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Turkish Press Review, 09-01-16

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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

16.01.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES MEMBERS OF INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON TURKEY
  • [02] PM ERDOGAN: "TURKEY'S REACTION AGAINST ISRAEL'S ATTACKS REFLECTS ITS HUMANITARIAN SENSITIVITY"
  • [03] ERDOGAN TO DISCUSS TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION IN BRUSSELS
  • [04] BABACAN: "AS LONG AS SOME COUNTRIES TOLERATE IT, ISRAEL'S ATTACK ON GAZA SEEM SET TO CONTINUE"
  • [05] UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN DUE IN TURKEY
  • [06] GOVT TO ANNOUNCE NEW MEASURES TO FIGHT ECONOMIC CRISIS
  • [07] ISRAELI-HAMAS DANCE IN A BLOODBATH
  • [08] NOTES ON ERGENEKON

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES MEMBERS OF INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON TURKEY

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received members of the Independent Commission on Turkey, a group of senior European policymakers currently preparing a report on Turkey's European Union membership bid. Chaired by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, the commission also includes former German State of Saxony Prime Minister Kurt Biedenkopf, Italy's former European Minister Emma Bonino, former Dutch Foreign Minister Hans Vanden Broek, former London School of Economics Dean Anthony Giddens, former Spanish Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja Aguirre, former French Prime Minister Michel Rocard and former Austrian Foreign Undersecretary Albert Rohan. Turkey's newly appointed State Minister and chief EU talks negotiator Egemen Bagis also attended the luncheon, where Turkey's EU bid and reform process were discussed. /Milliyet/

    [02] PM ERDOGAN: "TURKEY'S REACTION AGAINST ISRAEL'S ATTACKS REFLECTS ITS HUMANITARIAN SENSITIVITY"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nebih Berri, who was in Turkey to attend a meeting of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (PUOICM) Executive Board convened to discuss the human tragedy in Gaza in the face of Israeli attacks. Erdogan's meeting with Berri focused on the situation in Gaza. During the meeting, the premier said that Turkey's strong reaction against the Israeli air and ground attacks on Gaza reflects its humanitarian sensitivity, adding that Turkey has shown similar sensitivity towards, for instance, the humanitarian crises in Georgia and Sudan. Stressing that Israel is continuing to devastate Gaza despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire, Erdogan said Israel airstrikes recently targeted a UN building where hundreds of civilians had taken shelter and a Palestinian Red Crescent hospital providing treatment for hundreds of wounded. "As a nation which faced a similar humanitarian tragedy due to Israeli attacks in 2006, I'm sure the Lebanese people now deeply feel Gaza people's sorrow," he added. Briefing Berri on Turkey's peace efforts, Erdogan said that a privately led Turkish delegation is continuing talks in Cairo with an eye towards reaching a cease-fire as soon as possible. For his part, Berri said Lebanon welcomes Turkey's peace efforts. He thanked Turkey for its 2006 assistance to Lebanon, and for its diplomatic initiatives to end the tragedy in Gaza. In related news, Foreign Ministry officials yesterday expressed Turkey's deep concern over the escalating violence and Israel's latest attacks in Gaza. They said Turkey had noted with great concern Israeli attacks on offices of international organizations and media representatives. While Israel's offensive on Gaza went into its 21st day today, the death toll there topped 1,100, including 355 children, with at least 5,130 people wounded, 400 of them in serious condition. /Turkiye/

    [03] ERDOGAN TO DISCUSS TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION IN BRUSSELS

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to go Brussels on Sunday to discuss Turkey's European Union accession process. His trip, at the invitation of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, will be Erdogan's first visit to Brussels since 1994. Erdogan, who is expected to stay in Brussels until Tuesday, will likely also meet with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering, and other officials from the European Parliament. In addition to Turkey's EU accession process, they will discuss regional and international issues. /Today's Zaman/

    [04] BABACAN: "AS LONG AS SOME COUNTRIES TOLERATE IT, ISRAEL'S ATTACK ON GAZA SEEM SET TO CONTINUE"

    Israel seems set to continue its attacks in Gaza as long as some countries tolerate this situation, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday, on a two-day official visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Speaking to reporters yesterday, Babacan urged the international community as a whole to work to end Israel's attacks. Underlining the importance of a UN resolution for a cease-fire to bring peace between the two sides, he criticized Israel for using weapons indiscriminately during its operation. /Aksam/

    [05] UN SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN DUE IN TURKEY

    Amid Israel's continuing attack in Gaza, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to visit Turkey today as part of his Middle East tour. Ban will meet separately with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss recent developments in Middle East. /Star/

    [06] GOVT TO ANNOUNCE NEW MEASURES TO FIGHT ECONOMIC CRISIS

    The government will announce a new package of measures to help reduce the impact of the global economic crisis, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan said yesterday. Among the new measures, Unakitan said, are "unemployment aid," or deliveries of cash to private-sector companies if they keep their workers instead of dismissing them amid the economic downturn. "We will give money to companies instead of encouraging employment by indirect measures, such as a reduction in social security insurance premiums," he said, adding that the funds will be outright grants, not loans. He said specific help will also be announced to support the automotive industry, the engine of Turkey's manufacturing industry, which has been hit by falling foreign demand due to the crisis. Unakitan declined to say more about the new package, but said details would be forthcoming later this month. /Sabah/

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

    [07] ISRAELI-HAMAS DANCE IN A BLOODBATH

    BY CENGIZ CANDAR (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Cengiz Candar comments on the conflict between Israel and Gaza and Turkey's role in this. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "I met with former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, the winner of last year's Nobel Peace Prize, this week. He said the first thing needed in Gaza is a cease-fire, and he praised Turkey's role in mediating between Hamas and Egypt as positive. Ahtisaari said that since Hamas is generally shunned, our meetings with Hamas are useful in helping to reach a cease-fire as soon as possible.

    Ahtiraari, an eminent international political figure, was supposed to be in Ankara yesterday to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Though Erdogan would be pleased with his view of Turkey's role, this coincides with Israel's attacks reaching a new violent crescendo, starting to hit the Gaza city center with artillery and Israeli tanks entering parts of the city. Israeli gunfire also hit a hospital where 500 people were taking shelter and offices of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). After UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon lashed out at Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak joined into a meeting in Tel Aviv between Ban and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, apologizing to Ban and promising that such attacks wouldn't happen again.

    But what's done is done. Since the beginning of Israeli attacks in Gaza, the death toll has exceeded 1,000. As a proportion of Turkey's population, this would mean deaths of more than 50,000 over three weeks, one-third of them women and children. Gaza looks like a terrible earthquake hit it. So when will this violence and blood bath end? Considering how Israel initiated its most violent attack against Gaza yesterday and even the UN secretary-general lost his temper, a cease-fire may be close at hand. Generally, the most violent moments of a war occur just before a cease-fire or peace talks. For example, Israel stepped up its attacks in south Lebanon in the summer of 2006 just before a cease-fire.

    There will be cease-fire in Gaza soon, one based on the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 1816. Parallels will be probably be drawn between the Gaza cease-fire and UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 34-day war in Lebanon. This can seen in the Israeli press. Haaretz daily, which has tended to favor a cease-fire, reported yesterday that the first important signs of the breaking of Hamas emerged on Wednesday, after 19 days of conflict and a death toll of more than 1,000, and that Hamas representatives meeting in Egypt stated that they had accepted Egypt's proposal of cease-fire in principle. The paper also reported that Egypt's proposal was actually bad for Hamas, because it doesn't allow Hamas to declare a political victory to the Palestinian public, that the bloodshed was worth it.

    Hamas leaders haven't officially declared that they accepted Egypt's proposal. But Egypt's proposal is the only initiative now. Turkey has been mediating for Hamas in Egypt. As circles near Hamas stated yesterday that Turkey's position was close to Egypt, we believe Hamas could bargain for some more time on the details to save face and then accept Egypt's proposal, leading to a cease-fire within a couple of days.

    What will we see after Israel ends its Gaza attacks? Firstly, we'll see a ruined Gaza in which over 1,000 people have died. The trauma of this war will continue for a long time. Obviously, Gaza's hatred of Israel will be deeper and more violent. So will Fatah, led by Mahmoud Abbas, or the Palestinian administration benefit from this? They are among the victims of Israel in the Gaza war. They had been ahead of Hamas in opinion polls, but now many see them as collaborators with Israel, so Hamas' loss doesn't necessarily mean Fatah's gain. There are even signs that Israel, which doesn't want to reach a consensus or make concessions in the Middle East, cynically preferred Hamas over the Palestinian administration and initiated this war with this in mind. Will the deep fissure between Fatah and Hamas grow in the days to come, or will the wounds be healed? We don't know, but clearly the ruin in Gaza will also expose the ruin of Palestinian politics. Unfortunately, Palestine's suffering will continue. We'll know more about exactly how long after Barack Obama moves into the White House."

    [08] NOTES ON ERGENEKON

    BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the ongoing Ergenekon probe. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Excavations in Ankara have found buried ammunition and weapons. These excavations were guided by maps found during searches of certain suspects' houses, offices and computers.

    Sabih Kanadoglu, whose political views are clear, isn't criticizing these excavations, but rather complains they were delayed: 'The 1996 Susurluk scandal is at the head of these developments. During our investigation of Susurluk, we only saw the tip of the iceberg.' He criticized politicians from that time for blocking the investigation.

    What is the Istanbul Bar saying about the excavations? It says wonderful things: 'Nobody saw the arms when they were buried there, then why now 70 million are watching their excavations? It's mysterious!'

    Yes, this is what they said.

    Yet the people who put them there 'secretly' had to hide! Then, during searches under the probe, clues were found in the seized maps, followed by authorized excavations covered by the entire media. These developments made headlines both in Turkey and the world.

    In criticizing the Ergenekon probe, common sense shouldn't be lost…

    In order to carry out the probe well, two extreme points should be avoided: One of these completely wrong stances is to judge all the names just mentioned in the allegations or their political bedfellows as guilty beforehand.

    A very simple example: A person may speak in favor of a military intervention; this is awful in politics, but not a legal crime! Similarity of political views isn't enough to prove a relation with Ergenekon. Serious evidence is needed to show an organizational connection: regular meetings, common decisions, a hierarchal structure, etc.

    If not, searching their houses, or detaining and giving the public the impression they are involved in Ergenekon is wrong. Such activities don't strengthen the probe; on the contrary, they strengthen those who want to stymie the probe, and violate human rights as well.

    The other wrong stance is to criticize the probe by calling it completely wrong.

    To weaken the probe, certain people out of touch with reality are saying of the uncovered ammunition, 'They're using Susurluk arms to legitimize the Ergenekon probe.'

    The ammunition wasn't a problem if it wasn't unearthed! Unearthing it through the Ergenekon probe is the problem!

    If the probe hasn't been carried out, would it have been unearthed?

    Was it buried to make it decay?!

    Or was it hidden in order to use later when necessary?

    Certain circles say that the Susurluk investigation was blocked by politicians and bureaucrats!

    Today there is no such obstruction; let the judiciary go ahead…

    People with common sense are needed both to support the probe and urge the prosecutor and police to act temperately."


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