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Turkish Press Review, 04-07-13
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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
13.07.2004VERSATILE MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
 GUL: “IF THE EU DECIDES NOT TO BEGIN ACCESSION TALKS WITH TURKEY, THIS WILL DAMAGE ITS PRESTIGE”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul warned yesterday that if the European Union, at its December summit, decides not to begin accession talks with Turkey, then this would not only damage Turkey but also the EU, adding that such a decision could also hurt the Union’s prestige. Speaking to Turkish Bulletin magazine, Gul said that Ankara’s EU membership was very important for both the Union and Turkey itself. “We’ve fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria,” he said, adding that he believed the European Commission would make a fair evaluation this December. /Turkiye/
 ARINC MEETS WITH ROMANIAN SENATE SPEAKER, DISCUSSES TURKEY’S EU BIDParliament Speaker Bulent Arinc yesterday met with visiting Romanian Senate Speaker Nicolae Vacaroiu to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations and Turkey’s European Union membership bid. During their meeting, Vacaroiu said that he appreciated Turkey’s support for Romania’s own recent successful NATO membership bid, adding that Bucharest was ready to support Ankara beginning its accession talks with the EU. “Our accession talks with the EU are due to end in November,” said Vacaroiu. “We’ve had positive results up to now, and we’ll support Turkey’s accession talks.” Romania is due to join the EU in 2007. /Hurriyet/
 BRITAIN PREPARING FOR DIRECT FLIGHTS TO THE TRNCThe British government has started laying the legal groundwork for direct flights between Great Britain and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). A British Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday that Britain is seeking ways to overcome legal hurdles to direct flights between London and Nicosia, underscoring that London supports starting such flights between the two countries. The TRNC, in return, will extradite fugitives sought by Britain. /Sabah/
 IRAQI PRIME MINISTER COULD VISIT TURKEYReuters reported yesterday that Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi may soon pay a visit to Turkey, among other regional neighbors. No date was specified for the visit. /Sabah/
 OLMERT DUE IN TURKEY TODAYIsraeli Industry, Commerce and Employment Minister Ehud Olmert will arrive in Turkey today. Olmert is set to visit Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, State Minister Ali Babacan and Agriculture Minister Sami Guclu. In related news, Israeli Ambassador Pinhas Avivi has reportedly asserted the good health of Turkish-Israeli relations. /Aksam/
 DUTCH FM: “THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S CYPRUS PACKAGE WILL BE DISCUSSED IN SEPTEMBER”Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot said yesterday that the European Commission’s recent package proposing measures to help end the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) would be discussed at the EU General Affairs Council in September. Netherlands currently holds the EU’s rotating six-month presidency. In related news, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Yorgos Yakovu said that he wanted to be briefed by the commission on the package. /Aksam/
 EU GENERAL AFFAIRS AND FOREIGN RELATIONS COUNCIL CONVENES, DISCUSSES TURKEY’S EU BIDThe European Union’s General Affairs and Foreign Relations Council yesterday held a meeting in Brussels attended by the EU member states’ foreign ministers. During the meeting, a number of issues, including Turkey’s EU bid, economic assistance to Iraq, and decisions taken at last month’s NATO summit in Istanbul were discussed. Measures to be taken by the EU after it takes over the peacekeeping force in Bosnia-Herzegovina from NATO were also discussed. /Turkiye/
 TWO DEPUTIES LEAVE CHPTwo deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Necdet Budak and Atilla Basoglu, yesterday resigned from the party. The two will reportedly join the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). /Sabah/
 TURKISH DRIVER KILLED IN IRAQ BOMBINGA Turkish driver was killed yesterday when a roadside bomb destroyed his truck as he travelled with a US military convoy north of Baghdad, an Iraqi police officer said. Lt. Col. Namis Saeed said an Iraqi civilian was also killed and his wife injured when US soldiers in the convoy opened fire after the explosion near Baiji, about 180 km north of Baghdad. /All papers/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 VERSATILE MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS
 BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey’s relations with countries of the Middle East. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Balkans recently captured the diplomatic spotlight with the visits of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to Romania and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Bulgaria. This week the focus will turn to visits to Turkey by Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and an official Iranian delegation. Coincidentally, these visits will coincide. However, they ably display Turkey’s policy of establishing versatile and balanced relations with countries in the region. The Syrian and Iranian visits show a recent rapid development in bilateral relations. The Iranian delegation’s meetings in Ankara will concern security cooperation. Iran has a new stance fitting Turkey’s expectations on the issue. Clearly, the war in Iraq and developments in northern Iraq have paved the way for rapprochement between Turkey and both Iran and Syria. Although the US wants to isolate them, Turkey has been trying to strengthen its ties with these two countries. This stance is also in line with the policy of EU member countries who are trying to carry on relations with Tehran and Damascus. In the words of one Turkish diplomat, this shouldn’t be considered a slap at the US, but the result of the flow of events.
Al-Otari’s contacts in Ankara and Istanbul will be mostly economic in nature. There have been significant developments of late, but many things remain to do in order to reach the desired goals. The current political atmosphere between Ankara and Damascus is appropriate for this. In addition, Olmert’s visit to Ankara is also based on economic reasons, but it has also a political meaning and importance.
Considering the cold winds blowing recently between our two countries, a visit by such a high-level Israeli official is also important. These cold winds are the result of Erdogan’s firm rejection of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s policies towards the Palestinians. Then reports that Israel was training Kurdish peshmerga created a crisis of confidence, although the Israelis denied the allegations. So the distance between Turkey and Israel grew. However, Turkey is trying to continue its relations with Israel in other areas. In sum, Turkey’s political relations with Israel seem to be on hold, whereas our relations in economics and other areas seem to be active.”
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