|Sunday, 18 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-01-20
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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: "THE US MUST MAKE THE MIDEAST A PRIORITY"Saying that active US engagement is needed to reach a settlement, President Abdullah Gul on Sunday urged Barack Obama, who is set to be inaugurated as US president today, to make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a priority. "The Obama administration should include this issue among its priorities," Gul told reporters after returning from an international summit on Gaza in Egypt. "A long-term solution to this problem can be secured through the fair and determined engagement of the US," he added. "Everybody knows and expects this." /Hurriyet Daily News/
 PM ERDOGAN HOLDS TALKS IN BRUSSELSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met in Brussels with European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, and later shared a luncheon with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. Erdogan also met with European Parliament Chairman Hans-Gert Poettering. Speaking at a conference held by the Friends of Europe think-thank, Erdogan reiterated Turkey's determination in its EU bid. Dismissing claims that Turkey's EU accession process has slowed down, he said in its last legislative term alone Parliament passed over 30 laws for EU harmonization. Reiterating that the interests of Turkey and the West are common, he said, "Turkey won't bring additional burdens to the EU but will in fact lighten its load." Touching on his meeting with Barroso, Erdogan stated that they discussed how they can accelerate Turkey's EU process and stressed that the common aim is Turkey's full EU membership. He said that Barroso spoke well of the appointment of Egemen Bagis as chief European Union talks negotiator as well as the new TRT 6, state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation's (TRT) first Kurdish-language TV station. Touching on the situation in Cyprus, he stated, "The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) supported the UN plan to reunite the island, but it was never implemented due to opposition from other members and Greek Cyprus, which joined the EU a few days after the Greek Cypriots rejected the same UN plan in April 2004 in a simultaneous referendum." /Star/
 IN BRUSSELS, ERDOGAN REITERATES COMMITMENT FOR TURKEY'S EU BIDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended a conference on Turkish-European Union relations at the European Policy Center in Brussels as a guest of EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. At the conference, Erdogan devoted most of his speech to developments in Gaza. Erdogan said that Hamas came to power in Palestine through elections and asked all parties to respect this outcome, warning that failing to do so would hurt democracy. "The elections were not held to please (then Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas," he said. Erdogan also reiterated Turkey's commitment to its EU reform process, saying that this year will see a leap forward in Turkish-EU relations. He added, "The opposition in Turkey is completely against the EU, and for this reason they always stall us." Touching on relations with Iran, he said that Ankara has neighborly and strategic ties with Tehran and that it is out of the question to break these off. /Milliyet/
 DAVUTOGLU: "TURKEY HAD A KEY ROLE IN REACHING GAZA CEASE-FIRE"Turkey played a key role in reaching the recent bilateral cease-fire in Gaza, especially in convincing Hamas, said Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, yesterday. "If a bilateral cease-fire was reached, Turkey helped make this possible," he added. Stressing that Turkey was the only country trusted by both Israel and Hamas, Davutoglu said, "If the cease-fire had been a unilateral one, the Egyptian summit would have been just a meeting with no results. Turkey's understanding of the problem and its ability to talk with all sides made it possible to establish a bilateral cease-fire." /Turkiye/
 GEN. BASBUG MEETS SACEUR GEN. CRADDOCKSupreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Gen. John Craddock yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug in Ankara. Issues concerning NATO and Turkish and US military forces were discussed during the meeting.
 HRANT DINK REMEMBEREDProminent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot to death two years ago, was remembered yesterday. Holding banners and chanting slogans, some 2,000 people gathered in Istanbul's Sisli district in front of the offices of weekly Agos, where Dink was editor-in-chief. He was also commemorated through ceremonies in Malatya, Antalya, Diyarbakir, Izmir and Mersin. /Hurriyet/
 GOVT TO ANNOUNCE NEW INCENTIVES FOR REAL SECTORSpeaking at a meeting of the Economic Coordination Board (EKK) yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren said that the government has introduced incentives to boost productivity to help the real sector weather the global economic crisis, and stressed the importance of preserving Turkey's macroeconomic, fiscal and political stability for this. Saying the government has doubled its loans to exporters and the Central Bank infused $2.5 billion of additional liquidity into the banking system, Ekren said the government would continue to take all necessary measures in the short, medium and long term against the crisis in close cooperation with the real sector. Ekren also said that the problems caused by falling world demand due to the crisis had been long predicted and that necessary measures had been taken to deal with this. The government will soon announce a new incentive package for sectors such as tourism, construction, agriculture and industry, he added. Also speaking at the meeting, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that as the economy is going through an extraordinary time, extraordinary measures are needed. Stressing that Turkey won't be unaffected by the crisis, Hisarciklioglu said the domestic market should be revived and the government should act to help the real sector. "We're ready to take risks if necessary to help the government's efforts to ease the impact of the crisis on Turkey," he said. /Turkiye/
 SOLE BID FOR PLANNED NUCLEAR POWER FOUND HIGHMinutes after its bid of 21.16 cents for one-kilowatt per hour (KWH) for electricity generated at a planned nuclear power plant to be constructed in Mersin Akkuyu was announced, a consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport submitted a new bid which has yet to be disclosed. According to experts, the world average of the cost of one-kwh electricity produced at nuclear plants is in the range of 10-15 cents. "The company has conveyed to us a revised price which they said was linked to world economic developments," Energy Minister Hilmi Guler told a press conference, adding that the new bid had not been opened. TETAS, the state company that will eventually market the plant's power production, will open the new bid, assess it and pass it on to the Cabinet for final approval, Guler added. /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR TURKISH CONTRACTORSBY MELIHA OKUR (SABAH)
Columnist Meliha Okur comments on how Turkey can turn the international economic crisis into an opportunity. A summary of her column is as follows:
"The crisis broke out in the US, and a solution will come from the US as well. Nobody expects a magical solution from US President Barrack Obama, who is only set to take office today, but we all want the US to establish a new system as soon as possible. What will Obama do? Of course, he'll clean house, start stimulus packages, and accelerate consumption. He'll also focus on Iraq and then Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Some 15,000 American soldiers will be withdrawn from Iraq this year. Which countries will protect Iraq and its oil and natural gas transportation lines will emerge during this time. After all, Turkey has a good dialogue with Baghdad.
Our Foreign Ministry acts like an elder brother to Bagdad. Turkey even organized Iraq's purchase of military materiel and equipment from Ukraine. If the diplomatic channels are open, as they are now, there should be no problem.
The Iraqi government isn't idle, either. Next month it will bring together in Istanbul oil companies which have gotten authorization to extract Iraq's oil and natural gas. The oil companies would do nothing in a place where they lack confidence. So Iraq will be relieved in the months to come. That's why the oil summit is important for Turkey. The way Iraqi oil and natural gas will be extracted and brought to world markets and even connected to the Nabucco project, which is led by Turkey, are also very important!
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dealing the energy card against the Greek Cypriot administration, which for years has all but locked energy talks in the European Union. This can turn the Iraq issue and the crisis into an opportunity, because the meeting in Istanbul will deal with not only the extraction and transportation of Iraqi oil and natural gas, but also construction investments. Turkey must get a large share of the construction investments this time.
Iraq can purchase materials via Kuwait and through Dubai. Dubai can also be involved in the construction of an oil and natural gas pipeline in the Basra region. But it's very difficult to carry materials through Dubai for pipeline construction in northern Iraq. It's much easier to reach Erbil via Turkey. So we shouldn't waste time. The Economic Coordination Council (EKK) should convene to deal with this issue, and border crossings in eastern and southeastern Anatolia should be made easier. In addition, the Mersin Free Trade Zone should be reviewed, and contractors abroad should be prepared for this. Turkey should turn the crisis into an opportunity!"
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