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Turkish Press Review, 04-11-08
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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
08.11.2004FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN VISITS RIZEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to the Black Sea city of Rize over the weekend to attend a series of openings. Addressing a crowd, Erdogan stated that his Justice and Ruling Party (AKP) government was working to provide equal health services to the entire country. He stressed that general health insurance and family medicine were on track for next year. Concerning Turkey’s European Union bid, the premier said that the December EU summit where Ankara’s EU accession is to be discussed would be a turning point for the nation. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT TO VOTE ON SENDING FORMER MINISTERS TO STATE SUPREME COURTParliament is set tomorrow to debate whether to send former Public Works and Housing Ministers Koray Aydin and Yasar Topcu to the State Supreme Court. The General Assembly will vote individually on a Parliament investigation commission’s recommendation that the ministers be tried at the Supreme Court over corruption allegations during their terms in office. /Turkiye/
 SYRIAN FM TO MEET WITH SEZER, GUL IN ANKARASyrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shara is due to arrive today in Ankara for a two-day official visit. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul are expected to meet separately with al-Shara to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations, regional issues, the Middle East peace process, and an Iraq summit to be held in Eygpt on Nov. 23-24. /Cumhuriyet/
 TWO TURKISH DRIVERS KILLED IN IRAQIn an attack yesterday in Samara, northern Iraq, a Turkish truck driver was burned to death in his tanker. Another was killed on Saturday on the Mosul- Baghdad highway. /Turkiye/
 GREEK DEPUTY FM: “WE STAND WITH GREEK CYPRUS, AND WILL SUPPORT TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Yannis Valinakis said yesterday that Athens and the Greek Cypriot government were as one concerning their stance on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Speaking to Greek daily Elestheros Tipos, Valinakis said that last month’s EU progress report on Turkey had discussed some issues concerning Greece, adding that the Dec. 17 EU summit would mark the beginning of a long process. At that summit the EU is to decide whether or not to begin Ankara’s accession talks. “We will support Turkey’s EU membership bid,” stated Valinakis. He added that he believed that the EU was a catalyst which would radically change the region. /Cumhuriyet/
 GERMAN AMBASSADOR SEES ALAWITE RITESGerman Ambassador to Ankara Wolf-Ruthart Born yesterday witnessed two ceremonies of Turkey’s Alawite sect, the Cem Rituals and the Semah Dance. Born said it was his first time seeing these rites. “You [Alawites] see yourselves as one of Turkey’s fundamental elements, so you’re not a minority,” said the ambassador, perhaps alluding to the recent controversy over minorities in Turkey. “Germany and Europe both support you,” he added. /Star/
 BABACAN CONFIDENT ON INFLATION TARGETSTurkey is confident about meeting its inflation targets, said Economy Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. “Energy and agriculture prices were high in October,” added Babacan. “This inflation data should be seen as natural.” Babacan predicted that the government wouldn’t have any problem achieving its inflation target for this year. /Turkish Daily News/
 UNAKITAN: “THE NEW LIRA WON’T FUEL INFLATION”Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan yesterday predicted that the new lira set to begin circulating next year would not lead to higher inflation, but he also urged the nation not to be overly exuberant in using the new currency. “I hope people won’t be spendthrift when the new lira begins to circulate,” added Unakitan. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 SILK ROAD REDUX ... BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI (STAR)Columnist Zeynep Gurcanli writes on a project aiming to revive the old Silk Road. A summary of her column is as follows:
“A number of projects, ones which concern Turkey very closely, are currently being in the works in Central Asia and the Far East. In fact, the focus of their designs is familiar: the Silk Road.
Late last month an international meeting in China discussed possible ways to revive the ancient Silk Road. The Beijing gathering was a turning point for these attempts. International work on this issue actually began eight years ago with the modest goal of opening historic sites on the Silk Road for tourist purposes. Towards this end, the World Tourism Organization started to restore roads, hotels and restaurants along the historic route. During this restoration phase, the International Roads Federation (IRF) decided to join in the project, which led to the improvement of its designs. After the IRF got involved, the scope of the project grew. Now the ultimate goal is to revive the road not just for tourists, but commercially.
The decisions of the Beijing meeting can be summarized as follows:
* To cooperate on establishing new Silk Road transportation corridors
* To take measures to facilitate cross-border trade
* To take measures to facilitate the cross-border movement of transportation and cargo vehicles.
A delegation headed by Highways Director General Hicabi Ece represented Turkey at the meeting. Turkey is lending its full support to the project because reviving the Silk Road would provide all the countries along its route with great commercial opportunities. In addition, the Silk Road would probably wake the ‘sleeping giant,’ namely China, and help it to integrate with European countries. Consequently, such an economic integration is expected to change China’s communist system as well, which is why the Beijing meeting was very important.
During such a period, a critical era for humanity seeing the re-election of US President George W. Bush, signaling that he will pursue an even more aggressive foreign policy, I’d like to at least hope that something will change for the better somewhere in the world…”
 ROCKY ROAD FOR POLITICAL LEADERSHIP BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Turkey’s European Union membership process and the importance of strong political leadership. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The confusion caused by the recent minority report marked an administrative failure. Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug’s statements broke the government’s silence. If the reason for this silence is concern over making a mistake before the Dec. 17 European Union summit, has this been successful? If some believe that we’ll avoid this problem of a timetable or date after our membership talks begin, I’ll warn them now that they are fooling themselves. From here on out, we will always face a new date during the negotiation process. As long as the issues are negotiated, each line will have a timetable. Of course the government doesn’t have to adopt the minority report, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference that it wasn’t a report which had been asked for. This way he left this group of people announcing their view to twist in the wind, and this wasn’t right. First of all, it’s confusing. The Prime Ministry’s Human Rights Advisory Board is preparing reports on 13 different issues, and 12 of them are ready. I wonder if the government doesn’t want all these reports, or only the one concerning minorities.
This board was established in 2000, during the Helsinki summit, when Turkey first became a candidate country. Its aim is to check whether Turkey is fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria – in other words, to show Brussels that Ankara is determined to implement them. The latest progress report stated that it hadn’t prepared the report yet. However, 12 of those reports were ready. The report was accepted by the board, but the government ignored the board due to criticism of the report’s context. These are thorny issues, and we’ll have to solve them with or without the EU. If there isn’t a strong political leadership and the government repeats its mistakes, unwanted fights and disputes will break out all over again. The process of EU membership makes us responsible for introducing ourselves to the European public. In addition, domestic public opinion should know what the EU is, what it wants from us, and the pros and cons of this process.”
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