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Turkish Press Review, 06-11-09

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

09.11.2006


CONTENTS

  • [01] EC RELEASES ITS PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY
  • [02] ERDOGAN SPEAKS OUT ON PROGRESS REPORT, 2007 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
  • [03] GUL: "REFORMS WILL CONTINUE"
  • [04] REHN: "CONCERNED SIDES SHOULD GIVE TOTAL SUPPORT TO THE FINNISH PLAN"
  • [05] PARLIAMENT PASSES BILL ENABLING BURIAL OF ECEVIT IN STATE CEMETERY
  • [06] IRAQI FM ZEBARI: "KIRKUK ISN'T A TURKISH CITY"
  • [07] BABACAN: "THE EU LACKS OBJECTIVITY ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE"
  • [08] BLACK SEA STATES GATHER IN ISTANBUL
  • [09] IMF'S BREDENKAMP: "CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT DOESN'T POSE THREAT TO THE ECONOMY"
  • [10] AMERICAN-TURKISH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN VISITS TOBB
  • [11] DISPUTED JOURNEY

  • [01] EC RELEASES ITS PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

    In its annual progress report on Turkey's European Union accession, the European Commission yesterday said that if Turkey doesn't open its ports and harbors to Greek Cypriot vessels, it would submit a recommendation to a meeting of EU leaders on Dec. 14-15. The Commission yesterday released its 75-page progress report plus a 54-page Strategy Paper and analysis of the EU's integration capacity. The Commission warned that if Turkey doesn't open its ports and harbors by the end of this year, this would have a negative impact on Ankara's negotiation process. "Turkey hasn't successfully fulfilled the Copenhagen political criteria while it has continued political reforms. But the pace of the reforms slowed down," said the report, adding that a huge effort is required on freedom of expression. Reforms and the Cyprus issue were mentioned at the conclusion of the strategy paper, which was approved yesterday. /Hurriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN SPEAKS OUT ON PROGRESS REPORT, 2007 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

    Speaking with Ankara media representatives yesterday at his party's headquarters, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan weighed in on a number of domestic and foreign political developments. Commenting on next year's presidential election and Sabanci Holding Chairwoman Guler Sabanci's recommendation that Erdogan remain in active politics (and by implication not seek the presidency), Erdogan stated that he respected what she had to say. The premier further stated that he had no claim that he would be the next president, adding that the decision would be made by Parliament. Erdogan stressed that the government would continue to take all necessary measures against the terrorist PKK. Also commenting on the European Union's new progress report on Turkey, Erdogan said that the report was being evaluated. "Halting or suspending negotiations or a train accident is out of the question," said Erdogan. Saying that Britain had waited for over a decade during its accession negotiations, Erdogan added that the government would continue to strive for the nation's EU bid as it did over the last four years. The premier further reiterated that Turkey would continue to be determined not to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels if the isolation of Turkish Cypriots isn't brought to an end, as promised by the EU. /Milliyet-Turkiye/

    [03] GUL: "REFORMS WILL CONTINUE"

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that Turkey was determined to fulfill the European Union's membership criteria. Gul, visiting Rome, held a joint press conference after meeting with his Italian counterpart Massimo D'Alema. Commenting on the EU Commission's Turkey report released yesterday, Gul said that Turkey places importance on completing its accession talks successfully, adding that Turkey's transformation serves everybody's interests. For his part, D'Alema said that Turkey's EU membership would be a development benefiting the EU. He stated that the Cyprus issue should be solved under United Nations auspices with the contributions of the EU. Gul, speaking to reporters when he returned to Ankara after completing his contacts in Italy, reiterated that Ankara would continue its reform process. /Turkiye/

    [04] REHN: "CONCERNED SIDES SHOULD GIVE TOTAL SUPPORT TO THE FINNISH PLAN"

    Speaking at a press conference after the release of the European Commission progress report, European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn yesterday stated that now the quality of reforms has become more important than speed, adding that the pace of reforms in Turkey had slowed down but recently picked up again. Expressing the Commission's full support for the Finnish plan on Cyprus, he urged all the concerned sides in the Cyprus dispute to give their total support and energy in evaluating the plan. Rehn added that problems remain in the interpretation and implementation of Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), and urged that it be changed, saying it constitutes a handicap to freedom of expression. EC President Jose Manuel Barroso stated that that general tendency of the Union was not to freeze negotiations even if the Cyprus dispute continues and to give a chance to diplomatic efforts. European Union-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission Co- chairman Joost Lagendijk said that the progress report was balanced and that it had no new expectations. In related news, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis said, "There are all necessary components (in the report) to evaluate Turkey's course to the EU. It also touches on concrete events and will constitute a touchstone for the decisions to be taken by the EU hereafter." Greek Cypriot administration Foreign Minister Georges Lillikas claimed that the report shows that Turkey refuses to fulfill its commitments. French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said, "If Ankara doesn't recognize the (Greek) Republic of Cyprus by the end of this year, the EU should reconsider its negotiation timetable on Turkey." /All papers/

    [05] PARLIAMENT PASSES BILL ENABLING BURIAL OF ECEVIT IN STATE CEMETERY

    Parliament yesterday passed a bill enabling the burial of former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, who passed away on Sunday, in the State Cemetery, up to now reserved for presidents and Ataturk's brothers-in-arms. Under the new bill, prime ministers and Parliament speakers will also be eligible for burial there. /Sabah/

    [06] IRAQI FM ZEBARI: "KIRKUK ISN'T A TURKISH CITY"

    Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari yesterday said that they were sensitive about Turkey's anxiety about security. Speaking to news agency DHA in Paris, Zebari said, "The Iraqi prime minister will visit Turkey later this month. I will accompany him. Besides, we're cooperating against the terrorist PKK. The tripartite commission (of Turkey, the US and Iraq) should work on this. Our government is determined about this issue and ready to work." Also touching on the Kirkuk issue, Zebari stated that it wasn't a Turkish city, and its fate will be determined by Iraqis. "There's a procedure on Kirkuk determined by the Constitution. This should be supported." Kirkuk has a large native Turkmen population. /Hurriyet/

    [07] BABACAN: "THE EU LACKS OBJECTIVITY ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE"

    State Minister and Turkey's European Union accession talks chief negotiator Ali Babacan yesterday said that the Cyprus issue could be solved under the auspices of the United Nations. In an interview with Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias, Babacan complained that the EU lacked objectivity on the Cyprus issue, adding that since Greek Cyprus is an EU member, it wanted to use the bloc to pressure Turkey. Stressing that Greece as well as Turkey should sit at the table to solve the issue, Babacan said should the embargo on Turkish Cyprus be lifted, Turkey would meet its commitments to the EU. /Turkiye/

    [08] BLACK SEA STATES GATHER IN ISTANBUL

    The Seventh Black Sea Littoral States Border Coast Guard Cooperation Forum, held for the first time in 2000 under an initiative from Turkey, took place yesterday at the Harbiye Military Museum in Istanbul. Representatives from Turkey, Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine attended the forum, hosted by the Turkish Coast Guard. Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu noted in his opening speech that the Black Sea had become an important energy corridor as a result of the marshalling of resources in the Caspian Sea area and continual opening up to world markets. "As a natural result of this, it is one of our basic missions to ensure the security of the energy corridor. Thanks to the confident atmosphere that we created six years ago as the Black Sea littoral states, today the Black Sea is one of the most stable and safest seas in the world," he said. Following the speeches, a ceremony was held to mark the handling over of the leadership of the forum from Georgia to Turkey. /Turkish Daily News/

    [09] IMF'S BREDENKAMP: "CURRENT ACCOUNT DEFICIT DOESN'T POSE THREAT TO THE ECONOMY"

    International Monetary Fund Turkey Representative Hugh Bredenkamp said yesterday that the current account deficit doesn't pose a threat to the economy, adding that the atmosphere for its financing was good. "Foreign direct investment is rising," said Bredenkamp, adding that short-term finance was being turned into long-term finance. "Thus debt stock hasn't risen, and this gives time for strengthening policies and carrying out structural reforms." /Sabah/

    [10] AMERICAN-TURKISH COUNCIL CHAIRMAN VISITS TOBB

    American-Turkish Council Chairman James H. Holmes yesterday visited the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) and met with TOBB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Holmes stated that the Turkish economy was sound, adding that economic and commercial ties between the two countries should be further developed. Commenting on Turkey's European Union membership bid, Holmes stated that he wanted Turkey to be successful on its road to the EU as well as continue to be a partner of the US politically and economically. /Aksam/

    FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [11] DISPUTED JOURNEY

    BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on Turkey's relations with the EU. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The hot topic between Turkey and the EU this year is the Cyprus issue. The EU has right and wrong criticisms about Turkey on other issues, but halting membership talks is a very heavy sanction and it comes to their mind only on the Cyprus issue. But it didn't happen. The progress report and the Strategy Document released yesterday neither suggest this sanction nor imply it. Yes, Europe continues to put pressure on Turkey. Unless Turkey opens its harbors and airports to the Greek Cypriots before the EU leaders summit on Dec. 14, then the Commission will submit an interim report on what to do. Clearly, the pressure on Turkey will rise over the next month. However, it's also clear that Turkey won't retreat on this. You'll see that they won't decide to stop our membership talks before Dec. 14! Turkish officials have said many times that unless the EU completely ends the isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Turkey won't open its harbors and airports to the Greek Cypriots either. Even if the pressure rises, it won't open them before Dec. 14. The recent plan prepared by Finland with good intentions but which went too far in order to convince the Greek Cypriots won't prove useful either. So, what will the EU decide on Turkey on Dec. 14? Membership talks between Turkey and the EU won't be halted. The EU sees that stopping or suspending membership talks with Turkey would have serious consequences and so will avoid it. They know that Turkey also has its trump cards and it can bargain. Unless Turkey's interests mesh with Europe's interests fairly and rationally, Turkey won't respond to the pressure.

    Cyprus has become a key issue. Countries like France and Austria, which don't want Turkey to get EU membership, EU members like the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece, which want to create obstacles such as the Cyprus issue to Turkey's membership, and certain prejudiced and anti-Turkey countries are using this key issue to make Turkey quit the negotiating table or make it ‘amenable.' No! Unless the isolation of the TRNC is lifted, Turkey won't give in on this key issue. So what kind of a sanction could be suggested by the Commission to the EU leaders in the interim report to be prepared by Dec. 14? EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn gave a hint. He said that a sanction on Turkey would probably block opening the chapters of ‘free movement of goods' and ‘transportation' during the negotiations. It doesn't matter. As our talks could last 10 years, they would continue on the other chapters. What's important for Turkey is the continuation of the process, which is key politically, strategically and economically. The EU doesn't dare stop the process. So the continuation of the process is for the common good of Turkey and Europe, even if it's a disputed process full of quarrels. Our opponents want us to quit the talks. No, we won't do it."


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