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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-29

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

29.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL TO RENEW DIPLOMATIC PUSH FOR TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP
  • [02] TRNC'S TALAT MEETS WITH PRESIDENT GUL
  • [03] BABACAN SPEAKS WITH TOP FOREIGN DIPLOMATS ABOUT GEORGIA AND THE CAUCASUS
  • [04] GEN. BASBUG TAKES OVER HELM OF TURKISH GENERAL STAFF FROM GEN. BUYUKANIT
  • [05] AZERI, GEORGIAN AND RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DUE IN TURKEY
  • [06] GOVT SALARY HIKE OFFER DISAPPOINTS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
  • [07] NEW CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF'S MANIFESTO

  • [01] GUL TO RENEW DIPLOMATIC PUSH FOR TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP

    In a series of trips abroad in the weeks and months to come, President Abdullah Gul is set to renew his efforts to promote Turkey's European Union membership bid, along with other foreign policy goals. Along with upcoming official visits to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Gul will also attend the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 14-19, representing Turkey as the guest country of honor, and address the opening of the prestigious German cultural event. Orhan Pamuk, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature, will also speak at the fair. Turkey's rich cultural and historical heritage will be spotlighted through 200 different musical and cultural activities during the fair, including 12 scholarly panels and four symposiums, as well as an exhibit of Turkish writers and publishers. Gul will also travel to New York to attend the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, set to start on September 16. During the assembly, Gul is expected to hold bilateral talks with fellow UN members to promote Turkey's bid for a non- permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2009-2010. An invitation from Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries' national teams next Saturday (Sept. 6) in Yerevan is still being considered, but Gul is expected to accept the invitation. /Turkiye/

    [02] TRNC'S TALAT MEETS WITH PRESIDENT GUL

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, ahead of his meeting next Wednesday with Greek Cypriot administration leader Dimitris Christofias. Afterwards, Talat told a joint press conference that Christofias' recent actions could make the talks come to nothing. Asked if the Cyprus issue could be affected by Russia's controversial move this week to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Talat said, "Frankly, I think that it will be affected, but I can't say how." For his part, Gul said, "The Cyprus question has aspects that are more positive and advantageous. First of all, this question isn't a result of the Cold War. It is totally different from the recent crisis. Secondly, Turkish and Greek Cypriots founded the Republic of Cyprus together, they were partners. Problems emerged because the partnership didn't work and its requirements were not fulfilled. That's where the difference lies." Milliyet_

    [03] BABACAN SPEAKS WITH TOP FOREIGN DIPLOMATS ABOUT GEORGIA AND THE CAUCASUS

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday made a series of telephone calls to top foreign diplomats to discuss recent developments in the Caucasus, and particularly Georgia. Babacan spoke with his US counterpart Condoleezza Rice, British counterpart David Miliband, German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, EU Term President France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, EU Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, EC Term President Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, and OSCE Term President Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb. During the conversations, Babacan reportedly stressed the importance that Turkey places on Georgia's territorial integrity. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] GEN. BASBUG TAKES OVER HELM OF TURKISH GENERAL STAFF FROM GEN. BUYUKANIT

    At a ceremony yesterday, Gen. Ilker Basbug took over the command of the Turkish General Staff from Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Addressing the handover ceremony, Buyukanit said that Turkey is undergoing great changes, and that the countries which fail to change are fated to be mere spectators, with events imposed on them by outsiders. Stating that separatism and radicalism have been the chief threats facing Turkey, he added the perception of threats has changed. Pointing to Turkey's recent cross-border operations into northern Iraq, Buyukanit said the determined fight against the terrorist PKK will continue. For his part, incoming Chief of General Staff Basbug said that only institution authorized to interpret the Constitution is the Constitutional Court, and that the founding philosophy of the Republic of Turkey is based on a unitary, secular nation-state. Stating that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) always protects those principles, he claimed that if the European Union fails to admit Turkey, it will lack influence in the Middle East and the Caucasus. "Turkey is the most powerful, secular and democratic country in the region," he added. Among those attending the ceremony were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat. / Star-Sabah/

    [05] AZERI, GEORGIAN AND RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS DUE IN TURKEY

    Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will pay a visit to Ankara today to discuss recent developments in the Caucasus as well as bilateral matters with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili is also expected to pay a visit to Istanbul over the weekend, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set to meet with Babacan next week to discuss recent developments in the region. /Aksam/

    [06] GOVT SALARY HIKE OFFER DISAPPOINTS PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

    In collective bargaining talks yesterday between the government and unions representing more than 2 million public workers, the government proposal for a 7.6 percent salary increase for next year fell far short of labor demands. State Minister Murat Basesgioglu led the talks. Speaking to reporters, Kamu-Sen President Bircan Akyildiz objected to the hike being based on the government's inflation target. Memur-Sen head Ahmet Gundogdu, meanwhile, said the proposed hike didn't meet public employees' expectations. Memur-Sen is seeking a 12 percent wage hike starting next January. If the parties reach a consensus by tomorrow, their agreement will be submitted to the Cabinet. Otherwise, the Supreme Board of Arbitration (YHK) will set a wage hike, subject to the Cabinet's final approval. /Hurriyet/

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

    [07] NEW CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF'S MANIFESTO

    BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)

    Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on yesterday's command handover ceremony from Chief of General Staff Yasar Buyukanit to Gen. Ilker Basbug. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Capping his 45-year military career, Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday took over the helm of the Turkish General Staff from Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, who entered military school 53 years ago. In his words, by shedding his uniform following the ceremony, Buyukanit entered civilian life. Besides the commanders' comrades in arms and their wives at the ceremony, there was also President Abdullah Gul, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and former TRNC President Rauf Denktas, as well high-ranking bureaucrats, journalists, and sports officials. In his emotional speech, Buyukanit looked back at his long military career, and particularly his two years as chief of General Staff. He emphasized the unitary state structure, the principle of secularism, and threats to the republic, but ended on an optimistic note, by stressing his trust in the Turkish nation.

    Buyukanit said that not only the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), but the entire Turkish nation has the duty to protect the Kemalist way of thinking and its accomplishments. This was very important, and added to a call to the social conscience. Buyukanit ended his speech by saying, 'Soldiers don't die, but only fade away. I will do the same.' He was bid farewell by long applause. Buyukanit also paid homage to his successor, saying he was honored to hand over this duty to Basbug, whom he has known for 40 years.

    Basbug, in his speech, laid out his road map for the TSK, in what amounted to a high-level theoretical manifesto. He stressed threats to Turkey from both near and far and ways to confront them, and his views on the survival of the Turkish Republic and the nation's welfare. It was a well-prepared and sometimes harsh speech.

    He started by demonstrating how geography determines the fate of nations, and stressed Turkey's strength in the region and the TSK's role as threat deterrent, saying that these won't change. Basbug hailed the foundation of the republic as a 'revolution' and 'miracle,' adding that the TSK had always protected the republic's accomplishments. Basbug " who has been studying globalization, both its promise and perils, for the last six years " also spoke about the nation-state, referring to such concepts as collective conscience and political virtue. Basbug stated that opposing globalization wholesale was unrealistic, approvingly citing the slogan 'think globally, act locally.'

    Basbug stressed the unitary state structure and the importance of the nation-state, adding that some sectors of Turkish society are very concerned about these issues. Citing Constitutional Court rulings, he said that these concerns must be taken seriously for the nation's welfare. Basbug also told how certain communities have been growing in strength, and that they can only be countered after careful analysis. Then Basbug made very important statements about Iraq's territorial integrity and the importance of relations with the US, characterizing Turkish-US relations as historically rooted and ranging widely over a host of issues. Basbug's statements about relations with the European Union and the link between democracy and secularism were also worth pondering."


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