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Turkish Press Review, 05-04-13
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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
13.04.2005FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 PRESIDENT SET TO START SYRIA VISIT TODAYPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer is set to begin a two-day visit to neighboring Syria today as the official guest of his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad. Diplomatic sources stated that in the wake of repeated international calls for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon, Sezer is expected to request that Damascus act in line with the demands of the international community. Turkey supports a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon, and at the same time wants to develop good neighborly ties in the region. In related news, US officials also stated that Washington would consider Sezer’s visit a positive development if he underlines that Syria must withdraw from Lebanon and stop supporting terrorism. /Hurriyet/
 SEZER VETOES BILL ON AID TO PARTIESPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday vetoed and sent back to Parliament for re-debate a bill on political parties. The bill proposed elimination of Treasury aid to smaller parties which receive less than 7% of the votes in national elections. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) had prepared the bill to prevent Treasury aid to the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) and Motherland Party (ANAP) through deputy transfers. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN ATTENDS DINNER HOSTED BY NORWEGIAN PM; ADDRESSES NOBEL INSTITUTEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, currently in Norway for an official visit, yesterday attended a dinner hosted by his Norwegian counterpart Kjell Magne Bondevik. Later, Erdogan met with Norwegian Oil Minister Thorhild Widvey in Stavanger to discuss economic ties between the two countries. Later, the premier addressed a conference at the Nobel Institute. After his address, a questioner calling himself a member of the “Kurdistan National Council” claimed that the Turkey’s Constitution discriminated against the nation’s Kurds, adding that if Turkey solved this problem, they could stop fighting. But Erdogan harshly criticized the questioner, saying that Turkish security forces couldn’t stand still in the face of terrorism. “The terrorist PKK threatens the security of our nation, and it cannot speak on behalf of Kurds in Turkey,” added Erdogan. “The Kurdish people are integrated with my party and they have expectations from us.” He further stated that there was no Kurdish problem in Turkey. /Aksam/
 GUL MEETS WITH MOLIVYATIS, DISCUSSES BILATERAL RELATIONSForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with visiting Greek Foreign Minister Petros Molivyatis to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations, Turkey’s European Union membership bid and cooperation on energy, the economy, tourism and culture. During their meeting, Molivyatis expressed the Greek government’s determination to further develop dialogue between Ankara and Athens. Speaking at a joint press conference afterwards, Molivyatis said that they had repeated pledges to develop cooperation and dialogue between the two countries and also reiterated Athens’ support for Turkey’s EU membership bid. Diplomatic sources yesterday predicted that Molivyatis’s visit to Ankara would contribute to relations. Later, Molivyatis met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. /Milliyet/
 BAYKAL CLAIMS THE ECHR HAS DECIDED TO ORDER OCALAN RETRIAL, EXPRESSES OPPOSITIONOpposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal claimed yesterday that the European Court of Human Rights had decided to order a retrial of terrorist PKK head Abdullah Ocalan, adding that he was opposed to any such move. No ECHR decision on the matter has yet been announced. “Retrial cannot be a condition for our European Union accession talks,” added Baykal. “Ocalan has reached a new stage in politics, and he says that the Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iraq should gather for a democratic confederation and have a flag.” /Aksam/
 REHN: “ANKARA SIGNING THE EU’S ADDITIONAL CUSTOMS PROTOCOL WILL CONTRIBUTE TO A CYPRUS RESOLUTION”Appearing on the BBC yesterday, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said that Ankara signing the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement would be an important opportunity for a Cyprus resolution and reunification of the island. He reiterated that signing the additional protocol was a precondition for the beginning of Turkey’s EU accession talks, adding that he was sure that Ankara would do this before Oct. 3. Rehn also evaluated Greek Cypriot criticisms that signing the protocol wasn’t enough itself, but that it also needed to be implemented. “Implementation of the protocol is of course important, but for now it’s only important to sign it,” he said. Touching on possible new Cyprus talks, Rehn said that he hoped to create appropriate conditions for such talks, adding that though talks could be held under UN auspices, the issue also concerned Europe. /Cumhuriyet/
 EU AMBASSADOR TO GREEK CYPRUS: “UNDER THE ANKARA AGREEMENT, TURKEY SHOULD OPEN ITS HARBORS TO GREEK CYPRIOT SHIPS”Adrian Van Der Meer, the European Union ambassador to the Greek Cypriot administration, said yesterday that under the Ankara Agreement, Turkey should open up its harbors to Greek Cypriot ships. Meer stressed that signing the additional protocol of the Ankara Agreement wouldn’t mean diplomatic recognition of Greek Cyprus. Meer further stated that the European Parliament was working for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island, adding that it could soon make a decision on the issue. /Cumhuriyet/
 FORMER MINISTERS’ TRIAL CONTINUESThe trial of former Energy and Natural Resources Ministers Cumhur Ersumer and Zeki Cakan at the Supreme Court continued yesterday with testimony from witnesses. Ersumer and Cakan defended themselves against charges of causing the state to lose millions of dollars by signing unfavorable energy deals with Russia. Hearings are set to continue in the coming days. /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “YOU MUSTN’T ABANDON ATATURK’S DOCTRINES”Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas, set to retire from the office after this Sunday’s presidential elections, visited Antakya yesterday. Denktas paid visits to the governor and mayor, and said, “Don’t abandon the doctrines of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk for the sake of joining the European Union. The EU is trying to make you desert Ataturk’s principles. If they are forgotten, Turkey will be divided. Turkey mustn’t give up on Cyprus.” In related news, the National Council of Greek Cyprus met yesterday to discuss what changes they will seek on the Annan plan. /Star/
 IMF COMPLETES REVISION OF LETTER OF INTENTAn International Monetary Fund delegation led by Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam yesterday completed its work on updating the new letter of intent (LOI). Speaking at a press conference, Moghadam praised recent developments in Turkey’s economy. The new three-year standby agreement will be discussed by the IMF Executive Board at its meeting in the first half of May. /Hurriyet/
 TUZMEN CALLS ON BULGARIAN BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TURKEYState Minister Kursad Tuzmen yesterday called on Bulgarian businessmen to invest in Turkey. Speaking a seminar in Sofia concerning Turkish-Bulgarian trade cooperation, Tuzmen pointed to nearly 90 Bulgarian firms active in Turkey. Underlining the importance of bilateral economic relations, Tuzmen stated both sides hope for a $3 billion trade volume this year. Bulgarian Economy Minister Milko Kovacev also stated that his country exports its 70% of its goods to European countries. He also proposed establishing a “golden tourism triangle” between Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece. /Turkiye/
 ATO DELEGATION VISITS SENERState Minister Abdullatif Sener yesterday received an Ankara Chamber of Trade (ATO) delegation headed by recently reelected Chairman Sinan Aygun. Sener stated that a bill concerning bankcards and credit cards had been sent to the office of the Prime Ministry. Commenting on high interest rates on credit cards, Sener said that such rates were set by the free market. /Star/
 ANTALYA TO HOST EUROPEAN QUALITY CONGRESSThe European Quality Organization is set to hold its 49th annual congress in Antalya in the last week of this month. International experts are expected to discuss quality-related issues during the three-day congress organized by the Turkish Standards Institute (TSE). /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 TOUGH DAYS BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin writes about the Turkish government’s policy on such sensitive issues as the Kurds. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Soon after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was protested by a pro-PKK group in Oslo yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) head Deniz Baykal told a group meeting of his party that recent discussions on national sovereignty and minority rights had raised tension in the country. Baykal underlined that the terrorist PKK had once again violated Turkey’s understanding of national sovereignty by recently declaring that Kurdish groups in Iraq, Syria and Turkey should unite under a common flag. Two days ago in Oslo, Erdogan explicitly argued that illegal groups trying to divide Turkey are backed by certain European Union circles. Yesterday, asked what he would do to ‘stop the war,’ Erdogan’s reaction was harsh. ‘It’s our security forces’ duty to respond to terrorist activities,’ he said. He seemed angry when responding to questions on such sensitive issues as the ‘Kurdish minority.’
For his part, Baykal found Erdogan’s reaction lacking. He believes that the government has failed to effectively manage and control the public anger which has recently shown itself on the streets. ‘When those who should speak up instead stay silent, then the streets start talking,’ he warned. Looking at Baykal’s readiness to tolerate the recent violent demonstrations by excusing them as ‘rightful public reactions due to a government failure, ’ we can easily see how tough are the days we’re facing and how even tougher ones lie ahead.
Baykal yesterday also underlined that he believed the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) would soon rule that terrorist Abdullah Ocalan should be retried. This will definitely be another tension-raising issue. In addition, there is also the so-called Armenian genocide issue. All of these developments could have been predicted by the government. Didn’t it realize that such sensitive issues would be discussed as our EU membership talks are looming? As a matter of fact, in strategy meetings held last year, state officials stressed that the issues of Armenia, Cyprus and Kurds would trouble Ankara in the near future. But what did our government do to head off such problems? Nothing… Our government’s crisis management is deficient. In the age of mass communications, it chooses to stay silent. This is a weak policy to pursue.”
 OUR FOREIGN POLICY AND OIL BY SAMI USLU (ZAMAN)Columist Sami Uslu comments on Turkey’s geopolitical position and the importance of oil in international affairs. A summary of his column is as follows:
“People who believe that a nation’s foreign affairs are determined by its geopolitical position are called geopolitical theorists.
Geopolitical theorists argue that there’s a cause-effect relationship between a nation’s location on the globe and its foreign policy. Sure enough, until the end of the 18th century a nation had to control large seas and waterways of strategic importance in order to become strong. For example, the British Empire owed its success to its invincible navy. Naval battles between the Ottomans and the Spanish also show that both were aware of this importance. For decades, the Panama, Gibraltar and Suez canals have led nations to form alliances as well as wage wars.
The significance of bodies of water and passages through them has never diminished. On the contrary, the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus have become even more crucial for world sea commerce. Some strategists even claim that if a war were to break out in our region, the Dicle and Firat (Tigris and Euphrates) Rivers would be the reason. Seas and rivers have always held crucial importance, and they will in the future.
By the end of the 19th century, however, a new factor for becoming a world power had been added to the list: Oil. While there has been relative peace in the seas and oceans, oil causes more and more serious disputes with each passing day. Every day we witness the clash of interests of world powers such as the US, the European Union, Russia and Britain. China and Japan are also indirectly involved in this struggle. The US has long been carrying out a global operation aimed at controlling the world’s oil reserves.
The struggle for oil and seas bear out the geopolitical theorists’ claims. And yet there’s another theory: Countries that have great geopolitical significance must also have a strong economy, or else they soon lose their ability to defend themselves. It’s the undeniable that Turkey has a unique geopolitical position. But according to geopolitical theory, we must also have a strong economy in order to protect ourselves from external pressures. Our continued existence depends upon our economic success. Those who look over the last three years’ economic progress must come to realize this.”
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