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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-07-02

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 122/09 02.07.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Eroglu rules out Ergenekon presence in Cyprus because there are 40,000 Turkish troops, Turkish embassy and MIT officials
  • [02] Eroglu puts the member of illegal settlers to 200,000
  • [03] Talat sets 2010 as a natural timetable and alleges that the sides will not have great differences on the guarantorship issue, yet differences exist on the issue of the Executive Administration
  • [04] The Orams lawyer, Nicholas Green, stated that the European Court of Justice is not influenced from the nationality of the judges
  • [05] Statements by Swedens ambassador to Ankara
  • [06] Davutoglu met General Petraeus in Ankara; He will travel to Moscow and Bucharest between 2-4 of July
  • [07] Colonel Cicek who was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to discredit the government was released after lawyers objection to his arrest
  • [08] The Minister of Energy of Turkey will pay an official visit to Russia
  • [09] Milliyet: The chapter of the Environment might be opened
  • [10] Sabah sees a tough race at the European Parliament on the issue of the appointment of the rapporteur for Turkey
  • [11] The AKP is in decline according to a recent public opinion poll
  • [12] Exports continue to decline in June with no prospects of recovery
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Turkish columnist describes the Incirlik US military base as a blessing and as a curse regarding Turkeys strategic importance

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Eroglu rules out Ergenekon presence in Cyprus because there are 40,000 Turkish troops, Turkish embassy and MIT officials

    Under the above title Todays Zaman (02.07.09) publishes the following:

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu has said Ankara's perspectives regarding the Cyprus problem are closer to the position of his nationalist National Unity Party (UBP) than the position of KKTC President Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Speaking with Today's Zaman following his talks in Ankara, Eroglu said Talat comes from the Republican Turks Party (CTP), which has traditionally not been in line with Ankara.

    The UBP has always been in line with the governments in Ankara. Every political party that comes to power in northern Cyprus knows that it has to be in line with Ankara's policies. In addition, our party looks to Turkey as the motherland. It is impossible to think that we are not in line with Ankara, he explained. Eroglu refuted allegations that circulated before the general elections in the Turkish part of the island, namely, that the UBP would burn its bridges with Ankara, which supports the negotiation process with the officials of the Greek part of the island that began under Talat's leadership.

    He said they have no problems with Ankara and that his five-hour meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went very well.

    Of course, we have had different views with Ankara regarding the Annan plan. We wanted to say no, and Talat and the Ankara government wanted to say yes. Now we see that we were right then. The Greek side said no, and their uncompromising approach was forgotten. They still ask to compromise, he said. Eroglu said they promised to support the negotiation process as soon as they swept the polls in April with 44 percent. But he noted that they -- unlike Talat -- do not expect there to be a final agreement with the Greek side by the end of 2009.

    Subtitle: Ergenekon claims absurd

    Eroglu, whose name is mentioned in the second indictment in the trial against Ergenekon, an armed clandestine network charged with planning to topple the government in Turkey, said claims that link him to the gang were absurd.

    How could a party head in a small country like the KKTC try to overthrow the government of Turkey? These claims can only be termed absurd, he said. Prior to the elections he had stated that he would do all he could to expose the Ergenekon organization should his party win the KKTC elections, but voiced disbelief in the group's existence.

    Eroglu interpreted former KKTC Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer's filing a request demanding an investigation into allegations against former KKTC President Rauf Denktas and his former prime minister as a political trick ahead of elections.

    Eroglu said that if he were involved in Ergenekon, he would have had no financial difficulties. We entered the elections with money we borrowed. They said I had 34 flats and several villas. The fact is that I rent an apartment. Only one of my four children is a teacher in a state school and working. I am the only prime minister in the world whose children have financial difficulties. Would it be like that if we supported Ergenekon? he asked. Eroglu also refuted claims that there is a deep state formation in the KKTC. There are 40,000 Turkish troops in the KKTC. We have our own security system. There is the Turkish embassy, and there are National Intelligence Organization [MIT] officials. When there are so many security forces in such a small country, is it possible to have a secret state formation? he asked.

    Eroglu surprisingly withdrew his presidential candidacy in 2000, when it was predicted he would win against Denktas. When asked about claims that he withdrew because he was pressured to do so by Ankara and deep state elements in the KKTC, Eroglu refuted the claims, saying: The government in Ankara had expressed from the beginning that they supported Denktas' presidency for another term. Had I seen that as pressure, I would not have been a candidate at all. Denktas won the presidential elections on the island in 2000, as he had the three previous elections.

    [02] Eroglu puts the member of illegal settlers to 200,000

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (02.07.09), in its front page under the title Eroglu: The best solution is exchange and compensation, reports that the so-called prime minister Dervis Eroglu, delivered a speech on the Cyprus issue in an event at Yildiz Saray organized by the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation. Mr Eroglu reminded that his party and himself as leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) objected to the Annan plan with a decision that was taken at the party assembly.

    Noting that 200,000 Turk citizens live in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Eroglu said: For 34 years now our Turk citizens have been living in this land and have continued their economic activities. They have given birth to their children; they have buried their elders in this land. In these conditions the Turks say that now the peace seeds have been sown and they will be removed from this land. They will be evicted from their houses, form their land, from their plots where they have been living. The Greek Cypriots will load their belongings on a lorry and come supposedly to sow the seeds of peace. By that time, the seeds of hostility will be sown. Because, they will remove by force from the houses those who have been staying for thirty odd years. When they leave the house, they will see that the Greek Cypriots will come and settle. This is not possible. The land of the TRNC is neither EU nor motherland Turkeys land. We live in a very small country.

    Noting that the property issue cannot be solved before an agreement is reached, Mr Eroglu said: The criteria of solving the property issue are clear. The exchange of property and compensations are the only way out.

    Mr Eroglu went on: On the Cyprus problem what is important is the final aim. An agreement is sought after. The form of the agreement. They say a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal solution. On our side too especially the left is stuck on this with four hands. They say bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution, but what is under these three words? The people of Cyprus should see this. Many promises were given prior to the Annan plan. Promises were given from some countries. The EU also went too far. It said that, they would lift the games played over Cyprus, the embargo and would start direct trade. But what happened? The talks were finished. The result was clear. We voted yes, the Greek Cypriots voted no. But none of the promises given has been fulfilled.

    Mr Eroglu also said: The accession of Turkey with this power into the EU will be for the benefit of the EU countries. However, unfortunately countries like France, Germany and Austria do every kind of manoeuvres to block Turkeys path. They try to ignore that a Greek Cypriot state of 800 thousand people is playing a game with the enormous Turkey.

    Saying that public opinion polls have been carried out asking what the Turkish Cypriot people would say if a plan like the Annan plan comes up, Mr Eroglu continued as following: The percentage of those who said that the current situation should continue is 7.2%, those who said integration with Turkey 4.8%, two completely separate independent states 66.4%, a confederation with a weak central structure 3.1%, a federation with a strong central structure 13.5%. This means that the rejection vote will be 70% if a plan like the Annan plan comes up. Therefore, if we remain stuck to the will of 24 April of 2004, we will be weakened at the negotiation table. These numbers strengthen the person who is at the negotiation table. If our esteemed president Talat knows to use his most powerful weapon, this is the TRNC.

    (DPs)

    [03] Talat sets 2010 as a natural timetable and alleges that the sides will not have great differences on the guarantorship issue, yet differences exist on the issue of the Executive Administration

    Under the title, If they leave us alone in a place, in ten days we will solve it and finish, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (02.07.09) publishes statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat during a breakfast meeting held yesterday with the representatives from the United Media Group, which includes Yeni Duzen daily newspaper, radio Sim and Channel Sim.

    As the paper writes, the meeting took place at the Presidential Palace in occupied Lefkosia and the main issues of the discussion were the developments in the Cyprus problem and the international agreements of the new government.

    Mr Talat stated that with President Christofias they reached to an agreement on the 80% of the chapters which have been laid on the table until now, that is the chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, EU issues and Economy. For this reason, he said, he is hopeful for the success of the negotiations, the paper writes. Mr Talat further added that President Christofias and he, have so far prepared 30 documents of which the 80% cover the issues on which the sides have reached an agreement. These issues are written in black, Mr Talat said and added that 20% of these 30 documents are written in blue and red ink, explaining that in red are the views of the Turkish Cypriot side and in blue the views of the Greek Cypriot side. Mr Talat further added that the two leaders have fully agreed on the issue of the federal structure and that they are too close to an agreement on the issue of federal legislation.

    Mr Talat also stated that President Christofias and he are having great differences on the issue of the Executive Administration and added that the proposal of the Turkish Cypriot side on the table of the negotiations is the Presidential Council formula. Mr Talat said: The Greek Cypriot side has suggested a formula of general voting. We suggest the Presidential Council on which there is a reference in the Annan Plan as well. However, the issue is open to discussion and negotiation.

    On the other hand, Mr Talat stated that he does not expect to have great difference on the guarantorship issue, which was not laid on the table yet. On the property issue, Mehmet Ali Talat noted that this is the most serious issue of the negotiations, noting that the map is the most difficult issue of all. Property is the most serious issue of the negotiations. The map is also the most difficult. That is why we let the map at the end, Mr Talat said.

    Under the subtitle Natural timetable the 2010 referendum, the paper writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader, inter alia, said: They do not accept timetables. We have a number of proposals, yet the Greek Cypriot side does not accept this, but it also does not raise objections. The natural timetable is a referendum in 2010, and if you have paid attention, such are the signals sent by the international community too. This is a period which will last no less than 6 8 months. Consider this. According to my point of view, if we are left closed up in a place for a week, ten days, this problem will be solved.

    Referring to the decision taken on Cyprus by Turkeys National Security Council (MGK), Mr Talat said that the decision was something expected for him, since there are always references to Cyprus in the press release issued on the outcomes of the MGK meetings.

    (ML/EA)

    [04] The Orams lawyer, Nicholas Green, stated that the European Court of Justice is not influenced from the nationality of the judges

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.07.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Trade of Britain organized in The Law Society in Holborn, England, a conference on the Orams case the other night.

    Speaking during the conference, Nicholas Green, one of the most esteemed lawyers of Britain and lawyer of the Orams couple said that the nationality of the judges who chair the European Court of Justice (ECJ) is not of importance and explained that the British High Court of Appeals has three options when it comes to the verdict of the Orams case: Either we will lose, or a verdict will be issued in favour of the Orams due to public interest, or the issue will be resent to the ECJ, Mr Green said.

    Touching upon the Orams case, Nicholas Green explained the difficulties existing in cases like this and added that from a political perspective, the Orams case is the most sensitive case he came across until today, therefore, no clear interpretations can be made at the time when the case is still in court. Mr Green also said that in Luxembourg neither Turkey, as a non-EU member, nor the TRNC as a regime not recognised, were represented.

    The decision made in favour of the Greek Cypriot side is very weak, Mr Green said goes on Kibris. As regards the issue of a Greek judge being the chairman of the ECJ, Nicholas Green said: The court is not influenced by the nationality of the judges.

    During the conference Andrew Grossman, member of the Columbia Bar Association and specialist on conflict resolution among countries, and Dr. Angela Ward, member of the Irish Bar Association were also speakers in the conference.

    (ML)

    [05] Statements by Swedens ambassador to Ankara

    Todays Zaman (02.07.09) publishes the following report under the title:

    Sweden tames high expectations over progress in Turkey talks Turkey's European Union membership process should not be reduced to a debate on the number of negotiation chapters being opened during each rotating term presidency of the 27-nation bloc, the Swedish ambassador to Turkey said on Wednesday, when his country officially took over the rotating presidency of the EU for the next six months.

    Swedish Ambassador Christer Asp's remarks, delivered in an interview with the Anatolia news agency, appeared as a bid to reduce Ankara's expectations of his country's term presidency to a more reasonable level, as it followed remarks by Turkish officials who spoke of opening four negotiation chapters with the EU during the upcoming six months.

    I know that there is a number game and a debate concerning the chapter issue, and I don't participate in it. The negotiation mechanism does not function with this number game', Asp was quoted as saying by Anatolia when reminded of debates suggesting that opening accession talks on an average of two chapters during every term presidency of the EU, which rotates among member states for six-month periods, had almost become a tradition.

    Ankara has long complained that the number of chapters opened during the six-month rotating presidencies of the 27-nation bloc were constantly limited to two, despite the fact that technical requirements for opening new chapters were fulfilled. While expressing Stockholm's readiness for opening all chapters as long as Turkey fulfils their requirements, Asp, however, underlined that the remaining chapters were difficult.

    To conclude entry negotiations, Turkey has to bring its government policies in line with EU standards in 35 different policy areas, known as chapters. Of these, only 11 have been opened in the last four years. Of the remaining 24, eight faced a veto from Greek Cyprus and Greece. While blocking the eight chapters in 2006 due to Turkey's refusal to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic, the EU pledged to review the situation by the end of 2009. Ankara has so far managed to wrap up talks on one: science and research.

    It is wrong to look at how many chapters have been opened. What matters is maintaining progress in the negotiation process, Asp said. In Brussels on Tuesday for a ministerial conference for opening of negotiations on the taxation chapter, the 11th and only chapter opened during the previous Czech presidency of the bloc, Turkey's chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, said his government was ready to widen the membership negotiations in such policy areas as energy, environment, competition, social policy, education and culture if some EU countries were ready to lift their vetoes to do so.

    We will do our best to help Europe solve its energy crisis, but we would also like to see the energy chapter opened for logical reasons, Bagis told reporters after talks with EU officials. He said his country is determined to play the game within the rules, but noted that it was unfair for some EU countries to keep blocking progress in the talks.

    The European Commission has urged EU countries to open talks in the so-called energy chapter to speed up EU efforts to find alternative gas and oil routes. The EU gets most of its natural gas from Russia through Ukraine. However, a price dispute between Russia and Ukraine led to supply cut-offs last winter. Turkey is selling itself as a more reliable route through which to ship energy supplies to the 27-nation bloc. The energy chapter is one of the eight chapters being blocked by Greek Cyprus and Greece.

    Most amazingly, at a time when Europe is having an energy crisis, one small member state enjoying the Mediterranean sun, which is not affected can jeopardize the energy needs of 490 million Europeans by blocking this chapter, Bagis said, in an apparent reference to Greek Cypriot stubbornness, while underlining Turkish calls that its entry bid be based on fairness.

    Subtitle: Asp rules out last date on Cyprus

    In Ankara on Wednesday, Asp reiterated the EU's call on Turkey to implement an additional protocol to the customs union between Turkey and the EU demanding the opening of Turkey's seaports and airports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

    I don't agree that there is a last date' on the Cyprus issue, Asp said when reminded of the fact that the EU would review the situation on the Cyprus issue by the end of this year.

    The European Commission will draw up a report on the issue, and we will continue the debate according to the report. On the other side, there is an ongoing negotiation process concerning Cyprus, and the international community is supporting this process. Nicosia is today the only divided capital in the world, and this capital is inside the EU.

    Consequently, it should be focused on supporting both of the [Greek and Turkish Cypriot] leaders for finding a resolution to the Cyprus issue because this will remove the tension in the accession negotiations and may lead to a start of talks on the eight negotiation chapters which were frozen.

    [06] Davutoglu met General Petraeus in Ankara; He will travel to Moscow and Bucharest between 2-4 of July

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.07.09) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish foreign minister met Wednesday with chief commander of the U.S. Central Command in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

    Ahmet Davutoglu met General David H. Petraeus, commander of the USCENTCOM at the Turkish Foreign Ministry Headquarters, and the two were reported to have exchanged views on issues such as security and military cooperation between Turkey and the United States as well as foreign policy matters. Davutoglu and Petraeus also discussed latest developments concerning Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Moreover, Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.07.09) also reports the following:

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will travel to Moscow and Bucharest between July 2 and 4.

    According to a statement issued by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Davutoglu will meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov in Moscow.

    Davutoglu will proceed to Bucharest after completing talks in Moscow. In Bucharest, Davutoglu will meet with his Romanian counterpart Christian Diaconescu.

    [07] Colonel Cicek who was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to discredit the government was released after lawyers objection to his arrest

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.07.09) reports the following from Istanbul:

    Colonel Dursun Cicek who was arrested on Wednesday following his interrogation by prosecutors carrying out the "Ergenekon" investigation was released after his lawyer objected to his arrest.

    Col. Cicek was arrested following the 8.5 hour long National Security Council meeting, which brought together the government and the military under the chairmanship of President Abdullah Gul.

    [08] The Minister of Energy of Turkey will pay an official visit to Russia

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.07.09) reports the following from Istanbul:

    Turkey's energy minister departed from Istanbul for Russia as the official guest of his Russian counterpart on Wednesday.

    Holding a press conference prior to his departure from Ataturk Airport, Turkish Natural Resources and Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that he would pay a two-day visit to Moscow upon an invitation from Russian Energy Minister Sergey Ivanovich Shmatko.

    Yildiz said cooperation opportunities in energy sector, commercial, industrial and construction activities, energy packages including Blue Stream 2 and nuclear issue would be on the agenda of his talks in Russia.

    Upon a question on whether Nabucco Project would lose its significance due to the Shah Sea agreement signed by Russia and Azerbaijan, Yildiz said Shah Sea and Nabucco projects were not alternatives of each other.

    "These are different projects in different platforms. Shah Sea and Nabucco are not alternatives of each other. Choosing one of them does not mean that we would give up the other," Yildiz said.

    Commenting on the clearing of the mine-fields in the south-east of Turkey and oil exploration licenses, Yildiz said Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and private sector had licensed fields in the region, adding that nearly 2,500 barrels of oil was drilled in the licensed fields within the mined territory every day.

    "The company that will clear the mines in those fields will not get the possession of the oil or natural gas reserves in such lands. This is a separate process that has separate regulations," Yildiz said.

    [09] Milliyet: The chapter of the Environment might be opened

    Under the title The chapter of the Environment might be opened and Suggestion from Stockholm for chapter, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (02.07.09) reports that although Sweden, which took over the EU term presidency today, is determined to proceed with the accession negotiations of Turkey, it suggests to Ankara not to have many expectations on the issue of the opening of chapters. A high ranking official said that the number of chapters which could be opened in the period of six months will be one or two, reports journalist Guven Ozalp from Stockholm. The paper notes that Stockholm is facing the problem of some countries, such a France, having opposite views with it on the issue of Turkey and points out that Environment is the chapter which most probably will open in Turkeys accession negotiations. The opening of this chapter is easy, but it has such a character that it may take years for it to close, notes the paper adding the following:

    The opening of other chapters will depend on the steps which Ankara will take. Sweden, in accordance with the position cultivated by Turkey, intents to undertake initiative for the chapter of Energy as well which is blocked by the Greek Cypriot sector. Ankara supports that in a period when everybody discusses energy, it is unacceptable for a country which faces no energy problem to endanger the security of the EU in this field. There is serious discomfort in Sweden on the issue of the policies followed by France regarding Turkey. The reason for this is the fact that the positions of the two countries are diametrically opposite on the issue of Turkey. This situation is seen as the most important factor which will stop Sweden from taking easily steps on the issue of Turkey. The French President, Nikolas Sarkozy, who had postponed his visit to Sweden with the pretext of statements made by the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt in favor of Turkey before the elections for the European Parliament, will make this visit tomorrow.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Sabah sees a tough race at the European Parliament on the issue of the appointment of the rapporteur for Turkey

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (02.07.09) reports from Brussels that a race started among the political groups at the European Parliament (EP) on the issue of the appointment of the rapporteur for Turkey. In spite of the fact that the main issue on the agenda is the election of the new President of the EU Commission, tough bargaining is also taking place on the appointment if the new rapporteur for Turkey, notes Duygu Leloglu, Sabahs correspondent in Brussels. All the political groups of the EP want this position because they consider it as an opportunity to show themselves off, reports the paper adding that Turkeys job will be difficult in case the Christian Democrats take this position. Citing information from the political backstage in Brussels, the paper describes as high the possibility of the Christian Democrats holding the file of Turkey in their hands for the next five years. It is noted that the Dutch MEP Ria Oomen Ruijten, who was the rapporteur for Turkey during the past two years, insists on continuing her duties. The paper writes that in spite of the fact that her political group is divided into two on the issue of Turkey, Mrs Ruijten prepared relatively balanced reports regarding Turkey. Other names that are being discussed in the backstage for the same position are those of the British Andrew Duff, Liberal Democrat expert on Turkey, and Johannes Swoboda, member of the Socialist Group.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] The AKP is in decline according to a recent public opinion poll

    Under the title The decline in the AKP continues, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (02.07.09) reports that according to a research carried out by SONAR research company between 8 and 22 of June 2009, the percentages of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) continue to fall since March 2008, while the other parties increased their percentages. According to the research which was held in 15 provinces, 20 towns and 20 villages in the entire Turkey with the participation of 2.853 persons, the parties would receive the following percentages in case elections were carried out today: AKP 36.26%, Republican Peoples Party (CHP) 25.13%, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 15.26%, Democratic Society Party (DTP) 6.08%, Felicity Party (SP) 5.42%, Democrat Party (DP) 5.12%, Democratic Left Party (DSP) 2.39% and other parties 3.98%.

    [12] Exports continue to decline in June with no prospects of recovery

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (02.07.09) reports the following:

    Turkey's exports continued to slide further, by 32.78 percent to $8.1 billion, in June 2009 over the same month of the previous year, the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) has announced. The most recent data were announced yesterday in the southeastern Anatolian province of Mardin at a press conference convened by TIM President Mehmet Buyukeksi.

    According to TIM figures, widely respected as the semi-official institution that keeps track of every penny earned out of sales abroad, the cumulative number reached $43.87 billion in the first half of the year. Meanwhile, annual exports as of the end of June were down 15.51 percent over the same period a year ago, at $104.4 billion. The manufacturing industry, which accounted for 85.6 percent of all exports, logged $6.95 billion sales in the sixth month, marking a 35.36 percent decline over the same month of 2008.

    Agriculture, on the other hand, earned 6.55 percent less in the same months, making $944.8 million from its overseas sales. Mining, too, sustained a heavy loss of 28.9 percent, coming in at $222.9 million.

    As regards industry subsectors, the lion's share of exports belonged to the auto manufacturing and parts industry with 19.2 percent. It was followed by the ready-wear and textile business with a 13.64 percent share and iron and steel with a 10.68 percent share. Meanwhile, revenues from exports of iron and steel products experienced a sharp drop in June of 62.17 percent.

    Only four sectors enjoyed an increase in their exports last month: dehydrated produce (47.15 percent), cut flowers (35.4 percent), fisheries and animal products (15.3 percent) and produce (4.45 percent).

    The top 10 countries importing from Turkey in June were Germany, France, Italy, Britain, Iraq, the US, Spain, Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The best customer, Germany, accounted for 9.65 percent of all Turkish exports. France took in 6.66 percent while the Italians imported 6.46 percent of all of Turkey's sales abroad.

    Turkey's best performing province in June was, as is usually the case, Istanbul, which was responsible for 48 percent of all exports. Its closest rival was Bursa, which accounted for 9.52 percent of total export revenues last month. Following them were Izmir, Kocaeli, Ankara, Gaziantep, Manisa, Hatay, Sakarya and Denizli.

    The Board of Turkish Exporters hold a press conference in Mardin to announce export figures for the month of June, which were down 28.9 percent over the same month of the previous year.

    In terms of companies, the list was topped by the Turkish Petroleum Refineries Corporation (TUPRAS), Ford Otomotiv, Oyak-Renault Otomotiv, TOFAS, Toyota, GISAD Foreign Trade, Vestel, HABAS, ICDAS Steel, Energy and Shipyard and Yucel Boru.

    After providing detailed information on export figures, Buyukeksi found time to share his remarks regarding them as well as his assessments on recent economic developments.

    He said that the dire 13.8 percent contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter of 2009 will make it necessary for the central bank to continue with interest rate cuts.

    The calamitous quarterly contraction figure will also force the government to revise downward all of its expectations for this year, he noted, and estimated that everyone has to prepare for the possibility that GDP will be down by 5 percent in all of 2009. "Still, no one should lose their determination to overcome today's hurdles," he noted, and went on to say: "We have to save 2010 and the years after it by taking wise measures. Everyone has to now be aware of the fact that we are striving to weather the difficulties of a recession, which has only rarely taken place in the past to this extent and with such devastating damage."

    Although the central bank has hinted that rate cuts may be suspended for some time to come, at least until the fall of 2009, Buyukeksi argued that proper and healthy growth dynamics have yet to appear and that further rate cuts may be necessary to trigger a reinvigoration of the economy amid the harsh global economic crisis.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Turkish columnist describes the Incirlik US military base as a blessing and as a curse regarding Turkeys strategic importance

    Istanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (01.07.09) published the following article by Soner Cagaptay under the title Incirlikization:

    Oftentimes, lecturing on Turkey to audiences across the United States, I find myself amiss, in need of a map to identify Turkey's geographic location. In such cases, I resort to a virtual map, using my fingers to sketch Turkey's surrounding regions: the Middle East, Europe, Black Sea, Mediterranean and Caucasus. However, this virtual map often further confuses my audience, leaving people wondering where Turkey really is.

    Then, I utter the magic word: Incirlik. This base in southern Turkey, one of the U.S. military's most important airbases, often appears to be more important than Turkey.

    People who do not know Turkey's location know where Incirlik is and it is hard to find anyone in the U.S. military who has not stopped at Incirlik en route to a post.

    Incirlik is a blessing, endowing Turkey with importance in policymakers' eyes. But it is also a curse, reducing Turkey's strategic importance to the number of flights that can be flown through the base.

    This phenomenon, Incirlikization, is a pitfall for U.S. President Barack Obama. If President Obama reduces his Turkey policy to Incirlik, he would be repeating the mistakes of the past administration, setting up a short-term transactional relationship with Turkey at the expense of long-term, multi-faceted, and strategic cooperation with Ankara.

    To be fair, Incirlik is important to the United States and Turkey. Aviation experts say that, as far as airbases go, Incirlik is as good as it gets.

    Thanks to a confluence of topography, runway architecture, and weather conditions, Incirlik is a rare base that can accommodate any plane at any time and also nearly as many planes as one can imagine.

    Seventy percent of all cargo going to Iraq and Afghanistan passes through Incirlik, and the base sits only minutes-flight away from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Israel.

    Incirlik is an asset for Turkey as well, providing Ankara with a tangible possession to flaunt in Washington when needed.

    Not a year goes by that yet another "Armenian Genocide" bill in the U.S. Congress is thwarted thanks to the "Incirlik factor," Washington's fear that U.S. military access to Incirlik would be hampered if the United States offended Turkey.

    All that is well and good, but Incirlikization -- focusing solely on the number of planes the United States can fly through Turkey to Iraq and Afghanistan -- miscalculates Turkey's strategic value to Washington. Turkey is militarily important for Washington, but that is a short-term and narrow vision. The country's strategic value far exceeds what Incirlik provides.

    Since the Iraq War, despite the efforts of Turkey specialists in the U.S. government, Incirlikization has been the leitmotiv of bilateral ties. U.S.-Turkish relations have focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, with the chief concern being Washington's capacity to use Incirlik to fly planes to and from these countries. This development came at the expense of previous and vital U.S.-Turkish cooperation in the Caucasus, Black Sea, Central Asia, and within Europe and NATO.

    President Obama has a grasp of this issue. In this regard, the new administration's early policy review on Turkey is a useful effort to expand the foundation of the countries' relationship beyond Incirlik and take full advantage of Turkey's strategic value to the United States. But with Iraq and Afghanistan remaining major concerns for the Obama administration, Washington always faces an Incirlikization trap.

    Incirlikization reduces the U.S.-Turkish relationship to a transaction, preventing the alliance from gaining its full potential as a values and interests-based relationship. Incirlikization also presents long-term challenges. For the moment, Washington can fly planes as it wishes through Incirlik, but if President Obama does not convert the U.S.-Turkish relationship from a transactional one into a strategic one, Incirlik might not be securely available for United States disposal in the long-term.

    In this regard, Washington's experience with Kyrgyzstan and the Manas base in that country ought to be telling.

    After September 11, U.S.-Kyrgyz ties were bolstered through U.S access to Kyrgyzstan's Manas base for flights into Afghanistan.

    In due course, Manas dominated the U.S.-Kyrgyz relationship.

    Kyrgyzstan's recent threat to expel the U.S. from Manas, subsequent to Russian lobbying, serves as a warning that, when reduced to a transactional nature, ties between the United States and other countries will face serious pressures from third countries.

    What is good for the U.S.-Turkish relationship is also good for Incirlik. Only a strategic, multi-faceted relationship, supported by the Turkish public, will provide the United States with unhindered and long-term access to Incirlik.

    Accordingly, the U.S. administration should be interested in Turkey not just through the lens of its capacity to use Incirlik, but also with an eye to a broader and sustainable strategic relationship.

    Ensuring that Turkey's European Union accession moves forward and that Turkey consolidates its liberal democratic political system, for instance, should be as important of goals as maintaining a steady flow of planes taking off and landing at Incirlik.

    A non-European Turkey will be a half-hearted and irregular U.S. ally. President Obama would be better served in making sure that Turkey is not Incirlikized, yet again.

    EG/


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