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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-18
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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
18.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 POLITICIANS STUMP IN TEKIRDAG, KOCAELI, ISTANBUL FOR VOTER SUPPORTPrime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday campaigned in Tekirdag and Balikesir ahead of the March 28 local polls. Addressing campaign rallies, Erdogan touted his success as Istanbul mayor in the mid-‘90s in tackling the city’s various problems. In addition, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader sought voter support in Kocaeli yesterday, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli campaigned in Zonguldak and Bartin, while True Path Party (DYP) leader Mehmet Agar did the same in Istanbul. Great Union (BBP) Party leader Muhsin Yazicioglu sought voter support in Kahramanmaras. /Turkiye/
 GUL CALLS FOR HALT TO VIOLENCE IN SYRIAThose committing violence in Syria should cease for their own self-interest, said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. “People living in the region shouldn’t destroy their will to co-exist, they should instead consider their common future,” Gul told a press conference in Konya. “We’ve lived together in peace in the region for centuries. We all have an interest in these territories.” The foreign minister added that he didn’t believe the violence would escalate, saying, “I believe that Damascus will show this matter the necessary attention.” /Cumhuriyet/
 89TH ANNIVERSARY OF GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN COMMEMORATED TODAYThe 89th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, a victory by Turkish troops defending the Dardanelles during World War I, is being commemorated today. Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul yesterday issued messages marking the momentous anniversary. Students from eight universities in the Aegean region also arrived yesterday in Canakkale to attend this morning’s commemorative ceremony. /Cumhuriyet/
 DENKTAS DECLINES TO ATTEND SWISS MEETINGS; OTHER TRNC OFFICIALS TO ATTEND INSTEADTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said yesterday that he personally would not attend four-way meetings set to be held next week in Switzerland, though other TRNC government officials would. Denktas has been the TRNC’s chief negotiator in the current round of talks over Cyprus. Speaking to reporters, the president stated that the ongoing talks had been characterized by a lack of progress on fundamental issues. “In such circumstances, there is no need to go to Switzerland, as I don’t want to mislead the public,” said Denktas. Stressing that the Turkish side had done its duty with good will and cooperation, Denktas complained, “But the Greek side has had no intention of creating new openings. We’ve put forward our sine qua nons, putting them in the most appropriate way, and other proposals which were also quite reasonable.” Pointing out that other TRNC officials would attend the Swiss meetings, the TRNC leader stressed that a failure to achieve results there would not be the end of the world. “The TRNC will continue to go forward together with Turkey,” said Denktas. In related news, meetings between delegations from Ankara and Athens on security and guarantee issues began in the Greek capital yesterday. Meanwhile, commenting on recent developments on the Cyprus issue, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that Turkey would not go down any path which threatened the country with disaster. /All Papers/
 TRNC APPROVES PRELIMINARY UNITED CYPRUS FLAG DESIGNThe Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Cabinet yesterday approved a preliminary flag design for a united Cypriot state. Within the framework of the Cyprus talks, the flag was proposed by the United Nations and is expected to become the flag of a new state after agreement is reached between the island’s Turkish and Greek sides. /Turkiye/
 JORDAN’S KING ATTENDS TURKISH-JORDANIAN BUSINESS COUNCIL MEETING IN ISTANBULJordan’s King Abdullah, who arrived in Ankara on Monday for an official visit, yesterday attended a meeting of the Turkish-Jordanian Business Council in Istanbul. State Minister for the Economy Kursat Tuzmen and leading businessmen were also present at the gathering. Addressing the group, Abdullah said that in order to combat terrorism effectively, the world would have to deal with its roots in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. “If we want to end terrorism, first we must solve this conflict,” added the monarch. Asked whether he favored the establishment of a free trade agreement between Ankara and Amman, Abdullah replied that he did. /Aksam/
 EP COMMISSION APPROVES REPORT ON TURKEYThe European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission yesterday approved a new report on Turkey drafted by commission member Arie Oostlander. The report calls on Turkey to make fundamental changes to its Constitution, calling it improper to continue using one drafted 20 years ago when Turkey had an “authoritarian regime.” The report also contends that Turkey’s understanding of secularism is not in line with European standards and furthermore urges Ankara to lower its 10 percent election representation threshold. “Despite strong opposition, the government has taken important strides towards European Union membership, but more reforms should be enacted and implemented,” it added. The report is set to be debated by the EP General assembly on March 31 and to face a vote the next day. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 IMPORTANT MESSAGES FROM KING ABDULLAH BY SEMIH IDIZ (MILLIYET)Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah to Turkey and relations between Ankara and Amman. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We can consider Jordan the closest Arab country to Turkey. Since it gained independence, we’ve enjoyed very friendly relations with this country. We’ve never encountered problems in our steadily developing relations. This week’s visit of Jordan’s King Abdullah to Turkey showed once again that Ankara and Amman are on the ‘same wavelength,’ in other words, we share similar views not only in bilateral relations, but also on regional and global issues. Back in 1999, the monarch first visited Ankara not too long after his father’s death. His visit this week coincided with a portentous period for the region and the world. In addition to the Palestinian-Israeli problem, recent developments in Iraq and the spread of the terrorist threat were on the table in Ankara. It was clear that Turkey and Jordan’s views on all these issues were in accord.
Speaking at a breakfast yesterday organized by the Turkish-Jordanian Business Council at Istanbul’s Ciragan Palace, King Abdullah told the gathered businessmen of breakthroughs in Jordan’s economy and new opportunities in his country and the region for the Turkish private sector. Actually, besides a bilateral trade volume totaling $150 million, we have a very conductive atmosphere for common initiatives and similar projects. In this respect, the meetings with the king and his accompanying ministers opened new horizons. King Abdullah gave frank answers to my question about terrorism. Firstly, he said that the roots of terrorist movements had to be addressed and eliminated to combat this threat effectively. He cited the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as the chief root, warning, ‘Unless this problem is solved, we’ll all continue to feel the effects of terrorism.’ The king added that the terrorism problem not only plagued relations between the West and the Islamic world, but also within the Islamic world. In his view, moderate Islam is at odds with terror’s perpetrators, and education is the way to solve this problem, which is a long-term process. He added, ‘We, the moderates, should say that this is not the way of the Koran. Period. These people don’t represent Islam.’ Ankara shares this view as well as those on other issues discussed in his meetings, including views on the situation in Iraq, the Kurdish issue and the Greater Middle East Initiative (GME). Jordan is also concerned about developments in Iraq. Concerning the GME, King Abdullah shares Ankara’s view that countries in the region should themselves seize the initiative towards democracy and reform. Turkey and Jordan are the two countries which can best stand at the forefront of this.”
 TERRORIST ATTACKS, THE EU AND TURKEY BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin writes on Turkey’s status in the European Union. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Just five days before last week’s terrorist attacks in Spain, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer made significant remarks on Turkey’s status in Europe, new strategic threats and the threat of global terrorism. ‘Telling Turks “You’ll never get into the EU” would be preferable to insisting on this idea of “privileged partnership”,’ Fischer told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine, referring to a much-criticized idea raised last month by German opposition leader Angela Merkel. ‘The former would at least be honest. Shutting Turkey out from Europe would have far-reaching consequences. We’d also be effectively telling the Muslim world that the EU is a Christian club. If this is the case, let’s be honest to Ankara and then face the consequences. However, I don’t support this Christian club notion. In a recent speech in Berlin, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited the compatibility of Islam and modern democracy as the key issue in dealing with new strategic threats. He believes that the war on global terrorism can only be successful after Turkey is integrated with Europe.’
If Christian Europe approves our membership, that would inevitably be the nightmare of those who see Islam as a political project rather than a faith.
The Madrid attacks have already had huge effects in Europe. Juan Maria Aznar, who tried to deceive the world by fingering ETA for the attacks, paid a high price by falling from grace and political power. Spain’s new socialist Prime Minister Rodriguez Zapatero’s first move was to announce that Spanish soldiers would withdraw from Iraq. We’ll see if these new developments boost US voters’ support for John Kerry, Bush’s democratic rival in this fall’s presidential elections. We can see how it’s already strengthened anti-American feeling in Europe.
But what’s this got to do with Turkey’s EU membership bid? While some believe that the recent developments will intensify anti-Turkish sentiment on the old continent, others are taking an opposite tack, arguing that bringing Turkey into the Union would be the best political answer to terrorism.
Let’s take one last look at Fischer’s words:
‘We have three important matters to be resolved: first, Turkey’s integration with Europe, second, Iran’s democratic process and finally, the Middle East conflict. All these can only be resolved by boosting the EU’s role in the region’.”
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