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Turkish Press Review, 04-11-30
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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
30.11.2004SEZER URGES INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN ELECTIONS GUL MEETS WITH HUNGARIAN PM, ATTENDS EUROMED AT THE HAGUE EURO INDUSTRIALISTS LEND SUPPORT TO TURKEY’S EU BID EU LEADERS DISCUSS DRAFT STATEMENT ON TURKEY FOR DECEMBER SUMMIT EUROPEAN VOICE AGAIN NAMES ERDOGAN “EUROPEAN OF THE YEAR” CABINET DISCUSSES EU DRAFT ON ANKARA’S ACCESSION TALKS BLAIR: “TURKEY’S EU BID SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME AS ANY OTHER” SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL TO MEET TODAY FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER COMES OUT AGAINST TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND IN FEBRUARY EDUCATION MINISTER TO VISIT BRITAIN PORTUGUESE PM TO VISIT TURKEY ECONOMIST EDITOR: “TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP WILL SERVE BOTH SIDES’ INTERESTS” WB TURKEY DIRECTOR: “ENDING TURKEY’S CRISIS CYCLE HAS RAISED CONSUMER CONFIDENCE” FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
DECEMBER 17, 2004BY SEREF OGUZ (STAR) AN EXAM FOR THE EU BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
 SEZER URGES INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT PALESTINIAN ELECTIONSPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday issued a message of support for the Palestinian people, calling on the international community to support their upcoming presidential elections in order to help hopes for peace in the Middle East. He sent a message to Paul Badji, chairman of the UN Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, stressing that the international community should fulfill its responsibilities to revive the process of cooperation and dialogue and take steps to implement the road map prepared by the Mideast Quartet. "We call on the international community to support the Palestinian National Authority [PNA] to hold these elections," said Sezer in his message. /Star/
 GUL MEETS WITH HUNGARIAN PM, ATTENDS EUROMED AT THE HAGUEForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday received his Hungarian counterpart Ferenc Somogyi to discuss a number of issues, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Speaking afterwards at a joint press conference, Gul said that Turkey was single-mindedly set on beginning its accession talks. Later, Gul flew to The Hague to attend EUROMED, the meeting of foreign ministers from the EU and countries on the Mediterranean Sea. Speaking before his departure, Gul said that Turkey had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria and that now the EU should keep its promise and give it a date to begin its accession talks. Turkey’s top diplomat is expected to address EUROMED today on economic reform and investments. He is also expected to hold bilateral meetings with several of his EU and Mediterranean counterparts. /Turkiye/
 EURO INDUSTRIALISTS LEND SUPPORT TO TURKEY’S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday held a banquet in Ankara in honor of members of the European Roundtable of Industrialists (ERT), an occasion attended by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan and State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan as well as the CEOs of ERT member companies in Turkey. The ERT supports Turkey’s European Union membership bid, declared Chairman Antony Burgmans. “Although we find the Turkish government’s economic performance very successful, we’ve also seen the economic program is still beset by sudden, unexpected changes, something which can trouble foreign companies,” said Burgsman, an executive at Unilever. “If you want to attract more foreign capital, you should try to avoid this.” For his part, Erdogan said that he hoped the CEOs would stay in close contact with his government. /Hurriyet/
 EU LEADERS DISCUSS DRAFT STATEMENT ON TURKEY FOR DECEMBER SUMMITA draft statement on Turkey for December’s European Union summit was leaked to the press yesterday. The text prepared by EU term President the Netherlands points to certain conditions for Turkey’s EU bid to go forward, including its recognition of Greek Cyprus. It states that Ankara’s membership talks could be suspended by the votes of one-third of EU member states, that free movement of Turkish workers might be limited, and that no definite decision will comes from the talks before the EU’s 2014 budget is finished. The draft text will reportedly be sent to other member countries’ leaders for evaluation, and is expected to be finalized on Dec. 8-9. On Dec. 14, three days before the summit, the EU foreign ministers are set to meet to exchange views on the statement. /Turkiye/
 EUROPEAN VOICE AGAIN NAMES ERDOGAN “EUROPEAN OF THE YEAR”Brussels-based weekly newspaper the European Voice has once again honored Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as its “European of the Year.” The magazine’s senior editors, together with a panel of key experts from the European Union, worked together to draw up its short list of influential Europeans. The 50 includes commissioners, heads of state, politicians, EU functionaries, NGOs, campaigners and European citizens. From these nominees, a top 10 is chosen by a poll of European Voice readers, with one elected overall European of the Year. Erdogan’s fellow nominees included such prominent figures as Guenter Verheugen, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Joschka Fischer, Jack Straw, Tony Blair and Michel Barnier. /All Papers/
 CABINET DISCUSSES EU DRAFT ON ANKARA’S ACCESSION TALKSThe Cabinet yesterday discussed a leaked draft statement from the European Union meant for its Dec. 17 summit, where it will decide whether or not to begin Ankara’s accession talks. Addressing the gathering, Erdogan said that the summit would be a test for the EU, adding that it should keep its promises. He stated that Turkey had fulfilled the criteria better than other EU candidates and that the Cyprus issue was not among them. Erdogan stressed that Turkey wouldn’t accept a conditional negotiation process or one unique to Turkey. Touching on the Cyprus issue, Erdogan said that the economic embargo on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) should be brought to an end. /Milliyet/
 BLAIR: “TURKEY’S EU BID SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME AS ANY OTHER”Turkey’s application to join the European Union must be treated the same as any other nation’s, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said today. At a press conference, Blair told journalists that no “special obstacles” should be placed in Turkey’s way. “Ankara’s bid should be determined according to the same criteria and in the same way as any other application,” he said. “Turkey is not actually asking for favorable treatment, it is asking for the same treatment, and it should have the same treatment.” /Turkiye/
 SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL TO MEET TODAYThe Supreme Military Council (YAS) is due to convene today to discuss such issues as training of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) staff, disciplinary issues, and planned TSK activities. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will chair the meeting, which will be attended by Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, among others. /Sabah/
 FRENCH FINANCE MINISTER COMES OUT AGAINST TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIPFrench Finance and Economy Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, newly elected leader of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) party, yesterday came out against Turkey’s European Union membership. Addressing his party’s congress, Sarkozy said that he wanted Ankara to be a “partner” of the Union but not a member. On the other hand, he expressed support for former Soviet satellite countries, saying, “I’m calling on aid for our friends in Eastern Europe.” /Turkiye/
 TURKEY TO TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND IN FEBRUARYTurkey is set to take over the command of the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan on Feb. 11. A battalion of 170 Turkish soldiers led by Lt. Gen. Ethem Erdagi yesterday left for Norway to be trained for the mission. Before his departure, Erdagi said that Turkey would hand over the command to Italy after serving six months. /Turkiye/
 EDUCATION MINISTER TO VISIT BRITAINEducation Minister Huseyin Celik is set to travel to London today to visit his British counterpart Charles Clark. The two ministers are expected to discuss such issues as online training, computers in the schools, school fees charged to Turkish students in Britain, and curriculum improvement. Celik is expected to return to Turkey on Dec. 3. /Star/
 PORTUGUESE PM TO VISIT TURKEYPortuguese Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopez is due to arrive in Ankara tomorrow for a three-day official visit. During his stay, Lopez is expected to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations, Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Cyprus, transatlantic relations, Iraq, and cooperation against terrorism. /Aksam/
 ECONOMIST EDITOR: “TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP WILL SERVE BOTH SIDES’ INTERESTS”Bill Emmet, editor-in chief of The Economist magazine, said yesterday that Ankara’s European Union membership would serve the interests of both Turkey and the continent. Speaking at a conference in Istanbul, Emmet stated that Turkey should be brought in the Union after talks lasting 10 years. Stressing that Turkey would bring great advantages to the bloc, the editor said that Europeans’ hesitation to include a Muslim country was in vain. “Membership is no gift for you. There are mutual interests at stake,” added Emmet. /Turkiye/
 WB TURKEY DIRECTOR: “ENDING TURKEY’S CRISIS CYCLE HAS RAISED CONSUMER CONFIDENCE”World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink predicted yesterday that this year the Turkish economy would grow 10%, adding that this was an impressive figure. “Very few countries enjoy such robust growth,” he said. Vorkink stressed that Turkey had overcome its cycle of chronic crises, adding that this had served to raise consumer confidence. In related news, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund headed by Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday arrived in Turkey to discuss a new three-year standby agreement. Negotiations on the standby are expected to be concluded by Dec. 15. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 DECEMBER 17, 2004 BY SEREF OGUZ (STAR)Columnist Seref Oguz comments on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Dec. 17, 2004 is the next key date for Turkey’s European Union membership bid. I wonder if we can reflect our ambitions for EU membership in our homework before this date. Considering the leaked draft statement for the Dec. 17 EU summit, we can see that the EU’s conditions will focus not on the economy, but on politics. It seems almost certain that recognizing Greek Cyprus will be a sine qua non. Even if our membership talks begin, the EU can find pretexts to force us to do things. Even if we recognize Greek Cyprus and implement all the necessary reforms, our membership process might be delayed on the grounds that we’ve violated human rights. This means that maybe we can get a date for membership talks on Dec. 17, but Europe won’t forget and will always want something else. Our responses to these new demands will show the difference between doing and not doing our homework. Some here want our EU membership come what may, whereas others are really weighing the pros and cons. Rather than the rabid pro- and anti-EU fanatics, these people’s efforts will be key.
We should make clear what we should and shouldn’t do before the summit. We should ask ourselves what the EU Council wants and what sort of things are important for it, because it has the power to set a date for our membership negotiations. The Achilles’ heel of this process will be our efforts over the next decade. Considering the conditions about quality of life and the economy which the EU put forth, it’s clear we can’t reject them. We might become an EU member, or not. This might be a political decision. However, many standards in the process of harmonization are necessary anyway. Who wouldn’t want a better administration, a more transparent government, and a stronger financial structure? What’s strange is that others force us to reach for high standards of living which we already have to reach. Maybe if the EU hadn’t forced us, it would take us years to reach these standards. From this perspective, even if we can’t become an EU member, our homework on the path to membership will be useful. However, I’m frightened that we might get a date on Dec. 17 but might not do anything before that date. I hope we won’t so unreasonable.”
 AN EXAM FOR THE EU BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Next month’s EU summit will be more an exam for the Union than one for Turkey. Its decision on Turkey will show whether the EU has subjective or objective criteria in its decisions. This will also mean a test of the EU’s good will. Up to now, Turkey has been told that getting a date for accession talks depends on its fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria, and that these criteria are objective and are valid for every candidate state. The EU Commission is supposed to determine whether these criteria are fulfilled or not.
In its latest report, the commission said that Turkey had fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria. Thus, the commission confirmed that Turkey had done its homework. Since EU decision-makers are supposed to base their decisions on this report, the EU has to give an unconditional date for our accession talks. Such a decision is both Turkey’s right and an obligation for the EU. Otherwise, it will mean that the EU is acting contrary to its own values and laws. Also one shouldn’t forget the EU’s traditionally unfair attitude towards Turkey. A provision about Cyprus has been put forward for Turkey though it’s not among the Copenhagen criteria. Though Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) supported the island’s reunification, Greek Cypriots, who worked against the EU’s wishes, were rewarded, and the good will of the Turkish side was punished.
There are still moves to get more concessions from Turkey before the summit. It would be unfair to expect this without a clear, unconditional date for talks being given. Especially the Greek Cypriot’s pressures shouldn’t be supported by the EU. There are of course some problems which we must solve, but they aren’t obstacles to giving us a date. Some EU member countries solved their problems in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria during their own accession talks, and some current members haven’t even solved these problems. Next month’s summit will be an exam for the EU.”
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