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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-26

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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

26.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL, VISITING YEMENI PRESIDENT PLEDGE STRONGER RELATIONS
  • [02] GENERAL STAFF BRIEFS GUL, ERDOGAN ON CROSS-BORDER OPS
  • [03] TURKEY TO SEND DELEGATION TO IRAQ
  • [04] MORE FALLEN SOLDIERS LAID TO REST
  • [05] CICEK: “ONCE THIS OPERATION REACHES ITS GOAL, OUR TROOPS WILL RETURN”
  • [06] WHITE HOUSE URGES SPEEDY END TO CROSS-BORDER OP AIMED NARROWLY AT PKK
  • [07] US DEFENSE SEC’Y DUE IN ANKARA TOMORROW
  • [08] EU CALLS FOR RESUMPTION OF TALKS ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE
  • [09] WILL CHRISTOFIAS LEAD TO A SOLUTION?

  • [01] GUL, VISITING YEMENI PRESIDENT PLEDGE STRONGER RELATIONS

    Yemeni President Ali Abdallah Saleh yesterday arrived in Ankara at the official invitation of President Abdullah Gul. After talks at the Cankaya Presdential Palace, Gul told a joint press conference, “We decided to especially improve bilateral economic ties between Turkey and Yemen.” Saleh reiterated Yemen’s support for Turkey’s candidacy for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council as well as Izmir’s candidacy to host Expo 2015, adding that he hopes Turkish entrepreneurs will invest in his country. /Sabah/

    [02] GENERAL STAFF BRIEFS GUL, ERDOGAN ON CROSS-BORDER OPS

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday gave separate briefings to President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the ongoing cross-border operation into northern Iraq. The briefings at General Staff headquarters lasted about 40 minutes. In related news, US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson yesterday met with Ahmet Davutoglu, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser, at the Prime Ministry. /Sabah/

    [03] TURKEY TO SEND DELEGATION TO IRAQ

    Turkey will send a special delegation of both Foreign Ministry and military officials to Iraq tomorrow to reiterate that the target of Turkey’s cross- border operations into northern Iraq is the terrorist PKK and that great efforts are being made to avoid harming civilians. The delegation will meet with the government’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish representatives, and is also expected to be received by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. /Turkiye/

    [04] MORE FALLEN SOLDIERS LAID TO REST

    Five soldiers killed during the current cross-border operation against the terrorist PKK were laid to rest yesterday. Among the thousands of mourners were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli. The funerals of Maj. Zafer Kilic, Land Forces pilots Capt. Tekin Isik and Spc. Sgt. Gurcan Ulucan were held at Ankara’s Kocatepe Mosque. First Lt. Serkan Cakal was laid to rest in Izmir, and Commando Pvt. Atalay Seker was laid to rest in Ardahan. /Hurriyet/

    [05] CICEK: “ONCE THIS OPERATION REACHES ITS GOAL, OUR TROOPS WILL RETURN”

    Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that nothing besides its mission should be attributed to the current Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) ground operation into northern Iraq. Stating that the operation targets only the terrorist PKK, he added, “Once this operation reaches its goal, our troops will come home.” He added, “Northern Iraq has become a nest for terrorists. Cross-border operations take place for a reason, and Turkey did everything to avoid getting to this point.” /Hurriyet-Milliyet/

    [06] WHITE HOUSE URGES SPEEDY END TO CROSS-BORDER OP AIMED NARROWLY AT PKK

    Speaking to reporters yesterday, White House spokesman Dana Perino said that the US hopes Turkey’s current cross-border operation in northern Iraq against the terrorist PKK will be short and narrowly targeted to hit only the PKK. Stating that the PKK’s presence in Iraq should end, she reiterated that the terrorist group is the common enemy of both Turkey and the United States. The US hopes no civilians are hurt in the operations, she added. /Milliyet/

    [07] US DEFENSE SEC’Y DUE IN ANKARA TOMORROW

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates is due to arrive in Ankara tomorrow for a two-day visit, during which he is set to meet with his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul as well as President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Their talks are expected to focus on issues such as bilateral relations, Iraq, the Middle East and Afghanistan. In related news, US Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to visit Turkey next month. /Turkiye/

    [08] EU CALLS FOR RESUMPTION OF TALKS ON THE CYPRUS ISSUE

    Dimitris Christofias’ recent presidential election victory in Southern Cyprus has raised hopes for a solution to the Cyprus issue. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barosso yesterday telephoned Christofias to congratulate him, saying, “This outcome gives a very important chance to overcome prolonged obstructions to talks. The EU calls for the resumption of talks towards a comprehensive solution under UN auspices, without any delay.” He stressed that the EU would strongly support collective efforts by the two sides to reach a solution. In related news, Christofias asked the UN to determine a date for the talks to resume. /Aksam/

    FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [09] WILL CHRISTOFIAS LEAD TO A SOLUTION?

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on the weekend Greek Cypriot presidential elections. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “If we had lived during the Cold War, a communist winning the presidency on the island of Cyprus, which has a strategic position in the eastern Mediterranean, would have been avoided at all costs. Now Progressive Party of the Working People (AKEL) leader Dimitris Christofias is about to become president of the Greek Cypriot administration, and nobody protests. What would they say? The Cold War is over, and Christofias isn’t like the communists of old. Actually the 61-year-old leader was educated in Moscow and sympathizes with the Russians, but he doesn’t want to challenge the European Union or the Western world or to ruin Greek Cyprus’ prosperity. It’s another point of his presidency which concerns us. AKEL has been arguing since the very beginning that Turkish and the Greek Cypriots should live together on the island peacefully. Although Christofias was among the opponents of the Annan plan before the 2004 referendum on it, he saw that things were moving in the direction of division. So he argued for a united Cyprus in his recent election campaign. After his unofficial victory, he extended his hand to the Turkish side and said that he would restart the peace process.

    Compared to his predecessor Tassos Papadopoulos, Christofias is clearly more willing to find a solution. What’s more, for many years now, AKEL has kept contact with the leftist Republican Turkish Party (CTP) party in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), and Christofias and TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat have a good dialogue. These are important advantages for starting new negotiations, but how much will the chances for a solution rise under Christofias? The AKEL leader is always talking about a solution, but of course this must have a particular meaning for him. From his campaign speeches, this is what he aims at: a federation with two regions and two nations will be established on Cyprus, political equality will be established between the two sides on the basis of resolutions of the UN Security Council, and foreign military forces (i.e. Turkish soldiers) will withdraw. Of course these are the general conditions put forth as the starting position in the election atmosphere. When a dialogue is established and the negotiations actually start, obviously there will be some flexibility on these positions and mutual concessions will be made.

    What’s important here is the wish and will of the two leaders to start a new process. Papadopoulos lacked this. Relevant institutions and countries are now ready to step in. First contacts will probably be held within weeks, and the parameters and details of the actual negotiations will be determined. The goal of this new process is to reach an agreement on the basis of a ‘united Cyprus.’ Actually this is what Talat has wanted for many years, despite certain frustrations he has faced. The chances for new steps have risen with this new presidency in the Greek Cypriot administration. The two sides are hopeful now. But as Talat said, it would be good if this window of opportunity opens horizons towards a solution. Otherwise unification will remain a mere dream.”


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