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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-22

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

22.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] WRITING TO NEW PRESIDENT, GUL CALLS FOR NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH ARMENIA
  • [02] MGK: “TURKEY WILL CONTINUE CROSS-BORDER OPS IN NORTHERN IRAQ”
  • [03] CHP MULLS CHALLENGE TO NEW FOUNDATIONS LAW BEFORE TOP COURT
  • [04] TRNC’S TALAT, SOYER SAY GREEK CYPRIOT ELECTION CARRIES HOPE FOR PEACE
  • [05] GREEN’S BENDIT: “IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY IN TURKEY 'S INTERESTS TO JOIN THE EU, AND IN EUROPE 'S TOO”
  • [06] FRENCH AMBASSADOR PLEDGES “BALANCED AND OBJECTIVE” EU PRESIDENCY TOWARDS TURKEY
  • [07] SERBS ATTACK EMBASSIES OF TURKEY, OTHER COUNTRIES RECOGNIZING INDEPENDENT KOSOVO
  • [08] A CONSENSUS DOCUMENT

  • [01] WRITING TO NEW PRESIDENT, GUL CALLS FOR NORMALIZATION OF RELATIONS WITH ARMENIA

    President Abdullah Gul sent yesterday a message of congratulations to the victor of this week’s presidential election in Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, calling for the normalization of relations between the two countries. Stressing that by living side by side for hundreds of years, Turks and Armenians have shown that they could achieve peaceful coexistence, Gul wrote, “I believe that in your new office you will make great contributions to the normalization process of our relations and truly hope that our collective efforts constitute an atmosphere based on mutual trust, respect and cooperation, one which will be conducive to peace and prosperity in our region.” /Milliyet/

    [02] MGK: “TURKEY WILL CONTINUE CROSS-BORDER OPS IN NORTHERN IRAQ”

    The National Security Council (MGK), chaired by President Abdullah Gul, yesterday convened at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will continue to carry out cross-border operations into northern Iraq as long as necessary, according to a statement released after the meeting. In the statement, the MGK reaffirmed its determination to maintain measures against the activities of the terrorist group and its supporters, which aim to harm public order, unity and solidarity, and peace and confidence. “The council also discussed measures by our security forces to preserve security and peace and order throughout the country,” said the statement. The MGK said its members had discussed Turkey’s expectations and sensitivities regarding Iraq and underlined the importance of Iraq’s territorial integrity and political unity. “Taking into consideration recent positive developments in Iraq, we talked about improving our political, economic, commercial, cultural, military and energy cooperation with this neighboring country and increasing humanitarian aid to it,” said the council. The MGK also reviewed other foreign developments, including ones concerning Kosovo and Cyprus. Afterwards, Gul met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Turkiye/

    [03] CHP MULLS CHALLENGE TO NEW FOUNDATIONS LAW BEFORE TOP COURT

    The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is ready to challenge the just-passed Foundations Law before the Constitutional Court. At a press conference yesterday, CHP deputy leader Onur Oymen said that his party is considering taking the law to the top court. “The law was clearly imposed by the European Union,” he claimed. Saying that the issue of religious minorities was adequately covered by the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Oymen argued, “Even a minor change to it would cause serious problems with the fundamental principles of the state.” The law, passed 242-72 in Parliament this week, would enable properties confiscated by the state to be returned to non-Muslim minorities, a prerequisite for Turkey’s EU membership. In addition, it would also allow Muslim foundations to receive financial aid from foreign countries. The CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) strongly criticized the government for passing the bill, which they see as a threat to Turkey’s national interests. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] TRNC’S TALAT, SOYER SAY GREEK CYPRIOT ELECTION CARRIES HOPE FOR PEACE

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyrus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that the recent first round of presidential elections in Greek Cyprus heralded the possibility of change, especially in the surprise defeat of incumbent Tassos Papadopoulous. Speaking in the TRNC city of Gazimagusa, Talat said that he believed that the Cyprus issue would be resolved by year’s end. TRNC Premier Ferdi Sabit Soyer also said yesterday that whoever wins the Greek Cypriot presidency, new negotiations to find a settlement to the issue should begin soon. /Turkiye/

    [05] GREEN’S BENDIT: “IT IS UNDOUBTEDLY IN TURKEY 'S INTERESTS TO JOIN THE EU, AND IN EUROPE 'S TOO”

    It is undoubtedly in Turkey’s interests to join the European Union and Europe’s too, argues Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-president of the Greens European Alliance Group in the European Parliament, in a new journal article. “If things work out and Turkey does somehow eventually join the EU, Europeans will not only be able to boast of political consistency and having kept our word, we'll also be able to celebrate a qualitative step forward in the European project,” writes Bendit in the latest issue of Europe’s World. “As well as the constructive role that Turkey could play, especially in the Middle East, its membership would also be vitally important in terms of energy.” /Turkiye/

    [06] FRENCH AMBASSADOR PLEDGES “BALANCED AND OBJECTIVE” EU PRESIDENCY TOWARDS TURKEY

    The French presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2008 will be “very balanced and objective,” and so need not cause Turkey concern, French Ambassador to Ankara Bernard Emie told a meeting of the Association of Turkish-French Businessmen yesterday. Stating that France favors continuing Turkey’s accession talks with the EU, Emie added that his country places special importance on close Turkish-EU ties. /Turkiye/

    [07] SERBS ATTACK EMBASSIES OF TURKEY, OTHER COUNTRIES RECOGNIZING INDEPENDENT KOSOVO

    Following Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia, thousands of Serbs held rallies in Belgrade yesterday to protest the move. Demonstrators, many brought into the capital on free buses and trains, attacked the embassies of states which have recognized Kosovo, including Turkey, the US, and European Union countries. The Turkish Foreign Ministry telephoned Serbian Foreign Ministry officials to urge them to take necessary measures to protect the Turkish Embassy and its staff. /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [08] A CONSENSUS DOCUMENT

    BY MEHMET ALTAN (STAR)

    Columnist Mehmet Altan comments on the European Union accession partnership document which was sent to Turkey this week. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “A program which will ensure freedom and other benefits for the Turkish people was approved by the European Union earlier this week and sent to the Turkish side. I mean the 15-page accession partnership document. We should implement the requirements laid out in the document in three or four years for the sake of full EU membership. I see the document as one of political consensus. I follow political developments in Brussels, and suggest you do the same, because the will to find a solution contained in the recommendations in this document will show if politics in Ankara has lost direction.

    The document’s first recommendation concerns better operation of the public administration and strengthening local administrations. The EU wants us to again take up legislation on public administration. Secondly, it stresses that civilian management and control over the military should be brought up to EU standards. The document reiterates that civilian officials should keep the military under tight control, and the transparency and monitoring of military spending is also stressed. It emphasizes limiting the powers of the military judicial system. Judicial reform, training judges in line with European Convention of Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings, and the independence of judges are also highlighted.

    The document also refers to corruption, saying that EU anti-corruption methods could be employed in Turkey. The issue of human rights and protecting minorities is also covered. In addition, the document urges that, for example, the optional protocol to the United Nations Convention Against Torture should be adopted to strengthen anti-torture efforts. It reiterates the policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for torture, issues warnings, and offers suggestions about its requirements. The issue of developing freedom of expression in line with the ECHR is also underlined.

    The document particularly stresses freedom of religion, problems of non- governmental organizations, the rights of assembly and demonstration, the rights of women, children and workers, and anti- discrimination policies. The issue of minority and cultural rights has a prominent place in the document, which also makes special reference to the issue of eastern and southeastern Anatolia . It also points to the drawbacks of the village guard system and says certain areas should be cleared of mines. On the Cyprus issue, it reiterates that Turkey’s relations with EU member states should be normalized as soon as possible. As for the economy, the document urges continued stringent fiscal policies. It also stresses the urgent need for social security reform. Other issues covered include state economic enterprises (SEEs), reigning in the market economy, the free movement of goods, services and capital, public tenders, and corporate law.

    The government is responsible for presenting a timetable to EU bodies for fulfilling the document’s agenda, one not exceeding three or four years. If a will is shown towards this end, this program will be able to address a great many issues, including headscarves, Kurds, Alawis, conscientious objectors, unemployment and poverty.

    Meanwhile, Parliament passed the new Foundations Law, and I also read yesterday that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with new Turkish ambassadors about the importance of improving and speeding up the EU partnership process. These are important things, but not sufficient, because we have many problems to solve. But if steps are taken to implement the accession partnership document, these problems would be soon solved. Anybody who wants to create peace and stability in Turkey should walk down this road together.”


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