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Turkish Press Review, 09-03-13

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

13.03.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL, ERDOGAN OFFER CONDOLENCES FOR GERMAN SCHOOL SHOOTING
  • [02] ERDOGAN MAKES CAMPAIGN PLEDGE TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT ILLEGAL CRIME NETWORKS VESTED IN THE STATE
  • [03] TURKEY'S FIRST HIGH-SPEED TRAIN STARTING SERVICE TODAY WITH TRIP FROM ANKARA TO ESKISEHIR
  • [04] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES 2008 PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY
  • [05] OBAMA TO ATTEND ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS MEETING IN ISTANBUL, SAYS UN'S BAN
  • [06] ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL, OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO BLAST PM ERDOGAN
  • [07] 88TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL ANTHEM MARKED
  • [08] BUSINESSMEN URGE SWIFT DEAL ON CYPRUS
  • [09] WHAT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MAKES US THINK

  • [01] GUL, ERDOGAN OFFER CONDOLENCES FOR GERMAN SCHOOL SHOOTING

    President Abdullah Gul offered yesterday his condolences to German President Horst Koehler for the shooting at a school in Baden-Wurttemberg which left 16 people dead. Gul expressed his sorrow at the incident, and offered condolences to the families of the victims. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also sent a message of condolences to his German counterpart Angela Merkel. "I learned about the school rampage with deep sadness," he said. "I strongly condemn this act and offer my condolences to our friends the German people and the families of those who were killed. I hope that those who were injured in the shooting recover quickly." /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN MAKES CAMPAIGN PLEDGE TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT ILLEGAL CRIME NETWORKS VESTED IN THE STATE

    Addressing crowds of thousands in the central and southern Anatolian provinces of Nigde and Osmaniye ahead of local elections late this month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged that the government would continue its determined fight against illegal crime networks charged with plotting to overthrow the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. "Some shadowy and dark crime organizations vested in the state have been trying to transform Turkey into a country not ruled by law but unlawfulness, by ignoring democracy and the nation's will," he said. "Now all their shadowy activities are coming to light. We will determinedly continue to fight those groups, even while opposition parties and some media outlets don't support us in this fight." He added, "Only the nation has the right to decide who will govern Turkey, but in past years dark crime networks, interest groups, some media outlets and some antidemocratic power centers have played a large role in this decision. With the AK Party government, this changed completely." Touching on the global economic crisis, Erdogan claimed that some circles were using the crisis as a political weapon against the AK Party government. Erdogan stressed the importance of optimism and positive expectations for the economy, accusing "fear-mongers" of harming Turkey for their own ends. Blasting opposition parties' poor performances in power during past crises, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey will emerge stronger from the crisis. In Nigde, Erdogan also inaugurated the Kemerhisar-Pozanti Highway, part of an important link between Europe and the Middle East which is also set to ease transportation between southern and central Turkey. /Turkiye/

    [03] TURKEY'S FIRST HIGH-SPEED TRAIN STARTING SERVICE TODAY WITH TRIP FROM ANKARA TO ESKISEHIR

    Turkey's first high-speed train line will begin operating today, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan among the passengers on the inaugural trip. An opening ceremony is scheduled for today at the Ankara train station, and then Erdogan and other Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and journalists will take the 80-minute trip to the central Anatolian province of Eskisehir. After arriving, they will also participate in a ceremony at the Eskisehir station. Beginning tomorrow, chartered trips on the line will begin. The 200-kilometer line runs between Ankara and Eskisehir, cutting the three- hour trip between the two cities down to one hour and 20 minutes. There will also be a ceremony to mark the occasion in Yozgat, where the next high- speed link is set to extend, led by Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek. The Ankara-Eskisehir line will offer an introductory fare of TL 5 until April 1, to be followed by TL 30 for first-class seats, TL 20 for economy class, and TL 16 for students and group-discounted tickets. /Turkiye/

    [04] EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT APPROVES 2008 PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

    The European Parliament yesterday approved the 2008 progress report on Turkey's negotiations with the European Union, prepared by Dutch Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten. In the report, the EP urges Turkish political leaders to "seek serious dialogue" on Turkey's modernization. "The EP calls on Turkish political party leaders to seek serious dialogue and to reach a consensus in a compromising spirit over Turkey's modernization agenda," says the report. "Polarization in Turkish society and between the political parties deepened even further in 2008, which negatively affected the functioning of political institutions and the reform process." The report urged the government to revive work to draft "a new civilian constitution that would place basic freedoms and human rights at its core," saying that the country's political parties and election laws should be amended. The report also cites Turkey as "an important NATO country" and urges consultations with Turkey in devising a joint European security and defense policy. It calls on Turkey to speed up EU reforms, expressing "serious concern over a slowdown in reforms in the last three years." The report also urges the European Council to open chapters in Turkey's membership negotiations on which the European Commission has given the technical green light. /Sabah/

    [05] OBAMA TO ATTEND ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS MEETING IN ISTANBUL, SAYS UN'S BAN

    UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon yesterday confirmed that the US President Barack Obama will attend the Alliance of Civilizations meeting early next month in Istanbul. Ban, who spoke with Obama, said this will be the first time the US has attended a meeting of the alliance and that its goal is to develop understanding between different cultures and religions in the world. While in Istanbul, Obama will reportedly also meet with Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. /Cumhuriyet-Milliyet/

    [06] ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL, OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO BLAST PM ERDOGAN

    On the campaign trail in Mugla, ahead of March 29 local elections, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday continued to criticize Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has divided the world into "friend and foe," meaning those who support the party and those who don't. "So this strategy of tension depends on chaos, rows and disputes," he said. "This strategy of tension divides the country into fronts and camps." He added, "The country's most important issue is unemployment, but the premier gives it no attention." /Milliyet/

    [07] 88TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL ANTHEM MARKED

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday issued a message marking the 88th anniversary of Turkey's national anthem, whose lyrics were written by Mehmet Akif Ersoy in 1921. "The national anthem is our first historical document showing the figures our nation embraced during hard times," he said. Ceremonies marking the anniversary were held throughout Turkey. /Star/

    [08] BUSINESSMEN URGE SWIFT DEAL ON CYPRUS

    Four top business groups from Turkey, Greece, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Greek Cyprus yesterday issued a joint declaration calling a settlement by the end of the year on the island. "We ... call upon the two communities on Cyprus to continue negotiating in good faith to achieve a comprehensive and enduring settlement of the Cyprus problem," said the declaration by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, Turkish Cypriot Businessmen's Association, and (Greek) Cyprus Employers and Industrialists Federation. /Hurriyet Daily News/

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

    [09] WHAT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT MAKES US THINK

    BY BERIL DEDEOGLU (AKSAM)

    Columnist Beril Dedeoglu comments on Turkish-EU relations. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "Turkish-European Union relations haven't gone very far in the last few years. The role of the EU in this, when nearly half of Turkey's membership chapters are being blocked by certain EU member countries, is undeniable. The EU's exclusivist stance has worn down Ankara's enthusiasm and led to a backlash in the Turkish public. In addition, there's been very slow progress even on certain chapters which managed to get opened.

    There are certain things Turkey should do help speed up the talks. One of them " perhaps the most important one " is continuing the reforms. We should first make sure that the reforms will improve the lives of our people. New reforms mean making political, cultural and economic life more competitive and transparent, and non-discriminatory. People know the reforms we've seen so far have caused great changes. But now there's an impression that we're lagging in these reforms, let alone enacting new ones.

    One could claim Turkey isn't lagging, that the reform process is actually continuing and that the debates leading to this month's local elections concern this transformation. But this isn't how the European public sees things. Even if the European Parliament is underestimated by some on the grounds that it's not the decision-making body, this institution is a reflection of the European public and so is very influential.

    The EP passed its new Turkey progress report yesterday. Some parts of the report charge that the government has been slow to take measures addressing the concerns of the Turkish public. Elsewhere, it mentions guaranteeing minority rights, removing obstacles to freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and financial transparency as among other areas of concern. This shows that the European public has started to see the Turkish government with some suspicion. What's more, this report warns that if this situation continues, Turkey's membership might be postponed to an unforeseeable date.

    It seems that both the Turkish and European public need to be reassured of the Turkish political will for EU membership. The loyalty of those who enact the reforms is also important. Also, new reforms should be implemented rapidly. Then an atmosphere should be encouraged which shows the Turkish public the importance of this process.

    If the political and social will in Turkey gets excited about the EU again, this situation would galvanize the European public. So we should forge closer ties with EU countries and nations. All these ties don't have to concern Turkish-EU relations per se, but they should be based on relations between Europeans and Turks."


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