|Sunday, 15 December 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 06-11-14
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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: "ENDING POLARIZATION BETWEEN DIFFERENT CULTURES AND BELIEFS IS A MUST"Speaking at a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave peace messages to the world. Erdogan hailed a new report prepared by outgoing UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a guide which would be discussed for years, adding that today ending polarization between the world's various cultures and beliefs has become a necessity. Saying that starting the new stage of the initiative in Istanbul was meaningful, Erdogan stressed that in the past Istanbul brought together diverse civilizations. He further stated that Turkey, a democratic and a secular state, was a symbol of the Alliance of Civilizations. "European Union membership is our strategic goal in accordance with our modernization ideal," he said. He predicted that the alliance would continue after Turkey joins the EU, adding that it was a long-term project. Also addressing the gathering, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that the Alliance of Civilizations Project would contribute to tolerance and peace, adding that people would embrace diversity and those who push a clash of civilizations would be in the minority. "Every day in the media we hear such words as violence, war, and clash of civilizations, and people who favor peace condemn these," added Zapatero. /Turkiye/
 PM ERDOGAN, ZAPATERO ATTEND TURKISH-SPANISH BUSINESS COUNCILPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero yesterday attended a business forum organized by the Turkish-Spanish Business Council before the meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations. Addressing the gathering, Erdogan said that the good performance of the Turkish economy in recent years has created an atmosphere ripe for foreign investors. Erdogan stated that some 200,000 Spanish tourists are visiting Turkey each year, while 20,000 Turks are visiting Spain. "We'll increase this number," said Erdogan. For his part, Zapatero stated that cooperation between the two countries should be further increased. "The Turkish economy got through its difficult period," said Zapatero. "Trade volume between the two countries is rising considerably." /Turkiye/
 ANNAN: "THE UN IS THE PLACE TO SOLVE THE CYPRUS ISSUE"The place to solve the Cyprus issue is the United Nations, UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the Alliance of Civilizations meeting. "The UN is the place to take necessary steps on the Cyprus issue," he said. "Everyone knows that the case of Cyprus is before the UN." He also said that he would meet with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat next week in Geneva. /Cumhuriyet/
 BELGIAN FM: "AN INTERRUPTION IN TURKEY'S EU TALKS WOULD BE DISASTER"An interruption in Turkey's European Union negotiations would be disaster, warned Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht yesterday. De Gucht stated that expansion of the EU shouldn't be restricted to Bulgaria and Romania and that expansion with the participation of Turkey would be a geostrategic expansion. De Gucht further stated that Ankara seemed inflexible on the Cyprus issue, adding that everyone needed to have an un-rigid stance in order to prevent a halt in Turkey's EU talks. /Milliyet/
 AUSTRIAN FM PLASSNIK CALLS FOR A "TIME-OUT" FOR TURKEY'S TALKSAustrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik on Monday called for a "time-out" in Turkey's European Union accession talks if the controversy on Cyprus is not solved before next month's EU summit. But Turkey's chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan stated yesterday that Ankara will continue a constructive approach to reach a solution on the issues, but will not take unilateral steps at any cost. He warned that any pause in this process could have quite negative consequences, not only for Turkey and the European Union but for the whole region. Plassnik, on her way to a foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, said that it might be wise to agree to a time-out to reduce tensions unless there's an important move between now and the Dec. 14 summit. She did not say how long such a break should last. /The New Anatolian/
BABACAN: "THE EU LOST ITS CHANCE TO BE IMPARTIAL BY TAKING IN GREEK CYPRUS BEFORE A CYPRUS RESOLUTION"
Speaking at a forum in Brazil, Turkey's chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan said that Turkey wouldn't take any unilateral steps on the Cyprus issue, adding that the EU lost its chance to be impartial by taking in Greek Cyprus as an EU member before a Cyprus resolution was found. "No (Turkish) government could take a step on the issue before the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is brought to an end," added Babacan. Also addressing the gathering, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said that the Turkish Cypriots were suffering although they voted for the Annan plan in 2004, while the Greek Cypriots rejected it. /Sabah/
 HOLBROOKE: "THE EU KEEPS MOVING THE GOALPOSTS"Richard Holbrooke, the US' former ambassador to the UN, yesterday said that the European Union was constantly changing conditions for Turkey's accession. Speaking at a roundtable meeting entitled "Are we losing Turkey?" held by the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, Holbrooke asked EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, "If Turkey fulfills every condition, will it become a member?" The senior former diplomat then said, "Whatever Turkey does, the EU is constantly changing its conditions," adding that Europe is always sending hostile messages. Holbrooke said that Turkey deserves more appreciation than Brussels gives and that last week's progress report on Turkey was quite negative. Responding to Holbrooke's question, Rehn said, "Yes, if Turkey fulfills every condition it will become an EU member after a long and difficult path. The parliaments of the EU countries will make this decision, because this is how European democracy works." Holbrooke is seen as a frontrunner for secretary of state should the Democrats in the US ever win the White House. /Cumhuriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 OVERLOOKED DURING THE CONGRESSBY SERDAR TURGUT (AKSAM)
Columnist Serdar Turgut comments on the Justice and Development Party's congress last weekend. A summary of his column is as follows:
"It is one of the most important steps on 'honor' killings that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is trying to find a solution for this problem. I congratulate the new women leaders of the AKP. It was said that there were no important developments at the congress. Few reporters were there due to former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit's funeral the same weekend. But it was a mistake not to attend it, because there were important developments.
First of all, the women and men didn't have separate seats. This shows that the party has an important approach on issues concerning women. Also the AKP was sensitive and chose women members to deal with the problem of 'honor' killings. This is a revolutionary step. This is important not only for Turkey but also for the world. Not even the leftist or liberal parties have tried to solve this problem. So Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan deserves a say in the alliance of civilizations more than anyone else. The ruling party's sensitivity on 'honor' killings is the most important step towards a solution to the problem. So I congratulate the women leaders of the AKP and wish them success.
This development is also important for the future of our politics. It's obvious that the most important debates will be on women, because whether the wife of Turkey's next president will wear a headscarf is already being debated. It is for Turkey's benefit not to have a political fight on this. I expect Erdogan will continue to take steps towards a solution."
 THINGS THE EU CAN'T DOBY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Gunduz Aktan comments on Turkey's relations with the EU. A summary of his column is as follows:
"This year's European Union progress report is shorter and more concise than previous ones. As usual, its technical chapters are better. The problems come from the political criteria and sections on the Cyprus issue. We're headed for a 'train crash' on the Cyprus issue. Finland's proposal is so hopeless that even its revised version wouldn't work. The Greek Cypriots have adopted such an extreme stance since they saw they would join the EU that not even a genius could find a solution. The EU doesn't consider if the member countries are right about an issue or not, but takes a stance as part of the solidarity among members. For the EU, it's not important if the other country is a candidate today and will be a member tomorrow. It treats that country as a ‘third country.' It says that according to the additional protocol, it's an international undertaking for us to open our harbors and airports. Thus, it's hiding the political quality of the Cyprus issue behind the Customs Union, which has a technical character. As it doesn't consider the developments since November 2002 when UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's plan was announced, it can't see that the Greek Cypriots are wrong. The report refers to the EU's September 2005 declaration but ignores Turkey's declaration in July. In short, the EU supports the Greek Cypriots' excessive demands. The EU stipulated that Turkey can become an EU member if it solves the Cyprus issue in a way to please the Greek Cypriots. The EU's stance on the terrorist PKK is no different. The EU argues that we should respect human rights in the fight against terrorism. It wants us to be a party to international agreements concerning the minority. The EU stipulates that we should give cultural rights to Kurds and talks about a minority status which in the future would lead to collective rights. Meanwhile, it suggests that we apply a regional development project for the southeast, with financing uncertain.
The report fails to say that the Kurdish issue should be solved within Turkey's territorial integrity and political unity. In this case, it seems that all the steps that are taken will only increase the Kurdish separatists' demands. Meanwhile, the Turkish public has some doubts about the EU's stance. The things the EU wants us to do in the membership process actually aren't directly related to Turkey's real problems. The EU wants a possible member country to develop its liberal democracy and liberal market economy, establish certain rules which regulate the course of market and apply high standards in economic and social sectors. It even wants the application of administrative and judicial reforms not to improve services and justice, but for the application of EU rules. Naturally, the other policies are left to the countries' own preference. Secularism, which is a sine qua non for democracy in Turkey, is outside the EU's sphere of interest. The only demand that the EU has in the political field is to lower the 10% election threshold. Such issues as the Political Parties and Elections Law or a presidential system for improving the parliamentary regime don't appear on the EU's agenda. Actually, the EU's demands on the economy aren't directly related to improvement. Such issues as establishing an effective and competent bureaucracy, unemployment and poverty, technology policy, quality of education, vocational education, cooperation between universities and industry, social ethics, etc. have no place in the process of EU membership. However, we can't develop and become democratized without solving these issues. It seems that we won't be able to become an EU member because of the Cyprus issue, but it's actually because we're a Muslim country. As the EU isn't concerned with the solution of basic problems, there's no reason to be sad about it."
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