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Turkish Press Review, 03-11-07
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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
07.11.2003FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 PRIME MINISTER TO VISIT THE TRNC ON ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to pay a one-day visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on next Saturday, Nov. 15. Erdogan is expected to attend ceremonies to mark the TRNC’s 20th anniversary and to meet with President Rauf Denktas and Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu as well as opposition leaders. Diplomatic sources point to the importance of Erdogan’s visit to the island in the runup to TRNC general elections set for Dec. 14. During his meetings with political leaders, Erdogan reportedly will signal that Ankara does not favor any political party above others. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH FINNISH FOREIGN MINISTERPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met yesterday with visiting Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja to discuss Turkey’s European Union membership bid, among other issues. “We’re in favor of giving a date to Turkey in 2004 to start its accession talks,” said Tuomioja. “But the Cyprus issue should be solved before you become a member.” Referring to a recent Greek government statement that “Ankara’s road to the EU goes through Cyprus,” Erdogan said, “This approach is not honest. Solving the Cyprus problem is not included in the Copenhagen criteria.” Erdogan also met yesterday with Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. /Hurriyet/
 GUL REPORTEDLY TAKEN ABACK BY EU INCLUSION OF CYPRUS ISSUEForeign Minister Abdullah Gul was reportedly taken aback and irritated by inclusion of the Cyprus issue in the European Commission’s Progress Report on Turkey released this week, according to government sources. Based on a telephone call with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen prior to the report’s release, say the sources, Gul had not expected mention of the issue in the report’s Strategy Paper. According to the sources, Gul’s sentiments run along these lines: “The mention of Cyprus makes no sense. We’ve said repeatedly we are doing the best we can to solve the issue. We couldn’t reach an agreement with Verheugen. Proceeding the way he wants would actually leave us further from a resolution.” /Hurriyet/
 VERHEUGEN: “TURKEY’S WILL FOR REFORMS SHOULD NOT BE BROKEN”Debates about European Union membership in Turkey should not break Turkey’s will to enact reforms, said EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen yesterday. “This issue should not be turned into a tool to win elections [in Europe],” Verheugen also told German daily Die Zeit. Verheugen also stated that though resolving the Cyprus issue would boost Turkey’s EU chances, it would not be a guarantee. /Sabah/
 US MILITARY PLAN FORESEES NO TURKISH TROOP IN IRAQA new Pentagon planning document proposes reducing US troop levels in Iraq with the help of more native Iraqi and foreign forces, but not Turkish soldiers. In the force allocation plan, presented to the US Congress yesterday by Joint Chiefs of Staff Deputy Chairman Gen. Peter Pace, a reduction of US troops in Iraq from 132,000 to 100,000 by next May is proposed. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that he was counting on a total of 24,000 troops under British and Polish command staying in Iraq through next year. But no mention was made of Turkey, whereas earlier a Turkish division had been hoped for. “This proves that US officials have given up on Turkish troops coming, although they stress that work on the issue is continuing,” said one diplomatic source. /All Papers/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT HAILS EU REPORT AS “POSITIVE, OBJECTIVE DOCUMENT SHOWING TURKEY’S PROGRESS”The new European Union Progress Report on Turkey shows the nation’s progress towards EU membership, said US State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli yesterday. “We do strongly support Turkey's European aspirations, and specifically Turkey's bid to receive a date to open EU accession negotiations at the December 2004 European Council," said Ereli. "We welcome the report released by the European Commission today that describes Turkey's progress to date toward fulfilling the criteria for opening EU accession talks. We believe the report is a positive and objective assessment of Turkey's progress and we congratulate Turkey and encourage them to continue to implement the reforms needed to meet the criteria." Asked about the report’s section on the Cyprus issue, Ereli said that a resolution should be reached on the island by next May, when Greek Cyprus is scheduled to join the Union. In related news, Irish Foreign Minister Bertie Ahern, in talks with Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos yesterday, said that the island’s issues should be resolved within the framework of the United Nations’ Cyprus plan. Ahern added that Turkey’s EU bid was not related to Cyprus, but that a resolution on the island would be invaluable. Ireland is set to take over the EU’s rotating term presidency from Italy in January. /Cumhuriyet/
 EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S KRETSCHMER: “AN OPPOSITION VICTORY IN CYPRUS WOULD BOOST BOTH HOPES FOR A RESOLUTION AND TURKEY’S EU BID”Hanjoerg Kretschmer, European Commission representative in Turkey, said yesterday that he believed Ankara was determined to resolve the Cyprus issue, but that it was waiting for the results of next month’s general elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). He added that if opposition parties were to prevail, this would pave the way for a resolution on the island. Kretschmer further stated that he was optimistic that the issue would be resolved by next May, when Greek Cyprus is set to join the EU, adding that if Turkey quickly fulfills the Copenhagen criteria then it could begin its EU accession talks by the end of next year. In December 2004 the EU is set to decide whether or not to begin these talks. /Cumhuriyet/
 ITALIAN AIR FORCE COMMANDER VISITS ANKARAAir Forces Commander Gen. Ibrahim Firtina yesterday received his visiting Italian counterpart Lie. Gen. Sandro Ferracuti to discuss a number of issues. Following their meetings, the two commanders said that they had discussed joint projects and searched for ways to strengthen bilateral relations. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 TURKEY MIGHT ASK THE EU FOR AN INTERMEDIATE DECISION BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc writes on the recently released EU Progress Report on Turkey and its implications for the Cyprus issue in particular, and Turkish- EU relations in general. A summary of her column is as follows:
“This isn’t the first time that the European Union has advanced resolution of the Cyprus problem as a condition for our full membership. Since 1995, this issue has been tossed around like a political hotcake between Ankara and Brussels. Let’s recall that the Helsinki Declaration also included statements on the Cyprus and Aegean problems.
I remember Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish prime minister of those times, sending a letter to then Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to ease Ankara’s concerns on the issue, stressing that in the relevant paragraphs 4 and 9a, the Helsinki declaration only highlighted the need to establish a sound political dialogue rather than stipulating conditions. What exactly did those paragraphs say? They were among the sections laying out the EU criteria that must be fulfilled by the candidate countries. Paragraph 4 stipulated that the candidate countries should resolve their border problems, which for Turkey means its Aegean problems. Paragraph 9a was about Cyprus. Today, the same issue is again being discussed as part of the political dialogue between Ankara and Brussels. But what if the relevant parties fail to maintain a sound political dialogue? How can our membership negotiations begin in such a case? There’s no point in insisting that the Copenhagen criteria don’t include Cyprus. The decision to be made by the EU in 2004 on Turkey’s membership talks will be a political one. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) should steel itself for a new letdown. But are Turkish-EU relations strong enough to weather this? It wouldn’t be merely our letdown but Europe’s as well, since Brussels is very likely to face stormy relations with Ankara under such circumstances.
So what should we do? Should Turkey abandon its objectives? Should we cease our reforms? Of course not. Our path towards full EU membership is riddled with many problems; in other words, this is an arena of constant struggle both at home and on the international stage. We must press on.
Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, as our friend, might do us a favor in his EU presidency handover ceremony at the New Year. He can launch an initiative to make an intermediate decision closing Turkey in on full membership. Ambassador Nihat Akyol, one of our top experts on EU affairs, believes that this is possible. ‘The Cyprus issue is being seen as an obstacle to us,’ he told me. ‘However, an intermediate decision might be added to the EU’s strategy paper, pledging that the EU will set a date for the start of our membership talks if Ankara manages to take effective measures to help achieve a permanent settlement on the island.’ A new decision proving the EU’s ‘political will’ in order to counterbalance the current negative atmosphere stemming from its ‘political unwillingness.’ Why not?”
 THE GOVERNMENT’S MISTAKES ON CYPRUS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on “the government’s mistakes” on the Cyprus issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Through EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, the European Union pushed a solution to the Cyprus issue like so: ‘We did this deliberately; this is a political message.’ Now even if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul say, ‘This isn’t a condition and isn’t among the Copenhagen criteria,’ it’s still a political condition. Actually the government accepted it in advance as before the EU officially brought the Cyprus issue to the agenda, Erdogan and Gul accepted this condition and supported the beginning of an all-out campaign against Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. During this process, the government signalled along these lines: ‘Denktas is the obstacle to a solution, but let us deal with him.’
Now Verheugen has the same style, that is, he’s saying, ‘We believe the problem will be solved in the period following December’s elections.’ These words also mean that the EU is telling the government to solve the problem. How will they do it? Opposition parties will likely come to power in the Dec. 14 TRNC elections, and then yank away Denktas’s authority as negotiator, appoint a new one, and the new government and negotiator will then do what the EU and Greek Cyprus expects, thus solving the problem! The EU put pressure on our government by making the Cyprus condition official. It’s saying, ‘You told us that you could solve it, and now you can.’ If you treat Denktas firmly and encourage the EU and the Greek Cypriot administration, of course the EU would advance such a condition, and so it has. The government was thinking that the EU wouldn’t stipulate a Cyprus condition due to the government’s anti-Denktas policy to date. However, just the opposite occurred. The EU didn’t miss an opportunity presented by the government. From now on it will be difficult for the government to act like Denktas’s supporter. In addition, those who supported the government’s anti-Denktas policies are somehow now starting to blather about ‘Denktas’s importance,’ which is funny. The TRNC isn’t Turkey’s burden, but rather its strength in its EU membership bid.”
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