|Sunday, 18 March 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-12-03
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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
 SRI LANKAN PRESIDENT MEETS WITH GULPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday received his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa, currently of on an official visit to Turkey. During their meeting, the two leaders signed agreements on interstate extradition and air transportation. Speaking to reporters afterwards, they pledged to further develop cooperation against terrorism. /Turkiye/
 PAKISTANI, AFGHAN PRESIDENTS TO MEET IN ISTANBULPresident Abdullah Gul will host a meeting between Pakistani President Ali Asif Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Istanbul this weekend in line with Turkey's mediation in the region. During the meeting, the two leaders will speak about concrete steps both parties can take to prevent terrorist attacks in the region. /Cumhuriyet/
 YAS CONVENESThe Supreme Military Council (YAS), chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, convened yesterday at General Staff headquarters, along with Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul. Attending YAS for the first time in their new posts were Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner, Naval Forces Commander Adm. Metin Atac, Air Forces Commander Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu, and Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Atila Isik. According to an official statement, the meeting focused on such issues as personnel, education and disciplinary problems within the Turkish Armed Forces, and the fight against the terrorist PKK at home and abroad. The statement said that 24 military personnel were dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) due to disciplinary problems or reactionary activities. Afterwards, Erdogan and YAS members visited Anitkabir, Ataturk's mausoleum. President Abdullah Gul later hosted a luncheon in honor of the YAS members at the Foreign Ministry residence, with Erdogan, Buyukanit and Gonul also in attendance. Following the second part of the gathering, the decisions of YAS were submitted to and approved by Gul. / Aksam-Star/
 ERDOGAN: "NO ONE CAN REACH THEIR GOALS THROUGH TERROR"The Istanbul Sisli district office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), where a blast occurred on Monday, got a visit yesterday from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with State Minister Hayati Yazici and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. Erdogan said that the attack had wounded 10 people, including two police officers, and five are still being treated. Stressing that no one can reach their goals through terrorism, the premier said terrorists cannot serve freedom by hurting and killing innocents. /Hurriyet/
 BABACAN: "EU MEMBERSHIP IS NECESSARY FOR TURKEY"Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, currently in Brussels for a NATO foreign ministers summit, yesterday said that European Union membership is necessary for political stability in Turkey, to keep democracy on track, and that it's also difficult to ensure economic stability without an EU perspective. At a press conference, Babacan complained that Turkey's EU bid is being held back by the EU. Though the EU sees opening four chapters a year in Turkey's membership talks as fast enough, Ankara disagrees, he added. /Cumhuriyet/
 AKP TO POLL MEMBERS ON CANDIDATES FOR NEXT YEAR'S LOCAL ELECTIONSIn 12 large cities across the country where the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) holds the greater municipality mayor seats, the party is set to poll its members today on whether those mayors should be nominated for additional terms. The polls include questions about the mayor's performance in office and their relations with local organizations and the public. The poll results will be evaluated at an AKP Central Executive Board meeting set for tomorrow. Afterwards, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to make public some of the party's candidates for several greater municipalities in local elections next March. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL CLAIMS GOVT CAN'T ANNOUNCE NEW ECONOMIC PACKAGE WITHOUT IMF AGREEMENTThe government can't announce a new package of economic stimulus measures because it has yet to reach a standby agreement with the International Monetary Fun, claimed main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday. Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Baykal said, "The impact of the global economic crisis on Turkey is growing because the government still can't announce its new measures to counter it." Asserting that the main reason for the delay on the standby is disagreement over how much the IMF will loan Turkey, Baykal said the government is just watching the economy falter without doing anything. In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli condemned Monday's bomb attack on an Istanbul office of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), warning the public against possible provocations due to local elections set for next March. Bahceli said the democratic and legal stage is the only place for political battles. /Turkiye/
 "BUY LOCAL," ERDOGAN TELLS PUBLIC BODIESPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has issued a circular to all public institutions instructing them to give priority to domestically produced goods and services in all public procurements. Under the circular, all public institutions should provide a 15 percent price reduction advantage to domestic producers bidding in public procurements. The circular said the decision recognizes that preferring home-produced goods and services in public procurements carries great importance for the country's economy. The circular also said that public officials should take into account the factors of saving and competition. /Turkiye/
 TURKEY RECEIVES PEACE AND SPORTS PRIZEThe Monaco-based Peace and Sport organization has awarded Turkey the 2008 Peace and Sport Grand Prix for Image of the Year. Turkey was chosen for the prize for the image of President Abdullah Gul and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian shaking hands prior to a World Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan this September. Turkey will receive its prize on Thursday from Monaco's Prince Albert. /Hurriyet/
 BRITAIN'S WALTER URGES EU COUNTRIES TO GIVE MORE SUPPORT TO TURKEY'S ANTI-TERROR EFFORTSRobert Walter, British rapporteur of the Interparliamentary European Security and Defense Assembly, said yesterday that European Union should fully support Turkey in its fight against terrorism. The assembly is set today to discuss terrorist activities on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Stressing the importance of Turkey's role in the defense of Europe, Walter reiterated that every type of support should be extended to Turkey's anti- terror efforts. The report urged EU countries and members of the Western European Union to take necessary measures against drug trafficking, money laundering, illegal arms trafficking, incitement to violence and hatred, and terrorist recruitment. The report also called for the Iraqi central government and local administration in northern Iraq to crack down on terror groups. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THE CRISIS?BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)
Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on the international financial crisis and ways to overcome it. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The crisis that we're suffering has various dimensions. Let me share with you with a figure I learned yesterday: Over the last two months, electricity consumption in Turkey fell 4.5%. This situation directly reflects our economic slowdown. Energy experts at Sabanci Holding told me that despite the slowdown, energy investments are still attractive. They added that they wouldn't cut back, because investments today would pay off when the economy picks up.
Another official, an owner of a large firm in the retail sector, told me that he has been shedding workers for months, but now he has to apply for the Labor Ministry to do this. I didn't know that employers had to submit written information to the ministry in order to fire more than 10% of its workers in a month. The same businessmen stated that in nearly 200 of his stores targeting women, sales had dropped very little, but sales in stores for men were at a near standstill. Interesting, isn't it?
Britain is expecting crime to rise 9%, and if the economic crisis continues, an additional 2% in 2010. In times of such crisis, public psychology has to be managed well. Markets are stagnating. The government was late in taking certain measures. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that we shouldn't panic, but economic officials failed to give him the full picture. Our call for the value-added tax (VAT) to be cut was widely echoed. On the phone, Turkish Union of Chamber and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu told me that that he fully supported a VAT cut
I also saw Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) head Arzuhan Dogan on TV saying the same thing, that the VAT should be cut. Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren said that they would look at the issue, which shows the government's position. Another government minister I spoke to told me that some people object to the idea, but the VAT should certainly be cut. So this need is felt in many quarters, from TOBB to TUSIAD, small business owners and the Cabinet.
Now let's go back to Hisarciklioglu. He talked about very important indicators and shared critical figures with us. He said the domestic markets need to be revived in order to spur economic and job growth and that cutting the VAT was a very important tool for this. He added that this was a top item in a package of proposals they submitted to Parliament. Hisarciklioglu said that 93% of the revenues of firms in Turkey are related to the domestic market, and thus the main engine of growth in Turkey is domestic consumption. This shows, he said, that cutting the VAT would be a very powerful tool.
Hisarciklioglu added, 'The most important indicator showing that the economy is shrinking is that the increase in VAT receipts between the first 10 months of this year and the same period last year was only 2%. Inflation was 13%. So the domestic market shrunk by 11 points. We have to cut the VAT to revive the domestic market.' This is a concrete suggestion. Please revive the markets and give the people some relief."
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