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Turkish Press Review, 08-09-02

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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

02.09.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] CABINET CONVENES
  • [02] ERDOGAN DUE IN DAMASCUS FOR MIDEAST SUMMIT
  • [03] BABACAN TO ATTEND GULF FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING IN SAUDI ARABIA
  • [04] BAYKAL CRITICIZES PM'S PROPOSED CAUCASUS COOPERATION AND STABILITY PLATFORM
  • [05] BAHCELI URGES GUL TO DECLINE ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S INVITATION
  • [06] RUSSIAN FM LAVROV DUE IN TURKEY TODAY
  • [07] BOSNIA'S SILAJDZIC TO VISIT ANKARA
  • [08] ANNUAL EXPORTS HIT $130 BILLION
  • [09] A KEMALIST FOREIGN POLICY?

  • [01] CABINET CONVENES

    The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened yesterday. Afterwards, speaking to reporters, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that the Cabinet had discussed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Turkey this week and the third draft national program to the European Union on Ankara's reform plans. Stating that the program will be submitted to non-governmental organizations as well as opposition parties, he added that Erdogan also told his fellow Cabinet members about his trip this week to Damascus to attend a four-party Mideast summit. /Star/

    [02] ERDOGAN DUE IN DAMASCUS FOR MIDEAST SUMMIT

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go to Damascus on Thursday to attend a four-party summit to discuss issues of the Middle East. EU Term President France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who chairs the presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council, will also attend the summit, which will be hosted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. /Milliyet/

    [03] BABACAN TO ATTEND GULF FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING IN SAUDI ARABIA

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will fly to Saudi Arabia today following a meeting in Istanbul with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. He will attend the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers' meeting, where high-level strategic dialogue between GCC members is expected to be carried out. /Star/

    [04] BAYKAL CRITICIZES PM'S PROPOSED CAUCASUS COOPERATION AND STABILITY PLATFORM

    Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday chaired a party assembly meeting focusing on the restructuring of the CHP's organization, and preparations for an upcoming CHP general assembly on its statutes and program. During the meeting, Baykal stressed the importance of a new vision for the party program. He also criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's proposal for a Caucasus platform to restore peace and stability to the region, saying that it would be out of place. "On issues concerning the region, Turkey should have three basic principles: respect for the territorial integrity of regional countries, avoiding a military response to problems in the region, and everybody abiding by the provisions of the Montreux Convention," he added. Baykal also dismissed as "nonsense" claims that he had called for a military coup. Speaking to Sabah daily, Baykal said, "I only warned that if there are important concerns about the preservation of the basic principles of the republic, especially secularism, then officials and everybody else should do their part to dispel those concerns and protect the republic's basic principles." /Cumhuriyet-Sabah/

    [05] BAHCELI URGES GUL TO DECLINE ARMENIAN PRESIDENT'S INVITATION

    In a written statement yesterday, National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli urged President Abdullah Gul not to accept Armenian President Serzh Sargisian's invitation to watch a football match between the two countries' national teams this weekend in Yerevan. Warning that accepting the invitation would be a "historic mistake," Bahceli said, "The biggest barrier to the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia is Armenia's foreign policy against Turkey." He added, "Armenia has yet to make any changes to that policy." /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] RUSSIAN FM LAVROV DUE IN TURKEY TODAY

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to arrive in Istanbul today to pay an official visit. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will receive his Russian counterpart, and the two are reportedly set to discuss recent developments in the Caucasus, where fighting broke out last month between Georgia and Russia, as well as bilateral relations. /Star/

    [07] BOSNIA'S SILAJDZIC TO VISIT ANKARA

    Haris Silajdzıc, the chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's rotating state presidency, and its two other members, Nebojsa Radmanovic and Zeljko Komsic, will visit Ankara this week at the invitation of President Abdullah Gul. They are expected to discuss relations between Turkey and Bosnia- Herzegovina, as well as to exchange views on regional and multilateral issues. /Aksam/

    [08] ANNUAL EXPORTS HIT $130 BILLION

    Turkish exports in August surged 27.5 percent over July to reach $10.9 billion, bringing the 12-month total to $129.5 billion. In a statement, Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) President Oguz Satici said that Turkey's annual exports have ballooned from only $27 billion seven years ago to $130 billion today. Emphasizing how eager and determined Turkish exporters are, Satici stated that he believes their success will continue in the years to come. He said Turkey had left its bad days behind it, and added that now is the time to learn lessons from the past and look to the future with renewed hope. /Turkiye/

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

    [09] A KEMALIST FOREIGN POLICY?

    BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the conflict between Russia and the West and Turkish Republic founder Ataturk's foreign policy. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "How should Turkey act in the conflict between Russia and the West? It could continue to act the way it does now, in other words, it could apply a policy in line with the West but which is also cautious about relations with Russia. Or else Turkey could move closer to the West or closer to our neighbors, not to the far-off West, or else follow a policy of impartiality. All these choices can be defended. Actually, each reflects an aspect of our complicated reality. But can one speak of a Kemalist foreign policy and say we should follow it? Certain writers and politicians argue that Turkey should leave NATO, stay out of the European Union and follow a policy of impartiality or not making alliances, all as part of a Kemalist foreign policy. They base their arguments on the anti-imperialist statements made by Ataturk during the War of Turkish Independence. But does Kemalist foreign policy really have such a basis?

    Mustafa Kemal Ataturk didn't use words like imperialism, capitalism or bourgeois until he contacted Bolshevik Russia during the War of Independence, and then he left those words behind after the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Speaking to Soviet Ambassador Aralof Yoldas in Ankara on March 3, 1922, he said that they have never thought about these terms at the beginning of the War of Independence but only used them in order to get weapons aid from the Bolsheviks. When the war was won, there was no need for Bolshevik arms anymore and thus the need to soften the West was paramount at the diplomatic table. Then Ataturk mentioned Turkey's new domestic and foreign policy as directed towards the West. At Lausanne he leaned not towards the Russian thesis of Turkey's absolute sovereignty in the Straits, but to the British view that the Straits should be managed by an international commission. This is because the Russian view would have left Turkey alone to confront giant Russia over the Straits. When the threat of rising fascism in Europe distressed Turkey, along with Britain and Russia, the Montreux Agreement was signed in 1936 and Lausanne's lack of sovereignty was removed and thus the current order was established.

    Ataturk's foreign policy was pragmatic. Due to the nature of diplomacy, such principles as independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peace are universal and pragmatic. Under this, the basic factor determining countries' foreign policy is their geography. Anatolia's geography required giving priority to looking towards the West during the Byzantine and Ottoman eras, while never ignoring the Caucasus and the Middle East. Of course, nuances change, depending on events and problems. A Turkey directed towards the West would never ignore Russia, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the Middle East or the Mediterranean. The symphony of changing and complicated nuances depends on the ability of our foreign policy and the size of our power. There's no such thing as an infallible policy, but the Turkish Republic has avoided making huge foreign policy mistakes. Its basic principles are sound."


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