|Saturday, 16 December 2017|
Turkish Press Review, 08-09-01
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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
 TURKEY CELEBRATES 86TH VICTORY DAYTurkey celebrated its 86th August 30 Victory Day on Saturday. A parade marking the day was held at the Ataturk Culture Center in Ankara. President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, new Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug and other state officials watched the parade. Afterwards, Basbug hosted a reception at Ankara's Gazi Officers' Club, with Gul, Toptan, Erdogan, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic and other state officials and military personnel in attendance. /All papers/
 ERDOGAN TO VISIT DAMASCUS ON THURSDAYPrime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan announced on Saturday that he will pay a one-day working visit to Damascus later this week, and also praised the bilateral dialogue between Turkey and Syria. "We believe that close dialogue between Turkey and Syria is not only important for our two countries' relations, but is also important for regional peace and stability," Erdogan told reporters at a Victory Day reception held by the General Staff in Ankara. "We will go on Thursday. It will be a very productive working visit." He also noted that the fifth round of Turkey- mediated talks between Israeli and Syrian officials will be held in the coming days, without giving any details. /Today's Zaman/
 FOREIGN MINISTRY DELEGATION TO VISIT YEREVAN THIS WEEKA Foreign Ministry delegation will visit Yerevan this week ahead of President Abdullah Gul's possible visit to the Armenian capital. Gul, along with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, are reportedly set to visit Yerevan on Saturday to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia at the invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian. /Aksam/
 GEORGIAN FM VISITS TURKEYGeorgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili yesterday visited Istanbul and met with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. The two top diplomats discussed the Caucasus stability and cooperation platform proposed by Turkey. Afterwards, Babacan told a joint press conference that the platform would give countries of the Caucasus a suitable atmosphere to discuss their problems, and added, "When arms fall silent, it is time for diplomacy and political dialogue." For her part, Tkeshelashvili protested Russia unilaterally declaring the independence of two Georgian provinces last week, adding, "We will not discuss any cooperation until we see that Russia is a reliable partner." /Aksam/
 CHP'S BAYKAL OPPOSES POSSIBLE GUL VISIT TO YEREVANMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday spoke out against the idea of President Abdullah Gul visiting Yerevan. Speaking to reporters before a meeting with top CHP staff, Baykal said a Turkey-Armenia rapprochement plan had been designed by the US in order to disrupt good relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan. Stressing that any steps on the issue should be evaluated carefully, Baykal said Azerbaijan was Turkey's ally in the region, and warned against any stance that could harm it. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has invited Gul to watch the first-ever international football game between the two countries, in a World Cup qualifying match, this Saturday in Yerevan. Gul reportedly hasn't yet made up his mind about attending the game, which would be the first-ever Turkish presidential visit to Armenia. /Hurriyet/
 NEW LIEUTENANTS RECEIVE DIPLOMAS FROM TOP OFFICIALSGraduating from the Air Force and Naval Academies over the weekend, young lieutenants received their diplomas in official ceremonies. Attending the ceremonies were President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, new Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, many high-level officials and commanders as well as guests and families. Over 400 lieutenants graduated from the academies, and some got their diplomas from top officials in line with the distinction of their degrees. /Turkiye/
 STATE MINISTER TUZMEN MEETS WITH CHINESE COMMERCE MINISTERState Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen yesterday met in Beijing with Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming. At the meeting, Tuzmen said that the historical Silk Road connecting Europe to China should be revived, and added, "Let's the implement the Beijing-Mersin railway project, as this is in fact the shortest, most economical and historical road." Stating that a Chinese investment delegation should visit Mersin, Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara, he added that Mersin is a very strategic point for international trade. Touching on investment possibilities in Iraq, Tuzmen pointed to an important oil field in Iraq which Turkey and China could cooperate on. He proposed that the two countries work together to bring Iraqi natural gas to Turkey. /Star/
 BRITAIN'S BROWN URGES EU LEADERS TO GIVE MORE SUPPORT FOR NABUCCO PROJECT CROSSING TURKEYAhead of today's European Union summit to discuss the recent crisis in Georgia and its impact on relations between the EU and Russia, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown urged EU leaders to give more support for the Nabucco project for transporting Caspian natural gas to Europe via Turkey. In a guest op-ed published in Britain's Observer daily yesterday, Brown wrote that EU countries should use their common bargaining power instead of making separate energy agreements with Russia. He added that the Union should establish a single energy market, and rapidly improve its ties with petroleum and natural gas producers other than Russia in order to ensure the bloc's energy supply security by reducing its dependence on Russia. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 COEXISTENCEBY TARHAN ERDEM (RADIKAL)
Columnist Tarhan Erdem comments on last week's handover of the Turkish General Staff command to Gen. Ilker Basbug. A summary of his column is as follows:
"I tried to read the dignified speech made by our new Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug during last week's command handover ceremony with understanding. His evaluations of domestic and world developments, the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) duty, and our state's security were informative. I agree with a great deal of what he said, particularly how a certain sector of society is worried about how much importance is being placed on religion in public life. But should he have mentioned this risk faced by our state and nation? I'm not sure.
Basbug stated that the Turkish Republic's founding philosophy was based on the unitary, secular nation state, and that the TSK has always safeguarded this philosophy. Then, mentioning globalization, he said trying to insulate a country from globalization was unrealistic, and that the important thing was to take part in the process without damaging national interests or the nation's culture. He added that for us, Turkey's nation state structure isn't a debatable issue. Should we base our security strategy on this understanding of a unitary nation state? Let me state clearly that I believe doing so would be a dead end.
Firstly, let's not forget that we can't explain today's problems of security and development just by analyzing and discussing our state's founding philosophy. There's no single definition for the concepts of 'unitary state' or 'nation state,' or at least, many people define these concepts differently. The old understandings and definitions of these concepts can't help us to correctly understand and analyze the current problems of states. It's not so clear today if trying to protect the nation state under its old definition strengthens unity or else separatism. Debate over the unitary nation state reveals certain elements which could benefit those who argue for either side. I think our statesmen should put forth the essence of issues using clear and understandable words, instead of speaking about national issues with the concepts of the unitary nation state, and then share the solutions they find with people using expressions of that essence.
I would like to assure Basbug, who is certainly a well-developed person, that debating nation states doesn't mean questioning the elements which keep states alive. As a matter of fact, discussing the elements which keep states alive doesn't weaken them, but strengthens those central pillars. People who live in our country should live and coexist with others in the same streets, offices and schools by knowing their differences. There's no single type of person living in Turkey, and saying that we have no differences doesn't erase these differences. If the differences are known and a consensus is reached on them, coexistence and the state are strengthened, shared physical and national values can be protected, and different values are respected, and thus the people can coexist happily together."
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