|Tuesday, 20 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 08-12-24
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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
 ARMENIA'S SARKISIAN SENDS MESSAGE OF THANKS TO GULOn the 20th anniversary of a devastating 1988 earthquake in the city of Spitak, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian yesterday sent a message thanking President Abdullah Gul for Turkey's assistance in the wake of the disaster. In his message, Sarkisian expressed gratitude for the Turkish people's help, saying, "We know that humanitarian actions will always be remembered, and will brighten the world, as well as strengthen good will." /Star/
 CANKAYA PRESIDENTIAL PALACE HOSTS TUBITAK AWARDS CEREMONYThe 2008 Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) Science and Encouragement Awards were handed out to scholars yesterday by President Abdullah Gul at a ceremony held at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Addressing the gathering, Gul said he would continue to back those who make efforts in science, technology, culture and art, adding that they deserve public acclaim. Afterwards, Gul told reporters he was rescheduling to next month a visit to Iraq originally set for this month but postponed due to an ear ailment. /Turkiye/
 GEORGIAN PM MEETS WITH ERDOGANGeorgian Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili yesterday arrived in Ankara to pay an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two discussed bilateral relations and regional and international issues at the Prime Ministry, followed by a joint press conference. Asked who would run for Ankara Greater Municipality mayor next year under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) banner, amid reports of friction with the current AKP mayor, Erdogan said that Ankara, as the capital, is very important for the party. "We've been evaluating candidates, and if we get the poll results by this weekend, we'll declare our candidate for Ankara mayor," he added. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN, MALIKI TO DISCUSS PLAN TO ELIMINATE TERRORIST PKK BASES IN N.IRAQIraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is set to arrive in Ankara today to pay an official visit. Commenting on the visit, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would discuss with his Iraqi counterpart eliminating terrorist PKK bases in northern Iraq. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani recently proposed a plan for the gradual elimination of the terrorist PKK camps in the region. Erdogan said that they would discuss the details of this plan, adding that he hoped Turkey and Iraq would work to get rid of the terrorist group as quickly as possible. President Abdullah Gul will also pay an official visit to Iraq next month and meet with Talabani to discuss this issue. In related news, the regional assembly in Kirkuk, Iraq has declared Turkmen one of the province's official languages, in addition to Arabic and Kurdish. A signboard in all three languages marking the Kirkuk Governor's Office was officially unveiled yesterday. /Sabah/
 SUPREME BOARD OF ELECTIONS POINTS TO NEW VOTERS FOR INCREASE IN VOTERSThe Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) said yesterday that a number of municipalities which had been dissolved due to insufficient populations can take part in local elections next March. Also on allegations concerning 6 million new voter registrations, the YSK said that the increase was partially attributable to the registration of some 2 million new eligible voters, adding that the official voter rolls will be republished and opened for revision. /Cumhuriyet/
 LT. KUBILAY COMMEMORATEDThe 78th anniversary of the assassination of Lt. Mustafa Fehmi Kubilay and two other guards by religious extremists in 1930 was commemorated yesterday with an official ceremony at the Kubilay Monument in Menemen, Izmir. In a message marking the anniversary, President Abdullah Gul said the strong will of the Turkish nation to protect its homeland had made the country's current achievements possible. In a separate message, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan said that it is everyone's duty to keep alive the names of those who sacrificed their lives for the republic. /Sabah/
 BUCKING GLOBAL CRISIS, TURKISH AIR CARRIERS POST GAINSThe number of airline passengers in Turkey reached 66 million this January- October, a 6.3 percent year-on-year increase, state airport authority DHMI announced yesterday. Nearly 7 million people traveled by air in October, an 8.2 percent year-on-year increase. The total number of flights in January- October rose 7.4 percent over the same period last year. Since the beginning of 2008, Istanbul Ataturk Airport saw 20.1 million passengers, followed by Antalya Airport with 17.7 million. Izmir's Adnan Menderes Airport had the third-largest number of travelers, welcoming 4.7 million, while Esenboga Airport in Ankara saw 4.6 million passengers in the same period. In the face of the global financial crisis, airlines in Turkey have mounted campaigns offering discounted airfares, helping to produce gains despite the crisis. /Today's Zaman/
 UNDER JULY COURT RULING, AKP TO RETURN HALF OF ITS TREASURY AID TO FINANCE MINISTRYUnder the terms of a July Constitutional Court decision, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is set to pay back about 22 million YTL to the Finance Ministry within one month. Rejecting calls to close the AKP for alleged anti-secularism, the top court had instead sliced in half the Treasury aid the AKP received this year as a warning to the party. The AKP had been slated to receive about 45 million YTL from the Treasury from funds for parties that pass the 10% election threshold. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 THE KURDISH REPORTBY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)
Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on the Kurdish issue and a new Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) report. A summary of his column is as follows:
"After the announcement of a US timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, efforts to eradicate terrorism in the region have accelerated. Washington is to withdraw most of its soldiers from northern Iraq. Iraq was unable to find peace under occupation. Northern Iraq is now the calmest region, but there's also tension with Turkey due to the terrorist PKK. If Iraq is to find stability, this tension should be eliminated. So both the central government and the northern Iraq administration are looking to solve the PKK issue before the US leaves, and Washington seems to want the same. Recent statements by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani show that the pressure on the PKK to lay down its weapons will increase. These are all positive developments.
The PKK, unable to find a headquarters and logistical support in Iraq, is likely to be facing tough times and could choose to give up violence. But we should also accept that quite apart from the PKK, we still have a Kurdish issue. Kurds in Turkey's southeast are looking for solutions to their problems. Their needs are too pressing to be solved by new state broadcasts in Kurdish alone. On the other hand, some of their problems could be solved without too much trouble.
The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) recently published a report called 'A Roadmap for Solving the Kurdish Question' based of the views of various experts, opinion leaders and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) thought to represent our citizens of Kurdish origin. The opinion leaders of the region believe that the government has to gauge the views of all sectors of region before taking steps there. Just like all other sectors in Turkey, they want a new constitution, but in light of current political conditions, this seems unlikely.
Especially in the runup to local elections next March, chances for a new constitution seem dim. Right now there is also a press to change the election rules, including halving the election representation threshold to 5 percent. The report also includes views about the PKK laying down its arms. Some favor a law on disarming that doesn't mention the word 'penitence,' establishing an amnesty, and providing militants with rehabilitation. In addition, there are requests to allow the wide usage of the Kurdish language in the region.
The political leadership might not be able to meet or accept all of these requests. What's important is to keep dialogue with the region open and not to miss the opportunity to benefit from the atmosphere of peace which was encouraged by international conditions. It's important for the Iraqi administration to stand with Turkey against terrorism, but it's also important for Turkey to see that southeastern Anatolian doesn't just mean the terrorism issue and that it should be determined to take proper steps there."
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