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Turkish Press Review, 09-01-29

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

29.01.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] STATE HONORARY MEDALS GIVEN TO 61 PEOPLE
  • [02] IN DAVOS, ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH ARMENIAN PRESIDENT SARKSIAN
  • [03] BABACAN: "IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE ME IF TURKEY AND ARMENIA RESOLVED THEIR ISSUES THIS YEAR"
  • [04] TURKISH DELEGATION HEADED TO WASHINGTON
  • [05] N.IRAQI ADMINISTRATION URGES PKK TO LEAVE COUNTRY
  • [06] SCHWAB: "TURKEY WILL PROBABLY EMERGE FROM THE ECONOMIC CRISIS STRONGER THAN BEFORE"
  • [07] WILL WE HAVE TO PAY THE PRICE FOR HAMAS?
  • [08] ONE PALESTINE

  • [01] STATE HONORARY MEDALS GIVEN TO 61 PEOPLE

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday gave state honorary medals to 61 people, including close relatives of members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and security forces who lost their lives, disabled people, and recent veterans of the fight against terrorism. Among those at the award ceremony were Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, State Minister Said Yazicioglu, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu, armed forces commanders, Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Hasan Gerceker, Court of Accounts head Mehmet Damar, and Security Directorate head Oguz Kaan Koksal. /Cumhuriyet-Milliyet/

    [02] IN DAVOS, ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH ARMENIAN PRESIDENT SARKSIAN

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday went to Davos, Switzerland to attend the annual World Economic Forum. Speaking to reporters, Erdogan said that he planned to have talks with Armenian President Serzh Sarksian, also set to be at the meeting. Turkey has showed its sincerity on the possible normalization of ties, said Erdogan. "Turkey opened its airspace to Armenia, " he added. "Furthermore, there are almost 40,000 undocumented Armenians in Turkey, here due to the poverty in their country. But we didn't extradite them." Adding that Turkey renovated and restored an Armenian Orthodox church near Van in eastern Anatolia, he stated that low-level meetings have recently been held with Armenia, and these could be raised to higher levels. In Davos, Erdogan attended opening sessions of the forum, and then had bilateral talks with his Dutch counterpart Jan Peter Balkanende, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev. Erdogan is expected to meet with Sarksian today. /Star/

    [03] BABACAN: "IT WOULDN'T SURPRISE ME IF TURKEY AND ARMENIA RESOLVED THEIR ISSUES THIS YEAR"

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday stated that 2009 could be a milestone in Turkish-Armenian relations, adding, "It wouldn't surprise me if a solution was found this year." After meeting with his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian in Davos, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, he said, "2009 can be a milestone in Turkish- Armenian relations as long as both parties maintain their political will to the end." Asked about a possible visit by US Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell visit to Turkey, Babacan said that they had spoken on the phone and were trying to set a date. /Star/

    [04] TURKISH DELEGATION HEADED TO WASHINGTON

    A delegation led by Suat Kiniklioglu, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy chairman for external affairs, yesterday left for the US to hold contacts with members of the Obama administration, the Congress, and US Jewish groups. The meetings will reportedly focus on bilateral relations between Turkey and the US, and the so-called Armenian genocide claims. /Aksam-Star/

    [05] N.IRAQI ADMINISTRATION URGES PKK TO LEAVE COUNTRY

    Mam Rostan, a senior security official in Massoud Barzani's regional northern Iraqi Kurdish administration, yesterday called on terrorist PKK members in the region to lay down their arms and leave the country. He said that the PKK should understand that armed violence would avail them nothing. "The PKK's armed attacks not only endanger the security of Kurds living in Turkey, but also Kurds living in Iraq," he said. Rostam's remarks came after threatening statements from leading members of the terrorist group, apparently worried by the prospect of a three-way command mechanism between Turkey, the US and Iraq in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil to fight terrorism. /Turkiye/

    [06] SCHWAB: "TURKEY WILL PROBABLY EMERGE FROM THE ECONOMIC CRISIS STRONGER THAN BEFORE"

    Turkey will likely emerge from the global financial crisis much stronger thanks to its recent successful structural reforms, said World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab yesterday. On the first day of the annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, Schwab called Turkey the leading economic and diplomatic country in its region. "As a secular country with a majority Muslim population, Turkey is capable of establishing relations with both the East and West," he said. "Turkey is in the position of a geostrategic bridge with its location along energy and trade routes between Europe and Asia. This also gives it influence on both sides." Schwab also pointed to Turkey's contributions to regional stability not only in the Middle East but also in the Caucasus, saying that Turkey can have good relations with all the countries in its region. In related news, speaking at a panel discussion in Davos, Dogus Holding's Ferit Sahenk said Turkey's economy is strong enough to weather the crisis. Pointing to the International Monetary Fund's role in the world economy in light of the crisis, he said, "The Fund can supervise the entire system and be a common platform for all countries." To this end, he said, the IMF should be given a structure that allows it to borrow money from international capital markets. He also said there should be fairer country representation within the IMF. /Turkiye/

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

    [07] WILL WE HAVE TO PAY THE PRICE FOR HAMAS?

    BY NASUHI GUNGOR (STAR)

    Columnist Nasuhi Gungor comments on the Middle East and the possibility of a new government in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "We often hear these days that Turkey has been close to Hamas and so must pay a price. Or so influential US Jewish groups seem to be saying. According to this view, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has gone too far, as it did back in 2003 in the runup to the Iraq war, and thus lost a lot of international support. Or, in blunter terms: If Turkey stays on its current political path and insists on criticizing Israel, this could even lead to a change of government.

    First let's consider the Hamas issue. Those who charge that Turkey thinks Palestine consists only of Hamas actually either don't know Hamas or have no idea what's happening in our region. The Palestinian people's support for Hamas, which was shunned after winning an election and had to suffer an international embargo to become unsuccessful, actually says everything. No military victory or international pressure can change this reality. Turkey's policies are based on this deep legitimacy and representation.

    There is no way that Fatah, which enjoys greater international acceptance by bowing to outside demands, to contribute to Palestine or peace. So Ankara's stance is aimed towards finding a solution to the problem through representation and legitimacy, rather than stressing Hamas and ignoring others. Hamas' past and present situation is clear. One strains to come up with a serious contribution that it can make to solve the issue. This situation necessarily puts Hamas forward.

    Even more important is that Turkey's policy keeps Hamas in a place where they can be talked to. Everybody is free to interpret this situation as they wish. The basic thing is that Turkey has attained this power and influence.

    The total regional bankruptcy of Arab nationalism, one of the most important movements of the last century, and the nightmares envisioned by countries such as Egypt due to Hamas, won't change the reality. We should see that the balances around us will change sharply and rapidly. Turkey is the most important country to see this clearly and make efforts to turn the process to its favor.

    But could these trends lead to our own government changing? People who charge that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started like Obama but then turned into Bush were probably warning of this. But there's no sign of a serious change of government in the short term. One of the key factors in this are the local elections set for March. How well the AK Party does will play an important role. Of course there are other factors, but those must wait for a future column."

    [08] ONE PALESTINE

    BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the Palestine issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Following the tragedy in Gaza, the European Union held two meetings with the participation of first Israel and then Palestine. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan laid out Turkey's view on the issue at the meeting, in the presence of a Palestine representative.

    Ankara has a three-pronged approach:

    1. Reach a permanent cease-fire

    2. Form a united Palestine

    3. End the embargo

    The current cease-fire wasn't reached through an agreement between the two sides. Israel and Hamas declared cease-fires separately and unilaterally. From time to time, the cease-fire has been violated. This shows that the cease-fire can be broken at any time. Israel is already keeping its troops ready at the border.

    Ankara insists on a permanent cease-fire reached through a common agreement. But this won't be easy.

    Babacan wants to create a common basis despite the difficulty, since Hamas is a political player in the system, though Israel and West want to eliminate it. Ankara is pushing Hamas towards politics and dialogue rather than arms, and Israel and the West to talk with it, de facto if not officially.

    While Ankara is trying to establish an atmosphere of contact and compromise, it also wants to unite the divided Palestine and have it stand as a united Palestine before Israel and the West.

    Gaza is under Hamas' control, and the West Bank is controlled by Fatah. There are two separate Palestines. The difficult part is that these two are almost enemies, so much so that the Palestinian administration made remarks at the EU meeting blaming Hamas rather than Israel for the carnage. This division can also be seen among Arabs. At least half of them seem pleased at the blow to Hamas even at the cost of devastation of Gaza. Having two states complicates efforts towards a settlement. Palestine must be a united state towards this end.

    Hamas and its supporters cite the embargo to explain their missiles strikes at Israel. During the last so-called cease-fire, Israel reportedly launched 50 operations, and Hamas fired some 300 missiles. The missiles couldn't end the embargo, while the operations couldn't defeat Hamas.

    The embargo issue is a matter of humanity…

    To end this blow against humanity, the embargo must be lifted.

    For this, a united Palestine is needed. So they can tell the world of their problems and get more support and reach a settlement as soon as possible, Palestinians should stop quarreling with each other.

    In addition, the world, which intervened in the tragedy after Israel completed its attacks and invasion, after it killed some 1,300 Palestinians, including more than 100 children, after 4,000 buildings were destroyed and 50,000 people were made homeless, must end the embargo."


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