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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-28

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

28.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "IN MY FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT, I HAVE LIVED UP TO THE OATH OF OFFICE"
  • [02] BUYUKANIT: " TURKEY IS FULLY APPLYING THE MONTREUX AGREEMENT"
  • [03] GEN. KOSANER: "THE TSK WILL CONTINUE TO DEFEND THE REPUBLIC'S BASIC PRINCIPLES"
  • [04] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RELEASE FULL DECISIONS ON TWO LANDMARK RULINGS NEXT MONTH
  • [05] DSP'S SEZER: "THE ECONOMY MUST BE OUR PRIORITY NOW"
  • [06] TRNC PRESIDENT TALAT: "I RESPECT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA"
  • [07] A TRICKY BALANCE

  • [01] GUL: "IN MY FIRST YEAR AS PRESIDENT, I HAVE LIVED UP TO THE OATH OF OFFICE"

    In an interview with news channel NTV, President Abdullah Gul yesterday evaluated his first year in office. Stressing that the president must keep an equal distance from all parties and ensure harmony among constitutional institutions, Gul said that during his first year, he had lived up to the presidential oath and kept the promises he gave ahead of his election. "I'm aware of my duties and position as president," he explained. "Impartiality is very important for me, and I believe that I maintained my impartiality during my first year in office. I included all citizens and opened the Presidential Palace's doors to everyone." On rising tension in the Caucasus in the wake of Russian-Georgian conflict and Moscow's recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Gul said that Turkey would continue to help efforts to restore stability and peace to the region, as indifference is not an option. Asked whether he accept an invitation from the Armenian president to visit Yerevan to see World Cup qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian national teams, Gul said hadn't made a decision yet. "We need to concentrate our energy in the international area," he added. "I believe that over the next few years, Turkey will become the most dependable country in the region." On the Cyprus issue, Gul said, "Turkey maintains its stance regarding the Cyprus issue and supports a comprehensive solution." On discussion over a possible new constitution, Gul said, "Nearly all political parties have expressed the need for a new constitution, but the most important thing on this issue is to reach a broad-based consensus." /Turkiye-Sabah/

    [02] BUYUKANIT: " TURKEY IS FULLY APPLYING THE MONTREUX AGREEMENT"

    At a reception following the official handover of the Turkish Land Forces command yesterday, outgoing Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said, "Turkey is completely applying the provisions of Montreux Agreement. There are no developments in the Black Sea in violation of the agreement." Dismissing some comments on the issue as ignorant speculation, he added, "Of course there are some who aren't happy about the restrictions under the agreement, but it is very important for Turkey. The Black Sea is the most stable sea in the region." He also warned that the regional problems could spread to the Black Sea . /Turkiye/

    [03] GEN. KOSANER: "THE TSK WILL CONTINUE TO DEFEND THE REPUBLIC'S BASIC PRINCIPLES"

    At a ceremony yesterday, Gen. Isik Kosaner took over command of the Turkish Land Forces from Gen. Ilker Basbug. Addressing the handover gathering, Kosaner said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would continue to defend the basic principles of the republic, and that it had no intention of intervening in domestic politics. He added that the TSK's power comes from the Turkish nation which it serves. Among those attending the ceremony were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Also speaking at the gathering, Basbug said that the TSK had carried out successful operations against the terrorist PKK, and that it would continue to do so. Basbug will take over the helm of the TSK from Gen. Yasar Buyukanit at a ceremony today. /Hurriyet/

    [04] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RELEASE FULL DECISIONS ON TWO LANDMARK RULINGS NEXT MONTH

    Releasing the full decisions on two recent landmark Constitutional Court rulings are a priority for the court, said Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic yesterday. Speaking to Star daily, Kilic stated that next month, before Parliament reconvenes, they will release full decisions, including the court's legal reasoning, on a case upholding the Constitution's headscarf ban at universities, and its decision not to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). /Star/

    [05] DSP'S SEZER: "THE ECONOMY MUST BE OUR PRIORITY NOW"

    Turkey has to focus on the economy instead of sowing new tensions and debate through a push to change the Constitution, said Democratic Leftist Part (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer yesterday. He was responding to opposition Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli called for a broad- based consensus on such changes to help defuse recent political tension. At a press conference at Parliament, Sezer claimed that Turkey has been moving rapidly and dangerously into an atmosphere of social explosion. Stating that opposition parties should join forces to protect social peace and welfare through an approach including all members of society, he added, "Now the priority issue has to be the economy." /Star/

    [06] TRNC PRESIDENT TALAT: "I RESPECT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH OSSETIA AND ABKHAZIA"

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday said that he "respected the will of the people" of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two breakaway Georgian provinces whose independence Russia recognized this week. On a visit to the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, asked about Russia's controversial recognition, Talat said, "No people should be left to live under the yoke of any other country." He added, "This should be clearly understood. The Turkish Cypriots have experienced the same things. It was Turkey which helped and recognized us. The Turkish Cypriots have shown many times our determination not to live under the yoke of the Greek Cypriots, which attacked us. For this reason, I understand very well the people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and respect them." /Milliyet/

    Countries who are not signatories to the Montreaux Convention should nevertheless abide by it, said Russian Ambassador to Ankara Vladimir Ivanovski yesterday. At a press conference at the Russian Embassy about recent developments in the Caucasus, asked about Turkey's proposal for a Caucasus cooperation and stability platform, Ivanovski said the foreign ministers of the two countries will meet early next month. Asked about Montreux, Ivanovski said that Turkey and Russia's position on it was the same, adding that everyone should abide by it, apparently implying the US. /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [07] A TRICKY BALANCE

    BY SOLI OZEL (SABAH )

    Columnist Soli Ozel comments on the conflict in the Caucasus and Turkey's stance on it. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "It seems that by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Russia has completed a move it's long been planning. What happens next depends on the stance taken by the US, which was unprepared for this development. The Bush administration's nonexistent credibility in its final months and the involvement of US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq made it impossible for Washington to give Russia a tough, immediate response. Actually, Russia couldn't have made a military response, either. Disagreement over how NATO should respond painted a dark picture of the future of the Western alliance.

    Serious debate over Russia's move has started in the US . Some claim that Russia remains an imperialist power and that it acted out of an understanding of power tending towards authoritarianism fed by war, and so it can't help but act violently. They argue that Russia 's policies are anti-Western due to its structure and strategic aims and that the US response should be tough and should aim to isolate Russia . Others, however, claim that US policy towards Russia over the last 20 years, the failure to keep promises to Moscow about its vital interests, and such policies as NATO enlargement, recognizing Kosovo's independence and agreements to bring US missile defense to the Czech Republic and Poland caused Russia to respond this way.

    These people stress that Russia actually wants to act in cooperation with the West, but that it also wants to be treated respectfully and protect its interests. For example, former CIA official Flynt Leverett and his wife Hillary Mann Leverett argued, ' Russia wants to expand its energy and financial ties to the West, but it will use the tools it has to defend its interests… [U]nder the rubric of strategic partnership, Moscow would provide greater support to US objectives on a range of international issues, including the Iranian nuclear problem.'

    The future scope of this crisis for Turkey depends on what stance the US takes. But it will be hard for Turkey to strike a balance between the West and Russia, something it had done easily up to now. As Ian Lesser of the German Marshall Fund said, "In the near-term, Turkey will face difficult policy choices in reconciling the country's Russian and Western interests."

    In fact, Turkey has been experiencing these difficulties since the beginning of the Georgian crisis in terms of the Montreux Convention, passage through the Turkish Straits, and the way the Black Sea has turned into an area of strategic conflict. In such a problematic situation, Turkey should first explain its situation to its allies. Senior commentator Mehmet Ali Birand, who knows the Caucasus very well, summed up the situation by saying that Turkey and the US share common goals and strategic interests and that now the only thing that matters is to show these interests in the US display case and put them on the US agenda. Birand added that if the US makes missteps, as its ally we should warn it and also try to sway it through close consultation, as over the Montreux issue. Turkey has to take dramatic steps in order to initiate such public diplomacy. Under these circumstances, this means steps to normalize our relations with Armenia."


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