that the government didn’t want to disappoint students waiting to resume their university studies. In related news, Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Group Deputy Chairman Ali Topuz said yesterday that the bill could not be re-debated in Parliament before a year has passed. Stressing that the bill had not been approved in Parliament by a supermajority, which he said amounted to it being rejected, so it could be reconsidered one year from now at the earliest. Topuz added that if the government insists on the matter, his party would apply to the Constitutional Court. /Turkiye/
 IMF: “TURKEY HAS MADE PROGRESS”International Monetary Fund (IMF) External Affairs Director Tom Dawson said yesterday that the Turkish government had made progress in the areas of banking, social security and income management. Speaking at a press conference in Washington, Dawson said that an IMF Executive Board meeting on Turkey had not yet been scheduled. “Turkish officials are still working on measures to help the Executive Board evaluate its new program,” added Dawson. /Turkiye/
 F-16 CRASHES IN BLACK SEA REGIONAn F-16 fighter jet crashed yesterday while flying over the western Black Sea region. A statement from the Eskisehir First Jet Base Command said that they had lost contact with the plane around the town of Yenice in the Karabuk province. Amid poor weather conditions, search and rescue efforts are continuing in the region to find the two pilots and the plane’s wreckage. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Certain European Union officials have been criticizing our government for losing enthusiasm of late in our efforts to become an EU member. EU Commission Representative to Turkey Hansjoerg Kretschmer has recently made statements along these lines, calling on our government to speed up its efforts. Ankara is being accused by the EU of losing momentum since last December, when it got a date for the beginning of its accession talks.
The EU, as a matter of fact, neither accepts any criticisms from Turkey nor apparently takes a flexible stance which is open to compromise. Its unyielding Turkey policy can be summed up as ‘take it or leave it.’
Brussels has recently stepped up diplomatic pressure on Ankara, particularly on the Cyprus issue. Ankara is being forced to sign the additional protocol extending its Customs Union to cover the Greek Cypriot administration. Our government has already pledged to sign it by Oct. 3, when our EU talks are set to begin. Ankara will then try to persuade the EU that its signature doesn’t necessarily amount to official recognition of the Greek Cypriot administration.
Brussels is unwilling to engage in self-criticism concerning a number of ‘special hurdles’ erected to Turkey’s membership. The EU is refusing to negotiate over these obstacles. France recently approved a bill stipulating a referendum for Turkey’s membership. It will be the French public which will determine our future. Paris has already taken its own preemptive measures.
Under these circumstances, we’re trying to make progress, and we’re expected to make it well and rapidly. Negotiations with the EU won’t be real negotiations at all. During these talks, Turkey will be told to ‘take it or leave it.’ In the wake of last December’s breakthrough, the EU’s double standards against Turkey are continuing.”
 IS OUR FRIENDSHIP WITH GERMANY NEAR AN END? BY MUSTAFA BALBAY (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Mustafa Balbay comments on Turkish-EU relations and the recent disagreement between Germany and Turkey on the Armenian “genocide” claims. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The news from the EU isn’t encouraging at all. Here’s the dilemma: The EU constantly delays its responsibilities toward Turkey, while asking Turkey to do whatever it asks immediately and without question.
Apparently, this dilemma will endure as long as our government fails to take an appropriate stand against it.
Remarks made by the EU and Turkey both underline this double standard chanted by every EU official visiting Turkey. There’s also been an evident change in European governments’ policies against Turkey.
One example of this change is our disagreement with Germany on ‘the Armenian issue.’ An elderly German priest named Johannes Lepsius claims that he witnessed the Armenian genocide. His house is now being used as a propaganda center. Angela Merkel, leader of the German opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has presented a resolution to the Federal Parliament that can be summarized as follows:
‘During the Ottoman reign, Armenians were victims of a large-scale genocide through which 1.2-1.5 million Armenians lost their lives. As the legal successor of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey denies that such an event happened. Turkey must show unconditional assent on this issue.’
German Ambassador to Ankara Wolf-Ruthart Born was recently summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and told that such initiatives would have a negative effect on bilateral relations.
When I called Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik, Turkey’s Ambassador to Berlin, he gave me a brief and clear explanation of the matter:
‘I’m afraid that the damage this resolution could cause will be wide, deep and irreparable. We hope they will soon come to see this, and we’re working to make this happen.’
In light of these recent events, the state of Turkey’s EU membership process could be summed up like this: Neither grant full membership to Turkey, nor allow it to go anywhere else.”
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