|Thursday, 14 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 03-11-04
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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
04.11.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 GOVERNMENT PROPOSES RADICAL PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION REFORMThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has completed its work on a new bill proposing radical reforms to Turkey’s public administration. State Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said yesterday that the government aimed to establish better public administration to help Turkey move forward into the future. The bill proposes to hand over certain authorities of the central administration to local officials as well as to limit certain ministries’ sphere of duties and responsibilities. “We don’t claim that the bill is perfect,” said the minister. “However, it will get better after Parliament’s commissions and the General Assembly are able to discuss it.” /All Papers/
 UNCONDITIONAL DEATH PENALTY BAN PLANNEDIn line with a European Commission of Human Rights protocol lifting the death penalty unconditionally, even during wartime and in cases of terrorism, the government is reportedly planning to send to the Cabinet a bill to this effect. After getting the signatures of the Cabinet, the bill would then be sent to Parliament’s General Assembly. This summer Parliament ended the death penalty during time of peace. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN: “SOLVING THE CYPRUS ISSUE IS NOT A PRECONDITION FOR TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his Belgian counterpart Guy Verhofstad, who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey. Following their meeting, Erdogan told a joint press conference that he had highlighted Turkey’s radical reforms in line with EU norms and expressed his government’s determination to implement them. Asked about the EU Commission’s upcoming annual progress report on Turkey, draft copies of which have been leaked and widely discussed, Erdogan said that he would comment on it tomorrow, when it is officially released. He also remarked that solving the Cyprus issue was not among the criteria required for Turkey’s EU membership bid. For his part, the Belgian premier said that while a resolution on Cyprus wouldn’t guarantee Turkey’s membership, it could ease the process. Noting that October 2004 would be an important date for Turkey’s membership bid, he said, “The EU will issue a final report on Turkey that month, and then a final decision will be made.” After their meetings, Erdogan hosted a banquet in honor of the Belgian premier. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “IF A THREAT EMERGES, TURKEY WILL ENTER NORTHERN IRAQ”Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commission held hearings yesterday on the 2004 Foreign Ministry budget. Speaking to the commission, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said that an $8.5 billion loan was the US Congress’ unilateral decision as part of a package to help a number of countries trying to aid Iraq. Stressing that the loan was conditional on Turkey not acting against Iraq’s stability, Gul said, “However, even while we use this loan, if any threat emerges, we won’t hesitate to enter northern Iraq.” Following the hearings, the Foreign Ministry’s TL 538 trillion budget for 2004 was approved. /Cumhuriyet/
 BELGIUM’S SIMONET: “WE ACCEPTED TURKEY'S EU CANDIDACY UNDER US PRESSURE”The European Union accepted Turkey's candidacy for full EU membership under pressure from the United States, claimed Belgian Deputy Foreign Minister for EU Affairs Jacques Simonet yesterday. Speaking to Belgian daily La Libre Belgique, Simonet said, “No doubt that after the 10 new members join the Union in May 2004, the ranks of countries opposing Turkey’s membership will swell … When Turkey’s population grows to 80 or 100 billion [from a current approximate 70 million], some questions about the EU’s decision- making process will arise.” Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstad is currently on an official visit to Ankara. /Sabah/
 TURKMEN: “TURKISH TROOPS SHOULD COME TO IRAQ”Amid continued speculations on a possible Turkish troop deployment in Iraq, Songul Cabuk, the sole ethnic Turkmen member of Iraq’s Governing Council, yesterday expressed support for such a deployment. “Why some people are opposed to Turkish troops coming to Iraq is beyond me,” added Cabuk. /Sabah/
 SAFIRE: “A PULLBACK FROM IRAQ COULD LEAD TO TURKISH INTERVENTION”A premature pullback of US troops from Iraq could lead to Turkish intervention in the region, warned influential New York Times columnist William Safire yesterday. “Will [recent] causalities … cause Americans and our allies to cut and run?” he asked in his bi-weekly column. If so, he predicted, “Kurds in the north, fearing the return of Saddamism, would break away into an independent Kurdistan; that would induce Turkey, worried about separatism among its own Kurds, to seize the Iraqi oil fields of Kirkuk.” /Sabah/
 DOCTORS PLAN TO SUSPEND WORK TOMORROWThe Union of Turkish Medical Doctors has decided to hold a one-day nationwide strike tomorrow. During their protest action, doctors will try to lay out their grievances to the public. The union noted, however, that emergency services would not be affected by the strike. /Turkiye/
 SHP LEADER VISITS BAYKAL, DISCUSSES COOPERATION IN LOCAL ELECTIONSSocial Democratic People’s Party (SHP) leader Murat Karayalcin yesterday visited main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. During their talks, the two discussed unity on the left and cooperation in next year’s local elections. Speaking afterwards, Baykal said that he had welcomed Karayalcin’s proposal to join forces in the upcoming elections. For his part, Karayalcin called it a fruitful meeting which could be followed by others. While the CHP is represented in the nation’s current Parliament, the SHP is not. /Cumhuriyet/
 TUSIAD HEAD: “I HOPE THE EU WON’T TRY TO ARBITRARILY BLOCK TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP”Recent reforms in Turkey have paved the road for it to join the European Union, said Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan yesterday. The last two years have also seen very positive economic developments and the beginning of a recovery, Ozilhan added. He urged the EU to make clear its real intention on Turkey’s EU bid. “I hope the Union won’t erect artificial barriers to Turkey’s EU bid after we fulfill the Copenhagen criteria,” he said. /Aksam/
 OCTOBER INFLATION LOWEST IN 20 YEARSThe State Institute of Statistics (DIE) yesterday released month-on-month inflation figures for October. Inflation last month was 0.6% on the wholesale price index (WPI) and 1.4% on the consumer price index (CPI), pushing year-to-year WPI to 16.1% and CPI to 20.8%. The figures show Turkey experiencing its lowest inflation since the 1970s. /All papers/
 BABACAN PREDICTS 2004 INFLATION AT 12%, SINGLE-DIGIT INFLATION IN 2005Appearing on television yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan predicted that this year’s annual inflation would fall beneath the government’s 20% target. “Next year inflation will fall to 12%, and in 2005 I hope we’ll see single-digit inflation,” he added. Babacan further predicted that high inflation in Turkey would soon be a thing of the past. /Aksam/  FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ANOTHER POSITIVE STEP BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on a new public administration reform bill. A summary of his column is as follows:
“A new public administration bill, one set to drastically change how the country is run and make it more dynamic, was unveiled yesterday. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is taking very important steps for our democratization and ensuring the rule of law. For example, it passed a ‘right to know’ law and thus took the first step towards making the state transparent.
With this law, services will no longer be furnished through the orders of general directors in Ankara who know little about other places. From now on, the Turkish people will enter a public office not blindly accepting what’s said by bureaucrats, but by calling them public officials who serve the public. In addition, they’ll look for the truth themselves and request information, and public officials who don’t provide this will be punished.
This draft law is generally good, but it has certain worrisome aspects. For example, it would abolish inspection councils and turn this duty over to the Court of Accounts on the grounds that ‘there are many inspection councils but they haven’t prevented corruption.’ Thus inspectors rightfully object, ‘In spite of our police force, theft and murders continue. So should we get rid of the police, or rather fix its faults?’ The Court of Accounts can monitor monetary issues but how can it inspect civilian administrations, for example, provinces, districts and schools? If they suggest the abolition of inspection councils for harmonization to the European Union, they should know that the EU wants no such thing.”
 A SATISFIED GUL BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the views of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on the Iraq issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul seems to be satisfied with the outcome of the recent two-day Damascus summit of the foreign ministers of Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Turkey. According to his ministry colleagues, the factors behind Gul’s satisfaction are as follows:
1. The final communiqué issued at the end of the summit pledged to protect Iraq’s territorial integrity.
2. All seven countries have agreed to assume a common stance in their fight against terrorist groups in Iraq.
3. The attendees agreed to hold similar meetings in the future so as to continue to take stock of developments in the region.
What do these results mean for Turkey? Again Gul believes:
1. Turkey and the other six countries have agreed to fight against the terrorist PKK_KADEK in northern Iraq.
2. Iran and Syria, in particular, share similar views with our country on the issue of Iraq’s territorial integrity.
3. The summit should be interpreted as a platform independent from Washington, thus providing us with relative freedom to make our own moves on the Iraqi ground.
Another factor behind Gul’s satisfaction is Turkey’s current position on the issue of troop deployment. Gul’s colleagues believe that Turkey now has a better hand in the wake of Parliament’s greenlight of the government’s stance. They assert that if Turkey is attacked or feels threatened, Ankara might make the decision to send its troops to Iraq. Washington, which itself slowed things down after Parliament’s approval of the troop deployment motion, can no longer criticize us for failing to make progress on the issue. The ball is in Washington’s court now. Ankara needn’t hasten to deploy troops in Iraq.
This is how Gul and his colleagues see the current picture.”
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