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Turkish Press Review, 09-01-26

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

26.01.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] AVALANCHE CLAIMS 10 LIVES IN N.EASTERN TURKEY
  • [02] PM ERDOGAN SENDS CONGRATULATIONS TO OBAMA
  • [03] ERDOGAN: "IF ISRAEL IS TRULY SINCERE, TURKEY COULD AGAIN MEDIATE ITS PEACE TALKS WITH SYRIA"
  • [04] FM BABACAN: "THE US' MIDEAST ENVOY WILL VISIT TURKEY"
  • [05] BAHCELI: "CHANGES IN GOVT MUST BE DONE DEMOCRATICALLY"
  • [06] IS A QUIET TURKEY BETTER?
  • [07] THE DISEASE OF RACISM

  • [01] AVALANCHE CLAIMS 10 LIVES IN N.EASTERN TURKEY

    Ten mountain climbers were killed and seven others were trapped under snow yesterday after they were caught in an avalanche in northeastern Turkey. Gumushane Governor Enver Salihoglu said 10 mountaineers had been killed by the avalanche on Mt. Zigana, the site of a small ski resort in the province of Gumushane, near the Black Sea coast. Seven people were pulled from the snow, two of whom were seriously injured. The injured were being treated at a local hospital. The members of a skiing and mountaineering club were taking part in an annual winter sports celebration on the 2,200-meter peak. The seventeen climbers were hiking single-file when the avalanche swept into them. Public Works and Housing Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak rushed to the province to find out about the avalanche and monitor rescue operations. Both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Salihoglu to be briefed on the situation and to express their deep sorrow. At the Trabzon Provincial Directorate of Youth and Sports today, a ceremony will be held to commemorate the mountaineers who lost their lives. /Sabah/

    [02] PM ERDOGAN SENDS CONGRATULATIONS TO OBAMA

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend sent a congratulatory message to US President Barack Obama, who assumed his new office last week. "The impressive speech and positive messages you delivered while taking your oath … are remarkably encouraging for relations with friendly and allied countries, as well as in regards to the transatlantic alliance," wrote Erdogan. "In particular, the fact that you again reaffirmed that you will assume open policies based on multilateralism and dialogue lends hope that the world can pass the tests it is facing and can build global peace and confidence." He continued, "The preservation of relations and the strategic partnership between Turkey and the US carries great importance not only for the national interests of our countries, but also for regional and global peace and stability." Erdogan also repeated his invitation to Obama to a forum meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations scheduled for April 6-7. Turkish-US relations had been strained by the Iraq war and unilateral foreign policies of the previous administration. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] ERDOGAN: "IF ISRAEL IS TRULY SINCERE, TURKEY COULD AGAIN MEDIATE ITS PEACE TALKS WITH SYRIA"

    Turkey is ready to send whatever humanitarian aid is needed to Gaza, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. In an interview with the Arabic-language daily al-Hayat, published in Britain, Erdogan added, "Turkey will extend whatever help it can to rebuild the region." Stating that currently there are no proposals to send Turkish troops to the Gaza border, he added, "If the Palestinians asked, Turkey could send observers to the region." Asked about his criticisms of Israel's attacks in Gaza, he said, "I am not against the Israeli people, but I am against its political leadership and those who back barbaric killing." He added, "If Israel is truly sincere, Turkey could mediate again its peace negotiations" with Syria, which were suspended during the attacks. In separate news, Erdogan will travel to Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday to attend World Economic Forum meetings. /Star/

    [04] FM BABACAN: "THE US' MIDEAST ENVOY WILL VISIT TURKEY"

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan left for Brussels yesterday to attend a meeting on Gaza hosted by EU President the Czech Republic. At a press conference at Ankara's Esenboga Airport, Babacan said that in a telephone conversation with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, she said she wanted US Special Envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to visit Turkey during his tour of the region this week. Babacan said Clinton places importance on his meeting with Mitchell. /Milliyet/

    [05] BAHCELI: "CHANGES IN GOVT MUST BE DONE DEMOCRATICALLY"

    Speaking in Denizli over the weekend to promote his party's mayoral candidates for the March local elections, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said that interim regimes or military coups would do Turkey no good, adding that those who come to power through the nation's will should leave it through the same will. Charging that the government is misruling the country, Bahceli added, however, that the government should not be changed through undemocratic means. "The nation will bring the government to account," he said "The nation's will brought this government to power, and it will change this government." He added that the local elections would be the first step of this change. /Star/

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

    [06] IS A QUIET TURKEY BETTER?

    BY RAHMI TURAN (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Rahmi Turan comments on the Ergenekon probe. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "For months we've focused on the Ergenekon probe. Society has been battered by its waves!

    This probe is expected to keep the public busy for longer yet.

    A large chunk of the public thinks that the detentions under the probe were meant to muzzle the political opposition. Whether or not this is true is subject to debate …

    The questions raised by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) candidate for Istanbul Greater Municipality mayor, are remarkable: 'Why hasn't Sinan Aygun been seen in public? Why hasn't he held weekly press conferences? Why has he kept silent?'

    Really, why is Aygun silent?

    Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) head Sinan Aygun, who was targeted by searches which revealed many irregularities, had been criticizing the government, but after his detention and release he has chosen to stay silent.

    In other words, he was shut up.

    * *

    Only Sinan Aygun? Former four-star generals and professors who were also taken into custody and then released also buckled under.

    People who used to speak out in public are also avoiding criticizing!

    I don't know what that means to you, but in my opinion, the witch hunt and muzzling policy have achieved their aim.

    They are shutting up the opposition one by one!

    Abdullatif Sener, a former deputy premier, shares this view. We'll turn into a silent, yet fear-ridden, society.

    Would a silent Turkey be better?

    In fact, we need a Turkey which is talking.

    Silenced, repressed societies can't get anywhere near modern civilization!"

    [07] THE DISEASE OF RACISM

    BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on racism and anti-Semitism and how Turkey should deal with these. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Some have recently raised the specter of rising anti-Semitism in Turkey. Anti-Semitism doesn't mean disagreeing with a Jew, but feeling hatred of Jews because they are Jewish. So it's not about criticizing Israel's aggressive policies, but about being hostile towards Israel specifically as a Jewish state. If one isn't careful, every barbarity committed by Israel provokes anti-Semitism. We saw how this threshold was crossed in reactions to the disaster in Gaza. When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke 'rationally,' he defended Turkish-Israeli relations, saying that the state has no place for emotionality, but when he was overcome by his emotions, he made certain immoderate statements with a whiff of anti-Semitism. Diplomats tore their hair out, because starting next month they will be asking the Jewish-American lobbies to help block a so-called Armenian genocide resolution in the US Congress. What's more, Erdogan himself will seek this support in March or April!

    Nor is this the only problem. This is almost a rule of sociology: during times of deep, long-term crisis and culture shock, the masses become rigid, and their racial, religious and political prejudices get worse! The current international economic crisis will also exacerbate racial and religious prejudices worldwide. In Turkey, the global shocks and separatist terrorism sowed by urbanization and other trends have incited racist feelings. The murders of Hrant Dink and missionaries, as well as rising paranoia and racism, are telling alarm signals.

    This 'disease' isn't common in Turkey, but if conditions get worse, such insanity could spread, much like a disease outbreak. In fact, racism is a psychological disease. All reasonable people now try to be not exclusive, but inclusive. There are two Asian-Americans in US President Barack Obama's Cabinet, along with two blacks and two Hispanics! He appointed Robert Gibbs White House press secretary, which pleased Jewish circles. George Mitchell, whose mother was Arab, was appointed special envoy to the Middle East, which is a message to Arabs!

    Today, no society can be racially or religiously pure. What's more, even people of the same faith often have differing views. A society like Turkey, successor to a diverse empire, can never practice racist or religious discrimination. It can't even think about it! Nothing would be more poisonous for Turkey! The 'harmonization' during the rise of the Ottoman Empire followed by the terrible disasters that we all have suffered due to ethnic and religious conflicts as it collapsed should be a lesson for us. So Erdogan should assuage the concerns of Turkey's Jewish citizens in practice and work to repair ties between the Jewish lobbies and Turkey."


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