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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-30
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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
30.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN: “THE TSK IS THE ARCHITECT OF TURKEY’S MODERNIZATION”Parliament’s general assembly yesterday held a special session on Turkey’s European Union membership bid per a proposal from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Addressing the assembled deputies, Erdogan said that his government wanted to discuss the bid both openly and comprehensively. Stating that for the first time Turkey had come to the verge of EU membership, Erdogan said, “We have to make good use of this opportunity through working together.” Regarding the National Security Council’s (MGK) debate of the EU accession during its meeting this week, the prime minister said, “There is nothing wrong with the MGK discussing the proposed reforms.” Asserting that MGK decisions were not above those of Parliament, Erdogan said, “In the end, the final decision will belong to Parliament.” He added that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) were the architect of Turkey’s modernization process. The prime minister’s address came in the wake of newspaper reports alleging that the MGK meeting had seen the military “put the brakes” to slow down the government’s reform drive. In addition, Onur Oymen, an opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy from Istanbul, stressed that Turkey had no time to waste on its road to EU membership. Stating that the issue was a national cause, Oymen pledged that the CHP would support the government’s efforts for Turkey’s EU membership bid. In addition, Oymen remarked that his party didn’t welcome “fantastic stories” claiming that the TSK was against Turkey’s EU membership. /All Papers/
 GUL: “WE ARE DETERMINED TO PASS THE EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was determined to pass the sixth European Union harmonization package. Speaking at a press conference after returning from an Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting, Gul said that all government ministries had been informed and consulted on the package. Asked about yesterday’s National Security Council (MGK) meeting where the EU package was discussed (and Gul was necessarily absent), Gul replied that he didn’t know what happened during the meeting, but added that the MGK was just an advisory institution with limited authority. He added that the Parliament would pass the EU harmonization package before the next MGK meeting scheduled for the end of June, to be followed in short order by additional packages. /Aksam/
 GEN. BUYUKANIT: “THE TSK CANNOT BE AGAINST TURKEY’S EU BID”The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) cannot be against Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told a “Globalization and International Security” symposium yesterday. “This is also primary goal of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s reforms and vision,” he said, adding that EU membership also fit in perfectly with Turkey’s social, political, and security goals. “Turkey is [effectively] a part of the EU and one day it will join the Union,” said Buyukanit. He said that in order to reap the benefits of globalization, a country needs a stable political structure, as well as social, cultural and legal cohesiveness, a good educational system, and a strong work ethic. Buyukanit remarked that not all countries were ready to implement the political, economic and security changes needed for globalization, adding that developing countries saw globalization through different lenses than developed ones. /Milliyet/
 CANADIAN FM GRAHAM VISITS ANKARACanadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham yesterday paid an official visit to Ankara. Graham was first received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and then met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan and Graham conferred on a number of regional and international issues. Also attending the meeting were Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission Chairman Mehmet Dulger, Prime Ministry Undersecretary Fikret Uccan and Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Baki Ilkin. Graham held a separate meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul where the two ministers signed a framework conformity memorandum concerning Turkish-Canadian relations. /Anatolia News Agency/
 BAYKAL: “TURKEY’S EU BID SHOULDN’T BE USED AS A POLITICAL TOOL”Speaking at a meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that politicians should resist the temptation to use Turkey’s European Union membership bid for partisan gain. “Turkey’s EU bid should be considered as a national issue, and no one should use it as a political tool,” he said. Touching on upcoming EU accession legislation, Baykal said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s sixth EU harmonization package shouldn’t include any provisions not required by Turkey’s EU bid. The Parliament is expected to pass the package before the next National Security Meeting (MGK) meeting set for late June. /Aksam/
 FOREIGN MINISTRY PROTESTS GERMANY’S RELEASE OF FUGITIVE EXTREMIST METIN KAPLANThe Foreign Ministry yesterday issued a statement protesting this week’s decision by a German court to release Metin Kaplan, a.k.a. “Black Voice,” leader of the Cologne-based extremist “Islamist Society and Congregations Union,” rather than approving his extradition to Turkey. Germany’s Ambassador Rudolf Schmidt was summoned to the Foreign Ministry and reportedly told that Kaplan’s release was based on “baseless assumptions” and that the court’s decision contradicted Germany’s declared commitment to the international fight against terrorism. Kaplan’s controversial group is banned in Germany, and it seeks the formation of an Islamic regime in Turkey, in direct opposition to the nation’s officially secular character. Earlier this year, Ankara applied to the German court to extradite Kaplan to Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 TUSIAD DELEGATION MEETS DE SOTO IN NEW YORKAfter completing its contacts in Washington, a delegation from the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) yesterday proceeded to New York. There the delegation met with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto. Following their one-hour- plus meeting, de Soto told journalists, “We hope to revive Annan’s plan for Cyprus. We expect some developments on the topic in the near future.” The businessmen also met with representatives from Citibank and ratings agency Standard and Poor’s as well as editors from Forbes magazine, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. /Turkiye/
 TURKEY, RUSSIA TO REVIEW GAS DEAL IN MID-JUNERussian company Gazprom Deputy Chairman Yuri Komarov yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to find a resolution to a gas dispute between Russia and Turkey. The sides agreed on to sit down at the table again on June 16 to discuss the gas deal involving a pipeline beneath the Black Sea, thus abandoning the idea of international arbitration. Russian natural gas delivered to Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline is more expensive than natural gas purchased from this country as part of other deals, Turkish officials contend. “We want the sale of natural gas in line with the agreements,” Komarov told reporters. “We didn’t sign the deal to go to arbitration. I think our two countries will reach an agreement in light of real conditions.” Komarov added that he would do his best to guarantee the stable delivery of gas to Turkey. The Turkish energy minister had said on Wednesday that Turkey and Russia could go to arbitration to resolve their differences. /Turkiye/
 ISTANBUL INTERNATIONAL READY-WEAR FAIR SET FOR JUNEThe Istanbul International Ready-Wear Fair is set to be held on June 25-28 at Istanbul’s TUYAP Fair and Congress Center. More than 300 clothing manufacturers are expected to take part. Istanbul is also due to host the International Apparel Federation (IAF) Congress on June 24-25. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ISLAM, THE STATE AND CHANGE BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the relation between Islam, the state structure and today’s radically changing world. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In his address to the Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed the relationship between politics and the economy: For today’s Turkey, the level of contemporary civilization means nothing but economic development, democracy and EU membership, he declared. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul also made a similar statement at the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Tehran. Here we have two conservative politicians favoring radical changes!
Today’s sweeping changes such as globalization of the economy, education, urbanization and mass communication are forcing all societies and political concepts to change and adapt.
It is very important for Turkey what kind of attitudes Islamists and secularists (Kemalists, those favoring Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s revolution) will assume to deal with these changes. For example, can closed Islamist regimes in Saudi Arabia or Syria manage to survive in such a global world where countries feel the opening of their economies to world markets as an inevitability?
OIC meetings usually focus on foreign policy issues. At this week’s gathering, Gul proposed a new perspective to his fellow Islamic countries. Here are the values he underlined: ‘Freedom, peace, welfare, democracy, transparency, equality between the sexes, rationalism, political participation...’ and so on.
All these values, especially the equality of the sexes, are modern; no traditional society favors them in terms of their contemporary meaning.
Although all traditional regimes attach great importance to ‘justice,’ the modern concepts of ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ emerged after the West’s Industrial Revolution. ‘Transparency’ and ‘economic rationality’ are the favorite concepts of recent discussions on globalization. Whether religious (Islamist) or modern (secular), political attitudes failing to develop new perspectives within their own discourses are doomed to suffer through crises during today’s transformation period. Let’s recall how demagogic the statements of old Islamist leaders (e.g. Erbakan) became! Also, let’s remember how certain circles began to advocate centralist, interventionist and bureaucratic state structures in the name of Kemalism.
For the Islamic world the issue is even more problematic, since the regimes are usually oppressive and the level of development quite low. However, they cannot resist change either. They have already begun to feel the winds of change blowing.
Is it really possible to maintain a closed regime in this era of global mass communications? As a matter of fact, states have two alternatives in this age, either closed systems or open, liberal regimes favoring globalization. The former means poverty and despotism. The latter brings economic welfare and democracy.
Let’s not forget that Turkey is the luckiest country in the Middle East. I believe that these latest statements of two conservative politicians very well known for their former pro-Islamist attitudes indicate positive developments for Turkey. However, the other side, circles advocating a bureaucratic, interventionist state structure, do not seem to be willing to change at all!’
 SHIFTING ALLIANCES BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the shifting balances and alliances in Turkey. A summary of her column is as follows:
“The US operation against Iraq not only overthrew Saddam Hussein’s regime, but also upset all the internal balances in Turkey. It turned the ‘alliances’ of Turkish political players abroad upside down. Let’s start with the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Obviously the administrators and ministers of the AKP have a deep Islamic line in their past. This ‘deep Islamic line’ established a natural basis so the late Welfare Party (RP) could establish close relations with Iran’s Islamic regime. The 1996 REFAHYOL government didn’t approach relations with Israel warmly, but the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) developed relations with Israel during that time. The military training agreement signed by then Deputy Chief of General Staff Cevik Bir became a turning point in Turkish- Israeli relations. While the TSK’s steps towards Israel caused joy in the US, the natural gas agreements made by REFAHYOL’s RP wing with Iran caused a strain in Turkish-US relations. However, all these alliances, approaches and tendencies seem to have changed when the AKP government came to power last fall.
Recent moves by the government demonstrate that the AKP sees its future not in Tehran, but in Washington and Brussels. The clear message concerning this issue came from Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. During this week’s Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Tehran, Gul gave a message to Islamic countries – mostly host country Iran – that they should work to become democratic, transparent regimes and put an end to gender discrimination. However, there were also ‘secret’ messages sent by the AKP government to Washington. US sources state that many figures not holding official AKP posts but still supporters of the party visited Washington and brought messages. US sources also say that the messages delivered through back channels were mostly about Iran but spoke with one voice, saying that the US can trust Turkey on the Iranian issue.
Ankara saw a reflection of these messages earlier this week. The main issue which was discussed during the Israeli defense minister’s visit to Ankara was the danger created by Iran and its weapons programs. Finally the AKP government and Israel made an agreement on ‘intelligence sharing’ against the danger of Iran and terrorism. This decision, which was kept hidden from Turkish public opinion, was written about in Israeli newspapers.
While the AKP government is taking steps towards the West, the ‘traditional ally of the West’ in Turkey – that is, the TSK – has started to move away from it. The TSK isn’t against our European Union membership, because it’s on the path drawn by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. However, the conditions put forth by the EU for full membership mean a change of the TSK’s role within society and politics and questioning the values that it defends. For this reason, there have been ‘chill winds’ between the TSK and the US for a long time. These chill winds seem to have found reflection in the TSK’s relations with the US. The US wants to please Kurdish groups which fought alongside its forces during the war in Iraq and create a ‘reliable ally’ in Iraq’s fragile territory. This is the complete opposite of the Kurdish policy that the TSK has been promoting. In his latest statement, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said that Turkey’s strategic partnership with the US was very important and that it should be protected, but these words aren’t likely to change this atmosphere any time soon. The alliances are changing. These changes seem to affect all our lives.”
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