|Friday, 23 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-02-06
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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
 PRESIDENT GUL: "A SOLUTION IN PALESTINE WOULD MAKE THE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO PEACE"President Abdullah Gul, on an official visit to Saudi Arabia, yesterday told reporters of Turkey's great efforts for peace in the Middle East, adding, "We're evaluating our relations with Israel in line with our contributions to the peace process." Gul added, referring to Turkey and Saudi Arabia, "The cooperation of two strong countries of the Muslim world will contribute to regional peace." Stating that the Palestinian issue underlies many international problems, Gul said, "When a solution is found to the Palestinian issue, and when we have an atmosphere where the Palestinians establish their own state and live side by side with Israel, this will make the greatest contribution to world peace." /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN REITERATES PLEDGE TO PROTECT WORKERS FROM ECONOMIC CRISISThe government has taken all necessary measures to protect working people from the sting of the global economic crisis and will continue to do so, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday. Speaking in Ankara to an Economic and Social Council meeting, including business and trade union figures as well as top economic officials, Erdogan said that the government has a comprehensive package of measures to counter the crisis, adding that the package had already managed to curb unemployment. Stressing that the government has closely watched the crisis since its early signs, he said the Central Bank injected nearly TL 10 billion in the economy in the second half of last year to blunt the crisis' impact, in addition to other government measures. Pointing to a bill recently sent to Parliament containing incentives and tax cuts meant to spur employment, revive domestic demand and stimulate investments, Erdogan underlined his determination to protect jobs. The bill would also extend and expand government support to companies having difficulty paying their workers. Under the bill, the government would pay workers employed by crisis-hit companies for six months, and could boost such payments by 50 percent compared a previous similar measure. /Turkiye/
 FM BABACAN HOLDS TALKS IN TRNCTurkey supports the positive stance of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and its President Mehmet Ali Talat, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. Babacan made the remarks on a one-day visit to Turkish Cyprus, during a meeting with TRNC Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and his counterpart Turgay Avci. Calling the TRNC's economic isolation unacceptable, he added, "2009 will be an important year for the TRNC." Reiterating that Turkey will always support the TRNC during its negotiations with the Greek Cypriot administration, Babacan pointed to how the Turkish Cypriot side accepted a 2004 UN reunification plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it. "Improving the situation as soon as possible is essential for the TRNC's economic developments," he added. /Turkiye/
 PM ERDOGAN MEETS WITH CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BASBUGPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Basbug. Their second regular weekly meeting, which took place at the Prime Ministry, lasted for two hours. /Cumhuriyet/
 PRIME MINISTRY SUBMITS MOTION FOR DEPLOYMENT OF TURKISH TROOPS IN GULF OF ADENThe Prime Ministry yesterday submitted to Parliament a motion to authorize the government for a one-year period to deploy Turkish troops in waters near Somali, citing the serious problem of piracy in that area. "The threat to Turkish merchant ships and Turkish citizens serving on them has a negative impact on our country's commercial and economic interests," it said. "To this end, our government believes that it would be appropriate to ask permission from Parliament for the deployment of Turkish maritime forces in the Gulf of Aden, the territorial waters of Somali, the Arabian Sea and neighboring regions in order to fulfill a series of duties together with allied forces." /Hurriyet/
 PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT ABBAS DUE IN ANKARA TODAYPalestinian President Mahmoud is set to visit Turkey today in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's dramatic walkoff last week from a panel in Davos dealing with Gaza. The Presidential Press Center said Abbas is to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Erdogan to discuss recent developments in Palestine and the Middle East peace process. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY SIGNS KYOTO PROTOCOLBy an overwhelming margin of 243-3, Parliament yesterday passed an agreement to sign the Kyoto Protocol, the landmark pact to fight global warming. Addressing the assembled lawmakers, Environment Minister Veysel Eroglu said that the government was taking necessary measure to protect Turkey's environment. /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 ERDOGAN COULD DISPEL SUSPICIONS THROUGH EU TIESBY MEHMET ALI BIRAND (MILLIYET)
Columnist Mehmet Ali Birand comments on Turkish-EU relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Turkey's star has recently been on the rise in European capitals. The main reason for this is energy. After Russia cut off gas to Ukraine, the danger of Europe being left in the cold was underlined, and so the EU remembered the importance of diversifying energy resources and also grasped that overdependence on Russian gas would cost it dearly. A new gas pipeline going to Europe through Turkey would decrease this dependence on Russia, and Turkey's guarantee that the gas would pass safely would reassure the continent.
Moreover, the role that Ankara played in the Palestine war, the latest Lebanese crisis, and the conflict between Russia and Georgia also got people's attention. They saw that if Turkey leaves behind inaction and instead cooperates with Europe, it could benefit the EU greatly. This is how it works. No matter how much you write or say, you can't convince people enough. But then something happens which makes people suddenly realize your value. If Russia hadn't caused this crisis in order to keep its influence in Ukraine, it's unlikely people would have seen the Nabucco project this way. Indeed, there would have been efforts to steer the pipeline around Turkey, and people wouldn't have understood Turkey's valuable position.
Let's see what will happen now. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan got Egemen Bagis to be his EU talks negotiator, as his trump card. I know how important Bagis is for Erdogan. He trusts him and gave him a sensitive assignment. He doesn't want to waste his time. The acceleration of our membership talks isn't only dependent on what Turkey does. Both Turkey and Europe should take steps together and in coordination so that progress can be made. If Turkey waits for the EU to show its good will and encourage Turkey, and if the EU fails to change its critical stance, we'll get nowhere.
We should act in cooperation. This should be the first role to be played by Bagis. He should convince the two parties and ensure cooperation. Otherwise we'll be wasting our time. I expect that our membership talks with the EU will be accelerated after our local elections late next month. The clearest sign of this would be the speedy opening of three or four chapters, instead of the usual two. But if there aren't changes after the local elections, I will lose all hope and come to believe that Erdogan is deceiving us by only making a show of building ties with the EU.
Actually, turning a new page with the EU is easier than dragging things out. The cost of delaying Turkey's EU bid would be very high for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party. What's more, this wouldn't be a reasonable policy at all. But coming to grips with the EU would strengthen the party and restore its international prestige. In addition, the only way for the AK Party to dispel recent suspicions that it has Islamized Turkish foreign policy is to accelerate EU reforms."
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