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Turkish Press Review, 07-02-16

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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

16.02.2007

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who is currently paying an official visit to Ankara. Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Erdogan commented on the Israeli- Palestinian dispute, saying that the new Palestinian coalition between Hamas and Fatah provided hope for peace in the region. Erdogan stressed that the new Palestinian government should be supported by Israel and the international community. For his part, Olmert stated that the new Palestinian government should accept certain conditions, including renouncing violence and recognizing the existence of Israel. Olmert further stated that Israel expected Ankara's support for peace with Syria. "Turkey has an important role in mediating between us and Arab countries," added Olmert. Erdogan said that he believed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to develop ties with Israel. "We'll try to do our utmost on the issue, " said Erdogan. "I'll meet with Syrian officials." Also commenting on the Armenian resolution before the US Congress, Olmert said that he would do his best to prevent passage of the resolution. /Milliyet/

CONTENTS

  • [01] IN WASHINGTON, BUYUKANIT MEETS WITH US VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER
  • [02] BAHCELI CRITICIZES GOVT OVER ARTICLE 301, SAYS TURKISH NATIONALISM IS UNDER FIRE
  • [03] CHP'S BAYKAL MEETS WITH EU AMBASSADORS
  • [04] BABACAN: "WE EXPECT CHANGES TO ARTICLE 301"
  • [05] SENIOR IRANIAN OFFICIALS TO VISIT TURKEY
  • [06] GREEK CYPRIOTS HOLD CEREMONY TO BEGIN OIL TENDER
  • [07] LACK OF HOPE

  • [01] IN WASHINGTON, BUYUKANIT MEETS WITH US VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, currently in Washington for an official visit, yesterday met separately with US Vice President Dick Cheney and US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley to discuss a number of issues, including the Armenian resolution before the US Congress. Speaking afterwards, Buyukanit said that he had seen that the US administration is determined against the resolution. "This is very positive," he said. Buyukanit said that his meeting with Congressman Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, had been postponed due to weather, but that they would meet later. Asked about the US administration's stance on the fight against the terrorist PKK, Buyukanit stated that he had seen that Washington is determined in this fight. /Cumhuriyet/

    [02] BAHCELI CRITICIZES GOVT OVER ARTICLE 301, SAYS TURKISH NATIONALISM IS UNDER FIRE

    Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday criticized the government's stance on Article 301, saying that it had tried to evade responsibility on the issue by ceding the initiative to non- governmental groups. Commenting on recent debates over nationalism, Bahceli said that Turkish nationalism had recently come under fire. Bahceli stressed that Turkey's nationalism was built on its common culture and history, and that it meant more than ethnic origin, or language and religion. "The main bond holding together the Turkish nation is not blood, but its overarching culture and sentiment," added Bahceli. /Milliyet/

    [03] CHP'S BAYKAL MEETS WITH EU AMBASSADORS

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday met with 27 European Union member states' ambassadors in Ankara. Baykal expressed his party's views on various topics including secularism, ethnic identity, relations with the EU and controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Stressing that Turkey had focused on Europe for decades, Baykal said that if the EU doesn't want Turkey into its club, they should say so clearly, and then Turkey can look to other blocs. Commenting on Article 301, Baykal said it was unrelated to democracy, adding that European countries also had similar laws to protect their own values. /Aksam-Star/

    [04] BABACAN: "WE EXPECT CHANGES TO ARTICLE 301"

    State Minister and chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan, who is currently holding contacts in Brussels, said yesterday that he expected changes will be made to Article 301. Speaking to reporters, Babacan stated that the government wasn't considering annulling the controversial law, but making certain changes to it. /Sabah/

    [05] SENIOR IRANIAN OFFICIALS TO VISIT TURKEY

    Two senior Iranian officials will pay separate visits to Turkey on the heels of Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert's talks in Ankara this week. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki will participate in a meeting of the Turkish-Iranian Joint Economic Commission (KEK) on Feb. 20-21. In addition, Iran's Parliament Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel has begun a six-day trip which will take him to Turkey. After completing his contacts in Jakarta, Indonesia, Haddad-Adel is expected to arrive in Turkey tomorrow. /Turkish Daily News/

    [06] GREEK CYPRIOTS HOLD CEREMONY TO BEGIN OIL TENDER

    Despite opposition and warnings from Turkey and Turkish Cyprus, the Greek Cypriots yesterday officially started the tender process for oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. At a ceremony marking the new tender, Egyptian Oil Minister Shamir Fehmi called it a historic day. The Greek Cypriots said that international oil companies should submit their tenders within the next six months. In related news, Greek Cypriot administration spokesman Hristodulos Pashardis harshly reacted to Turkey's recent decision to also look for oil in the Mediterranean west of Cyprus. /Hurriyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [07] LACK OF HOPE

    Columnist Hikmet Bila comments on Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit's remarks in the US. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit's remarks in the US weren't new. He pointed to the same issues when he first rose to the helm of the Turkish military. Back then, he said that the Turkish Republic has never faced so many and varied risks and threats since 1923, that is, when it was founded. If he's saying the same thing six months later, it means that same threats are there. If the person who heads the army of a country which is surrounded with threats -- from Cyprus to northern Iraq, and the Caucasus to Iran -- says this, it means that there's a serious situation. Turkey has been trying to join the European Union for many years, and look at what Europe is doing now. Cooperation between members of a terrorist group and the secret services of European countries is being exposed, but still they are indifferent. They are leaving the Copenhagen criteria aside, making strategic calculations using 19th century logic, and pursuing territory and influence on Cyprus. A group of hawks who seized the US are floundering, but now they are opening a front in northern Iraq with America's army, weapons and tanks. If this isn't risk and threat, then what is?

    Maybe the most interesting and dangerous side of the so-called Armenian resolution set to be debated by the US House of Representatives is that it claims that half a million Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were subjected to a genocide in 1915-1923. Just this sneaky calculation suffices to show how great the risk is. Why 1923? Because, if you include 1923 in the claims of genocide, you can get the opportunity to accuse not only the Ottomans, but also the republic and Ataturk. It seems that our friends and allies make such fine calculations this way. These friends and allies either don't know how to make calculations, or they're ready to write off 70 million people.

    Gen. Buyukanit made another important remark in the US. Maybe this is something new. He urged us not to lose hope in spite of all the risks and threats. Let's remember what he said. He said that the direst situation in a country is a lack of hope and that someone who has lost hope has lost everything. Buyukanit stated that when the Turkish Republic and the people who make it up are hopeless, they lose everything. He added that the situation of the Turkish people isn't like this now and that we should have confidence in ourselves. I think the most important aspect of his speech in the US lies in these words."


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