|Monday, 13 July 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 08-08-19
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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
 FIRST TURKEY-AFRICAN COOPERATION SUMMIT BEGINSHosted by President Abdullah Gul with the theme "Solidarity and Partnership For a Common Future," the First Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit began yesterday in Istanbul. On the first day of the summit, Gul held bilateral talks his African counterparts and foreign ministers. Ahead of today's general session, a preliminary meeting bringing together the foreign ministers of participating countries was convened by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Addressing the meeting, Babacan said, "If Turkey wins a non- permanent seat on the UN Security Council, this will do much to promote peace, security and stability all over the world." Babacan also assured his African counterparts that if Turkey secures a seat on the council, it will serve as the voice of African countries there. The Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Turkish Unions of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) also held a Turkish-African business forum with many African businessmen. Addressing the forum, TOBB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu proposed establishing a Turkish-African Chamber of Commerce for a permanent partnership between the African and Turkish private sectors. He called on Turkish and African businessmen to strengthen commercial ties to help push Turkish-African trade ever upwards. Hisarciklioglu said in the face of soaring worldwide food prices, Turkey's advanced agricultural techniques could be employed in the vast, rich vast African soil to help fight famine. He added that Turkish and African companies could cooperate in the processing and marketing of African minerals. Also speaking at the meeting, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen said that the trade volume between Turkey and African countries has risen remarkably in recent years and reached $13 billion in 2007. Tuzmen predicted this could reach $50 billion by 2012. Stressing that the continent has a great potential, he also said that in the future it would be a shining star. /Turkiye-Star/
 CABINET DISCUSSES THIRD NATIONAL PROGRAM FOR EU REFORMSThe Cabinet convened yesterday under the helm of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Afterwards, speaking to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that they had discussed the draft third national program on Turkey's European Union reforms as prepared by the Foreign Ministry. Stating that the 400-page national program, the roadmap for Turkey's EU membership process, proposes legal and constitutional changes in line with harmonization with the EU acquis, Cicek added that these changes would help the judiciary work better. Cicek said that they would finalize the program after exchanging views with the opposition parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Commenting on media reports saying the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has halted its work on a new constitution, he said that the need for a new constitution is clear, but the process should include the opposition parties and Parliament. /Aksam-Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN DUE IN AZERBAIJAN IN PUSH FOR PEACE IN GEORGIAPrime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan is set to visit to Azerbaijan tomorrow to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev as part of his efforts to end the conflict between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. The two will exchange views on recent developments in the Caucasus. /Cumhuriyet/
 PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TOPTAN VISITS ERDOGANParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday paid a visit to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Asked if his visit concerned a new constitution, Toptan said that changing the Constitution could be discussed but revising it is currently more feasible. Asked if a new constitution is a must, he stated that he favors one, but if this is not possible, smaller constitutional changes could help accelerate Turkey's modernization process. /Cumhuriyet/
 BABACAN TO BRIEF NATO FMs ON PROPOSAL FOR A CAUCASUS ALLIANCEIn the wake of phone conversations with his US and European Union counterparts on the crisis in Georgia and the prime minister's proposal for a new Caucasus pact to promote peace, security and stability to the region, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will today attend an extraordinary NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on the situation in the Caucasus. Babacan is expected to hold bilateral talks with his NATO member counterparts and brief them firsthand on Erdogan's proposal. He is also expected to stress that solving the crisis in the region is important not only for regional stability but also for the security of energy transportation lines in the region. In related news, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili will soon separately visit Ankara to speak about the details of Erdogan's proposed alliance. /Star/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 AN APPOINTMENT WITH AFRICABY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)
Columnist Erdal Safak comments on Turkish-African relations and this week's Turkish-African Summit in Istanbul. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Turkey's push to open the door to Africa, which is one of the most important initiatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, will be crowned with a summit begin in Istanbul today. The Turkish-African Summit, organized under a decision taken by the Organization for African Unity (OAU), will be a milestone in our relations with Africa, as Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said. Turkey's interest in Africa dates from the end of the 1990s. An action plan on Africa was prepared back in 1998 at the initiative of late Foreign Minister Ismail Cem. The AKP administration brought a new vision to this initiative, one which aims to fill the gap which emerged after nearly a century of negligence.
The framework of this vision, which aims at a strong, steady presence in Africa, is as follows:
1. Implementing the mission of a former empire (the Ottoman Empire had a presence in Africa).
2. Work to promote a humanitarian and peaceful world order and ensure a broad global consensus.
3. Prove Turkey's claim to be a global actor.
4. Bringing Turkey to the center of such areas as production, investment, technology, innovation, finance, energy and tourism on the global scale. (Note: Babacan covered these principles in detail in his speech to last month's meeting of Turkish diplomats in Ankara.)
This vision began to become reality this year when Turkey got observer status in the OAU and became a shareholder in the African Development Bank and began to spread its relations in North Africa to the entire continent. This gave our trade with African countries a great momentum. The goal is to boost Turkey's trade volume with Africa from $13 billion (last year) to $50 billion in 2012.
Above all, Turkey was declared a strategic partner by the OAU. This status is hardly ever given: only China, South Korea, Japan, the European Union, Latin America and Turkey have gotten it. Requests from the US and Canada are still undecided. What's more, Turkey is being welcomed more warmly than other partners, because we have no intention of overrunning the continent's resources or exploiting its cheap labor force. We also have no plan to become a party to plans to colonize or enslave it. We only want to walk towards solidarity and partnership for a common future with African countries. We hope that this difference in Turkey's stance will be stressed in the declaration issued at the end of the summit so it serves as a model for the international community.
Our only concern is that this summit, which comes after intensive preparation by diplomats and others, will be overshadowed by one of its guests, namely Sudanese President Omer Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir. We're concerned, because International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has requested an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur. For months the Western press has been saying that al-Bashir may or should be arrested in Istanbul, his first trip abroad since Moreno-Ocampo called for his arrest. But this speculation is baseless, for the following reasons:
Moreno-Ocampo's request hasn't been approved by the ICC.
Turkey isn't a party to the ICC.
All international organizations such as the UN, EU, OAU, Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC), and Arab League, along with the US, Russia and China, have agreed that this initiative can only hinder efforts for peace in Darfur.
Of course, nothing will happen to him in Istanbul, but if the African summit confirming Turkey's role as a global actor is covered in the world media only in terms of al-Bashir, this would be a real shame."
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