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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-06
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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 : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
06.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN CALLS ON AKP OFFICIALS TO TACKLE UNEMPLOYMENTSpeaking at his party’s Central Executive Board (MKYK) meeting yesterday, Prime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on his fellow AKP officials to prepare projects designed to tackle unemployment, one of the nation’s most pressing problems. “During last fall’s election campaign, our party made pledges to the nation about the economy,” said Erdogan. “I want our AKP deputies to prepare projects to help the nation overcome its unemployment problem.” State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan, Central Bank Governor Sureyya Serdengecti, and just- appointed Treasury Undersecretary Ibrahim Halil Carmikci also attended the meeting to brief participants on recent economic developments. In his remarks, Serdengecti stated that Turkey’s economy was improving with each passing day. /Milliyet/
 GUL FACES BUSY TRAVEL SCHEDULE THIS MONTHFollowing last weekend’s unofficial European Union foreign ministers’ meeting, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is set to continue his heavy diplomatic schedule through this month. He is due to visit Sofia, Bulgaria on next Monday and Tuesday, May 12-13, then on May 15-16 he will attend a meeting of the European Convention in Brussels, Belgium. In the third week of the month, Gul is set to visit to Pakistan. Turkey’s top diplomat is later expected to travel to Crete to attend an EU-Mediterranean foreign ministers’ meeting on May 25. Finally, he will represent Turkey at the Organization for Islamic Conference (OIC) 30th foreign ministers’ meeting in Tehran, Iran at the end of this month. /Turkiye/
 BUSH CALLS SEZER TO EXTEND CONDOLENCES, DISCUSS CYPRUS AND TURKISH-US RELATIONSUS President George W. Bush yesterday called his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer to discuss a number of issues, including Cyprus and Turkish-US relations. During their conversation, Bush first extended his condolences for the victims of last week’s earthquake in Bingol and said that the US stood ready to help any way it could. Then Bush said that he wanted Ankara’s support for a negotiated settlement on Cyprus. Sezer replied that he welcomed recent developments on the island such as Turkish Cyprus opening its borders with Greek Cyprus and reiterated that Turkey too wanted a solution on the island. “Both the Turkish and Greek Cypriots will compromise to reach a solution,” said Sezer, adding that expecting only the island’s Turks to make concessions would be unfair. He stressed that Turkish-US relations carried great importance and that they should be further developed. The two countries should also cooperate in Iraq’s reconstruction process, the Turkish leader added. /Milliyet/
 CABINET MINISTERS DISCUSS BINGOL EARTHQUAKEThe Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened yesterday. The main topic of the meeting was last week’s devastating earthquake in the eastern province of Bingol. Following the three-and-a- half-hour gathering, the ministers announced that they had agreed to construct some 2,500 houses in the region by the end of this year to provide shelter to citizens whose houses were destroyed by the quake. Cabinet spokesman and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters that a “Crisis Committee” had also been established to coordinate rehabilitation work in the region. The ministers also took up the economy and discussed ways to create new revenue streams. /Turkiye/
 ITALIAN PM BERLUSCONI TO VISIT ANKARAItalian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is set to pay a two-day official visit to Ankara on next Monday and Tuesday, May 12-13. Berlusconi was invited to Turkey by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his tour of Rome last November, just after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. The Italian prime minister recently made remarks in favor of Turkey’s EU membership bid, and Italy is due to take over the rotating EU term presidency on July 1. Therefore, Turkish diplomatic circles expect an improvement in Turkish-EU relations in the second half of the year. /Cumhuriyet/
 WASHINGTON: “TURKISH FIRMS SHOULD AGREE TO BE PARTNERS WITH KURDISH FIRMS IN IRAQ’S RECONSTRUCTION”The United States is reportedly planning to use upcoming bidding processes to select firms for Iraq’s reconstruction as a means of applying political pressure on Ankara. Certain American circles are known to oppose Turkish firms’ participation in Iraq’s reconstruction. Washington also recently conveyed messages to Turkish businessmen that their construction companies should agree to be partners with Kurdish firms if they want to do business in postwar Iraq. Kurdish leaders such as top Iraqi Kurdish official Barham Salih of the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IKDP) recently also made similar remarks, stressing that it would be easier for Turkish companies to win tenders in Iraq if they agree to form partnerships with Kurdish firms. /Star/
 TURKEY’S EMBASSY IN IRAQ TO BE REOPENED THIS WEEKTurkey is expected to reopen its embassy in Baghdad this week. Reportedly, Ambassador Osman Paksut and other embassy staff who were ordered to evacuate the facility in February for their own safety just before the Iraq war are to travel to Baghdad this week to reopen the embassy. /Turkiye/
 IMF OFFICIALS KRUEGER AND KIEKENS DUE IN TURKEYInternational Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger and Executive Director Willy Kiekens are expected to arrive in Turkey today and will reportedly begin holding contacts with Turkish officials in Ankara tomorrow. Reza Moghadam, set to become new IMF Turkey desk chief later this month in place of the departing Juha Kahkonen, will accompany Krueger during her visit. Later Krueger and Kiekens will attend a three-day “Istanbul Forum” meeting beginning on Thursday. Before this they are expected to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and state economy ministers to discuss recent economic developments in Turkey. /Milliyet/  FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE MILITARY’S STATEMENT BY ALI BAYRAMOGLU (YENI SAFAK)Columnist Ali Bayramoglu comments on a press release issued yesterday by the General Staff. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The General Staff issued a press release yesterday. This statement was made as a reaction to certain news reports appearing in the wake of ‘the April 23 crisis’ [referring to a political row over ruling Justice and Development Party wives wearing headscarves to a state function, thus violating a taboo] and last Wednesday’s critical National Security Council (MGK) meeting. The reports incurring the military’s wrath were about:
- Last-ditch changes to military appointments at last year’s Supreme Military Council (YAS) meeting, changes which were made under heavy political pressure.
- Rifts within the military.
- The secret agenda of the recent MGK meeting, whose discussions were leaked to the media.
The General Staff characterized these news stories as efforts to damage the members and discipline of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), and so conveyed this message: ‘The military is both solid and unified. We are currently investigating these news reports and are determined to safeguard and protect our country’s republican regime.’
This press release clearly reveals that the military is trying to preserve its two most crucial claimed grounds for legitimacy. One is public opinion, and the other and perhaps more important is the TSK’s own internal structure. In other words, the military’s reaction was meant for these two.
But why does our military need such a statement? And, why, in this country, are we so often faced with such news stories? Why don’t the French, British, US, Greek or Belgian general staffs issue such statements? And why are the public, media and politicians of these countries barely interested in military appointments, promotions and internal affairs?
Let me put this forth first: the subjection of the military authority to political power in these countries through the mechanism of defense ministries is a sine qua non for their democracies, no matter what their particular historical, political or strategic conditions. In these countries, the General Staff cannot issue such statements as if it were an independent institution. Bodies similar to our MGK only function as technical coordination boards in these countries, nothing more. Their job is not putting the military and civilian authorities at loggerheads, as if they were two distinct clashing parties. In short, in these countries the military is not involved in politics, and is not even allowed to be.
And when it comes to the issue of efforts to damage… Politics isn’t an activity for the thin-skinned. As long as the military is involved in politics, it cannot expect itself to be exempt from criticism. As a matter of fact, no one in this country criticizes the military function of the TSK, but rather its role in civilian politics.
The bulk of the problem lies in the military’s understanding of politics. Its argument goes like this: ‘Politics is limited for political parties. Political issues such as foreign policy, the Kurdish issue or education aren’t related to the political sphere but rather to the state itself. And it is our task to keep watch over these issues in line with our own concerns regarding national security in line our national establishment’s rules.’ But this rationale cannot change the fact that the military is involved in civilian politics.”
 BETWEEN THE US AND THE EU BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Turkey’s relations with the European Union and the US. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey should prepare for negotiations with the European Union, but it should do this by working to improve its relations with the US. US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld recently visited Incirlik Airbase but had no contact with officials in Ankara, which shows how our strategic ally was offended by Turkey. Rumsfeld visited the US’ tiny allies in the Persian Gulf to thank them, but he passed through Turkey almost in anger. In addition, US Secretary of State Colin Powell recently travelled to Albania to thank it for participating in the Iraq operation with just 100 soldiers. Our friend in Oceania, Australia, as well as Poland, which we have been supporting for many years in Central Europe, have a place at the table where the new order in Iraq will be formed. In addition, for some reason Turkey didn’t even send Turkish Red Crescent aid to Kirkuk.
Our relations with the EU aren’t easy to handle either. Many people in Turkey don’t believe that the European criteria represent the level of modern civilization. They still have failed to comprehend that there’s no level besides the EU that can save us. There are still some people in every institution, organization and party remain dead set against modernization. They defend today’s corrupt order and are afraid that their status quo will be spoiled. They are incapable of doing anything but barking orders. If they had been able to do anything else, our situation would have been different now.
These people have a strong hold in today’s political power structure. They don’t believe in the EU or else they believe they can use it to advance their own ideology. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan should work to overcome these forced. Concessions cannot be made in terms of reforms and revolution.”
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