|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-15
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
15.03.2005FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SEZER URGES IMPROVED HEALTH CAREPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday attended a ceremony at Hacettepe University’s Culture Center, marking Turkey’s March 14 Medical Day. Speaking at the ceremony, Sezer said that Turkey should reach for international standards in health care, address deficiencies in its healthcare system and make health services available to all. Sezer stressed that it was a basic duty of the state to provide the nation with a socio- economic and cultural environment which will help individuals lead healthy, high-quality lives. “It’s very important to raise the standards of living of healthcare workers and to better arrange their working hours to boost their productivity,” added Sezer. In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoga yesterday issued a written statement marking the occasion, saying that the government was working very hard to make sure all citizens benefit equally from healthcare services. /Cumhuriyet/
 SEZER’S DAMASCUS VISIT STILL ON TRACKDespite Washington’s expectations for President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to cancel or postpone his scheduled visit to Damascus, the official visit is still a go. In his visit, Sezer will personally call on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to withdraw Syria’s troops from Lebanon. Sezer will also urge Damascus to consider US and EU requests. US sources reportedly said that Sezer’s call for Syria to comply with the international community’s wishes would be welcomed. In related news, US Ambassador in Ankara Eric Edelman said yesterday that the international community should be in full consensus on the need to implement UN Resolution 1559. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN SIGNS COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT FOR RURAL SERVICES DIRECTORATEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday signed a collective agreement for workers serving at the Rural Services Directorate General. State Minster Mehmet Ali Sahin and Turkish Trade Unions (TURK-IS) head Salih Kilic attended the signing ceremony. /Star/
 IN LONDON, GUL PROMOTES INVESTMENT, MEETS WITH STRAW TO SEEK SUPPORT FOR ANKARA’S EU BIDForeign Minister Abdullah Gul, currently in London for a three-day official visit, yesterday attended a meeting at information technology firm Bloomberg. Addressing the gathering, Gul said that Turkey had had difficulty attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and urged British businessmen to invest in Turkey, saying, “Thanks to reduced red tape, now our country is ripe for investment.” Gul stressed that the private sector was the engine of the country’s economy, adding that Ankara had carried out or was carrying out privatization in key sectors, including telecommunications, energy, oil, and air travel. Gul stated that the Turkish government had provided the nation with political, economic, and social standards. “Our standards will rise further with greater stability and peace in the region, ” said Gul. He further stressed that Ankara would continue to work with the International Monetary Fund. Touching on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Gul called the EU setting Oct. 3 as the beginning of Ankara’s accession talks on Oct. 3 a “wise decision.” Later, Gul met with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations. Speaking afterwards, Straw said that they had discussed Cyprus, the Middle East, and Turkey’s EU membership bid, adding that the EU decision to begin Ankara’s EU talks had been a historic one. “Turkey’s EU membership isn’t important for Turkey alone, but also for the EU and Britain,” he said. He further reiterated Britain’s support for the Ankara’s EU membership bid. For his part, Gul said that he appreciated the British support, adding that relations between the two countries would develop further. /Turkiye/
 BUYUKANIT: “THE THREAT OF TERRORISM IS GROWING”Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit warned yesterday that the threat of terrorism in Turkey is growing, adding that anti-terrorist efforts were a serious matter. “Our nation has forgotten the terror days of the past,” he said, adding that recently the number of terrorists had risen. “The issue is very serious since the number of weapons held by the terrorist PKK/KONGRA-GEL has increased to its 1999 level,” added Buyukanit. /Milliyet_
 CICEK: “THE NEW TCK WILL GO INTO FORCE IN APRIL”Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday that new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) is a well-crafted law and will be put into force at the beginning of next month. Speaking to reporters after a Cabinet meeting, Cicek pointed out that amendments to the TCK have been discussed for 20 years. “This is quite a long time to debate revisions,” said the justice minister. “By now, everybody should have long since weighed in.” Reiterating that the new law would be put into effect on April 1 as scheduled, Cicek said, “Of course there are certain shortcomings, but we will make new arrangements in time.” /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ISSUES REPORTParliament Human Rights Commission Chairman Mehmet Elkatmis, a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, yesterday spoke to reporters in Istanbul regarding the commission’s investigation of recent developments. Commenting on police intervention at a March 6 demonstration of women in Istanbul, Elkatmis said, “We watched footage of the events and decided that the police had used excess force on the demonstrators.” He added that such actions were wrong and that those responsible would be punished. On the other hand, remarking that the demonstration was held without permission and that the police were goaded to intervene by “highly provocative” attitudes, Elkatmis pointed to the timing of the demonstration. “It’s telling that it was held during the European Union Troika meeting in Ankara, ” he said. In addition, Elkatmis stated that in the commission’s inspections of jails, childcare centers and hospitals, not a single serious human rights violation had been seen. /Turkiye/
 ANKARA CRITICIZES HRW REPORT ON TURKEYThe Foreign Ministry yesterday criticized a new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on the people displaced in southeastern Anatolia during the fight against the terrorist PKK. The New York-based group’s report entitled “Still Critical: Prospects in 2005 for Internally Displaced Kurds in Turkey” claimed that as many as 2 million people from some 3,000 villages had been forced from their homes to cut off local support for the PKK. The Foreign Ministry said that the report ignored Turkey’s good-faith efforts on the issue and was divorced from reality, adding that the negative attitude and style of the report – despite the fact that Ankara recently provided detailed information on the issue to HRW – indicated that the report had not been written in a constructive spirit. Turkish officials also mentioned that there have been noteworthy improvements over the last decade within the framework of the Return to Villages and Rehabilitation project. /Turkiye/
 ANOTHER EARTHQUAKE JOLTS BINGOLA strong earthquake shook eastern Turkey yesterday, damaging buildings and injuring at least 18 people, just two days after another quake in the region. Yesterday’s quake had a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 and was centered in the rural province of Bingol, 430 miles east of Ankara. It struck at 3:55 am, and damaged about 400 houses in 24 villages, officials said. Authorities reported no deaths, but at least 18 people were injured. /Sabah/
 TURKISH TRUCK DRIVER KILLED IN IRAQA Turkish truck driver was killed yesterday in Beyci, Iraq in a bomb attack. The truck was carrying supplies to a US base in the country. /Cumhuriyet/
 TALABANI: “WE WANT GOOD RELATIONS WITH TURKEY”We want good relations with Turkey, said Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani yesterday. “Turkey is also starting to favor a federal Iraq,” added Talabani. “This is an important step.” Talabani also said that Kurds’ negotiations with the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance are continuing. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE BALL IS IN BRUSSELS’ COURT BY ABDULHAMIT BILICI (ZAMAN)Columnist Abdulhamit Bilici comments on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s current official visit to Britain and Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who received our Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday in London, said that Turkey was quite ready to sign the protocol extending its Customs Union with present EU members to all the new states. ‘The ball is now in Brussels’ court,’ Straw said at a joint press conference following his meeting with Gul. For his part, Gul stressed that preparations to start membership negotiations with the EU in October were on track. Asked whether Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos could put increased pressure on Brussels to slow down Turkey’s EU process, Straw said that Britain has no wish to deal with any further problems on the Cyprus issue now, because it is high time for Ankara and Brussels to focus on the start of negotiations. Prior to his visit to the country, Gul was hoping to get London’s support for ending the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, because Britain will this July take over the EU term presidency from the current president, Luxembourg. Gul yesterday said that he hoped positive steps would soon be taken on the issue. Gul yesterday was first interviewed by a Financial Times reporter, then had lunch with prominent representatives of British finance circles. Later he addressed members of the London office of Bloomberg, the information technology giant, where he called on British businessmen to participate in the privatizations of big companies in Turkey. Gul was then asked many questions by these businessmen covering a variety of subjects, including such sensitive ones as the Armenian problem and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Islamic roots. ‘What would happen if an independent Kurdish state were established in northern Iraq?’ asked one businessman. ‘This would plunge the region into greater chaos,’ Gul warned. ‘All ethnic groups must see themselves as Iraqis. We don’t want any further turmoil in the region. What would Arabs say to such a division? Not only Turks but also all regional countries want to protect Iraq’s territorial integrity.” Gul also delivered a speech at the London School of Economics. It was quite interesting that he was asked many more questions about the heavy-handed police action last week to control a women's rights demonstration on the eve of the government’s talks with top EU officials, rather than Turkey’s current reforms. Gul stressed that a full investigation on the incident was underway whose findings would be announced in a few days. Because of a demonstration by a radical leftist group in front of the school, Gul had to leave the building by the back door.”
 TURKEY’S PATH TO THE EUROPEAN UNION BY ULUC GURKAN (STAR)Columnist Uluc Gurkan comments on Turkish-EU relations and Europe’s doubts on Turkey’s prospective membership. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The French are going to vote for the EU Constitution, but they are arguing about Turkey instead. They seem to be unable to decide whether approving the Constitution means accepting Turkey as a member of the Union. Due to this uncertainty, the referendum question gets thornier with each passing day.
This uncertainty also seems to bother France’s socialists, which have publicly declared that approving the Constitution doesn’t mean vetting Turkey’s EU membership.
The declaration implied that Turkey has to give up on Cyprus and admit the Armenian ‘genocide’ claims.
The socialists don’t claim that Turkey’s EU membership is impossible. Instead, they imply that Turkey will have to obey the impositions of the long-forgotten Treaty of Sevres in order to join the Union.
When it comes to Turkey’s admission to the EU, there’s not much difference between these socialists and the Christian democrats. European Convention President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a Christian democrat, still sees Turkey as just a neighbor to the EU.
This negative mood towards Turkey’s EU membership is not limited to France. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn last week said that Turkey’s path towards the EU will be ‘long, rocky and full of sharp turns.’ Speaking at a Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) meeting in Istanbul, Rehn told his listeners that Turkey must recognize Greek Cyprus in order to move on to membership talks. ‘This is one of the preconditions set by the commission,’ he said.
Turkey must recognize Greek Cyprus, and what else? It’s obvious that the EU is also trying to add the Armenian ‘genocide’ claims to its list of preliminary terms. Another precondition is that Turkey must implement ‘political reforms’ in its southeast. I wonder if his audience asked what Rehn meant by ‘political reforms.’
We have come to this point by doing without question whatever the EU asks us to do. But we can’t go on this way. We have to learn how to negotiate with the EU, as well as with the rest of the world. Turkish businessmen and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) must join the government in its efforts to carry out negotiations with the EU. We need such a conscious campaign in our path towards the EU.”
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