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Turkish Press Review, 07-02-09

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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

09.02.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [00] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH ETHIOPIAN PM Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his visiting Ethiopian counterpart Meles Zenawi, soon after his arrival in Ankara. During their talks, the two premiers agreed to make efforts to more than triple the trade volume between the two countries from $150 million to $500 million. Erdogan also said that as part of Ankara's decision to strengthen relations with African countries, the Foreign Ministry would open up more embassies in the African continent, up from the current nine. Zenawi, for his part, stated that his government appreciates Turkey's active policy in Africa and then called on Turkish businessmen to invest in his country. In addition, Erdogan hosted a dinner in honor of Zenawi last evening. Zenawi is the first Ethiopian premier to visit Turkey. /Aksam/
  • [00] PM ERDOGAN TOUTS BUDGET FIGURES Speaking at a press conference yesterday to announce and evaluate last year's budget figures, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the budget deficit was far below the target. "We had the smallest budget deficit in 30 years," he said. Erdogan added, however, that last year's inflation target wasn't met, but that the government is trying harder to reach it this year. "The Central Bank is responsible for the inflation target," said Erdogan, adding that the government doesn't want the nation to face hardships due to rising prices. The premier stressed that the CB would do its best to bring down inflation and that the government would help these efforts. Commenting on the privatization of Halkbank, Erdogan stated that the government wanted to form a market by opening it to the public. "We can privatize the remainder through a bloc sale method," he said. State Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan and Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan were also present at the press conference. /Milliyet/
  • [00] GUL: "KIRKUK BELONGS TO ALL IRAQIS, NOT JUST ONE GROUP" Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, currently in the US for an official visit, yesterday addressed a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund. Asked about Kirkuk, Gul said that the region had been governed by Turkey for several centuries so it has natural ties with the region. "Today we accept that Iraq is a separate country," said Gul. "However, Iraq belongs to all Iraqis and Kirkuk also belongs to all Iraqis, not just one group." Also commenting on the two important elections this year in Turkey, Gul said that the nation shouldn't be seen as being at a turning point due to these elections. "Turkey will be stronger still after its elections," added Gul. In related news, US Deputy Secretary of State Daniel Fried commented on Turkey's Article 301, saying that it was time to change the controversial law. "A superior nation like the Turks doesn't need such laws, " added Fried. /Milliyet/
  • [00] SENER: "MORTGAGE BILL WILL BE DEBATED IN PARLIAMENT NEXT WEEK" State Minister Abdullatif Sener said yesterday that he expected the mortgage bill to be taken up by Parliament next Thursday. Stressing that the bill was already on Parliament's agenda but hasn't been debated because feelings have run high, Sener said that the system would have a positive effect on Turkey's economy. /Turkiye/
  • [00] CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT TO VISIT THE US Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit is set to travel to the US next week at the invitation of his US counterpart Gen. Peter Pace. Buyukanit is expected to meet with Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday in Washington. He will have talks with top officials in the Pentagon, including Defense Undersecretary for Policy and former Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman and Land Forces Commander Gen. Peter Schoomaker on Thursday. In addition to bilateral military ties, the Iraq and PKK issues, as well as developments in the Mideast and a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide before Congress are all expected to figure in the talks of Turkey's top commander with US officials. /Turkiye/
  • [00] ANTI-PKK OPERATIONS CONTINUE IN EUROPE Belgium and France are continuing their operations against the terrorist PKK in Europe. Officials from these two countries officially informed Turkey that some 16 PKK militants have been taken into custody. The operations, which are expected to spread to other European countries in the coming days, are reportedly being carried out within the framework of a list submitted to the US of nearly 150 PKK members. Furthermore, the operations are also aimed at exposing and cutting off the terrorist group's financial resources. /Hurriyet/
  • [00] BAYKAL TO ATTEND INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CONFERENCE IN GERMANY Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday traveled to Germany to attend an international security conference. Speaking before his departure, Baykal said that such issues as security in general, energy security, and security in the Middle East would be discussed during the conference. "We are greatly affected by developments in our region, so we need to watch them closely," added Baykal. /Turkiye/
  • [00] WILSON: "ANTI-PKK EFFORTS IN EUROPE AIM TO CUT OFF THE GROUP'S FINANCES AND ARREST ITS LEADERS" US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson said yesterday that recent operations in Europe against the terrorist PKK were meant to cut off the finances of the terrorist group and take its leaders into custody. Stressing that he had held a series of contacts with European intelligence officials, Wilson added that other measures would be taken. /Star/
  • [00] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
  • [00] THE WAR IS STARTING NOW BY NASUHI GUNGOR (STAR) Columnist Nasuhi Gungor comments on conflicts in and around Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows: "While Turkey is drowning in its domestic agenda, the circle of fire around us grows higher each day. After the US announced its new Iraq plan, targeted activities against Iran soon followed. Following the raid in Erbil, the US demonstrated that such operations will continue. Indeed, it happened. After an Iranian diplomat was kidnapped in Iraq, Iranian Intelligence Minister Mohseni Ejei said that they have determined that about 100 people have worked as agents for the US and Israel in border regions. Such moves are harbingers of big storms. Meanwhile, let's be careful handling the contradiction about the Iranian diplomat. While the Iraqi foreign minister stated that those who were kidnapped were actually captured, the government spokesman said that they weren't kidnapped, but arrested. This just shows the confusion of the Iraqi administration and the conflict between the US and Iran. The entire world is anxiously watching to see if this conflict will go farther. It's very likely that this conflict on the side of Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan and Azerbaijan will turn into a war. Even if some people in our country insist on not seeing it, northern Iraq is becoming one of the most critical lines of the US-Iranian conflict. The raid against the Iranian representation in Erbil is the most important sign of this. When the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and its leader Massoud Barzani take no notice of such an operation, are they clarifying their position? Or are they continuing their balancing act? When some in Turkey say that our army should go to Kirkuk, in fact I don't know what they mean by this. Maybe they mean we should help the groups which are always pulled from both sides by the US and Iran in the balance of forces on northern Iraq. Otherwise, God forbid, we might think that they're trying to give the US the chance to act as it wishes in northern Iraq. Although I've said so many times, let me repeat that it has never been beneficial for Turkey to consider the Kurds to be enemies. Nobody should imagine nightmares that Turkey is protecting the Kurdish state. Turkey is the most important alternative to the forces which want to keep the fire in the region raging. Indeed, Turkey is the ‘third road.' Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's contacts in the US this week are continuing with difficulty, because the US administration's wish to make Turkey impotent during a possible move against Iran is quite clear. So could Gul have gone to the US with stronger cards? Of course. I don't know why, but we're doing many things to weaken Turkey's foreign policy. It's time for us to put aside these domestic policy maneuvers and discuss the great danger which is drawing closer."
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