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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-05

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

05.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES BAHRAINI KING
  • [02] GUL APPROVES YAS DECISIONS ON NEW TSK LEADERS
  • [03] SYRIA'S ASSAD TO MEET WITH PM ERDOGAN TODAY
  • [04] BABACAN: "TURKEY IS DOING EU REFORMS TO REACH HIGH STANDARDS IN ALL AREAS"
  • [05] CICEK: "THE CABINET WON'T COMMENT ON THE VERDICT BEFORE SEEING THE COURT'S REASONING"
  • [06] IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD DUE IN TURKEY NEXT WEEK
  • [07] WE'RE BURNING

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES BAHRAINI KING

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al- Khalifa at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara. Al-Khalifa also met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Afterwards, Gul hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting Bahraini monarch. Speaking at the dinner, Gul said that a solution to the Palestine issue is urgently needed, and that developments in Iraq and the suffering of people in neighboring countries affect him deeply. "The threats of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction create concern in both Turkey and our region," he added. For his part, pointing to Turkey's capabilities and position, Al- Khalifa said that Turkey has played an important role in the region's security, stability and development. As part of the visit, Bahraini Industry and Trade Minister Abdullah Fakhro is set to attend a Turkey- Bahrain Business Council meeting. At the gathering, Fakhro will meet with his Turkish counterpart Zafer Caglayan, and will sign several economic agreements. /Star-Sabah/

    [02] GUL APPROVES YAS DECISIONS ON NEW TSK LEADERS

    After President Abdullah Gul yesterday approved decisions taken at the recent Supreme Military Council (YAS) meeting on promotions and other personnel decisions in the Turkish Armed Forces, they were made public. Under the decisions, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug was appointed the new chief of General Staff, succeeding the retiring Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Basbug is expected to serve for two years instead of the usual four, as he will retire when he reaches 67, the army's mandatory retirement age. While the naval and air forces commanders are to stay at their posts for another year, Gen. Işık Koşaner, head of the the Gendarmerie General Command, will replace Basbug as the new land forces commander. Gen. Hasan Igsız was appointed the new deputy chief of General Staff. The promotions of several generals were turned down, while others were sent into retirement. Unlike previous YAS meetings, no officers were dismissed from the army due to disciplinary problems or conduct issues. The decisions will take effect as of August 30. /Aksam/

    Efforts continue to extinguish a forest fire which has been raging since last week in the Mediterranean province of Antalya. The record fire, which broke out on July 31 in the town of Serik in the province, a popular tourist destination, has destroyed at least 60 houses, dozens of farm buildings, a school and a mosque in both Serik and Manavgat. Six villages were evacuated. One person died and another is reported missing in the fire. The fire also destroyed livestock in the villages and millions of trees on thousands of hectares. Today Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to tour the areas affected and to assess the damage. In related news, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal also visited the areas affected by the fire and pledged that his party would do its part in Parliament to make sure the fire victims are taken care of. /Star/

    [03] SYRIA'S ASSAD TO MEET WITH PM ERDOGAN TODAY

    Syrian President Bashar Assad and his wife are currently on vacation in Bodrum. During his stay, Assad will meet today with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reportedly to discuss such topics as the Turkey-mediated Syrian-Israeli dialogue and developments on Iran's nuclear program. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] BABACAN: "TURKEY IS DOING EU REFORMS TO REACH HIGH STANDARDS IN ALL AREAS"

    Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for EU Talks Ali Babacan yesterday met with his visiting Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado. Afterwards, Babacan told a joint press conference that Turkey would continue to make reforms towards EU full membership. He said that there were over 20 bills on EU reforms pending in Parliament, and added, "All these reforms will be passed after Oct. 1, when Parliament returns from its recess." Stating that the government has almost completed the national program for this year's EU reforms, he said, "We will finalize it this month to announce the steps the government will take on the EU reforms." Babacan also said what's important for Turkey on the EU reforms is the reform process itself before all else, where it can reach high standards in all areas. On Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's upcoming visit to Turkey, Babacan decried what he called groundless speculations meant to cast a shadow over the trip, saying that instead people should focus on the core of the visit. "Discussions about Iran's nuclear program are taking place all around the world," he said. "Discussions about the time, place, and format of the visit are inappropriate and are meant to derail it." Asked about recent developments in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, he said the government is closely monitoring all developments there. "We place great importance on stability in Kirkuk, as it is closely related to stability in Iraq overall," Babacan said. "And the stability of Iraq means the stability of the region." He also warned that unilateral decisions and steps could bring more difficulties and troubles to Kirkuk, adding that Turkey has advised all groups there to come together to solve their problems through dialogue and compromise. Babacan also praised the healthy state of ties between Turkey and Portugal, and expressed pleasure at Portugal's support for Turkey's EU bid. For his part, Amado said that Portugal would continue to support Turkey's EU bid, and that it favors continued Turkish-EU relations. He also pledged that his country would do its best to make sure ties between Turkey and the EU do not deteriorate. /Turkiye/

    [05] CICEK: "THE CABINET WON'T COMMENT ON THE VERDICT BEFORE SEEING THE COURT'S REASONING"

    Government spokesperson and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek held a press conference after yesterday's Cabinet meeting. Asked about the recent Constitutional Court decision not to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Cicek said the Cabinet wouldn't comment on the verdict before the court releases the full decision with its reasoning. Pointing to the recent forest fires, Cicek stated that Prime Minister Erdogan would visit Antalya together with Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu, who briefed the Cabinet on the fires. He also said that funds had been sent to the Antalya Governor's Office to provide for relief efforts, and that the government would purchase night flying aircrafts to more effectively fight wildfires. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD DUE IN TURKEY NEXT WEEK

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Turkey next week ahead of a United Nations Security Council deadline for Iran to suspend its nuclear program. His trip will be the highest-level Iranian visit to Turkey since 2004. /Star/

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

    [07] WE'RE BURNING

    BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the devastating forest fire in Antalya. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "According to figures cited in news stories, thousands of hectares of trees were reduced to ashes by the forest fire which started last Thursday. Not only were trees taken, but other beings born there, including insects, plants, ants and rabbits, lost their lives. We don't know what started the fire yet. It might have been lightning, arson, a cigarette butt, or broken glass kindling the dry grass. Whatever the cause, according to our economic desk, this fire has cost us 1 billion YTL. In other words, 10 million trees were reduced to ashes, nearly 2.5 million of them Calabrian Pine, each of which costs nearly 400 YTL. The material damage can be compensated for one way or another, but the problem is that life in that region has been extinguished until nature renews itself with butterflies, grass, snakes, etc.

    There's something I don't understand. We know that our forests, especially those in the Mediterranean and Aegean regions, face a great forest fire threat every summer. If we look at the issue only materially, our financial losses total at least $1 billion per year. So why don't we spend the money necessary to minimize these losses? Or why don't we find an effective remedy through additional funds and measures, as it's clear that the steps up to now have fallen short? If we suffer losses of nearly $5 billion over four years, wouldn't it be reasonable to invest $500 million to prevent this?

    So what can we do? Firstly, our fire warning system should be made more effective. As cell phones are very common in Turkey, it should be the easiest thing to notify authorities of a forest fire, no matter where it starts, in the first five or 10 minutes by calling the fire warning center at 177. Why hasn't the Forest Service publicized this number so everyone knows it by heart? But this isn't enough. The key thing is to teach people to avoid doing things which cause fires. This could be done through intense public awareness campaigns at schools, homes, on TV and everywhere, not through warnings you hear a few times a year.

    Thirdly, does the Forest Service have enough well-trained people to put out fires? They say they do, but clearly they don't. Unless more people are hired, and they are all well-trained as in developed countries, we can't expect them to do their jobs. In addition, unless volunteer units made up of local civilians are established and are trained through drills, we will still fall short. Then there remains the duty of putting technology to use and preparing an infrastructure for this. Of course, if it's not too much trouble for our officials!"


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