|Saturday, 16 December 2017|
Turkish Press Review, 08-11-21
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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
 PM ERDOGAN VISITS INDIAThe government will work together with the real and financial sectors to overcome the world economic crisis with minimal loss, and everyone should cooperate towards this end, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Speaking to reporters at Ankara's Esenboga airport before leaving for India, he added that he had no magic wand to dispel the crisis. In New Delhi, Erdogan was welcomed by Turkish Ambassador to India Levent Bilman along with Indian officials. During his visit, Erdogan is expected to meet with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh, President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, and Parliament Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, and to attend a Turkish-Indian Business Council meeting. /All papers/
 ERDOGAN: "EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO COUNTER THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS"Before leaving for India yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that everyone should assume responsibility to minimize the impact on Turkey of the global economic crisis, warning banks to avoid calling back loans given to real sector companies. Stressing that the government is doing its part to blunt the crisis' damage, Erdogan said that they would continue to take all necessary measures to protect Turkey's real sector. Erdogan also said that all government institutions and economic actors should work together in concert to successfully resist the crisis. Later, Erdogan said the government is working a new package of measures to protect the real sector. Reiterating that no one should try to exploit the crisis, Erdogan said that the details of the new package would be announced after he returns from India. The new measures would reportedly facilitate loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and work to stem job losses due to the crisis. /Turkiye-Sabah/
 BABACAN MEETS WITH HIS ROMANIAN COUNTERPARTForeign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday met with his visiting Romanian counterpart Lazar Comanescu in Ankara. Afterwards, Babacan told a joint press conference that they had discussed bilateral ties between the two countries, adding that Turkey and Romania enjoy very good relations. "Turkish-Romanian relations are based on mutual understanding and sound friendship," he added. "Bilateral trade between the two countries hit $7 billion last year, and this year will exceed $8 billion. Our two countries are also cooperating with each other in energy." For his part, Comanescu said that his country supports Turkey's EU accession bid, adding that Turkey's accession would make important contributions to the Union. Asked about talks held in Baghdad this week between Turkish, US and Iraqi officials, Babacan said that the meeting had been very important and fruitful. "During the meeting, the parties reaffirmed that the PKK is a terrorist group." On a recently signed security agreement between the US and Iraq, Babacan said under the pact the US will gradually withdraw its troops from Iraq in line with the reinforcement of Iraq's capacity for self- defense, and added, "This means that Iraq will get more involved in its own issues. There is nothing more natural than Iraq's further involvement in efforts so far seen against the terrorist PKK. We will see an intensified Iraqi presence in further efforts against the PKK." Asked about his coming meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Babacan said, "Our goal in the Turkey-Armenia dialogue process is full normalization, but we need to take mutual steps to reach that point. There is a new atmosphere in the region towards solving ongoing disputes. This is a significant opportunity we shouldn't neglect." /Turkiye/
 MHP DEPUTY AKTAN REMEMBERED, LAID TO RESTThe Foreign Ministry yesterday held a memorial service for opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Deputy and former Ambassador Gunduz Aktan, who passed away on Wednesday. Another ceremony was later held at Parliament, followed by funeral prayers at Ankara's Kocatepe mosque. Among those who attended the ceremonies were President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Cabinet members, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, former President Suleyman Demirel, former Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin, other political party leaders, members of Parliament, Foreign Ministry bureaucrats, and army commanders. Aktan was laid to rest yesterday in Buyukada, Istanbul. /Milliyet/
 REHN: "THE EU WILL BENEFIT FROM TURKEY'S YOUNG, WELL-EDUCATED WORKFORCE"Cultural resistance and the fear of integrating a large Muslim minority are leading the European Union to consider imposing restrictions on the free movement of Turkish workers when the country eventually joins the EU, said EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday. Speaking to EurActiv.com, Rehn stated that while he believes the EU will "benefit from the youthful and rather well-educated Turkish labor force," some countries may view Turkey's EU accession differently. He added that as early as 2004, the commission had warned of the possibility of long transition periods and permanent safeguard clauses to avoid disturbances in the EU labor market. /Aksam/
 NORWEGIAN PRINCE DUE IN ANKARA NEXT WEEKNorwegian Crown Prince Haakon, accompanied by Norway's trade, deputy foreign and oil ministers, is scheduled to pay a visit to Turkey next week at the official invitation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Haakon will meet with Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul to exchange views on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues. He also will attend several seminars on energy and the environment. /Star/
 IRAQI HAKIM: "EVEN KURDISH GROUPS IN IRAQ HAVE RECOGNIZED THE PKK AS TERRORIST"Iraqi State Minister for National Dialogue Akram al-Hakim, acting as the special envoy of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of regional visits including Iran, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Afterwards, Hakim told reporters that he had confirmed for Turkish officials that Iraq has recognized the PKK as a terrorist group. He added that Kurdish groups in Iraq also recognize this.
 TRT LAUNCHES WEBSITE OFFERING NEWS IN 30 LANGUAGESThe state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) yesterday started webcasting and posting news in 30 languages, including English, German, Arabic, Albanian, Azeri Turkish, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Persian, Georgian, Spanish, Greek, Urdu and Tatar. The new service, available at www.trt-world.com, covers international, regional and national news. TRT Director General Ibrahim Sahin said that the website has already been visited by half a million people. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 COAL FOR VOTESBY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)
Columnist Derya Sazak comments on political party strategies ahead of local elections next March. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Following the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) new 'chador expansion,' the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is also working to widen its electoral base. As in previous elections, the ruling party is planning to beat the opposition with free coal.
Headlines and photos of coal-laden trucks splashed across newspapers yesterday showed the AKP's strategy.
When his Democrat Party (DP) was the ruling party in 1950-60, DP leader Adnan Menderes famously said, 'Even if we nominated a piece of wood, people would vote for it.'
Now, 50 years later, wood has been replaced by coal!
Free coal began to be distributed by the Ankara and Istanbul Greater Municipalities, which are at the forefront of these elections. The AKP knows its business. They are fighting the CHP's black chadors with Zonguldak black diamonds.
Thousands of bags of coal are reportedly being distributed to neighborhoods, even ones which use natural gas, with labels saying, 'Prime Ministry of the Turkish Republic' and 'Not to be sold.'
They aren't being sold, but this free coal will translate into votes in next year's local elections.
In Ankara, would-be challenger Murat Karayalcin would face an uphill climb beating the current mayor, Melih Gokcek. The municipality will reportedly distribute more than 100,000 tons of coal by the end of this year. Food packages and even, just before elections, distribution of gold can also be expected. This is a strange business.
While the CHP was trying to attract votes by welcoming into its ranks women wearing chadors, the AKP has been going farther: It's exploiting poverty for votes. Its trucks look like humanitarian aid convoys to Africa.
In Ankara and Istanbul, poor people's votes are being bought by flour, sugar and coal. And they call it democracy.
Now we can understand Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's resistance to a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
The IMF, before the local elections, wants to stop funds from pouring into municipalities, and to investments which don't provide jobs. The 6 million tons of coal distributed by AKP administrators is reportedly worth over 1 billion YTL. And this covers only the coal. Money going to partisan contractors for unplanned tenders has hit billions of dollars. The IMF is warning the AKP that the era of free spending is over. But the government is continuing to waste money in the name of 'serving the people,' by only focusing on its fate in next year's elections.
If our economy hits the wall like back in 2001, this time not even the country's mineral resources can save the government from public collapse.
I think the AKP's coal vote grubbing will have a limited influence on the local elections, as long as the CHP manages to bolster its own support through its chador policy!"
 AS TURKEY IS CHANGINGBY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)
Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on recent political changes in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Turkey is undergoing rapid, unprecedented changes, and now we're seeing their effect on politics too. It makes no sense to paint the changes recently seen in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as pure political posturing ahead of local elections next March. Turkey's internal dynamism is rising, and political parties are working to accommodate themselves to this transformation. We have to understand this process and the dynamics underlying it.
The AKP was the only party that understood the direction of our country's changes. It has produced policies to fit new reality, though sometimes it's resorted to populism. This is why it's managed to be the ruling party for two terms. Politics is a competitive field. The CHP and the MPH have made very reasonable moves against the AKP. What's more, the approaches of these opposing parties coincided with the timing of AKP efforts to transform itself in another area. The AKP as campaigner against the system turned into a party which is close to the state, whereas the social democratic and fervent secularist CHP is moving closer to conservatives, and the nationalist MHP is making gestures to Alawis.
Now we're seeing a tendency towards doing politics through identities and cultures. In addition, a sound new basis is being built, and the AKP's unfair competitive advantage is being eroded. More and more people believe the CHP can solve the headscarf issue. On the other hand, we see the parties' rhetoric gradually becoming more and more similar. When parties make moves towards each other's bases, an important question arises: If they all look like each other, won't this make things worse? People looking for fresh paths in politics will be frustrated, won't they? But I think the opposite is true.
The matches of the AKP and the state, the CHP and headscarves, and the MHP and Alawis will support political pluralism. The process was triggered by Erdogan's statement of 'one flag, one country, one nation.' The AKP is moving away from its image as a party fighting the state. Erdogan is protecting AKP relations with Kurds not through the DTP, but directly. Secondly, the AKP also gave up its identity as a party at odds with the military. Its priority became terrorism and southeastern Anatolia, instead of speculations about secularism.
Meanwhile, the CHP is embracing the idea that the poor and leftists should come together. That's why its relations with religion are important. Assessing this only in terms of next year's local elections falls short. The CHP is turning into a party of the masses in touch with all sectors. Something similar is happening with the MHP. It has taken a very important stance on the Kurdish issue, one which would also benefit Turkey. It showed a sensibility which doesn't provoke people. It's also signaling a warm rapprochement to Turkey's Alawis. Maybe now's the time for the slogan of 'a great consensus.'
These developments signal a return to the Turkish Republic's founding ideology. We're regaining this wide stance which accepts everybody who considers themselves a Turk, as a Turk. Of course, we'll have different sub- identities, but we're meeting at the identity which unites all of us. Most Turks favor consensus, and a spectrum of rich voices is starting to dominate politics. So a new era is dawning."
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