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Turkish Press Review, 06-11-30

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

30.11.2006

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN CALLS EU COMMISSION DECISION "POLITICAL," SAYS TURKEY WILL CONTINUE ITS EU PATH
  • [02] TURKEY DECLINES TO SEND ADDITIONAL SOLDIERS TO AFGHANISTAN
  • [03] FM GUL POSTPONES VISIT TO ATHENS
  • [04] ERDOGAN TO VISIT IRAN
  • [05] EU COMMISSION PROPOSES PARTIAL SUSPENSION OF TURKEY'S TALKS
  • [06] BENEDICT BECOMES THIRD POPE TO MAKE EPHESUS PILGRIMAGE
  • [07] BABACAN: "WE WON'T RETREAT ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE"
  • [08] BAYKAL: "THERE CAN BE NO PROGRESS IN TURKEY'S EU BID UNDER THE AKP GOVT"
  • [09] MERKEL, CHIRAC, RASMUSSEN SUPPORT PARTIAL EU TALKS SUSPENSION, WHILE BLAIR AND ZAPATERO SAY EU SHOULD KEEP ITS DOOR OPEN TO TURKEY
  • [10] THIS WAY THE TRAIN CAN'T GO FORWARD

  • [01] ERDOGAN CALLS EU COMMISSION DECISION "POLITICAL," SAYS TURKEY WILL CONTINUE ITS EU PATH

    Speaking at a press conference after returning from Latvia, where he attended a NATO summit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the decision of the European Union Commission decision recommending partial suspension of Turkey's EU talks "political," saying that he found the decision regrettable. "However, we'll continue our way," he said. Stressing that the commission decision was only a recommendation, Erdogan added that it didn't mean a halt in Turkey's work for the nation's membership bid. Asked why he wasn't more negative about the decision, Erdogan stated that there was no need to be harsh, adding, "We know where we need to be harsh." He further stated that Ankara wouldn't make any concessions on the Cyprus issue. /Sabah/

    [02] TURKEY DECLINES TO SEND ADDITIONAL SOLDIERS TO AFGHANISTAN

    At the end of a two-day NATO summit held in Riga, Latvia where Turkey was represented by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, alliance officials stated that they had agreed to ease the restrictions on their troops in Afghanistan. But Germany, France, Italy and Spain opposed deploying troops in the south where the fighting is fiercest. Turkey reportedly also didn't make any commitments to send additional soldiers to Afghanistan. Turkish soldiers' duty region will continue to be restricted to Kabul. NATO declared its new elite rapid-response force fully operational at its summit yesterday, giving European allies a means of responding quickly to terror threats, failed states or regional conflicts around the world. A summit- ending communiqué confirmed that the NATO Response Force, which Secretary- General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer described as "a cutting-edge air, land and sea expeditionary force," was fully operational and ready for a full range of missions. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] FM GUL POSTPONES VISIT TO ATHENS

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's visit to Athens set to begin on Dec. 7 as an official guest of his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis has reportedly been postponed to an unspecified later date. The request came from Bakoyannis at the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) foreign ministers' meeting in Tampere, Finland. Bakoyannis asked Gul to postpone the visit as she will be attending the UN's Middle East meeting on Dec. 7 in New York. /Hurriyet/

    [04] ERDOGAN TO VISIT IRAN

    After meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Iran's supreme religious leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Erdogan's meeting with Khamenei is expected to be on Sunday. Erdogan will also meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and First Vice President Parviz Davudi. Erdogan will discuss bilateral relations as well as Iran's nuclear program with the leaders of Iran. /Hurriyet/

    [05] EU COMMISSION PROPOSES PARTIAL SUSPENSION OF TURKEY'S TALKS

    The European Union Commission yesterday proposed partial suspension of talks on Turkey's accession process. The commission recommended the suspension of eight chapters related to the Customs Union, adding that Turkey should open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriots to close the remaining chapters. After the commission's advisory decision, the matter now rests in the hands of the EU member states. In related news, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn stated that eight of the 35 chapters in Turkey's EU talks would be halted, but that Turkey's negotiations would continue even if more slowly. "The closure of the remaining chapters depends on Turkey," said Rehn. "No chapter whose negotiations have been completed will be closed before Turkey opens its ports and airports to Greek Cyprus." He stressed that he knew Ankara could react harshly to the decision, adding that there was no need to make too much of it. /Turkiye/

    [06] BENEDICT BECOMES THIRD POPE TO MAKE EPHESUS PILGRIMAGE

    Pope Benedict XVI held Mass yesterday at one of the holiest Christian sites in Turkey as part of his efforts to reach out to the Roman Catholic minority in the mostly Muslim country. The open-air Mass, the first of several that will be conducted during the pontiff's four-day visit to Turkey, was conducted by Benedict himself next to the House of the Virgin Mary, where Jesus' mother is thought to have spent her last years. As a gesture to Turks, he started the Mass by saying "Dear Brothers" in Turkish and ended it with the words, "Saint Mary, pray for us," again in Turkish. After the Mass, he went to Istanbul. /The New Anatolian/

    [07] BABACAN: "WE WON'T RETREAT ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE"

    Appearing on television in Britain yesterday, Turkey's European Union Chief Negotiator Ali Babacan spoke on the European Union Commission's decision recommending partial suspension of Turkey's EU talks, saying that Turkey wouldn't retreat on the Cyprus issue. Babacan stressed that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots should be brought to an end, adding that Turkey wouldn't take a step unilaterally on the issue. "The EU pledged to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots and we expect it to keep its promise," added Babacan. "We won't take any steps before this isolation is ended." /Turkiye/

    [08] BAYKAL: "THERE CAN BE NO PROGRESS IN TURKEY'S EU BID UNDER THE AKP GOVT"

    Speaking on the European Union Commission's decision recommending partial suspension of Ankara's EU talks, main opposition Republican Peopel's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that there could be no progress in Turkey's EU bid under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. "The EU wants Ankara to keep its promises," said Baykal. "As EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn stated, if Turkey doesn't score a golden goal, its relations with the EU will come to a halt." /Aksam/

    [09] MERKEL, CHIRAC, RASMUSSEN SUPPORT PARTIAL EU TALKS SUSPENSION, WHILE BLAIR AND ZAPATERO SAY EU SHOULD KEEP ITS DOOR OPEN TO TURKEY

    European Union's next Term President Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday expressed support for the decision of the European Union Commission recommending partial suspension of Turkey's EU talks, saying it stresses the acceptance of the Ankara Protocol by Turkey. French President Jacques Chirac said that the EU had no other choice. Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen also said that he supported the decision. However, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that giving a wrong message to Turkey on its EU bid could be a serious mistake. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Louis Rodriguez Zapatero stated that it was important for the EU not to shut its doors to Turkey. /Milliyet-Aksam/

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

    [10] THIS WAY THE TRAIN CAN'T GO FORWARD

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The EU Commission had two surprises on accession talks with Turkey. The first is that its recommendation expected to be declared on Dec. 6 instead was released yesterday. The second is that the commission suspended eight chapters and more importantly that chapters already opened for talks won't be closed until Turkey opens its ports to the Greek Cypriots. I'm not opposed to this early declaration, but it was quite a nasty surprise that no chapter will be closed unless we open our ports to the Greek Cypriots. Thus, the commission bowed to those who want to punish Turkey for not opening its ports. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, this is a harsh punishment. And this is also a wrong decision which can create crisis and tension.

    EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn tried to highlight the full half of the glass by listing some positive elements for Turkey. What are these? For example there won't be a train crash and the ‘train will move on.' That is, the process won't be halted and other issues except those eight chapters which are suspended will be open for talks. Four of the chapters will even be opened for talks immediately. Turkey won't be given another deadline for opening its ports (like an ultimatum), and the EU will also support a UN solution for the Cyprus problem.

    Rehn has always talked about Turkey's ‘obligations' regarding the ‘additional protocol' and claims the sanctions recommended by the commission are right. I wish someone would also remind him of the EU's failure to live up to its commitment to the Turkish Cypriots and ask why the EU didn't keep its promise. What criteria did the commission use to choose these eight chapters? According to Rehn, these are related to the ports. And are the talks on fisheries and agriculture also related to the Cyprus issue? Moreover, what legal and technical criteria is this ‘not closing the chapters' based on? Our negotiators will negotiate a chapter but won't be able to close it because of the Cyprus problem. Is there any logic in that? How can the train get anywhere under these conditions?

    What will happen now? The recommendation will be discussed at the EU summit next month. There will be diplomatic efforts and hard bargaining until then. I hope the prime ministers, foreign ministers and other officials will be able to change this decision. So we have to remember that this recommendation isn't unchangeable. We also have to push the leaders into making an acceptable decision. Early indicators show us that this isn't impossible."


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