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Yo u r Wa y o f U n d e r s t a n d n g T u r k e yFRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009 WWW.TODAYSZAMAN.COM TL 1.50
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All opponents of reform package algned on same pontTurkey's three main opposition parties, the Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Democratic Society Party (DTP), interestingly hold the same position as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on the government's ongoing efforts for a reform package that could settle the country's decades-old Kurdish question, though they differ drastically on many other national issues. The confluence was brought up publicly by Deputy Prime Minister Blent Ar n on Wednesday, as he said the opposition of the CHP and the MHP to the reform package is the same as that of the proKurdish DTP and the terrorist PKK. The DTP has long been accused of siding with the PKK, as it has failed to label it a terrorist organization. Previously, two political parties were opposed to the [democratization] initiative. They were the CHP and the MHP. Now the DTP and the PKK are also opponents of the initiative. Is such a similarity possible? If I were an MHP politician, I would question myself about the point my party has reached. The MHP leader threatened to go to the mountains, and four months later Emine Ayna [DTP co-chairperson] said the same. What kind of similarities are these? Ar n asked. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government announced its intention to bring a stronger democracy to the country and settle the longstanding Kurdish question through peaceful methods in a massive reform package. The government aims to reduce internal and external support for the PKK with its package and in this way root out the terrorist organization. Turkey's opposition parties, however, have voiced their objection to the plans since the day it was made public. AK Party Ad yaman deputy Hsrev Kutlu said opponents of the initiative were all working on the same line. The DTP and the PKK are responsible for street demonstrations in the east and southeast of Turkey. CONTINUED ON PAGE 17REUTERS, BOB STRONG
FORMER NATO ENVOY ETN: TURKEY CAN DO MORE IN AFGHANISTANAYE KARABAT, ANKARAHikmet etin, the former NATO senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, said US President Barack Obama's new strategy can be successful only if the Western powers are able to win the hearts of the Afghan people. etin, who served in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006, assessed the situation in Afghanistan, the possible challenges and opportunities in the region and also the role of Turkey in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman after his visit to Afghanistan two weeks ago when he met with many officials, including the re-elected president, Hamid Karzai. CONTINUED ON PAGE 06
AMBASSADOR MARS US VISIT WITH SURPRISE RESIGNATIONTurkey's ambassador in Washington has shocked observers by resigning from his post, apparently after a dispute over protocol with Foreign Minister Davuto lu during PM Erdo an's high-profile White House talks.
Activists from avaaz.org dressed as aliens roam the halls of the Bella center during the UN Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen on Thursday.
GDP SHRINKS BY 3.3 PCT, BUT SHOWING STRONG SIGNS OF RECOVERYThe Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) revealed yesterday that Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 3.3 percent in the third quarter of 2009, compared to the same period last year, though it is showing that the growth situation bettered after a significant dive in GDP growth rates after the onset of the crisis. According to the data release, which calculates the GDP both based on the current prices method and by basing it on 1998 prices, Turkey continued to shrink in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the same period last year, making it the fourth quarter in a row that its GDP growth has dipped below zero. CONTINUED ON PAGE 07
ENVIRONMENTAL NGOs CRITICIZE GOV'T CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY
Environmental groups have raised concerns over Turkey's recently announced Climate Change National Strategy Document, because it would not facilitate a mutual agreement in Copenhagen where nations of the world are trying to find ways to fight climate change. The document, which was presented under the slogan Turkey becomes a partner to the solution' has elements which could block a mutual agreement in Copenhagen, rather than helping it, said a statement from Greenpeace Mediterranean, based in stanbul. Greenpeace officials further stated that Turkey's strategy document is weak, shies from the seriousness of the fact of climate change and undermines Turkey's capacity to combat it. Hilal Atc, from Greenpeace Mediterranean, said that they were disappointed that Turkey's proposed emission reduction target is just 7 percent by 2020, and said the country's energy sector targets are behind those of China and the European Union. CONTINUED ON PAGE 09
'TURKEY SHOULD DROP KARABAKH CONDITION FOR ARMENIA TIES'
Turkey still struggles with human rights violationsE. BARI ALTINTA, STANBULYesterday was Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Leaders released various messages to mark the day; however, Turkey is still a land of serious human rights violations, from torture at the hands of the police to unsolved murders, according to human rights groups. In 2008, according to statistics compiled by the Human Rights Association (HD), 1,546 people in Turkey were reported to have been subject to violence by state officials, private security companies or teachers. Of these, 448 were subject to maltreatment or torture under detention, 264 by police forces outside detention or jail, while 333 were subject to such treatment in prison. More than 50 were threatened by members of the security forces, while 299 were injured as a result of police intervention in public demonstrations. One-hundred twenty-six students were subject to physical abuse in school. According to the HD's report, 28 people died in explosions caused by land mines buried near villages in the Southeast. The total number of such incidents reported in 2007 was 678, meaning violations of Turkey's zero-tolerance-for-torture policy has more than doubled in one year. The organizations have not yet completed reports for the current year. The Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUMDER), another human rights group, reported 1,103 violations of the right to life in 2008. CONTINUED ON PAGE 17
TREASURY TO PAY TL 200 BLN IN DEBT IN 2010 PAGE 07
Within days of PM Erdo an linking the issues of normalization of ties between Ankara and Yerevan to resolution of the NagornoKarabakh dispute, a senior US official urged Turkey to make progress without setting preconditions.
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Has the ntatve process ended?Following the escalation of violence in Turkey over the past days, with sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) taking to the streets to protest the prison conditions of PKK leader Abdullah calan, and the deaths of seven soldiers in a terrorist attack in Tokat on Monday, many think that the end of the road is in sight for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments Kurdish initiative. The initiative, launched this summer, seeks to find a peaceful solution to Turkeys Kurdish problem. Hopes for the Kurdish initiative faded further when the DTPs hawkish leader, Emine Ayna, announced that her party was withdrawing support from the initiative process, which she said aimed to eliminate her party. During their parliamentary group meetings on Tuesday, Republican Peoples Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Baheli, who were against the initiative from the very beginning, asked the government to end the process. In consideration of all this, many now question whether the initiative process has come to an end and the possible risks of ending this process, which aims to solve Turkeys most serious problem. Sabahs Nazl Il cak, looking at the feeling prevailing among opposition parties about the end of the initiative process on the grounds that cooperation between the AK Party and the DTP has been spoiled, says they miss the point of the initiative as she adds, Certainly, views will be exchanged with the DTP, even calans views regarding the process can be sought behind closed doors but the target of this initiative is the public itself, the Kurdish citizens of this country. Il cak suggests that the initiative process should continue so that more soldiers are not martyred. The government did not say, Lets try a Kurdish initiative when everything was perfect in Turkey. Security measures have not been shelved during this process and social, cultural and economic steps have been taken that will relieve the Kurdish public and strengthen their commitment to the nation during this process