|Tuesday, 20 March 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-03-10
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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
 GUL DUE IN IRAN TODAY FOR ECO SUMMITPresident Abdullah Gul is set to leave for Tehran, Iran today to attend the 10th summit meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. During his visit, Gul will also meet with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and will reportedly tell about his meeting last week in Ankara with US State of Secretary Hillary Clinton. Gul will also meet with Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the sidelines of the meeting. In related news, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak yesterday telephoned Gul, and the two discussed recent developments in Palestine and Palestinian-Israeli relations. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN STUMPS FOR AK PARTY ANKARA MAYORSpeaking at the opening ceremony of a family wellness center in Ankara's Pursaklar district yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan touted Greater Municipality Mayor Melik Gokcek, of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who is seeking another term in local elections set for late this month. Dismissing main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) criticisms of the municipality's program of building underpasses and flyovers at many intersections to alleviate traffic woes, Erdogan said that modern city planning requires such measures, as can be seen in great metropolises such as London, New York and Tokyo. "Only through such measures can we solve traffic problems," he said. "The greater municipality constructed a great many flyovers in Ankara over the last 15 years, which have greatly helped to alleviate the traffic jams which previously plagued Ankara." Pointing to municipality efforts to improve public transportation, including extending the subway network, Erdogan said that all those efforts had made traveling in Ankara easier. Erdogan also spoke about the road between Esenboga Airport and the Ankara beltway. "If you love this city you can achieve anything," he said, in an apparent reference to the fast repair and construction of that road by the municipality. Erdogan criticized the CHP for what he called a negative, biased, and unfair attitude towards the services provided by the municipality. He also pledged to permanently solve Ankara's water shortage problems caused by drought in recent years. Erdogan also said that Ankara was rapidly becoming a world-class city, citing its 2003 Plaque of Honor from the Council of Europe. Also speaking at the meeting, Gokcek accused some media outlets of spreading smears about him in cooperation with the CHP, adding that the CHP should instead talk about its vision for Ankara. He also said that he would continue to serve Ankara with new projects. /Turkiye/
 OBAMA EXPECTED IN ISTANBUL NEXT MONTH TO ATTEND ALLIANCE OF CIVILIZATIONS FORUMUS President Barack Obama is reportedly expected to be in Istanbul early next month to attend the Second Annual Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations, the UN-backed initiative launched by Turkey and Spain. The meeting is co-sponsored by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Spanish Premier Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. /Star/
 CAMPAIGNING IN AYDIN, ERDOGAN VOWS TO CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN AND PROTECT DEMOCRACYAddressing a crowd of thousands in the Aegean province of Aydin at a rally ahead of local elections late this month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said Turkey has paid dearly to promote national sovereignty, human rights and democracy, adding that there are some in Turkey who work against these ideals. Referring to the execution of Prime Minister Aydin Menderes and two Cabinet ministers following the 1960 military coup, Erdogan said: "Some say Turkey has not paid anything for democracy. But Turkey paid a very high price for democracy. The province of Aydin (Menderes' hometown) symbolizes this cost. Turkey paid a heavy price for the maintenance of freedoms, human rights, national sovereignty, independence and democracy." Erdogan stated that the mentality which led to Menderes' execution is still alive, contrary to the will of the nation. "There are those who insult and downplay the will of the public," he said. "They see themselves as superior to the nation; they humiliate the nation and look down on it. When the public pays no attention to them, when they lack the love of the public, they look for ways to cast a shadow over democracy, and these ways are ugly." He also vowed that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) will continue its democratic efforts despite all obstacles. "We set out to overcome all anti-democratic interventions in politics, to fight against those who neglect the will of the nation, just as the late Prime Minister Menderes did," he said. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL SLAMS AK PARTY ECONOMIC POLICYAt campaign rallies in the northeast province of Giresun ahead of March 29 local elections, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Stating that his party gave the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government several proposals to fight unemployment, Baykal accused the government of ignoring them. Baykal also criticized the government stance on the court case against the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-based charity run by Turks. /Aksam/
 SAHIN MEETS WITH GEN. BASBUGJustice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin yesterday met with Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug at General Staff headquarters. The meeting was closed to the press and no statement was made about its content afterwards. /Star/
 IPI URGES EU LEADERS TO STRESS IMPORTANCE OF FREE PRESS IN TURKEYThe International Press Institute (IPI) yesterday appealed to European Commission leaders to make press freedom a priority in ongoing membership talks with Turkey amid concerns over verbal attacks on news organizations and continued legal hurdles to free expression. IPI Director David Dadge held meetings with European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and other officials to stress the EU's influence in seeking reforms during Turkey's membership talks. The meetings follow concerns expressed by the IPI and other organizations about Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's public complaints about coverage of his government, and his appeals to supporters to stop buying newspapers that, as he told one rally, stand by others rather than himself. "The IPI hopes the European Commission can use its influence to encourage Erdogan to take a step back from his position of criticizing the media and calling for boycotts," Dadge said after the meetings. "The EU can play a central role in ensuring free expression and pluralistic media in candidate countries such as Turkey." /Milliyet/
 DOGAN MEDIA GROUP HEAD YALCINDAG MEETS WITH EU'S VERHEUGENDogan Media Group Chairman Mehmet Ali Yalcindag yesterday met with Guenter Verheugen, vice president of the European Commission responsible for enterprise and industry, in Berlin. During the meeting, Verheugen and Yalcindag discussed recent political and economic developments in Turkey and Turkish-European Union relations. /Milliyet/
 MOROCCAN DELEGATION VISITS PARLIAMENTMoroccan Parliament Speaker Mustafa al-Mansuri and an accompanying delegation arrived in Ankara yesterday. They are scheduled to meet Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan today. Mansuri will also hold meetings with Yasar Yakis, the head of Parliament's EU Harmonization Committee, and Foreign Affairs Committee head Murat Mercan. The delegation will proceed to Istanbul tomorrow. /Hurriyet Daily News/
 BEKELE DEGFA WINS GOLD IN 3,000 METER IN TURINTurkey won its first gold of the European Indoor Championships in Turin, Italy on Sunday evening when Almitu Bekele Degfa raced home in 8:46.50 to win the women's 3,000-meter. Bekele Degfa's time of 8:46.50, a new Turkish record, was an outstanding performance by the runner, who placed seventh in the Olympic 5,000-meter final last summer. /Today's Zaman/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 TURKISH-US RELATIONS IN THE ERA OF OBAMABY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)
Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on Turkish-US relations in the era of President Barack Obama. A summary of his column is as follows:
"US President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Turkey is a very important signal that a new approach to Turkish-US relations will be tested. Obama told the entire world before last year's US elections that he would leave behind the unilateral, go-it-alone policies of his predecessor, to be replaced by an acknowledgement of the modern multilateral era.
Obama will reportedly try to extend the US hand to such countries as Iran and Syria and treat such organizations as Hamas, Hezbollah and Taliban pragmatically. Obama's vision includes encouraging a Syria free of Iranian influence, the end to the Iranian nuclear program, a Hezbollah and Hamas which have turned their back on terrorism, and a relatively moderate Taliban.
In this new approach, Turkey is an ideal intermediary, through its ideological closeness, the vision of the premier's foreign policy advisor Ahmet Davutoglu, and Turkey's staying in contact with such countries and organizations as Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah that the US shunned during the Bush era.
Let's consider a few questions:
1. Think ahead to a year from now. The US and Turkey have done their best, but there's still an Iran which insists on producing nuclear weapons, a Syria which can't get free of Iranian influence and so can't find peace with Israel, and a Hamas and Hezbollah which pay no heed to Turkey's words and continue terrorist attacks under Iranian guidance.
In such an atmosphere, let alone being called a strategic partner, would there be need for a Turkey which acts as an intermediary?
2. What would the US say if, after some time, Iran wants the US to give up Turkey's mediation and suggests that they talk face to face? What's more, how would the US reply to an Iran which wants to become a strategic partner of the US, so long as it keeps its influence in the Middle East and sits at the table in a multilateral world?
3. If after all these efforts, the US believes that Hamas and Hezbollah won't mend their ways, but care only about weapons, what would Turkey do?
4. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Ataturk's mausoleum, her emphasis on secular Turkey, and her stressing freedom of the press were a rejoinder to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, weren't they?
6. Did human rights defender Clinton ask Erdogan questions about Sudanese President Omar al Bashir?
7. Would Clinton, who promised to work for Turkey's European Union membership, insist that the EU admit Turkey even if it doesn't make any concessions on Cyprus?
Actually my questions are simple. What will guide Turkish-US relations: a pragmatic policy, or warm relations between Erdogan and Obama?"
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