|Monday, 18 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-23
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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
 ERDOGAN: “TURKEY CONTINUES TO MOVE FORWARD ON ITS ROAD TO EU MEMBERSHIP”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the government was not being “inactive” on its road to European Union membership. At a press conference in Brussels, speaking to reporters about his visit to attend the European People Party (EPP) summit on behalf of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan said that he had had an opportunity to review bilateral relations during last evening’s dinner with his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis. He remarked that no EU leaders had criticized any alleged slowdown in Ankara’s EU affairs, adding that the government was working hard to implement reforms. “We know what we are doing,” said the premier. After meeting with representatives from Turkish associations in Europe, Erdogan returned to Ankara last night. /Turkiye/
 LEADERS, MILITARY CONDEMN ATTEMPT TO BURN TURKISH FLAG AT NEVRUZ CELEBRATIONSPolitical and military leaders yesterday issued firm denunciations of an attempt to burn a Turkish flag at weekend Nevruz celebrations, warning that they always stand ready to do whatever is necessary to protect the country’s unity. The incident occurred in the southern city of Mersin on Sunday during a celebration marking the traditional Nevruz holiday, when a policeman grabbed the flag as it was being set ablaze by several protestors. The full spectrum of political leaders including President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Deniz Baykal and True Path Party (DYP) head Mehmet Agar all harshly denounced the incident, underlining that such actions are unacceptable and deserve swift punishment. Interior Minister Abdulkadur Aksu yesterday announced that the perpetrators had already been identified and would be apprehended by security forces as soon as possible. "Such a treatment of the flag of a nation... on its own soil by its own so- called citizens is both inexplicable and unacceptable,” said a statement from the General Staff. “This is treasonous action. Everyone should know that neither the indivisible unity of this country nor its flag are defenseless. To those who would attempt to test the Turkish Armed Forces’ love for the motherland and its flag, we say: Look at the pages of history." In addition, the incident was also condemned by the Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP), the pro-Kurdish political party which organized a large celebration in Istanbul to mark Nevruz. "The incident in Mersin was a provocation," DEHAP leader Tuncer Bakirhan said. "The Turkish flag is also the flag of the Kurds. We respect it as much as anyone who lives in Turkey." /All Papers/
 GUL: “THE GOVT’S DETERMINATION FOR THE NATION’S EU BID IS CONTINUING”Addressing his party’s group meeting yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that the government hadn’t lost its enthusiasm for the nation’s European Union membership bid, adding that its determination for this goal continued. “We’re progressing with self-confidence no matter what,” he said. Touching on the so-called Armenian genocide claims, Gul branded the claims “sophistry and slander,” saying that those who put forth these claims should be required to prove them. He further stressed that the Turkish and Armenian nations had coexisted peacefully for a very long time, adding that Armenians even had high-level posts during the Ottoman Empire. “The Armenian church, language, and culture were formed, protected and improved during the Ottoman era,” said Gul. “This is recognized by those who examine the issue without prejudice.” /Cumhuriyet/
 KRETSCHMER: “THE EU HAS CONCERNS OVER SOME PARTS OF THE NEW TCK, INCLUDING THOSE ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PRESS”European Commission Representative in Turkey Hansjoerg Kretschmer said yesterday that the European Union had concerns over some sections of the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) set to go into effect on April 1. “We’ve expressed our concern over some provisions of the new TCK, including ones on the freedoms of expression and the press,” he said. “These freedoms are crucial for democracy, and we may ask the Turkish Parliament to make certain changes to them.” /Milliyet/
 US HISTORIAN REBUFFS SO-CALLED ARMENIAN GENOCIDE CLAIMSVisiting Professor Prof. Justin McCarthy from the University of Louisville, an expert on the so-called Armenian genocide claims, yesterday asserted firmly that although there was a war in eastern Anatolia during World War I, the Ottomans had never pursued a genocide campaign against Armenians living in the region. McCarthy, who is currently visiting Turkey as the guest of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), yesterday told reporters that in 1915 the Ottoman Empire was only trying to suppress a revolt against the government, something which Armenians wrongly allege amounts to a genocide. “The number of Turks killed in this war far exceeded the Armenian casualties,” he added. “Nobody has ever produced proof that the Ottomans wanted to kill all of the Armenians. On the contrary, we have historic documentation that a senior Ottoman soldier supplied thousands of Armenian refugees with food at that time. Calling the 1915 incidents ‘genocide’ is nonsense. Armenians are trying to distort the facts for political ends.” /Star/
 NORWEGIAN AMBASSADOR: “I WAS IMPRESSED BY THE TURKISH POLICE’S PROFESSIONALISM AT NEVRUZ CELEBRATIONS”Norwegian Ambassador to Turkey Hans Wilhelm Longva yesterday said that he had been impressed by the professionalism and discipline of Turkish policemen during the recent Nevruz celebrations in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir. “This was an instructive experience for me,” he told Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir. “Turkish policemen’s success during the celebrations will hearten everyone who wants to see Turkey as a member of the European Union.” /Star/
 DERVIS NOMINATED TO HEAD UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan this week released a short list of six candidates for a key UN job, including candidates from Turkey, Kuwait, Britain, Japan, Norway and the Netherland, all in the running to head the UN Development Program (UNDP). The candidates are: Kemal Dervis of Turkey, currently a deputy, and a former economy minister and World Bank vice president; Fawaz al-Sultan of Kuwait, head of the Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development; Kaoru Ishikawa of Japan, director-general of Tokyo's economic affairs bureau; Valerie Amos, Britain's leader of the House of Lords and former secretary of state for international development; Hilde Johnson, Norway's minister for international development; and Ad Melkert, the Netherlands’ former minister of social affairs and executive director at the World Bank. Said one UN official, “Candidates will be expected to possess strong diplomatic, political and resource mobilization skills; vision and proven interpersonal skills to lead overall UN development efforts; thorough knowledge of development issues; proven skills in the management of complex organizations and good knowledge of UN reform issues.” Annan will consult with the UNDP executive board before forwarding his choice to the General Assembly, which must ratify the final candidate. /Sabah/
 BAYKAL DECRIES RISING CRIME RATE, PROPOSES COMMISSION TO ADDRESS PROBLEMAddressing his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal decried the recent increasing crime rate in Turkey, adding that a Parliament commission should be formed to address the problem. Baykal also said that the issue of Islamic holdings should be considered by Parliament, but that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had tried to block this. Touching on the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Baykal said that his party would fully support changes to the TCK to protect the freedom of the press. /Cumuriyet/
 PARLIAMENT’S JUSTICE COMMISSION APPROVES AMENDMENTS TO NEW TCKParliament’s Justice Commission has approved an amendment proposal to the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) set to come into force on April 1. The bill is scheduled to be debated in Parliament’s General Assembly on Thursday. /Turkiye/
 SENER: “A NEW IMF STANDBY WILL BE SIGNED IN APRIL”Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener yesterday said that new banking reform legislation on was almost ready to be put to the Cabinet, adding that the government would soon meet the International Monetary Fund’s requirements on banking and social security issues. “There are three laws that should be passed by the Parliament to fulfill the IMF’s requirements,” he said. “First, the Law on Revenues Management Authority, which is currently being discussed by Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission. The second is the Banking Law, which is about to be completed and will be soon ready to be submitted to the Parliament. And finally, the Law on Social Security, which has already been examined and will be sent to Parliament in a very short period of time. Therefore, the standby is expected to be signed with the IMF in April, as previously stated.” /Star/
 WB’S VORKINK: “I DON’T SEE CRISIS IN TURKEY’S FUTURE”Addressing the fourth Information Economy Forum in Istanbul yesterday, World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink said that Turkey adopting the floating exchange rate following the 2001 economic crisis had helped it to harmonize with international norms. Vorkink said that US interest rates might go up, adding that this could directly affect Turkey. “The depreciation of the YTL will boost Turkey’s exports in the mid- and long- term,” he said. Vorkink further predicted that Turkey wouldn’t face another economic crisis in the near future, or at least none before its EU membership. /Milliyet/
 FORMER MINISTERS’ TRIAL CONTINUESThe trial of former State Ministers Husamettin Ozkan and Recep Onal continued yesterday at State Supreme Court. At the second hearing, both of the accused denied allegations of misconduct during their terms in office. Witnesses are expected to testify at the next hearing to be held on April 19. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 THE FLAG BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the attempt on Sunday to burn Turkey’s national flag. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Former deputies Leyla Zana and Orhan Dogan, speaking to Hurriyet, criticized the recent attempt to burn Turkey’s national flag and urged that respect be shown to the flag. Now is this respect for a flag of a ‘foreign country,’ or respect based on the sense that it is a flag for all of us? ‘I have respect for the values of both peoples,’ [meaning the ethnic Turks and Kurds] said Zana. Dogan struck a different note, emphasizing the need for ‘a respect for the shared vales of our common homeland and for the flag which is our shared value.’ Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) leader Tuncer Bakirhan’s words were also very important. ‘This flag is not only the flag of the Turks, but also the Kurds,’ said Bakirhan. ‘It is also our flag and it would be wrong to question this.’ These are pretty words, but why is the ‘flag of our common homeland’ missing at your party meetings?
All three called the attempt a provocation. ‘This could have been done by circles who are against Turkey’s democratization,’ said Bakirhan. But, they have provoked the Kurdish concept in chauvinistic and ethnic national terms instead of using it as a democratic and cultural identity and damaged shared values with different flags and maps, and are now talking about provocation. All nationalistic movements have extreme, chauvinistic feelings, but the terrorist group PKK, which shed enormous blood in Turkey, turned this into a totalitarian fanaticism and at the end was militarily defeated. The world outlawed it and it didn’t even receive half of the votes of Kurds in Turkey. Now it’s trying to paint itself as moderate.
The Kurdish movement has to change its ‘ethnic national’ movement. If the concept of moderation is a mere tactic, then they cannot hide their true intentions, and they will reveal themselves, as in the recent incidents. The issue is not about two young people being unaware of what they are doing. The real issue is that chauvinistic emphasis still exists in this movement and they still insist on a different flag. Thus their claim of a ‘common flag’ is unconvincing. A different flag has only one meaning: partition. Of course people are protesting this. Even Kurdish citizens don’t vote for them. Turkey is improving its democracy. The DEHAP movement also has to abandon its ethnic nationalistic and totalitarian character and transform itself into a movement of democracy and cultural pluralism. Hiding behind deceptive maneuvering isn’t the same thing.”
 A DETOUR ON OUR ROUTE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION? BY MEHMET OCAKTAN (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Mehmet Ocaktan comments on Turkish-EU relations and a recent campaign said to be carried out against the Turkish government. A summary of his column is as follows:
“An organized campaign is being carried out against the Justice and Development Party (AKP). It all began last month when Robert Pollock’s editorial was published in The Wall Street Journal. The motive behind Pollock’s accusations of the Turkish government was obvious. The US is demanding Turkey’s ‘unconditional obedience’ concerning its present and future invasions. On some occasions, the Pentagon sends its messages aimed at ‘disciplining’ Turkey through journalists such as Pollock.
Unless we show ‘unconditional obedience,’ we’ll certainly have more ‘trouble’ in the near future. Surviving in this region of ours is a costly matter.
It’s easy to understand the chill wind between Turkey and the US. As long as our government refuses to participate in the killings in Iraq, it can’t be on good terms with Washington. But why has the European Union turned against our government all of a sudden?
We fulfilled all the conditions laid out in the Copenhagen criteria before last December. We are still making the legal arrangements necessary for our EU membership. However, a ‘wind of despair’ on Turkey’s EU membership has begun to whistle lately. It’s like the government hasn’t lifted a finger to facilitate Turkey’s membership.
The government is being expected to wave a magic wand to resolve long- lasting issues such as Cyprus and the Armenian ‘genocide’ claims. These issues are being deliberately used to wear down the AKP government.
Erdogan is also being criticized for having lost much of his reformist zeal and having slowed down his pro-change policy. But could this slowdown be the result of Erdogan’s unwillingness to act hurriedly on such delicate matters as Cyprus? Yet this government won’t back down from its EU membership efforts, because the AKP knows that even a small detour on our road to the EU would leave Turkey defenseless against ‘disturbances’ from across the Atlantic.”
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