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Turkish Press Review, 07-03-06

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

06.03.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] CABINET DISCUSSES MEASURES TO DEAL WITH GLOBAL WARMING
  • [02] GUL PLANS END-OF-MONTH GREECE VISIT
  • [03] BAYKAL: "IF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DOESN'T PRODUCE A MAJORITY, WE'LL APPLY TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT"
  • [04] WASHINGTON POST, FORMER US AMBASSADOR WARN ARMENIAN RESOLUTION COULD HARM TURKISH-US RELATIONS
  • [05] NO AGREEMENT FROM MEETING ON MAHMOUR CAMP
  • [06] US SENATOR GRAHAM URGES IRAQI KURDS NOT TO SEEK INDEPENDENCE
  • [07] THE EU IS CURIOUS, TOO: WILL ERDOGAN BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT?

  • [01] CABINET DISCUSSES MEASURES TO DEAL WITH GLOBAL WARMING

    The Cabinet ministers chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened yesterday. Following their eight-hour meeting, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters that in addition to other topics, the issue of global warming was taken up. He said that a joint commission formed by the Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Environmental and Forestry as well as Energy and Natural Resources was looking at the matter. Cicek said that the government would take all measures to reduce the threat from climate change. Stressing that the ministers had also given a briefing about their contacts abroad, Cicek also criticized the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) stance on the upcoming presidential election. "Raising tension doesn't serve Turkey's interests," added Cicek. Speaking about recent allegations that terrorist head Abdullah Ocalan was being poisoned, Cicek said a delegation of three experts had traveled to Imrali, where Ocalan is serving a life sentence, and thoroughly examined the claim. "The Ocalan issue is irrelevant. The allegation was made to grab headlines," said Cicek. "The Turkish government doesn't condescend to such things. The lie will soon be exposed." /Turkiye-Cumhuriyet/

    [02] GUL PLANS END-OF-MONTH GREECE VISIT

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is planning to visit Greece at the end of this month upon the invitation of his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyannis. Gul is expected to discuss the situation of the Turkish minority in Greece's Western Thrace region, an oil dispute over Greek Cypriot oil exploration in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Cyprus issue and Turkey's European Union membership bid. /The New Anatolian/

    [03] BAYKAL: "IF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION DOESN'T PRODUCE A MAJORITY, WE'LL APPLY TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT"

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday said that they would immediately apply to the Constitutional Court if a two-thirds majority doesn't emerge in May's presidential election. "If we apply to the Constitutional Court, chaos could ensue, and that would automatically force early elections," he said. Speaking to news channel NTV, Baykal also commented on whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would run for president. Baykal mentioned the "reflexes" of the republic to protect itself. "That is why the premier leaves a door open, Turkey needs compromise, this is a must," he said. "The government should recognize this." Erdogan has vowed to hold off announcing if he is running for president until April 16, the official start of the process. /Milliyet/

    [04] WASHINGTON POST, FORMER US AMBASSADOR WARN ARMENIAN RESOLUTION COULD HARM TURKISH-US RELATIONS

    The Armenian resolution alleging a "genocide" in the Ottoman Empire beginning in 1915 has the potential to "explode" US relations with Turkey, said Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl yesterday. Criticizing the idea that the 435 members of the House of Representatives – "many of whom still don't know the difference between Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis," he said - - could decide about the events 92 years ago in northeastern Turkey, Diehl warned that the consequences of the resolution's passage that could be deadly serious. He said the situation might harm US interests regarding Turkey's strategic partnership while it has been struggling with the Iraq and Iran issues, adding that candidates in Turkey's upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections could compete on the basis of anti-American rhetoric. In related news, former US Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris also said yesterday that the resolution was against US interests, adding that keeping Turkey as an ally would contribute the success of the US in the region. In a guest op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Parris pointed to Incirlik Airbase's strategic importance for his country. He added that the US should give its full support to Turkey, which is going through a difficult period. /Turkiye/

    [05] NO AGREEMENT FROM MEETING ON MAHMOUR CAMP

    A tripartite meeting in Geneva on the Mahmour Camp in northern Iraq ended yesterday without any agreement. High-level representatives from Turkey, Iraq and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) discussed a possible return of some 9,000 Turkish Kurdish refugees from a UN-run camp in Iraq. The United States sat at the negotiating table as an observer. The next meeting was set for a later date without any concrete agreement. /Turkiye/

    [06] US SENATOR GRAHAM URGES IRAQI KURDS NOT TO SEEK INDEPENDENCE

    US Senator Lindsay Graham on Sunday called on Iraqi Kurds not to seek independence. Stating that US withdrawal from Iraq would cause a regional disaster, Graham urged the Iraqi Kurds to stay in Iraq, saying, "Please don't leave. If you leave here, there's going to be a bloodbath." Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," Grahman added, "The Turks are not going to sit on the sidelines and watch Iraq degenerate into chaos and allow an independent Kurdistan." /Aksam/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [07] THE EU IS CURIOUS, TOO: WILL ERDOGAN BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT?

    Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan possibly running for president this May. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The subject of the weekend meeting of Wilton Park, one of Britain's leading think-tanks, was Turkey. Can renewed enthusiasm be found for Turkey's European Union accession talks?

    In fact, when we look at the list of participants, it became clear that there's no way this will happen for at least for this year. For example, there was nobody from EU Term President Germany, but there were people from France, Greece, both the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration, new Eastern European countries which recently joined the EU (they watched the discussion rather than take part), and Armenia. Under the rules of Wilton Park meetings, no details can be written about what was said at the meeting, but I can say the participants from Armenia weren't silent, and that this caused heated discussions.

    The participants from the EU could see at the beginning that the meeting would be fruitless. Turkey's chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan had the most boring speeches of his life. But really, what could he say except to reiterate Erdogan's commitment to change Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301?

    Can one expect Turkey to take steps this year to improve its relations with the EU (which already closed its doors), when it faces two elections and many problems arising from Iran and Palestine?

    Especially when opposition to Turkey's EU membership is being used as political fodder in France's presidential election campaign, whose two rounds are set for April and May, wouldn't it be unfair to expect Turkey to continue to take unilateral steps?

    The tension between the government and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and its place in Turkish politics were also discussed at the meeting.

    However, the most-pondered issue was whether Erdogan will be president or not, and if so, what kind of developments this will lead to. How will this affect Turkey's domestic and foreign policy choices? How will this affect the coming general elections? Will a coalition government be formed?

    There is a paradoxical situation for European Turkey-watchers. Turkey's importance is rising owing to its secular, democratic state and market economy in a tough region where religions, cultures, and regimes intersect, although most of its population is Muslim. Even people who want to eliminate entirely the TSK's role in politics couldn't ignore the possibility that Turkey's regime could be hurt both in terms of security and secularism. Maybe this is among the realities of our region, country, and age.

    Turkish-EU relations have been frozen. The technical talks are continuing, and some chapters could be opened by June, they say. But this is meaningless both for Europe and Turkey."


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