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Turkish Press Review, 06-03-31
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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
31.03.2006FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SEZER COULD VISIT AZERBAIJAN NEXT WEEKPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer is planning to visit Azerbaijan in the near future, but the trip has not been scheduled, Foreign Ministry sources said. Sezer’s visit is planned for next week, an Azeri online news portal reported. “The sides are currently working on agreements to be signed during the visit,” Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said. /Turkish Daily News/
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH OIC SECRETARY GENERAL IN JEDDAH, ADDRESSES THE NATION ON ANTI-TERROR EFFORTSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, yesterday met with Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary- General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Speaking at a joint press conference, Erdogan said that the OIC and similar institutions were very important for world peace and stability. For his part, Turkish scholar Ihsanoglu said that Turkey was one of most active members of the OIC, adding that it supported and contributed to all projects of the organization. Later, addressing the nation on television, Erdogan stressed the importance of countering terrorism, adding that everyone should participate in this effort. “If we don’t win this fight together, then we’ll lose it together,” he said. He stated that all state institutions were working in harmony and determination to eliminate all threats faced by the nation. “We’ve taken all necessary measures,” said Erdogan. Commenting on last week’s Nevruz celebrations, the premier said that there were circles which wanted to use this day to cause social tension. /Turkiye/
 ARINC: “CITIZENS OF DIYARBAKIR FAVOR PEACE AND CALM”Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, currently in Helsinki, Finland to pay an official visit, yesterday spoke on the recent violence in Diyarbakir, saying that the city’s citizens were not the ones behind the incidents. “I believe that the citizens favor peace and tranquility,” he said. Calling the incidents “disappointing,” Arinc stated that though necessary measures were taken, damage was done to the buildings of public institutions. He added that the harm done to people and buildings should be condemned. Arinc further called on European Union member states not to try to make Turkey a political tool. /Turkiye/
 MHP LEADER: “DON’T BE LURED INTO STREET BATTLES”Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday released a written statement saying that traitors who aim to destroy Turkey’s national unity, brotherhood and national integrity have lately accelerated provocations to drag Turkey into a dangerous atmosphere of tension and clashes. The statement read, “To Turkish nationalists, I say: Under no circumstances will you lose your calm and dignity, no matter how serious the provocations you face. No influence will lure Turkish nationalists into the streets to wage a bloody battle.” /Star/
 HIGHER ANTI-TERROR BOARD CONVENESThe Higher Anti-Terror Board yesterday held an extraordinary meeting chaired by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul upon the request of Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, and Gendarmerie General Commander Gen. Fevizi Turkeri were among the participants. During the meeting, recent incidents in Diyarbakir and necessary counter-measures were discussed in detail. The participants reportedly decided to take necessary measures within legal and democratic principles to fight terrorism. /Milliyet/
 DIYARBAKIR GOVERNOR: “PKK PROVOCATIONS IN INCIDENTS ARE CLEAR”Diyarbakir Governor Efkan Ala yesterday said that the terrorist PKK’s provocations in this week’s incidents in Diyarbakir, which have resulted in the death of three people and many injuries, were clear and that the terrorist PKK had sent children into the streets, adding, “You shouldn’t move with reflexes but with wisdom. Shall we kill children?” Speaking about the incidents, which began after the funeral of four PKK terrorists, Ala said that such events had been expected. Ala said that after the incidents, life would continue as normal in the city, but complete calm couldn’t be provided, and without mentioning its name, Ala indicated Danish channel Roj- TV, which Ankara says is a PKK mouthpiece. /Milliyet/
 BAGIS: “TURKEY IS THE US’ MOST TRUSTWORTHY ALLY IN THE MIDDLE EAST”Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign policy advisor Egemen Bagis, in New York after attending the annual meeting of the Turkish-American Council (TAC) in Washington, said yesterday that Turkey was the US’ most trustworthy ally in the Middle East. “This situation will continue to hold true,” he said. Speaking at a dinner, Bagis praised the good relations between Ankara and Washington for the last 60 years. “Our two countries have many things in common such as democracy, human rights, and freedom of expression,” said Bagis. “The US and Turkey don’t want to lose each other.” He added that political and military relations between the two countries were strong, but economic ties needed to be strengthened. /Turkiye/
 US AMBASSADOR WILSON: “THERE’S NO NEED FOR TURKEY’S MEDIATION ON IRAN”US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson yesterday said that there’s no need for Turkey’s mediation on the Iranian nuclear crisis. Wilson, who participated in the annual conference of the American Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington on Wednesday, ruled out a possible mediator’s role by Turkey.” Neither we nor some others are looking for any mediators in the nuclear standoff with Iran,” he said. “There’s already an adequate level of communication. The international community is giving clear messages to Iran.” Commenting on whether or not a high-level meeting between Turkey and Iran would contribute to a diplomatic solution to the problem, Wilson said that three EU member states as well as Russia, which has close relations with Iran, are already giving clear messages to the country. /Cumhuriyet/
 IN WAKE OF ELECTIONS, ISRAEL AWAITS ANKARA’S INVITATIONIsrael, after its general elections this week, has taken a decision that its new prime minister and foreign minister will pay their first visits abroad to Ankara so as to improve Turkish-Israeli relations, which have been strained recently. Diplomats said that Israel was awaiting invitations from Ankara. According to diplomatic sources in Israel, although uncertainty about the new coalition continues after Kadima, the party of seriously ill Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, won the elections, the country will make some changes to its foreign policy. Israel reportedly wants the Palestinian issue to be solved under a plan with Turkey’s participation. For this reason, the prime minister and foreign minister’s first visits abroad will be to Turkey. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SLOWDOWN ON PATH TO EU BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Turkey’s relations with the Arab world. A summary of her column is as follows:
“We flew from Sudan, one of the poorest and most troubled countries in Africa, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the night before. The reason for the visit to Jeddah, which was added to the program at the last minute, was the Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC). Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s advisors said that for the first time a Turk, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, was the OIC’s secretary general and that Erdogan had wanted to visit him for a long time. Ihsanoglu was appointed at a time when the OIC was planning institutional reforms, and he’s actively working on the issue. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to draw a new profile for Turkey firstly with this week’s Arab League summit and then with the visit to the OIC. Erdogan explained this profile to the Islamic media at a press conference at OIC headquarters yesterday as follows: ‘On the one hand, there is a Turkey which started membership talks with the European Union, and on the other, there is a Turkey which undertook the secretariat general of the OIC.’
Is the government expanding a new area of ties just when its relations with the EU are being left aside as if only a process of a technical relationship had started? Erdogan answered reporters’ question on the issue sharply, as follows: ‘It’s an insult to the government to say that the government is slowing down on its path to the EU.’ When we tried to ask questions about reforms and the steps expected by Brussels, Erdogan only said that the regulations on the issue of mother tongues on local TV stations had gone into effect. Maybe he only wanted to mention this because other issues aren’t on his list of important things yet.
Nobody can reject the development of Turkey’s relations with Arab and Islam countries. The AKP government’s insistence on this issue is positive as well. However, this isn’t the first time that Turkey has embraced neighboring countries, and the Arab and Islamic world. They are so convinced about it that Erdogan said that our relations with Arab countries are developing in a way which was never been seen before and that when the AKP came to power, Turkey’s relations with its neighbors were broken. It would be a lie for me to say that I don’t know a leader who thinks that everything started with them in Turkey. The AKP government needs the message that it plays a special role in Turkish-Arab relations due to the party’s religious orientation. The reason for this is the approaching election atmosphere. Although it failed to keep the promises it made to its grassroots, it wants to show that it moved Turkey closer to the Arab and Islamic world. For this reason, it gives importance to drawing Arab and Gulf capital to Turkey. For example, he blames the media for objecting to the Dubai Towers project, but not the Hilton or Sheraton. He considers the objection to the towers an anti-Islamic capital stance and doesn’t want to see that the objections come from concerns over the environment, feasibility, methods, etc. He also says that he would establish an investment agency attached to him. So, what about the issue of transparency? If the media falls silent, rich Gulf capital will flow to Turkey. He believes this.”
The news and articles issued in the Turkish Press Review may be quoted from provided due acknowledgement is made.
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