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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-09
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
09.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 SEZER: “CORRUPTION LED TO THE BINGOL DISASTER”Last week’s earthquake disaster in Bingol stemmed from corruption and ignorance rather than natural causes, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said yesterday. Speaking at a conference entitled “Forging Tomorrow, Target 2003” in Istanbul, Sezer said that Turkey’s aim was to establish a powerful economy and democracy. “We will reach this goal through our dynamic young people, successful entrepreneurs and wealth of rich natural resources and possibilities,” stated Sezer. Regarding the devastating Bingol earthquake, the president said, “This quake was a tragic reminder of how the future can go awry. The disaster of this quake resulted from ignorance, corruption and flouting the rules rather than true natural causes.” He added that these factors were the main obstacles to Turkey’s modernization and so must be resisted. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN ADDRESSES GOVERNORS IN ANKARAThe governors of Turkey’s 81 provinces gathered in Ankara yesterday. Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey needs practical-minded, positive leaders who are open to dialogue and committed to spread rights and freedoms in the nation’s march forward. Stressing that the governors bear a great responsibility, Erdogan asked them to work in coordination with the government in Ankara. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “IT’S HIGH TIME FOR THE TRNC EMBARGO TO END”The time has come for the lifting of the 20-year illegal embargo on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), declared Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. Speaking with Britain’s Financial Times, Gul argued that ending the TRNC’s economic isolation would help build momentum for reconciliation on the island. “Let’s build some confidence on the ground, then we won’t have much left to solve at the negotiating table,” said Gul, adding, “It’s high time for the European Union and others to lift the embargo.” Turkey’s top diplomat hailed the TRNC’s decision last month to open its border gates with Greek Cyprus as a “courageous” move. “What we did not achieve on paper through negotiation, we achieved on the ground,” he said. Addressing Turkey’s EU membership bid, he said he would work to make sure EU harmonization laws are observed in practice. “I’m emphasizing that passing [EU accession] legislation is important, but implementing it is more important,” stated Gul. /Turkiye/
 OSMAN PEPE NAMED HEAD OF MERGED FOREST AND ENVIRONMENT MINISTRYPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday approved the appointment of Osman Pepe, former forest minister, to head the newly merged Forest and Environment Ministry. Kursat Tuzmen, the former environment minister, was also confirmed in his new post as state minister. /Turkiye/
 VERHEUGEN ALLEGES LACK OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN TURKEY, URGES PROGRESS ON RIGHTSTurkey needs to improve its record on respecting rights and freedoms, in particular religious freedom, in order to advance its European Union membership bid, said EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen yesterday. Speaking during a visit to the Vatican, Verheugen said that the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) desire to get Turkey into the Union was evident, adding that any step towards this goal would be positive. “However, Turkey still has many problems, especially concerning basic rights,” said Verheugen. “Another problem is the lack of religious freedom in Turkey.” /Aksam/
 BOUCHER: “THE US WAS DISAPPOINTED, BUT WE VALUE OUR CONTINUED RELATIONS WITH TURKEY”Echoing recent similar statements by his colleagues US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Undersecretary Marc Grossman, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told a press conference on Wednesday that Turkey had disappointed Washington earlier this year by rejecting US troop deployment in the country, but emphasized the importance of Turkish-US relations and continued cooperation in the future. “We were disappointed by the way events unfolded in Turkey. The operations from Turkey did not receive the parliamentary majority that was necessary to make the deployments,” said Boucher. “We believed that cooperation was in Turkey's interest as well as ours.” Stating that the US placed great importance on its relations with Turkey, Boucher remarked that Washington has stressed its desire to work with Ankara on many issues concerning the stability and reconstruction of Iraq, as well as a “free political future” for the country. /Cumhuriyet/
 TOP US OFFICIAL: “WE HAVE NO HIDDEN AGENDA; WE OPPOSE ANY KURDISH STATE IN NORTHERN IRAQ”The US administration, respecting the country’s territorial integrity, does not support the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq, a top-level US official who wished to remain anonymous said yesterday. The official stated that the US had no secret agenda in northern Iraq and so Turkey had no reasons for concern. “We have stressed publicly and privately on numerous occasions that we don’t want a Kurdish state,” said the official. “Turkey should stop looking for hidden meanings in what say. We mean exactly what we tell Turkey.” /Sabah/
 ITALIAN PM BERLUSCONI TO VISIT TURKEYItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is scheduled to visit Turkey next Monday. During his two-day stay in Ankara, Berlusconi is set to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as other top-level state officials. On the expected agenda of the meeting are Turkish-EU relations, issues concerning Iraq and the Middle East as well as bilateral relations between Turkey and Italy. On July 1, Italy is due to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union. /Cumhuriyet/
 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT SUSPENDS LAW ON COMPULSORY RETIREMENTThe Constitutional Court yesterday ruled to suspend a law establishing a younger compulsory retirement age for public servants. Under the suspended law, the retirement age was reduced from 65 to 61, and many civil servants, including top state officials, had been forced to quit their posts. The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had applied to the Constitutional Court to have the law annulled. The court’s decision opens the way for those who retired due to the law to return to their posts by applying to administrative courts. /All Papers/
 KRUEGER: TURKEY MUST CARRY OUT ITS FISCAL PLEDGES AND ECONOMIC REFORMS”Speaking at a conference in Istanbul yesterday, International Monetary Fund First Managing Director Anne Krueger said that Turkey must diligently carry out its fiscal pledges and economic reforms before the IMF will pay its next credit tranche of $16 billion. Asked what the Fund would do if Turkey failed to keep its pledges, Krueger replied that then it would be impossible to complete the review of the economic program. “There are things that must be done by the Justice and Development Party [AKP] government,” said Krueger. “The IMF paid a $700 million credit tranche last month that had been long held up by Turkish delays on reforms.” Krueger remarked that any additional budget revenues from a tax amnesty should be used to bring down Turkey’s high debt stock. “Now the situation is manageable,” she said. “However, this also provides an awful lot of room for maneuvering.” Krueger added that the Fund was distrustful of tax amnesties. Speaking at the same conference, IMF Executive Director Willy Kiekens said that founding the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) nearly three years ago was one of Turkey’s most important reforms and that Ankara’s continued implementation of the economic program would also advance the nation’s European Union membership bid. Kiekens said that international organizations as the IMF and the World Bank were key institutions for aiding growth. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 COMMON POINTS FOR COOPERATIONBY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkish-American relations are once again in the spotlight. There are two different points of view: ‘We’ve been left alone in this world; we’ve lost our only friend,’ say certain circles. ‘This isn’t a big deal; everything is still OK,’ say others.
Although there are always critical moments and turning points in international relations, such issues should be evaluated in the long term.
As a matter of fact, Turkish-US relations have been going well for 50 years. However, certain problems have cropped up even after a strategic partnership was established between our countries. The first crisis broke out nearly 30 years ago, in 1964. The US stated that if Turkey conducted a military operation on Cyprus, it would leave our government alone in case of a possible Russian attack. In other words, the US warned Ankara that in case of Cyprus intervention Turkey would not be supported by NATO. Under such circumstances, Prime Minister Ismet Inonu chose against an operation on the island but warned, ‘If such a development occurs [i.e., if Turkey is deserted by its NATO allies], a new order will be formed and our country will take a new stance in that order.’
The second significant crisis erupted when the US pushed Turkey to stop the cultivation of opium. Upon this pressure, Ankara buckled and banned the addictive narcotic. However, after a nationalist movement rose in the wake of 1974’s Cyprus Peace Operation, Agriculture Minister Korkut Ozal allowed opium cultivation again without even consulting Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. The US then imposed a weapons embargo on Turkey. In response, the Suleyman Demirel government closed down all American military bases in the country. Some years passed, the embargo was lifted, and the US military bases and facilities were then re-opened.
We can give other significant examples of such crises. For example there were periods in our history that Ankara, disappointed with the US meager offerings of financial assistance, sought a closer relationship with the Soviet Union. Such moves led to US anger and intervention in our domestic politics.
Finally, the Iraq war led to another crisis. We all wonder whether this will be a protracted one. However, it’s clear to me that despite some problems, our two countries will again manage to overcome this crisis because we have so much in common. Both share the same vision and the same strategic view towards both the Middle East in particular, and world politics in general. When we look at the Iraq issue from this standpoint, can’t we see that a democratic, stable and unified Iraq will also be beneficial for us? Isn’t it in our interest to have democratic neighbors? So what’s the problem? Turkey and the US should mend their relations and re- establish a strong cooperation. That’s the only way to deal with our common problems.”
 US MISTAKES, TURKISH MISTAKESBY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on mistakes made by both Turkey and the United States. A summary of his column is as follows:
“US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s recent comments on Turkey were warm, just as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s remarks were harsh. Powell is moderate by nature, while Wolfowitz is a dyed-in-the-wool hawk. In addition to the latter’s ‘deep disappointment,’ stemming from his traditional friendship with Turkey, he stated his case rather bluntly and then received harsh responses in kind rather than the apology he had sought. The US is creating anti-Americanism with such words!
I believe it was a mistake for Parliament to reject the proposal on deploying US troops as well as for the government to drag its feet on this matter. It was also wrong for President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to cause a misguided focus on legalities. Moreover, the military’s silence on the proposal because the ‘issue belonged to Parliament,’ this too was mistaken. Today our serious problems on Iraq come from our ‘excluding’ ourselves through these mistakes.
However, the US committed many blunders as well. It failed to reassure Turkey on the northern Iraq issue, and instead only raised more suspicions. In addition, everyone knows that the US has military might, but who did it manage to convince of the rightness of its cause besides Britain and Spain? The US asked so many things from Ankara and put pressure on it. However, it ignored our request to take steps on certain critical issues. These factors caused a ‘lack of motivation’ in Ankara. Even in the US press there were criticisms along these lines: ‘We were unable to convince even an ally like Turkey.’ During his visit to Ankara last month, Powell said that he was here to ‘kiss and to make up,’ but his manner just led to new problems.
Sukru Elekdag, a respected ex-diplomat and strategist, told me this: ‘France and Germany each opened new their airspaces to the US. If they hadn’t done so, this would have cost US planes an extra 20 minutes. However, if Turkey hadn’t opened up its airspace, the US would have been unable to bomb northern Iraq and supply fuel oil to its forces.’ Stating that Turkey had contributed to the war like a ‘third ally’ after Britain, Elekdag said, ‘As the war ended in short order, now the US is belittling Turkey’s contributions. What would have happened if the war had been protracted? In the upcoming period in the Middle East, the US will have great need of Turkey.’
Is this why Wolfowitz is speaking this way? However, for the same reason we should improve our relations. The US acts like an ‘empire’ which wants to use pressure to carry out its foreign policy agenda, and this is feeding the flames of anti-Americanism. Such a development in our region wouldn’t help us, either. The proper thing to do would be to re-establish a spirit of confidence and cooperation towards solutions to our mutual problems.”
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