|Wednesday, 20 February 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 09-02-20
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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
 ERDOGAN: "WE DO POLITICS WITH THE PEOPLE, NOT THROUGH THE MEDIA"Addressing thousands in a ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) campaign rally in the central Anatolian province of Aksaray, Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday continued to slam the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and some media outlets for what he called smear tactics in the runup to polls late next month. Again charging that opposition parties are avoiding holding campaign rallies, Erdogan called on them to meet with the people instead of using the media to spread smears about his party and the government. "You handed over your own opposition duties to the media," he added. "You do politics through some media outlets, but we do politics together with and within the people. We communicate to the people directly in meeting places." Rebuffing Dogan Media Group charges that the government is misusing its power to try to suppress the media, Erdogan said that some are using their own media power to enrich themselves and pressure the government to this end. This week the Finance Ministry fined Dogan TL 826 million for tax evasion and accounting irregularities. The ministry later issued a statement defending the fine, calling it fair and non-arbitrary. "Freedom of the press cannot be used as a means to spread smears and slander," said Erdogan. "Those who claim to defend freedom of the press are only defending their bosses. You cannot advance business interests by using freedom of the press as a tool." Erdogan also said that in past years some press organizations tried to paint themselves as fighters for press freedom. "But they were looking after their own interests," he said. /Sabah- Turkiye/
 EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE RULES VISAS NOT NEEDED FROM TURKS ENTERING EU STATES TO PROVIDE SERVICESThe European Court of Justice yesterday ruled that visas should not be required from Turkish nationals planning to enter European Union member states to provide services. Two Turkish nationals in 2007 challenged Germany's visa requirement of Turkish truck drivers, arguing that this violated the Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the European Community. "Article 41(1) of the Additional Protocol," the court said in its ruling, "is to be interpreted as meaning that it precludes the introduction, as from the entry into force of that protocol, of a requirement that Turkish nationals such as the appellants in the main proceedings must have a visa to enter the territory of a Member State in order to provide services there on behalf of an undertaking established in Turkey, since, on that date, such a visa was not required." /Milliyet/
 FM BABACAN VISITS BAHRAINForeign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday traveled to Bahrain to hold separate meetings with its Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa and his Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. Afterwards, Babacan said that they had discussed regional and international developments such as Gaza, and how to promote peace between Hamas and Israel. Calling the situation in Palestine "delicate," he added that failing to discuss problems in a broad framework is the main problem plaguing the current cease-fire between the two sides. Decrying the blockade on Gaza, Babacan branded it a "punishment" which should be ended as soon as possible. "We must have a permanent solution," he added./Star/
 PARLIAMENT PASSES NEW MEASURES TO FIGHT ECONOMIC CRISISA new package of measures to cushion the impact of the global economic crisis was approved by Parliament yesterday. Aimed at easing the burden on companies and minimizing economic losses due to the crisis, the package introduces incentives for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and tax cuts, especially in the Internet sector. Under the package, special payments, also known as short-time benefits, providing support from the unemployment fund for temporarily laid-off workers was increased to six months from three. Likewise, the amount of these benefits was raised 50 percent. With the package, the government expects to cut corporate taxes to encourage new investments and accelerate financial development, boost employment and minimize the development gap between Turkey's regions. The Cabinet will have the authority to cut the corporate tax by 5 percent for the next five years. In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren said yesterday that a proposal to give one-time stimulus checks of TL 200- 500 to working people to revive the domestic markets was being looked at, calling it a key measure to boost domestic demand at a time of crisis. Ekren also said that the government would soon announce measures to support the textile, tourism, automotive, maritime, iron and steel, and construction sectors. /Sabah/
 BAYKAL CRITICIZES FINE ON DOGAN GROUPIn an interview with news channel NTV yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal responded to allegations of corruption regarding CHP official Mehmet Sevigen, saying that no action will be taken until and unless the allegations are proved. Baykal also criticized a tax evasion fine imposed on the Dogan Group this week, saying it was meant to muzzle the opposition. In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday criticized the campaign rhetoric of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of elections late next month. /Milliyet-Hurriyet/
 TURKISH BUSINESSMAN MEETS WITH ISRAEL'S PERES, LIVNIJak Kamhi, one of the most prominent Turkish businessmen of Jewish descent, reportedly visited Israel this week and was received by Israeli President Simon Peres and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. According to the website of Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranot, Livni said, "Some inappropriate comments were made about Turkey. Relations between Turkey and Israel are strategic, and it is important to restore them." The visit came on the heels of controversial remarks about Turkey by an Israeli general which were quickly disavowed by Israel, and tension over Israel's recent offensive in Gaza. /Cumhuriyet/
 ACTOR OZCAN LAID TO RESTProminent stage actor Gazanfer Ozcan, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 78, was laid to rest yesterday. After a memorial service at Istanbul's Haldun Taner Theater, his body was taken to Marmara University's Theology Faculty Mosque for noon prayers. Ozcan was then laid to rest at Karacaahmet Cemetery. /All papers/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 THE US MIGHT PLAY A ROLE ON THE CYPRUS ISSUEBY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)
Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on the Cyprus issue. A summary of her column is as follows:
"Something interesting has happened. After US President Barack Obama replied to a letter of congratulations from Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat, Senator Richard Durbin arrived in the region. Durbin is a Democrat, and an Illinois senator, like Obama was until recently, which means he's from circles close to Obama. He came to the region to hold contacts in Cyprus, Athens, Ankara and Istanbul. The Obama administration's first contact with Turkey is starting with the Cyprus issue.
The senator's visit isn't as high level as that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden, but it's a serious testing of the waters, in other words, a serious initiative on Cyprus. He said he would tell Obama what he heard and saw during his visit, and he asked questions at every stop. Would a solution to the Cyprus issue improve the Turkish Cypriots' economic situation? What is Turkey's role? What effect do immigrants from Turkey have on Cyprus? After a solution is found, how many will leave and how many will stay? Is a solution possible? I concluded from Durbin's contacts and from what I heard that Washington is ready to play a role in the Cyprus peace talks. Durbin previously said that the US had no special proposals, but that if the two presidents on the island agreed, it would help with the Cyprus talks. I think this clearly shows his intention. In addition, in his letter to Talat, Obama conveyed his desire to work in cooperation, peace and friendship in order to create a safer world.
Solving the Cyprus is clearly one of the Obama administration's foreign policy priorities. There's a clear reason for this. The new administration places importance on putting Turkey's relations with the European Union back on track. Obama and Biden, and Hillary Clinton as well, have often mentioned the importance of a Turkey oriented towards Europe, one which hasn't lost its EU vision. Among the reasons for his visit, Durbin also cited the importance placed by the Obama administration on security in the region. Turkey keeping its EU vision and a solution to the Cyprus issue are considered guarantees of regional stability. Relatedly, EU-NATO relations were also dealt with by Durbin. The biggest obstacle to cooperation between NATO and the EU is Turkey's veto over Cyprus. The US asked Turkey to end this veto a couple of days ago.
The Cyprus talks are now going under the radar. But the process might pick up this summer, following elections in both the TRNC and Turkey. According to closed-door sources, the parties have laid out their positions, but later conciliatory suggestions might be made to them, and the US will use its influence to make sure the leaders don't reject these suggestions. Cyprus might see important changes by the end of the year or the beginning of next year."
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