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Turkish Press Review, 08-06-26

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

26.06.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL APPROVES TRT LAW
  • [02] ERDOGAN: "OUR GOVT HAS MADE HISTORIC REFORMS"
  • [03] US' BRYZA: "CLOSURE OF THE AKP WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE, BUT THE US CAN'T INTERCEDE"
  • [04] PACE TO VOTE ON TURKEY REPORT TODAY
  • [05] TURKEY FRIENDSHIP GROUP TO BE ESTABLISHED IN EP
  • [06] TUZMEN CALLS ON SPANISH CONTRACTORS TO WORK WITH TURKS
  • [07] TURKEY BOWS TO GERMANY IN EURO SEMIFINAL
  • [08] A HISTORIC MATCH
  • [09] WILL SARKOZY CHANGE HIS STANCE?

  • [01] GUL APPROVES TRT LAW

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday approved a law allowing the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) to broadcast in languages other than Turkish, including Kurdish. In a separate development, Gul also met with Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Secretary General Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos in Istanbul. /Star/

    [02] ERDOGAN: "OUR GOVT HAS MADE HISTORIC REFORMS"

    The 16th Business Roundtable Meeting, organized by the Economist Conferences branch of Economist Intelligence, was held yesterday in Istanbul. Addressing a panel on "Turkey at the Crossroads," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that for over five years now Turkey has been undergoing dramatic changes, and stressed that the government had made sweeping reforms towards enhanced democracy and expanded human rights and freedoms. He said the most important of these steps was implementing the Copenhagen criteria and starting accession negotiations with the European Union. He said that by carrying out important economic reforms never attempted by past governments, his government had made Turkey the world's 17th-largest economy and the sixth biggest in Europe. Calling the private sector the driving force of Turkey's economy and citing the government's privatization efforts, he said his administration had successfully implemented a free market system and taken important steps towards reducing the state's role in the economy. He added that thanks to economic reforms, the government had managed to establish sustainable development, build economic balance and fiscal discipline, and brings stability to the capital and foreign exchanges markets. Erdogan said Turkey's economy grew by an average of 6.7 percent per year and expressed the government's determination to continue structural reforms, referring to recent measures on banking and finance. Erdogan said Turkey's finance sector is now on solid ground compared with the past. He also reiterated Turkey's determination that no matter how its EU accession talks end, it will continue to implement and consolidate reforms. Speaking to a panel on "Turkey's Position in the New Geopolitical Landscape," Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that Turkey will continue political and economic reforms despite obstacles and that Turkey is moving towards becoming an open society. /Turkiye/

    [03] US' BRYZA: "CLOSURE OF THE AKP WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE, BUT THE US CAN'T INTERCEDE"

    If the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is closed down and Turkey's European Union talks are halted, this would be unfortunate and hurt US interests, but it would be Turkey's business, said US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza yesterday. Bryza made the remarks after giving the Turgut Ozal Memorial Lecture at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Asked about the AKP closure case, Bryza said closure of the AKP would be quite unfortunate, and added, "But this is Turkey's business. It would be inappropriate for us to issue an ultimatum." He also said, "Turkey's democratic system, its constitutional order, is evolving and it must evolve if Turkey wants to continue walking on its path to EU accession. Things will happen in Turkey that may not accord with the way we structure our democracy, but at the end of the day, honestly, we really are confident that the Turkish democratic system is strong enough to work this out." He also said that Turkish-US relations have improved since 2004. /Milliyet/

    IMF PRAISES ANKARA 'S PERFORMANCE ON FINAL STANDBY REVIEWS

    In a new report on Turkey's performance in its last two standby agreements, the International Monetary Fund states that Turkey performed quite well regarding the length, commitments and effective use of financial assistance. The report, set to be approved by the IMF Executive Board next month, adds that Turkey was unable to complete any standby agreements besides the last two. /Aksam/

    [04] PACE TO VOTE ON TURKEY REPORT TODAY

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is set to convene today to discuss a report and a related resolution on the performance of Turkey's democratic institutions. Afterwards, the resolution will be put to a vote. The report expresses concerns over the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and it urges the Council of Europe to subject Turkey to review if necessary. /Sabah/

    [05] TURKEY FRIENDSHIP GROUP TO BE ESTABLISHED IN EP

    Vural Oger, a German-Turkish European parliamentarian from the Socialist Group, and six fellow MEPs have decided to establish an EP Turkey Friendship Group to support Turkey's EU bid. Graham Watson, the leader of the EP's third-largest group, the Liberals, is also set to take part in the group, which should go into operation officially in the new legislative year. The group, which is anticipated to have a broader participation in the countries and EP, will work to dispel prejudices about Turkey's membership on both sides, ease visa procedures, and solve problems such as quota difficulties. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] TUZMEN CALLS ON SPANISH CONTRACTORS TO WORK WITH TURKS

    On an official visit to Spain with a large business delegation, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen yesterday called on Spanish contractors to make investment in league with their Turkish counterparts, and said that Turkey wants to cooperate with Spain in the construction sector. Meeting with Spanish Contractors' Association head David Taguas in Madrid, Tuzmen He said that the Turkish contracting sector made $20 billion in foreign countries last year, up from just $1.4 billion in 2002. He added that 22 of the world's 225 biggest contractor companies were Turkish. Tuzmen said that Spanish contractors could visit Turkey this fall. He added that the Turkish and Spanish contractors could jointly work in the Middle East, Gulf, Caucasus, Caspian Sea, Central Asian republics and North Africa. Taguas also said that Turkey and Spain should cooperate not only in politics but also in economic and commercial areas. Taguas said that they were making efforts to boost cooperation with Turkey, and the two countries could work in North Africa, which needs a great deal of infrastructure work. Tuzmen also said that a Spanish company would make investments worth €400 million in Turkey. /Sabah/

    [07] TURKEY BOWS TO GERMANY IN EURO SEMIFINAL

    Facing Germany last night in the first semifinal match of the European Football Championship 2008, the Turkish National Football Team lost due to a last-minute goal, 3-2. Playing without eight key players, the national team won great praise for its performance in the match. Germany will come up against the victor of the today's second semifinal match between Russia and Spain in the final on Sunday in Vienna , Austria . /All Papers/

    FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [08] A HISTORIC MATCH

    BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

    Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on last night's historic Euro 2008 match between Turkey and Germany. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "As in all European countries, the Euro 2008 championship made headlines here for weeks. A critical case against the ruling party, which could determine the country's political future, was by comparison a second-rate story.

    Last night our national football team played against Germany in a semifinal in Basel, Switzerland, but I'm writing this column before the game. It will be a landmark match, and it will definitely help relations between the two countries.

    Germany has Europe's largest economy. Together with Russia, it's one of the two European countries with larger populations than Turkey. Under the previous Social Democratic rule " like today's Britain, Italy and Spain " Germany wholly supported Turkey's European Union membership. On the other hand, the Christian Democrats came to the power with reservations about Turkey's membership.

    But in Germany, there's no open opposition to Turkey, unlike France and Austria. Some 3 million Turks, half of them German citizens, currently live there. In addition, Germany has extensive economic ties with Turkey

    In any case, last night's football match will warm up our bilateral relations. It will cast a spotlight on Turkey. The match will be unforgettable and a rare example of sports affecting political ties. I heartily congratulate our national team on its great energy and skill, even though it has " somehow " nine disabled players."

    [09] WILL SARKOZY CHANGE HIS STANCE?

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on French President Nicolas Sarkozy's stance on Turkey and a recent vote in the French Senate. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "I wonder if French President Nicolas Sarkozy will learn the necessary lesson from the French Senate's rejection of a constitutional amendment stipulating a referendum for Turkey's European Union membership. Indeed, the Senate's 297-7 rejection of the measure is a heavy blow to Sarkozy, because this overwhelming majority came not just from opposition parties, but also Sarkozy's own UMP. In addition, the government sensed the atmosphere in the Senate and gave up on the proposal. In other words, it finally changed its mind. This situation shows that the UMP is divided on the issue. Now lower house deputies and senators from the same party are against each other! Following the vote, how will the lower house act in re- debating the measure? Which party will prevail in the joint session of the Senate and lower house? We'll see on July 21. The speeches in the Senate, some by UMP members, showed that this measure (which clearly targets Turkey) is very separatist, hypocritical, improper and insulting " in their own words.

    Actually the aim of the article requiring a referendum is very clear: hindering Turkey's EU membership, in other words, even if our membership talks continue, and eventually closing the EU's doors to Turkey. This is the only thing that Sarkozy wants, right? This is clearly the stance that he has repeatedly shown. But why?

    An article published recently in Liberation daily explored this question. According to the piece, it's hard to understand why he 'frittered away' France's friendship with Turkey, after it took France as an example and the two enjoyed close relations. Actually, France should be championing Turkey's efforts to integrate with Europe. But Sarkozy's acts turned a friendly country into an 'enemy.' The article disapproved of the justifications for this. For example, it says that the fact that Turkey is a majority-Muslim country can't be a reason, because it's also a secular country which is trying hard to maintain its secular character. After listing similar irrational reasons, the piece concludes as follows: No matter its justifications, with this stance France is harming itself.

    In fact, this stance should be evaluated as part of France's anti-Turkish policies of recent years. In other words, what really matters is how much France values Turkey. It would be also useful to remember how things were under Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. At that time, France wanted political and economic ties with Turkey to go smoothly, but didn't take seriously Turkey's sensitivity on certain national matters (for example, the Cyprus, Armenian and Kurdish issues) and didn't shrink from actions which might disturb Turkey. Today, while striving to create rapprochement with many countries in the Middle East, Sarkozy is maintaining a stance which drives Turkey away from France. In the wake of the Senate vote, will Sarkozy change course due to public pressure and criticisms from his own party? I hope he will, but people close to him generally call him a self- confident, stubborn politician."


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