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Turkish Press Review, 06-11-24
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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
24.11.2006FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ISTANBUL HOSTS COMCEC MEETINGIstanbul is hosting a meeting of the 22nd Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (COMCEC). Around 260 representatives from 57 member OIC and 14 international organizations are participating in the meeting chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Turkey is being presented by a delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. Addressing the gathering, which aims to develop economic and commercial ties between OIC member states, Sezer, in addition to economic topics, touched on certain political issues. Urging the OIC to take concrete steps to ease the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Sezer said that this move would not only serve the TRNC's interests but would also strengthen the OIC's own credibility. Furthermore, Sezer reiterated Ankara's concern over mounting violence in Iraq and the future status of Kirkuk. "We believe that the referendum -- scheduled to be held at the end of 2007 for determining the city's status -- will be controversial because of the population influx into the city, and that the referendum will make the issue more difficult," Sezer said. /Milliyet-Turkiye/
 WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM BEGINS IN ISTANBULAddressing the opening session of the World Economic Forum Istanbul summit yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had a stable economy and has become attractive for foreign capital. Some 400 people, 13 state ministers, and leading figures from the business world attended the two-day summit. The premier further stressed that Turkey had recently been called a country of opportunities. "We have overcome the atmosphere lacking confidence," he said. "We've taken steps to improve the atmosphere of confidence. We ended discrimination between domestic and foreign investors. Our economy wasn't affected much by the fluctuations this May. The Turkish economy is passing through a sweeping change process, and it's among the world's 20 largest economies." Stressing that next year would be an elections year, Erdogan stated that the government wouldn't forsake fiscal discipline and that there wouldn't be an elections budget. He stressed that Turkey's democracy and economy were progressing together and that peace and welfare were inseparable. /Aksam/
 ARINC: "WE SHOULD SHOW THE POPE OUR HOSPITALITY"Speaking at the 150th Dolmabahce Palace International Symposium yesterday, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc commented on Pope Benedict XVI's visit next week, saying that Turks should show him their hospitality. "Three months ago the Vatican's ambassador visited me at Parliament and told me that pope was thinking of visiting Turkey," said Arinc. "He asked if the pope could address Parliament. I told him that we had no tradition of such addresses." Arinc added that there was no need for hatred against the pope. /Milliyet/
 PM ERDOGAN TO TRAVEL TO JORDAN TODAYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Jordan today to pay a two-day official visit. A meeting between Erdogan and his Jordanian counterpart Maruf Bahit is expected to focus on bilateral trade ties and regional issues. On the second day of his stay, the Turkish premier will address the opening of the Young Arab Leaders Forum General Assembly. Furthermore, Erdogan will be received by Jordan's King Abdullah, and pay a visit to the Akabe Private Region, which is said to be an important investment area for Turkish firms. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: "THE RIGA SUMMIT WAS PLANNED BEFORE THE POPE DECIDED TO VISIT"Speaking to reporters yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that NATO's Riga summit could not be rescheduled just because Pope Benedict XVI was coming to Turkey next week. Stressing that heads of states and government from around the world are coming to the Riga summit, and he would have the opportunity to meet with most of them, Erdogan said that in his absence, Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin would meet with the pope. The pope is set to visit Turkey next week at the invitation of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. /Turkiye/
 ARMENIAN PRESIDENT: "WE'LL GIVE FULL SUPPORT TO OUR GREEK BROTHERS OVER CYPRUS"Armenian President Robert Kocharian, currently in Greek Cyprus for an official visit, said that they took a strong interest in Turkey's European Union bid and they would support solving the Cyprus issue in accordance with Greek Cypriot interests. After meeting with Greek Cypriot administration leader Tassos Papadopoulos, the two leaders said that they would give mutual support to their national cases. /Hurriyet/
 LAGENDIJK: "SOLVING THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS A UN MATTER"Turkish-EU Joint Parliament Commission CoChair Joost Lagendijk yesterday said that the Finnish plan on Cyprus was unlikely to be successful and that Cyprus was a matter for the UN. In an interview with news channel NTV, Lagendijk said that there was much speculation about a suspension of Turkey's accession talks with the European Union. He said that he would ask France, the Greek Cypriot administration and Austria not to block other chapters of the negotiations should six or seven chapters be suspended. Lagendijk said that if there's no solution by Dec. 11, this would lead to tension. "However, the EU will not choose a suspension of the talks," he said. Commenting on controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Lagendijk said that it was a matter of concern for Europe. /Star/
 ITALIAN PM PRODI: "TIME SHOULD BE GIVEN FOR TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP"Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, also former president of the EU Commission, yesterday said that the Turkey issue has now became a domestic policy problem of Europe. In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, Prodi said, "We need time to reach an outcome which will lead to Turkey's European Union membership," adding, "If we move fast we won't be successful. This also applies to the Cyprus issue. The only cure for not suspending Turkey's membership negotiations is grasping that we need time to conclude negotiations definitely with membership." /Star/
 HASIBE ERKOC WINS GOLD IN WOMEN'S WORLD BOXING CHAMPIONSHIPTurkish boxer Hasibe Erkoc yesterday won the gold medal at the Women's World Boxing Championship held in New Delhi, India. During the final, Erkoc defeated her Chinese rival by 18 points to 12. Speaking afterwards, Erkoc said that she couldn't believe her accomplishment. Erkoc also won the gold in the European Championship this year. /All papers/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WE EXPECT A GESTURE FROM THE POPEBY MUSTAFA UNAL (ZAMAN)
Columnist Mustafa Unal comments on the next week's visit by Pope Benedict XVI. A summary of his column is as follows:
"This is not a first the visit by a pope to Turkey. Turkey earlier has welcomed two different leaders of the Catholic Church. The same protocol will be applied for this visit. He will first come to Ankara and hold official meetings and then he'll begin his own program. He'll visit the House of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus and proceed to Istanbul to join the ceremony by the Fener Greek Orthodox Church. He will visit Hagia Sophia and can also visit the nearby Blue Mosque. This visit isn't on his program, but the Turkish side expects it.
Why is the pope visiting Turkey? Does this visit seek a dialogue with the Islamic world? No, the real purpose of the visit is clear: to take part in the divine liturgy in the patriarchal Church of St. George together with Patriarch Bartholomeos. The Catholic world and the Orthodox world will meet in this ceremony. This meeting is no doubt a very exciting meeting for the Christian world. This is the reason why the world attaches so much importance to this visit.
The pope is also a head of a state, so he will be hosted like every other leader visiting Turkey. The media has commented on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's absence during the visit. Some said that they are trying to avoid a meeting with the pope. These comments in the Turkish media were also reflected in the foreign media. Their absence is actually by necessity: They will attend a NATO meeting whose date was set earlier. This meeting is also important for Turkey, so it would be unfair to see this as an attitude against the pope.
Pope Benedict XVI's visit is different from the previous papal visits. Before rising to the papacy, he told a German magazine that he was against Turkey's EU membership, and a few months ago he quoted comments linking Islam with violence. These words have hurt the Islamic world. Therefore there are many people in Turkey who won't be happy keep them from becoming violent.
This is also a great opportunity for Turkey to introduce itself to the world. Istanbul, the capital of the Islamic world, has always been a city where all religions have been able to live together in peace. The mosque, church and synagogue exist in peace. The pope's visit is a good opportunity to show this to the world.
Turkey will host the pope despite its hurt. It's also our right to expect a gesture from the pope. He can take a first step in his Sunday mass two days before the visit."
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