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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-07

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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

07.03.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] TRNC’S TALAT MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN
  • [02] BABACAN ATTENDS NATO COUNCIL MEETING IN BRUSSELS
  • [03] PARLIAMENT PASSES MUNICIPALITIES BILL
  • [04] PENTAGON, WHITE HOUSE BOTH REJECT PROSPECT OF TALKS WITH TERRORIST PKK
  • [05] IRAQI PRESIDENT DUE IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [06] 35 TURKS MAKE FORBES LIST OF WORLD BILLIONAIRES
  • [07] WHERE IS THE SUPPORT FOR WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT?

  • [01] TRNC’S TALAT MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the meeting, the three leaders resolved to speed up initiatives to reach a resolution of the Cyprus problem by the end of this year. The leaders agreed to open the Lokmaci Gate " a key opening from the TRNC’s capital Lefkosha into Greek Cyprus " and also to support putting the Annan plan to a fresh referendum without any changes to parameters determined under UN auspices. /Aksam/

    [02] BABACAN ATTENDS NATO COUNCIL MEETING IN BRUSSELS

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday attended a meeting of the NATO council in Brussels focusing on the topics of enlarging the alliance, operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and NATO-European Union relations. Discussing the Afghanistan issue, diplomats spoke about the affection, trust and respect the Afghan people feel for Turkey , adding that unlike other allies, Afghans do not suspect Turkey of having ulterior motives. Babacan also met with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice. /Aksam/

    [03] PARLIAMENT PASSES MUNICIPALITIES BILL

    After intense debate, Parliament yesterday passed a bill proposing sweeping changes to Turkish municipalities. Under the new Municipalities Law, 862 district municipalities whose populations have fallen below 2,000 and 283 first stage municipalities would lose municipality status, and 43 villages with populations over 2,000 would be upgraded to town districts. During the debate, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies denied the bill was a meant to increase the party’s electoral strength, adding that the opposition parties should thank the government for enacting key reforms at considerable political risk. Prime Minister Erdogan also closely followed the debates and attended them for two days. /Sabah/

    [04] PENTAGON, WHITE HOUSE BOTH REJECT PROSPECT OF TALKS WITH TERRORIST PKK

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday rejected a subordinate’s apparent suggestion that there could be talks with the PKK, saying that the only talks might be with uncommitted individuals to convince them to abandon the terrorist group. Referring to Lt. Gen. General Raymond Odierno’s remark, “Obviously, there’s pressure that has to be put on them, the PKK, so we can start to talk and have negotiations with these terrorist elements,” Gates said, “Well, I don't know what Gen. Odierno said or did not say, but I will tell you that when I was in Ankara last week, we talked a great deal about the importance of accompanying the security measures to go after these terrorists, the PKK terrorists, with efforts to try and address some of the civilian concerns among the Kurdish population, where they recruit people, where the PKK recruits people.” He added, “And I think that both President (Abdullah) Gul and Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan have both put forward proposals in the cultural, economic and political arenas to begin doing that. So I think it's a matter of doing both. … Certainly nobody I talked to (in Ankara) was of a mind to have any conversations with the PKK. I think that the real objective is to peel away from the hard-core terrorists those who might be reconciled and brought back into the political fold.” In related news, White House spokesperson Dana Perino yesterday said the Bush administration is continuing to watch the situation in northern Iraq. “As we have said before, the PKK is a common enemy,” she added. “We have been strongly supporting Turkey in its efforts to combat the PKK. We have encouraged dialogue and coordination between the United States, Turkey and Iraq, but we have not and we will not negotiate or hold talks with the PKK, nor do we expect Turkey to do so. We are encouraged by the continued diplomatic discussion that is ongoing between Turkey and Iraq, between the governments of Iraq and Turkey; that they continue to try … to strengthen their ties, as well as to work together to beat back the PKK.” /Hurriyet/

    [05] IRAQI PRESIDENT DUE IN ANKARA TODAY

    Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is set to arrive in Ankara this afternoon to start an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Talabani, accompanied by Iraq’s finance, oil, water resources, security and industry ministers, first will meet with Gul. The Iraqi leader is expected tomorrow to visit Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum, and then will hold talks with Premier Recep Tayip Erdogan. Talabani reportedly will not be accompanied by Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zabari or Deputy Premier Barham Salih, both Kurds like Talabani himself, so as not to overshadow his presence. /Turkiye/

    [06] 35 TURKS MAKE FORBES LIST OF WORLD BILLIONAIRES

    Thirty-five Turks made this year’s list of world billionaires made by US business magazine Forbes. According to the list, US investor Warren Buffet is the richest person in the world. Thirteen Turks joined the list for the first time this year, raising the number of Turks on the list to 35. Businessman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet was the highest-ranked Turk, coming in at number 247. /Turkiye/

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

    [07] WHERE IS THE SUPPORT FOR WOMEN’S EMPLOYMENT?

    BY GILA BENMAYOR (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Gila Benyamor comments on the women’s employment situation in Turkey. A summary of her column is as follows.

    “The Turkish Women Entrepreneurs’ Association recently opened an office in Brussels and took out a newspaper ad saying that the European Union is the only way to ensure that Turkey’s women are strong and free. Everyone dreams of such women. I’m among those who believe that EU membership can make this dream come true. Even if EU looks distant now, I would never give up my dream of strong, free women. But what’s the situation of Turkish women today? To mark tomorrow, March 8, International Women’s Day, let’s take a look:

    According to the Directorate General on the Status of Women, over 640,000 Turkish girls of primary school age aren’t attending class. A little over half, or 52.2%, of girls attend high school or an equivalent " an 18% rise from 10 years ago. The rate of girls attending universities is 17.41%, a twofold increase, compared to a decade ago. Although hundreds of thousands of girls still don’t attend school, there’s been improvement in the percentage attending high school and university.

    Shouldn’t this be reflected in the world of work as well? In other words, wouldn’t you expect more women to be working? But the situation is just the opposite. According to the latest data from the Turkish Statistics Institute (TUIK), 237,000 women withdrew from the labor force market in Turkey over the last year. Women’s employment has been falling in Turkey for a few years, even as it’s rising both worldwide and in the EU. For example, in 2000-2005 EU countries managed to boost women’s employment to 56.3%. In Turkey, the rate of women’s participation in the labor force fell 23.4%. In 1990 there was a rate of 34.1%, which fell to 26.9% in 2002.

    Today, one out of four in Turkey women works, and half of the nation is gradually withdrawing from the work world. So is the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government taking measures to boost women’s employment? Columnist Sukru Kizilot wrote that while the new social security bill was being discussed, there were promises of Social Security Institution (SSK) incentives to encourage employers to hire more women. But this never happened.

    Meanwhile, the requirement for businesses to offer childcare was withdrawn from social security reforms. Most people consider this a heavy blow to women’s employment. There’s also another situation. Again, according to the Directorate General on the Status of Women, there’s been a huge rise in the number of women academics in the last decade, from 18,000 to 35,000. Besides academics, the situation in management isn’t so bad. According to a study done by Boyden Turkiye, 40% of prospective managers are women. So, when a woman graduates from university, she can easily mkae her way. I wonder what the situation will be the next time we mark March 8, International Women’s Day.”


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