|Wednesday, 21 March 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-08-14
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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
 GUL HOLDS PHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH HIS RUSSIAN, GEORGIAN COUNTERPARTSPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday spoke separately on the telephone with his Russian and Georgian counterparts to assess recent developments in the armed conflict over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. "During his conversations, President Gul expressed his deep sorrow over the death of civilians during the clashes," said the Presidential Press Center. "President Gul also reiterated that Turkey places great importance on Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty, solving regional problems peacefully, and the integrated implementation of initiatives to promote peace, stability and prosperity in all countries of the region." Hundreds of people have died and hundreds more have been injured and left homeless since Georgia launched a crackdown on South Ossetia last week, drawing a harsh response from Russia. Russia halted its military operations against Georgia on Tuesday, but the two have already traded charges over alleged violations of the recent cease-fire agreement. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN IN RUSSIA TO SEEK SOLUTION TO GEORGIAN CRISISPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, yesterday arrived in Moscow to hold talks with top Russian officials on the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia over the South Ossetia issue, with an eye to aiding efforts to secure sustainable peace and stability in the Caucasus. During his visit, Erdogan was received by his Russian President Dmitry Medmedev and also met with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Afterwards, Erdogan told reporters that his proposal to establish a Caucasus cooperation and stability alliance would be discussed by the two countries' foreign ministers. Erdogan said that his talks in Russia would be pave the way for the alliance, and added, "This cooperative platform should assume the responsibility for solving disputes before they break out, and it should also manage crises in the region after they start." Touching on the issue of bilateral trade, Erdogan said, "Turkey's trade with Russia has developed remarkably in recent years, with Russia topping Turkey's foreign trade partners." Erdogan will today proceed from Moscow to Tbilisi to hold talks with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. /Turkiye/
 MGK TO MEET NEXT WEEKThe National Security Council (MGK), chaired by President Abdullah Gul, is set to convene next week in Istanbul, with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit attending for the last time, as he is retiring at the end of this month. Issues expected to be discussed at the gathering include the Georgian crisis in the Caucasus, the fight against the terrorist PKK at home and abroad, and the future of the Iraqi province of Kirkuk. Possible changes in relations between countries of the Caucasus in light of the conflict between Russia and Georgia, and their possible effects of energy supplies, will also be taken up at the gathering. /Hurriyet/
 AHMADINEJAD: "TURKEY AND IRAN HAVE ALWAYS BEEN GREAT POWERS"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will arrive today in Istanbul for a visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Ahmadinejad is set to meet with Gul at the Ciragan Palace, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, as part of his two-day working visit. Meetings between delegations of the two countries, led by Ahmadinejad and Gul, will reportedly focus on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues. Ahmadinejad will also meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Speaking to Turkish reporters before leaving for Istanbul, Ahmadinejad said that Turkey and Iran have always been great powers. Stating that the two countries' strength lies in friendship and efforts for peace, not aggression, he added, "We have not occupied any country's territory or been unfair to anyone. Turkey and Iran working together benefits everyone, but there are some who don't want that cooperation." Pointing to the terrorist PKK and its Iranian branch PJAK, Ahmadinejad reiterated that bilateral cooperation against the terror groups will continue. /Star-Sabah/
 CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT CONTINUES FAREWELL VISITSOn another farewell visit ahead of his Aug. 30 retirement, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday met with Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan. Buyukanit is today set to visit main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. /Milliyet/
 BAYKAL AGAIN URGES RULING AKP TO LEARN LESSONS FROM TOP COURT RULINGSpeaking to his party's Central Executive Board yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal reiterated that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) should engage in self-criticism in light of a recent narrow Constitutional Court ruling to penalize it financially rather than close it down, but added, "The AKP doesn't seem to be eager to make such criticism." Stressing that the court had said the AKP was the focal point of activities working against the principle of secularism, Baykal said, "After this decision, the AKP should have signaled that it had gotten the message and would make necessary changes. But recent moves by the party, especially preparations for a constitutional change to make party closures impossible, show that it won't do the required self- criticism." /Milliyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 WHAT GUL WILL TELL AHMADINEJADBY SUKRU KUCUKSAHIN (HURRIYET)
Columnist Sukru Kucuksahin comments on this week's visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Turkey as well as President Gul's plans for the next several months. A summary of his column is as follows:
"President Abdullah Gul will receive Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad today for an important meeting. Some have charged that the visit was organized in a rush, but this haste stems from the nuclear crisis between Iran and the US, which the meeting will focus on. In other words, time is running out. Gul will likely give serious signals to Ahmadinejad. As Turkey has gained great respect in the eyes of countries of the region and become a trustworthy country which is taken seriously, Gul believes that Turkey's role in indirect talks between Syria and Israel is a good example of this, and that Iran feels the same way. Talking with Ahmadinejad today with this confidence, Gul will sketch out for him Turkey's views of the region and the world.
Gul is expected to say something like this: The US administration is divided over how to deal with Iran. While Senator Barack Obama, who is likely to be the next US president, is expected to take a softer stance, Israel is pressuring the outgoing Bush administration to take action now. This pressure may well be successful, and so time is very short. Clearly diplomacy is the only way of solving the issue, and Europe has an important proposal. I believe you also agree that the proposal is a bit complicated, but very good. We should respond to this offer without delay, because people increasingly believe that Iran is trying to buy time.
Naturally, Iran isn't the only issue that concerns Gul. I've already said I'm curious how he will deal with the European Union issue. From what I can tell, Gul is keeping the subject open and working on possible programs as part of this. Between now and next summer, Gul will pay official visits to several key EU countries and welcome the visiting heads of three EU member states. In addition, he'll attend the Frankfurt Book Fair and meet with the German administration. In the meantime, EU member state leaders who attend summits on water and other issues in Turkey will also hear from Gul. Moreover, Gul is working on domestic EU programs. The most important of these will bring together the heads of all the legislative and executive branch units dealing with the EU, as soon as Parliament's new legislative year begins. Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan are all expected to attend. Such an agenda is fitting for a president like Gul."
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