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Turkish Press Review, 04-01-21
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
21.01.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PAKISTANI PRESIDENT MUSHARRAF ADDRESSES PARLIAMENTPakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey, yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Following meetings between Turkish and Pakistani delegations, agreements were signed concerning trade and anti-terrorism efforts. The Pakistani president then delivered a speech to Parliament. Pointing to recent terrorist activities both in his own country and Turkey, Musharraf said that these terrorists were doing harm to Islam. Regarding Ankara’s European Union membership bid, the president said that when Turkey becomes an EU member, it would serve as a bridge between the Muslim world and Europe. “Pakistan fully supports the Turkish Cypriots’ struggle for their just cause,” Musharraf added. At a dinner in the visiting leader’s honor, Sezer praised Pakistan’s support for the fight against terrorism and its efforts to counter radical elements. For his part, Musharraf said that Pakistan wanted permanent peace in the region, adding that he would not allow the country to be used for terrorist ends. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “WE WON’T PURSUE POPULIST POLICIES FOR THE UPCOMING LOCAL ELECTIONS”Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged that his party would not pursue populist policies to gain an advantage in local election set for this April. “Our government’s greatest assets are trust and sincerity,” he said, adding that though some circles still had concerns concerning the economy, he considered these baseless. “Nobody need worry, because our determination and discipline for economic stability will continue.” Erdogan said that recent positive economic developments were a result of the government’s disciplined work and a rational, innovative program. Touching an issue raised at the recent Jeddah Economic Summit, which he attended, Erdogan reiterated his opposition to the establishment of an Islamic common market, adding that neither the economy nor the money had any religion. /Aksam/
 GUL MEETS WITH NEW TRNC PRIME MINISTER TALATForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with visiting Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat, who took office last week. Speaking afterwards, Talat said that Ankara and the TRNC government were united in working to protect the rights of the Turkish Cypriots, adding however that there may be some small differences in their approach to the issue. He added that TRNC President Rauf Denktas would visit Turkey on Saturday. For his part, Gul said that he hoped a resolution satisfying both sides would be reached on the island by May, when Greek Cyprus is scheduled to join the European Union. /Cumhuriyet/
 ARINC MEETS WITH AUSTRIA’S KOHL, SCHUSSELParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, who is currently paying an official visit to Vienna, yesterday attended a dinner in his honor hosted by his Austrian counterpart Andreas Kohl. Arinc said that Turkey’s European Union membership would serve to show the whole world that Muslims and Christians can live together under the EU banner to further their common values and interests. For his part, Kohl said that they were carefully watching developments in Turkey and fully supported Ankara’s recent reforms. Arinc also met with Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang Schussel. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN TO TRAVEL TO DAVOS ECONOMIC FORUMState Minister Ali Babacan is set to travel to Davos, Switzerland today to attend the World Economic Forum there. On Saturday, Babacan is expected to meet with International Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director Ann Krueger plus officials from various countries, international businessmen and representatives of finance firms. /Turkiye/
 CHIEF PROSECUTOR OK: “ACCUSED JUDGES SHOULD RESIGN”Commenting on corruption allegations against certain judges and lawyers contained in a recent Justice Ministry report, Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Nuri Ok said yesterday that while the accusations had yet to be definitely proven, the judges and lawyers named in the report should immediately step down from their posts. In a written statement, Ok said that no one could blame the whole system, but added that allegations against some jurists were responsible for blackening the entire system’s name, and called this development very serious and unfortunate. He stated that “judges don’t have immunity” and that the justice system bore a significant responsibility to ensure a free and just society. Ok further pledged that all the allegations would be examined and dealt with by the proper authorities. /Turkiye/
 NEW TURKISH-IRAQI BORDER GATE DISCUSSEDTurkish, Iraqi and US officials met yesterday to discuss opening a second border gate at the Iraqi-Turkish border to supplement the existing Habur gate. “We want the second gate to open to the way to Mosul [in northern Iraq],” said Mehmet Ozyildiz, the Foreign Ministry’s Estate and Border Affairs deputy general director, in a statement after the meeting. /Hurriyet/
 FISCHER: “TURKEY IS EUROPE’S STRATEGIC PARTNER”Turkey’s European Union membership is very important for the continent’s strategic interests, said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who is set to arrive in Ankara for an official visit today. Before leaving for the visit, Fischer said that he would bring to Turkey messages of friendship, support, loyalty and honesty. “Turkey's EU membership is more important than the Union’s missile defense system,” said Fisher in an interview with Hurriyet daily. “We would pay a heavy price if we shut our doors for Turkey.” Fischer said that giving Turkey a European perspective was very important, adding that problems between Ankara and the EU could be solved through mutual trust. Reiterating Germany’s support to Turkey, Fischer said, “This is no political maneuver, but rather is important for our common strategy. If Turkey can unite Islam and democracy in an open and strong civilian society, and if a democratic Turkey with European standards emerges, this would be in my account the most important step in the fight against terrorism.” /Hurriyet/
 COMMISSION PASSES BILL TO STRIKE ZEROS FROM LIRAParliament’s Planning and Budget Commission yesterday passed a bill to eliminate six zeros from the Turkish lira as of Jan 1, 2005. Addressing the commission, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that following this measure, a new re-valued lira would go into circulation. Touching on Turkey’s International Monetary Fund-supported economic program, Babacan reiterated that the government wouldn’t deviate from the program, adding that Ankara’s relations with the IMF were good. In related news, a visiting IMF delegation led by Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday met with Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. Th delegation is expected to leave Turkey today. /Aksam/
 GERMAN PARLIAMENTARIAN: “SPECIAL EU MEMBERSHIP FOR TURKEY ISN’T BEING DISCUSSED”No “special status” European Union membership for Turkey is being considered now, but could be later as a preliminary stage to its full membership, said a prominent German parliamentarian yesterday. “Those who oppose starting accession talks with Turkey would bring this country’s reform process to a halt,” warned Ruhe, a high-ranking member of the Bundestag’s Foreign Relations Commission, speaking to German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. He further predicted that Ankara could gain full EU membership within 12-15 years. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 AND WHAT DO THE ‘NON-TRAITORS’ PROPOSE FOR CYPRUS? BY ABDULHAMIT BILICI (ZAMAN)Columnist Abdulhamit Bilici comments on the Cyprus issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Recent remarks by Aegean Army Commander Gen. Hursit Tolon have had a ripple effect in Ankara. Gen. Tolon accused certain circles, circles he characterized as advocating a ‘give and get rid of’ approach to the Cyprus issue, of being traitors to Turkey. Since Tolon isn’t authorized to speak on behalf of the General Staff’s Office, his words do not reflect the military’s overall perspective. However, his views are of great importance since he is one of the top commanders of the Turkish army.
When I read the full text of his statement, I felt it fell extremely short, because Tolon failed to offer a solution proposal as an alternative to the one he believes was developed by ‘traitors.’ However, after such serious accusations we really need to hear Tolon’s own solution proposal.
Cyprus is no ordinary issue on which everybody can arbitrarily develop their own personal philosophy. Moreover, people who are sensitive about this national cause should be more careful in their statements during such a critical period when the General Staff’s Office and the government are trying to develop a common stance.
Cyprus is not a philosophical issue, as we have a strict calendar and a great many issues still awaiting resolution. The Greek Cypriots are set to join the ranks of the EU whether a settlement is reached or not. Turkey will have to sign the Customs Union agreement with the Greek Cypriots. After May, the Greek Cypriots will become member of the Turkey-EU Partnership Council and will probably want to open an embassy in Ankara. They will launch anti-Turkey campaigns inside the Union. Furthermore, when Ankara fights for its membership, they will be closely involved with the decision-making mechanism on it and the other candidates. In a possible no- win case, Turkey will either have to pay billions of dollars to Greek Cypriots as compensation in cases like Loizidou’s, or it will be kicked off the European Council.
Therefore, those who see themselves as the ‘real patriots’ must present their own solutions to these problems before harshly criticizing the steadfast efforts of others. Of course, the ideal solution is to persuade the world to recognize the existence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). However, we know that not even Washington would recognize the TRNC when it badly needed Ankara’s support before the Iraq war.
Let’s forget about the traditional stances of the EU, the UN and the US, which are against Turkey’s position. In both Turkey and the TRNC, the general public also wants to solve this issue as soon as possible. In short, Ankara’s recent solution proposals are very important because they try to factor in every single aspect of the issue without getting carried away by feeling.
The National Security Council (NSC) meeting set for Friday is expected to re-affirm Ankara’s new stance on Cyprus. Ankara is committed to begin negotiations in line with the UN resolution plan. If the NSC manages to do this, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will have a better hand to play during his meetings with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and US President George W. Bush in Washington and New York next week.”
 THE EU AND SEPARATISM BY COSKUN KIRCA (AKSAM)Columnist Coskun Kirca comments on the European Union and its stance towards Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Our disagreement with the European Union isn’t confined only to the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) role, the Cyprus issue or bilateral problems with Greece. Another problem concerns southeastern Anatolia. The EU’s stance on this issue is raising suspicions. The EU is, for instance, holding back from recognizing the new names of the PKK terrorist organization as terrorists. This stance is 180° from that of the United States. Some EU officials consider these people ‘human rights activists’ and so give them support. People in most EU countries favor the establishment of an independent ‘Kurdistan.’ This stance isn’t reflected in their countries’ parliaments, but it will be soon, because the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will show its tendency to continue to protect people convicted of terrorism and_or separatism.
Actually the European Convention of Human Rights gives countries the right to prohibit certain expressions in the presence of an immediate or close threat in order to protect a country’s integrity and if the sovereign state determines that these constitute a bona fide threat. However, the European Council controls Turkey on the human rights issue. In addition, the ECHR has a strong leaning towards rejecting the permanent closures of separatist political parties, as if the state had no right to identify threats and no authority on this issue. Even if we ended our relationship with the ECHR in favor of re-entering on our own terms, the crisis won’t end but will in fact spread to all European institutions. Then the Turkish people will fully understand what kind of a future is being prepared by circles who want the EU to dominate us.”
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