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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 September, 2003, 04:02 GMT 05:02 UK
European press review

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Berlin hits the headlines in German newspapers.

In Spain, it is the approval of a successor for Prime Minister Aznar which dominates the front pages.

A new head of Czech airlines, French forest fires and an apparently Orwellian ministry in Turkmenistan also feature in today's European press.

Turkey's EU mission

Europe is what the Europeans want it to become
Sueddeutsche Zeitung

German press coverage of the Turkish prime minister's visit to the country focuses on the issue of Turkey's accession to the European Union.

The Berliner Zeitung backs the move, believing that the Turkish Government has done enough to ensure that the EU will have to agree to accession negotiations from 2005.

"Europe must use the next few years to prepare itself for the new member Turkey," the paper concludes.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung believes it is up to the current members of the EU to decide whether or not Turkey joins. "Europe is what the Europeans want it to become," it says.

Turkey's EU membership would symbolise the fact that democracy and human rights are not "a Christian affair", it says.

But it adds that the EU could also risk falling back into an unstable federation of states as a result of taking on too much.

Spanish heir

Spain's ABC newspaper says that the country can expect more of the same when Deputy Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy takes over from the current premier, Jose Maria Aznar, as head of the governing Popular Party.

"Change of pilot, not course," reads the headline in the paper's editorial.

El Mundo agrees, predicting there will not be too many shocks in the party's new chapter.

But the paper warns that Mr Rajoy should not "limit himself to being a copy of Aznar either".

"He has to be a leader with his own personality," it says.

Czech-in

In the Czech Republic, the appointment of former Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik as head of the national air carrier CSA gets a bad press.

"The appointment makes the Czech Republic look like a banana republic," writes Mlada Fronta Dnes.

Only in a banana republic "would it be acceptable for the head of a successful company to be replaced in a completely non-transparent manner by a former minister with poor nerves and no qualifications".

Hospodarske Noviny says that Prime Minister Vladimir Spidla's efforts to fight corruption will suffer.

"Suddenly, the management of the national air carrier is sacked under circumstances which smack of a politically-influenced filling of well-paid posts with favourites".

City-dwellers under fire

City-dwellers want nature to be both wild and within commuting distance
Liberation

Paris daily Liberation turns its attention the fires which have devastated forests in southern France.

"Never has an urban society been so fond of our woodlands and never have our woodlands been so ill-treated," the paper says as a criminal investigation is opened into the cause of the fires.

The paper takes a dim view of the city-dwellers who "want nature to be both wild and within commuting distance".

It also fears that current promises of proper woodland management "will die down soon after the fires are put out".

'Big Brother'

Several Russian newspapers focus on a new ministry in Turkmenistan, comparing it to the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's novel 1984.

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov recently announced that the Ministry of Justice would become the Ministry of Fairness and take on "extra rights and obligations" to maintain law and order.

"It is not known whether Nyyazow has read Orwell but the Ministry of Fairness is certainly very like a structure described in detail by the English writer," writes Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

A view echoed in Moskovskiy Komsomolets. "George Orwell can hardly have suspected that the country of the all-seeing Big Brother he invented which, in his story, was somewhere in Central Europe, is actually in the heart of the Orient - it is Turkmenistan."

The European press review is compiled by BBC Monitoring from internet editions of the main European newspapers and some early printed editions.




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