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Turkish Press Review, 07-01-29

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

29.01.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "ARTICLE 301 COULD BE CHANGED"
  • [02] CICEK: "ARTICLE 301 COULD BE CHANGED IF NECESSARY, BUT IT'S NOT A PRIORITY"
  • [03] WB HEAD WOLFOWITZ VISITS TURKEY
  • [04] ANKARA REBUFFS NOTICE TO RENEW OIL CONTRACTS WITH N.IRAQ RATHER THAN BAGHDAD
  • [05] SWEDISH MINISTER FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS DUE IN ANKARA
  • [06] MESSAGE ON KIRKUK FROM NORTHERN IRAQ

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "ARTICLE 301 COULD BE CHANGED"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to Ethiopia to attend an African Union Summit set to discuss climate change. Erdogan is expected to brief the gathering on Turkey's efforts to fight global warming. Speaking to reporters before his departure, Erdogan responded to a recent declaration by Bogazici University professors calling for the abolition of Article 301 after the murder earlier this month of Hrant Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian descent, saying that the government wasn't thinking of doing away with the article altogether. "Many countries have similar laws," said Erdogan. "You need to look at all sections of the law carefully and not ignore them." Erdogan further stressed that he had urged the academics to rethink their proposal and that they would understand that it is not coherent. The premier added, however, that the government was open to suggestions for changes to the article and that he had discussed the issue with non-governmental organizations. "But the NGOs couldn't reach agreement among themselves," added Erdogan. /Sabah/

    [02] CICEK: "ARTICLE 301 COULD BE CHANGED IF NECESSARY, BUT IT'S NOT A PRIORITY"

    Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 could be changed if necessary, but that the issue wasn't a priority for Ankara. "This law went into effect in 2005," said Cicek. "We didn't say that it couldn't be changed." Cicek further stressed that while some people want Article 301 to remain, others want to abolish or change it, adding that people should clearly share their views on the issue with the government. /Milliyet/

    [03] WB HEAD WOLFOWITZ VISITS TURKEY

    World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, a sometime defender of Turkey and former deputy defense secretary now paying his first visit as head of the WB, yesterday had talks with top Turkish officials in Istanbul. After meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Dolmabahce Palace, Wolfowitz exchanged views on the Turkish economy and the WB's relations to it with State Economy Minister Ali Babacan during a luncheon. Afterwards, Wolfowitz told reporters that he had had very fruitful talks both with Erdogan and Babacan, adding that the Turkish economy was doing well and the WB was happy to work together with Ankara as a partner. Concerning Turkey's European Union membership bid, Wolfowitz said that Turkey's membership would serve the interests of both the country and the bloc. For his part, Babacan said that Turkey would continue its efforts for privatization and structural reforms, adding that the country's stability and reliability had made Turkey attractive to global capital. /Turkiye/

    [04] ANKARA REBUFFS NOTICE TO RENEW OIL CONTRACTS WITH N.IRAQ RATHER THAN BAGHDAD

    The Iraqi National Oil Company (SOMO) has sent notices to Turkish companies who export oil products to neighboring Iraq, saying they should contact northern Iraqi officials if they want to continue to do business with the Iraqi company. Confirming the incident, State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said that those who wanted to "test Turkey" would pay a price. Stressing that he had sent a letter to the Iraqi government, Tuzmen conveyed Ankara's concern over the matter, saying that the move could negatively affect the oil trade between the two countries. In related news, commenting on the matter, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also told reporters that Ankara's counterpart in such issues was certainly the central government in Baghdad. /Hurriyet/

    [05] SWEDISH MINISTER FOR EUROPEAN AFFAIRS DUE IN ANKARA

    Swedish Minister of European Affairs Cecila Malmstrom will arrive in Ankara today to hold talks on Turkey's European Union accession talks. Malstrom will have meetings with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Turkey's European Union chief negotiator Ali Babacan, and Turkey's State Minister responsible for women asd family matters Nimet Cubukcu. The Swedish official will also visit Istanbul and meet with representatives of various non-governmental groups. /The New Anatolia/

    FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS

    [06] MESSAGE ON KIRKUK FROM NORTHERN IRAQ

    Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on her conversation with a Kurdistan Democratic Party foreign relations official about Kirkuk and Turkey's stance on the issue. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "I don't know if the Iraqi Kurds realize that nobody agrees with them that Kirkuk should be attached to the north. However, obviously, besides Iraqi nationalists of various ethnic and religious backgrounds, many countries are closely following developments on this issue. I hear many Iraqi say that if Kirkuk is attached to Kurdistan, there would be huge consequences, and that Turkey's stance on the issue supports them in their negotiations with the Kurds. Of course, nobody expects or wants a military intervention from Turkey. However, people also attach importance to political and diplomatic efforts to ensure Iraq's territorial integrity and say that Turkey's position helps during the negotiations. Arab countries and Israel are saying that Iraq's territorial integrity should be protected and steps which might sow instability in Kirkuk should be avoided. In such an atmosphere, I asked Safeen Dizayee, a Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official responsible for foreign relations, how they're planning to deal with the Kirkuk issue.

    As Dizayee has worked as the KDP's representative to Turkey for many years, he understands Turkey's concerns. During our conversation, he stressed the importance of establishing dialogue between Turkey and the northern Iraq administration. He said that we should talk to each other, discuss certain issues and look for solutions. When I asked if the end-year referendum in Kirkuk could be postponed, he said in sum, ‘We have a while until the referendum. However, the Iraqi constitution lays out the matter. The constitution will be obeyed. Kirkuk is in the region of Kurdistan, historically and geographically. We want this issue to be clarified. In other words, we want to prove that Kirkuk belongs to the Kurdistan region. We don't say that Kirkuk is a city of Kurds. After the referendum, Turkmen and Arabs from Kirkuk will continue to live in the region.' When I asked about reports they were moving Turkmen and Arabs out of the region and bringing in Kurds to replace them to alter the city's demographic makeup, he said these reports were overblown and that Kurds who were moved away from the region between 1991 and 2003 were simply returning.

    I asked him if he can't see that their insistence on the Kirkuk issue will cause instability and that some people say Kirkuk could be a second Jerusalem in the region. I told him that such a source of instability would threaten the entire region and asked him if he thinks that Turkey's worries on the issue come from its hostile feelings against Kurds. ‘We should talk to each other seriously, discuss problems mutually and try to work together for a good outcome,' he replied. ‘We place great importance on Turkey. Turkey is an important power in our region. We want to establish good relations with Turkey. We know that establishing good ties suits our interests. And I hope that it would suit Turkey's interests to do so. Today there are more than 300 Turkish companies in northern Iraq. Turks play the most important role in our improvement. We consider these relations valuable.' Then I also asked him if he knows that the issue of the terrorist PKK is making things worse. ‘We've had relations with Turkey for a long time,' he said. ‘We've fought, along with Turkey, against the PKK in northern Iraq. Now we're continuing these efforts'."


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