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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-09
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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
09.06.2003AKP TO SEND EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE TO PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON ANKARA-ISTANBUL RAPID RAIL PROJECT ERDOGAN URGES ABBAS, SHARON TO CONTINUE EFFORTS FOR PEACE SPANISH FM PALACIO: “LETTING TURKEY INTO THE EU WOULD BE A GIANT STEP IN UNION HISTORY” PAPADOPOULOS: “THE TRNC ECONOMIC PACKAGE WAS A JOINT EU-GREEK CYPRIOT EFFORT” PARLIAMENT’S ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION SET TO HEAR FROM FORMER PM ECEVIT, YILMAZ DEHAP GENERAL CONGRESS ELECTS NEW PARTY LEADER ENVIRONMENTALISTS PROTEST EXCESSIVE TANKER TRAFFIC THROUGH BOSPHORUS TURKS CELEBRATE 40 YEARS LIVING IN BELGIUM TURKEY TOPPLES SLOVAKIA IN EURO 2004 QUALIFIERS, RETURNING TO TOP OF GROUP SEVEN FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS ERDOGAN’S LETTER TO BUSH BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR) HIGHLIGHTING WOMEN’S ISSUES BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)
 AKP TO SEND EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGE TO PARLIAMENT THIS WEEKThe Justice and Development Party (AKP) government yesterday decided to send the sixth European Union harmonization package to Parliament within a few days, just after this week’s Cabinet meeting. At its meeting yesterday, the ruling party’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK) decided that the package should be sent sooner rather than later, and that there was no need to wait for a National Security Council (MGK) meeting near month’s-end. The government had previously pledged to pass the package by July 1. Briefing the board, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that in order not to miss the EU train this time, Parliament should pass the harmonization package as soon as possible. “Italy will assume the EU term presidency on July 1, and the EU will release a progress report at the end of 2004, so we should act very quickly to implement structural reforms,” he added, referring to the EU’s scheduled review of Ankara’s accession progress on that date. He said that Turkey had to take a resolute stance on its prospective membership. “If we fail to carry out the reforms necessary for our EU bid, then we will fall short of our goal,” he warned. In related news, Prime Minister and AKP leader Erdogan said that the package would be on Parliament’s agenda this week, adding that there was no problem regarding the issue. /Milliyet/
 CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON ANKARA-ISTANBUL RAPID RAIL PROJECTA groundbreaking ceremony was held yesterday in Ankara for the first stage of the Ankara-Istanbul Fast Train Project. Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that after the early years of the republic, the nation’s railways had been sadly neglected. But, he pledged, “Now we’re beginning initiatives to revive our railways.” The rail work to be completed by the end of 2005 will enable travel between Turkey’s two principal cities in just over three hours, cutting in half the current time of six hours or more. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN URGES ABBAS, SHARON TO CONTINUE EFFORTS FOR PEACEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday telephoned his Palestinian and Israeli counterparts to hail the restarted peace process and urge further steps for progress. Speaking to Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), Erdogan said that Ankara welcomed the Palestinian administration’s recent reform efforts in the light of the “road map” for peace. Later, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Erdogan in their phone conversation that he hoped for progress towards a peaceful settlement, but insisted that first terrorism in the region must end. Last week both Abbas and Sharon made public declarations as the first step of the US-supported road map for peace. /Turkiye/
 SPANISH FM PALACIO: “LETTING TURKEY INTO THE EU WOULD BE A GIANT STEP IN UNION HISTORY”One of the largest 21st century projects of the European Union is to begin Turkey’s accession negotiations and integrate it into the EU, proclaimed Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio over the weekend. Speaking to the Brussels-based Turkish news agency ABHaber, Palacio stated that the EU had a very important rendezvous with Turkey next December, adding that its EU accession would send a powerful message to the international community. “The EU is not a ‘Christian club,’ and Turkey is a unique Muslim country for its secular establishment and respect for human rights,” said Palacio, belittling the predictions of some that Ankara’s EU accession would be “the end” of the Union. Palacio said that an overwhelming majority of Turks favored EU membership, but added that the government should at once pass necessary reforms to fully comply with the Copenhagen criteria. /Hurriyet/
 PAPADOPOULOS: “THE TRNC ECONOMIC PACKAGE WAS A JOINT EU-GREEK CYPRIOT EFFORT”Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday that the European Union and Greek Cyprus had worked together to prepare a recent economic package for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). “The EU can’t do anything without our approval,” said Papadopoulos, whose nation is due to join the Union in a little less than a year. “We came up with the package together.” Papadopoulos said that while the media had depicted new trade arrangements with the TRNC as being an EU affair only, in reality the EU was in constant consultation with Greek Cyprus. “All trade from the TRNC will be done through Greek ports,” he added. TRNC President Rauf Danktas last week complained that the package fell short of actually lifting the illegal economic embargo on his country. /Aksam/
 PARLIAMENT’S ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION SET TO HEAR FROM FORMER PM ECEVIT, YILMAZParliament’s Anti-Corruption Commission has requested that three prominent members of the 1999-2002 Democratic Left Party (DSP)-led coalition government appear before it to respond to allegations of corruption within their administration. From the DSP, former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and former Deputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkanhave reportedly been summoned, though Ecevit says the commission has not contacted him. In addition, former junior coalition partner Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz has also been asked to appear. Their testimony would take place over this week and the next. Ecevit’s coalition, Turkey’s longest ever, was unseated last fall by the now ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). /Cumhuriyet/
 DEHAP GENERAL CONGRESS ELECTS NEW PARTY LEADERThe Democratic People’s Party (DEHAP) held its second extraordinary general congress in Ankara yesterday to elect a new party leader. Outgoing DEHAP leader Mehmet Abbasoglu delivered a speech urging the government to make legal changes to allow members of the outlawed terrorist Kurdistan Freedom and Democratic Congress (KADEK) to return to Turkey by laying down their arms. Sole leadership candidate Tuncer Bakirhan, who has served as a commission head in the party, was elected the new DEHAP chairman. /All Papers/
 ENVIRONMENTALISTS PROTEST EXCESSIVE TANKER TRAFFIC THROUGH BOSPHORUSYesterday environmentalist group Fighters for Nature staged a protest in Istanbul of what it sees as an excessive number of tanker ships passing through the Bosphorus straits under lax regulation. In a statement, Chairman Zafer Murat Cetintas said that through protesting the group hoped to bring attention to the threats faced by the straits, adding that it opposed in particular the Russian Federation’s insistence on passage without delay. “Our protests will continue against commercial-centric demands,” said Cetintas. “The ever-increasing tanker traffic worries us greatly. Parliament should address this dangerous situation at once.” /Turkish Daily News/
 TURKS CELEBRATE 40 YEARS LIVING IN BELGIUMSome 10,000 Turks living in Belgium yesterday gathered in the capital to celebrate 40 years of living in the country. Present at the Brussels celebration as guests from the Turkish government were State Ministers Besir Atalay and Mehmet Aydin. Speaking to the gathered expatriates, Aydin said that Ankara stood by Turks living in Brussels, adding, “As our founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk stated many years ago, many challenges remain before us.” For his part, Atalay said that the government placed great importance on Turks living abroad, adding that they had played an important role in Turkey winning last month’s Eurovision Song Contest. Turks living in Belgium and Germany were credited with helping singer Sertab Erener win decisive votes in the historic victory, Turkey’s first. /Aksam/
 TURKEY TOPPLES SLOVAKIA IN EURO 2004 QUALIFIERS, RETURNING TO TOP OF GROUP SEVENTurkey returned to the top of Euro 2004 qualifying Group Seven on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Slovakia. The Turkish football team had won its opening three games, but then in April fell to second after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of England. Victory against Slovakia moved Turkey to 12 points from five games. Turkey's Nihat Kahveci scored the only goal of the game in Bratislava, after 12 minutes. /All Papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN’S LETTER TO BUSH BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli writes on Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s visit to the US later this week. A summary of her column is as follows:
“This will be a critical week for Turkish-US relations. Ankara is striving mightily to mend bilateral relations, which were strained in the wake of Turkey’s refusal of US troop deployments for the Iraq war. This week’s most important event will be Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s visit to Washington, where is expected to convey important messages. In particular, he is due to present a letter plus a report to US President George W. Bush. The letter was written by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and focuses on two important issues, namely, Turkey’s stances on the Iraq war and the Middle East peace process. ‘Our Parliament’s refusal of US troop deployments should be understood as a democratic act and reflection of the nation’s will,’ writes our prime minister. Erdogan also expresses Turkey’s support for the ‘road map’ promoted by the Bush administration to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. ‘Turkey is ready to cooperate with the US in the Middle East,’ adds Erdogan. ‘The interests of both our countries lie in further cooperation. Let bygones be bygones, and let us focus on our common future.’
The letter also states that Turkey is ready to soften its ‘red lines’ policy in northern Iraq. Erdogan underscores that Turkey will take into consideration the new facts on the ground in the postwar period. Ziyal is to discuss the details of this issue in Washington, but just what are these ‘new facts’? They refer to the role to be played by Iraqi Kurdish groups. Ziyal is expected to underline Turkey’s ‘no-concession’ policy once again, making clear that the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the region would be regarded as a ‘casus belli.’ However, he is also to tell US officials that Turkey would not oppose the establishment of ‘an autonomous Kurdish zone’ or ‘a Kurdish federation’ in the region, provided that no concessions are made from Iraq’s territorial integrity.
The second document in Ziyal’s briefcase is a report prepared by two Foreign Ministry officials on their recent visit to Iraq. The report stresses that the US has failed to establish a new system, and that in consequence the country is being wrecked by political and social chaos. It also underlines that the absence of a stable political system together with the US image as an ‘invader’ runs the risk of plunging the region into even deeper crises and problems. Ziyal is expected to suggest to Washington that it cooperate more closely with Ankara, owing to Turkey’s greater familiarity with Iraq’s social structure.
If Ziyal’s mission proves to be successful, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is expected to follow in his footsteps. Ankara is now holding its breath and waiting for the results of this pivotal visit.”
 HIGHLIGHTING WOMEN’S ISSUES BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak comments on the plans of a prominent Turkish women’s group. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Association for Supporting and Educating Women Candidates (KA-DER) is due to hold a conference on “Seeking Solutions for Women’s Issues” in Istanbul this coming weekend, June 14-15. During the conference, such problems will be discussed under four working group categories:
Women in Turkey’s economy and business life * Education for women and girls * Ending violence against women Women in politics and decision-making processes
KA-DER Chair Ayse Hatip Dicleli said that the results of the conference would be followed for one year by a 10-person follow-up committee, and that issues showing progress would be presented to the public in a report next January. The draft reports for the upcoming conference decry the persistence of discrimination against women in every field, and in particular in politics. In spite of KA-DER’s efforts, representation of women in both Parliament and local administrations has been falling.
Today, among 179 countries, Turkey ranks 140 in terms of women’s representation in elected government posts. In last fall’s elections, 24 female deputies were elected to the 550-member Parliament, or just 4.3% percent. This rate is even below that in 1935, 4.6%, when female deputies were elected for the first time. More than 30% of Turkey’s qualified work force and university graduates are women, but this has failed to translate into similar representation among our decision-makers. Today Turkey has not even a single female governor, and just one woman mayor. The parties have so-called ‘women’s assemblies,’ but these are only for show, and the Cabinet has just one female member.
However, the ‘Peking + 5’ document, to which Turkey is a signatory, and our European Union membership process both oblige us to end all forms of discrimination against women. The way to reach this goal in male-dominated societies is to take special measures. During this weekend’s conference, KA-DER will urge the preparation of a constitutional package for gender equality, one making mandatory at least 30% women’s representation and participation in party administrations, local assemblies and Parliament. Towards this end, it will suggest amending the Political Parties and Elections Law.
Turkey can never be truly modern without implementing such an ‘affirmative action’ program. At this weekend’s conference, KA-DER will turn women’s issues into a social crusade. And they will have my support.”
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