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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-02
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
02.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 NEW IRAQI INTERIM CONSTITUTION ALLOWS LIMITED KURDISH SELF-RULE, LEAVES TURKMEN DISSATISFIEDIraq’s Governing Council yesterday approved an interim constitution which reportedly says that Islam will be “a source” for legislation, provides equal rights for men and women, and recognizes Kurdish regional authority in northern Iraq unless it challenges the nation’s interests. The interim constitution, an important landmark for a democratic regime in a nation which lived for decades under dictatorship, is due to be formally unveiled on Wednesday after the Shiite holiday of Ashoura. Under the agreement, the council reportedly named Islam the official state religion and enshrined its status as “a source” for legislation. After a furious debate over federalism, the regional authority of the Kurds, who have had self-rule in northern provinces of Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, was also reportedly recognized, but the agreement added that they must cede to the federal government any national ambitions. The Kurdish language was named an official language along with Arabic. The council agreed that Iraq would have a president along with two deputies, a prime minister and a cabinet. The interim document also reportedly advances women's rights, another touchy issue among conservative Muslims, by giving women a guaranteed membership quota in the national assembly of 25 percent. According to sources, Iraqi Turkmen groups are dissatisfied with the interim document and in particular are criticizing the Governing Council for allowing the continued existence of armed Kurdish peshmerga units. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul stated that Ankara was closely following the latest developments in Iraq, reiterating that the council must be very careful to protect the rights of each and every ethnic group. /Sabah-Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN CAMPAIGNS IN BOLU, ZONGULDAKStumping for his party ahead of March 28 local elections, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday sought voters’ support in rallies in the northern cities of Bolu and Zonguldak. Erdogan said that in 1994, when he was elected mayor of Istanbul, the city had faced a host of problems such as water shortages, but that he had solved these while in office. Later, appearing on television, Erdogan charged that the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) was “exploiting” the republic. /Milliyet/
 BAYKAL CRITICIZES AKP’S CYPRUS POLICYSpeaking at a press conference yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Baykal criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) policy on Cyprus, adding that the nation was facing negative economic developments. Touching on the political immunity issue, Baykal charged that the AKP had failed to keep its promise to end the practice. “The CHP is the only party which is protecting the republic,” said Baykal. In related news, CHP Secretary-General Onder Sav yesterday denied that there was any tension regarding the party’s mayoral candidates for the March 28 local elections, adding that small differences of opinion within the party were normal. /Milliyet/
 IRAQI TURKMEN LEADERS CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL HELP IN KEEPING THE PEACEIraq’s Turkmen leaders yesterday called for international help in keeping the peace in Kirkuk, a key northern Iraqi city where ethnic tensions between Kurds and Turkmens have lately been on the rise. According to sources, the Kirkuk branch of the Iraqi Turkmen Front was recently attacked by scores of Kurds. Witnesses said the attackers ripped apart Turkmen and Iraqi flags and vandalized Turkmen-owned shops, injuring two people in the process. “We demand that the United Nations, the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference send peacekeeping forces to maintain security in Kirkuk and prevent incidents which may lead to civil war,” said Saad al-Din Arkij, a Kirkuk Turkmen leader. Meanwhile, Arif Qurbani, a Kurdish official from the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK), said that no political parties were involved in the violence. “We condemn any acts that seek to undermine the security situation in Kirkuk,” he added. /Star/
 COX: “TURKEY SHOULD CONTINUE ITS REFORMS”Pat Cox, the first ever president of the European Parliament to visit Turkey, yesterday met with Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc. Following their meeting, Cox praised Turkey’s recent reforms, saying, “I want to encourage the parliamentarians on the reforms, as they are good for both Turkey and its European Union membership bid.” Commenting on the new Cyprus negotiations, Cox said the talks represented a “unique and unparalleled” opportunity for both sides on the island to find a settlement. “My strong appeal is to both leaderships: please have the courage and wisdom to succeed," said the EU head. He added that the EU wanted the island to enter the Union united. Today, Cox is expected to address the Parliament. /Turkiye/
 CYPRUS TALKS CONTINUE AMID US ENVOY’S VISITAs part of the ongoing talks over Cyprus, Turkish and Greek Cypriot delegations headed by Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cyprus leader Tassos Papadopulos respectively, met yesterday on the island. After their meeting, Denktas told reporters that he had presented the Turkish side’s requested changes to UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan’s Cyprus plan. “They rejected all of our demands on sovereignty and biozonality,” said Denktas. The talks are set to continue today. Meanwhile, US State Department Special Cyprus Envoy Thomas Weston yesterday held a series of meetings on the island with both Greek Cypriot and TRNC leaders. Weston said that he expected the talks would bear fruit by May 1, when Greek Cyprus is set to join the European Union. /Turkiye/
 TUZMEN: “A BETTER SITUATION WILL PUSH UP OUR EXPORTS”In a press conference yesterday to promote exports from all of Turkey’s 81 provinces, State Minister for the Economy Kursat Tuzmen said that an improved global economic situation promised to improve the nation’s trade balance this year. He stated that state officials were trying to reduce energy and other input costs for exporters, adding that in 2003 Turkey’s exports had exceeded $50 billion and that year-to-date exports were already nearing the $4 billion mark. /Aksam/
 BRITISH MUSEUM PUTS WEEKLONG “FOCUS ON TURKEY”Starting next Thursday, London's famed British Museum is set to sponsor a week of special exhibits and events to put the "Focus on Turkey." Among the events, scheduled for March 11-18 and organized in association with London's Turkish Embassy, will be a screening of Tolga Ornek's acclaimed 2003 documentary "The Hittites.” "To mark its long-running and continuing interest in Turkey, the British Museum is organizing a series of special events focusing on Turkish history and culture," says the museum’s website. "Artists, museum curators and British and Turkish experts will all be contributing to an exciting programme that is set to include gallery talks, a film screening, a creative workshop and a study day." For more information, visit http://www.thebritishmuseum.ac.uk_whatson_events/special.html . /Turkiye_
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 GREEK PROPOSALS FOR CYPRUS BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the ongoing Cyprus talks. A summary of his column is as follows:
“After yesterday’s talks, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas spoke about the Greek stance. The Greeks had rejected all his proposals, calling them not only contrary to the UN plan but also to European Union norms. Moreover, there is the Turkish proposal to require recognition that there are two peoples on the island who have equal sovereignty. The Greek side rejected this too. Their approach is towards relegating the Turkish Cypriots to minority status. It was clear that the talks would end in stalemate with such a beginning…
This Greek attitude shows that the talks will come to nothing. Ankara and Athens will be expected to intervene, with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan serving as arbitrator. Let’s look at the Greek proposals now:
* The Turkish side must vacate all regions it is slated to, leaving them to the UN without any transition period.
* Only those who cast ballots in the December 1963 elections and their children will be allowed to vote in the referendum.
* Before the referendum, Ankara and Athens have to stipulate that they accept the plan and must explain it clearly (the Greenland model).
Even these three proposals show that the Greeks are in no rush to reach an agreement. Rather than seeking a just and lasting solution, the Greek approach is to decide whether or not to add a ‘minority’ to its internationally accepted state … Now without knowing what the Greek side is saying and proposing, how can the people be informed enough to decide in a process to trigger an automatic referendum? How can one have any idea without information? How will TRNC President Rauf Denktas keep this to himself and stay silent?”
 TURKISH-RUSSIAN RELATIONS BY NURAY BASARAN (AKSAM)Columnist Nuray Basaran comments on Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s recent visit to Moscow and Turkish-Russian relations. A summary of her column is as follows:
“After Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s visit to Russia ended, rosy official statements said that mutual consensus had been reached on many issues. Understandably, the Turkish delegation was very impressed by the magnificent historical atmosphere of the Kremlin. Meetings between Gul and Russian President Vladimir Putin were very warm, and Gul told Putin about the Cyprus issue. They also discussed the issues of upper Karabakh, Iraq, Georgia and terrorism. From what I saw of Gul’s visit, it was a ‘Russian classic.’ The Russian people are very good at paying compliments and showing official etiquette, and they treat almost all their diplomatic guests the same. However, while you go home happy, the Russians continue their policies completely unaltered. During one meeting the Russians said that they considered the talks very important, but just afterwards, Putin dismissed the government which had participated. We consider this a ‘gesture of friendship’ (!).
It wouldn’t be realistic to expect concrete developments on such issues as the upper Karabakh or Cyprus, on which we hoped for Russia’s support. During Gul’s visit the Turkish side explained its stance on the Middle East to the Russians. The most basic problem between Ankara and Moscow isn’t understanding, but confidence. Russia understands us very well. The real problem is the problem of trust on such issues as the Caucasus and the Middle East. For how long can Putin’s Russia, with its dreams of dominating Eurasia, and Turkey, which has become a regional power, stand together?
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