|Thursday, 22 February 2024
Turkish Press Review, 07-02-15
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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
 ERDOGAN: "WE'LL DEAL WITH ARTICLE 301 NEXT WEEK"After attending yesterday's inauguration ceremony for Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov in Ashgabat, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned to Ankara. Speaking to reporters at Esenboga Airport, the premier said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government places great importance on strengthening its ties with fellow Turkic countries. Commenting on Israel's exploratory digging near holy sites in Jerusalem, Erdogan said that he would convey Ankara's concern on the matter during the current visit of Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert. Furthermore, Erdogan told reporters that next week his government would consider proposed changes to the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301 made by a group of non- governmental organizations. /Milliyet-Turkiye/
 CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT: "THEY CAN'T DIVIDE TURKEY"Speaking at a reception yesterday held by Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Nabi Sensoy, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said, "So long as the dynamic forces protecting Turkey exist, those who dream of dividing Turkey will wake up from their nightmare and learn their lessons." Buyukanit continued: "Since its foundation in 1923 the Republic of Turkey has never faced such huge risks, threats and difficulties. Turkey is a big country. Is Turkey being divided? Who will divide it? No one can. We do what is necessary to those who are thinking about it. No one and no institution can change our regime spelled out in the Constitution." Buyukanit also commented on a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide in the US House of Representatives, saying, "It saddens us. If it passes, this will hurt bilateral relations and disturb us." /Star-Aksam/
 ISRAELI PREMIER ARRIVES IN ANKARAIsraeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday arrived in Ankara to pay an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As part of his official contacts, in addition to Erdogan, Olmert is expected to be received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and have talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu to exchange views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Iran's nuclear ambitions, among other issues. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT COMMISSION TURNS DOWN CANADIAN INVITATIONParliament's Democracy Commission officials said yesterday that they had rejected an invitation from the Canadian government and Parliament to visit later this month. Commission Chairman Agah Kafkas said that they had evaluated the invitation and decided not to honor it due to the stance of Canada's government and Parliament on the so-called Armenian genocide. "Writing history and commenting on it is not the duty of parliaments," said Kafkas. /Milliyet/
 EU'S DANIELSSON: "THE PKK IS A TERRORIST GROUP"Christian Danielsson, head of the Turkey Unit of the European Union Enlargement Commission, yesterday met with Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir. During their meeting, Danielsson said that he was visiting Diyarbakir to see whether the financial aid given by the EU to the city has been used properly. Speaking with reporters, Danielsson said, "The EU's position on the PKK issue is clear. It's a terrorist group." /Hurriyet/
 ETHNIC TURKISH DEPUTY NAMED TO DUTCH CABINETDutch Parliament Deputy of Turkish origin Nebahat Albayrak has been named justice state secretary of the Netherlands' new Cabinet. Labor Party member Albayrak will be directly responsible for the government's policy on foreigners. /Hurriyet/
 MEHMET OKUR NAMED NBA ALL-STARTurkey finally has an All-Star basketball player. The NBA announced this week that Utah Jazz Turkish player Mehmet Okur has been named to the Western Conference All-Star squad. Okur, who will be the first Turk on the All-Star squad, has been one of the best players in the NBA this season. The NBA All-Star game will be broadcast live from in Las Vegas at 3:30 a.m. Turkish time Monday morning. /All Papers/
FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 FIRST NATURAL GAS, AND THEN DEMOCRACYColumnist Erdal Safak comments on his conversation with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan en route to Ashgabat. A summary of her column is as follows:
"We went to Ashgabat to watch the swearing-in ceremony of Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov, Turkmenistan's new president, together with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, three state ministers, their advisors, Foreign Ministry officials and other reporters. No matter what you say about the Turkmen elections, the US, Russia, China, the EU or Turkey don't care. They all recognized the outcome and applauded Niyazov Turkmenbasi's 49-year-old successor. It's all because of the natural gas, because everybody needs it and Turkmenistan owns 20% of the world's natural gas reserves. The US, Russia, the EU, China and Turkey are very careful about Turkmenistan's ‘stability' in order to benefit from this gas. They are careful, because Russia doesn't want to endanger its 25-year contract through which Gazprom handles 85% of the yearly production of Turkmen gas; China doesn't want to risk the contract which gives it an operating concession for new fields, envisages the construction of a new pipeline and opens the way for purchasing 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually; the US will bring Turkmen gas to the Indian Ocean through a pipeline passing through Afghanistan and Pakistan; and the EU and Turkey want to connect Turkmen gas with Azerbaijan's Sahdeniz line and then deliver it to Europe through the Caucasus, Turkey and the Balkans.
Yes, everybody's calculations are different but all of them come together in Turkmenistan, and everybody attaches the utmost importance to the continuation of stability in Turkmenistan so that these calculations can bear fruit. While Erdogan was speaking with me and my colleagues on the plane, he didn't hide his happiness at Berdymukhamedov's problem-free election. ‘Now it's time to reconcile the Turkmen and Azeri leaders,' he said. There is a coldness between these two countries since the Soviet era due to the personal enmity between late leaders Turkmenbasi and Haydar Aliyev. Ankara hopes that this problem can be solved with the new generation of leaders in power, and thus Sahdeniz gas line can be extended to Turkmenistan. It even hopes to act as a mediator towards this end. Of course, we talked about many issues with Erdogan, and here's what he said in brief:
Oil crisis with Greek Cypriots: The Greek Cypriot administration is pursuing a malicious policy in order to strengthen its position in the EU. They're not on the solid ground.
Anti-PKK operations in Europe: This is just the beginning. Watch for new developments.
May's Presidential election: I've said what I had to say. You won't get another word out of me before April.
Calls for Parliament not to elect the president: Those who say this respect neither democracy, nor the law nor the Constitution.
Article 301: This article won't be abolished, but it can be changed. A solution to prevent everybody from applying to public prosecutors is a must.
We landed in Ashgabat at nearly midnight. There was nobody on the streets. Probably everybody was home busy reading the ‘Rukhnama' (Turkmenbasi's ‘Book of Spirit') which was distributed at the ballot box."
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