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Turkish Press Review, 06-12-19

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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>

Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

19.12.2006


CONTENTS

  • [01] IN NEW YORK, ERDOGAN ADDRESSES PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER MEETING WITH ANNAN
  • [02] HIGHER ANTI-TERROR BOARD CONVENES
  • [03] FOREIGN MINISTRY'S TAN: "THE RIGHTS OF TURKS IN GREECE'S WESTERN THRACE REGION ARE BEING DENIED"
  • [04] FINNISH PM: "TURKEY'S TRAIN IS STILL ON TRACK, AND THE FINAL DESTINATION REMAINS THE SAME"
  • [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT TO SEEK ENERGY ALTERNATIVES IN TURKEY
  • [06] LEGENDARY MUSIC MOGUL ERTEGUN LAID TO REST
  • [07] OPEN AND SHUT

  • [01] IN NEW YORK, ERDOGAN ADDRESSES PRESS CONFERENCE AFTER MEETING WITH ANNAN

    At a press conference yesterday after meeting with outgoing UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan in New York, where he is to attend a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was asked a question about the rights of Kurds in Turkey. He replied by saying that he is a Turk, but his wife is an Arab. "We've been married for 29 years and have no problems," he said. "The Kurds don't have a problem with their rights. This is so simple. They (the Kurds in the east) have the same rights as the ethnic groups in western Turkey. (Some people) are misinformed about relations between ethnic groups (in Turkey)." The premier stressed that there was equality between all citizens in Turkey. Erdogan further commented on the problems of Mideast countries and said that he supported the US' recent Baker report on Iraq. Opposing calls for new elections in Palestine, Erdogan said that the choice of the Palestinian nation should be respected. "The most urgent problem is to solve the difficulties in Palestine," said Erdogan. "Elections were held recently in Palestine, and there's no need for new ones." Also commenting on Turkey's European Union membership bid, Erdogan stated that Ankara's relations with the EU wouldn't stop, adding that the government wouldn't make rash decisions. Later, Erdogan met with former US President Bill Clinton. /Sabah/

    [02] HIGHER ANTI-TERROR BOARD CONVENES

    The Higher Anti-Terror Board chaired by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul convened yesterday. During the nearly two-hour meeting, top officials of the board including Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and Gendarme Chief Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner discussed recent terrorist activities in the country and what steps should be taken. /Turkiye/

    [03] FOREIGN MINISTRY'S TAN: "THE RIGHTS OF TURKS IN GREECE'S WESTERN THRACE REGION ARE BEING DENIED"

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said yesterday that the Turkish minority in Greece's Western Thrace region has been deprived of fundamental human and religious rights. Commenting on the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers' decision at its Dec. 6 meeting saying that Athens had failed to take necessary steps in line with a July European Court of Human Rights' (ECHR) ruling that Greece had violated the freedom of religion of Xanthi Mufti Mehmet Emin Aga and others, Tan urged Greece to act with respect for minority rights. /Turkiye/

    [04] FINNISH PM: "TURKEY'S TRAIN IS STILL ON TRACK, AND THE FINAL DESTINATION REMAINS THE SAME"

    European Union outgoing Term President Finland's Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said yesterday that Turkey's EU train was still on track and that its destination remains the same. Speaking at the European Parliament on Finland's work over the last six months and the EU summit held last week, Vanhanen said that the compromise reached on Turkey's EU bid proved that the EU has the ability to make decisions. Stressing that Finland was unable to secure fulfillment of the Additional Protocol with Turkey opening its ports and airports to Greek Cyprus as well as an end to the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, Vanhanen added that this was a failure. Vanhanen claimed that Turkey was facing problems because it hasn't fulfilled its obligations for the nation's EU bid. "Turkey's membership process didn't stop, but it has slowed down," he said, adding that Turkey's future was in the EU. /Milliyet/

    [05] GEORGIAN PRESIDENT TO SEEK ENERGY ALTERNATIVES IN TURKEY

    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili will pay a three-day official visit to Turkey beginning today to seek alternative natural gas sources, amid a Russian threat to double the price of gas early next year. The Georgian president, who will be accompanied by a delegation of energy and economy ministers, will meet with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer today, and the two are expected to sign a trade agreement following a meeting of delegations. /The New Anatolian/

    [06] LEGENDARY MUSIC MOGUL ERTEGUN LAID TO REST

    Ahmet Ertegun, the Turkish music entrepreneur who founded Atlantic Records and discovered world-famous musicians, was laid to rest in Istanbul yesterday. Ertegun, 83, died last Thursday in New York and was brought to his home country over the weekend. Following a funeral held with the attendance of family members, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and distinguished figures from the arts and business world, Ertegun's body was buried in his family cemetery in the Uskudar district. /Aksam/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [07] OPEN AND SHUT

    BY GUNDUZ AKTAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Gunduz Aktan comments on Turkish-EU relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The EU Commission's proposal was accepted last week and Turkey's membership talks were suspended in eight chapters. Thus, the process of our talks was slowed down. Meanwhile, EU officials and the press stated that the EU shouldn't close its doors to Turkey, otherwise the process of reform might stop. When the word ‘reform' is mentioned, we think of the army being subject to civilian authority, the rights of minorities, in other words, giving collective rights to Kurds and Christians' religious rights. It's understood that the Justice and Development Party will continue membership talks under these conditions. In other words, we will be accepting punishment for a crime we supposedly committed by not fulfilling our ‘obligations' in the Additional Protocol concerning Cyprus. As we won't be able to solve the Cyprus issue within the UN before 2009, we will have to face the issue of unilaterally opening our harbors and ports to Greek Cypriots. This way we'll postpone this crisis to the end of 2009.

    Our relations with the EU have been governed with a similar approach since the mid-‘70s. We were even unable to hold Membership Council meetings due to Greece's obstructions since 1981, when it became a full member. We couldn't get the financial assistance allocated to us. Our 1987 application for full membership also faced similar obstructions. The Greek Cypriot administration applied for EU membership as the representative of the island in 1990. In spite of all our objections, it was accepted in 1993. As part of the 1995 Customs Union decision, the EU said that if the Cyprus issue could not be solved by 1998, it would start full membership talks with the Greek Cypriot administration. And it did. This government has been ready to do anything with the Turkish Cypriots in order to solve the Cyprus issue during the process of our candidacy. Nevertheless, the Greek Cypriot administration became a full member and Turkey was left outside. The decision taken in December 2004 offered limited and conditional candidacy. We accepted it. The framework document of October 2005 invented certain obstacles which were never before applied to another candidate country. We made no objection. Now it punished us, as if insulting us. We're putting up with this.

    Every time we think, ‘Let's get through this, we'll consider other issues later.' This policy was made by paying heavy prices such as being the only country which has fulfilled its obligations without any financial assistance and accepting the Customs Union before becoming a full member. However, we can never reach the goal of full membership which covers all the areas of our lives without a certain political will on the other side. The first and foremost reason for the EU not to have such a will is its prejudices against Turkey. Other objective factors also strengthen this. Signs of typical characteristics of a pathological prejudice can be seen in certain EU member countries which object to our membership. For example, the French nation and its leaders accuse us of certain bad aspects that they hate to see in themselves. They turn the genocides that they committed into claims that we carried out an Armenian genocide. You wouldn't want a target group, to which you attribute your own bad characteristics, to be integrated with you. Because if they make us an EU member, they would fear that Turkey would bring all such bad qualities with it. So, the fact that Turkey took the French Revolution as an example, similarities between the two republics and the importance they attach to secularism would be ignored, and they would believe that Turkey wouldn't be able to fulfill these goals like France did. On the other hand, France wouldn't want Turkey, which has been turned into a bin by France where it can dump its undesired qualities, to go too far away. It must stay next to Turkey and use it as a place to accuse of having faults. So, the door is neither completely closed, nor open for us. Turkey is in a cold, endless limbo, just like the soul of a dead body which is between heaven and hell, as in Kipling's famous poem ‘Tomlinson'."


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