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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-03
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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
03.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 ERDOGAN RALLIES FOR VOTER SUPPORT IN YOZGAT, TOKATPrime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday took a campaign swing through the central Anatolian provinces of Yozgat and Tokat in a bid for voter support ahead of the March 28 local elections. Speaking to campaign rallies, the premier said that investments in Tokat would create jobs in the city. Touting his success during his ‘90s tenure as mayor of Istanbul in tackling such problems as water shortages, Erdogan said, “Istanbul won’t suffer such shortages before at least 2040. I also solved the city’s other problems, like communications and air pollution.” Touching on Turkish-Greek relations, Erdogan said that the two countries had mutually decided to end certain military maneuvers, adding that peace between them was very important. “Soon we will export natural gas to Greece,” he said, adding that he would shortly travel to Athens for an official visit. /Turkiye/
 STRAW STRESSES UK SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BIDGreat Britain strongly supports Turkey’s European Union membership bid, said British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw yesterday, just after arriving in Istanbul for an official visit. “We welcome the steps taken by Turkey for its EU bid,” stated Straw, adding that he hoped Ankara would get a date at this December’s EU summit to begin accession talks with the Union. Also touching on the current Cyprus negotiations, Straw said that his government also supported the talks’ continuation towards a solution. He further praised Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul’s “constructive spirit” on the issue. /Turkiye/
 EP HEAD COX URGES IMPLEMENTATION OF REFORMSAddressing the Turkish Parliament yesterday, visiting European Parliament President Pat Cox praised Turkey for its recent reforms but urged the country to fully implement them in order to reach its goal of European Union membership. Pointing to a European Council report on Turkey due out this October, Cox said, “We’ll examine this report in the EP and then prepare a fair and balanced report before December,” when a key EU summit is scheduled. He asked for Ankara’s full support for a solution on Cyprus, if the sides can find a just and permanent settlement through the ongoing negotiations. Denying charges that the EU was a “Christian club,” Cox said that the Union’s doors were wide open to any country that fulfils the Copenhagen criteria. Since arriving in Ankara on Monday, Cox has held talks with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and main opposition leader Deniz Baykal. /Turkiye/
 TRNC’S TALAT, DENKTAS VISIT ANKARAEven as negotiations continue on Cyprus over the island’s future, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas arrived yesterday in Ankara to meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. During their meeting, Gul expressed his desire for the two sides on the island to reach a solution without any need for intercession by the guarantor countries or UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Reiterating his hope for a settlement by May 1, when Greek Cyprus is set to join the European Union, Gul called on the Greek side to take a more constructive stance. For his part, Talat said that the Turkish side wanted to solve the issue during the ongoing negotiations. “But,” he added, “the Greek side is looking to reach a solution after its EU accession.” /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “I EXPECT A CONSTRUCTIVE APPROACH FROM THE GREEKS”Turkish Cypriots have a constructive approach towards Greek proposals which we might otherwise reject, and we expect their side to return the favor, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas told reporters yesterday. “We’ve again asked the Greeks not to reject our proposals out of hand, labeling them as ‘not related to the plan’ while leaving the negotiating table,” added Denktas. “Our proposal is to have an equal number of representatives in a future Cypriot senate, just as under the 1960 agreement.” /Sabah/
 TWO F-4 JETS CRASH IN KONYA, KILLING AT LEAST ONE PILOTDuring training exercises yesterday in the central Anatolian province of Konya, two F-4 military jets crashed into a hill after colliding in midair. One of the planes’ four pilots died in the accident, but Lt. Onur Uyanýk ejected before the collision and was later found by villagers. Search and rescue efforts were underway to find the other two pilots. It is not known whether they also ejected before the crash. /Sabah/
 EP GREENS LEADER: “THERE’S NO GUARANTEE THAT ACCESSION TALKS WILL END IN EU MEMBERSHIP”Starting accession talks with Turkey doesn’t mean that it will automatically receive full European Union membership, said Daniel Cohn- Bendit, co-chair of the European Parliament’s Greens group, yesterday. “Starting accession talks means setting a framework,” German daily Die Welt quoted Cohn-Bendit, also a member of the Turkish-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee, as saying. “This would last at least 10 years. The reforms should be implemented. Starting negotiation talks doesn’t mean that there’s no way back from the road to full membership. This should be explained to Turkey.” To date, no country granted EU accession negotiations has been denied membership. /Hurriyet/
 US’ GROSSMAN: “TURKEY IS A MODEL COUNTRY”Turkey is a model country for the Arab world, yesterday proclaimed Marc Grossman, undersecretary of state for political affairs and a former US ambassador to Ankara. During his visit to Egypt as part of a weeklong tour of Middle Eastern and European countries, Grossman stated that Turkey was an important country for its modern democratic structure. “Turkey is a place where it is possible to be very democratic and Islamic,” he added. “Turkey is a place where it is possible to have connections to the West and to the rest of the world.” The US official is expected to proceed to Turkey tomorrow. /Turkiye/
 EDELMAN DISCUSSES CYPRUS WITH ANAP LEADERUS Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman yesterday visited Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Nesrin Nas to discuss the Cyprus issue and recent developments in Iraq. Speaking afterwards, Nas said that Edelman had reaffirmed Washington’s pledge to do its utmost to help reach a resolution on the island. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL REPROACHES ERDOGAN FOR CRITICISMS OF CHPRepublican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday met with Pat Cox, the visiting president of the European Parliament. During their meeting, the two discussed a number of issues, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid and the Cyprus issue. Speaking afterwards, Baykal criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks labeling the CHP’s foundation “unproductive.” “Our party’s foundation is Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk], founder of the Turkish Republic,” said Baykal, adding that the premier owed the nation an apology for his statements. /Cumhuriyet/
 DYP LEADER CRITICIZES GOVERNMENT’S STANCE ON CYPRUSTrue Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar yesterday stumped for voter support for the March 28 local elections in the southern cities of Adana, Osmaniye and Mersin. Addressing campaign rallies, Agar criticized the government’s stance on the current Cyprus negotiations, charging that the Greek Cypriots were opposing all the Turkish Cypriot administration’s proposals. “This Greek Cypriots’ obstructionism will also weaken Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC] President Rauf Denktas’s resolve for a resolution on the island,” he added. /Turkiye/
 IRAQI, TURKISH BUSINESSMEN MEETSome 40 Iraqi businessmen and representatives from 80 Turkish firms met yesterday in Istanbul. During the gathering, the businessmen discussed recent issues and ways to strengthen economic ties between their two countries. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE EUROPEAN UNION’S HOMEWORK BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Every day brings more good news from the European Union on our membership bid. From German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, many EU officials have made statements putting our status in a positive light, implying that the Union is likely to set a date for the beginning of Ankara’s membership talks at the year- end EU summit. Some skeptics argue that the reason for this sudden turnabout is Brussels’ hope to persuade Ankara to make concessions on the Cyprus issue so as to boost its bid.
Apparently the EU bigwigs tasked with setting a date for our membership talks are realizing the inevitability of a decision in Turkey’s favor. Although there are still some circles dead set against our membership, they are unlikely to have the final word on the issue.
French writer and intellectual Alexander Adler is one European who is optimistic about Turkey’s status. In a speech at Istanbul’s Galatasaray University yesterday, Adler told the audience about the opportunities and difficulties that Turkey is likely to face on its path towards the EU. His words confirmed that Europe has begun considering Turkey’s qualifications as an advantage for the continent.
When asked why France is keeping mum about Turkey’s situation, Adler said, ‘Because of the upcoming [French regional] elections,’ but added: ‘However, I know that President Chirac supports Ankara’s membership bid, which is why I don’t believe that France will stand against you.’
Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be fooled by this optimistic wind blowing across the old continent. Our membership is hardly in the bag. As Adler warned, if we fail to fulfill the Europeans’ wishes, everything might suddenly turn upside down, running us right off the rails. So Turkey must do its homework. However, it’s also our right to expect the EU to do its own.”
 TURKEY AND THE GME BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (MILLIYET)Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on Turkey and the US’ Greater Middle East Initiative. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The United States’ Greater Middle East Initiative (GME) came to our attention following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent visit to Washington. Some people claim that Turkey is the most important plank of the project, with certain of its suggestions to make their way to Middle Eastern countries through Ankara. I think we might have a role in the GME, but I wouldn’t call us its most important plank. What’s more, it’s foolhardy to believe that Turkey acting as messenger will make the plan more palatable to Arabs. If we carry out our own democratization as necessary, we can set an example not to be copied, but rather for certain countries to seek their own solutions. If you Google the words ‘democracy’ and ‘Muslim,’ Turkey pops up very quickly. The West questions how democratic Turkey really is, and Middle Eastern countries question how Muslim it is, in terms of our government.
For example, how is it possible for Turkey, which doesn’t allow girls to wear headscarves in universities, to convince Muslims in the Middle East that democracy ensures the free exercise of religion? Everybody knows that no single country can set an example to be followed by all others. Turkey is the most important country in our region. It’s close to the West, particularly to the US. However, Turkey’s goal of reaching the level of modern civilization has effectively cut it off from the rest of the Muslim world. Yet, it doesn’t put us at the center of the GME either. The GME is being prepared for the Arab world, but Turkey can contribute to certain of its projects. I say this not to anger, but to be realistic.”
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