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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-27
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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
27.11.2002GUL: “THE AKP HAS NO HIDDEN AGENDA” US AMBASSADOR PEARSON MEETS WITH GUL ERDOGAN CONTINUES EUROPEAN TOUR IN FINLAND, DENMARK BAYKAL: “THE AKP SHOULD FIRST LIFT PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY” YAKIS: “TURKEY’S SCHEDULE FOR REFORMS IS READY” WATSON: “THE COPENHAGEN SUMMIT SHOULD AT LEAST SET A SCHEDULE FOR TURKEY TO GET A NEGOTIATIONS DATE” LAJENDIK: “TURKEY SHOULD RECEIVE A DATE FROM THE EU AFTER ONE MORE YEAR” DENKTAS GIVES CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE TO UN CYPRUS PROPOSAL, WITH REVISIONS SHARON PHONES GUL, INVITES HIM TO VISIT ISRAEL TOP MILITARY OFFICIALS TO PAY COURTESY VISIT TO GUL, ARINC TUSIAD: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PROPOSAL ISSUE SHOULD BE ADOPTED AS A BASIS FOR SETTLEMENT" FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… NATO’S PRAGUE SUMMIT BY KEMAL YAVUZ (AKSAM) THE AKP LEADER’S TOUR OF EUROPE BY ORHAN BIRGIT (CUMHURIYET)
 SEZER PAYS VISIT TO GERMANYPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer accompanied by Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis yesterday left for Berlin, Germany, to pay a two-day visit to the country. Sezer is scheduled to meet with German President Johannes Rau and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder today. During the meetings, Turkey’s European Union membership bid is expected to be discussed. /All Papers/
 GUL: “THE AKP HAS NO HIDDEN AGENDA”Responding to opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal’s statements urging the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government not to create “regime crises” in Turkey, Prime Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the AKP had no hidden agenda or secret goals. “Our only goal is to bring Turkey up to the level of developed countries,” said Gul. “Although we have enough votes in Parliament to amend the Constitution, we have no ambitions to do so. Consensus is vital for enacting such amendments.” Gul stated that a brand new era had begun in Turkish political life and that transparency would be the basis of all the activities of the new AKP government. /Milliyet/
 US AMBASSADOR PEARSON MEETS WITH GULUS Ambassador in Turkey Robert Pearson yesterday met with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul to sound out his intentions concerning visits to be paid by high-ranking US officials to Ankara next week. Pearson also conveyed the US positions on the Cyprus and Iraq issues and prepared a basis for the upcoming visits by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Deputy Secretary of State Marc Grossman. “I had a very good meeting with Mr. Gul,” Pearson said after the meeting. “We know that Turkey wants to get a date for European Union membership negotiations in Copenhagen and to start its negotiation process. We talked about the Cyprus issue and the process of negotiations. I also briefed him on next week’s visits of Grossman and Wolfowitz.” /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN CONTINUES EUROPEAN TOUR IN FINLAND, DENMARKAs part of his tour of seven European countries to seek support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday held contacts in Finland and Denmark. Yesterday morning, Erdogan met with Finnish Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen in Helsinki. Following their one-hour meeting, Lipponen told reporters that Finland welcomed recent reforms in Turkey and said he hoped to help strengthen Turkish-EU relations. For his part, Erdogan commented that although Turkey was the country most ready for EU membership when compared with other candidates, it was the only one which had not been given a date for negotiations. “Our government is resolved to soon address certain shortcomings regarding the EU’s Copenhagen criteria,” said Erdogan. The AKP leader and his accompanying delegation later proceed to Copenhagen, Denmark. Erdogan met with EU Term President Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmusen. At a press conference, Rasmusen said that Turkey had made important progress on the road to its EU membership. “However,” added Rasmusen, “Turkey has not completely fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria.” Expressing his pleasure that Turkey’s new government was resolved to address its shortcomings, Rasmusen asked Erdogan for a detailed reform program showing when and how such reforms would be implemented. He also said that he wanted Turkey to do whatever it could to help on the Cyprus issue. Erdogan stated that Turkey’s government, including both its ruling and opposition parties, was determined to see through Turkey’s integration to the EU. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “THE AKP SHOULD FIRST LIFT PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY”Speaking at Parliament during debates on the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) government program yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized the AKP program for failing to propose an end to the practice of parliamentary immunity. He stated that the AKP government should keep its promise to the nation to ensure a clean and transparent political system and so, as a necessary first step, swiftly lift parliamentary immunity. Politics requires courage, said Baykal. He also remarked that the Turkish nation had elected the AKP in the belief that an AKP administration would combat poverty and corruption, not that it would wipe away the current Constitution and create a new one. “Unfortunately, the magic has started to dissipate,” he said, referring the headscarf dispute between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the new Parliament speaker, the AKP’s Bulent Arinc. “Take Sezer’s warnings to heart, and don’t fight the basic institutions of the state,” urged Baykal. “Don’t touch the fundamentals of the Constitution or basics of the republic which have endured for 80 years.” He also urged the AKP government not to create “regime crises” in Turkey. /Milliyet/
 YAKIS: “TURKEY’S SCHEDULE FOR REFORMS IS READY”Answering journalists’ questions at the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Copenhagen yesterday, Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said that the Turkish government’s reform program, including a schedule for implementation, was now ready. Yakis stated that Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmusen’s request to see a reform program giving such a schedule was not an official demand. Stating that no such program had previously been requested from any other candidate country, Yakis said that Rasmusen asked for the program so as to ease the accession process for Turkey. The foreign minister stated that a letter including the schedule would be submitted to the European Union before its General Affairs Committee Meeting on Dec. 9-10 in Brussels. /Turkiye/
 ANAP LEADER YILMAZ TO RESIGN TODAYThe Motherland Party (ANAP) Central Decision and Execution Board (MKYK) headed by Chairman Mesut Yilmaz will convene today. In line with his declaration after the Nov. 3 elections, during today’s meeting Yilmaz is expected to formally step down from the ANAP leadership and retire from active political life. ANAP is scheduled to hold an extraordinary congress on Jan. 11, 2003 headed by an acting chairman.
 WATSON: “THE COPENHAGEN SUMMIT SHOULD AT LEAST SET A SCHEDULE FOR TURKEY TO GET A NEGOTIATIONS DATE”Speaking to daily Milliyet yesterday, European Parliament’s Liberal Group leader Graham Watson said that he hoped the European Union’s Copenhagen summit next month would produce, if not a date for Turkey’s membership negotiations, then at least a schedule for when such a date would be given. “Last summer, Turkey’s Parliament passed a number of EU harmonization laws for its membership bid,” said Watson. “I think Turkey can get a date from the EU at the end of Greece’s term presidency,” meaning June of next year. He also praised Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a “self–confident” leader whose visits to the EU member states would certainly help Turkey’s EU membership bid. “Making his first visit to Greece was an especially positive move,” he said. He also stated that if the EU accepted only the Greek Cypriot side into the Union, this would have devastating effects. “Maybe it wouldn’t be a problem for the EU [directly], but it would create new problems which could affect it indirectly,” added Watson. Watson is known as a supporter of Turkey’s EU membership bid. /Milliyet/
 LAJENDIK: “TURKEY SHOULD RECEIVE A DATE FROM THE EU AFTER ONE MORE YEAR”Joost Lajendik, the co-chairman of the Turkey-European Parliament Joint Parliamentary Committee, said yesterday that it would be appropriate for the European Union to wait one more year before setting a date for Turkey’s accession negotiations. He added that the most EP members thought that setting a firm date should be put off until later and that he hoped Turkey would not consider such a result to be a defeat. A decision on setting a date is due to next month’s Copenhagen summit. Touching also on the Cyprus issue, Lajendik stated that Turkey needed to clarify its stance, especially on the recent UN proposal, which he called the best opportunity for Turkish Cypriots to reach a just settlement on the island. /Hurriyet/
 DENKTAS GIVES CONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE TO UN CYPRUS PROPOSAL, WITH REVISIONSTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday issued a formal response to the recent United Nation’s Cyprus peace plan, suggesting that the plan could be used as a basis for negotiations, albeit with key revisions. Denktas’s revisions were presented as a condition for the TRNC’s going forward for the discussions of the UN plan. In particular, Denktas put forth revisions to the plan’s introductory section, which covers issues of re-mapping the island’s boundaries, the island’s EU membership, property rights and security guarantees. That section also lays out the “basic principles” for a settlement and calls for both sides on the island to unconditionally sign the document before Dec. 12, when the Copenhagen summit begins, a gathering set to consider Greek Cyprus’ EU membership bid. According to diplomatic circles, agreeing on the solution proposal in its current form will have a binding effect on both sides and restrict their latitude to negotiate on the proposal. /Hurriyet/
 SHARON PHONES GUL, INVITES HIM TO VISIT ISRAELIsraeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon yesterday telephoned Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and invited him to visit Israel. Sharon congratulated his Turkish counterpart on the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) victory in Turkey's recent elections and Gul’s success in setting up a new government. Sharon told Gul that Turkey was a stabilizing factor in the region and was supported and held in high esteem by many countries, adding that it could act as a bridge between the West and Islamic countries. Sharon added that Israel and Turkey had a friendly relationship built on trust and common interests that should be further developed and enhanced. /Cumhuriyet/
 TOP MILITARY OFFICIALS TO PAY COURTESY VISIT TO GUL, ARINCTurkey’s new prime minister and Parliament speaker are set to receive a delegation of top military leaders later this week. Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Air Force Commander Gen. Cumhur Asparuk, Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman, Naval Forces Commander Adm. Bulent Alpkaya and General Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Sener Eruygur will pay courtesy visits on Friday to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul and Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc. In related news, a group of military officials headed by National Security Council (MGK) Secretary-General Gen. Tuncer Kilinc yesterday briefed a number of Cabinet members about the functioning of the Council in the leadup to this month’s MGK meeting, the first for the new Cabinet. /Aksam/
 TUSIAD: “THE UN’S CYPRUS PROPOSAL ISSUE SHOULD BE ADOPTED AS A BASIS FOR SETTLEMENT"The United Nation’s recent solution proposal for the Cyprus issue represents a historic opportunity and so should be adopted as a basis for negotiations to reach a settlement on the island, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) said in a statement released yesterday. The influential business group added that Turkey’s taking a constructive attitude on the issue was crucial for its EU membership bid. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 NATO’S PRAGUE SUMMIT BY KEMAL YAVUZ (AKSAM)Columnist Kemal Yavuz comments on the NATO summit held last week in Prague. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A NATO Heads of State and Government summit was held last Thursday and Friday, Nov. 21-22, in Prague. In the post-Cold War period, radical changes in the nature of potential threats have led to a wholesale transformation of the alliance. NATO has added new security functions to its traditional mission of common defense and adopted a new well-known mission as an international peacemaking organization to these new threats, undergoing a number of significant structural changes along the way.
NATO’s 1999 Washington summit was pivotal for the history of the alliance since it paved the way for discussions on NATO’s new mission. There, the NATO members approved a Membership Action Plan (MAP) which was ‘designed to reinforce that firm commitment to further enlargement by putting into place a program of activities to assist aspiring countries in their preparations for possible future membership.’ They also approved the alliance’s new Strategic Concept to meet the new threats and profound security challenges of the era coming on the heels of the Cold War. In addition, the membership of three countries, namely, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, was approved, and nine other countries including Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Albania and Macedonia obtained candidate status.
As we all know, as a preparatory meeting for the Prague summit, a week earlier the 48th General Assembly of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly was held on Nov. 15 in Istanbul. The member countries again discussed the alliance’s new mission under three officials groupings: 1) International Terrorism, 2) Weapons of Mass Destruction, and 3) International Organized Crime.
The Prague summit convening after all these significant developments was a historic gathering since its overall theme was the alliance’s transformation, and the members meeting there committed themselves to transforming NATO with new members, new capabilities and new relationships. There were three main issues on the official agenda of the meeting. 1) Enlargement (meaning new members), 2) new relations, and 3) new capabilities. The member countries decided to invite Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to begin accession talks to join the alliance. They also commended Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Croatia for their significant progress on reforms and strong support for alliance operations, as well as for important steps in overcoming their internal challenges and advancing democracy. These three countries will be under consideration for future membership.
In addition, NATO affirmed that, in accordance with its Founding Act and the Rome Declaration, it is determined to intensify and broaden cooperation with Russia, underlining that the NATO-Russia Council as equal partners is making progress in areas such as peacekeeping, defense reform, and the struggle against terrorism, all towards their shared goal of a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe. Another significant decision made at the Prague summit was to form a NATO Response Force (NRF) consisting of a technologically advanced, flexible, and sustainable force ready to move quickly whenever and wherever needed.
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer along with officials from the Foreign Ministry and the Office of the Chief of General Staff represented Turkey at the summit. The decisions on new members and new capabilities were largely line with Turkey’s foreign policy. Furthermore, President Sezer had the opportunity to meet with EU officials in Prague to discuss Turkey’s membership bid and its expectations as a candidate country. Upon returning to home soil, Sezer conveyed his Prague impressions and the results of the meetings he held there to his fellow politicians like so: ‘The EU is being insincere and dishonest to Turkey!’ ”
 THE AKP LEADER’S TOUR OF EUROPE BY ORHAN BIRGIT (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Orhan Birgit comments on Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tour of Europe. A summary of his column is as follows:
“On his current tours of European capitals, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan is unfortunately committing repeated violations of the rules of protocol. As he is the leader of the party in power, he thinks that if necessary, he can address the presidents of the countries he visits. Therefore during his bilateral meeting with the Portuguese prime minister two days ago, Erdogan told his host that he would be glad to welcome him in Turkey. Let’s say that he’s saying this because Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barosso is also leader of Portugal’s ruling party. However, then Erdogan also invited the Portuguese president to Turkey as well and announced this invitation at a joint press conference. I hope that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer learned about this call live on television, together with the entire Turkish nation. If a country’s head of state calls another country’s head of state, he does this face-to-face when he meets him at any international meeting or he invites him through the prime minister who officially visits that head of state. In both circumstances, following the oral call made on behalf of the president, the letter of the president is presented to the concerned person. The AKP leader’s invitations are turning these rules upside down. Of course nobody is taking him seriously, but it is becoming more and more important that Erdogan learn the rules of protocol.
Of course Erdogan’s tour of Europe, which he is making in order to receive a date for Turkey for European Union membership negotiations, should be appreciated. Even if Erdogan doesn’t speak a foreign language, he is tirelessly trying to work through and around this. In all the countries he visits, he tries to tell his hosts why Turkey should be an EU member. However, he also goes too far by trying to make jokes in Turkish or in the language of the country he visits. For all this, we thank Erdogan. However, if he doesn’t avoid subverting all the rules of protocol, then his visits will accomplish the opposite of his aim. Mr. Erdogan is not the prime minister, but the leader of the majority party in Turkey now. In other words, the hosts of the countries he visits should remind him of this fact, just like Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen did yesterday. What’s more, it was officially announced that in Paris, where he is now headed, Erdogan wouldn’t be welcomed as the representative of the Turkish government. France, which is known for its sensitivities to diplomatic rules, had to announce that it would welcome Erdogan as a guest accompanied by the Turkish minister of national defense. One could say that Erdogan’s current situation is temporary. Almost everybody thinks that this temporary situation should find a firm legal basis to a future transition. Therefore I wish that Erdogan had consented to send Prime Minister Abdullah Gul on these visits. Then nobody would have protested, as he would have been obeying the rules, and the awkward situation in Paris would have been avoided. Then Mr. Erdogan would now be in Ankara overseeing work to swiftly keep the promises that the AKP made during the elections campaign.”
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