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Turkish Press Review, 09-01-19

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

19.01.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL VISITS EGYPT FOR SUMMIT ON GAZA
  • [02] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TOPTAN: "ISRAEL NEEDLESSLY HARMED CIVILIANS"
  • [03] IN BRUSSELS, ERDOGAN TO REITERATE TURKEY'S EU DETERMINATION
  • [04] GOVT PLANS $350 MLN ASSISTANCE TO EXPORTERS THIS YEAR
  • [05] ALL OF US LOST IN GAZA
  • [06] RACISM IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM

  • [01] GUL VISITS EGYPT FOR SUMMIT ON GAZA

    President Abdullah Gul, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, yesterday paid a one-day visit to Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt, where he attended a summit on Gaza. Other leaders at the summit included Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, Jordan's King Abdullah, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Czech Republic Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek. Afterwards, Gul told a joint press conference that a consensus government should be set up in Palestine under the leadership of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to help promote a permanent solution in the region. In related news, Gul is set to visit Saudi Arabia next month at the invitation of King Abdullah bin Abdalaziz al Saud. Gul's itinerary, including Riyadh and Jeddah, will reportedly be intense. /Cumhuriyet-Aksam/

    [02] PARLIAMENT SPEAKER TOPTAN: "ISRAEL NEEDLESSLY HARMED CIVILIANS"

    Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan over the weekend visited Izmir Governor Cahit Kirac and Greater Municipality Mayor Aziz Kocaoglu. Asked about recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, which halted yesterday under a cease-fire declaration, Toptan said, "If an action is being conducted in the name of fighting terrorism, it can easily be done without harming civilians. The clearest examples of this are the operations conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in northern Iraq. The TSK has conducted many air and land operations and has yet to take any action against civilians." /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] IN BRUSSELS, ERDOGAN TO REITERATE TURKEY'S EU DETERMINATION

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to Brussels over the weekend at the invitation of European Union Commission head Jose Manuel Barosso, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and newly appointed chief EU talks negotiator Egemen Bagis. Erdogan is scheduled to hold separate meetings there with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and European Parliament Chairman Hans-Gert Poettering. On the sidelines of his visit, Erdogan will attend a conference held by the Friends of Europe think-thank and visit the Istanbul Center, a communications and cultural platform for the city's communications with EU organizations, corporations, and the European public. Erdogan reportedly will again reject claims that Turkey's EU accession process has slowed down, and stress Turkey's determination in its EU bid. Erdogan will also speak about what Turkey is doing in line with its national program for EU membership reforms. Speaking at a meeting in Hasselt yesterday, Erdogan lambasted Israel's attacks in Gaza. Reiterating that Israel has ignored UN resolutions, he added, "There are no sanctions against Israel, and that is a double standards." Touching on the ongoing Ergenekon probe, Erdogan stated that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) never has tired of fighting dark forces, and that they will always act within the rule of law. Reiterating the party's opposition to ethnic and regional nationalism, he added, "We will continue to embrace everyone, whatever their religion or ethnicity." /Star-Aksam/

    [04] GOVT PLANS $350 MLN ASSISTANCE TO EXPORTERS THIS YEAR

    State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursat Tuzmen said yesterday that the government would provide $350 million in government assistance to exporters this year. Stating that 2009 will be a tough year for exporters due to falling global demand and shrinking markets caused by the economic crisis, Tuzmen expressed his belief that Turkish exporters would overcome these difficulties to continue their upward trend of recent years. He said that nearly one-fifth of the assistance would be allocated for the research and development, adding that new assistance packages would be gradually announced later this year in addition to other government grants for exporters. Stressing that he is frequently meeting with exporters to learn about their problems, Tuzmen also said that he would pay an official visit to Egypt tomorrow with a large delegation of businesspeople, followed by a visit to Iran. In related news, Capital Markets Board (SPK) head Turan Erol said yesterday that the board would make an additional TL 500 million available for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a new arrangement on investment funds. /Turkiye/

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

    [05] ALL OF US LOST IN GAZA

    BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Israel's attacks in Gaza. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "After announcing a unilateral ceasefire, the Israeli government declared victory.

    Is concluding a war which left so many children dead really a victory?

    Due to its policy of violence since Lebanon, Israel has lost a second time.

    Hamas is also declaring victory. It is boasting that with the pressure of the international community, it got Israel to declare a ceasefire.

    Those who declared Hamas a terrorist group may have to sit with it at the negotiating table in the near future.

    But can this legitimacy won through hundreds of lives really last?

    Both Hamas and its leaders, who gave instructions from safe rooms in Damascus while their people were suffering, have lost.

    And Fatah? Mahmoud Abbas' term in office already ended last week. Their internal struggle for power will surely be conducted over Gaza.

    The Arab world is also among the losers. The league couldn't come together to take a stance, and is in a mess.

    Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa, the league's secretary-general, said of a recent economic summit that they have to support the league, or Arab power will disappear.

    What about the United Nations?

    I don't remember it ever suffering such a grievous defeat. The immunity of UN resolutions was smashed to smithereens. Israel didn't take it seriously at all, and moreover, faced no sanctions.

    This came on the heels of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq, which already weakened UN authority.

    The European Union, which wasn't even part of the developments, along with Muslim groups and international aid organizations, shared in the defeat through their impotence.

    Turkey, which has begun to exert influence in the region through its mediation between Israel and Syria, now finds itself in a position as the voice of Hamas leaders in Damascus. And this role's public reflection is rising anti-Semitism. The Gaza issue has pulled Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to a position which was never foreseen or expected.

    But peace, human rights and the authority of international law were dealt the severest blow.

    So how will the 21st century heal the wounds of this defeat? By doing the usual: learning lessons from these mistakes."

    [06] RACISM IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM

    BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on racism and the January 2007 murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist and writer Hrant Dink. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Today is the second anniversary of the murder of Hrant Dink. Many factors played a role in his slaying, but the Ergenekon probe or other investigations of the 'deep state' shouldn't make us forget that this murder was basically a racist one. Dink was killed because he was Armenian and also a person on the forefront who went outside the customary psychology of minorities. That's why we shouldn't forget racism and racists in our fight against all sorts of 'deep state' or criminal groups.

    Racism is again on the rise now. He's not aware of this, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also contributes to this racism. What's more, he's doing this by saying that we don't favor anti-Semitism. For example, he said that the people who died in Gaza were killed because they were Muslim. Let's question this point of view a little. Were the children from Gaza exposed to Israeli bombs and bullets just because they were from Gaza? You may be asking what's the difference, because Muslims live in Gaza. Actually, there's a huge difference.

    If these children were killed not because they were unlucky enough to born in Gaza, but because they have Muslim parents, we're saying that those who killed them committed these murders for religious reasons, that is, to get rid of members of the Islamic religion, aren't we? So aren't we saying that this war isn't a classical war, but a 'war of hatred'? That's what Erdogan is saying without thinking about it so much, that is, he means that members of his religion are being killed by people who hate their faith.

    If you bring the issue of religion into this and point to it as the reason for these murders, you open a door that you shouldn't. What's more, if you're doing this as a person who is against the idea of the 'conflict of civilizations' and wants to end this mentality, it means you're quite confused. I don't think this is what Erdogan wants or that he's trying to incite anti-Semitism. But you see that Erdogan's innocent words actually incite racism.

    Actually, as there's no real sensitivity about racism in Turkey and most of us, if we act like racists, don't face the slightest criticism, we don't even realize who we've hurt or offended in our speech or writings.

    When a child was being sought to kill Dink, the prospective murderers were told that they would kill an Armenian. In other words, they were supposed to kill not a human, but an Armenian. Since this murder which shook us two years ago, you can see that we haven't still come to our senses. We may not be aware of this, but racism is the greatest problem."


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