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Turkish Press Review, 07-05-17
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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
17.05.2007FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS …
 ERDOGAN: “THE NATION WILL HAVE THE FINAL WORD”As early elections are set for July 22, our nation is entering a critical period, and it is the Turkish people who will have the final word, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. At his Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan criticized the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for blocking the recent aborted presidential election. In so doing, the CHP and the other political parties in Parliament failed the test of democracy, he charged. /Turkiye/
 GUL MEETS WITH IRAQI TURKMEN FRONT LEADERForeign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Iraqi Turkmen Front leader Sadettin Ergec. During their talks, recent developments in Iraq and the Kirkuk issue, in particular the referendum set for the end of this year to determine the city’s status, were taken up. Pointing to rising violence in the country, Gul urged the Iraqi administration to do its best to stop the clashes, adding that Turkey was ready to help the country establish peace and stability. Responding to recent reports that the Iraqi administration has postponed the Kirkuk referendum to next year, Gul said that there were no concrete developments on the matter. /Turkiye/
 CHP, DSP TO MAKE FINAL DECISION ON ELECTION ALLIANCETwo weeks of talks between the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Democratic Left Party (DSP) came to an end yesterday. Following a nighttime phone conversation between CHP leader Deniz Baykal and the DSP’s Zeki Sezer, top DSP officials will discuss the issue today one last time and if a merger or other alliance is in the offing, the two leaders are expected to publicly announce how they will cooperate in July’s general elections. /Milliyet/
 POLITICAL PARTIES WOO POPULAR FIGURES TO BE CANDIDATESAs July’s general elections get closer, virtually all political parties are on the hunt for fresh popular faces to field on election day. Among the figures being wooed are former ambassadors, military officers, businessmen, football players, and even wrestlers. In addition, certain political parties are also asking well-known figures from minority groups to run under their banner. /Turkish Daily News/
 SAMSUN BRACES FOR REPUBLICAN RALLY ON SUNDAYThe Black Sea city of Samsun is bracing to be the site of yet another republican rally this Sunday. Following massive demonstrations organized by non-governmental groups in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and other cities, Samsun will host the final rally against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the runup to the early elections in July. The demonstration will be held one day after the anniversary of the 1919 arrival of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the city, a visit which began the Turkish War of Independence. /Cumhuriyet/
 BAHCELI: “MY PARTY WILL FACE THE AKP ALONE”Even as other parties seek alliances ahead of the July elections, Nationalist Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said yesterday that his party would enter elections alone and single-handedly “settle accounts” with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In a written statement, Bahceli said that his party had closed its deputy candidacy application period this week and that general elections would be a “poll of destiny” for Turkey. /Sabah, Hurriyet/
 TUZMEN: “OUR TARGET IS $15 BLN IN TRADE WITH AFRICA”State Minister Kursad Tuzmen said yesterday that Turkey hopes to reach and even exceed $15 billion in trade with African countries in the years to come. Meeting with officials and businessmen from 20 African countries, visting Istanbul to attend a meeting of the Turkish-African Foreign Trade Bridge organized by the Turkish Businessmen’s and Industrialists’ Confederation (TUSKON), Tuzmen said that the synergy created by this meeting would help to boost trade. He added that they wanted to create a climate in which both sides can grow together and that the richer Africa gets, Turkey will grown more prosperous too. /Aksam/
 US WARNS SARKOZY TO TREAT TURKEY WITHOUT PREJUDICEThe US yesterday issued a warning to new French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is well known for his anti-Turkish and anti-immigrant stances. US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte called on Sarkozy to treat the issue of Turkey free of prejudice. Speaking to the French-American Foundation, Negroponte said that the United States has supported Turkey’s European Union membership and that this support would continue. He added that the US hoped that in the weeks and months ahead, the French government would keep an open mind on this subject and be ready to discuss this issue with the US and others concerned. France should consider the possible consequences for both Turkey and the region if the door were closed completely to Turkish membership in the EU, he added. /Aksam/
 RATO: “TURKEY IS A DYNAMIC, RISING MARKET”International Monetary Fund head Rodrigo de Rato said yesterday that Turkey was one of the world’s four dynamic rising markets, adding that in recognition of its increasingly important role in the global economy, the IMF’s Monetary and Finance Committee had decided to give Turkey a higher quota and say in the group. Rato said that they had reached a consensus concerning raising the quota for four dynamic rising markets -- China, Mexico, South Korea and Turkey -- and were working on new quota formulas for future use. Rato added that there was a consensus among the IMF members that the new quota will be simple and transparent. /Star/
 GREENPEACE TO UNVEIL “NOAH’S ARK” REPLICA TO HIGHLIGHT THREAT OF GLOBAL WARMINGThe threat of climate change faced by the planet is the greatest danger to the world since the legendary biblical flood, said an environmental activist in Istanbul yesterday. Greenpeace energy campaigner Andree Boehling told reporters that a symbolic Noah’s Ark the group is building on Mt. Ararat (Agri) in eastern Turkey was meant to call attention to the threat of global warming. A Greenpeace declaration on renewable energy will be released on May 31 at the grand opening for the ship, which is being built by a group of volunteer Turkish, German and Australian carpenters. /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS …
 SARKOZY TAKES OFFICEBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on relations between Turkey and the European Union as new French President Nicholas Sarkozy takes office. A summary of his column is as follows:
“If Turkey had been able to elect a president, he would have been sworn in yesterday. We didn’t have a swearing-in ceremony in Ankara, but there was one in Paris. Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) leader Nicholas Sarkozy took over the presidency from his predecessor Jacques Chirac.
Sarkozy is currently the most anti-Turkish leader in Europe. He believes that Turkey should be excluded from the European Union due to its ‘Asian’ origins, Muslim population, poverty, high unemployment, etc.
This situation seems to have resulted in serious concern in both Europe and the US. Even the Europeans who want Turkey to be a ‘privileged partner’ rather than a full EU member are trying to convince Sarkozy to change his attitude. Among these is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who also proposed a privileged partnership for Turkey but then announced that she supported Turkey’s full membership goal in the context of pacta sund servanda (contracts must be honored). As soon as Sarkozy took over the presidency from Chirac at the Elysee Palace, he went to Germany to meet with Merkel. One of the issues they took up was Turkey. Merkel had touched upon Turkey in a speech she delivered last week on the occasion of Europe Day. Turkey was still preoccupied then with the General Staff statement and its intervention in politics, as well as protest rallies and the annulment of the first round of the presidential election by the Constitutional Court. But in remarks that may have shocked some, Merkel said that if Turkey is a Muslim country walking a path towards modernization, it is thanks to reforms made by Atatürk and Turkey’s secularist system. She stressed that the EU shouldn’t lose Turkey. I see no reason she would have taken a different position yesterday.
Also yesterday Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-chair of the European Parliament’s Greens Group, warned leftist Bernard Kouchner, Sarkozy’s likely foreign minister, not to oppose Turkey’s membership, as he has previously supported it.
Yesterday Sarkozy also got a transatlantic warning. John Negroponte, US deputy secretary of state, said in a speech at the French-American Foundation that they hoped the new French government wouldn’t be prejudiced against Turkey and would be ready to discuss the issue with the US and other related parties. He added, ‘We know Sarkozy thinks differently about this issue, but Paris should evaluate the risks of closing the door on Turkey.’
What are those risks, then? How can Turkish-EU relations be on the top of the international agenda but far from the top of Turkish priorities? And why have the political leaders of the US and EU started to talk about the risks of losing Turkey instead of delivering a ultimatum to Turkey saying that relations between the military and civilian leadership aren’t democratic?
The first of these risks is Turkey’s centrifugal force in Europe and its impact on Turkey’s domestic affairs ahead of our July 22 elections. Secondly, the leaders of the US and the EU are taking seriously the possibility of a clash of civilizations and see Turkey’s integration with the Islamic world as a danger. Maybe for the first time they have noticed the role secularism plays in Turkish democracy, which is trying to mature.
And maybe for the second time since the 1999 Helsinki summit (where Turkey got EU candidate status) they are trying to bring Turkey in rather than shut it out.”
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