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Turkish Press Review, 05-05-05

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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 : newspot@byegm.gov.tr <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

05.05.2005

FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] GERMAN CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER ASSURES TURKEY OVER EU TALKS DATE
  • [02] GUL: “TURKEY WILL PURSUE AN ACTIVE POLICY AGAINST ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS”
  • [03] BAHCELI: “THE ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS ARE AN EU GAME PLAYED ON TURKEY”
  • [04] MHP HEAD: “WE REJECT NATIONALISM BASED ON BLOOD AND RACE TIES”
  • [05] GUL PHONES BARZANI TO CONVEY CONDOLENCES OVER ATTACKS
  • [06] CZECH PRESIDENT LENDS SUPPORT TO TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP
  • [07] BAYKAL TO ATTEND SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL MEETING IN THE MIDEAST
  • [08] SAHIN: “EVERYBODY SHOULD RESPECT THE NATION’S WILL”
  • [09] TURKISH-GERMAN CONGRESS PRAISES IMPROVING BILATERAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS
  • [10] BABACAN: “THIS WILL BE THE LAST STANDBY AGREEMENT”
  • [11] IMF’S KRUEGER: “TURKEY SHOULD REDUCE ITS PUBLIC DEBT”
  • [12] TUZMEN ASKS OECD TO BE MORE SENSITIVE TO TURKISH EXPORTERS’ PROBLEMS
  • [13] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [14] PROBLEM SOLVING BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)
  • [15] GERMANY, ERDOGAN AND FRIENDSHIP BY OMER LUTFI METE (SABAH)

  • [01] GERMAN CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER ASSURES TURKEY OVER EU TALKS DATE

    On his second day in Turkey yesterday, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey must continue with key reforms demanded by the European Union before accession negotiations can begin as scheduled on Oct 3, Schroeder said at a joint press conference with Erdogan in Ankara. "Our job from now on won’t be easy,” Erdogan responded. “There are many things to be done in terms of implementation. Turkey has embarked on a path and it will continue with decisiveness on this path." The German chancellor urged Ankara to sign the protocol extending its Customs Union to 10 new EU members including Greek Cyprus. He also assured Turkish officials that the EU was determined to start talks with Ankara on Oct. 3. “The EU won’t postpone accession talks because such a strategic decision can’t be swayed by changing opinion polls or a possible French rejection of the EU Constitution,” he stressed. He also announced that he backed Erdogan’s proposal to create a joint Turkish- Armenian commission to study the so-called Armenian genocide allegations. Schroeder also reiterated Brussels’ demand that Turkey expand the freedoms of its non-Muslim communities. “Religious freedom is a main principle of the EU,” Schroeder said. “People should freely practice their religions.” For his part, Erdogan said that there had been no direct request from Schroeder to allow the reopening of the Heybeliada Seminary. In addition, the German chancellor was also received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and met with Fener Patriarch Bartholomeos and attended the Turkish-German Economic Congress. /Milliyet/

    [02] GUL: “TURKEY WILL PURSUE AN ACTIVE POLICY AGAINST ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS”

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said yesterday that Turkey would pursue a more active policy against Armenian allegations from here on out. Addressing deputies in Parliament yesterday, Gul said that in the coming days the government together with the opposition parties would launch new initiatives to defend Turkey on international platforms. “We invite those who accuse Turkey to prove their allegations,” said Gul. In addition, concerning Incirlik Airbase, the foreign minister said that there was no secret decision or documents on the matter. “The US wants to use the base for logistic support for Iraq and Afghanistan. Previously, within the framework of the UN and NATO, it was also used in this way,” said Gul. /Turkiye/

    [03] BAHCELI: “THE ARMENIAN ALLEGATIONS ARE AN EU GAME PLAYED ON TURKEY”

    Commenting on recent pressure from Armenian allegations, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said yesterday that this was no coincidence. Speaking at a press conference at the MHP’s Ankara headquarters, Bahceli said, “The Armenian issue is the result of policies of the European Union towards Turkey.” Stressing that certain circles were getting support from the EU, Bahceli warned that similar activities would mount in the coming days. Asked about a recent Swiss legal inquiry into Turkish Historical Society (TTK) head Yusuf Halacoglu, the MHP leader called the incident a good example of the hypocrisy of European countries. In addition, Bahceli warned citizens about ethnic provocations. “No one can draw Turkish nationalists into illegal activities. We’ll act with common sense,” said Bahceli. /Turkiye/

    [04] MHP HEAD: “WE REJECT NATIONALISM BASED ON BLOOD AND RACE TIES”

    Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahceli yesterday offered his views on the concept of nationalism and how Turkish nationalism should be redefined. Bahceli stressed that Turkish nationalism should not be based on blood or race ties, rejecting all forms of discrimination and social segregation. Speaking to reporters at a press conference yesterday in Ankara, Bahceli said that each and every person who feels themselves to be Turk should be regarded as a part of the Turkish culture irrespective of their original culture, race, language or religion. He also stressed that Turkey’s unity and territorial integrity could not be damaged and that every citizen must do its utmost to ensure this. /Hurriyet/

    [05] GUL PHONES BARZANI TO CONVEY CONDOLENCES OVER ATTACKS

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday phoned Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani to convey his condolences for the Iraqi people and IKDP officials killed in a series of attacks this week in the city of Erbil, northern Iraq. A suicide bombing left about 60 dead and injured close to 150 at a police recruitment center in Erbil yesterday. Stating that Turkey is always ready to help the wounded and families of the victims, Gul told Barzani that the injured, especially women and children, might be transferred to Turkey for medical help, or Ankara might send medical equipment or personnel to the region. Barzani reportedly thanked Gul for his offers. The Turkish Foreign Ministry also denounced terrorist attacks and violence in the country, calling on all relevant parties to maintain peace and stability in the region. /Milliyet/

    [06] CZECH PRESIDENT LENDS SUPPORT TO TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus who arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to attend the “Forum Istanbul” meeting, yesterday held a press conference. Lending support to Turkey’s European Union membership, Klaus pointed to Turkey’s cultural richness. “I’m against political groupings, I support an open EU,” said Klaus. Concerning the Armenian genocide allegations, Klaus called on Armenian officials not to use historical events for political fodder. “Don’t play with history, because you can’t change historical events,” said the Czech president. /Star/

    [07] BAYKAL TO ATTEND SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL MEETING IN THE MIDEAST

    Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to the Mideast, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is also set to attend a Socialist International meeting scheduled to be held in the region on May 22-24. The gathering will focus on social democrats’ proposals to make peace in the Middle East. In line with the gathering, Baykal is expected to hold face-to-face talks with a number of leaders. /Sabah/

    [08] SAHIN: “EVERYBODY SHOULD RESPECT THE NATION’S WILL”

    Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission yesterday approved without any change a bill on income administration which had been previously vetoed by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. During debates in the commission, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies criticized Sezer. Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin claimed that in addition to his current duties, the president, a former jurist, was still acting as a judge. Stressing that his party respected the office of the president, Sahin said, however, that his executive authority laid out in the Constitution didn’t mean directly interfering in the government’s functioning, adding that everybody should respect the nation’s will. /Sabah/

    [09] TURKISH-GERMAN CONGRESS PRAISES IMPROVING BILATERAL ECONOMIC RELATIONS

    The two-day Turkish-German Economic Congress organized by the Cologne-based Turkish-German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (TD-IHK) started yesterday in Istanbul. On the first day of the meeting, representatives and investors from giant German firms and Turkish businessmen convened to discuss bilateral economic relations. TD-IHK head Kemal Sahin praised improving Turkish-German economic relations, underlining the importance of the congress attended by high-level representatives of political and economic circles, including German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his address to the gathering, Schroeder suggested that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which is currently under international embargo, could be included in future trade cooperation agreements between Berlin and Ankara. Schroeder stressed that his aim is to lay the groundwork for a new United Nations attempt to reunify the island. /Cumhuriyet, Milliyet/

    [10] BABACAN: “THIS WILL BE THE LAST STANDBY AGREEMENT”

    Speaking at the annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank, Economy Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday that the three-year standby agreement, expected to come into force this month, will be Turkey’s last such agreement with the International Monetary Fund. Stating that the standby will end in May 2008, Babacan said that Turkey won’t need the IMF’s financial resources after then. “With its political and economic reforms, Turkey is going through a silent revolution,” added Babacan. /Cumhuriyet/

    [11] IMF’S KRUEGER: “TURKEY SHOULD REDUCE ITS PUBLIC DEBT”

    International Monetary Fund First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger yesterday attended a seminar on "Developments in the Turkish and World Economy" organized by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) in Istanbul. “When the IMF economic program was initiated, there was an imbalance between the financial sector and high inflation, which then was the biggest risk for the Turkish macro-economy,” she said. “However, macroeconomic stability settled after the economic program and our expectations changed. At the moment, there is no large risk in the Turkish economy, which grows more and more stable each day. However, public debt is still high. Turkey should reduce its public debt. No matter how stable a country's economy is, it is certainly affected by negative developments in the world economy." When asked what she thinks of Turkish Economy Minister Ali Babacan’s prediction of 5 percent economic growth in each of the next three years, Krueger said, "Five percent growth in the Turkish economy this year is a reasonable expectation. I even think it could be more than 5 percent." In related news, the IMF Executive Board is set to discuss the new standby deal of Turkey next Wednesday. /Hurriyet/

    [12] TUZMEN ASKS OECD TO BE MORE SENSITIVE TO TURKISH EXPORTERS’ PROBLEMS

    State Minister Kursad Tuzmen attended the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Ministerial Council meeting in Paris yesterday. Tuzmen laid out the problems of Turkish exporters for the participants and called on OECD countries to be more sensitive to these. In addition, during his face-to-face meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, Tuzmen also spoke on these problems, requesting that the EU also be more sensitive. Tuzmen stressed that Turkish exporters should be protected against unfair competition. "While we are liberalizing our trade on the one hand, we have to protect our domestic industry against unfair competition on the other," he added. “Among the World Trade Organization (WTO) countries, Turkey is one of the leading countries in terms of exports performance." In related news, the final statement of the OECD meeting stressed that growth in the member countries should accelerate later this year, but that oil prices and fiscal imbalances still pose risks. /Aksam/

    [13] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [14] PROBLEM SOLVING BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Gunduz Aktan comments on Turkey’s problem-solving ability in foreign policy. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Our failure to solve the Armenian issue is considered as the failure of our foreign policy. People made the same comment about the Cyprus issue as well. Actually our Iraq policy, our relations with the US, our EU bid and Aegean issues can be mentioned in the same context. It’s true that our foreign policy’s problem-solving capacity isn’t high. However, we can’t separate this issue from our failure to solve problems, because we were the last to bring down our inflation, and such problems as traffic, taxes, roads and utilities, etc. still haven’t been solved. Obviously, the fact that we entered democracy early had a role in the failure to solve these problems. Political parties chose not to deal with such problems which cannot be solved without disturbing the public. They were afraid of losing support in elections. As a result, almost all of the public made unlawfulness a normal way of life and the problems became permanent.

    Political powers, not used to solving problems in domestic politics, started to wait for the problems in foreign policy to solve themselves. What’s more, foreign policy has its own problems. As each problem is a conflict with two sides, a solution doesn’t only depend on us. If our rival resists solving the problem in our favor, then the conflict continues for a long period of time. In other words, a ‘win-win’ solution becomes impossible. In addition, economic interests don’t prevent political conflicts. Maybe it’s sad, but politics supercedes the economy in foreign policy. In conflicts with countries having one problem, it’s more difficult for countries having multiple problems to protect their interests. For example, Turkey has a number of vital strategic problems, whereas Greek Cypriots only think of swallowing the island and Armenians think of making us accept the so-called genocide. It can’t be denied that the most important weakness of our foreign policy comes from ourselves. Turkish foreign policy of the last 50 years always belittled its own power and considered others superior. We couldn’t understand that we can accomplish nothing in foreign policy without taking risks, and it was difficult for us to seek help from others. Our foreign policy also has two other obstacles. Following World War II, Turkey was in the Western world, but the West couldn’t overcome historical prejudices and didn’t consider Turkey a Western country. Following the Cold War and during our EU membership process, this situation became clearer. If the West had been fair, would the Armenian issue be treated this way? Meanwhile, many ‘liberal intellectuals’ in Turkey claim that Turkey should do everything requested by the West in order to become Western. Western countries use these intellectuals’ lack of identity. The number of academics dealing with foreign policy problems was very small. In addition, the number of lawyers and historians in the fields of genocide, terrorism and the rules of war is insufficient. As a nation, we also want conflicts to be solved immediately. We can’t feel enmity over long periods. We shouldn’t forget that solving conflicts in a short period of time requires making concessions.”

    [15] GERMANY, ERDOGAN AND FRIENDSHIP BY OMER LUTFI METE (SABAH)

    Columnist Omer Lutfi Mete comments on German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s difficulty in having to face a double-sided approach towards Turkey. A summary of the column is as follows:

    “While one problem of Schroeder – who didn’t look very happy during his visit to Turkey – was the fall in fortunes of his party, his other problem was that he has to face a double-sided approach towards Turkey that cannot be concealed. This is because the chancellor is caught between two opposite pressures. The first pressure is because, in addition to the considerable size of economic cooperation today, larger and greater cooperation possibilities are expected to emerge in the future. No European Union country can be compared to Germany in terms of common interests.

    The second pressure is caused by Europe’s facts, and Germany’s excuses, which include many reasons to be against Turkey. Due to these two opposite pressures Schroeder has to follow a very subtle policy towards Turkey, and not offend any side. However, with these kind of policies only inexperienced countries can be deceived. Turkey, for various reasons, seems to tolerate this approach. When even then President Turgut Ozal sold Turkey’s right of free movement on the cheap in 1986, what can Erdogan – who is surrounded by many problems – do ?

    It is enough to look at an article about Turkey in German daily Tagesspiegel to understand why Schroeder isn’t very sympathetic:

    ‘The point where Turkey is the farthest from EU values is religious freedom. The Patriarchate which Schroeder wants to visit is the religious center of the 330 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. But this center has fewer rights than Turkish football clubs. If Turkey wants to be a member of the EU, it has to rearrange the relations between religion and the state. However it seems that the Turkish prime minister has to urgently change his mentality. In recent weeks, when nationalist hysteria in Turkey reached a fever pitch, Erdogan had to oppose this with a modern European state vision. However he first kept silent and then he grabbed onto the reins of nationalism’.”

    ARCHIVE

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