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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-18

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

18.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO ATTEND LOCAL AKP CONGRESSES ACROSS TURKEY
  • [02] BABACAN BRIEFS US, EU COUNTERPARTS ON EFFORTS TO DEFUSE RUSSIAN-GEORGIAN CRISIS
  • [03] BAHCELI: "GEORGIA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY SHOULD BE PRESERVED"
  • [04] FIRST TURKISH-AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT BEGINS TODAY IN ISTANBUL
  • [05] TURKISH PLANES BOMB TERRORIST TARGETS IN N.IRAQ
  • [06] CIVIL SERVANTS TO GET WAGE HIKE
  • [07] WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF TURKEY LOST ITS ALLIES?

  • [01] ERDOGAN TO ATTEND LOCAL AKP CONGRESSES ACROSS TURKEY

    Until Parliament reconvenes this fall, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to focus on his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) provincial and local congresses across the country. Erdogan will reportedly attend some AKP congresses starting this Friday, with the one in his hometown of Guneysu, Rize. Erdogan has asked AKP members and deputies to step up their preparations for local elections set for March of next year. The AKP's next regular general congress will be held at the end of next year. /Star/

    [02] BABACAN BRIEFS US, EU COUNTERPARTS ON EFFORTS TO DEFUSE RUSSIAN- GEORGIAN CRISIS

    In telephone conversations over the last two days, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has briefed his US and European Union member state counterparts on Turkey 's efforts to defuse the crisis between Russia and Georgia . Speaking to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, EU Term President France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, German Foreign Minister Frank- Walter Steinmeier, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, Babacan told them about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent visits to Russia and Georgia to help end the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, and also exchanged views on how to end the conflict. In addition to Turkey's role, Babacan and his counterparts also assessed what international organs such as the UN Security Council, the EU, NATO, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) could do to end the conflict. Today Babacan is set to go to Brussels to attend an extraordinary NATO foreign ministers meeting on the situation. Turkey will continue to help efforts along with the international community to promote peaceful solutions and sustainable stability through common sense and dialogue, said a Foreign Ministry statement. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] BAHCELI: "GEORGIA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY SHOULD BE PRESERVED"

    No occupation of Georgia should be ignored, said opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday. Visiting cities in Thrace, on Turkey's European side, Bahceli spoke about Turkey's efforts to end the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia . Stating that Turkey is urging that stability in the Caucasus be maintained, he added, " Georgia's territorial integrity should be preserved. Turkey is urging the continuation of peace, stability and mutual respect between countries of the world." /Turkiye/

    [04] FIRST TURKISH-AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT BEGINS TODAY IN ISTANBUL

    In line with its efforts in recent years to boost relations with African countries, part of its long-term expansion strategy towards the African continent, Turkey is taking another important step this week by hosting the first Turkish-African Union Summit. Bringing together nearly all African countries and representatives of 20 international organizations in Istanbul , the summit, chaired by President Abdullah Gul, will begin today. At the end of the summit, a declaration between Turkey and the participating African countries is expected to outline the main principles of future relations. The declaration is also expected to announce the establishment of a cooperation program in areas such as industry, trade, security, culture, the environment, education, nutrition, and peacekeeping initiatives, as well as a new monitoring mechanism to institutionalize cooperation between Turkey and African countries. The African Union declared Turkey strategic partner in January. The next Turkish-African Union summit is due to be held five years from now, in an African country. /Sabah/

    [05] TURKISH PLANES BOMB TERRORIST TARGETS IN N.IRAQ

    Turkish fighter jets have bombed terrorist PKK targets in northern Iraq, the General Staff announced on its website on Saturday. Turkish warplanes hit an area in northern Iraq where a group of PKK terrorists were preparing to attack Turkey. "Warplanes attacked terrorists in the Avasin-Basyan region of northern Iraq , near the Turkish border," the military said. /All papers/

    [06] CIVIL SERVANTS TO GET WAGE HIKE

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that this month Turkey's lowest-paid civil servants would get a raise of 103 new Turkish liras (YTL). "Additional amounts will be paid to civil servants in accordance with their current salaries and titles," Erdogan told reporters. "The lowest salaries will get raises of 10 percent, while the average salary will be increased 8.4 percent." With this hike, the lowest salary for civil servants reached 1,119 YTL. /All papers/

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

    [07] WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF TURKEY LOST ITS ALLIES?

    BY SEMIH IDIZ (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on Turkish foreign policy. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "After the collapse of the Soviet Union , NATO was largely deprived of its mission. For the alliance's future health, it needs to perceive a new common threat. The operation in Afghanistan highlighted this lack, and NATO leaders have complained that member states don't contribute enough to this operation. Even Turkey , considered a key NATO member, has refused to send more combat troops. One of the most important results of Russia 's recent invasion of Georgia is the revival of the idea of a common threat in Europe, but a demonstration in Tbilisi against Russia didn't get much attention.

    On the other hand, the presidents of Estonia , Lithuania , Latvia " all members of both the European Union and NATO " and also Ukraine , a NATO and EU aspirant, stood with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. These leaders of former Warsaw Pact countries called on NATO to take a stand against Russia's imperialist policy. Obviously, Poland and the Czech Republic are following these developments anxiously. Warsaw's hasty signing of a missile defense agreement in Washington should be seen in this light. Although Polish officials say the agreement isn't against Russia , they must have known how it would be interpreted.

    In sum, this agreement expresses the need to take measures against Russia . Thus, Russia's initiative to 'punish Georgia and teach the West a lesson' has provided NATO with a new meaning. In addition, the self-interested push by France and Germany to make concessions to Russia will end up putting former Warsaw Pact members even more in the US-NATO camp. These countries haven't forgotten how great European countries sold Czechoslovakia to appease Hitler. But these developments will make the EU's efforts to establish a common defense and foreign policy harder. They obviously pose certain vital questions to Turkey as well. The basic question is this: What would Ankara do if NATO took a hard line against Russia due to EU countries supporting the US ?

    Would Turkey be able to stand with NATO? Or would it exit the alliance due to its relations with Russia ? If this happens, would Turkey be able to follow a 'link-free' defense policy despite its dangerous geopolitical position? If this proves to be impossible and Ankara instead wants to join a special military alliance for Europe foreseen by France and Germany, would these countries " which now want to block Turkey from joining the EU " accept this? If this doesn't happen and Turkey instead entered an alliance with Russia, what would become of its relations with the West and its interests in the Caucasus ? Perhaps such questions would never have come up before, but as you can see, we can't ignore considering what Turkey would end up doing if it lost its allies."


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