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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-13

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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

13.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS SHOW THE NEED FOR TURKEY TO BE POWERFUL AND STABLE IN ITS REGION"
  • [02] SOLDIERS SLAIN IN ERZINCAN LAID TO REST
  • [03] CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT PAYS FAREWELL VISIT TO PRESIDENT GUL
  • [04] IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD DUE IN TURKEY TOMORROW
  • [05] GOVT PLANS TO REVIVE AVIATION SECTOR IN EASTERN, SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA
  • [06] HARD GAME IN THE CAUCASUS

  • [01] GUL: "RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE CAUCASUS SHOW THE NEED FOR TURKEY TO BE POWERFUL AND STABLE IN ITS REGION"

    At the Cankaya Presidential Palace yesterday, President Abdullah Gul was briefed by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan on recent developments in the Caucasus. Afterwards, Gul told reporters that Turkey would continue its initiatives to restore peace and stability to the region. Stressing that Turkey places great importance on Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, he said that everyone should respect it. Stating that Turkey has always been closely interested in developments in the region, he said that it would continue to play a key role to ensure and protect the region's peace, stability and prosperity. He also voiced support for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal for a Caucasus alliance to make the region more stable and secure, and to boost cooperation among regional countries, saying that the region needs mechanisms for peace and cooperation that could prevent conflicts before they begin. Gul said that Turkey would continue to support all international initiatives to restore peace to the war-torn region, and added, "It is good that our government immediately started humanitarian aid to Georgia, as political initiatives are underway." He added, "News reports that Russia has halted military operations are a positive development. I hope this positive development will soon turn into a cease-fire. Implementation of a cease-fire is very important. I believe that both parties should take care to prevent further bloodshed." Stressing that Turkey is located in a very key region, close to most important international developments, he said, "Recent developments indicate that Turkey should be powerful and stable in the region and should have a strong economy and armed forces." /Turkiye/

    [02] SOLDIERS SLAIN IN ERZINCAN LAID TO REST

    Nine soldiers killed by a roadside bomb planted by the terrorist PKK Monday in the eastern province of Erzincan were laid to rest in their hometowns yesterday. A memorial service for the soldiers at Erzincan Military Hospital was attended by Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, and thousand of other mourners. Afterwards, the coffins of the soldiers were sent to their hometowns for burial. /All papers/

    [03] CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT PAYS FAREWELL VISIT TO PRESIDENT GUL

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, who will retire at the end of this month, yesterday paid a farewell visit to President Abdullah Gul at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. The visit, which was held behind closed doors, lasted about 30 minutes.

    [04] IRAN'S AHMADINEJAD DUE IN TURKEY TOMORROW

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit Istanbul tomorrow, in his first-ever visit to a NATO member country. Ahmadinejad is scheduled to meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in the city. The meetings are expected to focus on boosting bilateral relations by exchanging views on regional issues in line with Turkey's developing friendship and cooperation with Iran. /Aksam/

    [05] GOVT PLANS TO REVIVE AVIATION SECTOR IN EASTERN, SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA

    As part of its special development plan for the eastern and southeastern Anatolia regions, the government plans to increase aviation-related investments in the local provinces. Under its plans, three new airports will be constructed in the Igdir, Sirnak, and Yuksekova districts of Hakkari, and some existing airports in the regions will be renovated. A joint airport for the provinces of Adana and Mersin will also be built. The new airports are expected to be operational by 2010. /Aksam/

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

    [06] HARD GAME IN THE CAUCASUS

    BY HASAN CELAL GUZEL (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Hasan Celal Guzel comments on the crisis in the Caucasus and the role Turkey could play in resolving it. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Did you know that throughout our history, we have been living smack in the middle of the world's three most problematic regions? Since the beginning of history, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East have always seen the worst conflicts and wars. In addition, nearly all prophets emerged in the Middle East, and there's a reason for this. World War I broke out in the Balkans, and the Caucasus has never been governed peacefully. After the Ottoman Empire incorporated these three regions, even if peace could have ensured by the Pax Ottomana, after the empire fell such conflicts continued. Turkey can't be indifferent to the issues of the countries of the Balkans, Caucasus and Middle East and feel safe. In addition, Turkey has very serious concerns and interests in these regions. Although the region has seen ethnic cleansing and genocide over the last two centuries, its Turkish population remains very high. After being conquered by Lala Mustafa Pasha in 1578, Georgia was Islamized to a great extent. In spite of Stalin's ethnic cleansing of Ahiska Turks, nearly 600,000 Kipchak Turks and Borcali Qarapapahs_Terekemes still live in Georgia. Under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), our relations with Georgia have developed, and there are close ties of friendship between the two countries.

    The apparent reason for the Russian-Georgian War " or more correctly, Russia's unilateral attack " is the young and inexperienced Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's operation against South Ossetia. It's clear that that Russia manipulated Ossetia and trapped Saakashvili. It's also evident that Russia has been planning this for a long time and waiting for Saakashvili to make a mistake. While Russia is still rankled by the 2004 ouster of Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze during the Rose Revolution as well as Ukraine's Orange Revolution, Kosovo declaring independence earlier this year really tried Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's patience. A planned meeting on preparations for Georgia joining NATO and the status of Abkhazia also served to accelerate Russia's aggression. Rising American dominance over countries of the Caucasus and former Soviet bloc and the US-Russian rivalry also played a role in Russia's attacks. If such a war had broken out after Georgia joined NATO, either a world war with Turkish involvement would have begun, or, if the US and NATO had failed to respond, NATO's prestige would have been destroyed.

    Turkey can't take open sides in the Russian-Georgian war, because it has interests in both countries. But this doesn't mean we have to stay silent. Turkey should continue to try to help Georgia without taking sides, as it's doing now. We should never forget that contrary to what certain anti- American nationalists think, Turkey can never cooperate with Russia against the West, but not because of the Ottoman-era Turkish-Russian conflict. We have no problem with Russians, but there have been areas of foreign policy competition within the Turkish geography since Czarist Russia and the Soviet era. Nearly 50 million ethnic Turks are still living in a great many autonomous and federated Turkish societies in Russia. Furthermore, Turkey's close relations with the Central Asian Turkic Republics disturb Russia. Moreover, Russia's negative stance on the Cyprus and terrorist PKK issues remain unchanged. Turkey has to play the role of an organizing central power in the Middle East and Balkans as well as in the Caucasus. So it should strengthen its position by encouraging US and European support without spoiling its relations with Russia. Otherwise Russia's re-emergence as a superpower could destabilize the region."


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