|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-07-21
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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
 GUL SENDS MESSAGE TO TRNC'S TALAT MARKING 34TH ANNIVERSARY OF CYPRUS PEACE AND FREEDOM OPERATIONPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday sent a message to Mehmet Ali Talat, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), to mark the 34th anniversary of the 1974 Peace and Freedom Operation as conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). "There are two politically equal nations, democracies and states on Cyprus," Gul said in his message, adding that peace and stability on the island can only be ensured through a solution based on the facts on the ground. He said that Turkey, as a guarantor state, backs the establishment of a new partnership on Cyprus. Gul also reaffirmed Turkey's determination to support the development of the TRNC. /Turkiye/
 PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT IRAQPresident Abdullah Gul is getting ready to visit Iraq. He is expected to visit Baghdad in September or October. During his stay in Baghdad, Gul will be the guest of his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN: "NEITHER TURKEY NOR THE TURKISH CYPRIOTS WILL MAKE ANY CONCESSION ON EQUAL STATUS OR PARTNERSHIP"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend attended ceremonies in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) marking the 34th anniversary of the 1974 Peace and Freedom Operation conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Speaking at one ceremony, Erdogan said that a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue is possible only on the basis of the facts on the island. "Nobody should expect the Turkish Cypriots to retreat from the idea of self-administration, equal status and equal partnership, or to agree to a minority status," he explained. Erdogan said a solution is possible only with a new partnership in which the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC participate equally as founding elements. "Such a new partnership will be established on the principles of a two-sided structure, political equality, and Turkey's status as a guarantor state," he said. Erdogan also said that the 1974 operation prevented a massacre of Turkish Cypriots. "It was a humanitarian operation which had no intention other than bringing peace to the island," he said. "Everybody should acknowledge this reality and evaluate history from this perspective." He added, "The Peace and Freedom Operation, which was waged by the Turkish Armed Forces in line with the international law and agreements, brought freedom, confidence and prosperity to Turkish Cypriots," and urged the EU to keep its promises to the TRNC. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN: "TURKEY OPPOSES NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN ITS REGION"Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday met with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili, proceeding to Istanbul after a weekend visit to Geneva. Afterwards, Babacan said, "Turkey is holding consultations on Iran's nuclear program with six countries, as well as Iran itself." He added, "We believe every sovereign country has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful aims and to possess that technology. But Turkey is opposed to nuclear weapons in its region." For his part, Jalili said that they spoke about his meetings in Geneva. /Star/
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is set to visit New York tomorrow to drum up support for Turkey's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 2009-2010. Babacan will spend his three-day visit holding meetings at United Nations headquarters and will also host a reception for international ambassadors serving there. /Turkish Daily News/
 GERMAN CLIMBERS FREE AND SAFEForeign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin announced yesterday that a group of German mountaineers who were kidnapped by the terrorist PKK earlier this month near Mt. Agri (Ararat) are now safe in the hands of Turkish security forces. He said that Foreign Minister Ali Babacan spoke to his German counterpart Fran-Walter Steinmeier by phone and told him that the German climbers were in good health. Agri Governor Mehmet Cetin told reporters that the terrorists released the hostages under the pressure of a wide- scale Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) search and rescue operation. /All Papers/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 THE US, THE AKP AND THE EUBY OMER TASPINAR (SABAH)
Columnist Omer Taspinar comments on relations between Turkey, the US and the EU, and also the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows:
"How have two years of dizzying political developments affected our country's image? The best answer is this: People are very confused. But we can talk about two different general points of views. On the one hand are some who see political developments in Turkey as a struggle between Islamism and secularism. This large group, arguing on the basis of faulty logic, comes to such mistaken conclusions as 'Islamism is winning' or 'secularism is resisting.' The other group is made up of Western interpreters who look more closely. They go into Anatolia to take the pulse of the people, instead of just watching the bickering in Ankara and talking to a few analysts who are disconnected from the public. After doing this, they have no trouble seeing that the tension in Turkey isn't between Islamism and secularism, but between the public and the regime.
These observers who see the reality in Turkey have witnessed the inexorable rise of a new social foundation and middle class in the capitalist order. As a result, there is a serious split between those who see things in a narrow framework on the basis of secularism and Islamism and those who see things through the lens of democracy, urbanization, sociology and the rise of Anatolian capital. But do these two different interpretations have anything in common? Unfortunately, yes. I say unfortunately, because they both share concern about a coup. This is the sad side of the issue. During the last two years, Turkey's political image has suffered great damage. Our democratic gains of 2003-2006 have all but vanished, and our European Union membership process has been forsaken.
The situation in Washington shows this. Whenever Turkey is mentioned, the first thing people ask about is the military's stance. Excepting a few experts who aren't taken seriously, nobody is angry with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government. Don't get me wrong. People recognize that the AKP has made certain mistakes and proved unable to manage things since it was reelected last summer. But nobody concludes that the AKP deserves to be closed. Whenever I meet people there, the first question I hear is about the risk of a coup, followed by more bothersome questions unsuited to a democratic regime. When I say there's no risk of a coup, people ask if the military will issue another memorandum (similar to the April 2007 memorandum which delayed Turkey's presidential election several months) or what kind of tensions can be expected. Although Turkey directs its own fate, there is something the American officials who ask these questions don't understand, namely the importance of how they react to developments in Turkey. The US secretary of state hasn't seen the destruction sown by Washington's slowness to react against the April 2007 memorandum or to the closure case against the AKP. When the US says that it doesn't take sides, this is seen by would-be coup plotters as a green light. What's worse, Washington's prestige decreases in the eyes of those who look for a US influence in everything and who are already prone to conspiracy theories.
But there's also the EU, which usually takes a much more democratic stance. Although Turkey's authoritarian etatists see this EU stance as interference in our domestic affairs, in the public's eyes, Europe's stature has grown. The latest polls show domestic public support for Turkey's EU membership has risen from 40% to 60%. Of course the recent political and economic instability played a large role in this increase. So an aimless Turkey fears itself and finds a solution in anchoring itself to Europe. This must what people call communal common sense. Let's see if in the future Washington will be able to better gauge these important social dynamics in Turkey."
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