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Turkish Press Review, 04-11-09
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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
09.11.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN: “WE’VE FULFILLED THE COPENHAGEN CRITERIA, AND NOW IT’S THE EU’S TURN TO KEEP ITS WORD”Speaking at a dinner yesterday hosted by Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that since Ankara had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria for its European Union membership bid, now it was the EU’s turn to keep its promise and give Turkey a date at its December summit to begin accession talks. In related news, Erdogan yesterday telephoned US President George W. Bush to discuss a number of issues, including Iraq. Erdogan stated that protecting Iraq’s territorial integrity was very important for both the region and the international community. The premier added that besides serving Turkey’s interests, the continuation of the Turkish-US alliance would also contribute to the dynamism of transatlantic ties. /Cumhuriyet/
 SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ANKARASyrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa yesterday arrived in Ankara to pay a two-day official visit. During a meeting with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Sharaa reportedly conveyed his concerns over the Middle East issue, including Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat’s serious health condition and a possible post-Arafat Palestine. In addition, the two ministers exchanged views on the Iraq issue. Sharaa stated that upcoming elections in Iraq should be conducted fairly. Stressing that the status of the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk should be protected, the Syrian top diplomat said that that issue should be taken up at the international Iraq conference planned for the end of this month. Today, Sharaa is set to be received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, where he is expected to convey a message from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN TO TRAVEL TO SYRIA NEXT WEEKClose on the heels of a visit by Syrian’s foreign minister, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to pay a two-day official visit to Damascus at the beginning of next week. Erdogan will be accompanied by his wife, Emine Erdogan, Cabinet ministers and a delegation of businessmen. During his contacts with Syrian officials, bilateral relations will be taken up. A pact for cooperation against the terrorist organization PKK/Kongra-Gel and another on trade are expected to be signed. /Turkiye_
 GOVT PLANS COMMITTEE TO FIGHT PURSE-SNATCHINGFollowing a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters that following a recent spate of purse-snatchings, some resulting in death, the government had decided to establish a four-minister committee to tackle the issue. He noted that punishments for such crimes would increase significantly with the new penal code set to go into effect next April. Cicek added that foreign developments had also been discussed during the gathering and that the government would continue its efforts on the road to European Union membership before the Dec. 17 EU summit, where Ankara is expecting to get a date to begin accession talks. /Turkiye/
 GONUL: “THE PERIOD OF MILITARY SERVICE WON’T BE SHORTENED”The Defense Ministry’s 2005 budget was discussed yesterday at Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission. Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said that the concept of a “professional army” had been misinterpreted by many, leading to speculation that the period of obligatory military service would be shortened. “‘Professional army’ doesn’t mean that all military staff will be professionals, and the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] is planning to assume a mixed system made up of both professionals and those fulfilling their obligatory military service,” said Gonul. “Under the current circumstances, our army must acquire more modern high-tech weapons to fight terrorist threats.” He also confirmed that Turkey is currently testing missiles, stressing that information on this issue is highly confidential. /Star/
 DENKTAS GIVES PM TALAT DUTY TO FORM TRNC GOVERNMENTTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas yesterday gave the duty to form a new government to Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat. Denktas said that the TRNC’s government crisis was still continuing, stressing that elections could possibly provide a quick resolution. For his part, Talat said that he was accepting the duty in the hopes of averting political chaos that might emerge in the government power vacuum. /Star/
 DYP, ANAP REPORTEDLY SET TO MERGEThe True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (ANAP), two center-right parties which currently hold no Parliament seats, have reportedly decided to merge. With the merger, the new party’s name could reportedly be the Justice Party, and current DYP leader Mehmet Agar would take the helm. Speaking yesterday, Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Nesrin Nas said that though the two parties had decided to work together, the details were still under discussion. The matter is to be discussed today by the DYP administration. /Aksam/
 DUTCH FM EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S ACCESSION TALKSDutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot and Atzo Nikolai, the Netherlands’ European Union affairs minister, said yesterday that the government favored Turkey beginning its European Union membership talks. They further stressed that Ankara had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria for its EU bid. The Netherlands is the current EU president through December, when an EU summit is set to decide on starting Turkey’s EU talks. /Aksam/
 DUTCH COURT BLOCKS EXTRADITION OF PKK TERRORISTA Dutch court yesterday blocked the extradition of PKK terrorist Nuriye Kesbir to Ankara, ruling that the Netherlands could not be certain that she would receive a fair trial in Turkey. Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner last month ruled that Kesbir could be extradited to Turkey, asserting that Ankara had guaranteed that she would be given a fair trial. But the court in The Hague yesterday argued that Donner had only paid lip service to reports criticizing Turkey’s human rights situation. The court said the Justice Ministry had overlooked several reports from the United Nations and other organizations accusing Turkish authorities of torture and violations of human rights. The Dutch government has yet to decide whether to appeal the ruling. Turkey has changed Kesbir with training female PKK terrorists and planning and executing armed attacks that resulted in 144 deaths. /Sabah/
 PROMINENT EUROPEAN, US FIGURES DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BIDA conference on “The Turkish-EU Negotiations Process: Strategies and Problems” began yesterday at Istanbul’s Bogazici University with the participation of a number of prominent European and US figures. EU Commissioner from the Czech Republic Pavel Telicka told the gathering of his country’s experience with the Union, stressing that Ankara should never lose sight of its ultimate goal, full EU membership. “It should be an open- ended but fair and equal negotiation process,” he said. “There’s no doubt that a very tough period is awaiting you.” In addition, World Bank Director of Operations and Evaluation Department and former Turkey desk chief Ajay Chhibber stated that foreign investment in Turkey was expected to jump after its EU membership talks begin. /Star/
 US AMBASSADOR TO THE EU VISITS ANKARARockwell Schnabel, Washington’s ambassador to the European Union, arrived yesterday in Ankara to discuss Turkey’s EU membership bid with Turkish officials. Schnabel is due today to visit Turkey’s European Union Secretariat-General and Treasury Undersecretariat and to be briefed by officials on Ankara’s economic and political reforms and expectations from the EU. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 INTENSIVE MIDDLE EAST AGENDA BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on the Middle East issue and Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa’s visit yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:
“During yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, important foreign political issues were discussed. According to Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, on the table were Turkish-American relations after the US presidential elections, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s condition, and Ankara’s to-do list before the Dec. 17 EU summit. In addition, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with US President George W. Bush on the phone yesterday. It’s understood that he congratulated Bush on his stolen victory and that they discussed the Iraq issue as well. Turkey is still concerned about Iraq. Yesterday US forces moved to take Fallujah. It seems that Bush will implement his Iraq policy with even more violence. Ankara wants the conflict in Iraq to end soon with Iraq’s integrity intact and the PKK no longer a threat. All these issues were discussed with Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa yesterday as well. It seems our relations with Syria are moving in a positive direction. Syria will also benefit from Iraq’s integrity. As of now, Syria has problems with Kurdish separatism within its borders.
Actually Syria’s greater problems lie with Israel. It’s not certain how long Yasser Arafat has to live. Even if he can return to Ramallah, how he will be able to govern? This is confusing not only for Syria, but also Turkey and other countries concerned with the region. Some people in Egypt think that Turkey should take a more active role in the Palestinian-Israel issue. Indeed, Turkey respects the words of both Palestine and Israel, but it also doesn’t want to intervene further without international support and guarantees. During Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s meeting with al-Sharaa yesterday, the Iraq-Middle East meeting to be held on Nov. 22-23 in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh was discussed. This meeting will bring together countries bordering Iraq as well as the G-8 countries. This way the US administration will meet the most important actors in the Middle East. Turkey is also among the Mideast actors during its preparations for the Dec. 17 EU summit.”
 THE EUROPEAN TRANSFORMATION BY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)Columnist Derya Sazak comments on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“As next month’s European Union summit looms closer, Turkey’s strategies for its membership talks and intellectual preparations over its problems are being discussed on various platforms. A meeting organized by the Economics and Foreign Policy Forum which started in Brussels last month continued in Istanbul yesterday. Some of those in attendance were Czech Republic European Commissioner Pavel Telicka, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Kemal Dervis, Koc University’s Professor Fuat Keyman, former World Bank Turkey Country Director Ajay Chhibber and Sinan Ulgen, who collaborated with Dervis on a project on ‘The European Transformation of Modern Turkey.’
Ankara is worried that the process of its EU accession talks will be open- ended. An approach voiced by Czech Commissioner Telicka, one also accepted by many Europeans, states that this situation doesn’t include special provisions for Turkey. Now which Union will Turkey integrate with, then? Which Turkey will enter the Union? Strategies for these two fundamental problems are considered in Dervis and Ulgen’s study, a paper prepared at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels:
* The Union which Turkey will join will be a ‘postmodern’ Europe seen through a third vision. The third vision suggests that the Union should develop with a multi-level administrative system. Its borders should be well defined, but not fixed forever.
* There are some doubts about how Turkey will deal with its ‘share of sovereignty,’ despite its desire to enter the EU. If Turkey’s elite and general public are confident that they will have a share from Europe’s shared sovereignty, then they will be ready to relinquish a part of their own. That’s why special conditions and a ‘special partnership’ are both out of the question.
If we get through this historical threshold, then we’ll have the opportunity to understand the parameters of a Europe with Turkey’s membership.”
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