|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-08-11
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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
 ERDOGAN, CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT TO MEET TODAYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today is set to meet with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit at the Prime Ministry. Their meeting is to focus on the conflict between Georgia and Russia over South Ossetia . /Sabah/
 PM, FOREIGN MINISTER URGE PEACEFUL DIALOGUE TO RESOLVE CONFLICT OVER SOUTH OSSETIAForeign Minister Ali Babacan over the weekend had telephone conversations with his US , Russian and Georgian counterparts on recent armed clashes between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia . Babacan expressed Turkey 's concern that the clash between the two countries could escalate. Stressing that the conflict had done great harm to the region's security atmosphere, Babacan said this poses a great risk to peace and stability in the Southern Caucasus . Babacan also expressed Turkey 's deep sorrow over the resulting civilian losses, and said Turkey is ready to provide humanitarian aid to the people affected by the war. He called on both the Russian and Georgian sides to act with moderation and common sense and to begin direct talks to solve the issue. He also stressed the importance of Georgia 's territorial integrity. In related news, speaking with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on the telephone last Friday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey has been watching with concern the clashes, which have killed many people, and urged that the problem be solved through peaceful means and dialogue. Erdogan expressed Turkey 's uneasiness at the clashes and underlined the importance of Georgia 's territorial integrity. Erdogan also called on the sides to solve the issue through direct talks. Armed clashes broke out between Russia and Georgia last week over the breakaway region of South Ossetia . Georgian armed forces entered South Ossetia after it unilaterally declared its independence from Georgia . After four days of clashes, Georgia began to pull its soldiers out of South Ossetia and called for a cease-fire, but Russia has not reciprocated. Countries in the region and the international community fear the clashes could spread into a regional war. /Milliyet- Turkiye/
 AKP TO PREPARE PACKAGE OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGESThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is waiting for the publication of the full text of the recent Constitutional Court decision not to close down the party to prepare a package of constitutional changes to 40 articles. The package will focus on changes to human rights and democratization legislation meant to strengthen Turkish-European Union ties, and will propose ending practices towards political parties and elections seen as anti-democratic, particularly the 10% election threshold, and would also change partially parliamentary immunity. /Sabah/
 TURKISH RED CRESCENT AID CONVOY SENT TO GEORGIAA Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) aid convoy has crossed into Georgia at the Sarp Border Gate to help people affected by the recent armed conflict between Russia and Georgia . The convoy includes foodstuffs, tents and blankets. A Kizilay delegation and trucks carrying humanitarian aid will also go to the Georgian capital Tbilisi , the group said. /Turkiye/
 93TH ANNIVERSARY OF ANAFARTALAR VICTORY MARKED YESTERDAYCeremonies were held yesterday on the Gallipoli peninsula to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the Anafartalar Victory and to commemorate military commander Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and all the heroes who lost their lives in the pivotal battle. President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday released messages marking the anniversary of the victory against occupation forces in the Turkish War of Independence. /Cumhuriyet/
 TURKEY PLANS MISSILE AND AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMSTurkey plans to establish long-range missile and air defense systems to protect itself from possible missile and aerial threats. To this end, it has been holding talks with defense companies from the US , Russia , China and Israel . The systems are expected to be operational by 2010. /Turkiye/
 TRT TO START BROADCASTS IN KURDISH AND OTHER REGIONAL, LOCAL LANGUAGESSpeaking to Aksam daily yesterday, Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) head Ibrahim Sahin said that next year the TRT would begin broadcasts in Kurdish and other regional and local languages such as Arabic and Persian. He said TRT staff was preparing for this change. Sahin also said that TRT would make large investments to improve its technical infrastructure. /Aksam/
 SIMSEK: "THE GOVT WILL REPLACE PROVINCIAL INCENTIVES WITH REGIONAL ONES"Speaking at a meeting organized by the Confederation of Young Turkish Businessmen in the eastern province of Bitlis , State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said the government has been working to reduce inequality in income distribution. He said thanks to measures implemented by the government, in recent years Turkey has showed great development towards more equal income distribution. Simsek also said that starting next year, the government would begin offering regional incentives in place of province-based ones. He said that though the old system worked in some provinces, it had failed to bolster the economy in such areas as the east and southeast. /Sabah/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 A BALKAN MODEL FOR THE CAUCASUSBY ERDAL SAFAK ( SABAH )
Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the crisis in the Caucasus . A summary of his column is as follows:
"The Caucasus is the world's most sinister region, and also its most critical. As long as instability dominates the region, which holds the key to nearly half the world energy reserves as producer or carrier and thus has become an area for great powers to settle scores, the world can never be at peace. Remember then President Suleyman Demirel's 1999 proposal for a Caucasus stability pact made at an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul ? Demirel also championed a similar Balkan stability pact, which became a reality.
Today I'll tell you how that pact has transformed the Balkans. In June 1999, when the United Nations Security Council ended the Kosovo conflict and the NATO bombings of Belgrade , the foreign ministers of 38 countries, including Turkey , and representatives of 15 international organizations met in Cologne at the urging of the European Union and accepted the establishment of a Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe (the Western Balkans). Representatives of the same parties met in Sarajevo that July and officially laid the pact's de facto foundation. The pact covered Albania , Bosnia-Herzegovina , Croatia , Macedonia , Moldavia , Montenegro and Serbia .
The pact was designed not as an international institution, but a framework agreement envisaging a comprehensive initiative to prevent future conflicts. The striking principle of the agreement was ensuring that it benefit all parties on the basis of transparency and equality. Its basic aim was to establish the desire and will to live together, because without this, the Balkans will have neither democracy nor peace. Another important point is that countries and international organizations funding democracy and safety there didn't tie the use of these funds to any precondition such as providing improvement in this or that area.
The pact covered three areas:
1. Democratization and human rights: cooperation among parliaments in the region, local democracy, and projects for cross-border cooperation.
2. Economic reconstruction, cooperation and development: energy, regional infrastructure, commercial legislation, investment and employment.
3. Security issues: fighting crime and corruption, migration, and cooperation in the face of natural disasters.
The pact, which tightly bound the Balkan countries together through cooperation agreements at every level and in every area, had many consequences. I'll run down the most important ones:
1. Under one of its most important aims, eliminating customs barriers, 32 free trade agreements were signed and later integrated into the Central European Free Trade Agreement.
2. Many initiatives to fight organized crime and strengthen border controls were implemented to improve justice and security.
3. Important investments were made to improve the region's transportation network.
4. The legal groundwork was laid to tie together regional countries' electricity and natural gas networks.
Now, thanks to the pact, the Balkans is more politically and economically stable. The importance of regional cooperation at every level and in every area has been internalized by the region's governments and societies. As a matter of fact, thanks to this success, the pact completed its mission and was superseded by a regional cooperation council. So why shouldn't this magic formula, which brought democracy, stability and welfare to the Balkans, be tried in the Caucasus ? What's more, countries of the Caucasus have an advantage: 20 years ago they lived under one state, the Soviet Union , and spoke the same language and shared the same fate, and there were no borders between them."
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