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Turkish Press Review, 04-03-26
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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
26.03.2004FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... A SOLUTION WILL BE FOUND... BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
 ERDOGAN, GUL ATTEND SPRING EU SUMMITLeaders from European Union member and candidate countries yesterday convened in Brussels for the EU’s spring summit. Representing Turkey at the meetings, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul attended a luncheon hosted by Belgium Prime Minister Guy Verhofstad. Then Erdogan and Gul met with top EU leaders, including EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana and commissioners Philippe Busquin and Guenter Verheugen, the latter in charge of enlargement, to discuss recent developments on the Cyprus issue and Ankara’s progress towards EU membership. Pointing to Turkey’s positive and constructive stance, the EU leaders praised its efforts to reach a settlement on Cyprus and implement its reforms enacted in line with EU norms. /Turkiye/
 BLAIR: “THE SUCCESS OF TURKEY’S EU BID IS VITAL IN THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM”British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday reiterated his support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid, underlining the importance for anti- terrorism efforts of its acceptance by the EU. "Let us show by our willingness to bring Turkey, a proud Muslim, nation into the EU," said Blair, "on the same and equal terms as all others, [to show that] that Europe is committed not just in word but in deed to a Europe of diverse races, cultures and religions all bound together by common rules and a sense of human solidarity and mutual respect." Blair spoke en route to the EU’s spring summit in Brussels, which Turkey is also doe to attend as a Union candidate. /Sabah/
 NSC TO DISCUSS CYPRUS NEXT WEEKThe National Security Council (NSC) is expected to convene next week to discuss a number of issues, including Cyprus. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul are expected to brief the council on recent developments on the issue. /Aksam/
 GUL: “ARAB LEAGUE SUMMIT IS A CHANCE TO PUSH MIDEAST PEACE INITIATIVE”The Arab League summit starting today in Tunisia represents a chance to promote a long-dormant Mideast peace initiative, said Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday. “In order to go forward with their own plans and gain the EU and Russia as allies, Arabs must stress the importance of peace, ” Gul told Lebanese daily al Mustaqbel, emphasizing that Ankara was also trying to promote the initiative. The initiative in question, first presented at a 2002 summit in Beirut, offers Israel the carrot of normalized relations with Arab states if it withdraws from all occupied Arab lands. /Turkiye/
 MEETINGS STILL IN DOUBT, DELEGATIONS BREAK BREAD AT SWISS SUMMITThough the negotiating table proved elusive, late Wednesday Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Greek Foreign Minister Petros Moliviatis, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos set down to a dinner in Switzerland, bringing the four leaders together for the first time. The dinner, called a “special event” by Special UN Cyprus Envoy Alvaro de Soto, was held in lieu of formal talks, derailed for now by the refusal of the Greek side to recognize the Turkish Cypriot negotiators. The Ankara and Athens representatives later travelled to Brussels for the European Union’s spring summit, but are due to return today to the Cyprus talks, whose future remains cloudy due to the representation dispute. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Turkish and Greek premiers are also due to arrive in Switzerland this weekend. /Turkiye/
 DENKTAS: “I DON’T THINK THE SWISS SUMMIT WILL REACH A DEAL”Appearing on television yesterday, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas said that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan needed to understand that “forced agreement” would never produce a Cyprus deal. “I don’t believe that a resolution will be reached in Switzerland,” said Denktas, referring to the summit whose proceedings were thrown into doubt by developments leading from his refusal only to have the Greek Cypriots reject all his proposals. Denktas further blamed the Greek side for initial problems at the Swiss summit, saying though he had refused to attend he had given full authority to other TRNC officials to negotiate in his stead, and that the Greeks should recognize this. In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is currently in Brussels to attend a European Union summit, yesterday met with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen. During their meeting, Verheugen reportedly said that he wanted to attend the Swiss talks, but Erdogan replied that the United Nations was the proper body to deal with the issue. The talks come as the clock ticks down to May 1, when Greek Cyprus is set to join the EU. /Aksam/
 EDELMAN EXPRESSES HOPE FOR SUCCESS AT SWISS SUMMITUS Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman said yesterday that the current Cyprus summit in Switzerland was still in an early stage and that even if it failed, no crisis would ensue. Edelman added that he was hopeful the talks would succeed and that Secretary of State Colin Powell was following them closely and could step in if necessary. /Aksam/
 ANKARA-ISTANBUL RAILWAY UPGRADE COMPLETEDThe State Railways Authority (TCDD) announced yesterday that it had completed work upgrading the Ankara-Istanbul line. Speaking to reporters, TCDD Director General Suleyman Karaman said that the work designed to allow increased speed on the route had been finished, with the aim of cutting the travel time from eight hours to five, and now just needed to be tested. Karaman stated that the tests would help to eliminate any glitches, and pledged a future average train speed of 100 kilometers per hour, with hourly service between the two cities. He added that another speed train project was under construction which could lower the Ankara-Istanbul travel time to just over three hours. /Turkiye/
 EARTHQUAKE IN ERZURUM KILLS SIXLast night an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale hit the eastern Anatolian town of Cat, near Erzurum. The tremor was also felt in surrounding areas. In addition to causing panic and fear among residents, the quake took six lives while injuring some 20 others. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A SOLUTION WILL BE FOUND...BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
Columnist Sami Kohen writes on the issue of Cyprus derogations. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Cyprus issue was at the top of the European Union’s agenda yesterday as negotiators temporarily quit the Swiss resort town of Buergenstock to attend the EU’s spring summit in Brussels. EU officials are now trying to find a way to resolve the problem of derogations, which is considered to be the most critical issue of the four-way Cyprus summit in Switzerland.
The derogations, which Ankara considers a sine qua non for a settlement on the island, are known in Turkish as ‘restrictions,’ ‘exceptions,’ or ‘privileges’. It concerns not only the Turkish and Greek sides but also the EU.
The derogations, normally a quite technical issue, can be summed up as follows: The EU has its own body of legislation in line with its goals and philosophy. Every EU citizen has the right to move freely and settle anywhere in the European Union, get a job, move money around, and make investments. The EU has added certain temporary restrictions into its legislation for the 10 soon-to-be members (as of May 1), taking into account their special conditions during the membership talks. The 15 present EU members approved these countries’ accession documents together with a number of derogations. However the restrictions which Ankara considers sine qua non for a settlement are not included in the EU legislation, which is why the Turkish side is concerned about their possible loss of identity on the island. Turks fear that freedom of movement might spur a Greek Cypriot rush into the northern part, which in the long term could result in the end of the Turkish Cypriots’ distinct community.
One expects the Greek side to oppose Ankara’s demands. However, the EU itself is standing against them as well. In other words, the EU accepts such restrictions when they are temporary but strongly opposes them if the Turkish side insists on their permanence, which would contradict the basic principles of the Union.
Will this issue be resolved in Brussels? Clearly, the EU will never approve such permanent restrictions. However, Brussels has witnessed similar bargaining in the past. I believe a solution will certainly be found there …”
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