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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-18
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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
18.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... IS THIS A RETURN OF THE AEGEAN ISSUE? BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) TOWARDS THE GREAT CHANGE… BY ALI BAYRAMOGLU (YENI SAFAK)
 SEZER APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL UN COVENANTSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday approved Parliament’s ratification of two United Nations documents, namely the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Both documents have the same first article: “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” Since the right to self- determination has long been discussed by domestic political circles, certain groups recently urged Turkey should not sign these covenants, claiming that they pose a grave threat to the country’s territorial integrity. However, the Foreign Ministry recently called such concerns unfounded since Turkey has made the necessary reservations on the documents. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL MEETS WITH SEZER TO DISCUSS SIXTH HARMONIZATION PACKAGEForeign Minister Abdullah Gul was received yesterday by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. During their meeting, the sixth harmonization package containing a number of reforms for Turkey’s European Union bid was taken up. After the meeting, Gul told journalists that he hoped the package would be passed by Parliament this week. Stressing that preparations for a seventh harmonization package had already begun, Gul said that the package would include all the outstanding conditions that Turkey has pledged to fulfill on its road to EU membership. The foreign minister said that he had also told Sezer about Turkey’s initiatives to promote the Middle East peace process as well as recent developments on the Cyprus issue. In addition, Gul stated that he would travel to Jordan on Friday accompanied by State Minister Ali Babacan to attend meetings of the World Economy Forum. During his visit, Gul is expected to meet with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom./Turkiye/
 NATIONAL PROGRAM PRESENTED TO FOREIGN MINISTER GULTurkey has taken another significant step on its path towards EU membership in the leadup to the month-end Salonica summit. The National Program, which was prepared by Turkey’s Secretariat General for EU Affairs in response to the EU’s new Accession Partnership Document for Ankara, was presented yesterday to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. “This document is meant for Turkey’s renewal,” said Gul. “We have to renew Turkey’s political and economic structure not for the sake of EU membership, but for our own welfare.” /Hurriyet/
 PARLIAMENT’S JUSTICE COMMISSION TO DEBATE SIXTH EU PACKAGEParliament’s Justice Commission is expected to hold hearings on the sixth European Union harmonization package today. Under the 22-article package, programs on TV and radio would be allowed in mother tongue dialects and languages, Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law would be annulled and the National Security Council (NSC) would be longer have a seat on the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) inspection board. The package would also shorten the election campaign broadcast ban to 24 hours just prior to election day, rather than a full week. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that he thought full Parliament would pass the harmonization package by the end of this week. /Aksam/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT: “THE TURKISH-US STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WILL ENDURE”US State Department deputy spokesman Philip Reeker yesterday told a Washington press briefing that Turkey was a strategic ally of the US, hailing the partnership between the two countries as “one that will endure.” Asked what the “strategic partnership” means to the US, Reeker said, “Our relations with Turkey are strong [and] broad. We have a long, deep history together, and we have a lot of work to do in the future. Clearly, we are both members of the NATO alliance, and will continue to work in that direction with the alliance expanding. We have got a lot of shared interests, and certainly value Turkey's friendship.” Reeker spoke against the backdrop of Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s current visit to Washington and his talks with several State Department officials. /Cumhuriyet, http:__www.state.gov/
 ZIYAL: “TURKEY’S ROBUST STRATEGIC RELATIONS WITH THE US ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK”Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal, who is currently visiting Washington to mend strained relations in the wake of Turkey’s refusal of US troop deployments before the Iraq war, yesterday spoke on “Perspectives in Turkish Foreign Policy: Looking Forward after Iraq” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a respected US conservative think-tank. Stating that there were no differences between the national interests of Turkey and the US, Ziyal remarked that strategic relations between Ankara and Washington were “on the right track and robust.” “There is a strategic partnership between us,” added Ziyal. “There are common goals. There were important problems between the two countries in the past, however all those problems were completely overcome.” He also stressed that both countries should further improve their strategic friendship. He took issue with the contention that the majority of Turks were “against the US” but added that most Turkish people were against “the concept of war.” Ziyal yesterday also met with US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and State Department Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Alan Larson. /All Papers, http://www.aei.org/
 LAGENDIJK: “CIVILIAN AUTHORITY SHOULD BE ABOVE THE MILITARY”Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chairman Dutch parliamentarian Joost Lagendijk said yesterday that within one-and-a-half years, he expected that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK)’s national role would be in line with European Union norms. Following the commission’s 50th meeting, Lagendijk told an Istanbul press conference that EU officials were interested in the contents of an upcoming seventh harmonization package expected to include reforms regarding Turkey’s military establishment. Stressing that the duties and functions of the TSK should be similar those of the military establishments in other EU countries, Lagendijk said, “Civilian authority should be higher than the TSK, and it should be dependent on civilian authority.” /All Papers/
 BAYKAL CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO END PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITYCorruption is like a cancer choking Turkey’s economy and political life, charged Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday. Speaking at his party’s parliamentary group meeting, Baykal stressed that parliamentary immunity and measures protecting commercial secrets should both be abolished in order to fight against corruption. Stating that radical reforms were also badly needed in certain laws, including public procurement rules and laws on banking and privatization, to wage an effective anti-corruption struggle, Baykal said, “Without first abolishing immunity, all efforts to end corruption would be in vain.” In related news, a proposal on parliamentary immunity submitted by CHP deputies was approved during Parliament’s session yesterday. Under it, a 12- deputy investigation commission would be given a three-month mandate to examine different approaches to the problem. /Turkiye/
 VERHEUGEN: “THE EU DOOR IS STILL OPEN FOR THE TRNC”European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen yesterday met with Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos to discuss the Cyprus issue. During their talks, Verheugen said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) shouldn’t miss the opportunity to join the Union alongside Greek Cyprus next year, adding that though the Greek Cypriot administration was eager to start its accession talks, the TRNC’s stance was also important. “We’ve got a message for the Turkish Cypriots, which is that the door is still open,” said Verheugen. For his part, Papadopoulos said that the Greek Cypriot administration would continue to extend assistance to the Turkish Cypriots and that he would continue to work for a resolution on the island by next May’s scheduled accession. He added that there had been no problems in implementing measures to support the TRNC. /Aksam/
 IMF URGES GOVT TO FIND ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO MEET ITS EXPENSESAccording to the news channel NTV, International Monetary Fund officials yesterday asked the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to find new resources to meet its high expenses. The officials reportedly stated that higher-than-expected social security deficits had created a need for a new resource package to meet these expenses. The resource package is expected to be about 1 billion Turkish liras, and the government’s letter of intent (LOI) would also include the package. /Milliyet/
 TUSIAD, TOBB SHOW SUPPORT FOR GOVERNMENT POWER STATION TAKEOVERThe Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) yesterday released a statement expressing support for the Energy Markets Regulatory Authority’s (EPDK) decision last week to take over two power stations from the controversial Uzan group. The statement said that the EPDK’s mission was to ensure that the markets work efficiently and that its decision had been just. In related news, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Mehmet Balduk also praised the takeover decision as appropriate, adding that everyone in Turkey was obliged to obey the rules. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 FROM THE COLUMNS...
 IS THIS A RETURN OF THE AEGEAN ISSUE?
 BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the disputes between Turkey and Greece on the Aegean issue and possible ways to address it. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Athens’ claims that Turkish military jets are violating Greek airspace over the Aegean, its complaints about this to NATO and the European Union and its aggressive statements against Ankara all caused tension last week. Some clamorous Greek newspapers gave the impression that the two countries were on the verge of a new crisis. Meanwhile, the statements made by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis and Foreign Minister George Papandreou, both of whom attach importance to the Ankara-Athens rapprochement, are making people ask if relations are getting worse. No similar incident has happened in the last few days, which has helped ease tensions somewhat. However, reactions and even threats are continuing to come from Greece. It can’t be a coincidence that this is happening on the eve of the EU’s Thessalonica summit.
In spite of the rapprochement between Turkey and Greece of the last few years, the basic disputes on the Aegean issue have ground things to a standstill, and negotiations on these problems have failed to yield fruit. In other words, Turkish-Greek relations have made enormous progress and our two countries have taken important steps in ‘confidence-building measures,’ but there’s not been even a single positive development on the Aegean issue. The disputes over territorial waters and airspace last week brought the current strife to the surface. Actually this isn’t the first time we’ve faced charges of ‘violations’ and ‘harassments’ from Greece. This time the reason behind Athens raising a ruckus – according to its claims – was that Turkey’s ‘violations’ had recently increased greatly and that a Turkish F- 16 had harassed a Greek passenger plane.
So Greece alleged that Ankara’s stance came from its military and it started to use this argument as a trump card against our EU bid. Meanwhile, Ankara thinks that Greece began this campaign in order to strengthen its position on the Aegean issue, make the EU accept it and so back Turkey into a corner. Actually as long as Turkey and Greece fail to solve the basic issues on the Aegean and seek to strengthen their own position, these disputes and tensions will come up again and again. Therefore the two countries should benefit from mutual rapprochement in order to solve these problems. Avoiding deterioration in Turkish-Greek relations and starting a constructive dialogue towards this end both depend on the good will and determination of both countries. The Turkish and Greek prime ministers’ meeting to be held this week before the Thessalonica summit could be a good opportunity for such a process to begin.”
 TOWARDS THE GREAT CHANGE…
 BY ALI BAYRAMOGLU (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Ali Bayramoglu writes about a possible change in Turkey’s political system with a redefinition the military’s role. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Shaping up around our country’s European Union harmonization packages, the heated debate on change is continuing in its various forms. Future EU packages set to follow the sixth are likely to focus on much more critical issues such as shrinking the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) autonomous role within the state. It is at least growing more probable than ever that certain concrete steps to this end will be taken in the very near future.
As a matter of fact we have been hearing reports that the seventh EU harmonization package is already on the way, and that this time it is being prepared by Foreign Ministry bureaucrats. The reports also have it that the new package would envisage a National Security Council (NSC) Secretariat- General which would be much more ‘civilian.’ In fact, even a non-military official could be appointed to the post.
Among those critical steps, the most critical ones would be giving the NSC a more civilian structure and putting controls on the military’s budget and expenditures. Indeed, these two points constitute the core of the military guardianship issue in our country and lie at the heart of the overwhelming political power of the TSK. This is how since the 1960 coup the military has grown to be an establishment which has authority but is in no way answerable to any control mechanism, and one which can intervene in everything but which is itself immune to any intervention. It is such an institution which has the final word on the supposedly democratic functioning of state and political decision-making processes, and which makes a clear distinction between the state and the governing power, identifying itself with the former.
Making the MGK a much more civilian-dominated institution and securing a democratic functioning of state would the greatest reform, and even a revolution in Turkey’s political system.
This time I have set my hopes high that a comprehensive transformation process could begin in our country’s political system. One reason for my optimism is that the mainstream media, one which hitherto blamed the elected politicians, is now discussing the issue and even supporting possibly shattering the military taboo. But of course the military will be resistant to such a change. Most probably the General Staff is getting prepared to put up such a resistance. And in fact, we can see early signs of just that.
The change would not come without difficulties, and certainly we will have some this time. But such a change would be worthwhile.”
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