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Turkish Press Review, 06-12-28

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

28.12.2006


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO VISIT LEBANON NEXT WEEK
  • [02] GUL: "TURKEY AND THE US HAVEN'T SIGNED ANY MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE PKK"
  • [03] NSC TO HOLD LAST MEETING OF YEAR
  • [04] TAN: "ANKARA EXPECTS MORE CONCRETE STEPS FROM THE EU"
  • [05] MUMCU CRITICIZES CHP'S STANCE ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
  • [06] AGAR: "THE PRESIDENCY IS A POST REQUIRING TRUST"
  • [07] POET MEHMET AKIF ERSOY COMMEMORATED
  • [08] ANKARA CELEBRATES ATATURK'S ARRIVAL IN ANKARA
  • [09] A WRONG CHOICE

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO VISIT LEBANON NEXT WEEK

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to pay an official visit to Lebanon next Wednesday. During his short stay, Erdogan will meet with the Lebanese president, prime minister, and Parliament speaker to promote bilateral relations and discuss the problems of the region. The premier is also expected to visit Turkish peacekeeping troops serving in the country. /Aksam/

    [02] GUL: "TURKEY AND THE US HAVEN'T SIGNED ANY MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE PKK"

    Answering a question motion of a main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy in Parliament yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that no memorandum of understanding about the terrorist PKK had been signed between Turkey and the US, adding that there was no expression in any document signed between the two countries saying that Turkey wouldn't launch an operation against PKK strongholds in northern Iraq's Kandil mountains. "Turkey considers the fight against terrorism a priority, so we could never make any such pledge," added Gul. /Milliyet/

    [03] NSC TO HOLD LAST MEETING OF YEAR

    The National Security Council (NSC) is due to convene today under the chairmanship of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. During the meeting, both domestic and foreign developments will be discussed. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] TAN: "ANKARA EXPECTS MORE CONCRETE STEPS FROM THE EU"

    Speaking to reporters at his final press conference before taking his post as Turkey's ambassador to Israel, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan evaluated the recent state of Turkish-European Union relations. Stressing the EU's letter of invitation to begin accession talks on the chapter on industry and organizations, Tan said that Ankara had expected to begin talks on four chapters and so the current situation falls short of meeting its expectations. "We hope that the bloc will take more concrete steps in the coming days," the spokesman said. Commenting on the Iraq issue, Tan said that Turkey has never intended to interfere in Iraq's domestic affairs. In addition, concerning the revival of Armenian efforts in the US to pass a so-called genocide resolution, Tan said that Turkey expected the US to act with common sense. Tan will begin his tenure in Tel Aviv after presenting his letter of credentials to Israeli President Moshe Katsav on Jan. 22. /Turkiye/

    [05] MUMCU CRITICIZES CHP'S STANCE ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, opposition Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) Party leader Erkan Mumcu criticized the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) stance on next May's presidential election. "The CHP is opposing the possible candidacy of [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan], but it's doing its best for Erdogan to be a candidate," said Mumcu. "Telling a politician like Erdogan, who is eligible to run, that he can't be a candidate means that being president is the only way for you. Baykal is an experienced politician and he should know this." /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] AGAR: "THE PRESIDENCY IS A POST REQUIRING TRUST"

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday after meeting with the Iran's Ambassador to Ankara Gholamreza Bagheri, opposition True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar commented on next May's presidential election, saying that the presidency is a post requiring confidence. Agar added that the nation should trust the person to be elected president. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] POET MEHMET AKIF ERSOY COMMEMORATED

    Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the prominent Turkish poet who wrote the lyrics to the Turkish national anthem, was commemorated yesterday on the 70th anniversary of his death. Attending a ceremony held in Ankara, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said that Ersoy was an ideal model for Turkish intellectuals. /Sabah/

    [08] ANKARA CELEBRATES ATATURK'S ARRIVAL IN ANKARA

    A ceremony was held yesterday in Ankara's Dikmen Keklik Pinari district to mark Republic of Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's first arrival in Ankara on Dec. 26, 1919 as part of his efforts to launch the War of Independence. /Sabah/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [09] A WRONG CHOICE

    BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdal Safak comments on Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EU. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "This Sunday Bulgaria and Romania will become the 26th and 27th members of the European Union. We congratulate them. If the welcome mat wasn't out at EU headquarters in Brussels, nobody would remember in Europe that two distant relatives have joined the family. The reason for this must be politicians' wish to experience this expansion quietly. However, this issue is being discussed by the media, and experts are asking if Romania and Bulgaria are ready for membership, if they've met the Copenhagen criteria and what they will bring to the EU. Looking at the answers, the silence of European leaders can be better understood. According to experts, the situation of the two countries is as follows: Experts say that Romania falls quite short in terms of fighting corruption, and its judiciary isn't independent. In addition, they think that it's very likely that EU funds will be misused, food safety is substandard, and its borders aren't safe against drug, human and weapons trafficking. Experts also say that its corruption is positively endemic and the mafia is so ubiquitous that it provides 25% of the Bulgarian gross national product. Meanwhile, it emerged that some experts were given the duty of preparing a report on relations between the mafia, police and justice. The report is being kept under wraps, but the people who prepared it are starting to talk. Klaus Jansen, a high- level German security official, told Britain's Sunday Telegraph that claims that high-level Bulgarian officials have links with organized crime are true. Cologne Supreme Administrative Court Judge Sussete Schuster, who wrote the section on the judiciary, said that while petty offenses are punished, nothing is done against mafia members who commit murder in broad daylight. In addition, the Bulgarian intelligence agency said that the mafia is more prepared for EU membership than government agencies.

    So why did the EU open its doors to these countries, where the Copenhagen criteria haven't been met? Let me tell you the reasons cited by Pierre Moscovici, the European Parliament's Romania rapporteur. He said that it was important for him that French is widely spoken in Romania, as this will boost France's importance in the EU. (This is why France was such a big supporter of its membership). He added, however, that postponing the membership of Romania and Bulgaria did more harm than good, as this may have sent a message which damaged their morale. He also said that the EU believes it's its historical duty to help these two countries, which joined the Warsaw Pact 50 years ago and came under the Soviets Union's area of influence, and so it opened its doors. So he confesses that the Copenhagen criteria aren't the only determining factor. I think the most important reason is the last one, in other words, moving from the East to the West. Likewise, Romanian President Traian Basescu told Le Monde that democracy can exist only with the EU and NATO. Half jokingly and half seriously, I can't help but agree with those who say that Turkey made a wrong strategic choice, because if we had joined the Warsaw Pact all those years ago, we would be in the EU by now."


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