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Turkish Press Review, 05-04-06
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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
06.04.2005FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 SEZER VETOES BILL ON SECURITY FORCEPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday vetoed a bill proposing amendments to the Security Force Organization Law, including the hiring of 10,000 personnel. Sezer stated that waging effective anti-crime efforts was not possible using hastily trained policemen with low educational levels. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, commenting on the issue, told reporters that his government would discuss the bill and then decide how to proceed. /Star/
 ERDOGAN TO ATTEND FUNERAL FOR POPE JOHN PAUL IIRepresenting Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II to be held on Friday at the Vatican. More than 200 world leaders and religious leaders are expected to attend the funeral for the pontiff, who passed away last Saturday evening. /Hurriyet/ GUL MEETS WITH UAE OFFICIALS
As part of his visit to the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with head of state Sheik Caliph Bin Zeyd El Nahayan and Abu Dabi Crown Prince Sheik Mohammad Bin Zeyd El Nahayan. Afterwards, speaking to reporters, Gul said Turkey should boost its ties with Persian Gulf countries. Pointing to the UAE’s importance in world financial circles, Gul said that he hoped Turkish firms could get positive results from tenders in this country. The foreign minister stated that his talks with top UAE officials had also focused on the Cyprus issue, adding that he had asked for their support to end the Turkish Cypriots’ international isolation. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “OUR GOVT’S SUCCESS SHOULD BE ACCEPTED BY EVERYONE”Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that certain circles still could not stomach the success of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. Pointing to the recent positive economic figures, the premier stressed that good developments in the economy were a result of the government’s great efforts and stability in political policies. Yesterday, Erdogan also received 41 new officials for provincial districts, recent graduates of a training course. Erdogan called on the new officials to believe in democracy in their hearts and accept the problems of the nation as if they are their own. /Turkiye/
 ALBANIAN PRESIDENT, CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF VISIT TURKEYAlbanian Chief of General Staff Gen. Pellumb Qazimi who is currently paying an official visit, yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hilmi Ozkok. The two top officials reportedly discussed bilateral military ties. In related news, Albanian President Alfred Moisiu also arrived in Ankara yesterday after participating in a meeting of the Turkish Atlantic Council in Antalya earlier in the week. /Turkiye/
 SYRIAN PRESIDENT: “SINCE SEZER RESPECTS HIS NATION, HE’LL VISIT SYRIA DESPITE THE US’ OBJECTIONS”Appearing on CNN Turk yesterday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer would pay an official visit to his country this month despite US objections, adding that Sezer couldn’t visit Syria if he didn’t respect the Turkish nation. “The visit is important since it will take place despite US objections,” he said. “Turkey, as an independent, sovereign country, didn’t allow the US to interfere in Sezer’s decision.” Al-Assad said that the nations of both countries became friends following his historic visit to Ankara last year. Touching on Iraq, al-Assad said that Damascus wasn’t uncomfortable about a Turkish presence in the country. /Milliyet/
 LAGENDIJK CALLS FOR ANKARA TO SIGN EU ADDITIONAL PROTOCOL BEFORE OCT. 3 TO PROVE IT’S NOT “OBSTINATE”Speaking at a conference in Istanbul yesterday, Turkey-European Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chairman Joost Lagendijk called for Ankara to sign the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement before Oct. 3, when it is expected to begin its European Union accession talks. “Prove to the EU and Greek Cyprus that you’re not obstinate, and surprise them,” he said. He stressed that signing the additional protocol would mean greenlighting the recognition of Greek Cyprus. “If you begin to formally address a country, this means that you’re beginning to recognize it.” Touching on the so- called Armenian genocide, Lagendijk stated that Turkey should take the initiative on the issue, adding that it would benefit from the resulting clarification. /Milliyet/
 GONUL: “NEITHER THE DEFENSE MINISTRY NOR THE GENERAL STAFF HAVE PLANS TO ALLOW SHORTENED MILITARY SERVICE FOR PAYMENT”Speaking to reporters before his party’s group meeting yesterday, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said that in line with the modernization of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), someday shortening the period of compulsory military service in exchange for payment could be considered. “But the time being, there are no such plans at our ministry or the General Staff,” he added. “However this is a technical issue and we’ll do whatever modernization requires. If there is a need to shorten the military service, then we’ll do this.” In related news, the General Staff yesterday declared that it was not working on shortening the military service in exchange for payment, adding that the issue wasn’t being explored. /Aksam/
 PARLIAMENT DEBATES ARMENIAN PROBLEMParliament yesterday debated the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Journalists and authors of Armenian origin as well as retired ambassadors attended a special joint session of the European Union Harmonization and Foreign Affairs Commissions. The meeting was closed to the press. “Some problems start being resolved as soon as they are discussed,” Ali Riza Alaboyun, the EU Harmonization Commission’s acting chairman, told reporters, expressing his belief in the benefits of such discussions before the meeting began. /Star/
 BAYKAL: “A DECISION ON INCIRLIK AIRBASE EXCLUDING PARLIAMENT WOULDN’T BENEFIT THE NATION”Addressing his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that the government should brief his party and Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission on the US requests concerning Incirlik Airbase. “A decision excluding the Parliament won’t benefit the nation,” he said. While the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is reportedly planning to conclude the issue with a decree, the CHP believes that any decision needs to be approved by Parliament. /Cumhuriyet/
 DUTCH MEP BOZKURT: “THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT SHOULD HAVE A QUOTA FOR WOMEN”Emine Bozkurt, a Turkish-origin social democrat European parliamentarian, recently drafted a report on the role of women in Turkey’s social, economic and political life. In her report, Bozkurt demanded that women’s rights be given top priority in the European Union’s membership negotiations with Ankara, and argued that the issue has long been neglected by Turkey. Bozkurt also urged the government to implement a quota for women in the Turkish Parliament to boost their numbers. The European Parliament is due to discuss her report next month.
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 IS OUR GROWTH RATE SUSTAINABLE? BY MUSTAFA AYSAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Mustafa Aysan comments on Turkey’s high growth rate. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Economic analysts and columnists are currently debating whether high growth rates are sustainable. Looking back on Turkey’s past similar experiences, some are very suspicious about whether last year’s rate can hold.
There’s little doubt that in the long run, such rates usually can’t be sustained. The problem that we’re facing is, in fact, very simple and obvious. Under the pressure of the voters, our politicians are now making huge investments in the interest of short-term gains. In order to complete these investments in relatively short periods of time, they’re also racking up giant expenses, increasing the country’s public purchasing. Yet they haven’t managed to find a proper revenue stream to finance these investments. Therefore, under these circumstances, large, rapid expenses are inevitably financed by foreign debt. In addition, prices and public debt are both continuing to mount. Turkey now lacks the proper resources to finance new investments. Our past experiences show that the higher the growth rate, the more a country is likely to suffer serious economic crises in successive years due to high interest rates, inflation and public debt.
We can summarize analysts’ recommendations to help the government avoid such negative developments as follows: In fact, the main factor holding back sustainable high growth is rapidly rising inflation, whose underlying causes are usually public deficits as well as high foreign trade and current accounts deficits. Unfortunately, heading these off isn’t possible. However, if we manage to sustain our savings efforts, we can probably reduce these deficits by considerable amounts. We’ll then have the opportunity to sustain a 5% annual growth rate over the next three years. By taking the right steps, we can prevent future crises.”
 WE SHOULDN’T PUT SO MUCH TRUST IN EUROPE BY OSMAN ULAGAY (MILLIYET)Columnist Osman Ulagay comments on Turkish-EU relations and the approaching referendum on the European Constitution. A summary of his column is as follows:
“During the first two years of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rule, I was one of those who favored their policy on integration with Europe, mainly because I used to think that EU membership was the best option for Turkey. Besides, I didn’t really believe the government could come up with a better policy and long-term objective on its own. I used to think that the EU might think big and welcome us into the Union for the sake of becoming a global power.
Sure enough, the AKP hasn’t worked up any national objective other than EU membership. But I was mistaken in thinking that the EU’s decision on Turkey’s membership would be positive. Apparently, a large number of Europeans don’t want us within the Union.
A recent public opinion poll in France revealed that 54 percent of the French plan to vote no in the approaching referendum on the European Constitution. France’s rejection of the Constitution will probably cause a crisis large enough to threaten the Union’s future. But strangely enough, this hasn’t yet created an air of panic among the EU members. Miracles have happened time and time again during the Union’s formation process, so maybe the Europeans are again expecting another.
In a recent article entitled ‘The EU Isn’t Ready For a French No,’ Financial Times editor Wolfgang Munchau argues that a crisis among EU countries over the Constitution will certainly result in the postponement of Turkey and Croatia’s membership talks. In this case, Turkey could wait another 50 years for EU membership.
In an era when the members of the EU can’t resolve their own economic and political disputes, it’s risky to consider integration with the EU our sole aim. We’d do better to keep our sights on the EU, but prepare for the worst.”
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