|Sunday, 8 December 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-24
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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: “THE AKP IS A STRONG DEFENDER OF THE CYPRUS CAUSE”Commenting on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’s recent declaration that he was not seeking a new term as president due to disagreements with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on the Cyprus issue, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that he found the remarks difficult to understand. Stressing that he would be sorry if the veteran leader quits politics due to the AKP, the premier noted that his government was strongly defending the Turkish Cypriots’ approval of the UN plan and their just cause. He added that the AKP government wanted a settlement on the island, and that their pro- settlement policy had also been supported by the Turkish Cypriots’ approval of the UN Cyprus plan at last year’s referendum. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also rejected the criticism from Denktas, saying that the AKP had not had any problems with him. “I’m sure Denktas will act as a statesmen, but acts if like a politician, of course, that’s up to him,” added Gul. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “THERE’S NO NEED TO WORRY ABOUT A DELAY ON IMF STANDBY”Turkey is currently working to fulfill conditions sought by the International Monetary Fund for the approval of a new standby deal, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday after attending a Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Executive Council meeting in Ankara. He was welcomed by TOBB Head Rifat Hisarciklioglu. “There’s no room for anxiety about a delay with the IMF," added the premier. Erdogan explained that a bill on the country's tax administration, which the IMF wants to see approved before concluding a new standby deal, was already being debated in a Parliament commission. “Two other IMF-sought bills aimed at overhauling our financial services sector and social security system will be sent to the Parliament soon,” he said. He also denied recent allegations that the government had slowed down its pace of reforms. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Erdogan also warned the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) that it should be more careful and cautious when organizing demonstrations, referring to weekend Nevruz celebrations in Istanbul which were held by the party and tainted by provocations of illegal groups. “I’d like to call on DEHAP officials to act more sensitively on such issues,” he added. “They must take precautions to prevent similar incidents in the future, because the slogans and posters at weekend’s demonstrations irritated our nation and its national values.” /Sabah / Aksam/
 NATION DENOUNCES FLAG-BURNING ATTEMPT; 32 DETAINED OVER CRIMEPolitical and military leaders, universities, political parties, trade unions and professional chambers as well as ordinary citizens yesterday continued to denounce a recent attempt in Mersin to burn a Turkish flag during a celebration marking the traditional Nevruz holiday. While political leaders including the heads of the ruling and opposition parties reiterated their firm denunciations of the incident and resolved to take action against any attempts to harm the country’s unity, ordinary citizens also displayed their love and loyalty to national values. Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu yesterday stated that investigations of the incident were still continuing and all of the perpetrators and provokers would be caught as soon as possible. Some 32 persons, including two children age 12 and 14, have so far detained over the crime, and their interrogations started yesterday. From the videos, the two children were identified as the ones who actually set the flag ablaze. In related news, the pro-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP), which last weekend organized a large celebration in Istanbul to mark Nevruz, yesterday announced that it would send a delegation to Mersin to investigate the incident, including Deputy Chairman Aleddin Erdogan, due to arrive in the southern province today. /Aksam / Star/
 GUL MEETS WITH EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF SOLANAForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday traveled to Brussels to attend a meeting of European Union candidate countries. Following the gathering, Gul told reporters that recent developments had been discussed at the meeting, adding that he had expressed Turkey’s views on certain matters. He reiterated that EU membership was a top priority for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. As part of his visit, he then met with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Their talks reportedly focused on the Iraq issue and Turkish-EU relations. The foreign minister then returned to Turkey. /Turkiye/
 GEN. OZKOK STRESSES GOVT-MILITARY COOPERATION OVER IRAQChief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said yesterday that the General Staff and Foreign Ministry were working together in harmony. Speaking to reporters at a reception to mark Pakistan’s national day in Ankara, Ozkok said that Turkey had a state policy on Iraq, and within this framework, all related state institutions were working in cooperation to carry out that policy. Commenting on Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit’s recent remarks on Turkey’s Iraq policy, Ozkok reiterated that only he, the deputy chief and the secretary general could make remarks on behalf of the General Staff. Asked about recent insults to the Turkish flag in a demonstration, Ozkok stated that everybody had a responsibility to protect the honor of the flag. “I hope such events will never happen again,” added the commander. /Turkiye/
 TUZMEN VISITS MOROCCOOur new free trade agreement with Morocco will boost the trade volume between our two countries, said State Minister Kursad Tuzmen yesterday during his visit to the capital Rabat. Pointing out that the trade volume between Morocco and Turkey had recently ballooned from $250 million to $430 million, Tuzmen said, “Exports to Morocco increased 82 percent without the free trade agreement, and this increase will continue under the free trade agreement.” /Hurriyet/
 BABACAN: “AN IMF DELEGATION WILL VISIT TURKEY NEXT MONTH”A delegation from the International Monetary Fund will visit Turkey at the beginning of next month, said State Minister for Economy Ali Babacan yesterday. Babacan said that a new Letter of Intent (LOI) would be discussed. Lorenzo Giorgianni will reportedly head the IMF group. /Milliyet/
 SERDENGECTI: “FURTHER DELAYS IN COMPLETING FISCAL REFORMS WITH THE IMF COULD ENDANGER STABILITY”Turkish Central Bank governor Sureyya Serdengecti said in an interview with yesterday’s Financial Times that a further delay in completing reforms linked to a new $10 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund could put the country's economic stability at risk. Warning that the delay was sending the wrong signals to the financial markets, Serdengecti said, "There were no problems when the agreement was announced but some problems have arisen since then that have caused it to be delayed. This agreement could have been completed already, and the further it is delayed the more dangerous I would find it." /Hurriyet/
 AKP’S MERCAN ATTENDS PANEL IN WASHINGTONJustice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Murat Mercan yesterday attended a panel hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) think tank in Washington. Stating that the AKP government shares common goals with the US, Mercan said that there is no fundamental reason why there should be negative feelings between the peoples of Turkey and the US. Asked about US requests to expand its use of Incirlik Airbase in Turkey, Mercan said Turkey would soon make a decision on this. Former Pentagon advisor Richard Perle also spoke at the panel, saying that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s visit to Syria next month wouldn’t mean that Turkey supports Syria’s military presence in Lebanon. /Milliyet/
 SCHROEDER: “TURKEY HASN’T MADE PROGRESS ON ITS EU MEMBERSHIP”In an interview on German television, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder claimed on Monday that Turkey isn’t making progress at implementing reforms for its European Union membership. “Turkey hasn’t taken any steps backwards, but since getting a date for accession talks, it hasn’t made any progress either,” added Schroeder. /Milliyet/
 INTERNATIONAL PRESS GROUP EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT NEW PENAL CODEThe International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and journalists, yesterday expressed its concerns about the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) which is due to come into effect next week. In a letter sent to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, IPI head Johann P. Fritz warned that some articles would enable authorities to put pressure on journalists. Emphasizing that this constituted a threat to freedom of the press, the IPI letter noted that Turkish journalists were also protesting the new TCK. The IPI also underlined the contradiction between the existing Press Law and the TCK. In related news, Erdogan has filed a lawsuit against “Penguen,” a political humor cartoon magazine, for lampooning him on its cover. /Milliyet/
 LE MONDE: “THE AKP HAS STALLED ON NEW REFORMS”French daily Le Monde yesterday argued that after getting a date for the beginning of its European Union membership negotiations, the Turkish government has ceased its efforts to pass new reforms. “The Erdogan government’s political will to make progress on new reforms is now being questioned at a critical time, when the Cyprus negotiations are stalled and Turkey’s human rights are below the required standards,” the daily wrote. It also recalled the recent criticisms of both European Commission Representative to Turkey Hansjoerg Kretschmer and European Commissioner for Enlargerment Olli Rehn over the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) signs of “reform fatigue” since Dec. 17, when the EU decided to begin the country’s EU membership talks this October. /Cumhuriyet/
 FORMER DUTCH PREMIER KOK: “DON’T BE AFRAID OF YOUR FUTURE”On his visit to Turkey as a guest of the Fourth Information Economy Forum, former Dutch Prime Minister Wim Kok yesterday said that Turkey’s EU membership bid will be a long process during which Ankara must set its priorities very carefully. “Turkey’s accession talks will last a very long time,” he said. “Ankara must make firm, rapid progress during its negotiations. If you present yourself to the EU countries well, I believe most of them will approve of your membership without holding a referendum. Don’t be afraid of your future. The more you let fear manipulate your actions, the more mistakes you are likely to make.” /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 DARK OMENS BY GUNERI CIVAOGLU (MILLIYET)Columnist Guneri Civaoglu comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Why has the favorable wind blowing from the US towards Turkey shifted direction? Does it have something to do with the motion of March 1, 2003?
Turkey’s stance on the Iraq issue back then sent great shockwaves throughout the US. When some suggested that a visit to Washington by a government representative could break the ice, American officials’ response was clear: ‘No way.’
Later, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) took some steps that helped ease the atmosphere. And then…
On Oct. 7, 2003, our Parliament approved a motion that gave it the authority to deploy our troops in Iraq. Even before the vote, 10,000 troops were ready for action in order to be sent to blood-soaked Fallujah.
The motion of March foresaw only the deployment of Turkish troops in northern Iraq for purposes of providing protection for Mosul and Kirkuk. They weren’t supposed to fight Saddam’s army. However, the motion of Oct. 7 gave our government the authority to send our soldiers right into the frying pan. This way, the gods in Washington would be pleased. However…
The US announced that it ‘didn’t want Turkish troops in Iraq.’ Kurdish leaders Talabani and Barzani disliked the idea of Turkish intervention in the region and convinced Washington to decide against it.
Still, the motion of Oct. 7 helped to melt the ice.
Another glittering era began in Turkish-US relations. President Bush even hailed Turkey as a ‘beacon’ in the region and a nation which had successfully melded democracy and Islam. Washington stepped in to ease Turkey’s EU membership talks. The International Monetary Fund glorified Turkey.
Then, suddenly, ice formed again. Some figures in the US media recently targeted Turkey. The White House and its hawks have been taking potshots at Turkey since then. Here’s why:
Since President Bush was reelected, the Bush administration is now able to say: ‘Our people support our policy. We’ll carry on with it. Those who support our policy are our allies, and the ones who don’t are our enemies.’
When they are told that the Turkish people despise Bush, not the US, Washington officials answer: ‘More than half of our people voted for Bush. To despise Bush is to despise the US.’
Turkey’s stance on Iraq is considered likely to cause the US trouble in the near future.
Turkey’s efforts to build up a united front together with Syria and Iran against new formations in northern Iraq are a matter of concern for the US, which has long been trying to isolate these two countries.
The US wants to transform Incirlik into a logistical base and is pressing for this.
American officials, who initially used the media as a mouthpiece, have now begun to talk openly. The IMF has also been dragging its feet recently. The Armenian ‘genocide’ claims are on the verge of being discussed in the US Congress. And other approaching footsteps also seem to carry dark omens.”
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