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Turkish Press Review, 07-10-08

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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

08.10.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] 13 SOLDIERS KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACK
  • [02] ERDOGAN ATTENDS AKP MEETING IN ISTANBUL
  • [03] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER SENDS LETTER TO US’ PELOSI WARNING AGAINST PASSAGE OF ARMENIAN RESOLUTION
  • [04] IN DAMASCUS, BABACAN RULES OUT USE OF TURKISH LAND OR AIRSPACE AGAINST SYRIA
  • [05] CHANGES TO OCT. 21 REFERENDUM TO BE DEBATED THIS WEEK
  • [06] TAN LAUDS ISRAEL’S “OPEN AND RATIONAL” STANCE ON ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS
  • [07] NEW ISRAELI AMBASSADOR LEVI: “TURKEY IS MY FIRST HOMELAND”
  • [08] REHN PLEDGES “IMPARTIAL AND BALANCED” EU PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY
  • [09] SEEING TURKEY THROUGH EU EYES

  • [01] 13 SOLDIERS KILLED IN TERRORIST ATTACK

    Thirteen soldiers were killed yesterday when terrorists attacked a military platoon operating on Mt. Gabar in the southeastern province of Sirnak. President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan all sent messages of condolences to Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN ATTENDS AKP MEETING IN ISTANBUL

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul. In a speech to fellow party members, Erdogan reportedly weighed in on issues such as the referendum set for Oct. 21, the new draft constitution and local elections to be held in 2009. Erdogan reportedly highlighted corruption allegations expected to be brought forward before the local elections, saying, “There’s no place for thieves in the AKP. Tell us who is involved in corruption, even if he is a mayor, but provide evidence.” /Milliyet/

    [03] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER SENDS LETTER TO US’ PELOSI WARNING AGAINST PASSAGE OF ARMENIAN RESOLUTION

    Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, on a resolution now pending which would lend support to the Armenian “genocide” allegations. “Passage of an Armenian resolution in regard to the incidents of 1915 by the United States House of Representatives would serve the interests of neither the Turkish nor the American people,” wrote Toptan. “Furthermore, the resolution would hurt Turkish-US relations and have a negative impact on the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.” The resolution is scheduled for a vote before a key House committee on Wednesday. /Aksam/

    [04] IN DAMASCUS, BABACAN RULES OUT USE OF TURKISH LAND OR AIRSPACE AGAINST SYRIA

    Turkish territory or airspace being used for an attack against Syria is out of the question, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. Speaking in Damascus alongside his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem, and just hours before proceeding to Israel for an official visit, Babacan said, “Turkey and Syria are two friendly countries. It is not possible for Turkey to allow the use of its territory or airspace for any reason against Syria.” Echoing Babacan, Moallem also ruled out Turkey giving permission to activities that would threaten Syria’s security./Star/

    [05] CHANGES TO OCT. 21 REFERENDUM TO BE DEBATED THIS WEEK

    Parliament this week will consider a proposal to alter a package of constitutional changes set to go to referendum in less than two weeks. Parliament will face a busy day on Wednesday due to the proposal, which suggests striking provisions on the election of the 11th (and current) president from the Oct. 21 referendum. The package of changes, under which the president would be elected by popular vote for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms, will be discussed by the Constitutional Commission today. /Today’s Zaman/

    [06] TAN LAUDS ISRAEL’S “OPEN AND RATIONAL” STANCE ON ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS

    Turkey’s Ambassador to Tel Aviv Namik Tan yesterday said that Ankara appreciates Israel’s “open and rational” stance on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Speaking with Azerbaijani reporters, Tan also said that a recent decision in favor or the allegations by the Anti- Defamation League (ADL), a US Jewish group, had upset Turkey. In related news, Israel is reportedly concerned about the possibility the US Congress could pass a resolution supporting the allegations. “There’s concern in Israel that Turkish-Israeli relations would be damaged if the resolution is passed,” said Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post. /Milliyet/

    [07] NEW ISRAELI AMBASSADOR LEVI: “TURKEY IS MY FIRST HOMELAND”

    Newly appointed Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Gabi Levi, who was born in Turkey, said over the weekend that he considers Turkey his first homeland, not his second. In an interview with Israturk, a Tel Aviv-based website devoted to developing Turkish-Israeli relations, Levi said that he harbors emotions fond for Turkey. “As a historian, I can say that there is a great sympathy and friendship between the Israeli and Turkish societies,” he added. “Everybody knows how Jews live in comfort in Turkey. They are even envied by other Jewish communities because of this.” /Hurriyet/

    [08] REHN PLEDGES “IMPARTIAL AND BALANCED” EU PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

    In an interview with the German media, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday said that next month’s progress report on Turkey will be “impartial and balanced.” Rehn added that Turkey had headed off a constitutional crisis this summer by electing a new president and Parliament. When asked if he believes Turkey will join the EU, Rehn replied, “It depends on its ability to meet the membership criteria.” /Star/

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

    [09] SEEING TURKEY THROUGH EU EYES

    BY YAMAN TORUNER (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Yaman Toruner comments on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Europe gests older every day. The average annual number of births in 1950-1955 was 12 million, but by 2000-2005 this had fallen to 1.35 million. One-third of Europe’s population will be over 60 by 2050. But the under- 16 population will stay at 13%. The over-80 age group is growing at a staggering rate of 180 percent. This is leading to mounting healthcare expenditures and the need for young manpower and a young population who can take care of the elderly. Some 4.6%-6.2% of European countries’ gross national product (GNP) is spent on health care, and this is expected to climb to 5.6%-8.2%. In 2005 Europe’s total population was 28.4 million, and this is expected to reach 653 million by 2050.

    The situation in Turkey is just the opposite. Our 2005 population was nearly 73 million, but this number could reach 82.6 million by 2050. The average lifespan in Turkey is 69.1 years for men and 74.3 for women. A Turkish person lives nine years less than a Swede, whose average lifespans are the highest. People older than 65 in Turkey can hope to live about 13 more years, whereas in Europe they can look forward to more than 18 on average. What’s more, this figure is climbing to 19.9 years for women. According to EU research, the greatest disadvantage of Turkey’s rapid population growth will be continued gaps in our social safety net. The biggest obstacle to our EU membership is our high, and climbing, population. But our young population is whetting their appetite.

    The decision-making process within the EU and the impact of population on this process should be weighed carefully, because we must show them that our young population will be an asset for them and that our rising population won’t overburden them. EU decisions come into effect after four stages: the European Council, Commission, Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The European Parliament is elected by the EU public, and so the population has an important role to play. The EP has 732 members, and 268 of them are Christian Democrats, the largest group. Women MEPs constitute nearly one-third of the total. If Turkey joins the EU, its MEPs would be the largest single country group, and thus expectations that the number of Muslim MEPs would increase and the number of women would shrink are giving Europe pause. In addition to the EP, establishing a senate and giving it veto power might make many things easier. Conditions for being elected to this senate could depend on various criteria. Even the Security Council within the UN fulfills this task in a sense. While harmonizing with the EU, we should look at issues from their point of view as well.”


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