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Turkish Press Review, 09-02-16

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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

16.02.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL VISITS RUSSIA'S TATARSTAN AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC
  • [02] TOPTAN VISITS SYRIA
  • [03] IN SAMSUN, ERGOGAN LAMBASTES CHP
  • [04] CICEK: "CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES COMPROMISE"
  • [05] IN ISTANBUL, BAHCELI STUMPS FOR MHP CANDIDATES
  • [06] KILICDAROGLU DENIES CLAIMS OF CORRUPTION FROM TENURE HEADING SSK
  • [07] NOTE TO ISRAEL

  • [01] GUL VISITS RUSSIA'S TATARSTAN AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC

    As part of his landmark official visit to Russia, the first-ever by a Turkish president to this country, President Abdullah Gul on Saturday visited the Tatarstan Autonomous Republic, the Russian Federation's largest such republic. This visit was also the first of its kind. After his meeting with his Tartar counterpart Mintimer Shaimiev in the capital Kazan, Gul told a joint press conference that Turkey's good relations with its kin, the Tatar people, help to boost relations with Russia. Stating that Turkey opened its first consulate general in Tatarstan, showing how special Turkish relations were, President Gul pledged to continue to support cooperation between Turkish and Tartar businessmen. "I'm sure with this visit we have turned a new page, and our relations will further improve," Gul said. For his part, Shaimiev said that Turkish companies topped foreign firms investing in Tatarstan, and that last year thousands of Tartar people took their vacations in Turkey. Expressing hope for more bilateral flights between Turkey and Tatarstan, he said that Gul and he agreed to cooperate in the Universiade Winter and Summer Games set to be held in Turkey's eastern province of Erzurum in 2011 and then in Kazan two years later. As part of his visit, President Gul also visited historic sites and attended a Turkish-Tartar Business Council meeting. Gul also visited Kazan State University, where he received an honorary degree. Speaking to reporters on his way home, Gul called his talks in Russia very fruitful and expressed pleasure that Ankara and Moscow share similar views on the matters discussed during their talks, adding that both countries place great importance on peace and stability in the region. Stressing the importance of stability and trust both in Turkey and the region for economic development, and referring to Turkey's efforts to solve problems with all its neighbors to establish good neighborly relations, Gul said that Turkey has taken major steps for this in recent years. After returning to Turkey, Gul said that there is a broad consensus on ways to improve or replace the Constitution. "I hope that this will be realized in a very favorable atmosphere, in a favorable manner," he said. / Turkiye-Star/

    [02] TOPTAN VISITS SYRIA

    A delegation led by Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan over the weekend visited Damascus, Syria, including Syrian-Turkish Interparliamentary Friendship Group Chair and opposition Nationalist Movement Party deputy leader Mehmet Sandir, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputies Mahmut Durdu and Mehmet Erdogan, and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Huseyin Unal. Praising the superb state of relations between the two countries' parliaments, especially in recent years, he added that this visit would give relations added momentum. Pointing to the recent visit of a Syrian parliamentary delegation to Turkey, he said such mutual visits help to strengthen bilateral relations. /Aksam/

    [03] IN SAMSUN, ERGOGAN LAMBASTES CHP

    Speaking at a campaign rally of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Samsun, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday criticized main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP's candidate for İstanbul mayor. Erdogan also slammed the media allies of opposition parties. /Milliyet/

    [04] CICEK: "CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES COMPROMISE"

    Changing the Constitution is a matter of dialogue and compromise, said Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday. "It is numerically possible to adopt constitutional changes without the main opposition party, but constitutional amendments are a matter of compromise, not a parliamentary majority," he added. Stating that current Constitution has long been a matter of debate, he added that Parliament has made several changes to it. "Many say that Turkey needs a new constitution," he said. "Political parties have also discussed these issues, but they cannot provide unity to change it." /Aksam/

    [05] IN ISTANBUL, BAHCELI STUMPS FOR MHP CANDIDATES

    At a ceremony in Istanbul yesterday, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli stumped for Ahmet Turgut, the MHP's Istanbul mayoral hopeful, and other 39 provincial candidates. Speaking at the ceremony, Bahceli criticized both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). In related news, Mustafa Sarigul, the opposition Democratic Left Party's (DSP) mayoral candidate for Istanbul's Sisli district, yesterday started campaigning for next month's local elections. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] KILICDAROGLU DENIES CLAIMS OF CORRUPTION FROM TENURE HEADING SSK

    Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) mayoral candidate for the Istanbul Greater Municipality, yesterday dismissed accusations that he was involved in corruption while heading the Social Security Institution (SSK) in the 1990s. Speaking at the CHP's new campaign office in Istanbul's Sultanbeyli district, Kilicdaroglu said he was being targeted by these false claims due to his exposure of ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) corruption over the past six years. Accusing his rival Kadir Topbas, Istanbul's AK Party mayor, of hiding how things really are, he said that despite enormous expenditures, no important problem in the city has been solved. Kilicdarloglu also pledged full transparency if elected. /Hurriyet/

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

    [07] NOTE TO ISRAEL

    BY TAHA AKYOL (AKSAM)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on Turkish-Israeli relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Israeli Land Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi has lost his senses. Following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's cutting remarks to Israeli President Shimon Peres in Davos, Mizrahi said that Erdogan should look in the mirror, because Turks massacred Armenians and now they're doing the same thing to Kurds, and they also invaded Cyprus. The Foreign Ministry gave Israel a note branding Mizrahi's statements 'ravings' and requested an explanation. 'Ravings' is a very harsh expression in diplomacy, but Mizrahi deserved it. The General Staff also said that Mizrahi had gone beyond his duties, authorities and responsibilities and that his statements would damage national interests. The Israeli chief of general staff should know how serious this warning is! I'll criticize Erdogan's remarks, but first let's look at what Mizrahi said.

    First, since 1968 Israel has been the 'invading country,' and has committed barbaric massacres in the territories it invaded. This is no mere claim, but a reality under UN resolutions. On the other hand, Turkey is the legal inheritor of the Ottoman state, the legitimacy of which is accepted by European law. Turkey hasn't taken one inch more Ottoman territory than was recognized by international law in 1914! These territories have been part of Turkey for 1,000 years! Consider these historical and legal realities: there is no comparison between the problems which the Ottoman government faced in its defense after the Armenian committees allied themselves with the Russian Army during World War I, with Israel's barbaric treatment of Israel of civilians living in the territory it invaded; nor is there anything in common between Turkey's legal fight against terrorism and Israel's violence against civilians who lived in the territory that it invaded; and failing to see that Turkey's 1974 Peace Operation was conducted to stop the massacres in Northern Cyprus and that security and peace prevails throughout Cyprus today, while calling Turkey an 'invader country,' isn't a problem with reason, but a display of enmity against Turkey. Turkey can't tolerate such a hostile stance. I don't care if Turkish-Israeli relations suffer or not. The Israeli government is responsible for setting things right.

    I've previously written that Erdogan was right in his statements in Davos, but the style of his remarks was problematic, because I'm bothered by the reactions to such statements as 'you know very well how to kill people.' Similarly, diplomats anticipated this and scolded Erdogan, who said his reaction wasn't against Peres or the Israeli nation, but the moderator of the Davos panel. But his words are what will be remembered. I wish Erdogan had criticized Peres in a more diplomatic language, saying something like, 'Mr. Peres, you're a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, so it's improper of you to defend blood and death,' and then left the panel. This way Turkey would have won the heart of Middle Eastern nations and the praise of the international community, and people like Mizrahi would have nothing to say, and there would be no unfair accusations against Turkey. Leaders should be careful and control their reactions so as not to cause unfair accusations against their countries."


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