|Wednesday, 20 November 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 07-03-16
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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
 PARLIAMENT DECIDES TO GIVE HONORARY AWARD TO IHSAN DOGRAMACIParliament has announced it will bestow an honorary award on Ihsan Doramaci, the founder of Bilkent University, Turkey's first private university. Speaking yesterday, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc said that the award was meant to recognize Dogramaci's contributions in founding several universities, supporting Turkish education, and doing medical research. /Turkiye/
 HAMAS, FATAH LEADERS TO VISIT TURKEYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated during the Israeli prime minister's visit to Ankara last month that after a Palestinian national unity government is established, he would invite both of its sides to Ankara. After Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reached an agreement, now leaders of Hamas and Fatah are expected to visit Ankara. The date of the visit hasn't been set yet but Erdogan is expected to urge Hamas to recognize Israel both for the sake of an independent Palestine and the welfare of the Palestinian people. In related news, Erdogan, after home rest due to a back problem, is expected to travel to Canakkale to attend ceremonies marking the Battle of Gallipoli. /Star/
 BAYKAL CALLS AKP PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION POLLS A "MENTAL EXERCISE"Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday received Tahsin Ertugruloglu, the leader of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC) National Unity Party. Later, speaking to reporters, Baykal commented on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) polling its members on possible presidential candidates for May, saying that this was the AKP's domestic work. "They're engaged in a mental exercise," added Baykal. /Milliyet/
 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION PROCEDURES TO START NEXT MONTHPresidential election procedures are expected to start on April 16, since President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's term in office ends one month later. The election, which is conducted in Parliament, is to be completed in 30 days. Candidates are expected to be to be declared to Parliament's administration by April 26. /Turkiye/
 BAGIS: "TWO CONGRESSMEN WHO SUPPORTED THE ARMENIAN RESOLUTION HAVE CHANGED THEIR MINDS"Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul Deputy Egemen Bagis, who is part of a parliamentary delegation visiting Washington to work against the Armenian resolution before the US House of Representatives, said yesterday that two congressmen who had supported the resolution have now changed their minds, owing to the deputies' efforts. Speaking after the delegation's contacts on their first day in Washington, Bagis stressed that he was more optimistic now that the resolution would be defeated, adding that the US wouldn't want to lose a strategic ally like Turkey. /Sabah/
 TURKISH DELEGATION TO INSPECT ISRAEL'S WORK NEAR AL-AQSA MOSQUEAs planned during Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's visit to Ankara last month, a team of Turkish experts will arrive in Jerusalem next Tuesday to inspect Israel's controversial construction work near the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The delegation, including architects, historians and archeologists, will stay in Israel for two days. /Cumhuriyet/
 US STATE DEPT'S FRIED: "IF ARMENIAN RESOLUTION PASSES, INCIRLIK AIRBASE COULD BE CLOSED"Daniel Fried, the US assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, yesterday warned that if the US House of Representatives were to pass a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide, Incirlik Airbase in Adana could be closed and the US military's use of Turkish airspace might be restricted. Testifying before the House Foreign Relations Committee, Fried said that Ankara had also said that measures such as slowing down passage through the Turkish-Iraqi Habur border gate could be brought up. /Hurriyet/
 US SPECIAL ENVOY RALSTON: "ALL OPERATIONS AGAINST THE PKK ARE ON THE TABLE"Retired US Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, the US special envoy for countering the terrorist PKK, said this week, "All operations, including a military operation are on the table." Speaking to journalists, Ralston acknowledged that the US has not yet met Turkish demands for the capture of PKK operatives and destruction of a rebel base in a mountainous area of Iraq near the Turkish and Iranian border. He added, however, that the US would consider options against the group available to a US military stretched by many challenges in Iraq. Ralston said that the US and Iraqi forces had searched the Mahmur camp in northern Iraq and found artillery shells they believe belonged to the terrorist PKK. He also said that negotiators from the US, Turkey and Iraq are close to a deal to close the camp, which Turkey says is a haven for the terrorist group. In related news, the contents of a letter written by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to the House of Representatives have emerged. The letter says, "Passage of the resolution would harm US efforts to support reconciliation between Turkey and Armenia and Turkey's recognizing the tragic events which happened to Armenians during the Ottoman era." /Aksam/
 GREEK CYPRIOT FM: "OUR ACCEPTING DIRECT TRADE FOR TURKISH CYPRUS IS OUT OF THE QUESTION"Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister George Lillikas said yesterday that there was no possibility that Nicosia would accept direct trade provisions for Turkish Cyprus. According to radio reports, Lillikas stated that the approval of direct trade regulations was up to the European Union member states, adding that unanimity was needed for their approval. He further stressed that it was out of the question for the Greek Cypriots to accept the regulations, claiming that the Greek Cypriot administration wants proposals which would help the development of the Turkish Cypriots. /Turkiye/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…A CAREFUL POLICY IS NECESSITY BY ALI SIRMEN (CUMHURIYET)
Columnist Ali Sirmen comments on Turkish-Armenian relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The restored Armenian Akdamar Church in Van will open next week. In addition to the regular flights between Yerevan and Istanbul, a Yerevan-Van route was started to facilitate guests coming from Armenia for the opening ceremony, and this lead to debates. The General Staff raised concerns over the issue. Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Bilman said that they hadn't been informed. Meanwhile, government circles are staying silent. Firstly, I would like to stress that restoring and opening this church is a positive initiative but that more careful relations are needed between Turkey and Armenia, and I agree with those who disapprove of the Van-Yerevan direct flights. When I was talking about this issue recently with retired Ambassador Sukru Elekdag, he emphasized certain points about the issue. In light of this, it should be mentioned once again Ankara should be very careful in its relations with Yerevan.
The Turkish Republic was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia two days before the US, which declared its independence after the breakup of the Soviet Union, on Dec. 16, 1991. Then Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel indicated in a message he sent on Dec. 24, that this recognition was conditional on Armenia having friendly relations with its neighbors. At that time, Armenia was being governed by Ter Petrosian, who foresaw good relations with Turkey and stressed the future over the past. However, Tashnaks drove the moderate Petrosian out and made a fanatical policy dominant in Armenia. Turkish-Armenian relations started to worsen, and Ankara closed its borders in 1993 and air-space to Armenia the next year. In its declaration of independence of Dec. 23, 1990, Armenia showed certain parts of Anatolia within the border of western Armenia, and it states in its Constitution that Mt. Ararat the symbol of Armenia. Now Armenia is putting pressure on Turkey through foreign capitals to recognize the so- called Armenian genocide and also trying to make Turkey open its border gates. In addition, Armenia's policy of seeking Greater Armenia is still being pushed. Under this policy, firstly the so-called genocide will be recognized and compensation and territorial claims against Turkey will follow.
Armenia is successfully following its policy against Turkey. The so-called genocide was recognized in many countries, and it started normal flights by putting pressure on Turkey and it delivers food through Turkey via 4,000 tractor trailers. In addition, 70,000 Armenian citizens are currently working in Turkey illegally, because officials are overlooking this. In other words, while Turkey is following a hostile policy against Turkey, it's also mobilizing Western countries and overpowering Turkey's possibilities to put pressure on it. In short, Yerevan thinks that no matter what Turkey does, there will be no consequences for it. But Turkey can put great pressure on Armenia. Here, in an atmosphere in which a policy that responds to Turkey's national interests is needed, people and writers favor opening our border gates with Armenia and becoming friends with Yerevan in a way to isolate Azerbaijan. It's hard to understand this."
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN TURKEY BY M. NECATI OZFATURA ( TURKIYE )
Columnist M. Necati Ozfatura writes about recent economic developments in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Turkey has witnessed important economic developments in recent years. I would like to tell about some of these developments today:
Exports: Exports more than doubled from $36.2 billion in 2002 to $85.8 billion last year.
Production: Production has been growing steadily for 21 years.
Tourism: Money-wise, we are the number eight tourist destination country in the world, with $18.1 billion in tourism revenues. In terms of the number of visitors, we're number nine. And under our new master plan, the target is 65 million tourists and $85 billion in annual revenues by 2023.
Turkey's international exchange reserves as of last month totaled $105.5 billion. Turkey has experienced many crises over the last 84 years. If it hadn't been for those crises, Turkey's gross domestic product (GDP) would be threefold now.
Turkey's economy is the world's 17th largest. And it's no fantasy for us to rise to number 10, because political stability leads to economic stability, and economic stability leads to development.
Our foreign capital intake in 2002 was approximately $1 billion, and by last year this had skyrocketed to nearly $20 billion.
As for the budget deficit, it was YTL 40 quadrillion in 2002 but it fell to YTL 3.9 quadrillion last year, the smallest budget deficit in the last 30 years. Should political and economic stability continue after this year's elections, Turkey can achieve a balanced budget in short order.
IMF debt: Turkey has made concessions in exchange for each loan it got from the International Monetary Fund. In 2002 Turkey owed $23.5 billion to the IMF, but today it owes just 8.5 billion. But starting in 2009, we won't take any more loans from the IMF. In 2012, our debt to the IMF will be completely cleared.
Moreover, our Treasury gained $300 million thanks to the 76 million barrels of oil going through the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline.
The latest report of the European Reform Center indicates that Turkey's full accession to the EU will make the Union more powerful. "Perhaps rapidly growing Turkey won't want to join the EU after 2015," it adds.
All this is very important, but progress is by no means limited to this."
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