Books on Turkey
Ahmet Necdet Sezer
Update No: 090 - (27/10/04)
Turkey, others agree to head Afghan force
Turkey has had a difficult time of it in its relations with the US, formerly the
cornerstone of its foreign policy, ever since its parliament in March 2003
refused to allow US troops to transit Turkish territory in the forthcoming Iraq
War. It is winning its way back into Washington's good graces now by another
Turkey is to take command of the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Afghanistan next
February, to be followed by Italy, Britain and Spain in six-to-eight-month
stints, NATO officials said on October 20th.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) took over the International
Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) last year, but has struggled to expand it
out of the capital Kabul.
In June it confirmed the setting up of five provincial reconstruction teams in
the north of the country, but it is behind schedule in moving into the west and
other regions. The command arrangements until 2007 were agreed in NATO's
military committee, said a NATO official. "It gives us the stability and
planning ... for this long term operation," he said.
Currently ISAF is commanded by the Eurocorps, an intervention force created
under a 1992 Franco-German initiative which includes troops from Belgium, Spain
and Luxembourg. Eurocorps succeeded Canada in August.
Turkish media mixed in reaction to EU accession report
In the aftermath of a European Commission (EU) report on Turkey's EU accession
drive, there is a dispute developing in some member states on the impact of
blending a secular Islamic state into the mainly Christian fabric of the
organization. In Turkey, meanwhile, reaction to the report has been mixed.
The Commission report, published on October 6, urged the commencement of
accession negotiations with Turkey, but set no firm date for the start of such
talks. It also established strict guidelines for the negotiations, and
established an unprecedented pre-condition under which Turkish citizens may be
subject to restrictions on their movements within the EU. In addition, the
commission stressed that it could not guarantee that the accession negotiations
would culminate in Turkey's admission to the 25-state organization.
The report has prompted spirited public discussion within the EU, especially in
France and Germany. During a parliamentary debate in France on October 14, Prime
Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said Turkey's desire for membership "is not
illegitimate," but he stressed that "neither Europe nor Turkey"
is presently ready for Ankara's inclusion in the EU. French government officials
have suggested the inclusion of Turkey, a relatively poor and predominantly
Islamic country, could upset the EU's social, political and economic balance.
President Jacques Chirac has vowed to hold a national referendum on the issue.
In Germany, leaders of the main opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU)
announced October 15 that they would drop plans for a petition drive against
Turkey's membership in the EU. Party officials expressed concern that the move
could stoke a domestic political backlash, given that Germany is home to 2.5
million Turks, many of whom came to the country as "guest workers."
The conservative CDU has advocated that the EU establish a special relationship
with Turkey, instead of extending full membership.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been among the most vocal supporters of
Turkey's eventual accession. In comments published by the German
mass-circulation daily Bild, Blair said: "A stable, democratic Turkey in
the EU is extremely important for the stability and security of the
region." However, Blair emphasized that accession talks could last a decade
The response of Turkish leaders to the European Commission report has been
restrained. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a recent interview
broadcast on Greek television that he preferred to emphasize the report's
positive conclusion - that Turkey, after more than 40 years of knocking on the
EU's door, was at last ready to gain eventual admittance, the Cumhuriyet
newspaper reported. Turkish officials indicate that they will work to ease EU
concerns between now and a December EU summit, at which EU officials could set a
date for the start of accession talks.
Many Turkish political commentators are also emphasizing the positive. Sami
Kohen, a prominent analyst for the Milliyet daily, said the commission's
conditions should not cause Turks to lose sight of the overall message.
"The commission, for the first time, recommends that [accession] talks
start with Turkey," he wrote.
The conditions have potential benefits for Turkey, analyst Guneri Civaoglu said
in a Milliyet commentary published October 7. Civaoglu argued that the
commission's stringent criteria will help Turkey complete its political
metamorphosis - turning from an autocratic/authoritarian state into a modern
democracy - in an astoundingly short period of time. "This [the accession
process] will be difficult, will [exert] pressure on whoever is in power,"
Civaoglu said. "Yet this is an initiative of creating a miracle."
Euro-sceptics in Turkey, meanwhile, are using the commission report as
ammunition in their effort to sway public opinion against EU membership. Gunduz
Aktan, one of Turkey's most prominent Euro-sceptics, characterized the
conditions as "unacceptable." Aktan went on to castigate pro-EU
analysts and officials as being overly "submissive" in pursuit of EU
"If you act with pathological emotions while pursuing something, you may
get exactly the opposite of what you were seeking," Aktan wrote.
"There are many love stories that prove this fact. Can't these people ever
realize the fact that by being perceived as less interested [in accession],
Turkey's full membership process might become considerably easier?"
Political pundits tend to be more optimistic about the commission report than
the general public, some analysts admit. The commission's conditions had wounded
the national pride of many Turks, one TV newsroom editor told EurasiaNet.
"[Public] morale is low," the editor said. "People are resentful
that the EU report came with so many strings attached."
Sick Man of Europe - not Turkey, but France
It is in some ways curious that France is so ambivalent about Turkish entry.
An alliance with the Ottoman Turks was a perennial of French diplomacy from the
time of Francois Premier in the early sixteenth century onwards.
Turkey became widely known as the 'sick man of Europe' in the nineteenth
century, a designation which at least recognised it as a European power. Now
Professor Ahmet Insel has described France as "the sick man" of
Europe. The reason is obvious: the official French resistance to Turkey's
possible EU membership.
An irony of history: Turkey has emulated France in almost all aspects throughout
its modernization adventure, but now France is rejecting its
"student." Or in other words, rejecting the failure of its own
Whether or not Turkey did the right thing by adopting the French model during
its own modernization process, could be the subject of another debate, but today
Paris's strong rejection of Turkey causes great anxiety.
Developments show that [French] President Jacques Chirac, who supports the start
of negotiations with Turkey, is being isolated rapidly. The more Chirac's
isolation increases, the pressures on him to say "no" in the December
summit, and to go to Brussels with proposals other than those supporting
membership or those paving the way for an extension of the process increase even
The outcome of the debate in the French Parliament in early October can be
summarized as a bargaining for an alternative proposal, a privileged partnership
with Turkey, alongside membership.
France, certainly, is never just France. It is the homeland of both Jean Monnet,
the father of the EU idea, and Robert Schuman, the EU plan creator. Hence, the
French treat the EU as their own child. They accept that they "wed"
Germany and made the EU their child, but they are the "father." Other
members, at the most, are seen as children, who need protection and care.
Just before the war in Iraq, Chirac reproached the candidate countries then -
now members - for supporting the U.S. that had made them lose their right to
silence. This was obviously France's subconscious expression. If an EU decision
is to be made, it is has to be approved first by France.
Again, whether negotiations with Turkey will start or will be rejected, would be
decided in Paris before anywhere else. Their objection of an issue is not the
same as that of the Netherlands, Italy or even Britain.
In case of an indirect implication by France that instead of a proposal urging
the start of negotiations with Turkey as soon as possible, it will study an
in-between formula, this would win the support of several countries.
Those, who are suspicious or undecided about Turkey's membership, would also
fight against Ankara by taking shelter under the wings of France.
On the other side, the South Greek Cyprus Administration, Slovakia and Austria,
which are subservient enough, would disclose their thoughts. Should all these
really happen, it would no surprise to see the Netherlands and Denmark shifting
It is a strong possibility that Chirac, even though he is not bound by the
anti-Turkey wave, will attend the December summit in Brussels ready with
proposals he can market to his own public opinion. In the final analysis, the
French leader, with a desire for one more presidential term, will not make any
decision, in spite of pressure from his people. Hence, until December, France
will remain Ankara's biggest headache.
Car production soars 76% in 8 months
Turkish car production rose 75.7% to 292,436 units in the first 8 months of the
year, extending a strong upward trend in place since 2003. Total vehicle
production in the January-to-August period was 529,640 units that are 74%
increase year-on-year, the Automotive Industry Association (OSD) according to
reports from reporter.gr on September 10th. In August alone, car production rose
69.7% to 21,572 units, while total production was up 75% to 43,934 vehicles, OSD
said. The automotive sector is one of the main factors for economic growth in
Turkey, recovering from a 2001 financial crisis that shrank the economy by more
than 10%. Total vehicle sales were 498,583 units in the first 8 months of the
year, a 174% surge in the market. Of that, 302,840 cars were sold, OSD said.
New services from Lufthansa for business class customers
Lufthansa Airline's PartnerPlusBenefit programme, which provides special
advantages for companies, has become operative in Turkey, New Europe reported
Companies that send employees to foreign countries will be able to buy tickets
over the Internet for Lufthansa and Lufthansa members Air Dolomiti, Augsburg
Airways, Contact Air, Eurowings and Lufthansa Cityline thanks to the programme,
which Lufthansa prepared in Turkish. Member companies will earn points for
first, business and economy class tickets purchased, and they will be able to
use these points for free tickets or upgrades. They can also redeem their points
for cash. Lufthansa Turkey general manager, Sadik Elmas, said they would work
hard to promote the programme. Commenting that they plan to increase the number
of members to 300, Elmas said: "Thanks to the programme, we expect to get a
2,750m Euro endorsement in one year."
Turkey repays 589m in foreign debt
Turkey repaid 589.60m of its foreign debt between September 1st and 15th.
Central Bank data shows that during the said period the treasury repaid 222m,
the Central Bank 10.5m and administrations with general and consolidated budgets
repaid 22.85m. 334.25m went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
Turkish Daily News cited on September 18th. Turkey repaid 1.575bn in foreign
debt in January, 2.567bn in February, 2.349bn in March, 1.166bn in
April, 1.124bn in May, 1.225bn in June, 1.748bn in July and 1.192 in
August. The IMF was repaid 4.3725bn in the January to August period. Turkey
has repaid 13.569bn of its foreign debt since the beginning of the year.
Turkey repaid 15.365bn of its foreign debt in 2003.
FOREIGN ECONOMIC COOPERATION
Turkish, Iranian ministers discuss trade, cooperation
Turkish State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, said recently that trade volume between
Turkey and Iran would reach US$3bn at the end of this year, Anatolia News Agency
Speaking to reporters after meeting Iranian Minister of Roads & Transport,
Ahmad Khoram, in Tehran, Tuzmen said trade volume between Turkey and Iran may
reach US$4.5bn and noted that the real potential is in the range of US$10bn,
reachable within 2-3 years.
"However, continuation of trade in a balanced way is important. There is a
serious foreign trade deficit between Turkey and Iran. This deficit will further
increase when Turkey purchases natural gas from Iran in large quantities. We
request that Iran implement a reduction on tariffs. Preferential trade agreement
should also be signed soon," Tuzmen said.
Stating that Turkey carefully monitored the controversy regarding GSM operators
TAV and Turkcell, Tuzmen said Turkish companies planning to invest in Iran were
cautious on this issue.
"I have come to Tehran together with 500 businessmen. More than 220 Turkish
companies will attend the 4th International Tehran Industry Fair. This is an
indication that Turkey is interested in Iran," Tuzmen added.
Tuzmen said completion of studies for the Bazerban-Gurbulak border crossing was
an important step, stressing that improvement works at Kapikoy-Razi customs
office and construction of a new highway will link eastern Turkish city of Van
Khoram said the Iranian government was resolved to improve economic and
political relations with Turkey and expressed hope to overcome actual tensions
in the coming months.
Tuzmen quoted Iranian officials as saying that the Iranian government would
bring agreements with (GSM operators) TAV and Turkcell onto the agenda of their
parliament in three weeks.
"Khoram told me that the process of decision making will be completed
between the parliament and the government within two or three months. He said
that result will probably be positive, since legal infrastructure of the
agreements is ready," Tuzmen said.
Tuzmen will attend the inauguration of the 4th International Tehran Industry
Fair and visit Turkish stands.
Tuzmen: Turkey-Finland trade volume to rise
Turkish State Minister, Kursad Tuzmen, recently said that the government expects
a 50 per cent increase in trade volume between Turkey and Finland, the Turkish
Daily News reported.
Tuzmen, who met with Finnish foreign Trade and Development Minister, Paula
Lehtomaki, and Finnish businessmen in the Finland-Turkey Business Forum,
organised at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, provided information about commercial
activities between the two countries.
Recalling that among 6,511 foreign-partnered companies in Turkey, only 19 were
Finnish, Tuzmen called for Finnish businessmen to increase that number by
investing in Turkey. Stating that during the reform process leading Turkey to
integration with the European Union, things were made easier for foreign
investors in Turkey.
Tuzmen, who said the volume of trade between Turkey and Finland had potential
for expansion, said: "We estimate that the volume of trade between the two
countries, which was 500m Euro will exceed one billion Euro in the next term. I
believe that we can reach this number at the end of this year."
Meanwhile, Lehtomaki said she believed that their visit to Turkey would
contribute to the improvement of relations between the two countries. Also in
the Business Forum the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD)
and the Confederation of Finnish Industries signed an agreement on cooperation.
World Bank agrees loan, grant for Turkish projects
The World Bank will provide Turkey with a loan of US$20m and with a grant of
US$7m. Releasing a statement, the Turkish Treasury said recently that the
agreements on the loan and the grant were signed by the World Bank and Treasury
officials of Turkey in Washington DC, Anatolia News Agency reported.
"Under the World Bank's Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for 2004-2006,
preparatory works have been going on over the Anatolia River Basins
Rehabilitation Project. The project targets support for sustainable natural
resources management practices in 28 microcatchments in several regions in
Anatolia and to increase the income of the population which was affected by
impairment of natural resources," it said.
MINERALS & METALS
Eldorado Gold begins mine construction
Eldorado Gold Corp (EGO) has obtained all the permits and approvals necessary to
start building its Kisladag mine in Turkey, New Europe reported recently. In a
news release, the Canada-based mining company said the recent issuance of the
construction permit by the Directorate of Public Works - Usak concluded the
permitting process required to construct and commission the operation. It
further added that site activities will be underway this month, with road
construction, contractors mobilising to site, water well drilling and electrical
powerline construction, reported Dunya Online on September 9th. Eldorado said it
remains on schedule to start production at the mine late in 2005. Exact timing
of the start of commercial production will depend on winter weather conditions
in 2004-2005 and the associated impact on the leach pad construction schedule,
it noted. Kisladag will start production at an annualised rate of 164,000 ounces
for its first year, rising in year two to 240,000 ounces at a cash operating
cost of 165 an ounce for a planned mine life of 14 years.
Ankara mulls to open tenders for Telekom & Tekel
Turkish Justice Minister and government spokesman Cemil Cicek said on September
20th, "We are planning to open tenders for the privatisation of Turkish
Telekom and for Tekel in October. Also, efforts are under way for a public
offering of state-run Turkish Airlines (THY) in November." Anadolu agency
correspondents reported that during a news conference following a meeting of
Council of Ministers, Cicek said, "work on the process of a public offering
of THY shares to be launched on November 17th are continuing with speed."
"The tender for the 51% block sale of Turkish Telekom was opened in the
first week of October. The tender for Tekel's tobacco operations would be
launched in the third week of November," Cicek added.
Our analysts and
editorial staff have many years experience in analysing and reporting
events in these nations. This knowledge is available in the form of
geopolitical and/or economic country reports on any individual or grouping
of countries. Such reports may be bespoke to the specification of clients
or by access to one of our existing specialised reports.
For further information email: