|Saturday, 28 March 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 04-03-08
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER, ERDOGAN MARK INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAYRepublic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk put into practice landmark legal reforms to put an end to discrimination against women, said President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in a message released to honor today, International Women’s Day. “But despite this progress, we cannot say that equality between the sexes has been truly attained,” he added. “Many women are unable to exercise their rights and freedoms and are subject to violations within the family, discrimination and various pressures, including religious ones, yet stay silent due to social and economic worries.” I hope that more women will get involved in politics, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking yesterday in Istanbul at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) first women’s caucus. Erdogan stressed that many women are standing as candidates in this month’s local elections. “Unfortunately, women bear a heavy burden in the modern world,” lamented the premier. /Milliyet/
 PARTIES CAMPAIGN OVER WEEKEND FOR LOCAL MARCH 28 POLLSParty leaders yesterday continued seeking voter support ahead of the March 28 local elections, now less than three weeks away. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan campaigned in Kayseri and Sivas, while True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar did the same in Izmir. In addition, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli spoke to rallies in Gebze, and Great Union Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu campaigned in Samsun. /Milliyet/
 US STATE DEPARTMENT’S SILVERMAN: “TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP IS A TOP PRIORITY”Larry Silverman, the top US State Department official responsible for relations with Turkey, said yesterday that Turkey joining the European Union was one of the US administration’s top priorities. Speaking at a meeting of the Turkish-American Association, Silverman praised Ankara’s reforms for its EU bid, adding that it expected to get a date from the Union this December to begin accession talks. “We want Turkey to be officially part of the EU,” stressed Silverman. /Turkiye/
 EU DELEGATION ARRIVES IN ANKARAAnkara is set today to host a meeting between the European Union troika and Turkish officials. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen, foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot and Brian Cowen, the foreign minister of current EU Term President Ireland, arrived in Ankara yesterday to attend the gathering. /Turkiye/
 LUXEMBOURG PM: “I BELIEVE THIS YEAR ANKARA WILL BE GIVEN A DATE FOR EU ACCESSION TALKS”I believe that this December the European Union will agree to give Turkey a date for its accession talks, said Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker in an interview published in today’s Turkish daily Hurriyet. Adding that Ankara had made important steps in its reforms for EU membership, Juncker said that a date would depend upon the European Commission’s progress report on Turkey this fall. “However, the accession negotiations won’t be easy,” he cautioned. “They are no mere formality.” /Hurriyet/
 TUZMEN MEETS WITH SYRIAN OFFICIALSState Minister Kursad Tuzmen, who is currently paying an official visit to Damascus accompanied by a delegation of bureaucrats and some 200 businessmen, yesterday met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Prime Minister Naji Otari as well as other officials. During their meetings, bilateral trade ties were discussed, with both sides resolving to work to boost them. /Turkiye/
 MINES TO BE CLEARED ALONG TURKISH-SYRIAN BORDERDefense Minister Vecdi Gonul said yesterday that starting this May, a 550- kilometer area along the Turkish-Syrian frontier is set to be cleared of mines beginning in Nusaybin, a southeastern border town. He said that after the region is completely swept, oil exploration would be carried out. In addition, certain parts of the land could be used for agriculture, with others focusing on border trade. /Turkiye/
 IMF DELEGATION MEETS WITH BABACANAn International Monetary Fund delegation led by Turkey Desk Chief Riza Moghadam for the seventh review of the nation’s economic program yesterday met yesterday in Ankara with Ali Babacan, state minister for the economy, to discuss recent economic developments. This week Moghadam is due to meet with officials to discuss needed economic measures. The delegation is expected to leave Turkey on Friday. /Aksam/
 INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS TO CONVENE IN ISTANBULIstanbul is set to host a meeting of the Investors’ Advisory Council on next Monday, March 15. In addition to World Bank President James Wolfenson and IMF Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger, a host of CEOs from some 20 multinational firms are expected to attend the gathering. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 TIMING IN POLITICS BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on timing in politics vis-à-vis Turkey’s EU bid. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In politics, timing is a key factor for getting what you want. The right timing means concentrating on the right thing, and the wrong timing amounts to misplaced concentration. If you make this mistake, getting what you want is very unlikely. We’re entering the stage of implementing one of our most important reforms to reach the level of modern civilization. We shouldn’t let obstacles get in the way of this vital goal.
We should avoid laws which might cause disturbances in education or other fields. We should also strengthen and implement the European Union harmonization laws with no holding back. Now we face a turning point. Such transformations are maneuvered by concentrating one’s entire will on the task. All other issues fall by the wayside in comparison. Upsetting our nation’s stability carries too high a cost. However, those who choose to ignore this fact have always dwelled among us.”
 FROM CYPRUS TO BAGHDAD BY ASLI AYDINTASBAS (SABAH)Columnist Asli Aydintasbas writes on the Cyprus issue and Ankara’s Iraq policy. A summary of her column is as follows:
“Ankara is preparing for a four-way meeting on Cyprus later this month. According to sources in Washington and the United Nations, while Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopulos is maintaining his obstinate, ‘no- compromise’ stance, Turkish Cypriot President Rauf Denktas is being more positive, but is still giving no ground in his ‘maximalist’ demands. In truth, nobody expects a real settlement from these negotiations. The UN wants to see how flexible both sides’ ‘red lines’ are. The groundwork for a permanent settlement is expected to be laid during the March 22 four-way meeting, which is why Ankara’s ‘shortened’ list of demands presented to Washington last week is very important. The text of the list is different from similar documents previously presented by Denktas. It’s more realistic, say analysts.
It seems that the outcome of the referendums to be held on Cyprus will hinge on developments this week. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul will represent our country there. Deputy Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug is also set to pay a visit to the island this week, which is very important for the future of the talks, since the military believes that certain points in the Annan plan are unsustainable and would leave the security of the Turkish Cypriots in an unacceptable lurch.
The Annan plan proposes that 6,000 Turkish soldiers stay on the island after an agreement is reached. Although Ankara has no objections to this number, there are still questions about the remaining 30,000 soldiers who are expected to be re-deployed home. This is a matter of military planning and strategy.
In the talks’ final stage, Ankara will probably request that Washington put pressure on the Greek side so as to protect the Turkish Cypriots’ red lines as much as possible. Perhaps we should interpret Ankara’s current ‘wait and see’ Iraq policy from a similar perspective. Maybe it’s not perfect timing, but three Turkmen leaders were killed and Turkmen offices were attacked last week when everybody’s attention was focused on the Cyprus issue. Moreover, Iraq’s Governing Council came close to approving an interim constitution which dissatisfied Turkmen groups. According to news accounts, the only move from Ankara following these unpleasant developments was to summon an official from the US Embassy to deliver a general reproach. I hope this ‘resentment policy’ – which could even be interpreted as Ankara’s indifference – will change after the Cyprus issue is resolved!”
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