|Friday, 15 December 2017|
Turkish Press Review, 08-09-09
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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
 GUL TO VISIT AZERBAIJANIn the wake of his landmark visit to Armenia over the weekend, President Abdullah Gul is set to visit neighboring Azerbaijan tomorrow. During his visit, Gul is expected to tell his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Alivey about his recent visit, and to exchange views on the Upper Karabakh issue in an effort to bring together the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides at the UN's General Assembly meeting in New York later this month. Diplomatic sources said that Azerbaijan had no opposition to Turkey's efforts to normalize relations with Armenia but that it has also urged Ankara not to open its border unless the Upper Karabakh issue is resolved. They also said that Armenia favors such a meeting. In New York, Gul will also seek support for Turkey's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2009-2010. A quartet meeting with the attendance of Gul, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian is also scheduled to be held during the General Assembly. /Aksam- Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: "EDUCATION HAS THE LARGEST SHARE OF TURKEY'S BUDGET"The government places great emphasis on education, and devotes the largest share of the nation's budget to education, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Erdogan made the remarks at a school in the southern province of Gaziantep, at a ceremony marking the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. Saying that over the last five years education's share of the budget rose from $7.5 billion to nearly $30 billion, and 123,000 new classrooms have been built, he added that today nearly all students in Turkey have broad-band Internet access and access to technology courses. Erdogan also again accused the Dogan Media Group of waging a smear campaign against the government by trying to link it with corruption. Urging the group to report the truth, he also charged that the group's newspapers distort the news. "The media group and its newspapers have acted like this to pressure the government to make decisions in their favor, but no longer, " he added. /Turkiye/
 NEW JUDICIAL YEAR BEGINSThe political power cannot pursue unlimited authority, said Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Hasan Gerceker yesterday. Addressing a ceremony marking the beginning of the judicial year, Gerceker warned against "totalitarian systems," adding that criminal gangs work to fill vacuums in the rule of law, in an apparent reference to the Ergenekon probe. Saying that criminals should face punishment as soon as possible after their conviction, Gerceker also spoke about judicial issues such as personal rights. Stating that compounding one mistake with another damages society even if there are good intentions behind this, he added, "Determining who is guilty and interpreting the law is the judiciary's duty, and everyone should respect this under the rule of law. I hope that a just path is reached through not mixing right and wrong, and not politicizing law in the judicial process." Among those attending the ceremony were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic, Council of State head Mustafa Birden, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. /Star-Aksam/
 CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO RELEASE FULL DECISIONS ON TWO LANDMARK RULINGS NEXT MONTHFull decisions on two recent landmark Constitutional Court rulings will be released early next month, said Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic yesterday. Speaking to a ceremony at Parliament marking the beginning of the judicial year, Kilic told reporters that in October 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). /Aksam/
 BAYKAL LAMBASTES ERDOGAN OVER DOGAN ALLEGATIONSMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday lambasted Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's criticisms of the Dogan Media Group's efforts to link him to a fraud case involving a German- based Turkish charity. Speaking to reporters at CHP headquarters, he said that Erdogan was alarmed and uneasy about the current atmosphere, adding that he would bring the Dogan allegations before Parliament. /Milliyet/
 TUSIAD HEAD YALCINDAG: "TURKEY SHOULD COMPLETE ITS NATIONAL PROGRAM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE"Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag and an accompanying delegation yesterday met with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn in Brussels. Afterwards, Yalcindag said that Turkey's problems and the EU's are similar, and that they agreed that Turkey and the EU can find solutions together. Yalcindag said that the EU is expecting Turkey to complete its recently announced national program as soon as possible. She added that Rehn was also in contact with Turkish opposition parties and that they should mobilize to gain momentum on the EU issue. /Cumhuriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 WILL GUL'S VISIT TO YEREVAN HAVE A LONG-TERM IMPACT?BY ILTER TURKMEN (HURRIYET)
Columnist Ilter Turkmen comments on President Abdullah Gul's visit last week to Armenia to watch a soccer match. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Anything which ends well is good. President Abdullah Gul's visit to Yerevan last week also went well. Nothing unpleasant or excessive happened, and the protests against him weren't widespread. The Armenians who watched the World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia were very dignified and mature as well. Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian will probably accept Gul's invitation to attend the return match a year from now. But presidential visits to watch soccer matches aren't enough.
I wrote on Saturday that if Gul's visit didn't produce concrete results, it wouldn't be surprising if this provoked domestic political debate. In addition, as Radikal daily's Cengiz Candar wrote, unless the rapprochement represented by the visit is followed by opening diplomatic relations and borders between the two countries, this will result in deep frustration. Candar added that resolving this frustration would be harder than addressing the current problems.
Apparently Gul's visit wasn't just symbolic or pro forma. Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian told reporters in Yerevan that after Gul left, he had met with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan and that they reached a consensus to work on opening the borders and diplomatic relations between the two countries. This development signals very genuine change in Turkey's stance, because up to now these two steps have been contingent on solving the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Will these two processes be conducted together, or will Turkish-Armenian relations be discussed in a completely different framework? We don't know exactly, but the Karabakh issue can't be solved so quickly. Linking these two processes would drag out the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. Some argue against opening the border and establishing diplomatic relations, saying, for instance, that Armenia hasn't forsaken its territorial claims on Turkey, and that Armenia's declaration of independence and Constitution refer to southern Anatolia as 'Western Armenia.'
If they really include this concrete territorial claim, one might ask why we were one of the first states to recognize Armenia. Another argument cites Armenia's reluctance to ratify the 1921 Treaty of Kars. But here, it would be inexplicable why we didn't insist on recognition of the border before recognizing Armenia.
A few years ago I was a member of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission. Before the commission disbanded, the Turkish and Armenian coordinators wrote a letter to the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers expressing their views on opening the border on the basis of Kars. At that time, the Armenian members didn't think Yerevan would oppose ratifying Kars.
I don't know what happened next, but I guess the main reason for our reluctance to open the border and establishing diplomatic relations comes from not wanting to offend Azerbaijan. Perhaps for the same reason, priority was given to bringing together historians from both sides to improve relations, because such a meeting seemed unlikely to provoke Azerbaijan's direct opposition. It was nearly impossible for historians to agree on a historical interpretation of the events of 1915. Our president's initiative for normal friendly relations between Turkey and Armenia could finally prove that we've started to cast off the restraints which have so far kept us from solving our own problems."
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