|Saturday, 18 May 2013|
Turkish Press Review, 98-02-06
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From: Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs <http://www.mfa.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SUCCESS FOR CEM IN BAGHDADTurkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem pulled out all the stops when he spoke with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during his visit to Baghdad yesterday. Cem spoke with Saddam for one hour and ten minutes and during that time clearly put forward Turkey's proposals for restoring peace in the region.
Cem said that Turkey was ready to help Iraq rescue the present critical situation and restore the stability that prevailed in the region prior to 1990, on condition that Iraq agreed to get in line with UN decisions without a moment's delay. Foreign Minister Cem also reaffirmed that Turkey would continue to attach great importance to safeguarding Iraq's territorial integrity. He stressed that along with Iraq's acceptance of UN measures, Turkey would cooperate with Iraq to develop economic growth. The elimination of Iraq's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction would however be a matter of regional cooperation.
Reports following the almost 24 hour visit of Ismail Cem to Baghdad note that his visit was viewed "positively" both by the Iraqi leadership and the UN. Secretary General of the UN, Kofi Annan, has already praised Turkish efforts through Ismail Cem to mediate in the current crisis between Iraq, the UN and the US.
Leading CNN reporter covering the Iraq crisis from Baghdad, Peter Arnett, interviewed Cem after his official meetings and Cem again stressed that Turkey wanted a peaceful solution to the crisis. Cem was optimistic that Turkey would be instrumental in securing a peace without bloodshed.
Talking with journalists later, Cem said that the results of his visit confirmed that Turkey was indeed both an influential and powerful country in a position to do much to prevent a military confrontation. Cem warned that the danger was not yet over however, despite all the efforts being made to find agreement.
Back at home in Turkey, and around the world debate over the situation and when confrontation could break out continues unabated with some sources suggesting February 17. Fears that Iraqi forces could hit targets in Turkey have led to increased fears in sensitive areas around Incirlik base near Adana. Both Britain and the US have announced their intention to see the matter through to the end, and have promised each other total support. /All papers/
 HIGH-LEVEL US OFFICIAL IN ANKARACommander of the Turkish Naval Forces, Vice Admiral Salim Dervisoglu, received US Commander of the Sixth Fleet Vice Admiral Charles Abbot yesterday in his office, where Abbot said that the visit had nothing to do with the Iraq-UN crisis. Abbot noted that his area of duty was limited to the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, and added that he aimed to further develop bilateral relations with Turkey. Completing his contacts in Ankara, Abbot proceeded on to Antalya. The flagship of the US sixth fleet "USS Lasalle" arrived in Antalya yesterday. The ship, which carries 600 crewmen, will stay in Antalya until 9 February. /Sabah/
 TURKEY MARKS 61 YEARS OF SECULARISMOn the occasion of the 61st anniversary of secularism becoming a part of the Republic of Turkey's Constitutional Law, President Suleyman Demirel and party leaders issued messages reaffirming Turkey's belief in this principle, the Anatolian news agency reported.
President Demirel, emphasizing that secularism should not be regarded as an element of division or conflict, said, "Our people have long accepted secularism, which is one of the Turkish state's main principles and it will not be changed."
 PRESIDENT DEMIREL INVITES THE POPEPresident Demirel has oficially invited Pope John Paul II to Turkey. In his invitation Demirel said that he would be honoured to welcome the Pope to Turkey. Demirel also emphasized that the Pope's visit could well coincide with the anniversary in the year 2000 of Jesus Christ's birth, and could open a fresh page in relationships between the Vatican and Ankara. /Milliyet-Hurriyet/
 BAKU-CEYHAN PIPELINE CONSTRUCTIONEnergy and National Resources Minister Cumhur Ersumer said on Thursday that a report evaluating the feasibility and environmental impact of the Baku-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline, was ready.
Ersumer held a press conference on Thursday to announce that the research report on the pipeline which will carry Central Asian oil to Turkish Ceyhan harbour outlets was ready. Ersumer said that the report had been prepared by the German PLE company and that discussions regarding alternative projects would be completed within three days. /Sabah/
 CLASHES WITH PKK TERRORISTSIn ongoing clashes between Turkish security forces and PKK terrorists in the southeastern province of Mardin, 12 terrorists have been killed. One officer and two soldiers have also been killed in the clashes. /Sabah/
 GREEKS ATTACK TURKISH VESSELOn Tuesday night four Greek hooligans attacked a privately owned Turkish motor yacht moored in on the Khios island harbour. The owner of the vessel, Cesme Deputy Mayor Mustafa Cenger, is staying on the Greek island together with his family for holiday. The hooligans broke the windows of the motor yacht and tore apart the Turkish flag. /Sabah/
 WORLD BANK OFFICIALS VISIT SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIAOfficials from the World Bank affiliated International Finance Council (IFC) together with representatives of the Istanbul Chamber of Industry (ISO) will visit the southeastern cities of Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Sanliurfa and Diyarbakir. The visit aims to investigate the economic potential of the region and is organized in line with an agreement signed last November by ISO and World Bank officials in Washington. /Hurriyet/
 FOREIGN EXCHANGE RESERVES REACH $20 BILLIONCentral Bank foreign exchange reserves increased by $313 million during one week and reached $19.860 billion by 30 January. Foreign exchange reserves totalled $18.698 billion last year. International reserves increased by $44 million and amounted to $29.400 billion. Turkey paid out $143.5 million in foreign debts on 2-4 February. Since the beginning of this year, total payments have amounted to $1.490 billion. /Sabah/
 DEATH PENALTY TO BE ABOLISHEDA draft law, which envisages extensive changes in the Turkish Criminal Code affecting 496 articles, has been submitted to the Presidency of the Turkish Parliament. If the draft law is passed, the death penalty will be done away with and replaced by life imprisonment. /Sabah/
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