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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-16
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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
16.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... COURSE CORRECTION IN SPAIN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
 ANKARA TO HOST WEEKEND CYPRUS SUMMITA summit on the Cyprus issue chaired by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer is set to be held in Ankara this weekend with the participation of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas. In addition to Denktas, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok will attend the gathering. The leaders are expected to discuss the ongoing talks on the island and a four- way summit, including Ankara and Athens, to be held in Switzerland on March 24. Turkey’s sine qua nons will be underlined at the weekend gathering. Meanwhile, conditions for the Switzerland meeting are as yet unclear, and in particular the venue and level of participation. Ankara wants the meeting to be held at the political level. It is proposing first a meeting between the foreign ministers, and then the attendance of the prime ministers. A final decision on the matter will be made by UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan. /Turkiye/
 DE SOTO, CYPRIOT LEADERS DO GIVE-AND-TAKE ON UN PLANUN envoy Alvaro de Soto yesterday met Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) leader Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos and received a list of their requested changes to the UN’s Cyprus plan. De Soto will try to adjudicate their requests through a give-and-take method. The UN is set to seek compromises until Friday, and the give-and-take process is expected to continue in Switzerland next week with the participation of Turkey and Greece. The process is hoped to bypass certain shortcomings in earlier direct talks between Denktas and Papadopoulos./Hurriyet/
 EP TO DISCUSS REPORT URGING “FUNDAMENTAL” CHANGES TO TURKEY’S CONSTITUTIONThe European Parliament is set today to discuss a report prepared by Dutch deputy Arie Oostlander urging “fundamental changes” to Turkey’s Constitution. The report, which also praises Ankara’s recent reforms but stresses the need for their implementation, is set to be voted on by the EP tomorrow. /Hurriyet/
 GUL: “ADZHARA IS A PART OF GEORGIA”Stressing yesterday that Turkey was closely following recent problems between Georgia’s autonomous region of Adzhara (Adjaria) and the Tblisi government, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said, “Our advice to them is that Georgia should maintain authority over the entire country.” Speaking at a meeting in Izmir, Gul said that Adzhara was a part of Georgia. “We prefer stability in the Caucasus. This is to the advantage of both Turkey and the larger region. As you know, Georgia has problems not only with Adzhara but also with other regions. The central government should maintain authority over the entire country, and territorial integrity should be not endangered.” On Sunday Adzharan leader Aslan Abashidze had asked for Turkey’s help as a “guarantor state” in his dispute with Tblisi. /Cumhuriyet/
 RULING, OPPOSITION PARTY LEADERS WORK TO WOO VOTERSRuling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday campaigned in Istanbul for voter support ahead of the March 28 local polls, while main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal did the same in Bilecik. True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar also campaigned in Kayseri, while Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli held rallies in Aydin. /Cumhuriyet/
 JORDAN’S KING TO VISIT TURKEYJordan’s King Abdullah is set to arrive today for a two-day official visit to Ankara at the invitation of President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. After his meetings with Sezer and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, the monarch will proceed to Istanbul to meet with Prime Minister Abdullah Gul as well as business leaders. His meetings are expected to focus on the fight against terrorism, the Middle East and Iraq issues, and the United States’ Greater Middle East Initiative. The recent Arab-Kurdish violence in Syria is also to be taken up during Abdullah’s contacts. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “I’M HOPING FOR A LARGER ROLE FOR FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN BOOSTING OUR ECONOMY”Speaking yesterday at a press conference alongside World Bank President James Wolfensohn after the first meeting of the Turkish Investment Consultative Council, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan touted his administration’s work to attract more foreign investments. Erdogan stated that the council’s participants had urged Ankara to take measures on a number of factors hindering investments, including bureaucracy, taxes, and the unregistered economy. “We’ve already cut the number of steps for investors from 19 to three,” said Erdogan, adding that under the recent International Capital Law a company could now be founded in Turkey in a single day. “Now the discrepancy in numbers between Turkish and foreign entrepreneurs has vanished,” stated the premier, adding that he hoped foreign direct investments would play a more important role in boosting the growth of Turkey’s economy. Projections call for 5% growth this year, he said, and single-digit inflation in 2005. For his part, Wolfensohn said that he believed Turkey would offer a friendlier investment climate after the implementation of certain structural reforms. Turkish Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu also yesterday urged the government to reduce input prices in order to help Turkish investors compete with foreign investors on world markets. /Cumhuriyet/
 BABACAN: “WE HAVE ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL STABILITY, BUT UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS A PRESSING PROBLEM”In a speech yesterday to the first meeting of the Turkish Investment Consultative Council, State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan said that though the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was proud of having achieved economic and political stability, unemployment regrettably remained Turkey’s most pressing problem. “We should attract more foreign investments in order to create new jobs,” added Babacan. He stated that last year’s trade deficit was 2.9% and could stay steady this year and that Turkey’s 2004 gross national product (GDP) was $236 billion. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 LACK OF INFORMATIONBY M. ALI KISLALI (RADIKAL)Columnist M. Ali Kislali writes on recent media claims that the Turkish army is spying on civilians. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It was big news last week when the daily Hurriyet ran an article claiming that in January the Turkish Land Forces Command had sent a circular to local governors asking them to gather information on certain minorities and groups suspected of ‘divisive and subversive’ activities. This move has been interpreted as spying on civilians, and was denounced by the public, which fears that the military still wants to control civilian society.
This issue has many dimensions to be considered but today, without belittling the significance of these, I want to focus on just one.
Following the Hurriyet article, one of my colleagues met with a top general well known for his pro-Westernism. ‘He’s incensed about the report,’ said my colleague. ‘He said that every army in the world has such policies to collect intelligence. He also asked, how is a state supposed to draw up its security plans without gathering such intelligence?’
Many groups are weighing in on this issue. First, those who know nothing about the issue, second, those using their common sense to interpret the news, and third, some who apparently have ill motives.
The first thing we should do is to tell the people the facts. Under normal circumstances, pro-US, pro-EU or pro-Western citizens should not of course fall under suspicion due to their beliefs or political leanings. However, in this case, the focus of the army’s attention is on individuals who may be working against Turkey’s national interests.
Let’s look at an example from the media. I closely follow the US, French and British press, and I never see journalists there who work constantly against their own countries’ national policies and principles. In Turkey, however, there are some in my profession who write as if they are determined to undermine our country’s national values. This cannot be explained away as mere freedom of expression. You never see such attitudes in developed Western democracies.
Why are certain people so concerned about our army’s vigilance while it’s this country’s key institution for protecting our peace and stability?
In similar cases, when such probes are made public, there are always some who are genuinely shocked due to their lack of information, and there are also others who feign surprise in order to take advantage of the situation for their own ends.
In all democracies, intelligence units are thought to serve proper objectives, though their methods don’t always find public favor. But of course there’s much more we could say about this issue...”
 COURSE CORRECTION IN SPAIN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the results of Sunday’s elections in Spain. A summary of his column is as follows:
“There were two winners in Sunday’s Spanish elections: Socialist Party leader and Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and al Qaeda, which succeeded in changing the country’s political direction. However, pre- election polls had shown the ruling Popular Party (PP) at least six points ahead of its rival. When PP leader and ousted Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar insisted that not al Qaeda, but Basque separatist group ETA was responsible for last week’s terrorist attacks, 10 million Spaniards cursed the terrorism on the streets and punished Aznar and his party with their angry votes.
We have to give al Qaeda grudging credit this time for skillfully choosing its terrifying attack. Spain was at the top of their target list due to Aznar’s close relationship with the US in its Afghanistan and Iraq policies. The attacks coincided with the elections, and so al Qaeda forced a course correction in Madrid. As Turkish Ambassador to Madrid Volkan Vural told me on the phone yesterday, al Qaeda hit Spain both in the heart and ballot box with its attacks. The effects of this will be felt in Europe and even in the US.
Zapatero and his party were firmly opposed to Spain’s support for the US concerning Iraq. Nor did they favor sending soldiers there or the European Union’s veering away from the French-German axis. So now Madrid is expected to orient its foreign policies in this new direction. After Zapatero’s election, he repeated his pledge to take the 1,300 Spanish troops out of Iraq.
Will Spain’s foreign policy changes affect its relations with Turkey? The ambassador doesn’t expect a change in Madrid’s policies towards Turkey. Spain is already on record as supporting Ankara’s EU bid. In light of his meetings with Zapatero and other socialist leaders, Vural thinks that this support will continue in the new era. It’s important for Turkey.”
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