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Turkish Press Review, 06-02-08
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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
08.02.2006FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 ERDOGAN: “LET’S NOT GET CAUGHT IN THIS SICK CARTOON PROVOCATION”Speaking at his ruling party’s group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan evaluated the recent controversy over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammmed published in European newspapers, saying that this was a result of a sick mentality which looks down upon others. “This is obviously a provocation and a trap,” he said. “We all need to do something in order to stop this sick mentality. When we’re trying to forge an alliance of civilizations, some circles are trying to equate our religion’s spiritual symbols with violence. The Muslim world should act with common sense.” In the wake of fierce debate over the disclosure of his assets, Erdogan also said that his assets had been posted on the Prime Ministry website, adding that he had sold his shares in Ulker foods. Stressing that transparency was very important for him, Erdogan stated that no one could deny his sensitivity to this. /Turkiye/
 BERLUSCONI: “I SUPPORT YOUR EFFORTS TO DEFUSE CARTOON CRISIS”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke on the telephone with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in separate conversations. Berlusconi reportedly said, “I share the sentiments of the article you wrote with Spanish Prime Minister Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on the cartoon crisis and I support you.” Erdogan said that he had started an initiative to bring together the European Union Troika and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to defuse the tension. Speaking with Abbas, Erdogan also said, “I hope the results of last month’s elections are beneficial,” adding, “We respect the will of the Palestinian people.” /Star/
 GUL CHAIRS HABUR BORDER GATE MEETING AT PRIME MINISTRYA meeting was held at the Prime Ministry yesterday on improving the Habur border gate into Iraq, chaired by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. After the meeting, Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), said that they don’t have any demands about Habur but are working to improve its physical conditions. /Cumhuriyet/
 ROME BUS CRASH KILLS 12 TURKISH TOURISTSA bus loaded with tourists from Turkey ran off a road in Rome and dropped about 15 meters into a ravine late Monday killing 12 people, police said. The bus, carrying about 30 people, was returning the tourists to their hotel after dinner when it crashed shortly after 11:00 p. m., police said. Police said six people were injured critically, including the Italian bus driver. Authorities said it was unclear what caused the accident. /Turkish Daily News/
 STATE MINISTER TUZMEN: “IRAQI DELEGATION WILL COME TO DISCUSS OIL DEBTS”State Minister Kursat Tuzmen yesterday said that an Iraqi delegation would arrive in Turkey tomorrow to resolve issues caused by Iraq oil product debts. “The delegation will meets with officials from the Deputy Foreign Trade Undersecretariat,” said Tuzmen. “We will try to find a solution for the payment of credits and a lasting solution. We’re ready to satisfy Iraq, but the growth of credits is increasing the risk to Turkish firms. This has to be solved.” Turkish firms decided to stop shipments to Iraq on Jan. 21 after their debts reached $1 billion. /Aksam/
 GULER IN WASHINGTON TO DISCUSS ENERGY CONCERNSEnergy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler yesterday travelled to Washington upon the invitation of US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. Speaking before his departure, Bodman said that problems in the energy sector required stronger dialogue and cooperation with other countries, adding that Turkish and US officials would establish channels for dialogue towards this end. Commenting on the possibility of nuclear plants in Turkey, Guler said that he would visit such facilities in the US to get a better perspective. During his two-day visit, Guler is also expected to meet with officials from the State and Commerce Departments. /Milliyet/
 BAYKAL CRITICIZES ERDOGAN’S ASSET DECLARATIONAddressing his group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s new declaration of his assets, saying that such declarations should be done in the proper way. “The assets of a person shouldn’t be in a secret safe deposit-box,” said Baykal, not mentioning Erdogan by name. “The declaration should be in accordance with the person’s lifestyle.” /Milliyet/
 MUMCU: “INSULTS TO RELIGION CAN’T BE EXCUSED BY FREEDOM OF THOUGHT”Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, opposition Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu commented on the recent controversy over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed, saying that insulting religion and spiritual values couldn’t be excused through appeals to freedom of thought. Mumcu said that Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul should hold a meeting with foreign ministers of the European Union member states and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC). “A common declaration from this meeting could contribute to efforts to overcome this problem,” added Mumcu. /Turkiye/
 DANISH AMBASSADOR WELCOMES TURKEY’S HELP IN DEFUSING CARTOON CRISISDanish Ambassador to Ankara Christian Hoppe yesterday said that Denmark was pleased with Turkey’s initiatives to overcome the cartoon crisis. Hoppe also said that Turkey might assume a special role owing to its close relations with NATO and the European Union. He stated that they would support all initiatives about the issue taken by Turkey, adding that they don’t face any security threats in Turkey. Also at a press conference, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen yesterday said that they respect Islam and other religions, and that demonstrations protesting the cartoons had turned into a global crisis. Rasmussen said that the Danish government and people are both disappointed by violent incidents and protests, but he didn’t apologize for the offending cartoons. In related news, the NATO Council, comprised of permanent representatives of alliance member countries, yesterday held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the incidents and developments over the cartoon crisis. /Turkiye/
 FIVE TURKISH JOURNALISTS STAND TRIAL FOR INSULTING COURTSThe trial of five journalists charged with insulting the country’s courts began Tuesday with the judge ordering two lawyers to be removed after a fight broke out in the courtroom. A group of European Parliament observers was attending the trial Tuesday of the five leading journalists. The reporters had criticized a court’s decision to shut down a conference in Istanbul about the mass killings of Armenians by Turks during the Ottoman Empire. The court later adjourned the trial until April 11 to study the case. The five journalists named in the indictment are Murat Belge, Hasan Cemal, Ismet Berkan, Haluk Sahin and Erol Katircioglu. They face prison terms between six months and 10 years if convicted. /The New Anatolian/
 GREEK JOURNALIST: “A CYPRUS RESOLUTION IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH PAPADOPOULOS”Speaking at a press conference in Athens, Greek journalist Makarios Drusiotti said that he wanted to tell the whole world about what Greek Cypriot Tassos Papadopoulos did concerning the Cyprus issue. “He started a slander campaign against people supporting the Annan plan in a referendum two years ago,” he said. Drusiotti predicted that a resolution wouldn’t be possible on the island as long as Papadopoulos remains in office since he hasn’t done anything for a resolution for the last two years. “He’s rejected all peace proposals,” said the Greek journalist. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 APPLAUSE FOR COMMISSION BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the European Union Commission’s positive stance concerning Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“While protests of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed in the Mideast turn into organized attacks, the European Union Commission took a bold step and sent a report to its 25 member countries. The report suggested opening membership talks with Turkey over the first concluded chapter of the screening process. We might not recognize this, but Europeans noted four successes in Turkey’s column. These are as follows:
1. Dropping changes against author Orhan Pamuk
2. Fighting bird flu with efforts appreciated by all experts
3. An initiative for Cyprus
4. The Greater Istanbul Municipality’s efforts against heavy snow
The EU Commission sent this report to the 25 due to these positive indicators and said the process of screening was proceeding without problems. The commission suggested starting with the chapter on science and research. The report envisages that this will be followed by the one on education and culture and adds that Turkey is ready for opening membership talks unconditionally on two chapters.
We will be watching three capital cities starting today. The first is Vienna. Now Austrian Prime Minister Wolfgang Schussel faces an honesty test, as he said that they would open the EU’s door to Turkey, as does Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnick, who said that membership talks would start on a few chapters during its EU term presidency. Actually, we don’t expect a surprise from Austria, because we’ve seen a softening of Schussel’s stance and remarks concerning Turkey.
Secondly, we will observe Paris. As long as Jacques Chirac is president, we aren’t concerned, because under the French Constitution, he’s the only person with power over foreign policy and the EU issue. Chirac supports Turkey fully.
Now, let’s talk about Lefkosa, that is, the third capital. The Greek Cypriot administration previously threatened to use its right to veto in the opening and closing of chapters, but it can’t due to these reasons:
* The EU recently suffered a serious value added tax (VAT) crisis. Three member countries tried to veto extending the practice of discounted VAT in certain services involving intensive labor until 2010. These countries were Poland, the Czech Republic and the Greek Cypriot administration. When leading EU members criticized them for this, the Greek Cypriot administration got down off its high horse.
* Secondly, Turkey’s move concerning the Cyprus issue was appreciated by the EU generally, and the Greek Cypriot administration was isolated. EU circles decried the Greek Cypriot administration rejecting Turkey’s opening and preventing help from getting to Turkish Cypriots.
In other words, it can’t hinder starting membership talks with Turkey, if Greek Cypriot leader Papadopoulos doesn’t want to risk political suicide. We congratulate the EU Commission for its honesty and bravery.”
The news and articles issued in the Turkish Press Review may be quoted from provided due acknowledgement is made.
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