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Turkish Press Review, 08-09-10
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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
10.09.2008FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
TURKISH PRESS REVIEW
 WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2008Directorate General of Press and Information
Summary of the news in the Turkish press this morning
 IN ANTALYA, GUL MEETS WITH KAZAKHSTAN'S NAZARBAEVPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbaev at an iftar fast-breaking dinner in Antalya. Gul today is set to visit neighboring Azerbaijan to discuss the latest developments in the Caucasus with his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. In related news, Gul yesterday appointed 23 university rectors. Gul appointed 12 rectoral candidates who won the largest number of votes in elections at their respective universities, along with 11 candidates who got the second- largest number of votes, and three who got the third-largest. /Sabah-Aksam/
 ERDOGAN: "NO ONE CAN STIFLE TURKEY'S DEVELOPMENT"Addressing an inaugural ceremony in Istanbul's Tuzla district yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey has made remarkable economic progress in recent years. "If Turkey had continued to suffer from the corruption it saw in past years, then such progress would never have happened," Erdogan said. "Thanks to the government's determined anti- corruption efforts, Turkey is now enjoying notable economic development." In an apparent reference to his argument with the Dogan media group over corruption allegations, he added, "There are those who cannot accept this transformation, and are trying to smear the government. But no one can derail Turkey's path towards development, and the government will never bow to pressure from those slanderers." Stating that government efforts to remove hurdles to foreign investment over the last five years have produced record results, Erdogan said Turkey must maintain its stability and self- confidence to continue this trend. After the ceremony, Erdogan also attended an iftar fast-breaking dinner with a group of workers. In related news, Spanish Prime Minister and Alliance of Civilizations Co-Chair Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will meet with Erdogan for a fast-breaking dinner in Istanbul next Monday. /Star-Turkiye/
 BABACAN BRIEFS NGOs ON DRAFT NATIONAL PROGRAMThe government's draft national program has been sent to 84 non- governmental organizations, and efforts to meet with opposition party leaders to discuss it will continue, said Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for Turkey's EU Talks Ali Babacan yesterday. Speaking at a conference in Ankara, Babacan spoke about the preparation and content of the draft program. He also criticized main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli for rebuffing his efforts to meet with them to discuss the program. Babacan has met so far with the leaders of two minor parties, the Grand Unity Party's (BBP) Muhsin Yazicioglu and Ufuk Uras of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP). Saying he hopes the program is not sacrificed to political concerns ahead of next year's local elections, and that Turkey's European Union membership bid isn't exploited, he added, "The government's approach is focused on compromise, as there is no room in modern democracy for avoiding dialogue." Babacan yesterday gave an iftar fast-breaking dinner to foreign diplomats serving in Ankara, including US Ambassador Ross Wilson and British Ambassador Nick Baird. /Star-Aksam/
 BAHCELI ACCUSES AKP OF SOWING TENSION, URGES TOUGHER FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTIONTurkey is moving into an atmosphere of conflict, as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been sowing societal tension and discord, said opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday in a statement. Addressing the conflict between the prime minister and a prominent media group over fraud allegations, he called on state prosecutors to enforce the law in the case. Also urging the State Control Commission (DDK) under President Abdullah Gul to take action, Bahceli said Turkey needs an autonomous commission to fight corruption. /Sabah/
 EU'S LAGENDIJK STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF A FREE PRESSTurkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk yesterday said that the media in Turkey, as in all countries, should be free. Speaking to Milliyet daily on a recent dispute between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Dogan media group over allegations concerning a charity association, Lagendijk said that media criticism of politicians is a part of political life which should be routine. If a prime minister believes that the media is reporting false news, the solution for that lies in the courthouse, said Lagendijk, adding that this is the usual practice in many countries. Pointing to the importance of a fair and balanced but critical press for the government, the Dutch politician warned against steps to put pressure on reporters, editors or media owners. /Hurriyet/
 TERRORISM SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN ANKARAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tomorrow will chair a terrorism summit in Ankara. Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug and other military commanders, government ministers, and intelligence and security officials will attend the meeting, where important decisions on the social, cultural and economic aspects of terrorism are expected to be taken. In related news, next Tuesday and Wednesday Basbug will speak with editors and Ankara representatives of newspapers and TV stations at General Staff headquarters. /Cumhuriyet-Milliyet/
 GULER: "NABUCCO WILL ENSURE ENERGY SECURITY NOT ONLY IN TURKEY BUT ALSO IN EUROPE"Speaking at a conference in Baku on "Oil and Gas Potential in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan: Energy, Economy and Ecology Cooperation Strategy," Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler yesterday said Turkey is working on a number of new goals, including the Nabucco natural gas pipeline project. He said that Nabucco will be accomplished, just like the Baku- Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum natural gas pipeline projects. Guler also said that Nabucco would ensure energy security not only in Turkey but also in Europe. /Star/
The Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM) yesterday elected Mehmet Buyukeksi its new president in a regular general assembly meeting in Istanbul. Buyukeksi, succeeding Oguz Satici, won the votes of 201 delegates, compared to 125 for Adnan Dalgakiran, the only other candidate. State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen also attended the meeting. Congratulating the new president, Tuzmen said, "I believe that Turkey's exports will reach $200 billion during Buyukeksi's tenure. We can realize this goal by 2012 at the latest. Our target for 2023 is $500 billion." Stressing that Turkey has shaken off economic weaknesses to become stronger and more resistant to global shocks, Tuzmen also touched on recent global economic woes, saying, "The US government just took control of the world's biggest mortgage finance companies. The situation in the global economy is changing considerably. Turkey's economy should be prepared for the impact of this change. This process poses great risks, but also offers important opportunities." /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 RESTORING TRUST WITH AZERBAIJANBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on President Abdullah Gul's visit last week to Armenia to watch a soccer match, and his upcoming visit to Baku. A summary of his column is as follows:
"There was little official Azeri reaction to President Abdullah Gul's visit to Armenia last week to watch a soccer match, from either President Ilham Aliyev or any other Azeri official. Despite the reactions and uneasiness in the Azeri public, Baku acted like a real ally on this issue: when questioned, Azeri Ambassador to Turkey Zakir Hashimov would only say that they respected the president's decision. Actually Turkey acted carefully as well. The best example of this was seen with the Turkish delegation to Yerevan preceding Gul carrying equipment. Gul's official car, his escort vehicles and equipment for security and protocol purposes were carried via Georgia, through a 600-kilometer detour.
There, the aim was to give the same message to both Azerbaijan and Armenia: Ankara closed the Armenian border to protest Upper Karabagh's occupation by Armenians, and it won't use the border even for security purposes, unless the situation changes there. Yet Ankara heard comments from Azeri politicians and newspapers such as 'Farewell to Turkey' on the day Gul visited Armenia, because Turkey has very special relations with Azerbaijan. As Gul took a bold step in relations with Armenia and gave Yerevan a chance to make certain corrections in its foreign policy in line with international law, it should also make efforts not to damage its relations with Azerbaijan.
Besides meetings to discuss such issues as a proposed Caucasus stability and cooperation platform, Armenia, and relations with the US, Gul will also hold a press conference while visiting Baku. Gul is running the risk of Azeri reporters asking tough questions, and will work to dispel the Azeri public's doubts about Turkey's politics. This is the right move. Turkey should help to strengthen both Azerbaijan and Georgia not only out of friendship, but also for its own interests.
I previously wrote that when he got back from Yerevan, Gul said that actually he had decided to go to Armenia before it was officially announced. Indeed, Gul waited for Deputy Foreign Undersecretary Unal Cevikoz, whom he sent to Yerevan to officially tell his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian he would visit, to come back to Ankara on the evening of September 3. Gul said that he decided to pay the visit a week earlier, but announced it later. It might be interesting to review a series of incidents from that time.
I went to Yerevan to interview Sarkisian on August 25. A high-ranking official from the Cankaya Presidential Palace phoned me on August 26 to ask me if I could deliver a message from Gul. In the message, Gul delivered his greetings and good will and said he would be glad to meet Sarkisian in Astana. So the two presidents met in the Kazakh capital Astana, and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev even translated for them when they talked without even sitting down, after Sarkisian's op-ed invitation was published in the Wall Street Journal.
The fact that he gave his kind regards on the occasion of a Turkish journalist's interview was of course no indication of a decision. Turkey wasn't a country lacking contacts in Armenia, as it has many channels. But this greeting showed that the good will, which started when the invitation weren't rejected, was stronger now. Similarly, Sarkisian said during the interview that he considered even that a part of the improved atmosphere. So this situation showed that the mutual good will was understood. I delivered Sarkisian's greetings and message of good will to Gul in our meeting in Ankara the next day, on August 28. Gul said that he considered Sarkisian's interview an example of how contributions can be made to solving the problem and dispelling misunderstandings at every level. So it seems the decision had become ripe, and the next day the decision was made at the Cankaya Presidential Palace."
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