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Turkish Press Review, 07-11-22

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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

22.11.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL ATTENDS GROUNDBREAKING FOR BAKU-TBILISI-KARS RAILWAY
  • [02] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TOPTAN URGES AGAINST PARTY CLOSURES
  • [03] ERDOGAN RECEIVES SLOVENIAN PM JANSA
  • [04] PM MEETS WITH CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT
  • [05] BABACAN: “WE’VE MADE GREAT PROGRESS, BUT FACE A LONG ROAD AHEAD OF US”
  • [06] BABACAN TO ATTEND US’ MIDEAST CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK
  • [07] TURKEY QUALIFIES FOR EURO 2008 SOCCER FINALS
  • [08] A TALK WITH DEPUTY PREMIER CEMIL CICEK ON THE PKK ISSUE

  • [01] GUL ATTENDS GROUNDBREAKING FOR BAKU-TBILISI-KARS RAILWAY

    Work on the central leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, dubbed the “Iron Silk Road,” began yesterday with a groundbreaking ceremony in Marabda Station, eastern Georgia attended by President Abdullah Gul, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. During the ceremony, Gul told reporters, “Trains from China will pass through the Caspian region, Baku, Tbilisi and Kars and then will arrive in Istanbul, after going through the future Marmaray Tube, and then will cross Europe, go underneath the English Channel and eventually arrive in London.” He added, “We are taking a step here today towards realizing a great project that will change history.” For his part, Georgia’s Saakashvili said, “Today is a historic day. We are launching the construction of a railway that will mark the revival of the great Silk Road.” /Hurriyet/

    [02] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TOPTAN URGES AGAINST PARTY CLOSURES

    Speaking at a symposium at Ankara’s Cankaya University yesterday, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan argued against political party closures. Saying that he doesn’t believe party closures are a proper method, Toptan added that Turkey shouldn’t pursue a path that will alienate it from the European Union. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] ERDOGAN RECEIVES SLOVENIAN PM JANSA

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received his visiting Slovenian counterpart Janez Jansa, whose country will assume the EU’s term presidency on Jan. 1, a little more than a month away. Speaking at a press conference, Erdogan said that Turkey needs international support to end terrorism. “Countries which believe in democracy should act together against terrorism,” he added. Condemning the terrorist PKK’s attacks in Turkey, Jansa said the EU is urging a peaceful solution to the issue. Jansa also expressed Slovenians’ support for Turkey’s EU membership. “But the membership process is difficult,” he added. “The recent progress report (issued last month) on Turkey was objective, and Turkey should speed up its reforms.” When asked what Turkey expects from Slovenia as the next EU president, Erdogan said that Ankara is urging the EU to work to solve the Cyprus problem under UN auspices. After the press conference, a memorandum of understanding on railways was signed by the two leaders. /Milliyet/

    [04] PM MEETS WITH CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Yasar Buyukanit. The top general reportedly briefed Erdogan about his meeting this week with Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq. During the meeting, recent developments in the fight against terrorism, a trilateral mechanism between military commanders which was established during Erdogan’s visit to the US early this month, and the issue of a possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq were all discussed. /Star/

    [05] BABACAN: “WE’VE MADE GREAT PROGRESS, BUT FACE A LONG ROAD AHEAD OF US”

    Stating that Turkey has seen many important reforms on fundamental rights and freedoms over the last five years, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday said that this kind of work will continue in the months and years to come. “These reforms aren’t enough,” Babacan said in his opening speech to the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee. “We fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria, but there’s a longer reform process ahead of us.” Stressing that the most important reform is a proposed new Constitution, Babacan said, “Economic growth will continue, we’ll solve our chronic problems. Turkey will have a first-class democracy.” Babacan added that Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) would be amended at an appropriate time. “Turkey’s EU membership is different from other enlargements,” Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan told the same meeting. “Turkey’s membership will help to promote universal values. (Through it) The EU will not only enlarge geographically, but will also gain the potential to become a global power. Turkey’s democracy will flourish and its development will continue while it fights terrorism.” In related news, Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk called on members of Turkey’s Democratic Society Party (DTP) to put a distance between themselves and the terrorist PKK. Ria Oomen-Ruijiten, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, said that the DTP won’t be a credible partner if it doesn’t break off its ties with the terrorist PKK. /Turkiye-Sabah/

    [06] BABACAN TO ATTEND US’ MIDEAST CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK

    The US State Department yesterday stated that a meeting meant to revive peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine would take place next Tuesday in Annapolis, Maryland. According to an official statement, Turkey has been invited to the summit along with 40 countries. The Annapolis summit will attempt to restart serious peace talks between Israel and Palestine for the first time in seven years. Officials from the UN, International Monetary Fund and World Bank are expected to attend the summit. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, accompanied by Foreign Ministry diplomats, will represent Turkey at the gathering. /Turkiye-Milliyet/

    [07] TURKEY QUALIFIES FOR EURO 2008 SOCCER FINALS

    The Turkish National Football Team yesterday defeated Bosnia-Herzegovina 1- 0 in a Euro 2008 Group C qualifier in Istanbul, thus securing a spot in next year's finals in Austria and Switzerland. /All papers/

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

    [08] A TALK WITH DEPUTY PREMIER CEMIL CICEK ON THE PKK ISSUE

    BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the government’s recent stance on the PKK issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Nov. 5 meeting with US President George W. Bush in Washington, two developments on the PKK issue have captured my interest:

    1) The lines of communication established between deputy chiefs of general staff

    2) Government efforts to break new ground outside the military area

    The latest development in the first area was the meeting of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. James E. Cartwright and US Coalition Commander Gen. David Petraeus with Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun in Ankara. Following Bush’s declaration that the PKK is ‘our common enemy, ’ this military activity gives an impression of cooperation.

    In the second area, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan’s recent remarks that everybody will be surprised at the reforms the government makes after the budget signals that work is being done on the issue.

    Statements in the political area are making the public think an amnesty may be proposed.

    I had a talk with Deputy Premier Cemil Cicek, who also chairs the Supreme Anti-Terrorism Council, about a possible amnesty and new initiatives on the issue.

    Cicek strongly underlined that the government has no plans for an amnesty for PKK terrorists. ‘We have not been making any preparations for an amnesty,’ he said. ‘The media is evaluating certain alternatives by itself and then asking us to confirm them. There is no such development.’

    Stating that eight such arrangements, called ‘penitence’ or ‘return home’ initiatives, have been made in past years, but to no avail, Cicek said, ‘All of them were tried previously. We have no such intention. These attempts shatter the morale of our security forces. No one has the right to do this.’

    Cicek also stated that despite press reports, there are no preparations for any ‘special package.’ Addressing the Democratic Society Party (DTP), Cicek said, ‘Problems in democratic states are discussed and resolved through democratic means. If problems are voiced using democratic means, there is no problem. In democracies, all parties have equal rights. Resolution is found through democratic means, and no other alternatives should be sought. We call on the parties not to take sidetracks down illegal roads. If you have any requests, voice them in a legal, democratic way.’

    Concerning a democratic opening, Cicek stated, ‘We have no a special package. Our understanding of democratic opening will become explicit in our new constitution. We want to expand individual rights and freedoms, and we’re doing and will do our best to implement reforms. At the beginning of next month, we’ll get proposals from the non-governmental organizations on the new constitution. And we’ll evaluate them. These steps will serve to expand rights and freedoms’.”


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