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Turkish Press Review, 08-11-06

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

06.11.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES ALIYEV
  • [02] ERDOGAN: "IF OUR FAMILIES SUFFER, OUR NATION COULD COLLAPSE"
  • [03] EU COMMISSION RELEASES PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY
  • [04] LAGENDIJK: "TURKEY NEEDS ITS OWN OBAMA"
  • [05] SIMSEK DOWNPLAYS RISK FROM GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS
  • [06] TURKISH BUSINESS LEADERS CONGRATULATE OBAMA
  • [07] TURKEY'S FUTURE IN A WORLD WITH OBAMA
  • [08] LESSONS IN DEMOCRACY FROM AN ELECTION DEFEAT
  • [09] WATCHING WITH ADMIRATION

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES ALIYEV

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev. "We're bravely dealing with the problems of the Caucasus together," Gul told a joint press conference. "Leaders of the Caucasus have shown the will on various platforms to resolve its problems. This is a very positive development." Pointing to the recent meeting in Moscow between Aliyev and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan, Gul said that Turkey supports this dialogue process. For his part, Aliyev said, "Relations between our two countries have contributed to peace, cooperation and stability in the region. The issues between Azerbaijan and Armenia should first be solved. Azerbaijan expects a fair solution." Gul yesterday also sent a letter congratulating Barack Obama on his historic election as president of the United States. "Your message of change and hope is one that meets the expectations of our day. It is a message that Turkey embraces," he wrote. "As two close allies and partners, Turkey and the United States have established a strong friendship based on vital interests." He added, "This friendship is founded on such universal values as freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights and the rule of law, and constitutes an important asset for our countries. We value this friendship highly." /Milliyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN: "IF OUR FAMILIES SUFFER, OUR NATION COULD COLLAPSE"

    If the institution of the family suffers harm, this risks the collapse of the Turkish nation, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Addressing the Fifth Family Council in Ankara, Erdogan underlined that by 2088 Turkey's population will be much older, adding, "Unfortunately, in the guise of family planning and population control, people in this nation are constantly being implored not to have children." Criticizing that advice, he stated that families' role in society has become more important. Touching on social aid to protect families, he said that Turkey currently spends 5 quadrillion YTL annually for this purpose. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Erdogan said that the election of Barack Obama as US president shows that racial discrimination is a thing of the past in the US. Touching on Obama's campaign pledge on the so-called Armenian genocide allegations, he said, "Turkish-American relations should not be affected by changes in government. I believe that Turkish-American relations should be defined by the strategic ties between Turkey and the US, not by government changes there." In related news, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal also sent a letter of congratulations to President- elect Obama. /Star/

    [03] EU COMMISSION RELEASES PROGRESS REPORT ON TURKEY

    The European Union Commission yesterday released its annual progress report on Turkey. Praising Turkey's economic reform efforts, the report also included criticism over political reforms, freedom of the press, and the fight against corruption. Urging Turkey to revive its political reform process, it decried how the lack of conciliatory spirit among Turkey's major political parties has harmed political and institutional reforms. The report also praised President Abdullah Gul's conciliatory role, his good working relations with the government, his calls to speed up reform efforts, and his active role in foreign policy. Speaking to a press conference in Brussels, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn called on Turkey to speed up its reform efforts, especially over the next calendar year. The commission yesterday also released its enlargement strategy document. Touching on Turkey's efforts to find peaceful solutions to issues in the Middle East and Caucasus as well as the dispute over Iran's nuclear program, the document said Turkey's strategic importance for the EU is rising in terms of energy security, preventing armed clashes, and establishing regional security in the Middle East and Caucasus. It said Turkey has become a stronger focus of stability in a problematic region thanks to its reforms towards EU accession. The Foreign Ministry yesterday praised the report's references to Turkey's strategic importance. A ministry statement said Turkey would continue to do its part in the negotiation process, and urged the EU to do the same. /Sabah-Turkiye/

    [04] LAGENDIJK: "TURKEY NEEDS ITS OWN OBAMA"

    Turkey needs a leader like Barack Obama in order to fulfill its necessary domestic reforms, said Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk yesterday. In a statement to news website ABHaber, Lagendijk said, "Society and policy in Turkey are divided over Turkey's future. At the same time, Turkey should get rid of outmoded structures in the judiciary and army. Turkey needs someone to rally people from all walks of life to support reforms to make Turkey a more democratic country." /Milliyet/

    [05] SIMSEK DOWNPLAYS RISK FROM GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS

    Addressing the Balıkesir Chamber of Industry yesterday, State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said the current global economic crisis poses no great risk to Turkey. "No country is immune to the crisis, but there is no great risk for Turkey from the global financial turmoil," he said. Simsek said that Turkey's banking system and public sector were well-positioned to weather the crisis. Stating that the crisis could slow economic growth, he also said that the private sector's condition would become normal in line with easing financial markets. In related news, the government has prepared a financial support package for exporters and the real sector. Presenting the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat budget to Parliament's Budget Commission, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen said yesterday that the government is taking all necessary measures to minimize the impact of the global economic crisis on the real sector, such as raising financial support for exporters and providing low-cost financial opportunities to companies to boost their competitive edge. /Sabah/

    [06] TURKISH BUSINESS LEADERS CONGRATULATE OBAMA

    The democratic culture seen in the recent US election campaign should set an example to Turkey, said the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) yesterday. Congratulating US President-elect Barack Obama, a TUSIAD statement said Obama's victory is a very good example of tolerance and a culture of compromise. Turkish-American Business Council (TAİK) head Haluk Dincer called the US a land of opportunities, adding, "Obama's victory should be seen as evidence of the US' ability to renew itself and its strong democracy even during the hardest of times. It can rise from its ashes, and this is its greatest strength. I believe that everything will get better, and that in the new era the US public will cast off economic fears." Turkish-American Businessmen's Association (TABA_AmCham) head Ugur Terzioglu said of the election, "Its outcome will be very good for Turkey." He said the new president will be in a better position to make changes with a Democratic majority in the Senate and House of Representatives supporting him. Obama's presidency will also benefit the world "as long as he finds good economic and military advisors," Terzioglu added. /Aksam/

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

    [07] TURKEY'S FUTURE IN A WORLD WITH OBAMA

    BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)

    Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on the US presidential election and an Italian-Turkish Forum. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The winds of Democrat Barack Hussein Obama being elected US president were felt immediately in the European Union. Brussels, the European Union capital, published its Turkey progress report on the heels of his election. These two developments left their mark on the Italian-Turkish Forum in Rome, which gave strong support to Ankara's EU bid. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini described the excitement created by Obama's victory as if a new EU leader had been elected. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan hailed the 'historic moment.' When Babacan told reporters he had yet to see the progress report's official text, Frattini immediately handed him the document, which made the people standing there smile. The equation of a US with Obama, an EU-member Turkey, and the closely working US and EU was mentioned there.

    There's also a search for stability in which Turkey will become a full EU member, the US will show more active engagement, and the EU gains influence in the Middle East and Caucasus through Turkey. With the Italian-Turkish Forum roughly coinciding with Obama's election, the release of the progress report and Turkey's election as a temporary UN Security Council member, an appropriate basis for discussing global strategic visions has emerged. Italy will become the G-8 chairman in January. In light of all this, expectations of a more peaceful world under Obama's administration have risen.

    The speechmakers also emphasized the concept of change. Obama's campaign theme of change has apparently had a worldwide impact. Obama's election as president is the first step towards rehabilitating the Western identity. I also remember US election analysts saying that 60% of voters cited the economy as their number one issue (compare this to terrorism, which got only 9%). I don't know if we're aware of the significance of this. Considering the impact of the global financial crisis as well, we can see how essential it is to make careful calculations about the Italian-Turkish Forum and Turkish-EU relations. The Italians yesterday clearly confirmed and emphasized their support for Turkey. They said they want closer and better relations with Turkey, which has the world's 17th-largest economy. As a matter of fact, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi will meet in Izmir next week.

    Berlusconi chided his European counterparts for turning their backs on Turkey, saying that Turkey is the only majority-Muslim country whose Constitution guarantees secularism. He asked what could better explain Turkey's power and importance. Babacan started his speech by mentioning film director Ferzan Ozpetek, who lives in Italy, as well as legendary Turkish soprano Leyla Gencer, who recently died. Babacan said that Turkey was progressing on its path to the EU and that there was no change of course, though the pace of membership talks sometimes slows and other times quickens. Stating that the climate of domestic politics in both the EU and Turkey also affects the process, Babacan said that despite the differing seasons of summer and winter and the like, our determination is not swayed.

    Asked by reporters about the EU report, he said he found it balanced and constructive overall, but that it also contained some unfair criticisms. Babacan also hailed Obama's historic election, adding that Turkey was willing to strengthen its deep relations with the US in the new era. He added that he had met recently with Obama's advisors and that they are very interested in Turkey.

    Yes, the world's new balances were discussed at the forum, which was organized by the Strategic Research Center attached to the Foreign Ministry and UNICREDIT at a critical time. Considering how Turkey and the US share eight out of the same top 10 foreign policy issues, Obama's election is very important for us. We're entering an era in which the international system will be reformed. Both economic structures and political institutions will experience change, and this must be managed. Obama said that his election wasn't the change, but only its beginning. Sister countries Turkey and Italy are trying to wake the EU up. It was a successful meeting. Now we're looking towards next week's meeting in Izmir."

    [08] LESSONS IN DEMOCRACY FROM AN ELECTION DEFEAT

    BY MEHMET Y. YILMAZ (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Mehmet Yilmaz comments on the US presidential election. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Barack Obama has become the US' first black president. In his first public address following his victory, Obama said that he would be 'the president of everybody.' But we are all witnesses that such promises may not be kept. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also pledged to become everyone's premier, but he failed.

    I hope Obama can keep his word.

    Obama's election seems to be a cure to the world's rising hostility to the US under George W. Bush. Of course, if Obama signals that he can fulfill his pledges before the positive atmosphere vanishes!

    Today I want to draw your attention to the concession speech of Obama's rival, John McCain. It shows how a politician defeated in a democratic election should act. Here are some phrases from his speech:

    'A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt's invitation of (black educator and writer) Booker T. Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States. Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it. No doubt many of those differences remain. These are difficult times for our country. And I pledge to him tonight to do all in my power to help him lead us through the many challenges we face. I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him, but offering our next president our good will and earnest effort to find ways to come together to find the necessary compromises to bridge our differences and help restore our prosperity. Whatever our differences, we are fellow Americans. It's natural, tonight, to feel some disappointment. But tomorrow, we must move beyond it and work together to get our country moving again. We fought as hard as we could. And though we fell short, the failure is mine, not yours.'

    Do you think that one day we could also witness the loser in one of our democratic races congratulate the winner and step aside with such maturity?"

    [09] WATCHING WITH ADMIRATION

    BY YALCIN DOGAN (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Yalcin Dogan comments on the US presidential election. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The post-election speeches of the two US presidential rivals will never be forgotten in the history of political courtesy.

    Once the outcome became clear, the loser, John McCain, congratulated Barack Obama and expressed admiration for his abilities and respect for his long- fought victory, adding that he was ready to help him whenever he needed.

    In addition, Obama thanked McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin, saying that he would seek their help and was looking forward to working together with them.

    One was a loser, the other a winner. The subject was the US presidency. They were tough competitors. But after the election, the atmosphere was completely different. Competition gave way to courtesy.

    The loser expressed respect, and the winner said he would ask for help from the rival he defeated. These aren't empty phrases of civility, but purposefully show the contours of politics.

    Although Obama knows the Middle East well, many in Washington believe that in formulating his Mideast policies, he will consult McCain's team.

    But the important thing is how the winner and the loser comported themselves.

    They both knew how to act - that's the important thing.

    I watched them with envy and admiration. In our political battles, we have yet to witness such courtesy."


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