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Turkish Press Review, 09-02-24

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

24.02.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "WE WILL BE AFRICA'S VOICE ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL"
  • [02] CAMPAIGNING IN MARDIN, ERDOGAN PLEDGES CONTINUED DEMOCRATIC REFORMS
  • [03] MGK TO CONVENE THIS WEEK
  • [04] US ENVOY MITCHELL TO VISIT ANKARA
  • [05] CHP'S KILICDAROGLU: "LOCAL GOVERNORS ARE SERVING THE AK PARTY"
  • [06] GOVT TO LEND SMALL EXPORTERS TL 1.7 BLN
  • [07] THE US CAN WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ, BUT…

  • [01] GUL: "WE WILL BE AFRICA'S VOICE ON THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL"

    An influential country like Turkey cannot concern itself only with its own problems, said President Abdullah Gul yesterday. Speaking to reporters on the last day of his African tour including Tanzania and Kenya, he said that influential countries should have relations with neighboring and other countries. Stating that Turkey promotes stability wherever it goes, he added, "African countries supported Turkey's bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for 2009-10. Turkey has been the voice of Africa, and it will continue to do so." Gul also met with his Tanzanian counterpart Jakaya Kikwete, followed by a meeting between Turkish and Tanzanian delegations. /Sabah/

    [02] CAMPAIGNING IN MARDIN, ERDOGAN PLEDGES CONTINUED DEMOCRATIC REFORMS

    Addressing a campaign rally in the southeastern Anatolia province of Mardin yesterday, ahead of local elections late next month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said no one should confuse the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with other parties, adding that the people no longer support a purely Ankara-centric mode of governance and politics. Stating that the AK Party has changed this during its six years in office, Erdogan said the government has taken great strides to bring an equal level of public services to every part of Turkey. Touting government efforts to expand the cultural rights of people living in the region, Erdogan said the TRT 6 channel, Turkey's first Kurdish-language state TV station, started broadcasting early this year towards this end. Criticizing opposition parties for opposing government reform efforts, Erdogan said, "Turkey is becoming more democratic and growing into a major power by thinking big. We will determinedly continue to develop Turkey and realize those reforms." Slamming claims by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader of government corruption, Erdogan said that since the CHP lacks any positive public program, it is campaigning on the basis of smears. If anyone has any evidence of corruption among AK Party mayors they should seek justice in the courts rather than spreading smears, Erdogan said, adding that the CHP should clean its own house over a Constitutional Court conviction of misusing Treasury financial support. Erdogan also said the government kept its word to establish a university in Mardin, adding that the university would soon open Kurdish and Syriac language and literature departments. /Turkiye/

    [03] MGK TO CONVENE THIS WEEK

    The National Security Council (MGK), chaired by President Abdullah Gul, is set to convene this week at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Issues on the MGK's plate include the fight against the terrorist PKK, Turkish-European Union relations, a new Interior Ministry unit to coordinate anti-terrorist efforts, measures to be taken ahead of Nevruz celebrations, and Turkish- Israeli relations in the wake of tension over the Gaza offensive. /Sabah/

    [04] US ENVOY MITCHELL TO VISIT ANKARA

    US Special Middle East Envoy George Mitchell will be in Turkey this Thursday as part of a four-nation regional tour also including Israel, Egypt and Jordan. Mitchell is expected to be received by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and also to meet with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. /Milliyet/

    [05] CHP'S KILICDAROGLU: "LOCAL GOVERNORS ARE SERVING THE AK PARTY"

    In a written statement yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In related news, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the CHP's candidate for Istanbul Municipality mayor, told reporters that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has become a "state party" and that Turkey's governors and district officials are serving the party's ends. Kilicdaroglu also criticized current Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas. /Hurriyet/

    [06] GOVT TO LEND SMALL EXPORTERS TL 1.7 BLN

    Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said yesterday that the government is set to extend TL 1.7 billion in loans to small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) doing exports as part of its measures to fight the global economic crisis. "These loans will be interest-free or low cost," he said. Caglayan said that the SMEs will be responsible for paying back the loans six months after taking them out, adding that the loans would have a limit, as they want to give them to as many firms as possible. He explained that SMEs that have debts to social security will be eligible for the loans so long as they first settle their debts. He also said the government plans to extend another TL 3 billion to SMEs, shopkeepers and small manufacturers. /Turkiye/

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

    [07] THE US CAN WITHDRAW FROM IRAQ, BUT…

    BY DENIZ ZEYREK (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Deniz Zeyrek comments on US plans to withdraw from Iraq and Turkey's role in this. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Radikal daily trumpeted in a headline yesterday that the US had given an important role to Turkey in its plans to withdraw from Iraq and that Ankara welcomed this. Sources close to the Foreign Ministry and the government we spoke to confirmed this. When we brought up how Parliament refused to help the US in March 2003, just before the Iraq invasion, and asked if this would happen again, a diplomat told us it wouldn't and that the two situations were completely different, as one concerned invasion and the other is about ending an occupation.

    As it withdraws its soldiers from Iraq, the US will also send more forces to Afghanistan. So Turkey's role is wider ranging than just loading American soldiers and weapons onto ships and planes and then sending them. Obviously, our harbors of Mersin and Iskender and the Incirlik Airbase will be important hubs for this withdrawal. The use of the Diyarbakir and Malatya airports is also being negotiated. Also under discussion is the security of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to be withdrawn by land.

    Important details include temporary headquarters to be established for these purposes and the legal rules to be followed by US soldiers on Turkish territory. The Foreign Ministry is ready to conclude this issue thanks to the deals which were struck before Parliament defeated the 2003 motion. The ministry has relevant texts from that time ready to be delivered to government after being updated.

    One issue which would cause headaches for Turkey isn't the withdrawal of US soldiers, but Afghanistan. The Afghanistan issue has two dimensions which give the government, Foreign Ministry and the military pause. The first is the US process of moving soldiers directly from Iraq to Afghanistan. This might make Turkey part of a dynamic operation, rather than just hosting a transfer.

    Justifying the operation on the basis of UN Security Council resolutions on fighting al-Qaeda and NATO Article 5 might make things easier for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party. But if the operation drags on for some years, there could be a public backlash.

    Also, there will be deals on sending soldiers to Afghanistan, as last week's meeting of NATO defense ministers in Poland shows. The Obama administration will inevitably put more pressure on Turkey and its other allies to send more soldiers to Afghanistan. The government and Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug might try to rebuff this pressure, and so run the risk of tension with the US. But recent Ankara visits from Washington officials show that Obama's team will be very insistent on having Turkish soldiers deployed against the Taliban and al Qaeda."


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