|Monday, 19 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-09-05
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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
 89TH ANNIVERSARY OF SIVAS CONGRESS CELEBRATEDCeremonies marking the 89th anniversary of the Sivas Congress were held in Sivas yesterday. Addressing the festivities, President Abdullah Gul said, "I once more declare that the unity of this country can never again be ruined." He added, "Once again we remember how hard it was to found this country, and what kind of sacrifices were made to lay the foundation of the Turkish Republic." In related news, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal also issued messages marking the anniversary. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: "IF YOU DON'T SIT DOWN AT THE TABLE, YOU CAN'T GET ANYTHING"Asked about President Abdullah Gul's decision to travel to Armenia this Saturday to watch a soccer match between the national teams of the two countries, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that he views the visit favorably. "If you don't sit down at the (bargaining) table, you can't get anything," he said in Syria, where he had met Syrian, French and Qatari leaders for a summit on the Middle East. "You should sit down at the table and let others leave." Rebuffing criticisms of the visit, Erdogan accused opposition parties of exploiting the issue for political gain. "Such things (visits) are normal among states," he said, and dismissed main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's criticisms as fruitless and unconstructive. "Baykal is doing the only thing that he can," the premier said. "He continues to base his opposition on negativity alone. He has no plans for today or the future." /Cumhuriyet-Hurriyet/
 SARKOZY, ASSAD PRAISE TURKEY'S MEDIATION BETWEEN SYRIA AND ISRAELHosted by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the current president of the Arab League, a four-party Dialogue for Stability summit was held yesterday in Damascus. Focusing on peace talks between Syria and Israel as well as the Palestinian issue, stability in Iraq, and Lebanon, the meeting was attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Nikolas Sarkozy of France, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, and Qatari Emir Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who holds the presidency of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Afterwards, at a joint press conference, both Sarkozy and Assad praised Turkey's mediation efforts between Syria and Israel. "Turkey is the only country taking the initiative to start indirect peace talks between Syria and Israel," said Assad, stressing the importance of the trust put in Erdogan and Turkey's mediation for the talks. Praising Turkey's initiative for Middle East peace, he thanked Turkish officials for their efforts. For his part, Sarkozy said that the EU was grateful for Turkey's mediation between Syria and Israel, and added that his country supports Turkey's efforts. Saying that Turkish officials have done well, Sarkozy also said that the indirect talks between the two countries should lead to direct talks. Erdogan also expressed his hopes for the future of the indirect talks. Stating that both Syria and Israel have so far taken constructive stances, Erdogan said, "I hope this will continue and produce a positive outcome." Erdogan yesterday also attended an iftar fast-breaking dinner with Assad and al-Thani. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN TO ATTEND EU FOREIGN MINISTERS' MEETING IN FRANCEA European Union foreign ministers' informal meeting will start today in France, with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan set to attend the last day of the two-day meeting. Issues at the meeting will include aid to Georgia, Russia's recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the Middle East peace process, and the EU's relationship with Russia. /Star/
 EU PRAISES GUL'S DECISIONPresident Abdullah Gul's upcoming "historic" visit to Yerevan constitutes a strong and encouraging gesture for relations between Armenia and Turkey, said the European Council Presidency yesterday in a statement. "(We hope and wish) that this extremely symbolic visit will create the normalization of relations between the two countries," the EU statement said. It also stressed the importance of Caucasus stability and cooperation. In related news, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said that the crisis in Georgia has underlined the importance of good neighborly relations in the region, including Turkish-Armenian relations. Rehn added that a normalization of relations would boost stability in the region, and also lay the groundwork for strong regional cooperation. /Aksam-Star/
 WASHINGTON WELCOMES GUL'S VISIT TO ARMENIAThe US welcomes President Abdullah Gul's decision to accept Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's invitation to visit Yerevan to watch a match between the national football teams of the two countries, said Mark Toner, the US State Department's spokesman for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, yesterday. Stating that the US appreciates the courage of the two presidents taking steps to promote regional peace and prosperity, Toner expressed Washington's hope that the historic meeting would be a step towards normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations. /Aksam/
 US' WILSON: "GUL'S VISIT TO YEREVAN WILL BE A POSITIVE STEP FORWARD"Commenting on President Abdullah Gul accepting Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's invitation to watch a World Cup qualifying match between the national football teams of the two countries in Yerevan this weekend, US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson yesterday praised Gul's decision as a positive step forward. Stating that the US has always supported Turkish- Armenian dialogue, Wilson said that Gul's visit would contribute to the creation of a more peaceful, cooperative and harmonious Caucasus. He also stressed that the US continues to work with Turkey for common interests in the region. /Star/
 US' BURNS DUE IN TURKEY TODAYUS Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns will pay a visit today to Ankara. This week's four-party summit in Damascus, the crisis in the Caucasus, Turkey's relationship with Armenia, and Turkish-US relations will be discussed during the meeting, where Burns will meet with Foreign Ministry officials. Afterwards, Burns will be received by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul. /Star/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 WHAT TURKS WANT FROM OUR PRESIDENTBY MUSTAFA DOLU (AKSAM)
Columnist Mustafa Dolu comments on President Abdullah Gul's decision to go to Yerevan to watch a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Tomorrow's World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia has almost turned into a war strategy. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan doesn't want his party's deputies going there, but President Abdullah Gul decided to go to Yerevan to watch the game in order not to turn down Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's invitation. Some have welcomed this decision, while others hope that it won't influence our friendship with Azerbaijan.
Yes, Armenia is our neighbor and we're supposed have good diplomatic relations. Of course, we aren't responsible for how these relations went badly. After Gul announced his decision to go there, many readers sent me letters. I'd like to share some of these questions and opinions, but only after Gul gets back can we see some of their answers. Here's a sampling:
Will Armenians stop lobbying worldwide for every country to declare that Turks carried out a so-called genocide?
Our flag was recently trampled in front of the 'genocide' monument in Armenia. Will they stop such behavior?
When journalist Hrant Dink was killed, we said, 'We're all Hrant,' but will Armenia take the same stance on PKK terrorists who kill our soldiers and police officers?
Will Armenia continue its occupation of Azerbaijan territory, or offer a peaceful hand to resolve the issue?
Will Armenians forsake their claims on eastern Anatolian and say, 'We will hug our Turkish neighbors and brothers. The past is past'?
Will Armenians, who even object to the Friendship Monument being built in Kars, be able to say that they also want to contribute to this monument?
If Armenia does such things, of course, even we would go there following Gul's visit. We all know that Gul won't go there as a sports fan and obviously, there are more important things than the above questions. Under these conditions, we hope Gul will go there in peace. Meanwhile, I wish and hope that our national team will come back with a decisive victory."
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