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Turkish Press Review, 03-12-25
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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
25.12.2003FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 PARLIAMENT APPROVES 2004 BUDGETIn his address to Parliament during debate on the 2004 budget proposed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, Prime Minister and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his administration had scored great successes in the economy, adding that they had focused on social welfare in relations with the International Monetary Fund. Erdogan lamented that they had yet to attract the desired level of foreign capital to Turkey but believed that significant funds would come as a result of the stable economic environment they had achieved. Speaking on behalf of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), former Minister for the Economy Kemal Dervis said that the nation’s economy should shift to a sustainable growth model as it emerges from tumultuous times. Stressing that Turkey’s greatest concern was to achieve fast and sustainable growth, Dervis argued that the 2004 budget did not do enough towards this end. Dervis further warned that the current economic growth was not healthy and could come to a dangerous end. While the lawmakers were having these debates, public sector trade union KESK protested the 2004 budget in front of the Parliament building. KESK Chairman Sami Evren argued that the budget failed to consider the general public and the poor, saying that the majority of the public lived below the poverty line. After Parliament approved the budget, Erdogan thanked the deputies for their sterling performance in 2003 and expressed his best wishes for them and all of Turkey’s citizens for the New Year. /All Papers/
 GUL: “TALK OF EARLY TRNC ELECTIONS IS IMPROPER”Abdullah Gul yesterday met with Ahmed Hasim Zugyar, chairman of the Chambers of Palestinian Industry, Trade and Agriculture. Also present at the meeting was Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu. Speaking afterwards, Gul said that Ankara had prepared a plan to help the Palestinian nation which included strengthened economic ties. Later, touching on rumors of early elections in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Gul said that the leaders of political parties who won seats in the TRNC Parliament earlier this month should form a coalition as soon as possible. “There shouldn’t be any thought of early elections right now,” he urged, adding that Ankara was doing its utmost to promote a resolution on the island. He further stated that Cyprus was a national cause. /Aksam/
 UBP, CTP LEADERS FAIL TO FORM TRNC COALITION GOVERNMENTTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) National Unity Party (UBP) leader Dervis Eroglu yesterday met with Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat to discuss formation of a new coalition government, but failed to reach an agreement. Speaking afterwards, Eroglu said that his party was ready for possible early elections. “There is little chance of our forming a coalition with the CTP,” said Eroglu. He stated that according to TRNC Constitution, early elections should be held if a government cannot be formed within 60 days after elections, adding that his party was ready for possible polls if efforts to form a government fail. Asked about the United Nations Cyprus plan, Eroglu said that the plan was on the table, but that this didn’t mean that it was completely acceptable. For his part, Talat said that if TRNC holds early elections, they should be held next month. TRNC President Rauf Denktas also once again urged the party leaders to form a government as soon as possible. /Aksam/
 BAYKAL: “THE ANNAN PLAN IS NEGOTIABLE”Opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that he did not approve of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas’ attitude towards UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan for the island. Speaking to the party’s executive board, Baykal said, “The Annan plan is negotiable, but can’t be accepted without further talks. Issues concerning the border and Greek Cypriots moving to the Turkish side especially need to be discussed.” At its meeting, the board also agreed to convene the party assembly on Jan. 7, where it will decide how its candidates for spring 2004 local elections will be chosen. /Hurriyet/
 PAPADOPOULOS COMES OUT AGAINST CYPRUS REFERENDUMGreek Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos stated yesterday that he was ready to discuss the United Nations’ Annan plan, but expressed opposition to the idea of a referendum over the island. New developments will come with the New Year, predicted Papadopoulos, speaking during his Christmas visit to Greek Cyprus. Papadopoulos said that he had sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling for restarted negotiations but rejecting a referendum without knowing its contents beforehand. /Cumhuriyet/
 MINIMUM WAGE TALKS STALLA fifth round of talks yesterday over next year’s minimum wage for public workers ended without an agreement. The minimum wage commission is scheduled to meet next Tuesday for a final round of talks. Labor union Turk- Is is pushing for a net wage of TL 488 million per month, while the State Institute of Statistics (DIE) has proposed TL 396 million. /Aksam/
 FIRE RAVAGES ANKARA SHOPPING MALLA fire broke out yesterday in the Modern Carsi shopping mall in Ankara’s Ulus district. The fire, which took only minor injuries, broke out around 8 a.m. due to a generator problem and was brought under control late in the afternoon. The 200-plus shops in the mall have had no electricity for two weeks and so have resorted to using generators. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BY TURGUT TARHANLI (RADIKAL)Columnist Turgut Tarhanli writes on the Iraqi people under US occupation. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Right now Turkey’s top foreign policy issues are Cyprus, Iraq and Europe. Under the US occupation, Iraq is still trying to form a new administration. Its Governing Council seems the leading actor in this process. However, the domineering background role of the occupying powers cannot be discounted. Under such circumstances, the northern Iraqi Kurdish groups’ recent declaration that they wish to establish a federal Iraq is a matter of freedom of expression. In general, all the Iraqi people should express their opinion on this issue in line with their right of self-determination.
The real questions are how this discussion has arisen and under which circumstances it is still being discussed. The answer is always the same: the US occupation. Without Washington’s intervention, the Iraqi people’s right of self-determination wouldn’t be the subject of feverish discussions by the international community. Unfortunately the occupation itself has overshadowed a number of critical issues in Iraq. What are these issues? First of all, the Iraqi people have been forced to determine their own future under inappropriate conditions created by military force. Can we really consider the recent developments to be a nation’s efforts at its self-determination? Should we hail these efforts even if they came about due to the pressure of a foreign occupier?
A state may decide to change its structure. The former Czechoslovakia is an example of this, as is the reunification of western and eastern Germany. However, in the former Yugoslavia, the case was quite different. First problems in Bosnia-Herzegovina and later in Kosovo led to foreign intervention and bloody struggles. However, none of these conflicts erupted due to a foreign occupation. On the contrary, it was the conflict itself which necessitated foreign intervention. We can find many similar examples from the ‘90s. In addition, in these cases, the methods used to end the conflicts were different from those we currently see in Iraq. Before moving to new discussions on Iraq, we shouldn’t forget that no matter how we discuss these issues we will be discussing them under the US occupation!
I believe that reconsidering the US occupation will serve to show us the similarities and differences between the Iraq, Cyprus and Europe issues and other similar cases.”
 TOWARDS A TRNC GOVERNMENT BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on possible methods of establishing a government in the TRNC. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The problem of establishing a new government in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) continues. A workable formula has yet to be found. Republican Turkish Party (CTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat is insisting that he should establish the government. However, Talat hasn’t suggested a method for doing so. The equal distribution of seats in Parliament between opposing sides is hindering this. Talat doesn’t approve of the method of deputies switching parties. He recently predicted that if the conflict between President Rauf Denktas and Turkey continues, there might be resignations from the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP). However, UBP leader Dervis Eroglu and DP leader Serdar Denktas deny this. Of course it shouldn’t be forgotten that there is a great difference between resigning and transferring.
President Denktas favors a broad-based government. He prefers a national coalition with the participation of four parties, or otherwise, the establishment of a large UBP-CTP coalition. Serdar Denktas said that he would certainly support the UBP and that he could participate in a UBP-CTP coalition or support it from outside. President Denktas also favors this plan. However, Talat is against that formula, saying, ‘The DP should participate in the UDP. They should become a single party with 25 deputies. Then Eroglu can become prime minister.’ Would the DP participate in the UDP? Although it seems unlikely now, this method could be taken into consideration if another solution proves elusive. Obviously the Cyprus summit to be held soon at Ankara’s Cankaya Presidential Palace will influence developments in the TRNC. Decisions taken at the summit might speed up efforts to establish a TRNC government. The way it’s formed will also influence who will restart negotiations with the United Nations and the Greek Cypriots. A large UBP-CTP coalition would relieve both the TRNC and Ankara.”
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