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Turkish Press Review, 04-11-04
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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
04.11.2004FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN TOUTS PROGRESS TOWARDS ANKARA’S EU TALKSSpeaking at his party’s Central Executive Board (MKYK) meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded a number of positive developments towards Turkey beginning its accession talks with the European Union next year, adding that during a meeting last month in Berlin French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had both supported the start of the talks. “They told me that the EU would give an unconditional date at its December summit for Ankara’s accession talks,” added Erdogan. /Milliyet/
 GUL VISITS PORTUGALForeign Minister Abdullah Gul, paying a two-day official visit to Lisbon as part of Ankara’s lobbying efforts to get European Union member states’ support before the December EU summit, yesterday met with Portuguese officials including his counterpart Antonio Monterio and Parliament Speaker Mota Amaral. During their talks, in addition to Turkey’s EU bid, bilateral relations, the Cyprus issue, Iraq and the Middle East peace process were taken up. He was expected to meet today with President Jorge Sampaio and Prime Minister Santana Lopes. After completing his contacts in Lisbon, Gul is set to proceed to Brussels to represent Turkey during two days of European Council meetings. /Star/
 GERMAN GREENS LEADER VISITS ISTANBULGermany’s visiting Greens Group leader Claudia Roth accompanied by a delegation yesterday held contacts in Istanbul. Roth visited the Armenian and Fener Greek Patriarchates. Speaking to reporters at the German Consulate, Roth said that she was holding a series of meetings with Turkish officials to see how the nation’s reforms were being implemented, adding that there were certain shortcomings. The Greens leader then traveled to Diyarbakir in the late afternoon. /Milliyet/
 US AMBASSADOR EDELMAN: “THERE WILL BE NO CHANGE IN AMERICA’S TURKEY POLICY”United States Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman yesterday spoke at the Turkish-American Association one day after the US presidential elections. After George W. Bush’s declaration of victory, Edelman said that he didn’t expect that the president’s second term would see any changes to US policy on Turkey. Stressing that Turkey was a strategically important US ally, Edelman underlined that this would be the case no matter who occupies the White House. /Star/
 DIE RELEASES OCTOBER INFLATION FIGURESThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) yesterday released month-on-month inflation figures for October. Inflation last month was 2.22% on the consumer price index (CPI) and 3.23% on the wholesale price index (WPI), pushing year-to-year CPI to 9.86% and WPI to 15.48%. /All papers/
 SERDENGECTI PREDICTS STRONGER LIRA IF TURKEY GETS DATE FOR EU TALKSAddressing a meeting of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) yesterday, Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti predicted that the lira would appreciate further if Ankara gets a date at December’s European Union summit to begin its accession talks. Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Canakci also briefed TOBB members on recent economic developments, and Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) Chairman Tevfik Bilgin spoke on the banking system. /Aksam/
 YALCINBAYIR: “THE REPORT’S IDEAS ON MINORITIES SHOULD BE RESPECTED”A new government report on Turkey’s minorities may surprise some, but its ideas should be respected, said Bursa Deputy Ertugrul Yalcinbayir yesterday. Arguing that the controversial report prepared by the Human Rights Advisory Board (IHDK) does not violate state regulations, Yalcinbayir, a former deputy prime minister, said that the report is legal. /Hurriyet/
 COSKUN: “FOREIGN CAPITAL WILL DRIVE UP INVESTMENTS”Speaking at a conference on investment in Turkey during its European Union accession, Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun yesterday predicted a rising influx of investments through injections of foreign capital. “The foreign investment influx should rise to $2.5 billion by year’s end,” added Coskun. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 MILITARY RESERVATIONS ON TURKEY’S EU BID BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli comments on the Turkish military’s take on certain aspects of Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of her column is as follows:
“What does the military think about Turkey’s European Union membership bid? This has long been one of European politicians’ and diplomats’ favorite questions about Turkey.
According to recent General Staff statements, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) fully supports Ankara’s EU membership bid in line with Kemalist ideology. However, the top soldiers have many ‘but’s on this issue.
Two days ago, Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug said some important things about the EU Commission’s recent report on Turkey, giving key clues into the TSK’s stance on Ankara’s EU aspirations.
‘In the EU Commission’s recommendation, the word ‘minority’ is used fully 69 times,’ said Gen. Basbug, implying that the EU encourages separatist groups. ‘Yes to individual cultural rights, but group rights aren’t acceptable,’ he added. Basbug called on European diplomats, who contend that Ankara misinterprets the provisions of the Treaty of Lausanne, to examine the deliberations leading to the pact. ‘If you look at these, you can clearly see how Turkey defines minorities,’ he remarked.
Basbug’s second reservation is on the TSK’s position within the state hierarchy. In his opinion, the reason why the TSK is affiliated with the Office of the Prime Minister instead of the Defense Ministry is Turkey’s unique geopolitical location. ‘Europe should understand why this is so; every country has its own specific regulations on security matters in line with its national interests,’ he said.
His third reservation concerns the definition of the TSK’s mission. Gen. Basbug underlined that most EU countries have provisions defining the mission of their armed forces as ‘protecting the country against any and all threats.’ ‘Therefore, our armed forces will take necessary action if the nation feels threatened,’ he added.
Another important issue for our generals is the latest developments in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk. ‘Turkey favors diplomatic attempts to resolve Kirkuk’s problems,’ the general stated.
The last issue he underlined was that the TSK currently has no plans to either shorten the period of obligatory military service or introduce a paid military service system.”
 THE GENERAL STAFF’S STAND BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug’s recent statements. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug recently laid out the stances of General Staff and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on the difficulties Turkey might face during its European Union accession. There are 45 days left before the December EU summit where it will emerge if the EU leaders will give us a date for membership talks. As of now, it seems that come what may the negotiations will start. At a press conference, Gen. Basbug’s delivered a seven-page speech covering relations with the EU as well as the minority, Aegean and Iraq issues. On the last page, the words ‘The Turkish people who established the Turkish Republic are called the Turkish nation’ appear on top of a map of Turkey. I’ll summarize his speech like so: The TSK supports the process of Turkey’s EU membership. It will be the engine and impulse of Turkey’s move towards modernization and will contribute to this process however it can. During the negotiations which may start with the EU, it will fulfill all its responsibilities and prioritize the task of protecting the state’s integrity with the country and nation. During this process, it will guard against those who want to divide or weaken the country. It will take necessary measures to counter attitudes and actions with malicious intent both in Turkey and abroad. It will take care to defend our red lines.
This indicates an ideal stance. During Basbug’s speech, he cited examples from many EU documents and international agreements and gave references to various issues. He also demonstrated a democratic stance in the concluding sentences on key issues. In addition, during a later reception at the Cankaya Presidential Palace, he emphasized the importance of the media’s responsibility, particularly in terms of our national values and interests, something he said is crucial.”
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