|Wednesday, 21 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-11-14
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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
 PRESIDENT GUL TO ATTEND INTL ENERGY SUMMIT IN AZERBAIJANEnergy security will remain a top priority due to recent developments in our region, said President Abdullah Gul yesterday before leaving for an international energy summit in Azerbaijan. Calling the summit an opportunity to present a comprehensive look at Turkey's energy policies and promote cooperation, he added, "Turkey is also a key position for energy routes, characterized as the southeast energy corridor, so we will talk about energy security and its elements of supply, demand and transit security from all angles." /Star/
 ERDOGAN: "THE ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS PROVES OUR COMMON VALUES ARE STRONGER THAN OUR DIFFERENCES"Speaking at a UN meeting on religious tolerance held as part of a Saudi initiative to boost interfaith dialogue, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, human trafficking and organized crime are global issues which threaten us all. Stressing that there is no difference between so-called "good terrorists" and bad ones, Erdogan said that no matter its origin, reason or aim, terrorism is a crime against humanity. Touching on the Alliance of Civilizations initiative launched by Turkey and Spain, Erdogan told the New York meeting, "Turkey places great importance on this initiative. It is evidence that fundamental values uniting us such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law are stronger than our cultural differences." He added, "Today more than ever we need international cooperation and solidarity against global threats and risks, yet we have failed to come up with the common political will to address them." The alliance initiative is part of efforts to tackle these threats and risks, he said. The premier said future steps in response to the need to respect differences would have a decisive effect on the state of international relations. After the meeting, Erdogan had a brief conversation with US President George W. Bush, who is set to leave office in January. He thanked Erdogan for accepting his invitation to attend tomorrow's G-20 meeting in Washington on the global economic crisis. Also speaking at a meeting in Columbia University yesterday, Erdogan said Turkey expects the new US administration to consider Turkey's sensibilities on issues carrying vital importance for it. Preserving and strengthening the strategic partnership between Turkey and the US is not only important for the interests of the two countries but also for global peace, Erdogan said. He said Turkey was determined to continue multifaceted and close cooperation with the coming US administration led by Barack Obama. /Turkiye/
 PARLIAMENT HOLDS SERVICE REMEMBERING LAST VETERAN OF WAR OF INDEPENDENCEParliament held yesterday a memorial service for Mustafa Sekip Birgol, the last veteran of the War of Independence, who died this week at the age of 105. Attending the service were President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, and several Cabinet members and political party representatives. Birgol will be laid to rest today in Istanbul after a state funeral with the participation of top military and civilian officials. /All papers/
 ERDOGAN URGES EU LEADERS TO TAKE SERIOUS STEPS AGAINST PKKPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday sent letters to the leaders of European Union member states concerning the terrorist PKK. Erdogan urged the leaders to take concrete and genuine steps against the PKK, rather than only declaring it a terrorist group, as the latter is insufficient. Stressing that terrorism threatens all countries, Erdogan called on the EU states to cut off the PKK's political and financial support. He also decried how many top PKK members can easily travel in the European countries and have yet to be extradited, despite Turkey's efforts. /Hurriyet/
 PM ERDOGAN TO VISIT INDIAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will pay an official visit to India starting next Thursday. During his five-day stay, Erdogan is expected to attend a Turkish-Indian Business Forum together with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh. Erdogan will visit New Delhi and Agra and then will proceed to Bangalore to attend a banquet hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industrialists. /Turkiye/
 TOPTAN OPPOSES DISCUSSION ON UNALTERABLE ARTICLES OF CONSTITUTIONCommenting on the unalterable first three articles of the Constitution, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday declared his opposition to any move to open them up for discussion. The head of the Constitutional court had recently said they should be discussed and questioned. Appearing on television, Toptan said that the articles are basic elements of the state and that questioning them should be avoided. "Let's not cause new public crises," he added. Toptan said there are certain ideologies espoused by fringe groups on both the left and right, but that the Turkish nation is loyal to the state's secular structure and basic principles of the republic. /Milliyet/
 DUTCH OFFICIAL: "EUROPEANS SHOULD NOT FEAR TURKISH ACCESSION"At a conference on media and cultural diversity in Rotterdam yesterday, Dutch Minister for European Affairs Frans Timmermans said European fears that Turks will inundate Europe if their country joins the European Union are unfounded, adding that by the time their country is qualified for accession Turks will not feel the need to migrate to Europe. In an interview with Today's Zaman, Timmermans said that some Europeans who fear the prospect of EU membership for Turkey, a country of 70 million, mistakenly believe that it will enter the bloc tomorrow. Given how Turkey's accession will likely take another 10-15 years, Timmermans said by then the country's circumstances will have changed greatly, eliminating the need for Turks to migrate to Europe in search of a better standard of living. /Today's Zaman/
 BARZANI: "WE'RE EAGER TO WORK WITH TURKEY TO SEEK INCREASED PEACE AND PROSPERITY IN THE REGION"Writing in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, Massoud Barzani, the leader of the regional administration in northern Iraq, called his meeting last month with Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq Murat Ozcelik a "historic and positive development" towards improved relations with Turkey. Calling for more such meetings, Barzani wrote in an opinion piece, "We are eager to work with Turkey to seek increased peace and prosperity in the region." He added, "Regional stability cannot come from resolving internal disputes alone. That is why expanding and deepening our ties with Turkey is my top priority." /Turkiye/
 G-20 SUMMIT SET TO BEGIN TOMORROWA summit of the G-20 countries focusing on the global financial crisis and ways to address it will begin tomorrow. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will represent Turkey at the summit, hosted by US President George W. Bush, at one of his last international meetings in office. Bush will also host a dinner tonight for statesmen in Washington to attend the summit. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 TURKEY'S LOCAL ELECTIONS AND NORTHERN IRAQBY NASUHI GUNGOR (STAR)
Columnist Nasuhi Gungor comments on next March's local elections in Turkey and the Kurdish issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Recent developments have been meaningful. While Turkey was accelerating its steps as a state policy on the northern Iraq issue, the Democratic Society Party (DTP) and the terrorist PKK were working to escalate tension. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to southeastern Anatolia and his sharp line taken there increased tension between the DTP and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and provoked more debate. Certain circles who saw Barack Obama's US presidential win as an opportunity capitalized on it to attack the AKP, with Erdogan squarely in their sights. The attack charged that when he came to power, Erdogan was like Obama, but then he became more like Bush. We'll see similar attacks in the months to come.
Turkey's move on northern Iraq is important in many ways. First, it's based on a deep consensus between the state's institutions. The government shaped this step, brought it to maturity, and then took it to the National Security Council, and then steps on it started last year. Secondly, Turkey hasn't retreated from its argument, despite 'accusatory' and 'humiliating' words against Kurdish groups. While using tools of 'soft power' on northern Iraq, particularly diplomacy, Ankara also said a military operation was on the table if necessary, and thus showed its determination.
People who follow the region closely agree that these moves will yield important results. Turkey's steps to expand its maneuvering room on the Kurdish issue and reduce the damage from terrorism are obviously related to the AKP's quality of representation. It's not about how many Kurdish deputies are in Parliament. This is an insufficient approach. The important thing is that this party has a considerable depth of representation not only in the southeast, but also in all the big cities where Kurds live. Soon we'll see how this rise, which reached a peak in the July 2007 general elections, fares in the local elections set for next March. What's more, not only we, but also the Kurdish groups in northern Iraq are curious about those elections, and particularly how the AKP will do (I know many will take issue with these words). How the DTP does in the region, particularly in Diyarbakir, will also be watched closely.
The AKP's replacement of Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat with Abdulkadir Aksu is an important clue to help us understand what's going on. But we shouldn't be impatient. We shouldn't forget that the DTP's limits of tolerance on the Kurdish issue are clear. It was quick to mislead those who expected more from it and who thought it would take steps towards normalization. Now let's ask the final question: Will the AKP, which has taken a large role in Turkey's chronic problems for a very long time, continue to take the same role, for example, on the Kurdish issue? I know that this question is meaningless for people who think that northern Iraq means only Kurds, Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani and who haven't followed the history of the Kurdish movement. But there are other balances which haven't been considered that could create a new area of representation in Turkey."
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