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Turkish Press Review, 08-12-19

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

19.12.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "THE E-STATE PROJECT WILL OFFER PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES FAST, QUALITY SERVICE"
  • [02] BABACAN TO VISIT KOSOVO AHEAD OF HIS SERBIAN COUNTERPART'S VISIT TO ANKARA
  • [03] ISRAEL'S OLMERT DUE IN ANKARA ON MONDAY
  • [04] IRAQI VP HASHEMI DUE IN TURKEY TOMORROW
  • [05] MHP'S BAHCELI: "I'M ASHAMED OF THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE APOLOGY INITIATIVE"
  • [06] TURKEY TO LAUNCH MAJOR TOURISM PROMOTION CAMPAIGN WORLDWIDE
  • [07] TUSIAD HOLDS RECEPTION IN ANKARA
  • [08] BLOOD IS SILENT
  • [09] STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE ISN'T ENOUGH!

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "THE E-STATE PROJECT WILL OFFER PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES FAST, QUALITY SERVICE"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended a ceremony to inaugurate the E-State project, an Internet portal meant to allow people to carry out official procedures online. Also attending the ceremony were Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and State Ministers Nazim Ekren, Mehmet Aydin and Mehmet Simsek. Speaking at the occasion, Erdogan said that the primary aim of the project, which paves the way for an information society, is minimizing bureaucracy and ensuring that the state offers fast, quality service to people and businesses. "From our first day in power, it's been a priority for this government to transform the bureaucratic structure into one that serves citizens better," he added. Saying that the project will make waiting in line at state agencies a thing of the past, he invited everyone to visit www.turkiye.gov.tr. /Turkiye/

    [02] BABACAN TO VISIT KOSOVO AHEAD OF HIS SERBIAN COUNTERPART'S VISIT TO ANKARA

    Ankara's contacts with the Balkan nations of Kosovo and Serbia will gain new momentum with an upcoming visit to Kosovo by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, to be followed by a visit to Ankara by Babacan's Serbian counterpart. Babacan is planning to pay an official visit to Kosovo in the second half of January, when he is to hold talks with President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci as well as his counterpart, Skender Hyseni. /Today's Zaman/

    [03] ISRAEL'S OLMERT DUE IN ANKARA ON MONDAY

    In a recent telephone call from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert, the two leaders agreed to meet at a working luncheon in Ankara next Monday. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] IRAQI VP HASHEMI DUE IN TURKEY TOMORROW

    In the wake of President Abdullah Gul postponing a trip to Iraq for health reasons, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi is set to visit Turkey tomorrow. The tripartite counter-terrorism mechanism between Turkey, the US and Iraq is expected to be assessed during the gathering. Issues at the meeting will include the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreement between Iraq and the US, strengthening border controls between the two countries, and upcoming elections in Iraq. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is also expected to visit to Turkey soon. /Star/

    [05] MHP'S BAHCELI: "I'M ASHAMED OF THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE APOLOGY INITIATIVE"

    Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday he was ashamed of the scholars who started an initiative to apologize for the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans. Speaking with reporters, Bahceli said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that he wouldn't let Turkey be divided shows that even after his 2005 visit to Diyarbakir, Erdogan sees the plots threatening Turkey. He said the premier's statement also shows his agreement with the MHP's ideas, calling this an "important step." These issues should be solved in Parliament, not on the streets, he added. Bahceli also criticized an initiative by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to welcome members who wear chadors, saying that Baykal should clarify his stance on the issue. /Milliyet/

    [06] TURKEY TO LAUNCH MAJOR TOURISM PROMOTION CAMPAIGN WORLDWIDE

    A massive new tourism promotion campaign in 80 countries starting in January will work to attract more visitors and strengthen Turkey as a global brand, said Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay yesterday. Speaking to reporters, Gunay said the ministry is spending some 100 million YTL on the campaign. Stating that this year has been a good one for Turkey's tourism, Gunay said that 23.9 million tourists visited Turkey over the last 10 months, a 13.5 percent year-on-year increase. This growth was also above world averages, he said. Gunay said tourism revenues reached $14.3 billion in the last eight months, a 20.8 percent year-on-year increase, and that total year revenues will exceed $20 billion. Touching on the global economic crisis, Gunay said work is underway for a support package to help the tourism industry weather the crisis with minimal damage. /Sabah/

    [07] TUSIAD HOLDS RECEPTION IN ANKARA

    Ahead of this year's last meeting of its High Advisory Council (YIK), the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) held a reception in Ankara yesterday hosted by Mustafa Koc, the chairman of Koc Holding. Attending the reception were Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen, Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan, and Energy and Natural Resources and Minister Hilmi Guler. Many at the reception praised the Central Bank's recent 1.25 percent interest cut, calling it an important step to revive the domestic markets and facilitate real sector liquidity. Asked about a government stimulus package, Caglayan said that the package would be announced by year's-end. At the event, Babacan presented TUSIAD's Bosphorus Prize for European Understanding to Italian Senate Vice President Emma Bonino for his contributions to Turkish- EU relations. Babacan praised Bonino's support for Turkey's EU accession bid, underlining the friendship she has shown to Turkey during the negotiation process. For her part, Bonino said Turkey joining the Union will be a dream come true for her. President Abdullah Gül will attend today's YIK meeting as guest of honor. In related news, International Monetary Fund External Relations Director Carloline Atkinson yesterday said talks with Turkey on a possible standby agreement are going well. She said that an IMF delegation would visit Turkey next month to continue talks. /Sabah-Turkiye/

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

    [08] BLOOD IS SILENT

    BY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)

    Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on a campaign to apologize for the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Yesterday we unfortunately neglected a statement by Canan Aritman in which the Republican People's Party (CHP) Izmir deputy linked President Abdullah Gul's statement about the 'apology campaign' concerning Armenians to his mother's ethnicity. This is a clear example of fascism. This mentality, which attributes a person's criticism of unfair treatment to ethnicity alone, also claims that the group the critic feels attached is given a free pass on mistakes. But people espousing all sorts of ideologies live in countries. When one of these people comes to power and makes a mistake, the whole nation can't be held responsible, because the person holding state power monopolizes all sorts of power.

    The deportation of Armenians (during World War I) is something which happened in this land, just like the capital tax, the Thracian incidents, the massacre in Kahramanmaras, etc. To confront these incidents, one doesn't need to be an Alawite, Greek Cypriot, Jewish or communist, but rather a democrat, someone who believes in the rule of law and defends human rights and dignity. A member of a Turkish party which calls itself 'social democrat' and which claims to be promoting reconciliation through welcoming members wearing chadors thus questioned a historical incident through a racist stance. Aritman linked the stance about the Armenians' deportation to having Armenian blood in one's veins.

    Our nation has people of many different ethnicities. We shouldn't judge a person by the ethnicity of their grandparents, but on their humanitarian stance and position on racism. Being a human requires questioning the mass deportation of a group of people. Whether it was right to do this is another question. But it's disgraceful to fail to acknowledge the right to question it, along with a racist stance towards people who respect this right. We can say only one thing to Mrs. Aritman: Blood is silent, but the conscience speaks volumes."

    [09] STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE ISN'T ENOUGH!

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Respected journalist David Ignatius is planning to talk about Turkey in his Washington Post column this Sunday.

    The journalist, at Bahcesehir University this week, said that the column will have important things to tell US elect-President Barack Obama about Turkey.

    According to Ignatius, the US has a lot to learn from Turkey's knowledge and experience. Ankara's recent active role in its region has great importance for the US as a strategic partner. Ignatius' grandfather was from Turkey and he remains interested in our country, and his column could have an impact.

    People are saying that after taking office on January 20, Obama is planning to pay his first foreign visits to Turkey, Egypt, and Qatar, and perhaps also Indonesia.

    The reason for this last choice may be its being a majority-Muslim Asian country with many races and religions. In addition, Obama spent a part of his childhood and went to primary school there.

    Turkey's strategic importance which the columnist wants to stress has been attracting interest not only in the US but also in Europe, thanks to our diplomats' recent regional missions. In line with its global strategy, Washington is placing great importance on Turkey's position and role. US analysts and diplomats believe that, although they have a different vision, Turkey's strategic importance will be on the mind of the Obama administration in its initial planning. They think that as Washington takes new steps in the region, it may need closer cooperation with Turkey…

    Ankara's recent roles in regional issues such as the Arab-Israeli issue, Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus, Afghanistan, energy corridors, East-West dialogue, etc. also seem to getting European attention.

    In Brussels last week, the European Union Council's praise for Ankara's efforts along these lines was significant.

    A number of European leaders have recently made remarks on Turkey's importance in this area for the EU too. In his book, 'Yes to Turkey,' former French Premier Michel Rocard cites Turkey's strategic importance as a chief reason for admitting Turkey to the Union.

    In a recent speech at Istanbul's Galatasaray University, Rocard said that the EU will need Turkey to become a global political power.

    This view was also expressed in a recent report by the International Crisis Group, an EU think-tank.

    However, we have to see that for the EU, the main factor for Turkey's membership is our domestic situation and performance on political reforms in particular, rather than our strategic importance.

    This is the priority for EU officials.

    In other words, Turkey can't make progress on its EU path by stressing its strategic importance and role alone."


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