|Monday, 24 February 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 04-08-17
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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 : email@example.com <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER, ERDOGAN MEET SEPARATELY WITH IRAQI PRESIDENTPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday received visiting Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yaver to discuss a number of issues. Speaking afterwards, Sezer said that Turkey was doing its utmost to establish security and stability in its region and stressed Iraq’s importance for this goal. Sezer also charged that the terrorist group PKK_KONGRA-GEL had a continued presence in Iraq and urged al-Yaver to choke off its support. Sezer added that Turkish citizens visiting or doing business in Iraq had legitimate fears for their safety and called on al-Yaver to take necessary measures to rectify this. For his part, al-Yaver said that Iraq would never allow any terrorist group to threaten Turkey’s security. "We cannot tolerate or allow any group or formation that is posing a threat to the security of our neighbors," al- Yawer said at a joint news conference with Sezer. Later, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with al-Yaver to discuss a number of issues, including bilateral relations. During their meeting, Erdogan briefed al- Yaver on Ankara’s concerns about Iraq’s future and its sensitivity about the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. “We have always supported Iraq’s territorial integrity,” said Erdogan, adding that the country’s ethnic structure should be protected. Erdogan also said that Ankara had requested the Iraqi government’s support to open a consulate in Mosul, another northern city, adding that such a consulate would help to create a diplomatic infrastructure in the country. For his part, al-Yaver said that Iraq’s problems were also the problems of the region, and warned that a failure to resolve these would also threaten the whole region. He said that Turkey was a friendly neighbor to his country and reiterated that he would never allow the terrorist group PKK/KONGRA-GEL to threaten Turkey’s security. Later, al-Yaver met with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul. /Turkiye_
 HACIBEKTAS FESTIVAL BEGINS IN NEVSEHIRThe annual Hacibektas Veli Commemoration Festival of Culture and Art in the central province of Nevsehir began yesterday. Culture and Tourism Minister Erkan Mumcu attended the festival’s opening as the government’s representative. /Aksam/
 SEZER, ARINC, ERDOGAN ISSUE MESSAGES FOR HACIBEKTAS FESTIVALPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday issued a message for the annual Hacibektas Veli Commemoration Festival of Culture and Art. In his message, Sezer emphasized that the philosophy of Hacibektas Veli, which is based on humanism, love, peace and tolerance, was the foundation of peace in Anatolia and that his ideas had contributed to the Turkish Republic’s democratic identity. Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc also issued a message lauding Hacibektas’s philosophy as a call for peace. In his message to the festival, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also stated that Hacibektas Veli’s ideas would be passed down from generation to generation and spread worldwide. /Star/
 TWO TURKISH TRUCK DRIVERS TAKEN HOSTAGE IN IRAQTwo Turkish truck drivers have been taken hostage in Iraq, their employers reported yesterday. Drivers Durmus Kumdereli and Mustafa Koksal, both from the southern town of Tarsus, left the Turkish port city of Mersin together on Aug. 3 to make deliveries, a family member said. Armed militants reportedly took Kumdereli and Koksal hostage on Saturday after they had dropped off their cargo and were returning to Turkey. They work for a firm based in Antalya. /Sabah/
 FIVE YEARS TODAY SINCE DEVASTATING MARMARA EARTHQUAKEToday is the fifth anniversary of the devastating Aug. 17, 1999 earthquake centered in Golcuk in Turkey’s Marmara region. Commemorations marking the tragedy were canceled due to weather officials’ warning that the region is expected to experience its heaviest rainfalls in a decade. The earthquake measuring 7.4 on the Richter scale struck the region at 3:02 a.m. taking some 17,000 lives and leaving thousands of families homeless in its wake. /Cumhuriyet/
 COSKUN: “INITIALLY ERASING SIX ZEROS FROM THE LIRA COULD CREATE PROBLEMS,
 BUT LATER IT WILL BENEFIT THE ECONOMY”Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun said yesterday that erasing six zeros from the lira could initially create certain problems, but that later it would benefit the economy and bring down inflation. The government plans to erase the zeros early next year. Touching on Turkey’s European Union membership bid, Coskun said that the government had worked very hard and passed necessary the EU harmonization laws for the bid. Coskun stressed that the government had also fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria and added that it would soon complete the Maastricht criteria. He said that he believed Turkey would get a date from the EU this December to begin its accession talks. /Turkiye/
 TRNC’S TALAT: “TRANSFERRING THE GAZIMAGUSA PORT TO THE EU IS OUT OF THE QUESTION”Transferring Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) port of Gazimagusa to European Union control is out of the question, said TRNC Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday, rebuffing Greek Cypriot media reports to that effect. “If we are to have free trade and export our goods to EU member states, our port should meet certain technical and administrative standards as required by EU rules,” added Talat. “An expert team can be tasked by the EU, but this doesn't mean that the port will be run by the EU. Moreover, the EU doesn’t operate any other port anywhere in the world.” /Star/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 A NEW ERA WITH IRAQ
 BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkey’s relations with the Iraqi interim government. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Ankara and Iraq’s interim government entered a new era in their bilateral relations when Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yaver arrived yesterday for a two- day visit to Turkey.
This is the first postwar high-level contact between our neighboring countries, a development which is expected to speed the normalization of bilateral relations. It is also al-Yaver’s first visit to a foreign country. His choosing Turkey for his first state visit shows that Baghdad places a high premium on its relations with Ankara. In addition, as Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is also expected to visit Turkey next month, our two countries seem to have plans to improve their relations further.
Domestic circles are now discussing whether it would be proper for Turkey to establish close relations with the Iraqi administration, as its legitimacy is still being questioned in the international community. We all know that both al-Yaver and Allawi are ‘appointed’ leaders. It was Washington which both handpicked them and also has close relations with most of the ministers comprising the interim government. Resistance forces are against not only the US occupation but also an Iraqi government controlled by Washington. These forces see the Yaver-Allawi regime as a ‘puppet’ of US forces.
However, under the current circumstances, we have no choice other than recognizing the interim government, which is currently trying to implement a political restructuring program for the upcoming elections in the war- devastated country.
In such a political restructuring period, Ankara has to establish close relations with the Iraqi administration, as Turkey is under the direct influence of developments in the region. Furthermore, Ankara is in contact not only with the interim government but also with representatives of certain societal segments including Kurdish, religious and tribal leaders.
Al-Yaver’s visit has provided Ankara with the opportunity to convey its views on Iraq’s reconstruction to Baghdad directly. Yesterday’s meetings focused on Turkey’s views concerning Iraq’s territorial and political integrity. Our officials warned Baghdad to take effective measures to protect their country’s integrity since the consequences would be grave for the region if they fail to do so.
Yesterday’s meetings showed that the Iraqi interim government wants to improve its relations with Turkey, paying special attention to Ankara’s views, warnings, and recommendations. It is hopeful for us that the Iraqi leaders believe that improved bilateral relations with Turkey are beneficial to their country.”
 WHAT DO THEY WANT FROM TURKEY?
 BY SERDAR TURGUT (AKSAM)Columnist Serdar Turgut writes on Turkey and the European Union. A summary of his column, a continuation of his unique views from yesterday, is as follows:
“Of course I don’t believe that the European Union is merely a religious institution serving spiritual goals alone. Life isn’t that simple. Organizations and individuals are so complex that they can’t be explained by being reduced to a single dimension.
The EU is certainly an organization which has its own political and economic goals, but we shouldn’t forget that those who founded the Union also had religious motives. One cannot fully comprehend the EU without understanding these motives. Unfortunately, the majority of our people know nothing of these. In political and business circles, the widespread belief is that the EU will bring democracy and human rights to Turkey. If we confine ourselves to such rose-tinted views, we will never be able to grasp the EU’s true nature.
But why is such an esoteric EU still interested in Turkey? The answer lies in the Middle East. The Union believes that it cannot accomplish its political, economic and religious goals in the Middle East, which includes holy territories, without Turkey’s help. It’s the fear of failure which forces Brussels to keep its close ties with Ankara. Both the US and the old continent are well aware that the ‘Turkey card’ is very important to them. The old friends are now struggling to establish their hegemony over the Middle East.
Let’s not forget that the ‘Master Plan’ of the 21st century is to be played on our country. Unfortunately, certain domestic circles are ready to cooperate with foreign powers to help them seize their goals. In the years to come, everything will turn upside down in our region. We shouldn’t be taken by surprise.”
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