|Tuesday, 12 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 05-03-16
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>
Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER TO PAY TWO-DAY OFFICIAL VISIT TO SYRIA IN APRILPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer is set to pay an official visit to Syria on April 13-14. Diplomatic sources stated that although Ankara agrees with the views of international community about Syria’s regional policy, Turkey will determine the future course of its relations with its neighbor without allowing any third party interference. Washington had recently urged Ankara to join international calls for total Syrian troop withdrawal from Lebanon, stressing that the government should define its place in a global consensus that Damascus should pull its forces out immediately. US Ambassador to Ankara Eric Edelman recently said that Washington hoped Turkey would “join in” the international community, which was interpreted to mean that Turkish officials should not pay visits to Damascus. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN TO BE CHIEF NEGOTIATOR IN EU TALKSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that he himself would serve as chief negotiator during Turkey’s European Union accession talks. Speaking at a five-hour Justice and Development Party (AKP) Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting, the premier stated that as he has frequent contacts with all EU leaders, he would be the one carrying out the talks. “An appointee will go to places when I am unable,” added Erdogan. Briefing the board on his recent visit to Madrid, Spain to attend a summit on terrorism, Erdogan said that he had had a fruitful meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. “I expressed our expectation of concrete steps on the Cyprus issue from both the EU and the UN,” said the premier. Pointing to Annan’s call for a meeting to discuss the issue in detail in New York, Erdogan signaled that he would travel to the US in June. /Milliyet/
 MACEDONIAN PRIME MINISTER VISITS TURKEYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his visiting Macedonian counterpart Vlado Buckovski. At a joint press conference, the two leaders expressed their determination to further develop economic ties between the two countries. Pointing to the deep-rooted historical relationship between the two nations, Erdogan said that the visit would lend new momentum to this relationship. He said Ankara expected to increase the current $200 million trade volume between the countries. For his part, Buckovski thanked Turkey for its support during his country’s process of gaining independence, adding that his visit to Turkey had confirmed their friendship. Erdogan added that he was planning to visit Macedonia this May, and in the evening, he hosted a banquet in honor of his Macedonian counterpart. /Turkiye/
 GUL: “THE POLICE ACTION AGAINST WOMEN’S DAY PROTESTORS HURT TURKEY’S INTERNATIONAL IMAGE”Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in London for an official visit, said yesterday in a newspaper interview that last week’s police actions against Women’s Day protestors had adversely affected Turkey’s international image. Speaking in Monday’s Financial Times, Gul said that the incident was being investigated and that those policemen responsible would be punished after being identified. “The result of the investigation will be announced in a few days,” he said. “The duty of the police is to stop violence, not mete out punishment.” Touching on Ankara’s European Union membership bid, Gul said that Ankara was continuing its preparations in order to begin its EU accession talks, denying claims that Ankara had “reform fatigue.” He stated that Ankara was ready to sign the Ankara Agreement additional protocol and that trade ties between Greek Cyprus and Turkey were developing. Also touching on Turkey’s relations with the International Monetary Fund, Gul said that a new standby agreement could be approved in early April. /Cumhuriyet/
 PARLIAMENT COMMISSION TO DEBATE TCK AMENDMENTSA Misdemeanor Bill submitted to the Parliament Speaker’s Office by the government has been sent to a subcommission by Parliament’s Justice Commission to deal with certain amendments. The legislation, prepared in line with the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), includes several changes that affect the daily life of citizens. The new TCK is expected to go into effect on April 1. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT PASSES STUDENT AMNESTY WITH QUALIFIED MAJORITYParliament yesterday passed a controversial student amnesty bill by 349-28, well ahead of the 330 votes required for a qualified majority. Last week, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed the amnesty, saying that it had not been passed by the necessary qualified majority. The pardon covers students expelled from their schools since June 29, 2000, regardless of the reason for their expulsion. /Aksam/
 BAYKAL CRITICIZES FLOATING EXCHANGE RATE POLICYAddressing his party’s group meeting yesterday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized the government’s exchange rate policy, saying that the floating exchange rate was not helping the economy. Baykal said that the portfolio investment of foreigners in Turkey had reached $37.7 billion, with the lion’s share in currency, stocks, and bonds rather than factories, industries, or agriculture. “This is the result of the mistaken exchange rate policy,” added Baykal. He further harshly criticized a draft bill enabling Turkey’s membership in an Islamic private sector development group, saying that religion had nothing to do with trade. /Cumhuriyet/
 COSKUN TOUTS INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES TO ITALIAN OFFICIALSOn a visit to Rome yesterday, Industry Minister Ali Coskun told Italian officials about investment opportunities in Turkey in an effort to boost Turkish-Italian trade ties. “I explained to Italian investors about our privatization process,” Coskun said. “They are planning to launch a number of commercial initiatives in Turkey prior to their president’s visit to our country. They particularly want to make investments in the southeastern province of Gaziantep. I told them that Turkey is a reliable commercial partner due to its strong commitment and efforts to promote regional development.” For his part, Italian Production Minister Antonio Marzano said that Rome also wanted to initiate a new project in the Aegean province of Izmir. /Star/
 DENKTAS: “WE WANT A PERMANENT AGREEMENT FOR OUR SOVEREIGN STATE”Addressing the groundbreaking ceremony for Near Eastern University’s Preschool Education Center in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), TRNC President Rauf Denktas yesterday stressed that Turkish Cypriots want to sign a permanent agreement with the Greek Cypriots, one which would protect and guarantee their national sovereignty. “We’ll soon overcome the current difficulties,” Denktas said. “Turkish Cypriots want peace and stability on their island. There are two separate nations on Cyprus, nations which will shape the island’s future together. We’ll never give in to tribulations or threats. Turkish Cypriots won’t give up their efforts for a permanent, sovereign agreement.” Denktas’s term as president ends next month. /Star/
 AKP OFFICIAL TO DISCUSS TURKISH-US RELATIONS IN WASHINGTONRuling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Deputy Chairman Murat Mercan is scheduled to attend a seminar entitled “Can Turkish-US relations be saved?” at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington next week to discuss the issue with US analysts and diplomats. Robert Pollock from the Wall Street Journal, notorious for his recent opinion piece taking Turkey to task, will also be at the seminar, as will AEI Middle East expert Michael Rubin and former Pentagon official Richard Perle. Rubin wrote an article critical of Islamic “green capital” in the current issue of Middle East Quarterly. /Hurriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 WEATHERVANE TURNING BY GUNERI CIVAOGLU (MILLIYET)Columnist Guneri Civaoglu comments on terrorist PKK head Abdullah Ocalan. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit this week warned that the number of PKK terrorists in Turkey equals the number at the time of PKK head Abdullah Ocalan’s 1999 capture. We could add information on Ocalan forming a new political party by ‘remote control’ and the PKK’s planned activities for this spring. Thus we can say that we’ve come to the end of the strategy of freezing PKK activities.
Firstly I would like to point to a fact: Ocalan has remote control over the PKK and politicians under his influence. But how can he do this? According to state officials I have spoken with, he is doing this through his lawyers, who regularly visit Ocalan in his prison on Imrali Island. He sends them his directions. He receives information from countries with forces in the region. I unfortunately witnessed confirmation of this by top-level officials. Turkey can’t prevent this communication. The meetings with Ocalan and his lawyers go beyond legal matters and into politics. Top officials say that they face European Union roadblocks when they try to prevent Ocalan’s remote control over the PKK. They also asked Ocalan’s lawyers body of lawyers to stop this practice which goes beyond their professional duties, but these efforts came to naught. Thus Ocalan is able to influence the PKK and the region as if he were in his office in Damascus or the Bakaa Valley. There’s no parallel to this sort of imprisonment. Turkey can’t explain its worries to the EU or the lawyers.
These facts are overshadowed by discussions of Ocalan’s comfort in Imrali. Discussions on Ocalan having ‘too much comfort’ in Imrali would make the arguments over Ocalan’s remote control implausible. Turkey shouldn’t be swept into the years when it lost 30,000 people in the struggle with the PKK. Everybody knows about the US’ help for Turkey capturing Ocalan. The US was on Turkey’s side in those days. Ocalan’s expressions of penitence and his promise to work for the unity of Turkey weren’t empty words. He first waited till the death penalty was ended and then a wind of change in US policies. The turning weathervane in Imrali is confirming the wind of change.”
 OUR VISIT TO ITALY BY MUSTAFA UNAL (ZAMAN)Columnist Mustafa Unal comments on Turkish-Italian relations and top-level Turkish officials’ recent visit to Italy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Caesar once said ‘All roads lead to Rome.’ Nowadays, many Turks are being led to Rome. Industry and Trade Minister Ali Coskun was also in Rome this week together with a swarm of Turkish businessmen and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) specializing in economics.
Forestry and Environment Minister Osman Pepe was also in Rome to attend a UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) meeting on Monday. Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit and Navy Commander Adm. Yener Karahanoglu were also in Italy.
Disagreements between Turkey and Italy are almost nonexistent. The friendship between the prime ministers of the two countries is reflected in their political and economic relations.
Over the last five years, Italy has been the leading country in investments in Turkey. Moreover, Italy is the leading promoter of Turkey’s European Union membership.
Our Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) has an important role in the organization. Thanks to its strong economic ties with Italy, businessmen and officers from Gaziantep are special visitors. Italy is the main trade partner of Gaziantep and has a key role in the economic development of the city.
I was also part of Coskun’s delegation. Our first stop was Rome, where Coskun met Italian Production Minister Antonio Marzano. The meeting focused on taking concrete steps towards removing commercial obstacles between Italy and Turkey.
Italy has important businessmen investing in Turkey. But Turkey also aims to attract small- and medium-sized enterprises. (SMEs)
The Turkish delegation then moved on to Milan, where Turkish-Italian economic relations were discussed in a forum. Nejat Kocer from the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities (TOBB) expressed his dissatisfaction at the two sides’ inability to seize opportunities. Coskun emphasized that Turkish industry is in harmony with European industry and called on Italian businessmen to make investments in Turkey.”
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