|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-10
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER CANCELS VISIT TO FINLAND DUE TO GREEK CYPRIOT SNAGPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday cancelled a planned visit to Finland reportedly due to a snag over the Greek Cypriot ambassador to that country, Loria Markides. Since Turkey refuses to officially recognize the Greek Cypriot administration, Sezer reportedly sent a message to Finnish officials asking them not to invite Markides to a banquet that Finnish President Tarja Halonen will hold in his honor. However, the Finnish officials responded that by tradition all ambassadors of “neighboring” countries are invited to banquets held in honor of the presidents of EU member countries, and therefore they could not withdraw Markides’ invitation. Sezer thereupon reportedly informed the Finnish government that he was cancelling the visit because he could not shake hands with Markides. In related news, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan told reporters that Sezer’s visit was postponed due to certain difficulties concerning the program. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN TO DISCUSS CYPRUS ISSUE IN MADRIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to travel to Madrid, Spain today to attend an international conference of leaders from some 50 countries exchanging views on ways to tackle international terrorism. As part of the gathering, Erdogan will meet with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso tonight and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan tomorrow. The Cyprus issue is expected to dominate Erdogan’s talks, where possible ways to resume Cyprus talks towards a settlement on the island will be considered. /Star/
 GOVT HOLDS SECURITY SUMMITPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday chaired a meeting in Ankara on security issues with the attendance of high-level officials for security as well as Justice Minister Cemil Cicek and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu. At the meeting the participants discussed the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) set to go into effect at the beginning of next month. Afterwards, Cicek and Aksu told reporters that all security forces were trying to ensure peace and safety in the nation. Commenting on a wave of bag- snatching crimes, especially in big cities, Cicek said that officials have been working on new measures to address the problem, adding that the new TCK would impose stiff punishment for such crimes. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN CRITICIZES MEDIA FOR “EXAGGERATED” COVERAGE OF PROTEST POLICE STORYAppearing on TV yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Turkish media for airing “exaggerated stories” concerning police actions against Women’s Day protesters last Sunday, accusing the TV stations of irresponsible broadcasting that seemed to be directed towards European Union officials. “Nobody asks what those protestors were doing on March 6,” he said. “Why were these protestors on the streets two days before International Women’s Day? Because they were illegal groups which provoked the policemen during the incidents. But I don’t believe that beating a woman who fell to the ground is humane. Our security forces mustn’t allow themselves to be goaded by provocation but must instead perform their duties calmly.” /Hurriyet/
 GUL: “THE TOBB CAN DO A LOT TO HELP TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday visited Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu to discuss ways the group can help promote Turkey’s European Union membership. Stating that all of the nation’s economic sectors must be prepared for the Union, Gul stressed that he believed the TOBB would greatly contribute to Ankara’s EU aspirations and efforts. He also added that the government would cooperate with the TOBB in translating hundreds of pages of the EU acquis into Turkish. Gul also reiterated the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) commitment to consult with both professional and civil groups in all EU-relevant processes. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY ANNOUNCES SHIFT IN IRAQ POLICY, REITERATES PARTNERSHIP WITH WASHINGTONForeign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan yesterday held a regular weekly press conference to both announce a shift in Turkey’s Iraq policy and reiterate that the country is strongly committed to its strategic partnership with the United States. Rebuffing recent allegations that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Islamist leanings had helped encourage rising anti-American sentiment in Turkey, Tan stated that Turkey is a friend and ally to the US and that such media allegations had no place in Ankara’s relations with Washington. Tan also announced that Turkey would not oppose a federation in Iraq, if the new Iraqi constitution to be approved by the Iraqi people requires this. “However, Ankara still opposes any possible independent Kurdish formation in the region and believes that Iraq’s territorial integrity must be protected,” he added. /Cumhuriyet / Hurriyet/
 YEREVAN REJECTS ANKARA’S CALL FOR HISTORICAL STUDY OF ARMENIAN “GENOCIDE” CLAIMSArmenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan yesterday said that there is no need for historians’ involvement anymore, rejecting Ankara’s recent calls for a historical study of the Armenian “genocide” claims. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday called for an unbiased study by historians of Armenian claims of genocide around 90 years ago. “We have opened our archives to those who claim there was a genocide and if the Armenians are sincere, they should also open their archives,” said Erdogan. “Teams of historians from both sides should conduct studies in these archives.” Turks, Circassians and especially Kurds lost their lives during the Armenian revolt against the Ottoman government during World War I. /Cumhuriyet/
 BOUCHER: “TURKISH-US RELATIONS ARE POSITIVE”US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a press conference yesterday that relations between Washington and the Turkish government are strong and positive. Asked about reports of high anti-US sentiment in Turkey, Boucher said that he wouldn’t speculate about press reports. /Cumhuriyet/
 REHN: “TURKEY IS CLOSE TO SIGNING THE SUPPLEMENTARY PROTOCOL”We are about to reach an agreement with Turkey on the supplementary protocol for the Customs Union, said European Commissioner for Enlargement Oli Rehn yesterday. In his meeting with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Rehn briefed Fischer about Turkey’s European Union membership bid. The protocol in question would include both Turkey and Greek Cyprus, though Ankara has argued that signing it does not amount to recognition. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “A NEW LETTER OF INTENT WITH THE IMF WILL BE SIGNED IN EARLY APRIL”Appearing on NTV yesterday, Economy Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey would pass all of the legislation required by the International Monetary Fund in order to secure a new $10 billion loan. “I expect we will complete all the required work in the first half of April, and sign the letter of intent [LOI] in the same month,” Babacan said. Among the reforms sought by the IMF are an overhaul of social security, financial services and tax laws and regulation. Asked about the appointment of Turkey’s chief negotiator for its EU accession talks, Babacan said that the final decisions on both the negotiator and the delegation’s makeup would be made by Prime Minister Erdogan. /Aksam/
 AGAR: “THE DYP HAS LEARNED FROM ITS MISTAKES”True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar said yesterday that his party was moving forward after learning lessons from its past mistakes. Speaking at his party’s congress in Erzurum, Agar said that the DYP had drawn its power from the nation. Commenting on security problems in big cities, the DYP leader said that if his party comes to power, such crimes would end in one week at the latest. /Turkiye/
 ANAP INVITES MUMCU TO REJOIN PARTYA delegation of the Motherland Party (ANAP) headed by deputy leader Abdulkadir Erdogmus yesterday visited independent Isparta Deputy Erkan Mumcu. Erdogmus told reporters that he had invited former Culture Minister and ex-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) member Mumcu to rejoin ANAP. Telling how Mumcu was one of ANAP’s leading members before resigning and joining the AKP before the fall 2002 elections, Erdogmus said, “We told Mumcu that ANAP was the right place for both his principles and to carry through his projects.” For his part, Mumcu said that if ANAP is willing to revamp itself, it might be one of his options. /Turkiye/
 EP TO DENOUNCE TURKISH POLICE’S ACTIONS IN ISTANBUL DEMONSTRATIONSMeeting in Strasbourg, the European Parliament’s General Assembly is shining its spotlight on violence against women to mark International Woman's Day. The EP is expected to add a section on women’s rights in Turkey to a draft resolution which will be voted on today. The draft text stresses that the EP strongly denounces the “disproportionate” use of force by the Turkish police on March 6 towards Women’s Day protesters in Istanbul. Through this statement, the EP is also expected to ask the European Union Commission to submit a report on the issue. The EP will also hold a session next Wednesday on “Turkish Women’s Roles in Social, Economic and Political Life.” State Minister Responsible for Women’s Rights Guldal Aksit has been invited to the session, where current problems and possible solutions will be discussed. /Aksam / Hurriyet/
 GREEK PREMIER: “WE’VE SEEN A NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH TURKEY”We’ve seen a normalization of relations with the Turkey and an improving atmosphere, said Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday. Karamanlis said that Athens had made a courageous decision in supporting Turkey’s membership in the European Union. On the question of Turkey's obligations towards the EU to recognize Greek Cyprus, Karamanlis said Turkey has assumed a series of obligations which are strict, one of which is signing a Customs Union with the Greek Cypriots. /Milliyet/
 GREEK CYPRIOT FOREIGN MINISTER: “TURKEY HAS TO RECOGNIZE GREEK CYPRUS”Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister George Iacovou said yesterday that Turkey must recognize Greek Cyprus in order to join the European Union. “Turkey can’t become an EU member unless it recognizes Greek Cyprus,” he said. Iacovou has said that Ankara’s signing of a supplementary protocol of the Customs Union would be interpreted by the Greek Cypriot community as official recognition. /Star/
 TURKISH, GREEK CYPRIOT POLITICAL PARTIES GATHER FOR JOINT MEETINGTurkish and Greek Cypriot political party leaders and members yesterday met at the Ledra Palas Hotel on their common border. Northern Cyprus’ ruling Republican Turkish Party (CTP) hosted the meeting, at which political party members from both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cyprus took part. The group for sustainable economic development discussed the possible unification of Cyprus. /Star/
 FOUR MORE DIE FROM BOOTLEG RAKI POISONINGFour more people undergoing treatment in different hospitals in Istanbul due to drinking toxic bootleg raki died yesterday, bringing the total to 21 in the last 10 days. The excessive methyl alcohol content in the fake raki was reportedly the cause of the deaths. Security forces’ investigation of the matter is ongoing. Meanwhile, as a safety precaution, new raki bottles topped with new caps have been distributed throughout the nation to replace the old ones, with the process expected to be completed within 10 days, officials said. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 SIGNATURE FOR CYPRUS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the Cyprus issue and this week’s EU Troika meeting in Istanbul which focused on Turkey’s commitment to expand the Customs Union protocol to include Greek Cyprus. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The top issue of this week’s European Union Troika meeting in Istanbul was Turkey’s promise to sign a supplementary protocol which would expand the Customs Union to include 10 more EU members, including Greek Cyprus. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn repeatedly emphasized Turkey’s need to sign the protocol. Turkey had promised to sign the protocol last December, so that it could get a date from the EU to begin its membership talks. Rehn claimed that Turkey’s signing the protocol is a must both for beginning membership talks and solving the Cyprus issue.
Turkey will eventually sign the protocol in order to honor its commitment, but is seeking a way to do so with as little backlash as possible.
First, Turkey considered arguing that signing the protocol actually does not mean Turkey recognizes Greek Cyprus and placing a ‘reserve’ in the protocol for this purpose. The European Union turned this option down.
Turkey had one course remaining: to issue a declaration after signing the document. But is it really enough to say, ‘We signed the protocol, but this doesn’t mean that we’ve recognized the Greek Cypriots.’ The Greek Cypriot administration recently announced that such a declaration would mean nothing outside of Ankara.
Ankara is also considering seeking the support of prominent international scholars, such as Maurice Mendelson, on the recognition issue. However, it’s doubtful what good the statements of a few academics could do to strengthen Turkey’s hand.
The EU will also demand that the protocol be approved by the Turkish Parliament before our membership talks begin. The government, however, will probably wait until Oct. 3, when the talks are due to start. If not, it could encounter a great deal of opposition.
A third possibility is that the Greek Cypriots may not agree to compromise, despite Turkey’s signing the protocol. A few days ago, Greek Cypriot Justice Minister Doros Theodoru repeated that the Greek side doesn’t really want the Cyprus issue settled. Under these conditions, they don’t need a solution anyway. Since Greek Cyprus is now a member of the EU, Greek Cypriots can freely express their policy based on obstructionism.
In order to convince the Greek Cypriots to participate in negotiations (let alone agree on a solution) Turkey has to agree on a plan that is largely in favor of meeting their needs. The Annan plan could be reworked for this purpose, or a brand new plan could be devised. In any case, the Greek Cypriots will have the upper hand.
The current situation is the result of the EU’s policy in favor of Greek Cypriots. Taking itself as the ‘winner’ on its way to the EU, the Turkish side will more likely be relegated as the ‘loser’ on this path.”
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