|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-09-11
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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: "THE KARABAKH ISSUE CAN BE SOLVED THROUGH DIALOGUE AND MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING"President Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in the Azeri capital Baku. Afterwards, speaking at a joint press conference, Gul said that he hoped the Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia could be solved through dialogue and mutual understanding. Stating that the Turkish-Azeri friendship is a permanent one, he added, "The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railways projects are examples of the good economic ties between our countries." Turkey has always supported Azerbaijan on political issues, and will continue to do so, he added. Asked if his recent visit to Yerevan had disturbed the Azeri people, Gul said, "No one should be disturbed, but if some were, this is unfair to Turkey. Turkey has long sacrificed its interests to support Azerbaijan." Asked about prospects for a summit between Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, Gul stated that the countries' leaders should start to work to solve their issues. Following the press conference, Aliyev hosted a dinner in honor of Gul, with Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler also in attendance. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: "THE AKP WILL CONTINUE TO SERVE THE NATION, NOT POLITICAL INTERESTS"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended an iftar fast- breaking dinner hosted by his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Istanbul's Kadikoy district. Speaking at the dinner, Erdogan said, "The AKP has long steered clear of political considerations which don't seek solutions to Turkey's problems but on the contrary produce more problems, and it will continue in this vein." Criticizing politicians who focus on only their own interests, not Turkey's problems, Erdogan said, "The AKP will never enter any fruitless conflict, argument or debate, but will continue to do its work and serve the nation." Erdogan added, "But we will respond to smear campaigns waged against the government, and thanks to this our people will learn the truth behind those campaigns." /Turkiye/
 BABACAN: "THE TURKISH, AZERI AND ARMENIAN FMs CAN MEET IN NEW YORK"Turkey can take steps to solve the Karabakh issue, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. Speaking to news channel NTV, Babacan stressed that the Upper Karabakh issue and the incidents of 1915 are very important for Turkey. "We propose settling up a commission to research the (Armenian 'genocide') allegations, which Turkey strongly rejects," he added. "Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian was pleased with this idea." Babacan also reiterated that the problems between Turkey and Armenia cannot be solved through two-party negotiations, as relations between Baku and Yerevan are also very important. "Our three countries' foreign ministers can meet during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York (later this month)," he added. In related news, Babacan yesterday telephoned his Azerbaijani counterpart Almar Mammadyarov, who reportedly welcomed the proposal for a possible three-party meeting in New York. /Aksam-Star/
 TRNC'S TALAT, CHRISTOFIAS TO MEET AGAIN TODAYTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot administration leader Demetris Christofias will meet today in the second round of comprehensive talks to find a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue. The talks began earlier this month, and the two leaders are set today to discuss administration and power-sharing on the island for the first time. TRNC Presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica said that the Turkish Cypriot side would do its constructive utmost during the talks, adding that the other side should show the same flexibility and positive stance. He also said that a lasting solution to the issue should be based on the political equality of the two peoples and the equal status of two founding states. The two leaders will meet again later this month. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN IN BERN AS GUEST OF SWISS FMForeign Minister Ali Babacan arrived in Switzerland yesterday at the invitation of his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey. During the three- day visit, the two diplomats will discuss bilateral relations as well as regional issues and recent international developments. /Turkish Daily News/
 FIRAT: "THE AKP WON'T BOW TO MEDIA BLACKMAIL"Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat yesterday said that the AKP would not give in any blackmail or threat from any media group. At a press conference, Firat accused Dogan media group head Aydin Dogan of trying to harm the government with false claims, in an effort to pressure it to make decisions favoring the group. "The government is determined to never yield to any blackmail or threat from any media group," he said. "We stand against media terror. We want respect for the right to respond to claims. And for this, we will continue our fight within the law until the end." He added, "Newspapers cannot be used as tools to reap undeserved profits in other areas of business." He also accused main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and opposition National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli of cooperating with the group against the government, and added, "You'll never find the group's newspapers covering claims about Baykal's assets." /Sabah-Turkiye/
 MIT UNDERSECRETARY TANER MEETS WITH ERDOGANNational Intelligence Organization (MIT) Undersecretary Emre Taner yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The visit lasted about 45 minutes. In related news, a summit on the threat of terrorism, chaired by Erdogan, is set to convene today in Ankara. /Hurriyet/
 UN SPECIAL CYPRUS ENVOY MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGANUN Special Envoy for Cyprus Alexander Downer yesterday arrived in Ankara and was received by President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Downer said that the rights of guarantorship under the 1960 London and Zurich agreements should be protected in order to reach a solution. Downer is also set to attend meetings on Cyprus between Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot administration leader Demetris Christofias. In related news, Erdogan telephoned UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to tell him about Turkey's perspectives on a solution. /Cumhuriyet/
 MHP LEADER BAHCELI VISITS CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFFOpposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday paid a courtesy visit to Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, who rose to the position late last month, to congratulate him on his new post. /Cumhuriyet/
 US STATE DEPT: "WE'RE PLEASED WITH PRESIDENT GUL'S VISIT TO ARMENIA"The US on Tuesday praised President Abdullah Gul's recent visit to Armenia. "We were delighted that the president of Armenia, Serzh Sarkisian, reached out to President Abdullah Gul and invited him to Yerevan and delighted also that Gul accepted the invitation," said US State Department Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried. He added that the US has been encouraging Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan to work towards settling their differences. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 SOWING THE SEEDSBY SOLI OZEL (SABAH)
Columnist Soli Ozel comments on the crisis in the Caucasus. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The crisis in the Caucasus has shifted almost all actors' strategic calculations and also led to unexpected lessons. For example, Russia, which won the war, is now facing unprecedented pressure. Since the start of the conflict the value of Russia's stock exchange plummeted $290 billion and it also lost capital totaling $21 billion. Now we're no longer talking about the Soviet Union, which opted out of capitalism, and so Russian capitalists and elite have to deal with these realities of life. Official statements saying that relations with NATO would continue should be evaluated with this in mind.
Following the crisis, the US started to take diplomatic measures using its limited power and possibilities in the region. Its reaction was moderate. The US found it necessary to send money in order to protect Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's power and restore the country, because US foreign policy can't risk a big conflict with Russia. So a policy of reconciliation emerging in this context should come as no surprise. In this respect, Turkey's moves show a search for diplomacy in line with the new balances and realities in the region.
If President Abdullah Gul's recent visit to Armenia yields results, so frustrating opponents of the move, and diplomatic relations are established, Ankara will be able to play a founding role in new regional equations. According to a survey done by Metropoll, a large majority of the Turkish public approved of the visit and wants Turkish-Armenian relations to improve. So if the government continues this initiative, it won't incur a political cost, but will win many points both at home and abroad.
If this initiative is supported by Russia, as Sabah daily's Yavuz Baydar claims, we can say that all the actors in the region are looking for a new balance. The emergence of a structure from this search, which is the aim of the Caucasian cooperation platform proposed by Turkey, will require complex diplomatic moves, political determination, and good will. After Georgia, Azerbaijan is the country which has suffered the most from this conflict. As Paul Goble of the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy wrote, 10 assumptions which shaped Baku's foreign policy in the post-Cold War era have collapsed. Among these is the assumption that Turkey would support Azerbaijan against Russia.
As Goble wrote, of course Turkey wouldn't withhold its support in countering threats to Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan must have realized that unsolved problems could one day explode just like a land mine. Accordingly, solving the Karabakh issue carries great importance. During his current visit to Azerbaijan, Gul should explain the Armenia initiative to reassure the Azeris. So the three countries' foreign ministers' plan to meet during the UN General Assembly in New York is right in this respect, but Turkey's efforts alone aren't enough to solve this issue. Obviously, the US, which placed great importance on the Armenia visit, will support efforts to find a solution. If Russia does the same, this will ensure that Turkey's efforts bear fruit."
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