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Turkish Press Review, 03-06-20
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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
20.06.2003FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) AN IMPORTANT INVITATIONBY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
 SEZER MEETS WITH UKRANIAN PRESIDENT KUCHMA TO DISCUSS BILATERAL RELATIONSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer, currently on an official visit to Ukraine, yesterday met with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma to discuss a number of issues. During their talks, the two leaders signed agreements for greater cooperation between their countries. Speaking afterwards, Sezer said that he and Kuchma had discussed both bilateral and regional issues. For his part, Kuchma said that they had discussed integration with the European Union and decided to boost cooperation on the issue. While Turkey is an official EU candidate, Ukraine is signatory to cooperative pacts with the EU with the long-term goal of accession to the Union. “Ukraine is interested in closely studying Turkey’s rich experience in [EU accession],” said Kuchma. “We are convinced that without Ukraine and Turkey, a united Europe will not be truly unified.” Later today, Sezer is expected to visit the Ukrainian peninsular province of Crimea. /Aksam, Interfax/
 ERDOGAN, GUL TO ATTEND EU THESSALONIKI SUMMITThe European Union summit in Thessaloniki (Salonika), Greece began yesterday. During last night’s session, the EU leaders discussed illegal immigration and measures to protect the Union’s borders. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul are set to attend today’s summit meetings for discussions of the recent progress towards membership of a number of candidate countries, including Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. In the evening, the Turkish leaders will attend a dinner hosted by Greek President Costis Stefanopoulos in honor of the EU leaders. A final declaration to be released at the summit’s conclusion reportedly includes warm messages regarding Turkey’s EU membership bid. Bulgaria and Romania, which are set to join the Union in 2007, as well as Turkey, are to be invited as observers to the Inter-governmental Conference scheduled to begin its work this October in Brussels. Normally, only candidate countries with accession talks scheduled are invited to this conference. The final declaration reportedly also praises Turkey’s ongoing efforts to fulfill EU criteria, due to be evaluated in December 2004, where Ankara’s accession talks could also be scheduled. /All Papers/
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES SIXTH EU HARMONIZATION PACKAGEParliament yesterday approved the sixth European Union harmonization package, thus taking another landmark step in Turkey’s bid to join the EU. Before the vote, an article was removed from the package which would have allowed foreign observers to monitor Turkey’s elections. In related news, the government is expected to continue preparations on the seventh harmonization package next week. /Aksam/
 CABINET DUE TO CONSIDER NATIONAL PROGRAM NEXT WEEKTurkey’s National Program is expected to be debated at next Monday’s Cabinet meeting. The preamble to the program says that the government is determined to implement the measures contained therein over the next year. Under the 900-page program, the National Security Council (NSC) would take on a more advisory role. Some other articles of the program are as follows: measures would be taken to ensure freedom of the press, members of the judiciary would be briefed on the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights, and anti-torture rules and procedures would be strenghtened. /Milliyet/
 ANKARA AGREES TO PAY COMPENSATION TO GREEK CYPRIOT OVER DISPUTED LANDAccording to news channel NTV, Turkey’s representative to the European Convention Numan Hazar declared yesterday that Turkey had agreed to pay compensation to a Greek Cypriot citizen who sued Turkey and won at the European Court of Human Rights. Under the ruling, Ankara will pay $700,000 with 8% interest to Titina Loizidou as compensation her former land now situated in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). This decision by Turkey could set a precedent for similar Greek Cypriot cases. Disbursement and compensation for land disputed since the 1974 Peace Operation is a major issue in any Cyprus settlement, as Turkey faces the prospect of owing up to $20 billion in compensation. /Milliyet/
 BABACAN: “ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL REFORMS WILL STRENGTHEN OUR STABILITY”State Minister for the Economy Kemal Babacan said yesterday that economic and social reforms would help to strengthen the nation’s stability. At a London press conference after touting Turkey’s investment climate to British financial institutions and investors, Babacan told reporters that his two-day visit had been very fruitful. He also met with British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and Chief Secretary of the Treasury Paul Boateng. After completing his contacts in London, Babacan returned to Ankara last night. /Turkiye/
 FINANCE MINISTER UNAKITAN: “OUR ECONOMY IS ATTRACTING ARAB CAPITAL”On his ongoing tour of Persian Gulf countries, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan yesterday held a press conference in Abu Dhabi. Stressing that gulf region investors were willing to invest in Turkey, Unakitan said that during his contacts in these countries, he and an accompanying delegation had had an opportunity to tout progress in Turkey’s economy and its state privatization program. He stated that Arab businessmen were particularly interested in investing in the tourism sector and had asked for streamlined visa procedures. He added that he had high hopes on attracting Arab capital to Turkey, especially in light of Arab investors’ flight from the West over the last two years. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “THE CHP WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT ON TURKEY’S EU BID”We have so far extended firm support to the government in its efforts towards our country’s European Union accession, and we will continue to do so, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal pledged at a press conference yesterday. Following his meeting with Gerd Andres, a German Social Democratic Party deputy and chairman of the German Bundestag’s German-Turkish Relations Commission, Baykal told reporters that Andres had asked him about the military’s perceived role in the country and the upcoming seventh EU harmonization package, one widely expected to address the issue. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” said Baykal, adding that the CHP had no reservations about the appointment of a non- military official to the National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general post. /Cumhuriyet/
 GEN. TOLON: “THERE IS A CAMPAIGN TO ERODE OUR PEOPLE’S TRUST IN THE TSK”There are forces both in Turkey and without waging an organized, slanderous campaign to erode our nation’s trust in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), charged Aegean Army Commander Gen. Hursit Tolon yesterday. Speaking at a military graduation ceremony in Izmir, Tolon said that the same forces were also trying to brand the military as an obstacle to the country’s democratization and EU accession. Tolon further claimed that current discussions about the National Security Council (NSC) were aimed at mis- portraying the body as the top issue in the country’s EU agenda. /Cumhuriyet/
 POWELL EXTENDS OFFICIAL INVITATION TO GUL TO VISIT USUS Secretary of State Colin Powell has extended an official invitation to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to visit Washington, said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal yesterday during his fence-mending trip to Washington. “Turkish-US relations are on the right track,” stated Ziyal, adding that a US visit by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was also a possibility. Either trip would set a landmark in Turkey’s efforts to repair bilateral relations strained since the Iraq war. Ziyal also stated that Washington had no intentions of abandoning the NATO base at Incirlik near Adana. /Cumhuriyet/
 UZAN: “CANCELLATIONS OF POWER STATION CONCESSIONS ARE POLITICAL ATTACKS ON THE GP”Young Party (GP) head and media mogul Cem Uzan yesterday alleged that the recent government cancellations of concession agreements on two power stations with the Uzan group were deliberate political attacks aimed at “crushing” the GP’s “unanticipated triumph” over the last nine months. “Now that the GP is now capable of challenging the governing Justice and Development Party [AKP], the AKP has moved to prevent the further progress of my party,” charged Uzan. The Energy Markets Regulatory Authority (EPDK) last week cancelled the agreements on the grounds that both stations had violated provisions of their 1998 contracts signed with the government. In related news, the Justice Ministry has moved to launch an investigation into derogatory statements made by Uzan shortly after the cancellations, statements which targeted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The GP fell short of the parliamentary representation threshold in last fall’s elections, but recent polls have suggested a higher margin of support. /Cumhuriyet/
 NEW YORK TIMES: “1,200-1,800 TROOPS OFFERED BY TURKEY FOR PEACEKEEPING, RECONSTRUCTION IN IRAQ”The United States is talking with dozens of nations, including Turkey, to replace by mid-August some 20,000-30,000 allied troops currently occupying Iraq, The New York Times reported yesterday. During Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s contacts in Washington this week, said the paper, he offered US officials Iraqi relief aid and other assistance, as well as 1,200-1,800 troops for peacekeeping and reconstruction. “Turkey is now eager to assist us in the reconstruction of Iraq,” said US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of several top officials who met with Ziyal. /Turkiye/
 MARMARAY UNDERWATER METRO CONSTRUCTION TO START NEXT YEARTransportation Minister Binali Yildirim said yesterday that the construction of a $2.5 billion Istanbul Strait Tube Tunnel Project (Marmaray) was set to begin next year. Yildirim added that the project was scheduled to be operational in 2008. /Anatolia News Agency/
 ISTANBUL TO HOST CLOTHING PRODUCERS’ CONGRESSIstanbul is due to host the 19th International Apparel Federation (IAF) Congress on next Tuesday and Wednesday. Over 400 domestic and foreign clothing companies are expected to participate in the two-day industry event. /Anatolia News Agency/
 TURKEY DEFEATS UNITED STATES IN CONFEDERATION CUPIn its first match against the United States in St Etienne, France yesterday, Turkey emerged victorious with a score of 2-1. Turkey is fighting the opening round group against the US, Cameroon and Brazil. /All papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TURKEY AND THE PRESSURE ON IRAN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Iran’s nuclear program and the stance of both Turkey and the international community on the issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It’s still unclear whether Iran is working to produce nuclear weapons, but clearly the international community is putting pressure on Tehran concerning this issue. After the US and the European Union, now the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has indicated that it has concerns and doubts about Iran’s nuclear program and so has openly warned the administrators in Tehran. Clearly Washington has been accusing Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Although the Bush administration lacks evidence, it’s using these claims in its campaign against Iran.
Interestingly, the EU took a stance echoing these concerns earlier this week. Now the Union is also warning Tehran and what’s more, it stated, ‘If diplomacy isn’t enough, force may be necessary’ against countries which produce weapons of mass destruction. Finally this week in Vienna, IAEA head Mohammed ElBaradei presented a report accusing Iran of not giving full disclosure on its nuclear activities and stating that stricter international controls were necessary. The IAEA Board of Governors is still discussing this report and preparing for a decision.
Turkey is one of 35 members of the IAEA Board of Directors. Turkish representative Ambassador Aydin Sahinbas recently expressed Ankara’s support for this report. ElBaradei’s report claims that Iran is keeping certain activities about its nuclear program secret and secretly storing some imported nuclear material. The report advises that Iran should sign the additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and open its doors up to international inspectors. Turkey shares the West’s suspicions and concerns about Iran’s nuclear program and so wants Tehran to cooperate with the international community to convince them of its claims the program has only peaceful objectives. The IAEA’s decision yesterday establishes a legal basis for strict inspections of the nuclear program.
Turkey’s stance on the IAEA issue underlines Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal’s pledge in Washington earlier this week that Ankara is standing with the US on the Iran issue. However, Turkey’s stance accords not only with the US’, but also with that of the IAEA, which is the relevant institution for both the EU and the UN.”
 AN IMPORTANT INVITATION
 BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc writes on the European Union’s Thessaloniki (Salonika) summit which began yesterday and Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of her column is as follows:
“ ‘You invited other candidate countries to the intergovernmental conference as observers, but why have you excluded Turkey?’ Six months ago, this is what I asked one of the EU Commission officials at the Copenhagen summit.
‘The EU Commission invites to this conference only the candidate countries which have already begun their membership negotiations,’ he explained then. ‘Turkey cannot attend as an observer, since it has yet to begin its membership talks.’
Now I’m taking a look at the draft final declaration of the current Thessaloniki summit. The main subject of this gathering will be ‘New Europe, ’ in other words, the new draft constitution of the enlarged Europe. The commission is due to present the final text of the draft Constitutional Treaty at this summit.
‘Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey are set to attend all sessions of the summit as observers,’ says the draft final declaration. Romania and Bulgaria have already begun their membership talks. Therefore, the EU’s invitation to our country is a significant development which should be seen as an overt expression by the Commission that the EU and Turkey have recently entered a critical phase in terms of their bilateral relations. This is a sign that the EU, previously unwilling to set a date for our membership negotiations, is trying to please Turkey this time.
One of the most important issues to be discussed at the Thessaloniki summit is the Balkans. The EU is about to enter a new enlargement process. ‘The unification of Europe will not be complete until our friends in the Balkans are part of the family,’ said European Commission President Romano Prodi on Wednesday. ‘We are confident that all the countries in the region are determined to do their bit and speed up their reform process. To implement the agenda, we clearly need financial resources that match our ambitions. From this viewpoint, our total finance for the region will rise by 210 million euros over the next three years… So my appeal to the region is: Go ahead and work hard so we are “obliged” to give you more money.’ These words are very important also for Turkey. Our government must do its utmost to be included in this new enlargement process. If we fail to take part in it, our country will suffer great losses both economically and strategically.
Finally, work on the seventh harmonization package is underway. We are taking significant steps. However, the important point is not so much to change packages but rather our minds. Our remaining anti-democratic practices should be brought to an end as soon as possible. Failing this, all our efforts will come to naught.”
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