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Turkish Press Review, 05-04-01
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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
01.04.2005NEW TCK POSTPONED FOR TWO MONTHS SEZER WELCOMES TCK POSTPONEMENT ERDOGAN: “POSTPONEMENT IS NEEDED FOR CERTAIN REVISIONS TO THE NEW TCK” JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK: “I PERSONALLY DISAGREE WITH THE POSTPONEMENT” SEZER VETOES LAW ON RADIO AND TELEVISION GUL: “THERE’S NO CONFLICT BETWEEN ANKARA AND THE EU ON NOT OPENING OUR AIR AND SEA PORTS TO GREEK CYPRUS” BABACAN: “OUR 9.9% GROWTH RATE IS THE HIGHEST IN FOUR DECADES” AGAR: “THE GOVT POSTPONED THE TCK IN LIGHT OF PUBLIC OPPOSITION” SWISS FM: “AS AN ELEMENT FOR STABILITY IN ITS REGION, TURKEY DESERVES OUR TRUST” MARMARIS TO HOST INTERNATIONAL MARITIME FESTIVAL FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… THE NSC, AND A CIVILIAN COMMENT BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET) OUR RECORD GROWTH AND INVESTMENT BY ABDURRAHMAN YILDIRIM (SABAH)
 ERDOGAN VISITS MOROCCOSpeaking at a press conference in Morocco, where he is paying an official visit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that there was a political will to develop relations between Ankara and Rabat, adding that a free trade agreement between the two countries would be prepared in order to encourage bilateral investment. Erdogan further stressed that political, military, economic, trade, and cultural ties with the country would further develop. Asked about the US request for expanded use of Incirlik Airbase, Erdogan said that Turkey would continue to support its NATO ally under United Nations auspices. “But it won’t be possible to meet all the demands of the US,” he added. Erdogan reiterated that Ankara signing an additional customs protocol wouldn’t mean recognition of Greek Cyprus, as European Union officials have stated. Touching on the Cyprus issue, the premier stated that Ankara wanted the TRNC to be recognized by the entire world. Also asked about recent resignations from his party, Erdogan said that this wasn’t the first time his party had faced such resignations. “Having a solid group in the Parliament, our party is continuing to work,” he stated. Later, Erdogan attended a dinner hosted by the mayor of Casablanca and returned to Ankara following his contacts. /Turkiye/
 NEW TCK POSTPONED FOR TWO MONTHSIn a surprise move, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government yesterday decided to postpone from April 1 to June 1 implementation of the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), as well as the Criminal Procedural Law and the Misdemeanors Law in order to make revisions to assuage the concerns of many groups in society, including journalists. Commenting on the decision, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said the government had made great efforts in drafting the new penal code, but conceded that there were still technical problems and that revisions seemed to be needed to overcome certain shortcomings. In related news, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Volkan Bozkir yesterday briefed European Union officials in Ankara on the matter. Furthermore, Gul is expected to telephone EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn in the coming days to discuss the recent development. /Turkiye/
 SEZER WELCOMES TCK POSTPONEMENTPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer said yesterday that he also favored putting off implementation of the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK). During a reception for Congolese Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada and an accompanying delegation at the Cankaya Presidential Palace, he told reporters that the postponement was good as it would allow for needed revisions to be made. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “POSTPONEMENT IS NEEDED FOR CERTAIN REVISIONS TO THE NEW TCK”While visiting Morocco, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday commented on the surprise postponement of the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Speaking to reporters, Erdogan criticized the lateness of institutions and nongovernmental organizations in requesting revisions to the law. “I wish they had spoken up on it when the law was being prepared,” said Erdogan. “However, this decision should be seen as a token of the importance we attach to the wishes of civil groups.” He added that he hoped all revisions would be completed by the new implementation date, June 1. /Aksam/
 JUSTICE MINISTER CICEK: “I PERSONALLY DISAGREE WITH THE POSTPONEMENT”Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday that he personally thought that the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK) should have been put into effect today, as scheduled. Appearing on television, the justice minister complained of the lateness of criticisms of the proposed law. Claiming that the postponement would not help the law, Cicek argued that people had kept silent when the code was being prepared, only to voice criticisms a matter of weeks before its scheduled enactment. Following the passage of a bill for the law’s postponement late Wednesday in Parliament, Cicek addressed the deputies, saying that if needed, 10, or even 20 revisions could be done to it. “We’ve constructed a new building,” he said. “Will we not move in just because the curtains don’t fit?” /Turkiye/
 SEZER VETOES LAW ON RADIO AND TELEVISIONPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday vetoed a bill on regulations for radio and television organizations and sent it back to Parliament to be re-debated. The bill proposes new arrangements regarding the sale of media organizations to foreigners under certain conditions. Pointing to the importance of media for a country’s future, Sezer urged Parliament to prevent the dominance of foreigners in this sector. /Sabah/
 GUL: “THERE’S NO CONFLICT BETWEEN ANKARA AND THE EU ON NOT OPENING OUR AIR AND SEA PORTS TO GREEK CYPRUS”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday received visiting Congolese Foreign Minister Rodolphe Adada to discuss a number of issues. Speaking at a press conference following the meeting, Gul commented on Greek Cypriots’ recent urging of Turkey to open its air and sea ports to Greek Cyprus, saying that there was no conflict between Ankara and the European Union on the issue and reiterating that the government wouldn’t do this before the international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) is brought to an end. Greek Cypriots claim that Ankara opening its air and sea ports to Greek Cyprus is part of its Customs Union obligations. /Cumhuriyet/
 ANOTHER DEPUTY QUITS CHPOpposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Diyarbakir Deputy Muhsin Kocyigit yesterday resigned from his party. The CHP’s number of seats in Parliament fell to 162 after the resignation of Kocyigit, one of the supporters of ex-party dissident Mustafa Sarigul. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN: “OUR 9.9% GROWTH RATE IS THE HIGHEST IN FOUR DECADES”Speaking at a press conference yesterday before flying to Madrid, Spain to attend international finance meetings, State Minister Ali Babacan touted Turkey’s record-breaking 9.9% growth rate for 2004 announced yesterday, adding that this was the nation’s highest growth rate in the last four decades. “This is healthy and sustainable growth,” he said. “It doesn’t depend on budget deficits. Income per capita last year climbed to $4,172.” Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener also said that the 9.9% growth rate was the highest in the world last year. Sener further stated that Turkey’s gross national product (GNP) for 2004 was $301.5 billion, up from an estimated $293 billion. “Our growth rate and GNP prove that Turkey’s is among the world’s largest economies,” he added. /Hurriyet/
 AGAR: “THE GOVT POSTPONED THE TCK IN LIGHT OF PUBLIC OPPOSITION”Opposition True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar said yesterday that in postponing implementation of the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), the government had recognized its mistake and taken into account public opposition to the code. In a written statement, Agar said that the implementation of the TCK in its current form would create legal confusion and restrictions on the press. /Star/
 SWISS FM: “AS AN ELEMENT FOR STABILITY IN ITS REGION, TURKEY DESERVES OUR TRUST”Speaking at a conference in Istanbul yesterday, Switzerland Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey reiterated that Turkey’s European Union membership bid was very important, adding that it would also serve to strengthen stability in the region. “EU values are not about exclusion, but rather integration and clarity,” she said, adding that Switzerland was determined to develop relations with Turkey. Calmy-Rey stated that some 80,000 Turkish citizens in Switzerland had successfully integrated to the country. “Turkey, as an element for stability in its region, deserves our trust,” she added. /Milliyet/
 MARMARIS TO HOST INTERNATIONAL MARITIME FESTIVALAn International Maritime Festival will be held in Marmaris in the Aegean city of Mugla on April 27-May 1. The six-day event will be organized by Marmaris Deputy Governor's Office and Marmaris Municipality under the auspices of the Turkish Naval Forces. “The aim of the festival is to promote Turkey’s maritime affairs and culture,” said Marmaris Deputy Governor Cemalettin Ozdemir at a press conference in Istanbul yesterday. “Since our popular tourist destination Marmaris will host the festival, Turkish tourism will also be promoted during the event. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will deliver the opening speech on April 27.” In addition, Marmaris Mayor Ali Acar said that some 50,000 foreign guests are expected to take part in the festival. He added that as part of the preparations, the municipality has built a semi-Olympic swimming pool and a 6,000-square-meter bazaar to be used as an exhibition area. The festival will feature domestic and international swimming, diving, sailing and yachting clubs and cover a wide range of activities, competitions, shows, concerts and entertainment activities. Furthermore, the PTT Directorate General is preparing to offer commemorative stamps to mark the event. Sales of the stamps are expected to begin tomorrow. /BYEGM/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE NSC, AND A CIVILIAN COMMENT BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Turkish-US relations have recently been issue one for our country. Although neither government will admit to there being a problem, recent media reports have argued that there’s an ongoing crisis between Ankara and Washington.
National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Yigit Alpogan on Wednesday delivered a remarkable speech on this issue at the Turkish-US Business Council in Istanbul. ‘Recent ‘crisis’ allegations are baseless, but our partnership must still be revamped,’ he said. ‘We need a healthier dialogue and frank conversation.’
Attendees of the meeting included US Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman and Istanbul Chief Consul David Arnett. Alpogan underlined that first of all Ankara’s doubts and concerns about Iraq must be dispelled so that bilateral relations can be revamped.
‘Our countries need to harmonize their policies on the northern Iraq and Kirkuk issues,’ said Alpogan. ‘In this context, two essential issues that come to mind are protecting Iraq’s territorial integrity and eliminating the terrorist PKK’s presence in northern Iraq.’ Alpogan added that the US should also support Turkey’s EU membership bid and not make concessions on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Furthermore, he asked Washington to see Ankara as an effective player in the Mideast peace process.
Not only Turkish but also American officials are currently trying to give positive messages about bilateral relations. US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday denied that he had criticized Turkey’s refusal to let American troops deploy on its soil before the Iraq war. In addition, Edelman said that intergovernmental relations were in fine shape.
However, the more positive messages we get, the more we tend to read between the lines. Each day brings new and conflicting statements concerning Incirlik Airbase. Although the Americans insist that their requests were shaped in line with the Defense and Cooperation Agreement between our two countries, Ankara believes that matters concerning third parties can’t be evaluated in the context of this agreement.
Both sides are blaming the media for harming bilateral relations through baseless exaggerations. However, as the problems are so obvious, these accusations are completely unfair. As Alpogan said, ‘It’s the task of officials of our two countries to defend common interests with courage and without hesitation.’ This is an important point.”
 OUR RECORD GROWTH AND INVESTMENT BY ABDURRAHMAN YILDIRIM (SABAH)Columnist Abdurrahman Yildirim comments on Turkey’s record economic growth last year. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We have finally surpassed China in successive growth rates, thus becoming the fastest-growing economy in the world for 2004. This is also the highest rate we’ve achieved since 1966.
One reason for this progress is that Turkey has at last been able to secure economic and political stability. Rising foreign capital inflow, depreciating exchange rates and cheaper import costs all helped our economic growth.
The expectation that Turkey will eventually get a date for EU membership talks also had a positive effect on all aspects of our economy, including the financial markets and real estate.
Another reason is that a large number of investments which had to be delayed during the 2001 economic crisis finally went through last year.
Turkey also achieved the largest amount of investment last year, with $54 billion. Our employment rate also rose significantly with 644,000 new employees. However, unofficial employment also increased by 616,000, which means the majority of the newly employed are working for less than the official minimum wage.
What makes last year unique is that although we surpassed every other nation in the world in economic growth, our inflation rate was the lowest for the last 35 years. But there has to be a cost for this paradox. Perhaps the price we have had to pay is the over-depreciation of exchange rates, the sudden rise in our current accounts deficit, and low employment. Anyway, as Dwight Eisenhower said long ago: ‘There are no victories at discount prices!’”
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