|Thursday, 22 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-08-22
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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
 PRESIDENT GUL, VISITING ROMANIAN COUNTERPART STRESS GEORGIA'S TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY, PEACE IN REGIONRomanian President Traian Basescu arrived in Istanbul yesterday to pay a one-day working visit. Basescu met with President Abdullah Gul at Ciragan Palace, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan also in attendance. The two presidents discussed the recent situation in the Caucasus. Afterwards, Basescu told a joint press conference that he was pleased to see that Turkey and Romania share the same views on preserving Georgia's territorial integrity. "The recent armed clashes between Russia and Georgia damaged the balance of power in the Black Sea," he said. "It needs to be restored through a new arrangement. The US can play a key role towards this end." He also reiterated his country's firm support for Turkey's EU accession bid. For his part, Gul also said he was pleased to see Romania and Turkey share the same views on the recent crisis in the Caucasus, and said both countries believe the issue should be resolved based on Georgia's territorial integrity to restore peace, security and stability to the region. He added that both parties should fully abide by their recent cease-fire agreement. He also said his talks with Basescu would do much to improve relations between Turkey and Romania, as well as regional cooperation. Gul said there are $2 billion in Turkish investments in Romania, adding that as of last year bilateral trade totaled almost $7 billion. Romania is Turkey's biggest trade partner in the Balkans. Asked about Basescu urging a "new arrangement" for restoring balance in the Black Sea and a possible US role in this, Gul said, "I don't think a new arrangement is needed in the region. The Montreux Convention has worked very well for decades. The Black Sea is a symbol of peace, stability and tranquility, and as countries with Black Sea coasts, we are determined to protect the region's peace and stability." During their meeting, Basescu and Gul also discussed joint energy projects. /Milliyet-Star/
 US SHIPS CARRYING AID FOR GEORGIA TO GO THROUGH STRAITSA US destroyer and a coast guard ship â€" the USS McFaul and US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, both carrying humanitarian aid â€" will today pass through the Turkish Straits en route to war-torn Georgia. Following US assurances that it has no intention of seeking changes to the international Montreux Convention, which regulates traffic in the Straits, Turkey granted access to the US military ships to pass through its waters to carry the aid. /Milliyet/
 MGK: "THANKS TO THE DETERMINATION AND SOLIDARITY OF OUR STATE AND NATION, THE PKK AND ITS SUPPORTERS WILL BE EVER FRUSTRATED"The National Security Council (MGK), chaired by President Abdullah Gul, convened yesterday in Istanbul, along with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Deputy Prime Ministers Cemil Cicek, Hayati Yazici, and Mehmet Aydin, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. In a statement issued afterwards, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) reiterated that thanks to the determination and solidarity of the state and nation, the terrorist PKK and its supporters will never reach their aims. In the statement, the MGK reaffirmed its determination to maintain measures against the terrorist group. The MGK also reviewed other foreign developments, including the Georgian crisis in the Caucasus, Cyprus, and developments in Iraq. Erdogan also told council members about his recent visits to Moscow and Tbilisi to help defuse the Georgian crisis. Babacan briefed them about this week's extraordinary NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels, also concerning the crisis. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN TO TELEPHONE RUSSIA'S LAVROVForeign Minister Ali Babacan is reportedly set to make a phone call to his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to discuss Turkey's proposal for a new Caucasus stability and cooperation platform. The two will discuss how to begin this platform, and Lavrov is expected to convey the proposal to Armenia. /Aksam/
 BOMB BLAST IN IZMIR WOUNDS 16A bomb blast in Izmir yesterday wounded 16, including eight police officers and three soldiers. The blast occurred while a minibus carrying policemen, the presumed target, was passing by. Local officials said the car bomb was detonated by a remote-controlled device. /All papers/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 SCUTTLING MONTREAUXBY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the 1936 Montreux Convention. A summary of his column is as follows:
"After the US gave up its plan to send two military hospital ships weighing a total of 140,000 tons in order to 'help' Georgia, along with suggestions on changing the 1936 Montreux Convention, a recurring problem was put on the back burner, at least for now. But for how long? The convention says that states not bordering the Black Sea can't send warships heavier than 15, 000 tons to the sea, and can't have warships on the Black Sea weighing more than a total of 45,000 tons. But the US had wanted to send two military hospital ships weighing 70,000 tons each.
After Ankara showed that it would hold to the letter of Montreux, the tonnage of the ships was reduced to comply with the convention. But the question of whether it would be easier to change Montreux or keep it as is had been raised again. I say again, because we've already talked about this. Actually the convention was supposed to remain in force for just 20 years (until 1956), unless one of the signatory states (Turkey, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Greece, Japan, Romania, the Soviet Union or Yugoslavia) requested that it be abolished two years before 1956. And signatory states requesting changes to the convention had the right to do so only once every five years.
But when it suited them, some states pushed for changes anyway. For example, Russia's Joseph Stalin made the first move in 1946, by claiming that Turkey had allowed the passage of certain German and Italian warships from the Black Sea during World War II, as if they had been commercial ships. But when the US and Great Britain sided with Turkey and objected to changing the Montreux during the Cold War, Stalin withdrew his request.
The issue of changing Montreux has arisen again in recent years, but nobody has been able to suggest a better agreement. So even if Montreux is considered to have ended its legal life, it has maintained its validity up to now. But recently there have been signs that the US is buckling under it. For example, when the US decided to invade Iraq in 2003, it tried to force Montreux again. Similarly, although these had nothing to do with the Iraq invasion, the US said our harbors in Samsun and Trabzon should be expanded so its warships could dock there. Fortunately, after Parliament defeated a motion under which Turkey would have supported the US invasion, that project was canceled. Indeed, can one go to Iraq or Iran and the countries of the Caucasus via Trabzon and Samsun? This example suffices to show what kinds of calculations might lie behind efforts to scuttle Montreux, right?"
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