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Turkish Press Review, 08-12-15

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

15.12.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] CICEK VISITS PEOPLE WOUNDED IN KIRKUK, IRAQ BOMB ATTACK
  • [02] BABACAN ATTENDS WORKING DINNER ON AFGHANISTAN IN PARIS
  • [03] DTP'S TURK MEETS WITH BARZANI IN IRAQ
  • [04] TURKISH DIPLOMAT IHSANOGLU HONORED IN PARIS
  • [05] INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP SET TO RELEASE TURKEY REPORT
  • [06] TUZMEN: "TURKEY SHOULD CONTINUE ITS PRODUCTION WITHOUT ANY LAG"
  • [07] EUROPEAN COUNCIL EYEING 6 MLN NEW VOTERS
  • [08] ENTERING A CRITICAL TURNING POINT

  • [01] CICEK VISITS PEOPLE WOUNDED IN KIRKUK, IRAQ BOMB ATTACK

    At an Ankara hospital yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday visited 13 people wounded by a deadly suicide bombing last week in Kirkuk, Iraq. "Those who support terrorist groups are responsible for such incidents," Cicek said. "Those who fail to take concrete measures against terrorist groups and avoid necessary cooperation against them share this (responsibility)." Saying that Turks also feel the Iraqis' pain, he added that Turkey continues to work hard on the terrorist issue. At least 50 people were killed and over 100 wounded in the suicide bombing. /Star/

    [02] BABACAN ATTENDS WORKING DINNER ON AFGHANISTAN IN PARIS

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday attended a working dinner, held as part of an unofficial meeting on Afghanistan at the Foreign Ministry residence at La Celle-St.-Cloud, near Paris. The meeting focused on the situation in the country, the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking there, and regional cooperation. Also attending the meeting were EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and representatives of India, Germany, incoming G-8 Term President Italy, and permanent members of the UN Security Council, as well as the foreign ministers of countries neighboring Afghanistan. Despite being invited to the meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki did not come. /Sabah/

    [03] DTP'S TURK MEETS WITH BARZANI IN IRAQ

    A delegation from the Democratic Society Party (DTP), lead by party leader Ahmet Turk, yesterday met with Massoud Barzani, the head of the regional administration in northern Iraq. The two reportedly stressed efforts to improve dialogue between Kurds, saying that both parties support dialogue as a solution to the Kurdish issue. The DTP delegation is expected to meet today with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Sulaimaniyah. /Star/

    [04] TURKISH DIPLOMAT IHSANOGLU HONORED IN PARIS

    The Paris-based International Academy of the History of Science last week honored Turkish diplomat and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu with the Alexandre Koyre Medal. Ihsanoglu received the medal, named after a prominent French science historian and philosopher, for his research into the history of Ottoman era science. He is the author of a 15-volume work on the subject, which took 25 years to put together with a team of researchers under his direction. /Hurriyet Daily News/

    [05] INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP SET TO RELEASE TURKEY REPORT

    2009 will be a critical year for Turkey, in which the country must decide whether to continue its European Union membership bid or not, according to a new report by the International Crisis Group set for release today. The report by the Brussels-based think-tank calls on both Turkey and the EU to save the country's EU process. It claims that despite claims by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that it would return to the reform process, little has been done in this area, adding, "As a result, the AKP has lost credibility both domestically and internationally." /Milliyet/

    [06] TUZMEN: "TURKEY SHOULD CONTINUE ITS PRODUCTION WITHOUT ANY LAG"

    State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen said yesterday that Turkey should continue its production without any reduction at a time of global economic crisis. "Turkey will find great success if it manages to keep up its production during today's difficult conditions," he added. On the automotive, textile, ready-wear and construction sectors, he urged measures to boost domestic consumption. Saying that the government is listening carefully to the needs of industrialists, he added that all necessary measures are being taken to counter the global crisis. Reviving domestic demand will also have a positive impact on the country's exports, Tuzmen added. "In the midst of today's world economic situation, we must take proper steps, and act cautiously and calmly," he said. "Over the next two years, all sectors, industrialists, exporters, the banking sector and the government should act in solidarity to overcome our difficulties. If we weather these temporary difficulties, we will see great success." In related news, Turkey's exports to Gulf countries rose 24 percent from January to September, partially offsetting the decline in its exports to European countries due to the crisis. /Turkiye/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [07] EUROPEAN COUNCIL EYEING 6 MLN NEW VOTERS

    BY CAN DUNDAR (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Can Dundar comments on local elections set for next March and his meeting with Yavuz Mildon, the president of the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "In Strasbourg last week I met with Yavuz Mildon, president of the Council of Europe's (CoE) Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. This May Turkey took the helm of the congress, one of the CoE's most important organs. The congress monitors local administrations and elections, just like the Parliamentarian Assembly of the Council of Europe's (PACE) Audit Committee follows countries and general elections in Europe. After last year's general elections, PACE criticized Turkey's 10 percent threshold. Now that local elections are looming, the spotlight is on the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities. When I met with Mildon and his German assistant, I asked them if they would send an observer to the local elections. They looked at each other and smiled, saying this depends if Turkey invites the group. Clearly, they have plans on the issue.

    Mildon is in a tight spot. Mildon, a provincial Canakkale council member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), has been working for the CoE since 1995, and managed to become the congress' first Turkish president. It has followed numerous elections in new democracies in Balkan and Caucasian countries, in Albania, Moldova, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Armenia, and has written reports and issued warnings. Mildon's difficulty stems from allegations which might cast doubt on the local elections held in the president's country. Amid opposition allegations of foul play, people have been talking about 6 million new voters reportedly added to the electoral rolls since last year. I asked if the CoE would take a stand on this. Mildon said that he wouldn't want Turkey to go through an election audit, as its election and voter registration systems are stronger than those in many European democracies, lamenting how the issue has emerged. Mildon added that the electoral rolls are the most important issue for election observers, so the reports of 6 million new voters are being watched closely. Stating that Europe can't ignore fraud allegations, he said that Turkey should clear this up as soon as possible.

    The congress sends observers when the country in question invites it, so the lack of an invitation causes problems. What's more, Turkey is already on the congress' radar due to recent incidents in the southeast. The mayor and council members of Diyarbakir's Sur district were removed from office on charges that the local government was conducting itself in more than one language, as Turkey only has one official language, Turkish. Two CoE officials will visit early next year to look at the issue. Based on what they find, a critical resolution may be issued. Amid all this, if a complaint is made about the 6 million new voters, observers might come from Europe, and a pall might be cast over our local elections. I don't know if anybody in Ankara cares about this, but shady elections aren't very good in the West, either."

    [08] ENTERING A CRITICAL TURNING POINT

    BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Turkey's European Union membership process. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "2009 will be a critical turning point for Turkey's relations with the European Union. After years of the issue bubbling under, this year the issue of our opening our harbors and airports to Greek Cyprus will be taken up in earnest.

    In 2006, when the issue was last dealt with, the EU's end-year summit declaration didn't issue a final verdict, but spoke of flexibility.

    But if our opposition takes a toll, this could be enough to end our EU process. And once ended, resuming negotiations is very difficult.

    Even without this happening, 2009 will still be a difficult year, because obstacles need to be removed for us to open new chapters in our negotiations. If not, the negotiation process, which is already moving at a snail's pace, will run completely out of steam.

    Here's where we are: Since 2005, only eight out of 33 chapters have been opened. The EU froze eight chapters in 2006 due to the Cyprus issue, and tied the closing of all chapters to the condition of our opening our harbors and airports. In June 2007, France prevented the opening of five chapters. This year, due to Greek Cyprus' unofficial objections, six more chapters couldn't be opened. In addition, the EU isn't doing its job on the chapters which were already opened.

    Relations are on thin ice.

    Cyrus is the concrete issue blocking relations. Could Europe sacrifice Turkey for Cyprus?

    As they exploit the issue, do the Greek Cypriots and Greece realize that that it would be harder to deal with a Turkey which has left the EU track?

    There is no single answer to these questions. Political will, conditions and other unexpected dynamics may affect the decisions.

    While Turkey is coming to a critical turning with the EU, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still far from pursuing a serious strategy on the issue. The government avoided taking a combative stance for the sake of its good relations with EU states. It didn't seek its just rights. But now it's been left without maneuvering room."


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