Turkey's president views internal, external issues in keynote speech

Anatolia news agency, Ankara
1 Oct 04

In his keynote speech at the Assembly to mark the beginning of a new
legislative year, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that Turkey was
making steps to become a" powerful country by means of social
consensus", and emphasized that the "secular and democratic Turkey"
made these reforms possible. Sezer said that Turkey had "reached a
significant point at its EU membership process" but warned that "we
should not give any pretext that would strengthen those who want to
keep Turkey outside of the European Union". The Turkish president
complained that the USA and its allies had done nothing to stop the
Kurdish rebels in Iraq but insisted that "Turkey's relations with the
United States should be carried out on the basis of alliance and
friendship". Sezer also said that "ending unjust isolation of Turkish
Cypriots is a requirement of credibility and consistency of
international society". Concluding his speech, Sezer said that "Turkey
would continue to support a democratic, prosperous Iraq" with "its
territorial and national integrity preserved". The following is text
of report in English by Turkish news agency Anatolia

Ankara, 1 October: Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday
1 October : "In systems where the rule of law prevails, supremacy of
one of the legislative, executive or judiciary organs over the others
cannot be in question."


In his keynote speech at the parliament to mark the beginning of the
new legislative year, President Sezer said: "Our parliament is
representing the national sovereignty and is the basic institution of
our democratic regime. The parliament speeded up development of the
secular and democratic Republic of Turkey with its decisions."

"The world and Turkey are going through an important period. In the
light of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's reforms and constitutional
principles, we are making the necessary steps to reach the joint goal
of modern society-modern state-powerful country by means of social
consensus," he said.

"I want to emphasize once again that the republic which was founded by
our nation with great sacrifices under the leadership of Ataturk, is
our most precious wealth. The secular and democratic Republic of
Turkey led us to make all those reforms which were appreciated by the
world. The republic is the most important warranty of a brilliant
future. We do not have any doubt that our citizens will act with
solidarity and responsibility in order to protect Ataturk's principles
and reforms as well as our unity. When we fulfil our responsibilities,
we will easily reach a better future," he said.

President Sezer added: "The most advanced and modern stage in social
structure is the rule of law. The values which have been adopted under
the Constitution are the guarantee of all other characteristics of the
republic. The rule of law also includes prevention of abuse of state's
power because the rule of law is the essential tool to prevent a
political power turning into a repressive regime. In systems where the
rule of law prevails, supremacy of one of the legislative, executive
or judiciary organs over the others cannot be in question."

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday that Turkey reached a
significant point at its EU membership process, adding "yet at the
point we have reached, we should not give any pretext that would
strengthen those who want to keep Turkey outside of European Union."
He also noted that Turkey should test the sincerity of EU countries.

In his keynote speech at the parliament to mark the beginning of the
new legislative year, President Sezer said, "our EU membership
symbolizes universal values and high living standards and means
concretization of most important social projects to reach the level of
contemporary civilization that was put forward by Ataturk. EU
membership will also be an additional assurance for secular,
multi-party democratic structure of Turkey and will strengthen our
country against every kind of extremism."

Recalling that Turkey had undertook significant constitutional and
legislative changes to strengthen itself and take under guarantee
basic rights and freedoms, as well as democracy and supremacy of law,
Sezer said, "we have clearly put forward our determination and
capability to take them further." Sezer said Turkish nation who
carefully noted the statements emanating from Brussels, expected a
just and unbiased evaluation from the EU. "In the Progress Report that
will be issued by the EU Commission we expect a fair evaluation on
comprehensive reforms Turkey has fulfilled and a clear statement on
starting negotiations as soon as possible as it happened with other
candidates," he said.

Sezer added that contributions that Turkey's membership would bring to
EU's global values were obvious. Sezer said EU's starting membership
talks with Turkey and Turkey's membership in the end of this process
is the most important message that will be given to Middle Eastern
countries and, in a wider sense, to Islamic world. "This message is
that: values like democracy, human rights and supremacy of law are
universal and the line that separates societies today passes not
between civilizations and religions, but between those who adopt these
values and those who do not. And the West and Islam can embrace each
other by taking these values as basis."

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday that it was unacceptable
to describe Turkey as an Islamic republic or to propose a meaningless
model like "moderate Islam" for Turkey and to show Turkey as a model
country with the pretext of Greater Middle East Initiative. In his
keynote speech at the parliament to mark the beginning of the new
legislative year, President Sezer said, it was impossible to bring
together democracy and a state of religion whether it is "moderate" or
"radical". Noting that Turkey has chosen its political regime 81 years
ago with proclamation of the republic, Sezer said the regime of
Republic of Turkey is built on the basis of a secular, democratic and
social state of law. He said: "Abuse of religion causes significant
harm both to our constitutional order and democratic progress and to
Islam religion. The reactionary movement continues to pose a major
threat against our democratic and secular state, based on the rule of
law," adding that fight against fundamentalism should continue with
determination.

Regarding the existence of terrorist organization PKK Kurdistan
Workers' Party in Iraq, he said that the failure of the United States
and international force in Iraq in starting initiatives against this
terrorist organization in the north of Iraq, contradicted Turkish-US
friendship and international responsibilities in fighting against
terrorism.

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Friday that ending unjust
isolation of Turkish Cypriots is a requirement of credibility and
consistency of international society. In his keynote speech at the
parliament to mark the beginning of the new legislative year,
President Sezer said they were pleased to see that Turkey's efforts to
establish good relations with its neighbours yielded more significant
results every year. "We are taking necessary steps to take further our
relations with Greece, which is an ally and which we target to be a
close partner through the European Union," Sezer said.

Noting that sincerity and dialogue constituted two essential elements
in relations with Greece, Sezer added: "Turkey thinks the steps it has
taken through this dialogue will not remain unanswered. It should not
be disregarded that sincerity and dialogue are insufficient to
overcome all problems in international relations. It is very obvious
that no just point has been reached in Turkey's and Turkish Cypriots'
rightful case in Cyprus despite their self-sacrifices and sincere
compromises. Turkish Cypriots have clearly put forward their will to
compromise through democratic processes with the support of
international community, including the UN and the EU. The Greek
Cypriot side had succeeded to make international community believe
just the opposite. Now against insistent attitude of Greek Cypriots in
refraining from peace and unification, ending unjust isolation of
Turkish Cypriots should be a natural result of requirement of
complying with rules of law and justice, political sincerity,
credibility and consistency of international society. We expect some
initiatives that has been started to end this isolation of Turkish
Cypriots to be resulted in a way that meets expectations in a short
period of time."

Noting that neighbours such as Bulgaria and Romania responded
affirmatively to Turkey's friendly and constructive attitude, Sezer
said the point reached in relations between Turkey and Russian
Federation was also pleasing. Sezer said reaching permanent stability,
security and prosperity in South Caucasus was of significant
importance for Turkey, which tried to contribute to solutions of
problems through peaceful means. Sezer said the reasons why relations
with Armenia could not be normalized so far were obvious, adding that
"it is Turkey's sincere wish that this situation created by Armenian
policies should be overcome and the cooperation ring in South Caucasus
should be completed. For this, Armenia should pursue a foreign policy
complying with rules of international law and good neighbourliness
with a will to compromise. It is certain that Turkey will respond in
the same manner to the positive steps that will be taken in this
direction. Every country acting openly, friendly and without
prejudices towards Turkey benefits from this. We expect Armenia to act
with this understanding."

Sezer said that Turkey's relations with the United States should be
carried out on the basis of alliance and friendship. He added that the
maturity and mutual benefits of this friendship and alliance have been
proved. "We cannot close our eyes to terrorist organization PKK's
finding shelter in Iraq and infiltrating from our borders. It is very
obvious that we will not permit restarting of terrorist acts against
Turkey taking advantage of developments in Iraq. We expect our
strategic partner and ally United States to fulfil its
responsibilities on this issue."

Noting that Turkey would continue to support a democratic, prosperous
Iraq of which its territorial and national integrity are preserved,
Sezer said Turkey's attributing importance to situation of Turkomans
who were kinsmen to Turkish people should be considered natural. He
added that the uneasiness created by the efforts to possess Kirkuk by
any ethnic group would not be limited to this town, and a turmoil that
would spread to the whole of Iraq would ignite a regional instability
of which its results could not be predicted.

Sezer said that developing relations between Turkey and Syria revealed
benefits of Turkey's constructive approach. "We think we support
searches for peace and stability in the region as we develop our
relations with Syria. Syria's establishing normal relations with other
countries, especially Western countries, is to the interest of
Turkey. We will continue to encourage Syria in this direction." Noting
that normalization in the Middle East was a necessity which should
have been reached much earlier, Sezer said Turkey was ready to make
any contribution that would be asked by the sides for solution of
problems in the region, especially Israel-Palestine dispute. He said:
"We believe that acting together with regional countries and western
friends as well as Israeli and Palestinian authorities will yield a
result in solution of this dispute."

Sezer added that Turkey would continue to support Afghanistan with
which it has historical and close ties.