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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-27

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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

27.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ANKARA OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS RUSSIA'S RECOGNITION OF BREAKAWAY GEORGIAN PROVINCES
  • [02] US SENATOR THINKS DISCUSSIONS ON PROPOSED CAUCASUS PLATFORM LIKELY TO BE SUSPENDED
  • [03] BAHCELI: "MHP DEPUTIES ARE READY TO HELP ENACT CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES"
  • [04] GEN. KOSANER BLASTS BASELESS MEDIA SPECULATION ABOUT THE GENDARMERIE
  • [05] EDUCATION MINISTER CELIK SET TO PROMOTE TURKISH STUDIES DEPTS IN IRANIAN UNIVERSITIES
  • [06] ERDOGAN TO HELP PROMOTE NEW TL
  • [07] RUSSIAN FM TO VISIT TURKEY
  • [08] MONTREUX AND TURKEY

  • [01] ANKARA OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS RUSSIA'S RECOGNITION OF BREAKAWAY GEORGIAN PROVINCES

    Russia's recognition yesterday of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway Georgian provinces, has shocked Ankara. Following the Russian move, top Turkish diplomats met at the Foreign Ministry to discuss the situation. In addition, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan briefed President Abdullah Gul about recent developments. Moscow's move was also notable for coming just as Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Unal Cevikoz was discussing a proposed Caucasus platform with his Russian counterparts. /Hurriyet/

    [02] US SENATOR THINKS DISCUSSIONS ON PROPOSED CAUCASUS PLATFORM LIKELY TO BE SUSPENDED

    In Ankara yesterday, US Senator Richard Lugar yesterday met with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Asked about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposed Caucasus platform, meant to help restore regional peace and security following the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia, Lugar told reporters, "I think discussions on the proposed platform will probably be postponed until Russia fully pulls out its soldiers from the region, and peace and stability has completely been established in Georgia." Lugar, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relation Committee, is currently leading a congressional delegation on a nine-nation trip in the wake of the Russian-Georgian conflict. /Turkiye/

    [03] BAHCELI: "MHP DEPUTIES ARE READY TO HELP ENACT CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES"

    At a press conference at Parliament, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday called for a broad-based consensus on Constitution changes to help defuse recent political tension. Bahceli in particular mentioned changing how the Constitutional Court works and making party closures more difficult. Saying that the MHP's 70 parliamentary deputies are ready to help make those changes a reality, he also spoke about the recent failed closure case against the ruling Justice and development Party (AKP) and its impact. Stating that the case brought the Constitutional Court's legitimacy into question, he added, "In this atmosphere, political institutions and other institutions got hurt." /Star/

    [04] GEN. KOSANER BLASTS BASELESS MEDIA SPECULATION ABOUT THE GENDARMERIE

    Gen. Isik Kosaner, the new commander of the Turkish Land Forces, yesterday handed over the helm of the Gendarmerie to Gen. Atilla Isik in a ceremony. Among the officials at the handover ceremony were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, and Council of State Chief Justice Mustafa Birden. Speaking at the ceremony, Kosaner denounced recent media speculation about the possible role of gendarmerie officers in the Ergenekon probe. "Placing responsibility for several incidents on the Gendarmerie as a whole, and painting it as guilty, as well as targeting the institution through fictional scenarios has deeply offended our members." He also complained that recent legal changes for European Union harmonization had limited the powers of the Gendarmerie and hurt its ability to fight crime. "Taking advantage of these changes, the separatist terrorist organization (the PKK) and its legal extensions have stepped up their activities and started to act more freely by abusing the freedoms under the legal changes," he said. Kosaner added that public safety should not come at the expense of human rights. /Milliyet/

    [05] EDUCATION MINISTER CELIK SET TO PROMOTE TURKISH STUDIES DEPTS IN IRANIAN UNIVERSITIES

    Education Minister Huseyin Celik yesterday left for an official visit to Iran at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart. Before leaving, Celik told reporters that thanks to his ministry's efforts, Tehran had agreed to allow an Iranian university to open a Turkish studies department. Saying how over a half-dozen Turkish universities currently have Persian language and literature departments, Celik said that he would speak with Iranian officials about the universities of Tehran and Tabriz opening Turkish studies departments. Celik also said Iranian students were very welcome to seek an education in Turkey. /Sabah/

    [06] ERDOGAN TO HELP PROMOTE NEW TL

    Meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz yesterday briefed him about next year's planned changeover from new Turkish liras (YTL) to Turkish liras. Erdogan reportedly will help a campaign to promote acceptance of the revised currency, set to go into circulation next January. /Aksam/

    [07] RUSSIAN FM TO VISIT TURKEY

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will reportedly visit Turkey next week. During his visit, Lavrov is expected to discuss Turkey's proposal for a Caucasus cooperation and stability platform with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [08] MONTREUX AND TURKEY

    BY NASUHI GUNGOR (STAR)

    Columnist Nasuhi Gungor comments on the recent conflict in the Caucasus. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "We should be watching developments in the Caucasus more closely. Yesterday Russia officially recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, in response to requests from the two breakaway Georgian provinces, according to President Dmitry Medvedev. Considering the developments beginning with Georgia's attack on South Ossetia earlier this month, this latest move might not seem surprising. But in terms of the bigger picture, one can say that through its recognition Russia took a risky step in a thorny area.

    Medvedev's statement yesterday was very interesting. He said, 'Russia calls on other states to follow its example. This is not an easy choice to make, but it represents the only possibility to save human lives.' His message in this statement was very clear. He based his reasoning on the idea that if there are severe violations of human rights in a country " along the lines of Iraq and Kosovo " then there is a right to intervene there. Russia is now signaling that it has the power and will use this right. It's also taking the risk that the very same weapon could be used in areas nearby or attached to itself. Britain's reaction to Russia's recognition points to difficult days ahead. A British Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Britain found the decision unacceptable, adding that the move would do nothing to help the cause of peace in the Caucasus.

    So in the future, how will Russia meet the demands that will emerge in problematic areas around itself? Will it also recognize their independence in order to save lives? And how will it respond to pressure from outside in this respect? Here's another important question: Will Russia be allowed to do as it pleases in Ossetia? If it is, there is no way Georgia can maintain its former power and importance.

    US interests in the Caucasus center around energy, but for Russia, the issue is about protecting its existence. Of course, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has been most blamed for the recent crisis. Most people say he miscalculated and that Georgia paid a huge price for this. His latest statement was a complete disaster: 'I believed the main attack would come in Abkhazia " not that they (the Russians) could attack Tbilisi.' He added that he believed the mounting tensions in South Ossetia before the conflict had been a 'bluff.' If Saakashvili believe South Ossetia is unimportant for Russia and moves accordingly, this leaves me speechless. But everyone knows the opposite " that Russia won't forsake the region, resulting in a great conflict over Ossetia " and would find Saakashvili's assertion laughable.

    Due to the current situation, Turkey is now moving through a difficult time, unlike anything it has seen in years. Now it's more difficult to make our stand. In addition, discussion of the future of the Montreux Convention is just the beginning."


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