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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-20

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

20.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "NO ONE CAN FAIL TO BE INTERESTED IN DEVELOPMENTS IN AFRICA"
  • [02] ERDOGAN: "RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE A GREAT POTENTIAL"
  • [03] GUL PARDONS FORMER PM ERBAKAN
  • [04] NATO PLEDGES "NO BUSINESS AS USUAL WITH MOSCOW" GIVEN CURRENT SITUATION IN GEORGIA
  • [05] AKP'S BAGIS: "WE'RE DETERMINED TO HELP END CONFLICTS IN THE WORLD"
  • [06] BRYZA DENIES US REQUESTED PASSAGE OF SHIPS THROUGH TURKISH STRAITS
  • [07] NAVAL, AIR FORCES COMMANDERS AWARDED DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDALS
  • [08] 13 POLICE OFFICERS INJURED IN CAR EXPLOSION IN MERSIN
  • [09] AGAIN, THE STRAITS …

  • [01] GUL: "NO ONE CAN FAIL TO BE INTERESTED IN DEVELOPMENTS IN AFRICA"

    Addressing the first Turkish-African Cooperation Summit in Istanbul yesterday, President Abdullah Gul said, "Turkey is ready to share all its experience and knowledge in all areas with African countries. It aims to improve solidarity and cooperative relations with the continent for a common future." He added that the summit was an important milestone in relations between Turkey and African countries. "With this summit, Istanbul, bringing us together with our African friends, has symbolically joined the three continents of the world: Europe, Asia and Africa," he said. "Relations between Turkey and the continent have seen a rapid transformation in recent years. While Turkey declared 2005 the Year of Africa, relations took on a new momentum with mutual visits and the African Union's decision this January to declare Turkey a strategic partner." He added, "Turkey's trade volume with African countries has risen considerably over the last decade. Turkish companies' investments in African countries rise every year. The Turkish public's interest in Africa is also gradually growing." Urging the international community to show more interest in Africa's problems, he also said, "No one can be indifferent to the problems of the continent in the medium- or long-term." Gul also hosted a dinner in honor of the summit's participants. Afterwards, Gul told a press conference that they had decided to hold the summit once every five years. Touching on Turkey's rising aid efforts to the continent, he said, "Turkey's development assistances towards the continent has been welcomed by our African friends." He added, "The activities of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) activities are especially appreciated in Africa." Asked about his meeting with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, Gul said they had discussed the controversy over the Darfur issue. "I told him that human suffering causes concern among everyone, no matter the religion, ethnicity or language of the people who are suffering, " he said. "I told the president (al-Bashir) that the Sudanese government should work hard to address this matter." Asked if African countries support Turkey's candidacy for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council, Gul said Turkey's bid enjoys widespread African support. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN: "RELATIONS BETWEEN TURKEY AND AFRICAN COUNTRIES HAVE A GREAT POTENTIAL"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday hosted a luncheon in honor of the heads of state and government of African countries attending the First Turkish-African Cooperation Summit at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace. Speaking to the leaders, Erdogan said, "You should know that when Africa is saddened, Turkey is also saddened, and when Africa is happy, the entire nation of Turkey is also happy." He added, "Turkey has always been friendly towards African countries." Erdogan said that the government had taken important steps to strengthen relations with African countries, citing as an example how Turkey declared 2005 the Year of Africa. Pointing to how the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) has opened offices in several African countries in recent years, he said the number of TIKA offices in Africa would continue to rise. He also said that Turkey would soon open new embassies in 15 African countries to boost relations with the continent. Erdogan also said Turkey aims to boost bilateral trade with the continent. Touching on Turkey's continuing efforts to restore peace and stability to the Caucasus, Erdogan stressed that Turkey has played a key role in working to peacefully solve critical regional and international disputes such as the Palestinian issue, problems between Syria and Israel, and the controversy over Iran's nuclear program. Saying that Turkey, along with Spain, initiated the Alliance of Civilizations and made it a UN project, he also touted Turkey's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2009-2010, saying he appreciates African countries' support for this. /Turkiye/

    [03] GUL PARDONS FORMER PM ERBAKAN

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday pardoned Necmettin Erbakan, 81, former prime minister and former leader of the banned Welfare Party (RP), citing the elderly politician's fragile health. According to the Presidential Press Center, Erbakan's condition did not allow his house arrest to continue. Erbakan had been convicted of falsifying party records to hide RP funds slated to be seized after the party was disbanded. /All papers/

    [04] NATO PLEDGES "NO BUSINESS AS USUAL WITH MOSCOW" GIVEN CURRENT SITUATION IN GEORGIA

    An extraordinary NATO foreign ministers meeting on the situation in the Caucasus was held yesterday in Brussels, with Turkey represented by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. In a joint declaration after the meeting, the foreign ministers of the 26-member alliance warned that NATO's future relations with Moscow would depend on "concrete actions" by Russia. "There can be no business as usual with Russia under the present circumstances," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters. "The future of our relations will depend on the concrete actions Russia will take to honor the words of President (Dmitry) Medvedev to abide by the six-point peace plan he signed together with the president of Georgia, which is not happening at the moment, which is not happening as we speak." /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] AKP'S BAGIS: "WE'RE DETERMINED TO HELP END CONFLICTS IN THE WORLD"

    Turkey is determined to help end conflicts around the world, said ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Egemen Bagis yesterday. Speaking in Zurich, Switzerland to an international workshop on the cost of conflict in the Middle East, Bagış stated that with its historical, cultural and geographical riches, Turkey has been called upon to spearhead efforts for world peace. "Turkey intends to respond to these calls and to help end conflicts in the world," he added. /Sabah/

    [06] BRYZA DENIES US REQUESTED PASSAGE OF SHIPS THROUGH TURKISH STRAITS

    Matt Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, yesterday said the US had made no official request that Turkey allow the passage of US ships through the Turkish Straits to bring aid to Georgia. The US is rather consulting with Turkey about bringing US Navy hospital ships through the Straits, from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, to join in aid efforts for Georgia under the Montreux Convention, Bryza said. /Hurriyet/

    [07] NAVAL, AIR FORCES COMMANDERS AWARDED DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDALS

    Chief of General Staff Yasar Buyukanit yesterday presented Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) Distinguished Service Medals to Naval Forces Commander Adm. Metin Atac and Air Forces Commander Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu. In a ceremony at General Staff headquarters, pointing to cross-border operations into northern Iraq in recent months, Buyukanit said that the positive results of such anti-terrorist efforts is a sign of Turkey's distinguished, skilled, and well-educated soldiers. /Star/

    [08] 13 POLICE OFFICERS INJURED IN CAR EXPLOSION IN MERSIN

    Thirteen police officers were injured yesterday in a car explosion in the southern province of Mersin. The explosion occurred when police stopped a car which they had been following after a tip-off on the Adana-Mersin motorway. The car's driver apparently set off the blast after realizing he would be apprehended, and he died on the spot. One of the wounded police officers is in critical condition, Mersin Governor Hüseyin Aksoy told reporters and added, "We suspect a suicide bombing." An investigation of the incident is underway. There is no clear information yet on the identity of the assailant and the suspected target of the explosive-loaded car. /All papers/

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

    [09] AGAIN, THE STRAITS …

    BY BERIL DEDEOGLU (STAR)

    Columnist Beril Dedeoglu comments on the Georgian-Russian conflict and the Turkish Straits. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "The Georgian-Russian conflict has brought many global problems to the surface. The tension between Russia and the US could come to the edge of mutual nuclear deterrence. The US and Poland signed a deal on missile defense, and Russia is about to arm the nuclear missiles carried by its Baltic Sea naval forces. It might not come to a nuclear war, but rather an atmosphere of tense competition. In addition, while the US and Russia are both happy to find a 'real' enemy to legitimize their actions, difficult days lie ahead for countries caught in the middle. Turkey is one of those countries, and one vexing issue concerns the Black Sea.

    As you may remember, the US requested to use Turkish territory as a staging ground for its March 2003 invasion of Iraq, but Turkey refused. But when the issue was still being debated, the US apparently believed the answer would be yes, and so its ships were poised just off our Mediterranean coast, ready to unload their equipment. At around the same time, the US started to conclude that the Eastern Black Sea coast would be a good place for its operations.

    While the Mediterranean is a justifiable arena for the Iraq operation, it is harder to use Iraq to explain a Black Sea presence. At that time, people thought that the US would attack Iran, but later we saw that the US was trying to put military pressure on Russia in the Black Sea. Even if military ships could get to the Black Sea via Romania, the Turkish Straits are obviously the most important passage. At that time, the US requested to use the Straits and thus changed the regime as defined in the Montreux Convention. Montreux restricts the passage of US military ships to the Black Sea and also Russian passage (in the other direction) to the Mediterranean and once Turkey violates this, nobody can say how this will end up being used in the future. Before the war in Iraq, Turkey rejected the US request, and Russia welcomed this, as it blocked a US presence in the Black Sea.

    But now, due to the conflict in Georgia, the issue has come up again. What's more, this time the US requests are more persuasive, as they place the mission of protecting an ally like Georgia on Turkey. In other words, the US is asking Turkey to take a risk with Russia over Georgia and wants it to open up passage to the Black Sea, no matter how.

    One might ask if the US has to have ships on every sea. This request is extremely provocative for Russia, as it endangers the very basis for its keeping relations with Turkey peaceful. So it's vitally important for Turkey. On the other hand, for example, northern Iraq is also vitally important for Turkey, and the US contribution to our recent cross-border operations and help to hinder talk of 'independence' are undeniable. In Georgia, where two players are now meeting, Turkey is about to lose its basis for working with the US in the south and Russia in the north. This could force Turkey to make a choice. I hope Russia will be able to make the US abandon this push, and Turkey will be able to explain to Washington why its request is problematic."


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