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Turkish Press Review, 08-05-28
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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
28.05.2008FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TOPTAN VISITS ROMANIAParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday arrived in Bucharest to pay an official visit at the invitation of his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Olteanu. Toptan will today begin his official talks and will also attend a dinner given by Turkey's Ambassador to Bucharest Ayse Sinirlioglu in the honor of him. /Cumhuriyet/
 IN DIYARBAKIR, ERDOGAN ANNOUNCES GAP ACTION PLANPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday visited Diyarbakir with 12 deputies and bureaucrats. Erdogan announced his government's action plan to complete the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP), calling it as "fellowship project of the century." Erdogan said that democracy is a regime through which all issues are discussed and negotiated and solutions are found, adding, "The only means is more democracy and freedom and more investment and production." Stating that new television and radio broadcast will also dramatically dry up the cultural and psychological ground of terrorism, he said, "Both a new action plan to provide social-economic development to the region and new broadcast initiatives strengthen our unity and integrity." Stressing that the new action plan will be a new era and a turning point for Turkey, Erdogan said that this project would change the lives of the people living in that region and other regions as well. Touching on the terrorist PKK attacks, Erdogan said that everyone accepted the ugly face of terrorism and that the PKK had been isolated both within the country and abroad more than ever. /Sabah/
 BABACAN ATTENDS TURKEY-EU JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION MEETINGThe 46th meeting of the Turkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Commission was held in Brussels yesterday. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, EU Term President Slovenia's Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and representatives from the member countries attended the meeting. Babacan said that Turkey's EU bid targets full membership and that all the countries confirmed this by statements of "accession" and "membership," which took place in the EU common position paper. Afterwards, Babacan held a joint press conference with Rehn and Rupel. Rehn said that the meeting referred Turkey's accession negotiations to be conducted more quickly and added, "Of course Turkey speeding up legal and democratic reforms is stated. At this point we call on Turkey to advance reforms." For his part, Rupel said, "Turkey's role in international relations has reached a very important level. I hope that at the end of this process, Turkey will be one of the most important members of the EU." /Cumhuriyet-Aksam/
 GERCEKER DESCRIBES HIS MEETING WITH GUL AS VERY POSITIVEReceived by President Abdullah Gul yesterday, Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Hasan Gerceker said that the meeting was very positive. Stating that he had conveyed the court's views on the problems of judiciary, he said that Gul had pledged to help solve those issues. Gerceker also said he hopes the rising tension between the judiciary and the government will surely ease. Upon the recent dispute between the two public bodies, opposition National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli had offered Gul to take initiative to solve the disagreement between the government and the judiciary. After upcoming elections in the court, Gul will also receive new chief justice of the court. /Cumhuriyet/
 BAYKAL URGES GOVT TO ACCOMPLISH SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA PROJECTMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) yesterday cautiously welcomed the government's action plan released by the premier for the development of southeastern Anatolia. Addressing his party's parliamentary group meeting, CHP leader Deniz Baykal said that he was glad to see the government's planned efforts to finalize the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP). "We will closely monitor the process," Baykal said. But he accused the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of neglecting the project in its five-year rule. Touching the drought that has severely affected the region, Baykal urged the government to accomplish the project as soon as possible. /Turkiye/
 EMINE AYNA BECOMES DTP'S NEW PARLIAMENTARY GROUP LEADERDemocratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group leader Ahmet Turk stepped down from his post yesterday during the group's closed meeting in Parliament. The deputies elected Mardin deputy Emine Ayna as the new parliamentary group leader. Ayna was the party's acting president when Nurettin Demirtas, former president of DTP, was conscripted and had to resign from his post. Turk is expected to run for party helm at DTP's general congress scheduled for July. /Hurriyet/
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat, currently in Brussels, said that the Cyprus issue could be solved by the end of this year. In an interview with Associated Press, Talat said, "I am really optimistic, because there's a change in the Greek Cyprus administration. It's possible to reach a solution by the end of 2008." Talat said that he asked European Union officials to exert pressure on Greek Cypriots to be determined for a solution. /Milliyet/
 TUSIAD ACCUSES AKP OF PURSUING POPULIST POLICIESTurkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag attended yesterday "Industrial Policy: Sectors, Developments and Trends" seminar, led by TUSIAD and the Federation of Industrial Associations (SEDEFED) in Istanbul. Speaking at the gathering, Yalcindag accused the government of pursuing populist policies, while abandoning fiscal discipline. For his part, Industry and Commerce Minister Zafer Caglayan, who also attended the meeting, said that the government had never intended to exploit populism in its activities./Star/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 CARRYING ON OUR EU PATHBY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the Common Position Document on Turkey which was adopted by the Accession Council. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Each document which is prepared by the European Union, including the Commission's Progress Report and the Council's Common Position Document, has become an object at issue. In line with their political tendencies and stances on the EU, some people harshly criticize these documents, some like them and others admit them in general terms. The same is valid for the Common Position Document which was adopted by the Accession Council, the highest decision-making body between Turkey and the EU. For the EU, the 17- page document is an objective picture of Turkey, which lists the things to be done by Ankara on its EU path. For Turkey, this document consists of both positive and negative elements. But we should put emphasis on the fact that this year's Common Position Document consists of terms 'accession' and 'membership,' despite France's rejections. This situation occurred, as Turkey straightened up. In other words, maybe the most positive side of the document is that the imminent negativity could have been prevented.
People place too much importance on terms and expressions used in such documents, which reflect the stance and intentions of the Council or the Commission. So it's a development in favor of Turkey that these two words were included in the document, despite France's initial efforts on the contrary. The document consists of certain improvements in Turkey, for example, amendments in Article No 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and adopting the Foundations Law and touches upon the chapters which were opened during membership talks. Actually, the fact that only six chapters could have been opened for the last two years shows how slow is the process. Everybody knows who are responsible for this, but the document doesn't show it in depth.
The document also consists of certain determinations and messages on the latest political developments and also initiatives on party closure. In this respect, it points out the judicial independence in Turkey, but indicates that results of these cases should comply with standards of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Council's Venice Commission. Besides, it advises like previous reports that we accelerate reforms to harmonize with the EU in a great many field, including the freedom of expression and women's rights.
Similar previous messages are repeated on such issues as opening the clergy school in Heybeliada and accepting the term 'ecumenical' for the patriarchate. The same thing is valid for cultural rights of Kurdish people living in the southeastern Anatolian region. Actually, certain criticisms or warnings in the document reflect the requests which are often mentioned in Turkey. There's no need to be angry with such messages from the EU or be offended. But there are also unjust or wrong stances shown by the EU due to different opinions within itself, like the Cyprus issue. Actually, it's not so important that these were included in such a document. Turkey and the EU are sufficiently experienced on such documents on this long path of membership. We should take the steps which seem to be right in the document and carry on our road by trying to convince others on controversial issues."
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