|Saturday, 15 December 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-01-02
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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
 GUL: "DESPITE DIFFICULTIES, TURKEY IS MOVING FORWARD"Speaking to Sabah daily yesterday, President Abdullah Gul said that he hoped Turkey would carry out comprehensive constitutional changes this year which meet the expectations of all sectors of Turkish society. Stating that there is a consensus on the need for such change, Gul said it is important that this is done though a common sense, participatory method that avoids political squabbling. Asked about claims that 2008 was a "lost year" for Turkey due to domestic issues, Gul said, "We saw some difficulties during the year, but if we look at the picture as a whole, I can say Turkey is moving forward and gaining strength. Turkey emerged from those difficulties by getting stronger." On the economic impact of the global financial crisis, Gul said Turkey was not caught unprepared by the crisis, urging everyone to continue to work together to counter the crisis and avoid a panic. Gul also said that he has a good working relationship with the government and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in harmony, dismissing claims to the contrary. /Sabah/
 PM ERDOGAN VISITS EGYPTPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday paid a one-day visit to Sharm- El Sheikh, where he met with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Afterwards, Erdogan told a press conference that they had had a very fruitful meeting and that Turkey had suggested a two-stage plan to end the tension on the Gaza Strip. Erdogan said that the first stage of the plan is to launch an initiative for the immediate declaration of a cease-fire, and that the second is to reach a quick consensus between Palestinian groups. Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to cooperate with Egypt in bringing the Palestinian issue to the UN. Asked how developments in the region would affect Turkish-Israeli relations, Erdogan said, "Intergovernmental relations should never involve emotions. They should involve knowledge, wisdom and experience. However, injustice should never be permitted either. If there is cruelty, we cannot support that. We would try to solve it through talks." /Milliyet/
 TRT'S NEW KURDISH CHANNEL SIGNS ON WITH MESSAGES FROM GUL, ERDOGANTRT 6, the first Kurdish channel of the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), yesterday officially started full broadcasts with a ceremony held at TRT's Ari Studio in Ankara. The new channel signed on with inaugural messages from President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In his message, President Gul said that he hoped the new channel's broadcasts would strengthen the unity and solidarity of the Turkish nation, characterizing Kurdish as a cultural richness of the Turkish people. Gul said that he appreciated TRT's broadcasting in the various languages and dialects used in Turkey. Stating that everyone should protect Turkey's atmosphere of solidarity, unity and fellowship, he said that everyone living in Turkey, as owners and proud, equal citizens of the country, can express their own culture and differences peacefully. In his message, Erdogan called the new channel a landmark development. "This is a step that will strengthen our unity and integrity and deepen our democracy, " he said. "All our citizens have equal rights and freedoms. Democracy is a wide circle in which all people have the right and opportunity to express themselves." He added, "People might have different ethnic origins, beliefs or lifestyles, but we have very strong common values uniting us. Citizenship in the Turkish Republic rises above all differences. There is no need to fear our differences. Seeing and living these differences as our richness will not drive us away from each other, but on the contrary, will bring us closer." Gul and Erdogan's messages were broadcast with Kurdish dubbing and Turkish subtitles. Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said in recent years Turkey has seen remarkable improvements in fundamental rights and freedoms and significant steps towards the formation of a more democratic society. /Sabah/
 ANKARA MAYOR GOKCEK SET TO RUN AGAIN UNDER AKP BANNERTurkey's mayors should produce services and develop their cities, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters, he announced that Ankara Greater Municipality Mayor Melih Gokcek has been nominated for another term for local elections this March. "We urge those who are well-educated, honest and experienced to take up their tasks. Candidates should produce projects to improve their regions," he added. Erdogan also announced that Gaziantep's Asim Guzelbey and Erzurum's Ahmet Kucukler have been re- nominated as AKP mayoral candidates. Erdogan urged all the candidates to maintain their ties with the public. /Star/
 TURKEY BEGINS NON-PERMANENT UNSC MEMBERSHIPTurkey's non-permanent membership on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) started yesterday. Turkey will be represented by its UN Ambassador Baki Ilkin at the first meeting of the year, set for next Monday. Turkey won the non-permanent UNSC seat in a vote last October. /Milliyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 RESPONSIBILITYBY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)
Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the violence in the Middle East and Turkey's reasonability in this. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The United Nations Security Council convened in the waning hours of 2008 to discuss a resolution on Israel's attacks in the Gaza Strip which was prepared by Libya on behalf of the Arab League. But it never even came to a vote, as the US and Britain blocked it. The Security Council will discuss the Gaza tragedy again in the coming days, but with a changed structure. Turkey's two-year temporary membership officially began yesterday.
The foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Syria and Palestine and Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa will meet with Security Council members, including Turkey's EU Ambassador Baki Ilkin, in New York at a new meeting, as yet unscheduled. This means that results of the contacts held by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Ministry advisor Ahmet Davutoglu in the region will be evaluated at a broader platform in New York and may become a wider initiative which might yield results at the Security Council. (We also believe that Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will be present in New York in order not to miss this opportunity to lay out Ankara's stance to Arab countries).
As certain actors became mere onlookers to Gaza, Turkey's role and responsibility in this tragedy has increased. Let's accept to a certain extent that the West has contended itself with calls for a ceasefire which will come to nothing due to the West's support for Israel. But what about Arab leaders' passivity and silence? They're so silent that hundreds of people, mostly in Egypt and other Arab countries, went to the streets, fearing their countries are collaborators with Israel.
This isn't unfair, either, because there's a lot of speculation in diplomatic circles particularly about Egypt, which is the official mediator between Israel and Hamas. For example, some said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's administration gave a green light to Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who visited Cairo only two days before the attacks, telling her that it can punish Hamas but shouldn't hurt civilians.
This may be just a rumor, but there are other indicators which point to Egypt. For example, when the Gaza Strip was filled with bombs and death, it refused to open the Refah border gate, despite numerous calls for humanitarian aid. It acts more severely than even Israel on this issue. It applies Israel's blockade more strictly than the Israelis. For example, ambulances and emergency aid sent by Turkey were delivered to Gaza through Israel.
The same holds for three airplanes of medicine, medical equipment and food sent by Qatar. Egypt stated that it kept the border gate on the Gaza strip closed for just one reason: not to strengthen Hamas! But dozens of people die every day in hospitals due to the embargo, because they can't get treatment, and ambulances can't move due to gas shortages. Fully 75% of children in Gaza are malnourished, because food can't be brought there. According to the UN, 1.1 million of Gaza's 1.5 million people depend on food aid. And Arab countries avoid fulfilling their promises about donations to Palestine made at international meetings. Egypt also says that it won't open the Refah gate until Fatah takes control of Gaza. And Arab countries stay silent, just like in 2006 when Israel caused so many deaths in places in Lebanon controlled by Hezbollah, because Hamas and Hezbollah are considered threats.
Attacks against those threats are almost applauded at the cost of mass deaths. This desperate picture increases Ankara's responsibility in Gaza, the Middle East and the Security Council. Turkey can fulfill this responsibility by carrying the oppressed people's voices to the Security Council."
 HOW DID 2009 BEGIN?BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)
Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the world at the beginning of the new year. A summary of his column is as follows:
"The most important global issue last year was of course the international economic crisis. It came from the US and badly affected all continents and all other states.
Although it was a domestic development in the US, Barack Obama's election as US president was closely followed worldwide. He will take office on Jan. 20 and become the most prestigious man in the world.
2009 has begun with a war launched by Israel to eliminate Hamas.
To stop Israel's attacks, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a Mideast tour including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and finally Egypt. Arabs aren't as interested in Palestinians as Turkey is. Is this because the Turkish Ottomans ruled Palestine longer than the Arabs did?
I don't think that Israel can eliminate Hamas, because it has the full backing of Iran. Hamas was established by Iran, which didn't like Fatah. A state like Turkey couldn't destroy the terrorist PKK, and the US couldn't destroy al-Qaeda. Israel can only defeat Hamas if it loses its Iranian support. In my opinion, Israel tried to prevent Palestinians from voting for Hamas.
In a nutshell, 2009 began with a financial crisis and Mideast war which disturbed the world's 6.5 billion people. But these negative developments are mere bumps compared with World War II, which was humanity's attempt at nothing less than suicide. This is how historians see it. Another suicide attempt isn't possible, because it wouldn't fail a second time. But through small and medium wars, borders may change, and states could rise and fall."
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