|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-04-24
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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
 MARKING SOVEREIGNTY DAY, GUL RECEIVES POLITICAL PARTY LEADERSPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday hosted a luncheon with political party leaders at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in honor of April 23, National Sovereignty and Children's Day. Attending the luncheon were Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, Democratic Society Party (DTP) group leader Ahmet Turk, Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer, Freedom and Solidarity Party leader (ODP) Ufuk Uras and Great Union Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu. Only the leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) was absent. Speaking at the luncheon, Gul said that Turkey faces both opportunities and risks such as terrorism, the economy, separatism and efforts to strengthen democracy. Gul also received children from throughout Turkey as a part of Children's Day celebrations. Speaking at the gathering, Gul told the young visitors, "When you govern Turkey, it will be richer and greater than it is now. Through your efforts, Turkey will rise." /Aksam/
The 88th anniversary of Parliament and April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day were celebrated across the nation yesterday, and high-level officials, opposition party leaders, and ruling and opposition party deputies convened in a special session in the first Parliament building where the republic was established in 1923. Speaking at the meeting, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said, "Turkey is continuing its path with the same spirit, enthusiasm and determination as in the 1920s." Stressing that Parliament had restored the Turkish people to independence under difficult conditions, he said, "Today there is no problem that Parliament cannot overcome." There was also a special session of Parliament yesterday. Addressing the session, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "The Turkish Republic and its values took root and have been completely embraced by the people." Stressing that with the establishment of Parliament, the Turkish people became the most important factor in the political system, he said, "To solve our problems, we must only rely on the will of the people and the democratic legitimacy derived from it, just as Ataturk and his fellows did the same during the struggle for national independence." Stating that everyone should respect the principle that sovereignty belongs unconditionally to the people, Erdogan added, "Turkey is changing. Some people need to grasp this change and act in accordance with it." Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and opposition National Movement Party (MHP) leader Bahceli also addressed Parliament. Saying that the government must respect the Constitution's principle of secularism, Baykal accused it of abusing its powers for political gain. Stressing that Turkey has recently faced international pressure on critical issues, Bahceli said, "Parliament is only institution that can save the country from its current problems." Democratic Turkey Party (DTP) parliamentary group chairman Ahmet Turk and Great Union Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu also addressed Parliament. /Turkiye/
 TOPTAN HOSTS HOLIDAY RECEPTION AT PARLIAMENTParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday hosted a reception at Parliament in honor of April 23, National Sovereignty and Children's Day. Attending the reception were President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic, Democratic Society Party (DTP) group leader Ahmet Turk, representatives from non-governmental organizations and trade unions, and many foreign ambassadors. /Aksam/
 TRNC PRESIDENT TO VISIT ANKARATurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat will arrive in Ankara today to have talks with top Turkish officials. Talat will address a conference on Cyprus tomorrow and also meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul. /Cumhuriyet/
 BATTLE OF GALLIPOLI COMMEMORATEDA ceremony will be held in Canakkale today to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the Battle of Gallipoli. New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters arrived in Istanbul yesterday. He will attend the ceremony in Canakkale before paying a visit to Ankara. /Cumhuriyet-Turkish Daily News/
 ERDOGAN DISCUSSES CLOSURE CASE WITH AKP DEPUTIESPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday began receiving deputies of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in groups of 50 to discuss the closure case against the party. During yesterday's first six-hour meeting at AKP headquarters in Ankara, Erdogan said that they are exploring all possibilities. Urging the deputies to avoid commenting or acting on the case, Erdogan said he hoped it would be concluded soon to help dispel the air of uncertainty hanging over Turkey. The premier will meet with the second group of deputies tomorrow. /Milliyet/
 SLOVENIAN PRESIDENT: "IF THE EU WANTS TO BECOME A GLOBAL ACTOR, IT NEEDS TURKEY"If the European Union wants to become a strategic global actor, it needs Turkey, said Danilo Turk, the president of Slovenia, which currently holds the EU presidency. Addressing the European Parliament, Turk said that the EU shouldn't shrink Turkey from its commitment to follow through on Turkey's full membership process, warning that doing so would damage the Union's honor. /Star/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 IRAQ, KIRKUK AND THE PKKBY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)
Columnist Soli Ozel comments on Iraq, Kirkuk and the PKK issue and his conversation with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The things happening in Iraq concern Turkey. It's also not enough to be concerned with just northern Iraq due to the terrorist PKK and Kurds there, because Iraq's future is the key variable in how the balance of power will be established in the Middle East and Gulf region. Iraq's future will remain unpredictable as long as the power struggle there is unresolved. Five years after the invasion, it's clear that Iran is very strong, and this disturbs Sunni Arab states. Besides, as US commander and 'surge' architect Gen. David Petraeus said earlier this month, the violence will continue.
The number of US troops won't fall until at least 2009. Recent conflicts among Shiites and efforts to make radical Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr powerless have proved fruitless. It's also uncertain how long the Sunnis will act the way Americans want. For now, I can say that Iraq will remain unsteady and violent for a long time and that the one-seventh of the population who had to leave the country won't easily return. In addition, despite all this instability, nobody will benefit from the disintegration of the country, so it seems its territorial integrity will continue.
Returning from a recent meeting in Kuwait of foreign ministers of countries neighboring Iraq, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also stressed the importance of territorial integrity. Babacan said nobody is talking about Iraq's disintegration or seeing it as positive. For Babacan, one result of Turkey's operations against the terrorist PKK was that the center of the Kurdish region in the north approached the central government.
In this respect, Babacan considers the expected Iraqi oil law important in terms of determining how power and revenues will be divided and the system as a whole. According to Babacan, Kirkuk is very important, and problems there will influence the entire country. Babacan also said that there would be no referendum on Kirkuk this June either, and Turkey is sensitive about the Kirkuk issue, because this would affect all the groups in Iraq and Iraq's future. In this respect, Babacan also finds UN statements close to Turkey's position.
Babacan also said that Iran is Turkey's neighbor and that dialogue with Tehran doesn't mean that we support its policies, and stressed that Turkey is absolutely against the region having nuclear arms. Asked whether the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had affected his meetings, Babacan said the question came up often and that they explained the situation. Babacan added that since a similar crisis was overcome last year, there are high expectations that this time the result will be the same.
'But it's sad that in a country which is growing stronger and gaining influence in the region, these kinds of problems occur,' he added. 'Why should I get such questions? It's very uncomfortable to have a country which sets a democratic example for the entire region and spearheads such concepts as democratic rights, women's rights and the rule of law, stresses pluralism and tries to make others adopt this as well, transformed into a country wracked by internal problems. When countries in a more difficult situation than ours treat us with near-pity, it saddens me greatly'."
 BAYKAL: "THE SABAH-ATV SALE STINKS"BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bila comments on main Opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's criticisms on the Sabah newspaper and ATV network deal. A summary of his column is as follows:
"CHP leader Deniz Baykal criticized the sale of Sabah-ATV to the Calik group, including how much of yesterday's payment price was met through loans from two state-owned banks. He accused Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan of creating a media supporting his Justice and Development Party's (AKP) rule. 'The deal stinks. We'll closely follow the developments,' Baykal said. 'A tender was launched and only one group bidded. But we know that seven other firms also applied before allegedly withdrawing under pressure from the premier. No tender like this has ever been seen anywhere in the world. The premier is forming his own media. The firm which won the tender was led by the premier's son-in-law.'
Baykal also lashed out at the $750 million loan given by two state-owned banks, Vakifbank and Halkbank, to the Calik group. 'A large amount of the price was provided by a loan from state-owned banks. How were these transactions realized? Why they get the loan from state-owned banks, and under what circumstances? We'll pursue this,' the CHP leader said, adding that his party will bring the issue to Parliament.
Also commenting on the Calik group's new Qatari partner, Baykal said, 'We can now understand the premier's special interest in Qatar.' He also claimed that the premier made personal efforts to help the partnership.
Concerning recent allegations about CHP payments to opposition TV station Kanalturk, Baykal said, 'The Finance Ministry is trying to confuse people. There was no irregularity. We have all the documentation, including the invoices. Kanalturk did work for us, and we paid for it. We have no concern about the matter'."
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