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Turkish Press Review, 04-11-02
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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
02.11.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TURKISH PARLIAMENTARIANS TO OBSERVE US ELECTIONSAfter a long history of itself sending observers to elections in third world countries, this year the United States has accepted foreign observers for today’s hotly contended presidential elections. Under the umbrella of the Organization for Security and Cooperation for Europe (OSCE), a delegation of some 60 parliamentarians from various countries will act as observers at polling places across the US. Representing Turkey in the delegation are Nevzat Yalcintas and Alaaddin Buyukkaya from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Haluk Kepenek from the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). The AKP deputies are expected to serve in Washington, DC, with Kepenek observing in Florida, the scene of legal disputes and balloting chaos four years ago. Yalcintas told reporters that the US administration had not been willing, but that the OSCE had urged them to accept the observers. /Turkiye/
 CONTROVERSY MARS RELEASE OF REPORTA press conference yesterday marking the release of a new report on minority and cultural rights was interrupted when members of the commission that produced the document objected to its release. Human Rights Advisory Board (IHDK) leader Ibrahim Kaboglu threatened to end the press conference if the dissident members failed to be orderly and show respect. The IHDK administration had planned the conference to respond to weeks-long criticism from its own members, media and top state officials concerning the controversial report, which was prepared by a sub-committee headed by Professor Baskin Oran. /All papers/
 HEALTHCARE REFORM BILL SENT TO PARLIAMENTThe government yesterday sent a healthcare reform bill to Parliament. The 11-article bill proposes giving the Health Ministry jurisdiction over all state-owned health facilities and services. The bill is expected to be debated in Parliament in the coming days. /Turkiye/
 FORMER MINISTERS’ TRIAL AT SUPREME STATE COUNCIL TO BEGIN TODAYThe trial of former Energy and Natural Resources Ministers Cumhur Ersumer and Zeki Cakan is scheduled to begin today at the Supreme State Court. The members of the Constitutional Court will try the ministers for allegations of corruption during their terms in office. The court is due today to hear the ministers’ defense. Prosecutors are reportedly seeking prison terms for the former ministers of 1-10 years. /Cumhuriyet/
 PRODI: “TURKEY’S MEMBERSHIP BID AND REFERENDUMS ON THE EU CONSTITUTION ARE SEPARATE MATTERS”There is no connection between Turkey’s prospective membership and referendums on the European Union Constitution, European Union Commission President Romano Prodi yesterday told Italian daily La Repubblica. In an interview, Prodi said that Turkey’s accession had its own process, one which would take years. “However, the situation of the Constitution, which will have to be approved by referendums, is different from Turkey’s membership process,” he added. /Sabah/
 MAVRONIKOLAS: “ANKARA SHOULDN’T EXPECT EU ACCESSION TALKS BEFORE RECOGNIZING GREEK CYPRUS”Echoing recent comments by other Nicosia officials, Greek Cypriot Defense Minister Kiriakos Mavronikolas said yesterday that Ankara shouldn’t expect to begin its accession talks before recognizing Greek Cyprus. Also speaking yesterday, Greek Cypriot government spokesman Kipros Hrisostomidis stated that the government didn’t want to block Turkey’s EU bid, but added that there were certain conditions it should fulfill. In related news, US Special Coordinator for Cyprus Tom Weston warned that if Greek Cyprus vetoes the beginning of Ankara’s accession talks, this would have serious repercussions. /Milliyet/
 TRNC’S EROGLU RETURNS MANDATE TO DENKTASTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu yesterday returned to President Rauf Denktas his mandate to form a new government after failing to piece together a new coalition. After their meeting, Denktas said that he would do his constitutional duty and hand over the mandate to someone else after considering the matter. Eroglu said that if Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat was selected for the mandate, then he should turn it down in order to open the way for elections, adding, “We can’t continue under the current government.” /Turkiye/
 TRNC PREMIER TALAT: “I’M READY TO DISCUSS CHANGES TO ANNAN’S PLAN”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that Turkish Cypriots were ready to discuss certain changes and additions to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus reunification plan, which failed in spring referendums due to Greek Cypriot opposition. In an interview with Greek Cypriot daily Fileleftheros, Talat said, “Greek Cyprus should decide what it wants.” Asked whether he was ready to discuss revisions to the plan, Talat said, “Of course. If [Greek Cypriot leader Tassos] Papadopoulos has proposals for changes, we will discuss them and naturally we will bring our own proposals.” He added that negotiations over Cyprus should be under the auspices of the United Nations, not the European Union. /Turkiye/
 THREE FAITHS GATHER FOR FAST-BREAKING DINNERBringing together leaders from three different faiths, religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu yesterday hosted an fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul. Fener Greek Patriarch Bartolomeos, Rabbi Ishak (Yitzhak) Haleva, and Istanbul Mufti Mustafa Cagrici attended the Iftar dinner, a traditional evening meal during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan (Ramazan). Bardakoglu praised the fellowship of the spiritual leaders, calling it an example for the entire nation. Bardakoglu also called for mutual respect for the sacred objects of different religions. Rabbi Haleva read aloud a passage from the Tanakh. “How good, how nice it is for all brothers to come together,” he quoted, adding, “This picture has great importance for God’s presence.” /Hurriyet/
 TIM CHAIRMAN: “OCTOBER EXPORTS WERE A RECORD-BREAKING $5.9 BILLION”Exports in October rose 20.4% to reach a record-breaking $5.92 billion, announced Turkish Exporters Union (TIM) Chairman Oguz Satici yesterday. The banner month pushed year-to-date exports to $60.41 billion, Satici told a press conference. Touching on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Satici stressed that the coming 15 years would be difficult both economically and socially, adding that he believed Ankara would get a date at this December’s EU summit to begin its accession talks. He further stated that Turkey was growing faster than the other EU candidates and predicted further rises in this growth. /Aksam/
 UNAKITAN: “TURKEY IS ON THE RIGHT TRACK”Turkey is on the right track, said Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan yesterday. Unakitan stated that next year’s budget is being seen as the most trustworthy budget in recent years. In related news, Parliament’s Budget Commission has completed work on the 2005 budget plan. Today the commission will discuss the budgets for the presidency, Parliament and court of accounts. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 MINORITY REPORT BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the report on minority and cultural rights prepared by the Prime Ministry’s Human Rights Advisory Board. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Prime Ministry’s Human Rights Advisory Board (IHDK) was unable to release its report on minority and cultural rights. The board reworked the report due to objections to the initial version, and a press conference held by Ibrahim Kaboglu on the board’s behalf was interrupted by certain board members. It’s a shame that a high-ranking board including scholars, experts and representatives of both non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and unions was unable to express its view without a fight. Yesterday, Kaboglu said that the board had completed the report, but some board members claimed that it hadn’t been voted on properly. They refused to recognize it and called for another board meeting. Kaboglu stated that the report had been voted on properly and approved by a majority, but he didn’t give an exact tally.
If a board has sharp disagreements, the solution isn’t interrupting a press conference but including the views of both the majority and the minority. The IHDK is neither the Parliament, nor the government. It is an advisory board and its views should have been released to the public in a democratic way.”
 THE US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS AND TURKEY BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Gunduz Aktan comments on today’s United States presidential elections and Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Let’s imagine the effects on Turkey of today’s US presidential elections.
If Bush wins, it will be his second and last term. He is expected to face tough choices, but whether he would withdraw from Iraq, thus accepting failure, or else send more troops to the country is hard to predict. If US forces were to withdraw abruptly, an Iraqi civil war might erupt, which could plunge all of its neighbors into even greater chaos.
However, if Washington decides to send more troops to the region, the Bush administration is very likely to face greater opposition from the European Union.
If US-EU relations are damaged by the Bush administration’s insistence on a go-it-along Iraq policy, Washington is then expected to try to improve ties with Russia, China and India. If the US helps these countries with their regional crises involving Muslim groups, then the so-called ‘clash of civilizations’ will worsen.
It’s difficult to know what Kerry would do about Iraq. If he manages to unravel Iraq’s Gordian knot, he would probably pursue a more cautious Middle East policy in the future.
What concerns Turkey about Kerry is his views on the so-called Armenian genocide. Previous US presidents promised the Armenian lobby while campaigning to recognize the ‘genocide,’ but backtracked once in office. However, no candidate has gone as far as Kerry.
No matter who wins, our relations with Washington will be affected by our EU membership bid. Turkey will be quite defenseless against pressure from Brussels in the decade to come if the EU decides to start Ankara’s membership bid. So Ankara will not be able to deviate from Brussels’ demands no matter what our national interests say. Turkish-Israeli relations would probably be hurt by this. Moreover, it would be harder for Washington to make use of Turkey’s military capabilities if it seeks more unilateral interventions in the region. The EU wouldn’t want Turkey to deviate from its collective stance that Washington should end its unilateralism in the Middle East.
Some have argued that the EU would gain more leverage with the US if it accepts Turkey, a strategically located country with a large military, into its ranks. Therefore, some say that our EU accession would deal a great blow to our relations with Washington.
No matter who wins today’s elections, we should be careful in managing our relations with the world’s only superpower.”
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