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Turkish Press Review, 06-03-28
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
28.03.2006FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN ADDRESSES “ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS” SEMINAR IN SUDANPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently in Sudan to attend an Arab League summit, yesterday attended a seminar entitled “Alliance of Civilizations.” Addressing the gathering, Erdogan said that Turkey’s uniting identity had an important role in preventing a clash of civilizations. Commenting on the recent crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed, Erdogan stated that the crisis showed that the world faced a grave threat. “These cartoons can’t be considered freedom of expression because freedom of expression doesn’t mean violating other people’s freedom of expression,” he said. “We’re opposed to a clash of civilizations, but there are some circles seeking this.” The premier stated that the alliance of civilizations aims to widen tolerance, adding that meetings weren’t enough for this but concrete steps must be taken. /Turkiye/
 US GEN. PACE STRESSES “HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS TO MINIMIZE MISCOMMUNICATION AMONG FRIENDS”In a briefing posted on the web yesterday on his recent contacts in Turkey, Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that he had met with high-level officials during his visit and had had the chance to express his views. “It’s important to keep high-level meetings going to minimize miscommunication among friends,” the general said. Pointing out that relations between all countries have their ups and downs, Pace said that relations can be complicated by cultural and linguistic differences. “I’m really pleased to have the opportunity in each country to be face to face with my counterparts which helps when there’s a misunderstanding or misinterpretation,” he said, adding that he had tried to solidify the excellent relationship between Turkey and the US. /Star/
 DIPLOMATS IN WASHINGTON WORK TO FILL GUL’S SHOESIn the wake of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s grounding due to ear problems, other Foreign Ministry diplomats flew this week to Washington. The high-level diplomats will attend an American-Turkish Business Council (ATC) meeting, hold contacts at the US State Department and meet with representatives of the Jewish lobby. During the meetings, the so-called genocide allegations set to be considered by Congress in the runup to April 24 will be discussed, along with Iraq, the terrorist PKK and the Armenian lobby. /Sabah/
 MUSTAFA KOC: “CONCRETE STEPS SHOULD BE TAKEN AGAINST THE PKK”In his opening speech to the 25th US-Turkish Business Council yesterday, Koc Holding Chairman Mustafa Koc said that disagreements between Ankara and Washington on certain issues should be solved through constructive dialogue. Touching on the PKK terrorist group, Koc said that only discussing the issue wasn’t enough, but both sides must take concrete steps to counter the group. Commenting on economic developments in Turkey, Koc stated that the political events weren’t affecting markets as much as in the past. “However, a return to populist policies would hurt the markets,” he said. Koc added that Ankara’s European Union accession talks and the economic program supported by the International Monetary Fund staying on track both carry crucial importance. /Milliyet/
 IMF’S KELLER: “TURKEY’S ECONOMIC STABILITY IS VERY IMPRESSIVE”International Monetary Fund Turkey Representative Christian Keller yesterday praised Turkey’s “impressive” economic stability. Speaking at a Turkish Structural Capital Markets Summit, Keller stated that the Turkey’s economic stability was also positively affecting the capital markets. Keller stated that owing to the single-party government following the fall 2002 elections, political stability had been ensured in the country. Stressing that inflation had fallen to single digits, and interest rates had also dropped considerably, Keller stated that the economic growth was due to private investment, not government spending. /Turkiye/
 HISARCIKLIOGLU: “GROWTH IS BEING HAMPERED BY TAXES”Saying that for the first time Turkey is pursuing a private-sector based growth model, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu yesterday lamented, “Economic growth isn’t being felt since tax receipts rose by 18 percent in a period during which inflation was 8 percent.” In a presentation at the Second Economy Summit given over the weekend by TOBB and the Economy Correspondents’ Association in Kartepe near Istanbul, Hisarciklioglu said that 28 points of the 32 percent-growth rate achieved in the Turkish economy between 2000 and 2005 originated from the private sector. Stating that this was a success story, Hisarciklioglu said, “During periods when the economy grew with the support of the public, we grew by taking on debt. So this growth rate was sustainable for two or three years. But we experienced a crisis the following year.” /The New Anatolian/
 WORLD BANK: “EDUCATIONAL REFORM IS A MUST”Educational reform is necessary and if Turkey doesn’t do this, Turks will become Europe’s low-paid service sector workers, warns a new report just issued by the World Bank. The bank also says that Turkey’s selection examinations are not substantially linked to the secondary school curriculum; they test only a limited range of curriculum content and do not provide a feedback mechanism for schools and teachers to evaluate student progress. The WB suggested that Turkey should increase student educational qualifications, especially secondary education, to meet European Union standards. The bank also proposed that Turkey should align its curriculum, examinations, and teacher-to-student ratios. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 MESSAGES TO THE US DELEGATION BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on relations between Ankara and Washington. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Last week Ankara played host to Senator John Warner, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and an accompanying delegation and Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Warner and Pace sounded Ankara out in their contacts. Pace took most of the questions about the fight against terrorist PKK. In sum, Pace gave messages that fighting the PKK wasn’t easy and that if it had been, Turkey could have solve this problem over the last 30 years. He also gave the message that firstly, a strong Iraq was needed for the fight against the PKK.
During last week’s conference on Global Terrorism and International Cooperation in Istanbul, Pace said, ‘Perhaps 10 percent of the courses of action that an ally may want the United States to do are not in US national interests. The reverse is probably also true: 10 percent of options the United States wants an ally to do, they may deem are not in their interests.’ He added, however, that there would be the common interests and cooperation in an area of 80%. Clearly the PKK issue falls in the 10% and the strong Iraq in the 80%. The priorities of Ankara and Washington don’t overlap on this issue. Ankara emphasizes at every opportunity that its expectations concerning the PKK aren’t being met, and the US replies by putting forth its own priorities.
It’s known that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reminded Gen. Pace of the PKK issue and stressed Ankara’s expectations. The message given to Sen. Warner on the same issue was recorded as well. The US Congressional delegation’s exchanges during its contacts with the Parliament should be written down: When Warner said that he had done his military service in Korea and that when Turkish soldiers were there, they could sleep soundly, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Onur Oymen responded, ‘There were 5,000 Turkish soldiers in Korea and you were sleeping comfortably there. There are 150,000 US soldiers next to us in Iraq, but we can’t sleep soundly. Turkey is being attacked there, but US soldiers do nothing and don’t let us do anything. The PKK’s armed force of 4,000-5,000 stands there and you do nothing. US President George W. Bush said that there was no grey area in the fight against terrorism and that you’re either with him or against him. We have supported this in the fight against terrorism as a NATO member. You also think that there are no grey areas in fighting terrorism.’ Sukru Elekdag from the CHP and Ramazan Toprak from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) gave messages parallel to these remarks made by Oymen. Meanwhile, there was no answer from Warner and the US delegation he chaired. Concerning remarks saying ‘firstly Iraq and the Iraqi Army should be strengthened,’ Elekdag and Oymen said, ‘Turkish soldiers do their duty in Afghanistan and carry out a very important function. However, we don’t say that firstly, Afghanistan and the Afghan Army should be strengthened and then we would fight terrorism.’ The result of the contacts can be summarized as follows: The US’ priorities in Iraq aren’t as same as Turkey’s expectations. There’s no change in the US’ remarks and stance concerning the PKK issue. Washington and Ankara don’t use a ‘common language’ on this issue.”
The news and articles issued in the Turkish Press Review may be quoted from provided due acknowledgement is made.
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