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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-05
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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
05.07.2004FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN HOSTS FORMER MALAYSIAN PREMIERPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday hosted a luncheon in the honor of former Malaysian Premier Mahathir Mohamad at Istanbul’s Dolmabahce Palace. Mohamad, a founder of the D-8, was visiting Turkey to attend meetings marking the seventh anniversary of the group of developing nations. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL VISITS LEBANONForeign Minister Abdullah Gul this weekend paid an official visit to Lebanon at the invitation of his Lebanese counterpart Jeean Obeid. Yesterday, Gul was received by Premier Refik Hariri. After completing his contacts in the country, Gul later yesterday returned to Ankara. He told reporters that his visit had been fruitful, adding that Lebanese officials had lent their support to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). “A free trade agreement will be signed in the coming days,” said Gul. /Star/
 PARLIAMENT FACES BUSY SCHEDULE IN COUNTDOWN TO RECESSIn the countdown to its summer recess set to begin on July 15, Parliament is due to face a busy schedule this week. The Ninth Harmonization Package, which would shorten the judicial holiday and remove all references to the outlawed death penalty from Turkey’s legal codes, is expected to be debated in the full Parliament. /Star/
 ARINC RETURNS TO TURKEY FROM MEETING OF EU PARLIAMENT SPEAKERSAfter attending a meeting of European Union Parliament speakers in The Hague, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday returned to Ankara. Upon his arrival, Arinc told reporters that he had held bilateral meetings with his Dutch, Italian, Belgian, Finnish, Portuguese, Bulgarian and Greek counterparts. Stressing that EU leaders appreciated Turkey’s efforts to harmonize with Union norms, Arinc said that he had come away with the impression that Ankara would get a date to begin its EU membership talks at the EU’s December summit. /Star/
 BAYKAL REELECTED TO CHP HELMDuring the weekend 12th Extraordinary Convention of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), leader Deniz Baykal was reelected to the opposition party’s helm. Following the gathering, Baykal and provincial party chairmen visited Ataturk’s mausoleum (Anitkabir) and the tomb of second Republic President Ismet Inonu. The convention took place under pressure from inter-party dissident groups calling for a new administration. /Aksam/
 INDEPENDENT COMMISSION HEAD PROMOTES TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDThe Independent Turkey Commission completed its study on Ankara’s European Union membership bid over the weekend after meeting with Turkish officials including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul as well as bureaucrats, nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives and scholars. The commission was established by a group of distinguished European policymakers who have previously held high positions in public office, including former heads of state and government, foreign ministers and European commissioners, in order to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by the country’s possible EU membership. “The EU must treat Turkey fairly,” said Martti Ahtisaari, former Finnish president and commission chairman, at the commission’s press conference yesterday in Istanbul. For his part, former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek stated that the EU was not a Christian club, underlining that Turkey would share such common values with European countries as democracy, human rights and respect for the rights of minorities. /Sabah/
 POLISH PREMIER BELKA: “TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP WILL BE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ESTABLISH STABILITY IN THE REGION”In an interview with German daily Welt am Sonntag published yesterday, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said that his country supported Ankara’s EU membership bid. “Turkey’s membership should be considered a great opportunity to establish stability in the region,” stated Belka. In related news, Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang Schussel stated that although he did not oppose Turkey’s EU membership, he still believed that major hurdles remained, such as the country’s large population. /Sabah/
 STATE LIMITS INSURANCE ON DEPOSITSBeginning today, the state is imposing a limit on its insurance for bank deposits. Under the new regulation, deposits up to 50 billion TL will be covered. Previously, the state had offered an unlimited guarantee on deposits in case a bank goes under. /Turkiye/
 WB’S VORKINK: “TURKEY IS GROWING LIKE INDIA AND CHINA”World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink over the weekend praised Turkey’s recent social security reforms, stating that the WB had provided the government with technical assistance on the success of the program. Vorkink added that the recent rise in Central Bank interest rates was not expected to hurt the economy. “Turkey has a very good trend of economic growth,” added Vorkink. “Your economy has grown by 12.4% in the first quarter of this year, a rate which is quite impressive. With this figure, Turkey has proved that it is growing like India and China.” In related news, the WB and the International Monetary Fund have jointly initiated a review of Turkey’s public expenses since the Law on Public Financial Administration and Control is to be put into force next year. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 AFTER BUSH’S VISIT BY ASLI AYDINTASBAS (SABAH)Columnist Asli Aydintasbas comments on US President George W. Bush’s visit to Turkey for last week’s NATO summit. A summary of her column is as follows:
“US President George W. Bush told his advisors that his recent visits to Ankara and Istanbul for last week’s NATO summit made up one of his the best foreign trips ever. Obviously Istanbul’s magnificence, a visit without hitches and the opportunity to ‘score points’ in the leadup to this fall’s US presidential elections are reasons enough for him to enjoy the visit. Within this larger picture, Turkish-US relations are rather a ‘subtitle.’ Bush’s photo with Ortakoy Mosque in the background is particularly important for the US public. For me, the content of his speeches was directed at the Muslim world. However, there were also balanced messages taking into consideration important Turkish domestic dynamics as well. Meanwhile, friendly warnings from President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the PKK terrorist organization were expected by the US, which actually wanted to hear them. Everybody from Washington I spoke to in recent weeks found Turkey’s argument about the PKK presence in Iraq fair and resented the Pentagon’s foot-dragging.
One high-ranking White House official said at a briefing, ‘The meetings in Ankara showed that Turkey’s interests are in sync with our own.’ This is true for now. Bush not only listened to Erdogan tell him about the issue of the territorial integrity of Kirkuk and Iraq, but also supported Ankara’s stance on this issue. Bush and his staff oppose the establishment of an independent Kurdish state and say that Iraq’s natural resources, including the oil in Kirkuk, should belong to the entire Iraqi nation. However, are these sufficient guarantees for Ankara? Washington doesn’t have control over Iraq and Turkey’s problems in Iraq concern Baghdad and northern Iraq. In addition, Bush diplomatically reminded Erdogan and Sezer of the fact that Turkish-Israeli relations are very important for Washington. Then US officials who discussed the issue with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul implied the following: ‘You can criticize Israel’s policies. Both Europe and we do this sometimes as well. However, you should maintain a certain manner and be constructive.’ This is an appropriate warning for a country whose influence in the US is based on the Jewish lobby.”
 LET’S DISCUSS THE ECHR DECISION BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments last week’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on Turkey prohibiting the wearing of headscarves in state schools. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The European Court of Human Rights’ (ECHR) ruling last week on the wearing of headscarves in Turkey’s state schools read as follows: ‘One individual’s habits, manifesting his_her beliefs or religion, could be perceived by other individuals as an infringement on their own religious sensibilities and their personal rights and freedoms. Therefore, the state can limit habits which display the individual’s religion or belief.’
Turkish society has two different views on this issue. The first sees wearing headscarves as a threat to their religious sensibilities and freedom. The other wants to exercise the right to education, one of the basic rights set out in the European Convention of Human Rights, without having to give up wearing headscarves. The ECHR ruling will either re-open the wound or contribute to a solution. Either way, the issue should be discussed.
If the rule of law is our common aim, then we have to be able to accept the court’s decision. Since women who are wearing the headscarves filed the case of their free will, then they should accept it, because questioning the ECHR is an easy but dangerous attitude. How could we agree on something if we don’t let the judiciary solve it?
It’s also important that we understand the ruling. It doesn’t ban headscarves, but rather gives the state the authority to limit them if wearing them is perceived as a threat. There is no objection to wear headscarves as long as people don’t see them as a threat to their own religion and understanding of freedom.”
 WHERE DOES THIS TERROR COME FROM? BY FEHMI KORU (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Fehmi Koru comments on the importance of correctly identifying terrorist movements. A summary of his column is as follows:
“This is not the first time that Turkey has come face-to-face with terror; it has been dealing with ‘ethnic’ terror for the last 20 years but before that, there was also the era of ‘ideological terror.’ Turkey may be a worldwide leader of sorts in being ‘educated’ through this fire.
The latest terror attacks in our terror-weary country were truly bizarre. One searches in vain for any relation between the forms of the movements, their targets and aims, and the group believed to be behind these attacks.
Take last week’s attack against Van Governor Hikmet Tan for instance. The terrorist PKK is said to be behind it but clearly the attack bears none of the hallmarks of ones by the PKK_Kongra-Gel. Groups tied to Kongra-Gel disavowed the attack. Meanwhile, we shouldn’t forget that the recently released Kurdish former deputies immediately condemned the attack.
Therefore, we must ask this: if this was a PKK_Kongra Gel attack, why are they denying it, and if not, then whose was it? But by getting a bit used to these terror movements, we don’t see them as multi-dimensional.
At this point, Turkey must above all correctly identify the terror that has been set into motion again. The implications for our EU bid are obvious, and our approaching membership may cause even worse terror.
If we don’t want to tolerate terror, the first thing to do is to identify it correctly.”
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