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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-09-03

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.169/07 01-03.09.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan: We will continue to expend any necessary support to further improve TRNC´s international position. His new government programme
  • [02] Statements by Talat from Izmir on his meeting with President Papadopoulos
  • [03] The British Foreign Secretary to visit Ankara
  • [04] Sweden, Italy: Time to renew EU entry efforts
  • [05] Statements by Soyer on the Cyprus problem after meeting with Talat
  • [06] Avci puts the weight on the Greek Cypriot side for any progress to the Cyprus problem
  • [07] The Turkish Cypriot political parties are pessimistic for the 5th of September meeting
  • [08] Volkan accuses the Greek Cypriot side of using sports with the aim of dynaming the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Talat
  • [09] Ali Babacan: Turkey is a country that pursues stable and peaceful policies
  • [10] Erdogan:Turkey is not going to make any concessions on the Cyprus problem. Cemil Cicek in charge of Cyprus affairs
  • [11] Turkish new draft Constitution completed
  • [12] Turkey seems willing to proceed to EU reforms, yet no step will be taken with regard to Cyprus
  • [13] Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian businessmen to attend Ankara Forum in Jersusalem

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan: We will continue to expend any necessary support to further improve TRNC´s international position. His new government programme

    Following are highlights of the new Turkish governments programme as reported by Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.08.07):

    Reading out the program of the 60th Turkish Government in the parliament, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said "we have lived through an era in which everyone looked at the future with confidence; our democracy got stronger and the prestige of our country increased".The Justice and Development (AK) Party government realized Turkey's European Union accession process and this contributed to a rise in general welfare and strengthened stability in Turkey, told Erdogan.

    "The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular, and social state based on the rule of law. The new constitution (to be prepared) must be based on a national consensus. Our governments value the independence of the mass media. The right to reach accurate news is the first requirement for the development of a democratic culture. A transparent government is possible only through an independent, impartial and responsible media. We will take steps to help our media develop in a plural, transparent and competitive environment," noted Erdogan.

    DEFENSE: "Our government adopts policies that will strengthen the Turkish nation's unity, brotherhood and unitary form of governmental structure. We will continue to struggle against all attempts that may jeopardize national security without making any concessions. We will stand firm against all attempts to hurt our national security, indivisible unity and unitary form of the country", remarked Erdogan.

    "We will follow closely all global technological progress and develop our national defense system. Accordingly, we will make Turkey less dependent on foreign industries in the defense area", underlined Erdogan.

    In this term, Turkey has been defined as a "rising star" among developing nations.ECONOMY: Turkey's EU aspiration helped to increase foreign investments in Turkey, said Erdogan.

    "Ensuring inflow of foreign investments to Turkey is among our fundamental targets," Erdogan said.

    He went on to say: "An open economic structure is one of the essential elements of our success. Free foreign exchange regime is another important element. They will alleviate the impact of domestic as well as foreign shocks on Turkish economy."

    The Turkish PM also indicated that, "average growth rate between 2003-2006 was 7.3 percent. National income, which was around 181 billion USD in 2002, reached 400 billion USD in 2006. Thus Turkey ranked the 17th biggest economy of the world. National income per capita, which was 2,598 USD in 2002, reached 5,477 USD at the end of 2006."

    "Turkey's foreign trade volume rose from 87 billion USD to 223 billion USD between 2002 and 2006, and export figures reached 97 billion USD as of July 2007. We expect Turkey's exports to exceed 200 billion USD in 2013," Erdogan underlined.

    Below are the highlights from the program: "Central Bank's foreign-exchange reserves, which were nearly 26.8 billion USD by the end of 2002, reached 70 billion USD as of August 2007, the highest figures in the history. Consequently, our economy's resistance against external shocks has increased," Erdogan said.

    "While the privatizations carried out between 1985 and 2002 amounted to only 8 billion USD, the privatizations conducted since 2003 reached 33 billion USD. This way, the public sector's share in economy has been diminished and the private sector's role has been strengthened," he noted.

    Moreover, Erdogan said, "Our main target is to make Turkey one of the top 10 economies of the world by the year 2023, in terms of the extent of GNP based on purchasing power parity".

    Erdogan also stated, "On the other hand, the ratio of Overall Net Public Debt over Gross National Product, which was around 78 percent by the end of 2002, decreased to 45 percent as of the end of 2006. In the upcoming period, the ratio of public debt over national income will be drawn down more. In spite of the recent negative developments in the global markets, the interest rates are currently around 17-19 percent as of August 2007".

    "Our government's goal is to reduce interest rates to one-digit figures in the upcoming period," he affirmed.

    FOREIGN INVESTMENT AND ENERGY: Erdogan stated: "We will try to attract prominent investors to our country with the strategy we will set up in coordination with the newly established Investment Incentive and Promotion Agency."

    On the other hand, Erdogan said: "The main factor in our energy program is the safety of energy supply. Ensuring participation of the private sector in electricity generation and transmission, forming a competitive market, increasing the number of supplier countries, using domestic resources in energy generation and reducing our dependence on imports are our priorities in energy sector."

    "Just as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline demonstrated, we will strengthen Turkey's geo-strategic role in channeling regional oil, natural gas and electricity to international markets. We will work to make Ceyhan a major hub in the energy distribution, as well. By completing natural gas pipelines, Turkey will play a vital role in transferring natural gas to Europe", said Erdogan."We will endeavour to transfer the Caspian region and Middle East natural gas reserves to European markets via the Turkey- Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (NABUCCO) natural gas pipeline. Furthermore, a natural gas pipeline, with an annual capacity of 12 billion cubic meters, will be established connecting Turkey, Greece and Italy (Southern Europe Line)", noted Erdogan."The dams of Boyabat, Deriner, Ermenek and Ilisu will be completed during our term. We will begin constructing the Yusufeli dam soon. We will give priority to the construction of hydroelectric and thermal power plants", stressed Erdogan.

    ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESOURCES: On energy policies, Erdogan said: Our country will assume more roles in transporting energy resources in our region like oil, natural gas and electricity to international markets, and we will increase the geostrategic location of our country. We will maintain our efforts to fulfill Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (NABUCCO) Natural Gas Pipeline Project --- that envisages shipping Caspian and Middle Eastern gas reserves to European markets. We will complete our efforts to integrate our electricity system to the European electricity system in the possible shortest time.""Also, a natural gas pipeline with a capacity of 12 billion cubic meters p.a., and an electricity transmission line will be put into practice among Turkey, Greece and Italy," he stated.

    Erdogan also noted that the government will work to develop alternative energy resources, and added, "Legal initiatives to include nuclear energy to our energy resources will be concluded rapidly, and private investments will be supported."

    "We will carry on with the judicial reforms in a determined way during the upcoming period. Preventive Law' implementations will be developed in order to prevent disputes before their arising", Erdogan noted.

    Underscoring the importance of an independent and objective judicial system, Erdogan said, "Various legal amendments, which envisage alternative ways to solve disputes, will be carried out in order to enable rapid, simple, low-cost and efficient solution of conflicts and to reduce the work load of judicial organs"."We will continue to carry out activities aiming to strengthen judicial and executive capacity and studies on legislation needed to reach EU standards," he added.

    NATIONAL SECURITY: "Our determined stance against all kinds of endeavours threatening our national security will continue," Erdogan affirmed.Regarding terrorism issue, Erdogan said, "During our ruling, we have actively defended Turkey's rightful position on the fight against terrorism at international platforms and we will continue to do so".

    "The university system of Turkey needs reforms in order to contribute well educated individuals to the society who will have the ability for critical thinking and will share universal democratic values," said Erdogan.

    "The way to resolve resource matters for universities goes through a management that contributes to the decision making process and can be held accountable. Universities must be free from a scientific perspective, independent from an administration point of view and must be able to generate financial resources", noted Erdogan.

    On foreign policy and Cyprus Prime Minister Erdogan said: "Our historical past, geographical and cultural ties and strategic position require a multi-dimensional foreign policy. We should boost economic, cultural and political ties with the neighboring countries. The government sees strengthening ties with the Balkans, Caucasus, Middle East and Central Asian regions and with the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian and Persian basins are primary targets."Erdogan said improving international activities of the TRNC and preserving balance and stability in East Mediterranean formed the two main strategic targets of Turkey's Cyprus policy, indicating that the AK Party government pursued a "dynamic Cyprus policy" in the past period.

    "As a result of the active policy we have pursued, Turkey gained a very big maneuver ability in the international platform without making any concession from the national interests. A significant rise has been observed in international contacts of the TRNC during this period. The economic development level of Turkish Cypriot people increased. We will continue to expend any necessary support to further improve TRNC's international position and main service sectors and overcome fundamental infrastructural problems.

    Indicating that the Middle East was at a junction point where very big tensions and important transformations were experienced, Erdogan said: "We will continue to exert efforts to find a fair solution to Palestinian problem and to make Lebanon reach stability."

    "Turkey's Iraq policy is based on the principles of peace, security, democracy and stability," Erdogan said, adding that resolution of the Kirkuk problem with the participation of all ethnic elements and based on the principles of equity has a primary importance for them.

    Erdogan said Turkey-EU relations were assessed not only within the framework of bilateral relations but also within the global and regional peace visions, adding that, "Turkey-EU relations are important in alleviating tensions threatening global peace, international terrorism, cultural disputes, energy security, and spread of international cooperation."

    Turkish Prime Minister said the decision made at the EU summit on December 17th, 2004 added momentum to Turkey's EU bid, and added an institutional dimension to Turkey's will to become a regional and global actor."Turkey considers its alliance with the United States, its influential role in NATO, and EU membership process as main elements of a common target. Relations which have been improved with important elements of Eurasia like Russia, China, India and Japan were not alternative to Turkey's institutionalized relations systems with the EU and the USA," Erdogan said.Finally, Erdogan said the AK Party government brought a new approach to Turkey's humanitarian aid, noting that, "we have pursued an active assistance policy to Turkish Republics, Central Asia, Caucasus, Balkans, Middle East and Africa."

    [02] Statements by Talat from Izmir on his meeting with President Papadopoulos

    Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (03.09.07) reports the following:

    Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said he was optimistic about an upcoming meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos this week and said the planned gathering could pave the way for settlement of the island's deep-seated problem.

    "I don't see any reason why we cannot solve the Cyprus problem if we reach an understanding," Talat said at a conference in the Aegean province of Izmir late on Saturday. He also played down concerns that the September 5 meeting is merely a tool to score domestic political goals in Greek Cyprus in the run-up to elections there.

    "There are criticisms that the meeting is happening because of the elections. Let there be such criticisms. They may be right, but we need an occasion to restart the peace process. Let the elections in the south be an occasion," he told the conference held to mark World Peace Day. "I look to September 5 with hope," he added.

    The meeting will be the first between Talat and Papadopoulos in more than a year. In recent remarks, Talat said he didn't want to create any kind of precondition before the meeting.

    Talat warned, however, that the Turkish Cypriots were determined to protect their rights while working for a solution to the decades-old problem. "The Turkish Cypriots have governed themselves since 1963. Today, they have a state which maintains all functions of self-rule. They will surely not give up on these mechanisms; they want peace, but they will definitely protect their political equality," he said.

    Talat is also expected to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in October. Presidential spokesman Hasan Ercak1ca said on Saturday that Ban responded to an earlier letter by Talat requesting a meeting and expressed readiness to meet the Turkish Cypriot leader in mid-October.

    A final date will be decided upon in talks between Turkish Cypriot officials and UN officials on the island this week, Ercakica also said.

    Talks on the reunification of the Turkish and Greek sections of Cyprus collapsed after a UN plan to reunite the island failed following rejection by the Greek Cypriots in 2004. The same plan was approved by a majority of the Turkish Cypriots. There has been little progress since then on the resumption of the talks.

    A July 8, 2006 agreement called for an immediate start to two-tier negotiations: one tackling everyday issues to build confidence and the other dealing with more serious political disputes including territorial and power-sharing arrangements in a federal state.

    Meanwhile, newly elected Turkish President Abdullah Gul is planning to pay his first visit abroad as president to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), according to a news report.

    Gul held a telephone conversation with Talat following his election as president last week, in which the two leaders discussed a possible visit by Gul to the island, private CNN Turk said yesterday. There was no final decision made on the timing of the visit, it also said.

    Former Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer had chilly relations with pro-reunification Talat. Sezer extended an invitation to Talat only once during his tenure.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot Afrika newspaper (03.09.07) reports in its first page that Mehmet Ali Talat, answering questions in the conference he gave in Izmir, stated that he never said that the Turkish army in Cyprus is an occupation army.

    I did not say that the Turkish army is an occupier. There is no Turkish Cypriot who says this. Only marginal groups say this. Are there no persons in Turkey who called it occupier? There are. It is wrong to attribute this thought to the Turkish Cypriots. You cannot find in the archives such a statement from my mouth, he said.

    Mr Talat went on and said that the Turkish Cypriots know very well who helped them and who saved them. He said that everyone knows that the peace operation was unavoidable. The statements of some marginals do not get along with the truth. Do not worry, Mr Talat stated to the persons who asked him the questions.

    Asked if he said in the past that we no longer want to be saved, Mr Talat said he did not say this but what he wanted to say was that they did not want an agreement which would have opened the way for them to be saved again in Cyprus. Mr Talat stated that the Turkish Cypriots want 100% Turkey´s guarantor ship in the new state to be established.

    (CS)

    [03] The British Foreign Secretary to visit Ankara

    Under the title: British foreign secretary to have talks on EU, Iraq Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (03.09.07) reports the following:

    Britain's new Foreign Secretary David Miliband is expected to pay the first high-level visit from Europe to Ankara following the July 22 parliamentary elections and the presidential election which concluded in Parliament last week.

    "Miliband is set to visit Ankara on Sept. 4-6 and officials are still working on details of his schedule," officials said. His talks are expected to focus on Turkey's European Union accession process, the Cyprus issue, as well as bilateral relations and regional issues, most notably the situation in Turkey's southern neighbor Iraq.

    Appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the new British Cabinet in June, 41-year-old Miliband will meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister and EU chief negotiator Ali Babacan.

    The visit is a sign that Turkey's EU accession process, which has been on the back burner during the election period, will pick up momentum in the new period. The new government has pledged to continue efforts for the EU membership; however, a series of hurdles, including the deep-seated Cyprus issue and growing skepticism about Turkey's EU membership in EU countries such as France, emerge as potential roadblocks.

    Britain is a staunch supporter of Turkey's membership in the 27-nation bloc.

    [04] Sweden, Italy: Time to renew EU entry efforts

    Under the title: Sweden, Italy: Time to renew EU entry efforts Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (03.09.07) reports the following:

    The European Union and Turkey should step up efforts to bring the Muslim country into the bloc now that it has a new pro-reform government, the foreign ministers of Italy and Sweden said.

    Carl Bildt - Massimo D'Alema

    "We firmly believe that negotiations should continue in earnest; the benefits are clear for both sides," Italy's Massimo D'Alema and Carl Bildt of Sweden wrote in an article published by the International Herald Tribune newspaper on Saturday.

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), re-elected in July 22 elections, unveiled a five-year government program this week to push ahead with stalled reforms to steer it towards EU membership. But doubts are growing in some member states, notably France, whether Ankara should join the 27-nation bloc.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said membership talks with Turkey, launched in 2005, could continue as long as one possible outcome was the offer of association rather than entry.

    D'Alema and Bilt warned the EU would be making a strategic mistake if it discouraged Turkey from seeking membership, forsaking a chance to consolidate democracy and prosperity in the country that could project further into the Middle East. "If the EU was to close its doors, Turkey could in fact start looking for other doors that will be open to it. Europe's mistrust easily translates into a nationalist reaction," they said. "It is high time that the EU and Ankara make fresh efforts to re-launch the accession process."

    Turkey's accession would also help the EU achieve greater energy security, as the country offers important transit routes for gas and oil from Asia. To re-launch the accession process, Turkey should scrap the "infamous" Article 301 from its penal code, which bans what it terms insults to Turkish identity, the ministers said.

    The ministers also said Ankara and the EU should move toward ending the division of Cyprus, a key obstacle in accession talks. Ankara refuses to open its ports and airports to traffic from EU member Greek Cyprus, despite EU pressure to lift the ban, and says it will allow Greek Cypriot ships and planes to use its ports and airports if the EU takes steps to ease the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. The ministers said Turkey should open quickly its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot ships and planes, while the EU should ease conditions for trade with northern Cyprus.

    The EU suspended talks last December on eight of the 35 negotiating chapters, or policy areas, to punish Turkey for failing to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus.

    [05] Statements by Soyer on the Cyprus problem after meeting with Talat

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.09.07) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said both sides in Cyprus have the responsibility of making the best out of this rare opportunity to pave the way for a lasting and mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Mr. Soyer was speaking after meeting with President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday.

    The CTP Leader -Prime Minister Soyer said whatever the pretext is, holding such a meeting was a great opportunity that should not be missed.

    Calling on the pro-solution forces on the island to support the two leaders efforts towards finding a political settlement by the end of next year, Mr. Soyer drew attention to the fact that it was not only the Turkish Cypriot people which needed a solution but Greek Cypriots as well.

    The CTP leader-Prime Minister Soyer said that they will do all that they can to find a mutually acceptable solution to the Cyprus Problem based on the political equality of the two sides.

    President Talat held separate meetings with leading political parties in the Republic to exchange views with them on his forthcoming meeting with the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos on the 5th September.

    [06] Avci puts the weight on the Greek Cypriot side for any progress to the Cyprus problem

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.09.07) broadcast the following:

    Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has said that progress at Wednesdays meeting between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the Greek Cypriot leader will depend on whether or not the Greek Cypriot Administration is sincere about moving the process forward.

    Speaking to the Turkish NTV channel, the TRNC Foreign Minister said that recent statements issued by both leaders on the island indicated that both sides are giving great importance to the upcoming meeting.

    Reminding that Presidential elections will be held in South Cyprus in February 2008, Mr. Avci said that the Turkish Cypriot Side had reservations that Papadopouloss offer to meet after such a long time was purely related to scoring points for his election campaign.

    If the Greek Cypriot Side adopts a serious and sincere attitude at the September 5th meeting, then there is hope for this process to move forward. However if it is the Greek Cypriot leaders intention to exploit this meeting for domestic and election purposes, the process will once again enter into deadlock warned Avci.

    Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot Side had little hope that a settlement will be reached on the island soon, the TRNC Foreign Minister expressed the belief that little will change after the Presidential elections in South Cyprus.

    The Foreign Minister who was in Ankara to attend the TRNC Horse race organized by the Turkish Jockey Club returned to the Republic this afternoon.

    [07] The Turkish Cypriot political parties are pessimistic for the 5th of September meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (02.09.07) reports that the general secretaries of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Omer Kalyoncu, the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Mustafa Gokmen, the National Unity Party (UBP), Nazim Cavusoglu, the Democratic Party (DP), Ertugrul Hasipoglu and the Communal Democracy Party (TDP), Asim Idris told the paper that they are not expecting any positive result regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem to come out from the 5th of September meeting between President Papadopoulos and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Mr Kalyoncu alleged that President Papadopoulos asked to meet with Mr Talat because of the presidential elections in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. If Christofias was not a candidate, Papadopoulos would not proceed to a meeting. In spite of this, this meeting should be evaluated as an opportunity, he claimed.

    Mr Gokmen said that as ORP they do not think that there is a chance for a process which will be aiming at the solution of the Cyprus problem. When the TRNC is strengthened economically and comes to the situation of being self-sufficient, the Greek Cypriot side will want a solution, he alleged.

    Mr Cavusoglu claimed that expecting a positive result from the meeting will be a great mistake.

    On his part, Mr Hasipoglu expressed the belief that there will be no result from this meeting, just like there was no result from the 8 July Gambari process. However, running away from the meeting will not be right, he said.

    Finally, Mr Idris described as positive development the meeting between the two communities after such a long time and argued that President Papadopoulos approached the meeting for giving a message to his own community during the election period. He said that they hope that the outcome of the meeting is a timetable regarding the negotiations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Volkan accuses the Greek Cypriot side of using sports with the aim of dynaming the meeting between President Papadopoulos and Talat

    Under the title TRNC basketball embargo by the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (03.09.07) reports in its first page that while two days are left before the talks between President Papadopoulos and Talat the Greek Cypriot administration is getting ready to dynamite the meeting.

    The paper writes that the Greek Cypriot basketball federation, with instructions of the Greek Cypriot administration, as it calls the Republic of Cyprus, is trying to prevent the International Dr Fazil Kucuk Spor Games which are organised for the 9th time in occupied Cyprus and in which 550 international athletes from 25 countries will participate.

    The paper writes that the Greek Cypriot Basketball Federation, trying to prevent the athletes to participate in the games, which will include, inter alia, basketball, tennis, badminton, judo, golf, chess and sailing, sent a letter full of lies and slanders to the federations of Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

    (CS)

    [09] Ali Babacan: Turkey is a country that pursues stable and peaceful policies

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (31.08.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    "Turkey, which has ingrained foreign policy traditions, is a country that pursues stable and peaceful policies," Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Friday.

    Babacan, who was appointed as the foreign minister in the 60th government formed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, came to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the first time to start his new duty.

    Addressing ministry personnel, Babacan said: "Our historical and cultural experiences, strategic position, economic dynamism as well as regional and global responsibilities entail us to pursue a careful foreign policy."

    "Turkey is becoming a regional power and a global actor with a growing influence day by day. We do have the necessary will and self-confidence to this end," Babacan added.

    [10] Erdogan:Turkey is not going to make any concessions on the Cyprus problem. Cemil Cicek in charge of Cyprus affairs

    Illegal Bayrak television (31.08.07) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stressed that Turkey is not going to make any concessions on its international interests regarding the Cyprus issue.

    Touching upon the Cyprus issue in his speech at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Mr Erdogan pointed to the importance of increasing international contacts held by the TRNC officials.

    As we did before, our government will continue to support the Turkish Cypriot People he stressed.

    Following the approval of the new Turkish cabinet by President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has read out the programme of the 60th government at the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

    On the Cyprus issue, the Turkish Premier said his government will provide all kinds of necessary support to the Turkish Cypriot People in order to promote the TRNCs international status.

    According to the new programme, the Minister of State and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek will be in charge of Cyprus coordination affairs.

    The Grand National Assembly will negotiate the new programme on Monday before holding it forth for the vote of confidence on the 5th September.The programme of the Prime Ministers Office which envisages the sharing of duties among the members of the new cabinet has been published in the Official Gazette.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan describes the new cabinet as performer and dynamic.

    [11] Turkish new draft Constitution completed

    Ankara Anatolia (A.A.) news agency (01.09.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    "We have completed the draft Constitution, and it is comprised of 137 articles," Prof. Dr. Ergun Ozbudun of Ankara's Bilkent University, who has been working on a draft constitution with a group of academicians upon the request of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said on Saturday.

    "We have submitted the draft to AK Party administration, and it is actually being examined by the party administration," he told A.A correspondent.

    Besides Ozbudun, Prof. Dr. Levent Koker of Gazi University, Prof. Dr. Zuhtu Arslan of Police Adacemy, Prof. Dr. Yavuz Atar of Konya's Selcuk University, Prof. Dr. Fazil Husnu Erdem of Diyarbakir's Dicle University and Associate Professor Serap Yazici of Istanbul's Bilgi University contributed to efforts to prepare a draft "civilian" constitution.

    "The studies will be made public within a few days," Ozbudun stated as he expressed belief that the draft will meet expectations of the public.

    According to Ozbudun, not even a member of a political party joined their initiatives to prepare a draft constitution.

    On the other hand, Ozbudun said: "Secularism is preserved in our draft as it was secured in the Constitution of 1982."

    Ozbudun noted that they have suggested that religious courses should be "selective" not a "compulsory" course, and commented that even this suggestion fortified the emphasis on secularism.

    The draft says that education will be based on secular, democratic and contemporary scientific principles, he added.

    Moreover, Milliyet newspaper (03.09.07) reports that the voting on the consitutional amendements package, which among other envisages the election of the Turkish President by the people, will start on September 11th at the customs exit points for citizens leaving Turkey and it will end on September 21st when the general voting will take place.

    [12] Turkey seems willing to proceed to EU reforms, yet no step will be taken with regard to Cyprus

    Under the title EU expects a take off, MILLIYET newspaper (03.09.07) refers to Prime Minister Erdogans statement according to which Turkeys primary goal is a take off on its EU course and writes that Brussels is now expecting from Turkey rapidly to proceed to reforms.

    After the election result in Turkey, Brussels now sees that there is no excuse for Turkey not to proceed with revitalizing its EU course and the EU expects from the country to take some steps forward as a sign of determination until the 7th of November, date on which the Turkey Progress Report will be publishes.

    According to EU circles, Turkey is willing to take within a short period of time some steps of improvement on Article 301 and the civilian-army relations, but the possibility of taking any step with regard to Cyprus, is evaluated as rather low, the paper notes.

    (ML)

    [13] Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian businessmen to attend Ankara Forum in Jerusalem

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.09.07) reports the following from Jerusalem:

    The sixth meeting of the "Ankara Forum", which brings together representatives of Turkish, Israeli and Palestinian business world, will be held in East Jerusalem at the beginning of next week, sources said on Saturday. Representatives of the business world of the three countries will discuss the Gaza industrial zone project and investments to be made in West Bank on Tuesday (September 4th), sources told A.A correspondent.

    Ankara Forum's last meeting was held in Washington D.C. five months ago. A delegation headed by Rifat Hisarciklioglu, the Chairman of the Union of Chambers & Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), will arrive in Tel Aviv on Monday evening (September 3rd).

    The Turkish delegation will also include Vehbi Dincerler, Turkey's special coordinator for Palestine; Bozkurt Aran, the DG of Middle East Department of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Guven Sak, the Director of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). The Turkish delegation will meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad on Wednesday (September 5th), and then return to Turkey.

    EG/


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