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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-07
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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
07.07.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN VISITS BULGARIAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to Sofia, Bulgaria to pay a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Bulgarian counterpart Simeon Sakskoburgotski. During their meetings, the two leaders reportedly discussed bilateral and regional issues. In addition, pointing to the terrorist group PKK’s resumption of attacks in Turkey, Erdogan called on Sakskoburgotski to cooperate in the fight against this terrorist group. At a joint press conference, Erdogan expressed his pleasure at seeing Bulgaria join NATO, adding that during his contacts with Bulgarian leaders, ways to boost trade and economic relations would be discussed. Later, speaking at a Turkish-Bulgarian Business Forum, Erdogan remarked that Turkish investors had a larger presence in Bulgaria than did any other country, with involvement in over 2,000 firms. “Turkish businessmen have full trust in the Bulgarian economy,” said the Turkish premier. In the evening, Erdogan attended a banquet hosted by Sakskoburgotski in his honor. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN: “TURKEY WILL NOT PULL ITS TROOPS FROM CYPRUS”Before his departure for Bulgaria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport. Asked about rumors that Turkey would withdraw 5,000 soldiers from Cyprus, he stated that Ankara had no such intention. Commenting his one-day visit to Jordan on Monday, Erdogan said that his government had decided to pay impromptu visits to neighboring countries from time to time to discuss issues. Meanwhile, Erdogan reportedly called his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis yesterday to congratulate the Greek soccer team on its European championship win. /Hurriyet/
 COX PRAISES TURKEY’S EFFORTS ON ROAD TO EU MEMBERSHIPEuropean Parliament President Pat Cox yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently paying a visit to Bulgaria, at Sofia’s Hilton Hotel. Cox reportedly told Erdogan about the new makeup of the European Parliament in the wake of recent EP elections. Speaking to reporters, Cox said that Turkey had achieved “unbelievable” reforms on its road to European Union membership. He stressed that he believed Turkey’s tremendous efforts would be taken into consideration during the December EU summit when the Union makes a decision on setting a date for Ankara’s membership talks. He added that Turkey’s positive stance on the Cyprus issue would be a plus during the decision-making process. /Turkiye/
 EU COMMISSION TO ANNOUNCE AID PACKAGE FOR TRNC TODAYThe European Union Commission is expected to officially announce an aid package today for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). The 19- page package is to offer the TRNC financial aid totaling some 260 billion euros over three years in order redress the economic and social imbalance on the island between its Turkish and Greek sides. It also proposes opening an office in the TRNC to monitor how the aid is implemented. /Star/
 IRAQI INTERIM PM ALLAWI: “WE DON’T WANT TURKISH TROOPS HERE”Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi said yesterday that his country did not want any neighboring countries to send troops to Iraq. In an interview with Dubai-based Al Arabiya TV, Allawi stated that as the Iraqi Governing Council had resolved to avoid offending any sensitivities in the country, it did not want Turkish forces to be allowed to enter Iraq, a development which it felt would extremely upset Kurdish groups. /Cumhuriyet/
 IRAN LAUNCHES OPERATION AGAINST PKK_KONGRA-GEL TERRORISTSIranian security forces have reportedly launched a large-scale operation against PKK_KONGRA–GEL terrorists near the Turkish-Iranian border. According to the Anatolia News Agency, two Iranian soldiers and eight terrorists have been killed so far in the clashes along the border. Turkish security sources confirmed the reports, saying that they were part of a comprehensive operation launched by Iranian security forces. According to the reports, the Iranian army is using helicopters and heavy weapons during the operation, which is in fact still continuing. In the wake of a chilly period during which Ankara and Tehran traded accusations of harboring terrorists, the two countries have recently improved their cooperation on security issues, including efforts to fight the PKK/KONGRA-GEL. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN BRIEFS HIS PARTY ON NEW 3-YEAR ECONOMIC PROGRAMAddressing his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that all economic indicators showed a growth rate exceeding expectations for the last 20 months, or as long as the AKP has been in office. “Our party has been very successful in its economic program, since all economic indicators are higher than expected,” said Erdogan. “Of course we’ve had a number of disappointments. For example, we know that we’ve failed to reach our goal concerning unemployment.” Erdogan also briefed his party on a new three- year economic program, which, he said, would fit Turkey’s social and economic realities. “This program will inject fresh vigor into our economy, ” pledged Erdogan. /Aksam/
 FOREIGN INVESTORS URGE STREAMLINED PROCEDURESYesterday’s meeting of the Direct Foreign Investment Board, a body affiliated with the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), focused on government measures needed to eliminate obstacles to foreign investors. Representatives of companies backed by foreign capital conveyed their complaints to Babacan, asking the government to take effective measures to streamline bloated bureaucracies which they argued handicap business operations. For his part, Babacan stated that he expected direct foreign capital inflow to rise this year. “The time will come for us to launch a new promotional campaign after the European Union sets a date for Turkey to start its membership negotiations,” added Babacan. /Sabah/
 11TH INTERNATIONAL ISTANBUL JAZZ FEST BEGINSThe 11th International Istanbul Jazz Festival organized by the Istanbul Culture and Art Foundation (IKSV) is set to begin today, an important 12- day music event featuring 33 bands and more than 200 musicians from Turkey and abroad. Among famous performers at the festival will be Joan Baez, Bobby Mcferrin and Voicestra, Paco De Lucia and Charlie Haden. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ISRAEL’S PLANS FOR TURKEY BY SEMIH IDIZ (AKSAM)Columnist Semih Idiz comments on Turkish-Israeli relations and Israel’s plans for Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Israel is one of the best countries in making strategic calculations. This has to do with the Jewish people’s survival instinct due to their tragic history. The interests of their allies are always less important. Actually it’s not strange, because international relations are essentially based on interests and established on this basis. However, at certain junctures, the parties must rethink their gains and losses. In this respect, certain evaluations in Israel should make us think, because Israeli military and defense industry figures are among those who wouldn’t welcome Turkey’s getting a date for EU membership negotiations this December, and some even oppose Turkey’s EU membership outright. In addition, these same figures are the moving power in Turkish-Israeli relations. So Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Saturday that according to the Israeli Defense Ministry, Turkey’s EU membership would damage Turkish-Israeli strategic relations and hurt Ankara’s weapon purchases from Israel.
‘A decision to put Turkey on a course toward membership will strengthen [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, and weaken the military, according to the [Israeli] Defense Ministry,’ wrote Haaretz. ‘An EU decision to delay membership for Turkey will cause the Turkish military to grow stronger, to the point of deposing Erdogan and declaring new elections.’ It seems the Israelis are angry at Erdogan’s latest criticisms of Israel, which are supported by many sectors of Turkish society. They say, in sum, ‘Turkey’s integration with Europe and democratization process don’t suit our strategic interests. We want a Turkey where politicians are controlled by the military.’ Recently at a conference I met with a well-known Israeli analyst of Turkey, Jacob Landau. I asked him what lessons Turkey should learn from Israel. ‘Thanks for your compliment,’ he answered. ‘However, there are many lessons which shouldn’t be taken by Turkey from Israel, but by Israel from Turkey’.”
 OPENING TO THE MIDEAST AND THE FOREIGN MINISTRY’S RESTRUCTURING BY ZEYNEP GURCANLIColumnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on Turkey’s Mideast policy. A summary of her column is as follows:
“First, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to Lebanon, then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Jordan. And Erdogan’s month-end official visit to Iran. Gul will also head the meeting of the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC) in New York this September. Turkey is in a hurry for its EU membership bid, but also seems to turning its attention to the Middle East.
Ankara is determined to play a more active role in finding a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. What exactly this ‘active’ role will be is not yet set. Ankara has only a rough draft in mind. The details will be formed by the visits of the prime minister and foreign minister. A kind of mediation is taking place in the draft. This issue was also discussed during US President George W. Bush’s visit to Ankara last week and Washington gave its full support to Ankara. The first step is that Turkey will take part in an international force to be deployed in the Gaza Strip. The government is also considering trying ‘shuttle diplomacy.’ This will of course require an infrastructure.
The election of Turkey’s candidate Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu to head the OIC consolidated a strong infrastructure. The Foreign Ministry has already begun preparations for an infrastructure. It is planning to increase its personnel in its Consulate General in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The ministry will also reinforce its personnel at the OIC office. Thus, Ihsanoglu will be able to put together his own team.
The Foreign Ministry is also restructuring its Middle East department. The department was only responsible for political relations with the Mideast countries. Cultural and economic ties were handled by other departments, which gave rise to mixed signals. Now every aspect of relations with the Middle East will be handled through a single department. All this mobility means that Turkey will be more involved in the Middle East than it has been. Shortly Turkey will turn towards the Middle East, a region it has neglected for a long time.”
 INDEPENDENT IRAQ BY HUSNU MAHALLI (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Husnu Mahalli comments on the new government in Iraq and its attitude. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Americans turned over power to Ayad Allawi, their hand-picked prime minister, on June 28. But 130,000 American soldiers are still in Iraq, and the number of US undersecretaries and high representatives working at government ministries is 180.
However, it was still called a ‘sovereignty handover.’ But as Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said, it should have been the nation itself which had the sovereignty. That means the Iraqis.
Now everybody is waiting for the new elections supposed to be held at the beginning of next year. And in advance of this, there will be a census, and a new constitution will be drawn up. Until then, we will see what will happen in Iraq, and in its region at large.
But we see that Iraqis leaders have been accusing neighboring countries lately. According to them, these countries aren’t preventing terrorists from crossing the border into the country. Meaning Syria, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.
It is the first three countries which concern us. Turkey has close relationships with both Syria and Iran, and they will grow even closer.
Maybe these good relationships bother the US and its collaborators in Baghdad, but it’s the timing of the accusations that’s important. Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq’s foreign minister and a top official at the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP), wants to distract attention from the Kurds’ ties with Israel by accusing Syria and Iran.”
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