|Monday, 20 May 2013|
Turkish Press Review, 04-05-28
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
28.05.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN: “WE’LL TRY TO ADDRESS OUR SHORTCOMINGS IN EU REFORMS BEFORE THE DECEMBER SUMMIT”Appearing on television yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan firmly criticized recent developments in Palestine and urged stronger United Nations action on the issue. Touching on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Erdogan acknowledged some shortcomings in fulfilling the EU reforms, but pledged that Ankara would try to address these by the December EU summit, when the Union is to decide whether or not to begin its accession talks. Later, before leaving for London, Erdogan said that Britain had long supported Turkey’s EU membership bid, adding that last week British Prime Minister Tony Blair had reiterated this in Ankara. Erdogan stated that in a speech at Oxford University he would speak on Ankara’s political and economic progress in the runup to the summit. The premier further stated during his visit he would also meet with Turks living in Britain and Turkish businessmen. Asked about a possible US request for expanded use of Incirlik Airbase, Erdogan said that if the US asks for this, then Parliament would decide on the issue. Touching on EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen’s recent positive statements on Turkey’s EU membership bid, Erdogan said that he appreciated these comments. /Turkiye/
 VERHEUGEN: “TURKEY WILL BE ASKED TO FULFILL THE SAME CRITERIA AS OTHER CANDIDATES”European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenther Verheugen pledged yesterday that the EU would ask Turkey to fulfill the same criteria applied to other candidate countries. He stated that in the preparation of the EU’s Turkey Progress Report due in early October, the same procedures would be applied as on other countries, with no double standards. Verheugen said that before the beginning of Ankara’s full membership negotiations, it could not be asked to fulfill the Copenhagen criteria 100%, as this had not been even asked of other EU member countries. In related news, European Commission Turkey Representative Hansjoerg Kretschmer, who recently paid visits to southeastern Anatolia, including the provinces of Mus, Bitlis, Siirt and Batman, said that Turkey had taken very important steps on the road of human rights, freedom and democracy. He added that in order to implement those reforms Turkey needed to maintain a peaceful situation. /Sabah/
 GUL: “THE CHP’S CALL FOR SECULARISM IN IRAQ WAS WRONG”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul charged yesterday that a document prepared by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) following Parliament’s debates on Iraq and the Middle East on Wednesday was “diplomatically wrong” and had been guided by domestic political concerns. Commenting on the CHP statement proposing a “democratic, secular” administration in Iraq, Gul said that Anakra instead favored a “democratic and modern” one, as the CHP’s insistence on the matter was not realistic given Iraq’s current situation. “All sides in Iraq agreed on certain points,” said the foreign minister. “One of them is religion. The religion of Iraq will be Islam, and their constitution will be prepared in line with Islam. In such a situation, asking for secularism would be diplomatically and technically wrong.” /Turkiye/
 GUL DENIES REPORTS OF US REQUESTS FOR BROADER USE OF TURKISH AIRBASES, SEAPORTSAppearing on television yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul denied reports saying the United States has requested broader use of Turkish airbases and seaports. “Everything is in line with our 1980 defense agreement,” said Gul. “They do have proposals regarding air bases. If these proposals are within the framework of the agreement, they will be accepted.” He added that the US had made several requests about military training, adding that Ankara would not welcome requests outside the scope of the agreement. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHP DISSIDENT GROUPS CONVENEDissident groups in the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) seeking that an extraordinary convention be held convened yesterday. Speaking at the gathering, party members said that their goal was to bring the CHP to power. But CHP leader Deniz Baykal rebuffed the group, saying that inter- party issues should be discussed at its legal platforms. /Turkiye/
 GEN. BASBUG URGES INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO COMBAT TERRORISMCalling terrorism the most serious threat facing the world today, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday called on all countries worldwide to cooperate in the fight against it. Speaking at a symposium yesterday at the War Academies Command, Basbug said that Turkey was surrounded by a region of crises, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel and Palestine. Pointing to a spate of recent violence, he stated that without a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, making peace in the region would not be possible. To go further down the road of peace, Basbug continued, it is necessary to get the US on the same page as Europe and countries in the region. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok also sent a message to the gathering. /Turkiye/
 TURKEY TO SEND HELICOPTERS, STAFF TO AFGHAN PEACEKEEPING FORCEThe General Staff yesterday released a statement yesterday saying that Ankara would send three helicopters and 56 flight and maintenance staff to Kabul, Afghanistan to be used in the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF). The statement further stressed that Turkey would continue to contribute to the ISAF. /Milliyet/
 SERDAR DENKTAS SEEKS PAKISTAN’S SUPPORT FOR ENDING TRNC’S ISOLATIONTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas yesterday travelled to Islamabad to seek Pakistan’s support to end the TRNC’s international isolation. Denktas is being accompanied by a delegation during his visit. /Cumhuriyet/
 BABACAN: “THOUGH EXCHANGE RATES HAVE RISEN, WE’VE REDUCED OUR DEBT STOCK”Appearing on television yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that though exchange rates had recently risen, the nation’s debt stock had fallen. “But we should bring this debt down further,” said Babacan. He pointed out that all countries have debts, adding, “The US has the world’s largest debt, with Japan at number two.” /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TURKEY AND ITS REGION BY RAHIM ER (TURKIYE)Columnist Rahim Er comments on Turkey’s place in its region. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The General Staff is currently hosting a two-day symposium on Mideast crises from the viewpoint of Turkey, NATO and the EU, with many Turkish and foreign guests in attendance. In his long opening speech, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug analyzed almost all the issues on the agenda and took questions. Gen. Basbug’s presentation was general, but he also emphasized Turkey and its interests. The media should have covered his remarks properly, but it was focused on secularism and emphasized it, which was a great mistake. Basbug dealt with secularism straightforwardly, that is, there was no irony, no hints.
For a year now the US has put forth a concept called the Greater Middle East initiative. The world is discussing it like the blind man’s definition of an elephant. Its nature will be understood at the G-8 and NATO summits. Everybody guesses that it would extend the definition of the ‘Middle East’ to the ‘Greater Middle East,’ that is, a region extending from Morocco to the Great Wall of China. Once the Iron Curtain was an everyday term, but now it’s found only in encyclopedias. Maybe it will be the same for the Middle East as well. When a concept ends, such unexpected events as changing borders or the collapse of powers might follow. Turkey is at the center of this definition with its geography, history, culture and nation. It should have a determining role in the new structure. We shouldn’t forget that this symposium is being held just one month before the NATO summit. We belong to this geography and favor peace and oppose terrorism. Why is this region which lived in peace under Turks for 1,000 years now at each other’s throats? Whatever its name, the people of this region need Turks, and Turks need their own values.”
 CHANGE OF STYLE BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkish-Israeli relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Is Turkey’s policy towards Israel changing? At first glance, certain developments which could damage bilateral relations draw our attention. The government’s style on Israel is tougher now. Particularly Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest statements blaming the Sharon administration could signal a change in Ankara’s stance. Another signal is Erdogan’s declining to visit Israel under the current circumstances. Officials I spoke with yesterday stated that Ankara felt the obligation to take a clear stand against the recent Israeli attacks and so had raised its ‘volume,’ but that this shouldn’t be perceived as a basic policy shift. One high- ranking diplomat stated that Ankara had no intention of decreasing or ending its relations with Israel as Turkish diplomacy continues to act not emotionally, but reasonably and realistically on the issue.
* Diplomatic and political relations are continuing just as in the past. The latest Foreign Ministry statements show clearly that the level of diplomatic representation won’t be decreased and our ambassador to Tel Aviv won’t be recalled.
* Turkey’s military cooperation with Israel, including its modernization program, is continuing. In addition, new defense projects will be evaluated under the government’s new bid policy. This is a general policy and doesn’t target Turkish-Israeli ties.
* Economic and commercial relations with Israel are continuing in the same way as well. The signing of an $800 million contract between Zorlu Holding and Israel’s Jorad Energies is the latest example of this.
Criticizing the Sharon administration in Turkey and other countries and supporting the Palestinian nation is both natural and necessary. As Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission head Mehmet Dulger told TRT yesterday, ‘Turkey is a strong actor in the region and its voice has weight. Ankara isn’t taking sides in this conflict, but its words are important.’ Dulger believes Turkey should act carefully and consider its interests realistically on the issue. Actually our policy should seize the opportunity to get involved in the issue to put an end to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. The G-8 summit and then the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIO) and NATO meetings in Istanbul will set an ideal atmosphere for such an initiative. It’s a difficult mission, but worth trying.”
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