|Monday, 19 March 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-03-02
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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
 TOPTAN VISITS QATARParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, accompanied by Deputy Parliament Speaker Meral Aksener and a number of deputies, yesterday left for Qatar as the guest of the Qatari Parliament. Toptan will meet with Qatari Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in Doha today before proceeding to Yemen on Wednesday. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN: "THE NATION BROUGHT US, NOT THE CHP, TO POWER"Addressing thousands in campaign rallies in the central and southern Anatolian provinces of Kayseri and Gaziantep over the weekend, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan charged that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and its media allies are colluding to spread smears about the government. "The government has taken remarkable steps over the last six years to eliminate corruption," said Erdogan, with less than a month to go before the March 29 local elections. "That's why some circles are very anxiously screaming. They used to get whatever they wanted, but now they can only get what they deserve. The CHP is pushing for the interests of those circles." Stating that the enthusiasm of AK Party supporters at campaign rallies is the best repudiation of what he called pro-CHP media outlets, Erdogan praised the people of Kayseri for supporting democracy, law, justice, production, competition, and employment quality. In response to CHP leader Deniz Baykal challenging him to a televised debate, he said, "Mr. Baykal, you didn't bring me to this post, the nation did. But you don't get along with the nation. You only see the nation on television. You can't see them on television. This is where you see the nation." Kayseri has become an exemplary city under AK Party rule, he said, adding that the party would like to see the whole country develop like Kayseri. He said the city is not only a locomotive for its own region, but for the entire country. "Our task is not to be satisfied with where we are now, but to make Kayseri develop even further," Erdogan said, stating they were striving to do this. Erdogan concluded by calling on the Turkish people to think big. In Gaziantep, Erdogan said the people will do whatever is necessary to give the best response to the opposition parties in the March 29 elections. He also said that before spreading smears about the government and the AK Party, the CHP should first clean its own house. /Turkiye/
 BABACAN ATTENDING CONFERENCE ON REBUILDING GAZAForeign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday went to Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to attend an international donors' conference on rebuilding the Gaza Strip after Israel's offensive, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other foreign ministers and international aid groups also in attendance. Clinton also is set to visit Turkey after attending an informal NATO meeting and meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland. /Aksam/
 BAGIS: "WITH OPPOSITION PARTY SUPPORT, TURKEY WILL MAKE RAPID PROGRESS IN OUR EU PROCESS"Opposition party support would speed Turkey's implementation of European Union accession reforms, said chief EU talks negotiator Egemen Bagis yesterday. Speaking to Star daily, Bagis said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is working on nearly 130 laws prior to making constitutional changes. "If the opposition parties support us, we'll make rapid progress," he added. Stating that the AK Party is working on Turkey's EU process, he added, "Turkey is doing whatever is necessary in line with its national program for EU membership reforms." He reiterated that the main factor in this process will be opposition parties, stating, "We need opposition support so that these laws can be passed by Parliament." /Star/
 AT CAMPAIGN RALLIES, OPPOSITION CRITICIZES PM ERDOGANAt campaign rallies in Sinop and Adiyaman over the weekend, ahead of local elections at the end of this month, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Saying the AK Party is trying to push through a "transformation," he continued, "This is in no way a transformation which will bring Turkey to democratic, modern values of today's world. On the contrary, this transformation aims at muzzling the media, putting the judiciary under political pressure, blocking efforts to bring corruption to justice, and putting all the country's resources under the hegemony of a single person." In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli criticized Erdogan for using state resources for political purposes, in his traveling to rallies. /Milliyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 WILL THE US TURN ITS BACK ON TURKEY?BY ARDAN ZENTURK (STAR)
Columnist Ardan Zenturk comments on Turkish-US ties. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Will the Obama administration declare Turkey a 'committer of genocide' this April 24 (the anniversary of the so-called genocide)? I don't know. At a certain point in Turkey's Middle East policy, those who are pushing the government to turn against Israel might welcome this development, in order to say we told you so. Personally, I wouldn't care. On the contrary, I would just thank God and be glad that a blackmail which has been imposed on us for so many years had ended. The parliaments of France and Argentina said that we committed genocide, but we didn't, did we? There's a lobby which is ready to exaggerate the news from Washington, but I ignore it, because as far as I can see, there's no administration crazy enough to turn its back on Turkey.
The American Business Forum in Turkey (ABFT) has been around for just five years. It's a non-governmental organization of American investors in Turkey which is getting stronger. Its new report on Turkey's business and investment climate is very important. It got my attention last year too, but this year it's more striking. During the Cold War, whenever Turkey and the US met for business, all the retired American generals used to be there. I don't know why, but defense industry CEOs and their lobbyists used to lay the groundwork for bilateral economic ties. But for the last couple of years, they haven't been around. On the contrary, the energy sector has become more important. As a matter of fact, the main address at a recent ABFT meeting was given by Energy Minister Hilmi Guler. Obviously, Turkey has strengthened its position as the key country for Western energy security. Of course, this confidence could be seen between the lines of Guler's speech, which said that Turkey was determined to implement the Nabucco project to carry Caspian-Central Asian natural gas to Europe.
Obviously, the course of our ties with the US is also important in this world, which is full of risks. So the main messages given by US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey at the ABFT meeting should be noted. He first thanked Turkey for its efforts for peace in the Middle East and said he hoped this would continue. Jeffrey added that the US knows Turkey is a very important country for ensuring stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that the US hopes it will continue to support Iraq, the Middle East's youngest democracy. He said there is much the two countries can do together in the Caucasus and the Black Sea and that the US is determined to support Turkey's efforts to ensure Western energy security. So Turkish-US relations remain on course, despite the controversies over Hamas and Davos. But there's another important detail.
Jeffrey also said that as the economic crisis started in the US but affected the entire world, the US is also responsible for solving this crisis, and that President Barack Obama is taking decisive steps towards this end. He added that countries like Turkey which run the risk of falling exports and rising unemployment would be helped by the Obama administration's crisis planning. Jeffrey also said that the US is determined to keep all its doors open to a country like Turkey, which it cooperates with in areas such as energy security and independence.
These statements are important, as they show that the US might put programs into action to help our economy. During 'our crisis' of 2001, we were forsaken by the world. Now we're all suffering a crisis. Jeffrey also said Turkey has something of a cushion from the crisis due to its experience from the 2001 crisis, something he said no country, including the US, shares. It seems that if we can stop being so isolated, we can supply an important service for all of humanity by sharing our lessons from the past."
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