|Saturday, 15 December 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-03-06
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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
 PARLIAMENT SPEAKER VISITS YEMENParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday visited the prime minister of Yemen, Ali Muhammed Mucvvar. Speaking at a press conference, Toptan said Turkey and Yemen enjoy very good relations. Later, in a separate meeting at Yemen's Parliament, he said officials of the two countries need to come together more often to deepen their dialogue. /Hurriyet Daily News/
 PM ERDOGAN, SAAKASHVILI OPEN UPGRADED SARP BORDER GATEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili yesterday attended an opening ceremony for the revamped Sarp gate along the border between the two countries. The new customs gate, built by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), has been completed only on the Turkish side of the border; the Georgian side is due to be finished in the near future. Speaking at the ceremony, Erdogan said the new gate would boost bilateral trade ties and contribute to tourism. He also said Turkish investors are ready to take part in Georgia's economy, adding that he believes commerce between the two countries will improve despite the global economic crisis. For his part, Saakashvili said, "My dear brother told me: 'The visa requirement will be eliminated and a free trade zone agreement will be signed.' Now this has happened. A large number of goods are circulating free of bureaucratic hurdles." /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN: "WHILE WE SERVE THE PEOPLE, THE OPPOSITION ONLY SPREADS SMEARS"Addressing a crowd of thousands at a rally in the Black Sea province of Artvin ahead of elections late this month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday continued to slam opposition parties for basing their campaigns on smears. "They do smear-oriented politics, but we do service- oriented politics," he said. "This is our difference. For months now, they've been trying to discredit the Justice and Development Party (ruling AK Party) by spreading smears. They've done anything to serve this end and are continuing to do so. They did the same thing before the general elections of July 22, 2007, but we saw what happened then: all this came to nothing. The nation rendered its decision and brought the AK Party to power again, boosting its support to the party from 34 percent to 47 percent. This is the reality, but some insist on ignoring it." Touting government efforts to bring all public services to the every part of the country, Erdogan said, "There is no remote or unreachable place for us. With our service mentality, we place the same importance on the all parts of the country." Stressing that he would determinedly continue to serve the people regardless of any obstacles, Erdogan said the AK Party is Turkey's guarantor of democracy. Erdogan also criticized opposition parties for trying to hinder Turkey's EU accession process and the government fight against illegal gangs vested within the state. Claiming that the opposition is unaware that Turkey is a big, powerful and respected country, Erdogan said, "Early this year Turkey became a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. How was this achieved? This took place thanks to intensive government efforts to win world leaders' trust and support." Erdogan concluded his speech by saying, "We didn't go bad over our last six years in power, and this will continue. It is humility that is suited for us." /Turkiye/
 BABACAN: "NATO'S OPEN-DOOR POLICY SHOULD CONTINUE"Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday attended a roundtable meeting of NATO foreign ministers, along with his British and US counterparts David Milliband and Hillary Rodham Clinton, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the latest meeting ahead of a NATO summit of heads of state and government early next month in France. Speaking to reporters before the meeting, Babacan said that they would discuss issues such as the Middle East, Afghanistan and Russia. Touching on NATO expansion, Babacan added, "We think that NATO's open-door policy is very important. So long as this policy continues, NATO will have greater influence over countries on its borders." On the sideline of the meeting, Babacan met with his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni, their first meeting since Israeli President Shimon Peres' sharp exchange with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the World Economic Forum in January. /Turkiye-Star/
 EKREN: "TURKEY EXPECTS TO STRENGTHEN RELATIONS WITH THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION"Speaking at a meeting organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think-tank in Washington on Wednesday, State Minister for Economy Nazim Ekren said that Turkey expects to strengthen its strategic and financial cooperation with the new US administration. He added that the main aim of his visit was to lay out Turkey's potential to the Obama administration and to gauge their approach. Ekren said that he would meet with the new US economic team and discuss the global economic crisis and its impact on emerging markets. Ekren is also expected to meet with representatives from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. /Today's Zaman/
 BAHCELI: "THE AK PARTY'S POLARIZATION STRATEGY WON'T WORK"Speaking at a rally in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar yesterday ahead of local elections late this month, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli charged that the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) victory plan is to raise tension and sow political polarization. Stating that this strategy won't work, Bahceli said that the AK Party has squandered the last six years, since it has been in office. Political polarization harms peace, stability and welfare in Turkey, Bahceli added. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 TURKEY TO HELP RESTRUCTURE THE IRAQI ARMYBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on Turkish-Iraqi relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Iraq and Turkey are getting ready to sign an agreement under which the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) can support a restructuring of the Iraqi army. A consensus was reached this week during Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Igsiz's meetings in Baghdad that a document to put the agreement into force would be signed. The pact will take the form of a memorandum of understanding, but it's unclear if it will be ready for a visit later this month by President Abdullah Gul. According to high-level sources speaking to Radikal, Baghdad requested help and support from the TSK for the restructuring of the Iraqi defense minister post and the armed forces, particularly in the areas of training and logistics.
The issue was also discussed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug. In addition, the press release out of the Feb. 26 National Security Council (NSC) meeting chaired, as usual, by Gul said that the council had discussed recent developments in Iraq and contacts meant to strengthen bilateral cooperation, particularly in the areas of security, energy and the economy. This important step was taken with Igsiz's contacts in Baghdad.
In these contacts, Igsiz met with Iraqi Defense Minister Abdulkdair Casim, Chief of General Staff Gen. Babekir Badirkhan Zebari, and US Gen. Raymond Odierno, the commander of Coalition Forces in Iraq. Turkish support for the restructuring of the Iraqi army was discussed in meetings with Iraqi officials. The Turkish side stated that Ankara would be ready for boost its support for the Iraq army, which has already started, provided that it's based on a written document. Then the two parties agreed that there should be a memorandum of understanding. The scope of Turkey's training and logistical support to the Iraq army will be determined in this document.
The issue of continuing joint efforts against the terrorist PKK, something whose character was changed last year, was also reportedly discussed during the meetings with Iraqi officials. Iraq's current president, foreign minister, and chief of General Staff are all of Kurdish ethnic origin. It's also notable that Iraqi Chief of General Staff Babakir Zebari shares his last name with Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. The struggle against the presence of the PKK in Iraq took on a new dimension when the regional Kurdistan administration, led by Massoud Barzani, became involved in the Iraqi delegation in the triplartite mechanism established with Turkey and the US.
Anti-PKK efforts were discussed during Igsiz's meeting with US Gen. Odierno. When we asked if the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq via Turkey had been discussed, a high-level source said the issue hadn't come up but that the general security situation in Iraq had been addressed. The same source said that principles and policies of military cooperation against the PKK were reviewed at the meeting, and that there were no problems with the US here. Igsiz's visit is being seen as an important technical step before this weekend's visit to Turkey by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gul's month-end visit to Iraq (previously delayed due to health problems). The aim is that during the latter visit, security steps mentioned in the NSC press release and also other steps, particularly concerning cooperation in oil, gas, energy and the economy, will be taken."
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