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Turkish Press Review, 08-09-18

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

18.09.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL URGES CONTINUED REFORMS, INVESTMENTS
  • [02] CABINET CONVENES
  • [03] BABACAN: "TURKEY HEADED OFF A POSSIBLE US-RUSSIAN CONFLICT IN THE BLACK SEA"
  • [04] ANKARA SEEKING NEW TALKS BETWEEN AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN
  • [05] BABACAN ATTENDS SECURITY FORUM IN PARIS
  • [06] GERMAN COURT SENTENCES LIGHTHOUSE OFFICIALS TO JAIL TIME
  • [07] RETIRED GENERAL IN INTENSIVE CARE FOR BRAIN INJURY
  • [08] TURKEY'S TEST

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL URGES CONTINUED REFORMS, INVESTMENTS

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday hosted an iftar dinner for representatives of professional organizations. Speaking at the dinner, Gul said Turkey's determined push for reforms and investments should continue without any letup. Among Gul's guests were Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu, Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag and Vice Chairman Ferit Sahenk, Turkish Confederation of Employers Unions (TISK) head Tugrul Kutadgobilig, and Confederation of Turkish Craftsmen and Tradesmen (TESK) head Bendevi Palandoken. /Cumhuriyet/

    [02] CABINET CONVENES

    Speaking after yesterday's Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said that ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) neither protects nor supports criminals. Speaking about a fraud case involving the Lighthouse Foundation, a German- based Turkish charity, Cicek said that the AKP hasn't been silent about the case. Stating that there is an ongoing legal case and that Turkey's judiciary is independent, he added, "When a crime has been committed, prosecutors can act by themselves. They don't need to get anyone's approval for crimes such as fraud. In this case, unfortunately, politics got involved in legal matters, and there were efforts to implicate the prime minister through the case." Touching on the motion enabling cross-border operations into northern Iraq, Cicek said that the Cabinet will extend its duration for one more year. /Aksam-Sabah/

    [03] BABACAN: "TURKEY HEADED OFF A POSSIBLE US-RUSSIAN CONFLICT IN THE BLACK SEA"

    Thanks to its clear, principled stance and good relations with both sides, Turkey skillfully managed the recent crisis in the Black Sea and headed off a possible conflict between the US and Russia, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. In a TV interview, Babacan said that through its active policy, Turkey had emerged with a stronger hand from the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Stressing the importance of the balance between the two major powers in the Black Sea, he said, "Turkey preserved the balance between the US and Russia in the Black Sea by fully applying the Montreux Convention." Touching on speculations over a possible gas crisis in the coming winter months, Babacan said they were not expecting a shortage in Turkey's natural gas imports from Russia in the wake of the Georgian crisis. He said Turkey's relations with Russia are based on mutual trust and that Russia would continue to be a reliable partner for Turkey in the future. Babacan said that his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov had unequivocally rejected speculations of a shortage during his recent visit to Turkey. On President Abdullah Gul's recent visit to Armenia, Babacan said that they had seen the Armenian side's determination to resolve the Upper Karabakh issue with Azerbaijan. /Turkiye/

    [04] ANKARA SEEKING NEW TALKS BETWEEN AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN

    Turkey has launched a diplomatic initiative to bring together Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss their problems, and to revive the Ankara Declaration process. Under the initiative, Deputy Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu has been holding talks this week in Afghanistan. Sinirlioglu delivered a letter from President Abdullah Gul to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and conveyed a proposal for a trilateral summit among Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. After Afghanistan, he is expected to proceed to Pakistan. Afghanistan responded positively to the summit proposal, and is expected to suggest a date for the meeting in the coming months. /Turkiye/

    [05] BABACAN ATTENDS SECURITY FORUM IN PARIS

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday attended a European Union-Central Asia Forum on Security Trials in Paris. The meeting brought together foreign ministers of the EU and Central Asia for the first time. The officials sought to engage in deep dialogue on security, particularly on the issues of smuggling, terrorism, extremism and energy security. /Turkish Daily News/

    [06] GERMAN COURT SENTENCES LIGHTHOUSE OFFICIALS TO JAIL TIME

    A German court yesterday handed down sentences in a fraud case involving the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-based Turkish charity group. The court gave Mehmet Gurhan, Kanal 7 director in Europe, to nearly six years in prison, while Lighthouse head Mehmet Tashan was sentenced to nearly three years, and the group's accountant Firdevsi Ermis was freed due to time served while awaiting trial. Judge Jurgen Mueller said that after soliciting donations for charity, the group had transferred 17 million euros to Turkey via courier. The whole organization was directed from Turkey, Mueller said, adding that Kanal 7's Zekeriya Karaman played a large role in the crime. "This is no simple fraud case," he said. "It is crime against democracy and freedom of belief." He added that the real culprits in the case remain at large in Turkey. Following the end of the German trial, Turkish opposition parties urged the government and prosecutors to expose the case's links in Turkey. In related news, speaking to reporters yesterday, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said that the conviction and sentencing of Turkish citizens abroad is no reason for rejoicing. /Hurriyet/

    [07] RETIRED GENERAL IN INTENSIVE CARE FOR BRAIN INJURY

    Retired Gen.Sener Eruygur, who is currently under arrest as part of the Ergenekon probe in the northwestern city of Kocaeli, was hospitalized yesterday due to a brain injury. Eruygur reportedly received the injury when he fell due to hypertension. Erugyur is intensive care. Nazım Mutlu, chief of medicine at Kocaeli University's Medical School Hospital, said that they were following Eruygur's situation closely, adding that he was conscious and his general condition was not grave. /Turkiye/

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

    [08] TURKEY'S TEST

    BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the fraud case involving the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-Turkish based charity. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "A judge in Frankfurt sentenced Lighthouse Foundation officials to jail time, with nearly six years for Mehmet Gurhan, nearly three for Mehmet Taskan, and accountant Firdevsi Ermis, who confessed to the crime, to her time served of nearly two years. The judge said that as far as he could see, this was the greatest charity scandal Germany had ever seen. He added that Gurhan and Tashan had acted under the direction of Kanal 7's Zekeriya Karaman, Ismail Karahan, Mustafa Celik and Zahid Akman, and that the case's main culprits are currently at large in Turkey.

    Now it's time to see if he's right about this. I've written before that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the fraud amounted to a major robbery. Erdogan added that such conduct wouldn't be tolerated and the perpetrators would be punished. So a group that said it was helping poor people abroad sent money to Turkey in suitcases or through bank transfers, with some of the funds going to the Lighthouse Foundation and the rest going to Kanal 7 head Zekeriya Kahraman and some of his partners.

    That's why Judge Jurgen Mueller said that the main culprits in the case are in Turkey and that the people involved in the crime in Germany should give the court a full account of what they did. People need to know the extent of the crime, and if official organs were abused in the process. Some readers may remembers how the Association in Support of Contemporary Life (CYDD), a group that tried to help victims of the devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake, faced years of legal difficulties over 'irregularities' in the reconstruction of 27 schools with public support. Do you know what was those irregularities were? The group told the official commission organizing earthquake aid about the donations it got from abroad, but failed to separately inform the Interior Ministry. They were eventually acquitted, but they had a devil of a time.

    There's nothing stopping our politicians or officials from showing the sensitivity they previously showed the CYDD, which properly used the donations it got. Even if officials do nothing, would it be so naïve to think that Erdogan, who's certainly opposed to embezzlement and corruption, would take swift action?"


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