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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-25
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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> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
25.11.2002FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 SEZER: “REOPENING THE HEADSCARF ISSUE WOULD SERVE NO GOOD PURPOSE”Receiving a teachers’ delegation headed by Education Minister Erkan Mumcu to mark Nov. 24 Teachers’ Day, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday said that the nation’s teachers were truly key figures in the process of education, adding that they played a significant role in the success of the Turkish Republic. “Thanks to the efforts of its teachers, Turkey can look to the future with confidence,” stated Sezer. Addressing the contentions headscarf issue, Sezer said that basing the state’s social, economic, political and legal tenets on religious codes was not allowed under the principle of secularism, adding that raising headscarves as an issue again would be neither proper nor beneficial. Sezer, a former Constitutional Court chief justice before becoming president, remarked that the court had already settled the issue of wearing headscarves in public places. “Headscarves can be worn in private life,” Sezer stated. “However, the court annulled a legal arrangement which permitted wearing headscarves in universities, ruling it to be unconstitutional.” Sezer stated that under the court’s rulings, any legal arrangement which would permit wearing headscarves in public places would be contrary to the Constitution. “Ignoring the legal rules that bring order to the public arena and trying to make religious rules valid in practice would contradict the principle of the rule of law,” added Sezer. “I would like to stress once again that we cannot forsake the basic principles of the republic.” /Milliyet/
 NEW GOVERNMENT TO SEEK VOTE OF CONFIDENCE IN PARLIAMENT THIS WEEKParliament is scheduled to debate the 58th government’s program as read out by Prime Minister Abdullah Gul over the weekend at a session to be held tomorrow afternoon. The government and party groups are set to express their views for a period lasting one hour, while individual views will be given 10 minutes. On Thursday, a vote of confidence will be held in Parliament. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE SWEEPING LEGAL REFORMS”Appearing on television yesterday, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said that new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government would make sweeping legal reforms and also guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey. Religious freedoms, said Gul, are a part of these freedoms. Touching on President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s comments on the headscarf issue yesterday, Gul said that people and politicians should tread carefully on the issue due to its importance. “Everyone should respect individual freedoms,” stated Gul. He also reiterated that the AKP government wanted to end the practice of parliamentary immunity. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN TO RESUME EUROPEAN TOURRecep Tayyip Erdogan, the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), is to travel Lisbon, Portugal today. As part of his efforts to seek support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Erdogan has planned visits to seven EU member countries, namely Portugal, Finland, Sweden, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Denmark, the latter the current EU term president. After his arrival in Portugal, Erdogan will meet with Prime Minister Jose Durao Barroso as well as Berro Rodrigues, leader of the main opposition Socialist Party. Tomorrow, the AKP leader is scheduled to proceed to Helsinki, Finland. Over the past two weeks, Erdogan has paid visits to Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Ireland. He also traveled to Strasbourg, France to hold contacts with members of the European Parliament, and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) as well. /All Papers/
 YAKIS: “WE CAN NEGOTIATE ON THE UN CYPRUS PLAN”Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis yesterday paid a get-well visit to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas at the New York hospital where he is undergoing treatment for heart problems. Following the visit, Yakis told reporters that the recent Cyprus plan proposed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan could be grounds for negotiation. “President Denktas and I exchanged views on the plan. Our views on it were almost identical,” said Yakis. “We believe that the territorial distribution should be revised and water resources should be divided more fairly.” The Turkish foreign minister also met with US Deputy Secretary of State Marc Grossman at his hotel in New York. Grossman, a former US ambassador to Turkey, said that it was up to the two principal sides to reach a settlement, not the US, adding however that the US expected them to take a positive stance. For his part, Yakis stated that Turkey would continue to support President Denktas in all respects. He added that Denktas would convey to Annan the TRNC’s official response to the plan in the coming days. /Turkiye/
 EROGLU: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PLAN IS UNACCEPTABLE”Speaking to Greek newspaper Elefterotipia yesterday, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu said that it was impossible for the TRNC to accept the United Nations’ Cyprus plan, characterizing it as a “one-sided” proposal. “Accepting a plan prepared to satisfy only the Greek Cypriots is out of the question,” said Eroglu. “In the past, we Turkish Cypriots have gone through difficult times, and we won’t agree to any plan that would once again turn us into refugees.” Eroglu added that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan foresaw a new Cypriot state comprising two component states with equal political rights but also urged the Turkish side to hand over large parts of its territory to the Greek Cypriot side, which would displace tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots living in these areas. /Milliyet/
 SOYSAL: “WE WON’T REJECT ANNAN’S SOLUTION PROPOSAL”Mumtaz Soysal, a special advisor to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas, said over the weekend that the TRNC would not reject UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s solution plan for the Cyprus issue. Stating that the plan could constitute a basis for negotiation in the course of direct talks, Soysal underlined that the TRNC had always done its part towards reaching a settlement on Cyprus. “Any permanent solution must guarantee the presence and future of the Turkish population on the island,” he added. /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKISH NGOs TO PROMOTE EU BID IN BRUSSELSA coalition of over 200 Turkish nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), headed by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) and the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), will hold a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to promote Turkey’s EU membership bid in the leadup to next month’s Copenhagen summit. TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu and IKV Chairman Meral Gezgin Eris are expected to deliver speeches to the meeting’s opening ceremony. EU Economic and Social Council Chairman Roger Breisch and EU Commissioner for Social Affairs Anna Diamantopoulou will also participate in the gathering. /Hurriyet/
 OZILHAN: “THE AKP GOVERNMENT SHOULD TAKE STEPS BEFORE COPENHAGEN”Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan, who is currently touring European capitals to seek support for Turkey’s EU membership bid, said late last week that time was running out for Turkey to take certain urgent measures to receive a date for its accession talks during next month’s Copenhagen summit. “The Justice and Development Party [AKP] government should resist populist pressures and swiftly make the necessary arrangements,” stated Ozilhan. /Hurriyet/
 MACSHANE: “A MUSLIM COUNTRY SHOULD BE WELCOMED INTO THE EU”It is incumbent upon the European Union to welcome a Muslim country into its ranks, wrote Denis MacShane, the UK’s minister for European affairs, in yesterday’s edition of British daily the Observer. “Now Europe has a chance to make good its historic mistakes by taking a decisive step towards recognizing the central importance of Europe's Muslim heritage,” wrote MacShane. “The first move is to encourage Turkey in its aspirations to take the road towards European Union membership.” He added that Europe should never seek to be a mono-religious entity and that the EU’s constitution should affirm the freedom of all religions and the political supremacy of none. “An Islamic democracy in Turkey would allow Europe to build bridges east to the Muslim world, just as Europe must build bridges across the Atlantic to north and south America,” wrote MacShane. /Aksam/
 TURKEY TO RECEIVE $5 BILLION IMF LOANTurkey will receive a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund over the next three years within the framework of the fund’s Country Aid Strategy, the IMF announced over the weekend. Disbursement of the loan had been planned for an earlier date, but Turkey had to meet the IMF’s economic criteria before the sum was approved and scheduled. /Star/
 BOTAS: “OUR LOSSES FROM THE GULF WAR TOTALLED OVER $1.25 BILLION”Even as the United States and the Mideast region is preparing for the prospect of another war in Iraq, Turkey’s state-owned oil pipeline company BOTAS announced over the weekend that its losses from 1991’s Gulf War had totalled some $1.25 billion. Due to the cutoff of trade with Iraq, formerly one of Turkey’s top four trading partners, the nation has lost an estimated $44 billion since the war nearly 12 years ago. BOTAS’s announcement stressed that the company’s losses had not been compensated for. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 THROUGH THE DOOR OPENED BY ANNAN BY YASEMIN CONGAR (MILLIYET)Columnist Yasemin Congar writes on recent developments on the Cyprus issue and the US stance on these developments. A summary of her column is as follows:
“An American diplomat with whom I was discussing the Cyprus peace process last week ended up surprising me with what he said. I asked him what he thought about recent developments on the issue, and I expected him to say something about the stances of both sides towards UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s new plan. However, he unexpectedly said, ‘We’re satisfied with the Turkish Cypriots’ recent agreement to negotiate on Annan’s proposal. This decision shows that the Turkish Cypriots are today much more determined to reach a settlement. It’s clear that they believe that there is a chance to build a better future for themselves as part of the European Union.’
His remarks referred to the joint declaration issued by a group of Turkish Cypriot nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) on Nov. 22. This declaration underlined that Annan’s plan was a sound basis for future negotiations. The NGOs characterized the UN proposal as a historic opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, since they see it as relatively more successful in dealing with such important issues as sovereignty and constitutional rights than proposals prepared by other figures and bodies in the past. However, such a stance is contradictory to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’ recent statement that the UN plan could not be accepted as a basis for future discussions.
Each member of the Bush administration, in fact, believes that Turkey has the key to a permanent settlement on the island. Bush’s team thinks that Turkey could greatly contribute to the Cyprus peace process by encouraging the Turkish Cypriots to hold frank and forthright negotiations with the Greek Cypriots. Disheartened by Denktas’ statements opposing the UN plan, Washington is on the other hand quite satisfied with relatively constructive statements made by our ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Although US diplomatic circles find Turkey’s new Prime Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent Cyprus statements ‘promising,’ they also have certain questions on their minds: Can the AKP really contribute to the Cyprus peace process? Will the Turkish Foreign Ministry and military allow the AKP to change the course of the country’s Cyprus policy, which has been in favor of maintaining the status quo on the island?
Over this last year, US officials have urged every single EU official they met with to set a date for Turkey’s accession negotiations. At the same time, they also tried to encourage Turkey to take more effective steps on the Cyprus issue. Washington believes that Annan’s plan is a great opportunity for Turkey. However, the Americans don’t expect a straight ‘yes’ from the Turkish side to all of the plan’s specific proposals. They just want the Turkish side to adopt a new policy which accepts Annan’s proposals as a basis for negotiations. Which is why they welcomed Turkish Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis’ recent statement that there was no difference of opinion between Turkey and the TRNC on the UN Cyprus plan, which, he believes, is open for future discussions.
In brief, despite the above-mentioned unanswered questions, there is a growing hope within the Bush administration that the AKP government will continue pursuing the course towards a permanent agreement on Cyprus by entering the door opened by Annan.”
 THE EUROPEANS ARE BEING INSINCERE BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the European Union member countries’ stance on Turkey. A summary of her column is as follows:
“After meeting with a great many leaders in Prague last week, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said, ‘All the Europeans that I met with personally say that they want to give Turkey a date for European Union membership negotiations. They say that it is others who are hindering our getting a date. However, when we meet with the leaders said to be doing the hindering, we always get the same response: “It is not us, but rather the other countries who are creating obstacles to a date.” I don’t think that the Europeans are acting sincerely.’ Actually this situation reads like a summary of Turkey’s European misadventure over the past 30 years. What’s more, just 20 days before the Copenhagen summit, they spring new conditions on us. Now, a solution to the Cyprus issue is a condition. Sezer had this to say: ‘There’s no relation between Turkey’s EU membership bid and the Cyprus problem. When the EU started negotiations with the Greek Cypriots, who are a direct party to the problem, it didn’t stipulate that the problem had to be solved. It’s hypocritical for the EU to now stipulate that Turkey, which is an indirect party, must solve this problem to get a date for negotiations. The EU should end this sorry business.’ Sezer says that the Cyprus issue shouldn’t be a condition for giving Turkey a date. However, Sezer’s words were drowned out by Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words implying that the Cyprus problem, the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) and giving Turkey a date for membership negotiations would be discussed as parts of a package. Some three weeks before the Copenhagen summit, the atmosphere is as follows: steps concerning democratization and human rights are priority issues in the list of the things Turkey must address at home. Although not as urgently, the list also says the role of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) within Turkey’s government should be reduced. The second list stipulates that Turkey will solve the Cyprus problem and reach a consensus on the ESDP issue. Actually the ESDP problem has been solved. However, the Cyprus issue continues to stand as a kind of ‘diplomatic mountain’ in front of Turkey. The European front is divided into three: on the one hand, there is Britain, Italy and Spain, which favor giving Turkey a date for membership negotiations. It’s possible to add Greece to this group. The countries that can be considered as ‘sitting on the fence’ are Denmark and Sweden. France has also given the signal that it might enter this group, or even the group of supporters. The other EU member countries are generally not in favor of giving Turkey a date for membership negotiations. Germany leads this group. Austria is the most negative member of this group. However, a change of decision in Germany could cause a quick switch to another group. Against this background, Sezer’s visit to Germany this week and his meeting with German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder are very important. After Erdogan’s visit to Germany last week, it will be Sezer’s responsibility to bring around Germany, which has started to inch over positively.’ If Sezer is successful in pushing Germany further, the remaining responsibility will fall on Erdogan, who will go on a tour of Europe this week.”
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