|Sunday, 17 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 02-04-30
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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> <map name="FPMap1"> <_map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 CAUCAUSUS SUMMIT BEGINSTurkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Azerbaijani President Eduard Shevardnadze and Georgian President Haydar Aliyev along with the three countries’ interior ministers met yesterday in Turkey’s Black Sea region to begin their Caucasus Summit. The three presidents are set to sign today a security cooperation agreement and a pact against terrorism and organized crime, including drug smuggling and illegal weapons trafficking. Speaking at the opening of the gathering, President Sezer said, “We believe that this meeting will contribute to peace and stability in the region.” Sezer also said that the new conditions in the region after last September’s terrorist attacks make it necessary for the countries to take common action. /Hurriyet/
 CABINET APPROVES ISAF COMMAND TAKEOVERThe Cabinet yesterday officially approved taking over the command of the peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan (ISAF) for a period of six months after Great Britain relinquishes the helm. A specific date has not yet been given for Turkey to take over the ISAF, but there will be negotiations with the countries participating in the force and the United Nations in order to set a date. /Hurriyet/
 YILMAZ: “TURKEY NEEDS TO TAKE FURTHER STEPS FOR EU MEMBERSHIP”Deputy Prime Minister and Motherland Party (ANAP) leader Mesut Yilmaz said yesterday that Turkey needs to take further step in order to gain European Union membership. Speaking at a conference on Turkey and the EU held in Ankara, Yilmaz also stated that it was absolutely necessary to remove capital punishment from Turkey’s legal system as well as take further measures to protect freedom of expression and political freedom. Another important step would be to remove barriers to Turkish citizens broadcasting in their mother tongue, Yilmaz added. Yilmaz also remarked that the EU was acting incorrectly concerning Cyprus. The EU is asking Turkey to find a political solution on the island while starting membership negotiations with the Greek side, Yilmaz said. /Cumhuriyet/
 AMNESTY BILL CONTINUES TO MAKE WAVESDespite President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s veto last week of a controversial amnesty bill, inmates in some cities have already begun to be released, reports said yesterday. Addressing the issue, Parliament Speaker Omer Izgi yesterday said, “As long as the bill has yet to pass into law, such releases are improper.” Meanwhile, Minister Hikmet Sami Turk said that the bill would be debated again in Parliament and eventually sent back to the president in its current form, unchanged. Turk stressed that the bill could legally stand on its own two feet and was by no means tailored to give amnesty to any inmates in particular. Speaking in Trabzon at a Caucasus region presidential summit, Sezer told reporters that the bill emerged at the end of a six-month period mandated by the Constitutional Court. Sezer remarked that even though the bill had been labeled a “conditional release,” in substance it was still an amnesty, and so passing it legally required a three-fifths majority in Parliament. /All Papers/
 KIVRIKOGLU: “EUROPE IS PROTECTING TERRORIST GROUPS”Chief of General Staff Gen. Huseyin Kivrikoglu said yesterday that Turkey has been unable to get the necessary support from its European allies in its struggle against terrorism. Appearing on CNN Turk, Kivrikoglu said, “In spite of our numerous requests, some European countries have not taken any measures against terrorist organizations such as the PKK and the DHKP-C. Businessman Ozdemir Sabanci’s murderer has not been extradited to Turkey in spite of all our efforts. To date the PKK and the DHKP-C, two of the world’s most notorious and murderous terrorist organizations, have not been included on the EU’s terrorist organizations list. Nor can we forget how our friends and allies coddled the Armenian terrorist organization ASALA.” Stating that the DHKP-C had committed more than 350 murders yet was still being protected, Kivrikoglu added, “Their approach to this organization is one of the most important signs showing their insincere approach to Turkey on this issue. It is common knowledge that certain countries support terrorist organizations, that they take no notice of their activities, and that they even use these organizations as tools in their foreign policy. Even the struggle against terrorism that is being carried out in Turkey is considered from the point of view and rhetoric of terrorist organizations.” /Milliyet/
 DENKTAS AND CLERIDES MEET IN BUFFER ZONETurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas met yesterday with his Greek counterpart Glafcos Clerides in Cyprus’ Buffer Zone. Denktas told reporters afterward that the Turkish side had presented a “non-paper document” to the Greeks and was awaiting their response to it. Denktas called the “non-paper document” a statement of the TRNC’s views to solve the Cyprus problem. /Cumhuriyet/
 NEW EU TERRORIST LIST MIGHT INCLUDE PKK, BUT NOT DHKP-CThe European Union’s Permanent Representative Council will add the terrorist group PKK to its revised list of terrorist organizations, EU sources said yesterday. However, the sources added, the other terrorist group that Turkey wants added, the DHKP-C, will not be on the new list. /Cumhuriyet/
 DERVIS GETS “ECONOMY MINISTER OF THE YEAR” AWARDState Minister for the Economy Kemal Dervis yesterday received his “Economy Minister of the Year” award from British finance magazine The Banker. Dervis was announced as the recipient of the honor earlier this month. He received the award in Istanbul, and while in the city he also gave a speech at a midday panel on “Tax Policies’ Role in the Development of Capital Market” at the Istanbul Stock Exchange (IMKB). /Turkiye/
 BRITISH PARLIAMENT REPORT: “TURKEY IS THE ISLAMIC WORLD’S ONLY SECULAR DEMOCRACY”A just-released report on Turkey prepared by Britain’s House of Common’s Foreign Relations Committee states, “Turkey is the main power in its region and the only secular democracy within the Islamic world.” The 11-member committee’s sixth annual report on Turkey, weighing in at 125 pages, also addresses the nation’s bid for EU membership, saying that both sides were hampered by prejudices in their mutual dealings. The MPs write that such cultural, religious, and historical hostilities needed to be abandoned in order to make progress. EU member Greece’s right of veto, the report adds, coupled with Turkey and Greece’s historically troubled relationship are making the accession process even more complicated. The MPs also note Turkey’s objections that it is not receiving treatment equal to that afforded other EU membership candidates. /Aksam/
 DYP PROPOSES TWO-ROUND ELECTION SYSTEMThe True Path Party (DYP) yesterday submitted to the Parliament for consideration an amendment to Turkey’s Election Law. The amendment proposes the establishment of a two-round election system for Parliament much like the one recently under the spotlight in France. Under it, all parties could complete in the first round of voting for Parliament, but only the two attracting the most votes could then proceed to the second round. The DYP said it submitted the amendment in the hope of ensuring stability in Turkish politics. After the success of right-wing extremist Jean-Marie Le Pen in France’s first round of presidential elections earlier this month, political circles in Turkey began to discuss changing the domestic election system to one like France’s, where voters have a second chance to reject marginal politicians and parties. /Turkiye/
 BOZKURT NAMED TO HEAD OIBTurgut Bozkurt has been selected to be the new chairman of the Privatization Administration Board (OIB), State Minister Yýlmaz Karakoyunlu said yesterday. Karakoyunlu said that a degree to that effect had been sent to the Cabinet. The OIB’s pervious head, Ugur Bayar, stepped down from the post last week. /Akþam/
 STATE MINISTER GUREL INVITES PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN BORONDeclaring that Eti Holding lacked the ability to invest in all aspects of boron excavation and production, State Minister Sukru Sina Gurel yesterday invited Turkey’s private sector to make investments in the valuable mineral. Gurel noted that 63% percent of the world’s boron reserves lie within Turkey’s borders. “Private sector concerns can invest together with Eti Holding as partner, or if they wish by themselves,” Gurel said, addressing potential investors and entrepreneurs. In the latter case the state will give them logistic and technical support, he added. Eti has enjoyed a monopoly on most aspects of boron production in Turkey for over 20 years. /Turkiye/
 ITALIAN MUSICIANS TO GIVE CONCERT IN ANKARATwo premier Italian musicians are set to give a concert at Middle East Technical University’s (METU) Culture and Congress Hall this Thursday. Vocalist Anna Maria Castelli and pianist Giorgio Gaslini, who is also a composer and the conductor of the Milan Orchestra, will perform poems set to music by renowned writer and musician Leo Ferre. The concert is sponsored jointly by the Ankara Jazz Association, Ankara’s Italian Cultural Center and METU. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 A SUMMIT OPEN TO MISUNDERSTANDINGS BY SEMIH IDIZ (STAR)Columnist Semih Idiz writes on the triple summit between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia which is currently being held in Trabzon. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The issues which are being discussed at the ongoing triple summit between the Turkish, Azerbaijani and Georgian presidents in the Black Sea city of Trabzon are open to misunderstandings and misjudgments. The mutual lack of confidence between Moscow and Baku stemming from Russia’s considerable influence upon Armenia as well as the United States’ increasing effect on Azerbaijan is casting shadow on bilateral relations between Russia and Azerbaijan. Furthermore, Moscow’s and Yerevan’s concerns increased after Turkey and the US recently sent military consultants to Georgia. Everybody is also aware that the US, which is a close ally of Turkey, is currently seeking further military cooperation with both Azerbaijan and Georgia.
In brief, the triple summit in Trabzon has been unable to avoid giving the impression to the international community that its aim is to form a triple alliance backed by the US, while excluding some other related countries. Azerbaijan and Georgia might be in favor of giving such an impression since it provides them with the opportunity to convince the world that Turkey and the US support them.
However, we have to discuss what consequences such a label would might bring in terms of Turkey’s interests.
There is no doubt that Turkey’s relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan are of great importance. Ankara has to improve its relations with those countries.
However, we should not forget that our goals of normalizing relations with Armenia and Russia also carry equal importance. Every strategic plan Ankara makes without ensuring Russia’s support is likely to fail. Turkey also has to take into consideration the negative effects of the so-called genocide issue in Europe and the US.
Accordingly, I believe that the Trabzon summit should have included Armenia and Russia. Such an initiative bringing together all the related parties could have been a step forward on the path towards a more comprehensive ‘Caucasus Summit.’ I believe such a summit would affect Turkish-Armenian relations very positively. There are already signs that Turkey and Armenia are currently seeking opportunities to improve relations. Consider, for instance, May’s NATO meeting to be held in Reykjavik which will bring together the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers.
However, the current Trabzon summit unfortunately seems to be an event which could increase tensions in the Caucasus and destroy the delicate balances between the involved countries, rather than helping to sustain peace and stability in the region.”
 ARAFAT’S RETURN BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the recent diplomatic moves to lift Israeli’s siege on Yasser Arafat’s compound. A summary of his column is as follows:
“All eyes are on the West Bank town of Ramallah as diplomatic efforts are underway between American, British and Palestinian officials as a part of a deal with Israel to ease the siege on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. In the near future Arafat is likely to return to a more appropriate setting in his post as leader of the Palestinian people.
Parallel to these diplomatic moves, hopes are also increasing that violence might end in the Middle East, which would pave the way to a period of peaceful diplomacy among the involved parties.
There is no doubt that there is a long way ahead on the path towards permanent peace and stability in the region. However, Arafat’s return would be the most important step towards this end. As we all know, four Palestinian militants were convicted of the killing of Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi at a trial in Arafat’s compound on Thursday and sentenced to lengthy jail terms. However, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon put forward the extradition of these militants to Israel as a condition to lift the army’s siege on Arafat. This dispute was settled after US President George W. Bush’s telephone diplomacy convinced Sharon to end the siege. One of the factors behind Bush’s successful move seems to be his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. Bush suddenly became aware that if he fails to convince Sharon to lift the siege, the first country to suffer great losses would be the United States. This prospect seems to have concentrated Bush’s mind and motivated his moves. In fact, the international community has already been putting pressure on the US and Israel to release Arafat. Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem and his Greek counterpart George Papandreou are among the major figures who made efforts towards this goal. After the end of Israeli’s siege, Arafat will have to consider the future of his people, rather than the past. He has a great responsibility to undertake…”
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