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Turkish Press Review, 08-07-14

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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

14.07.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN ATTENDS MEDITERRANEAN UNION SUMMIT
  • [02] ERGENEKON INDICTMENT EXPECTED TODAY
  • [03] TURKISH DAY CELEBRATED IN SPAIN
  • [04] TUZMEN: "AS IRAQ BECOMES STABLE, OUR BILATERAL TRADE VOLUME COULD RISE TO $30 BLN"
  • [05] ENERGY MINISTER GULER: "OIL DRILLING IN THE BLACK SEA WILL BEGIN NEXT YEAR"
  • [06] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

  • [01] ERDOGAN ATTENDS MEDITERRANEAN UNION SUMMIT

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by Foreign Minister and chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan, over the weekend attended a summit meeting in Paris for the proposed Mediterranean union at the invitation of French President Nicola Sarkozy. Meeting with Sarkozy, Erdogan urged EU Term President France to abide by to its commitment to Turkey's EU accession bid, and told of Turkey's expectations of how France will treat its accession talks at the EU helm. For his part, Sarkozy promised to allow the accession talks to run their course, adding that talks on chapters which are ready for review will start during the French Presidency. Sarkozy also praised Turkey's mediation between Israel and Syria, and reiterated that the Mediterranean union and Turkey's EU accession bid are completely separate matters. On the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Sarkozy said, "I hope the court's decision on the case will be in line with the principles of pluralist democracy and the rule of law." Erdogan also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Afterwards, Erdogan said that Turkey would continue its mediation with the same determination and hope as at the outset of the recent indirect peace talks between the two countries, adding that Turkey will also take part in direct peace talks. Speaking about his meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the summit, Olmert said that a peace deal is now closer than ever. /Star/

    [02] ERGENEKON INDICTMENT EXPECTED TODAY

    An indictment stemming from the Ergenekon probe is expected to be released today. It is expected to indict 85 suspects, including retired Gen. Veli Kucuk and Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek. Forty-eight of the suspects are under arrest, while the remaining 37 were released to be tried without detention. The nearly 2,500-page indictment reportedly has 40 chapters. It will not include people detained on July 1 under the probe. An additional indictment will be drawn up for 21 people. Seven of the suspects " including Kemalist Thought Association head and retired Gen. Sener Eruygur, retired Gen. Hursit Tolon, and Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) head Sinan Aygun " have been arrested, bringing the number of arrests to 58. People detained and arrested under the Eregenekon probe are accused of establishing an illegal crime network and plotting to overthrow the government. /Star/

    [03] TURKISH DAY CELEBRATED IN SPAIN

    Turkish Day was celebrated yesterday in Spain at the Zaragoza International Expo on water and sustainable development. State Minister Hayati Yazici traveled to the Spanish city to attend the celebration. "We're celebrating the 25th anniversary of Turkish-Spanish diplomatic relations," he said. "Relations between our two countries could set an example." /Turkish Daily News/

    [04] TUZMEN: "AS IRAQ BECOMES STABLE, OUR BILATERAL TRADE VOLUME COULD RISE TO $30 BLN"

    State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen yesterday said once stability is achieved in Iraq, its annual oil revenues would soar to $250 billion and the total trade volume between Turkey and Iraq would reach $30 billion. Tuzmen said that trade relations between the two countries were increasingly steady. Trade volume between the two countries in the first half of this year exceeded $2.2 billion, he said, adding that Turkey hopes to bring this to $5 billion by year's end. /Aksam/

    [05] ENERGY MINISTER GULER: "OIL DRILLING IN THE BLACK SEA WILL BEGIN NEXT YEAR"

    Energy Minister Hilmi Guler yesterday said that an American oil company has asked Turkey for permission to explore for oil in the Black Sea. Guler, in Izmir to attend the opening of a wind power plant on Mt. Yund, said that they were worried about soaring fuel oil prices, adding that oil drilling in the Black Sea would begin next year. /Milliyet-Aksam/

    [06] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the initiative for a union of Mediterranean countries. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Right now the Ergenekon probe is Turkey's top concern. Under these circumstances, French President Nicholas Sarkozy's initiative for a 'Mediterranean union' " or, under its new name, 'Barcelona Process: The Union for the Mediterranean' " has a hard time getting Turkey's interest. But not too long ago the issue was an important matter in our country. For this reason, we shouldn't ignore the weekend summit in Paris which brought together 42 heads of state and government, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    A number of European countries already recognized that France was trying to draw Turkey away from the European Union and direct it to a new union through the idea of the 'Mediterranean union.' In addition, Paris' efforts to turn the balance in the Mediterranean in its own favor angered the EU.

    So Sarkozy's project faced opposition, especially from Germany. Even its ambitious name was changed. But although now it's far from its original plan, Sarkozy should save the situation.

    He's vested in the dubious project. The EU graciously approved a summit in Paris to launch the initiative. A number of Mediterranean countries, including Turkey, finally agreed to attend the gathering.

    But according to the European media, which lampooned the initiative as 'Club Med,' and the Arab media, which calls it an initiative to 'urge Israel and Arabs to be in the same room,' it is unclear how the Mediterranean union will emerge.

    We can tell that a number of leaders, including Algeria President Abdulaziz Buteflika, attended the summit so they wouldn't be preempted by others. Otherwise they wouldn't have held out agreeing to go until the last minute. But in the end, almost none has vested in the project, as its aim is still unclear.

    Israel, which backs all Western initiatives to end its regional isolation, is seen as the sole state eagerly supporting the project. But this alone is enough to make the Arabs suspicious of it.

    Sarkozy's effort to arrange a summit of Bashar Assad and Ehud Olmert in Paris, using Syria-Israel meetings which began thanks to Turkey, and to thus score a big diplomatic success for France, fell flat, naturally.

    Nevertheless, Sarkozy kept up appearances, thanks to Turkey and Syria. French diplomats very well knew that if Turkey stayed away, the summit's magic would falter. Because a Mediterranean union without Turkey is impossible.

    Then, as announced by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, France sent three invitations and three private envoys to Ankara to get it to attend the gathering. Finally, Sarkozy himself phoned Erdogan, and Turkey was finally swayed.

    As for Assad, although he opposed meeting with Israeli Premier Olmert, he agreed to establish diplomatic contact with Lebanon. He thus gave Sarkozy a small gift and prevented the world media from dismissing the summit completely.

    All this doesn't mean the idea of a Mediterranean union is empty. The region faces big issues, so regional cooperation carries vital importance. But it's doubtful whether France, which inspires suspicion rather than enthusiasm in the region, can manage it. Although French doesn't like it, in this area, the chances of Turkey, whose political profile in the region is rising, are much better than Paris'."


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