|Thursday, 4 June 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 02-05-01
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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> <map name="FPMap1"> <_map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 HISTORIC SECURITY AGREEMENT SIGNED IN TRABZONThe Interior Ministers of Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan yesterday signed an agreement in Trabzon for joint action against terrorism, organized crime and as well as cooperation on ensuring the security of energy pipelines. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who met with his Azerbaijani and Georgian counterparts this week, said that the aim of the pact was to provide peace and stability in the region. “With this meeting we wanted to underline the importance of international cooperation against terrorism, organized crime and drug smuggling,” Sezer added. Sezer also stated that the three national signatories would take advantage of this opportunity to make strenuous efforts for peace and security in the Caucasus region. /Hurriyet/
 YILMAZ: “WHILE EVALUATING TERRORIST GROUPS, THE EU IS ALSO AFRAID OF THEM”Deputy Prime Minister and Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday that even as the European Union is evaluating terrorist groups, they are also looking behind their backs in fear of these groups. Yilmaz also predicted that the terrorist PKK would be included on the EU’s revised terrorist group list, but that the DHKP-C might not be added until later, echoing a widespread view among EU observers. /Hurriyet/
 BAHCELI CRITICIZES TWO-ROUND ELECTION PROPOSALCalling the idea of a two-round election system for Turkey “unrealistic,” Deputy Prime Minister and Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said yesterday, “Such a system would encourage the formation of ethnic, religious and regional blocs and lay the groundwork for a dangerous polarization.” At the MHP’s parliamentary group meeting, Bahceli spoke on the two-round proposal which emerged after the recent success of extremist politician Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round of French presidential elections. “It is impossible to understand that how members of terrorist organizations are wreaking havoc in the European Parliament, even as the EP lambastes Le Pen,” he stated. “More importantly, how exactly does asking Turkey to guarantee the political freedoms of terrorist organization members and supporters serve to promote democracy and friendship? While the restlessness and reaction against the ghost of racism in Europe are obvious, one cannot help but doubt the goodwill of those who displayed neither support nor tolerance to Turkey while it faced a vicious terrorism campaign lasting 15 years.” /Turkiye/
 CEM: “THE RISE OF THE RIGHT IN EUROPE IS DANGEROUS”Foreign Minister Ismail Cem gave a speech entitled “Turkey, Europe and Eurasia” at the beginning of this week at the Strategic International Relations Institute (Institut des Relations Internationales et Stratégiques), a Paris-based prominent strategic research center specializing in the problems of international relations. Cem remarked that Turkey’s policies on Europe and Eurasia were not incompatible but rather complementary, and that they are aimed on the one hand at joining the EU, and on the other at playing a pivotal role in Eurasia. Cem stated that the rise of the extreme right in Europe, a political faction he called “notorious for xenophobic nationalism,” constituted a serious problem against Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. Cem also held a press conference yesterday in Paris, briefing journalists on his contacts with French officials. Stating that abolishing the death penalty was of great importance for Turkey to fulfill the EU’s Copenhagen criteria, Cem said, “Turkey hasn’t carried out any death sentences for 20 years. That’s why I don’t see any reason not to abolish the practice.” When asked about Turkey’s views on education and broadcasting in languages other than Turkish, Cem stated that it was “not impossible” for Turkey to make regulations on this issue in accordance with its interests, just as various practices can be seen in a number of European countries. /Cumhuriyet/
 DERVIS: “INTEREST RATES SHOULD NOT EXCEED 6%”State Minister for the Economy Kemal Dervis argued yesterday that persistently high interest rates were holding Turkey back and that the nation’s aim should be a real interest rate of no higher than 6%. Speaking at an Istanbul conference on “Turkey: New Dynamism, New Opportunities” sponsored jointly by the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune, Dervis remarked that no country could long survive interest rates of 20% or more. In order to bring down these rates and reach the targets of the government’s economic program, he said that reducing inflation was “imperative.” Dervis predicted reduced inflation as early as this summer. The economy minister also counseled against “quick fixes” to boost Turkey’s growth. /Milliyet/
 EU TO INCLUDE PKK ON TERRORIST LISTThe European Union member countries’ permanent representatives in Brussels reportedly decided yesterday to add the terrorist PKK to the EU list of terrorist groups, thus redressing a glaring omission on the last such list. However, the new list fails to include the terrorist DHKP-C and the PKK’s self-proclaimed new label, KADEK. Responding to preliminary reports of the new list, which has not officially been released yet, KADEK so-called leadership council member Osman Ocalan claimed that the PKK had not been a terrorist group for 15 years and called the new listing “strange.” The PKK’s terrorist campaign in southeastern Anatolia over the last 15 years enacted a death toll of over 30,000 lives. /Turkiye/
 CILLER DENOUNCES GOVERNMENT OVER CONDITIONAL RELEASETrue Path Party (DYP) leader Tansu Ciller released a statement yesterday objecting to efforts to revive a conditional release bill after President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s veto, and moving on to a more general critique of the government coalition. “The vacuum of leadership in Turkey is turning into a permanent acute crisis,” Ciller wrote. “The government behind this chaos and scandal of justice should resign. Their mishandling of the economy and foreign policy has now infected the justice system. What’s important now is not to enact many laws, but to pass practical, smart laws that address our nation’s pressing needs.” /Turkiye/
 JEWS GATHER TO LOBBY FOR TURKEYJews of Turkish origin living in Switzerland are set to establish an association to bring together all Jews of Turkish origin throughout the world to lobby on Turkey’s behalf. A ceremony will be held tomorrow to mark the establishment of the “Association of Jews from Turkey” with the attendance of Turkish State Minister Sukru Sina Gurel. Albert Covo, one of the group’s founding members, stated that there was a deep-rooted friendship between Jews and Turkey which had endured for centuries and that the association hoped to reinforce this relationship by lobbying for Turkey within the international community. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHHIBBER: “THIS ECONOMIC PROGRAM WILL HELP TURKEY IMPROVE”World Bank Turkey Director Ajay Chhibber yesterday lauded the government’s current Turkish economic program as “ambitious and aggressive,” adding, “With this program Turkey will improve and become a country with a high standard of living.” Speaking at a conference in Istanbul organized by the Financial Times and the International Herald Tribune, Chhibber also stated that Turkey was the country with the highest energy costs in Europe, but that steps have been taken to address this problem and that energy costs are decreasing as the natural gas supply is increasing. /Hurriyet/
 CB GOVERNOR: “2002 TRADE DEFICIT COULD TOTAL $2.2 BILLION”Speaking to Parliament’s Budget and Planning Commission, Central Bank Governor said yesterday that Turkey’s trade balance this year was expected to end in a deficit of approximately $2.2 billion, with capital inflow for the year adding up to $6.6 billion. “Our 2001 trade deficit of $9.8 billion gave way to a $3.3 billion surplus last year,” he added. “This was due mainly to the lira’s rapid depreciation caused by Turkey’s contracting economy.” /Milliyet/
 TIFA MEETING ADDRESSES US-TURKEY INDUSTRIAL ZONESThe third meeting of the Turkish-US Industrial Investment Framework (TUFA) last week in Washington DC brought together delegations from Turkey’s Foreign Trade and Investment to discuss technical and legal aspects of the proposed Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ). An undersecretariat official said after the meeting that the prevailing atmosphere had been “positive” and that the US was due to begin procedures to establish a QIZ in Turkey. The US side also urged Turkey to begin contacts with Israel to move the matter forward. Technically the QIZ are a US Israeli arrangement, but the US decided to bring close ally Turkey into the fold this year/ Hurriyet/
 YAPI CREDIT HONORED FOR TOP 10 VISA CARD SUCCESSYapi Kredi was honored yesterday for joining the ranks of the top 10 Visa card issuers internationally. Recent figures show the Turkish bank ranking number 10 among 5,700 banks in 45 countries in terms of number of cards issued, and number 20 in terms of transactions made with Visa cards. VISA European Chairman Hans Van Der Verde presented Yapi Kredi Director-General Naci Sigin and Deputy Director-General Nazan Somer a commemorative plate to mark the bank’s achievement. Van Der Verde remarked that Yapi Kredi was a special bank because it was the first bank to issue Visa cards in Turkey. Speaking of the honor, Sigin said, “Our aim is to compete with European banks. This achievement is not our success alone, but also Turkey’s.” /Sabah/
 FORMULA ONE RACING TO HIT TURKEYA representative of popular European racing circuit Formula One said yesterday that plans were being laid for races to be held in Turkey as early as 2005 or 2006. “We’ve decided to bring the races to Turkey at a racetrack to be determined later,” said Formula One official Cem Hakko after meeting with State Minister Fikret Unlu. In addition, world-famous racing cars used by Formula One drivers are currently being exhibited at Istanbul’s Beylikduzu Migros Shopping Center. The exhibit will run through May 19 and will then be shown at Antalya’s Migros Shopping Center on May 23-June 9. /Sabah/
 ANKARA HOSTS CARTOON FESTIVAL THIS WEEKENDThe International Ankara Cartoon Festival sponsored by Cartoon Foundation begins on Friday at the Art and Sculpture Museum and will run through May 7. The festival will feature work by Turkish and foreign cartoonists from a half dozen six countries, as well as symposiums, movie and computer workshops, video shows and panel discussions. Suat Yildiz will also receive an award for “Cartoonist of the Year.” The theme for this year’s festival is “Cartoons and Information Technology.” /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE TWO-ROUND AND NARROW REGION ELECTION SYSTEM BY OKTAY GONENSIN (SABAH)Columnist Oktay Gonensin comments on election systems in France and Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“ Importing France’s two-round election system to Turkey has been previously brought up at various times, and then the subject was dropped. In 1994, when center-left and center-right parties were competing for the same votes, the Welfare Party’s (RP) candidates captured 20% of the voters.
A central aspect of France’s two-round system is the ‘narrow region’ practice. Under this system only one person from each region is selected. Voters vote for one candidate only rather than a long list. In this way, a direct relation is obtained between the regional voters and the candidate.
Before the second round a unanimity originating from the grassroots is ensured between parties. For example, let’s say a candidate from party A proceeds to the second round in one region, and in another region, a candidate from party B does the same. The parties then support each other, and the voters elect the best candidate for them, and they know that in the other region voters of the other party will support their party’s candidate. This an unanimity at the grassroots. As a result, surprise coalitions which are not supported by voters do not emerge.
In this system, party administrations should decide on the best candidates in terms of suitability for its own voters as well as concerning other parties’ voters. People, who are opposed to the two-round election system have certain anxieties. Although they do not express it clearly, they are concerned that right-wing parties will always be make it to the second round, and that the left wing may be erased. Under current conditions they may be right. However, if the center-left enters elections with 4 or 5 parties including new ones to be established, no matter the system, it will never be a viable alternative to the ruling party or parties.
Another anxiety, also not expressed clearly, is that parties like HADEP or ones similar to it in southeastern Anatolia may also be erased. Indeed, this shows their own weakness, “We are unable to produce policies for our citizens in the southeastern region, nor can we direct them to centrist parties by meeting their expectations, and we cannot prevent them from being used by extremist parties.”
Such criticisms and anxieties spring from today’s dysfunctional political understanding which has also led to difficulties in the current system and thus paved the way for the rise of extremist parties.”
 WHAT ABOUT AFGHANISTAN? BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the Afganistan issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Afghanistan issue has apparently been put on the back burner due first to Iraq and then to the Palestine-Israel conflict. However, the country’s situation is still a complex one. Osama bin Laden is not making headlines anymore, but everybody knows that the US intelligence service is hellbent on finding him. It is clear that such a person cannot hide from them forever.
The US administration is making Afghanistan act in line with its wishes. The US has begun to establish bases in regional countries. If 10 years ago someone had told us that the US would establish bases in the Caucasus and Central Asia, and Russia would not object, nobody would take him seriously.
Turkey has decided to take command of the international peacekeeping force (ISAF) to ensure the peace in Kabul and the surrounding area. Waving the Turkish flag in Central Asia is a positive thing.
However, where is Afghanistan is going to? Former King Zahir Shah recently returned from Rome after a 10-year exile. Now, the clan assembly is expected to convene and a new government to come to the power.
Will Zahir Shah and his son be invited back to the throne? I don’t think the Afghan leaders will be wise enough to do that. If they were that smart, they would not have exiled their king in the first place, opened their arms to communism, caused millions of Afghans to lose their lives, brought al-Qaeda to their country, tortured their women and destroyed Buddha statues, enraging the international community.
The king will not rule the country by himself, but represent the unity of the country like a flag. If this unification can be ensured, this important country will finally be able to develop.”
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