|Sunday, 25 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-03-27
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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 VISITS BRUSSELSPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday met with European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Brussels. Afterwards, Barroso told a joint press conference that Turkey should take steps to strengthen fundamental rights and freedoms. Touching on a recent tax evasion fine on the Dogan Media Group, Barroso said, "We place great importance on showing respect for freedom of the press." For his part, Gul said that he and Barroso had discussed both Turkish-EU relations and current global issues. Stating that Turkey's EU membership accession is continuing in earnest, Gul said, "This isn't an easy process." He added, "It's a long process. Much remains to be done. Turkey is gaining strength in its EU process. The Turkish people also back this process. It will continue this way, no one should doubt it." Gul also delivered the closing speech of the European Business World Summit and met with Belgium's King Albert II and Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht as well as Guenter Verheugen, the European Commission vice president responsible for enterprise and industry. /Cumhuriyet/
 DANISH PARLIAMENT DEBATES TURKEYTurkey will join the European Union if fulfills the necessary conditions, and there will be no need for a referendum, said Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller yesterday. During a debate over whether Turkey is moving towards the EU or radical Islam, based on a question submitted by the radical Danish People's Party of Denmark, an outside supporter of the government, Moller said, "The EU is determined to develop its relations with Turkey. It's true that there have been some developments contrary to the Copenhagen Criteria in Turkey, but it wouldn't be appropriate to send Turkey away from Europe." In related news, Hamid El Musti, an ethnic Moroccan member of a local council of in Denmark, sent an open letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urging him not to veto Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen becoming NATO's next secretary-general. /Milliyet/
 SEARCH EFFORTS FOR BBP'S YAZICIOGLU CONTINUESearch and rescue efforts to find a helicopter carrying five people, including Grand Unity Party (BBP) leader Muhsin Yazicioglu, which crashed Wednesday in the central province of Kahramanmaras have yet to yield results. At a press conference yesterday in Goksun, Kahramanmaras, Interior Minister Besir Atalay yesterday said that more than 2,000 people have been involved in efforts to find the crash site, but that locating the helicopter has been difficult because there no are location signals coming from it. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin visited BBP headquarters, saying, "Every means is being used to find Yazicioglu and the others. Using this situation for political ends would be a mistake." Just days before Sunday's local elections, all parties yesterday cancelled their election rallies due to the accident. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Goksun province and was briefed by Atalay and Adana Gendarmerie officials about the latest developments. Also visiting BBP headquarters, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal told reporters he knows everyone involved in the rescue efforts is doing their best, but that the lack of information so far is discouraging. /Turkiye-Sabah/
 IRAQ'S MALIKI: "THE PKK IS A TERRORIST GROUP WHICH HAS CAUSED CRISES BETWEEN IRAQ AND TURKEY"The Iraqi government has taken urgent measures to get the terrorist PKK out of its territories, said Iraqi National Security Minister Shirwan al-Waili yesterday. He also underlined that the process of getting rid of the PKK has benefited greatly from intelligence sharing between Ankara, Baghdad and Washington. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki also said that the PKK is a terrorist group which has caused crises between Iraq and Turkey. "This matter must be ended," he added. "Our will is decisive. There is no place for terrorist organizations." /Sabah/
 ITALY'S FINI: "IF THE EU MAKES A WRONG DECISION ON TURKEY, IT WILL DESTABILIZE ITS OWN FUTURE"Turkey is secular and a NATO member country and plays an important role in the region, said Italian Parliament Speaker Gianfranco Fini yesterday. Speaking to Sabah daily in Rome, he added, "I don't want the EU to reject Turkey just because it's a majority-Muslim country. If Turkey doesn't apply the EU criteria, then the Union should reject Turkey's membership. Membership cannot be based on religious or geographical grounds." Stating that Turkey should be granted full EU membership when it meets all the criteria, he added, "If the EU destabilizes Turkey with a wrong decision, it will also destabilize its future." /Sabah/
 BABACAN TO ATTEND SCO MEETING TODAYForeign Minister Ali Babacan will go to Moscow, Russia today to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting about the situation in Afghanistan. /Today's Zaman/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 A STRATEGIC JOURNEY WITH GULBY HADI ULUENGIN (HURRIYET)
Columnist Hadi Uluengin comments on his flight to Brussels with President Abdullah Gul. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Flying to Brussels two days ago with President Abdullah Gul, I was still thinking about his visit to Iraq. In other words, I wasn't thinking of this very important visit, the first to the EU on the presidential level, bolstered by our National Program. All the reporters in the pool were looking for a scoop, and wondering if Gul really said the word 'Kurdistan' in Iraq or not, or if it was just a slip of the tongue.
During the flight, as soon as Gul called us, this was the first thing we asked about, but to no avail. Gul said that he didn't want to get distracted on his way to Brussels for a very important strategic visit. He was completely right.
If he had responded to our question, his initiative with the EU would have been pushed off the headlines. So instead he stressed that if we raise our EU standards, everything would be gradually and automatically normalized. After calling this process 'soft power' and the 'culture of horizontal change,' he cited a series of improvements ranging from the new TRT broadcasts in Kurdish and Ankara signing the Kyoto Protocol, something unimaginable in the past.
Then Gul showed that he sees the EU as part of Turkey's general strategic vision through another concrete approach during his visit. The theme of 'bilateral reliability' was mentioned both in his meeting with European Commission Chairman Jose Manuel Barroso and in his remarks. Naturally, he expects the EU to show reliability. He requests that it doesn't pursue petty calculations, but trusts in Ankara, which granted foreign aid totaling $1 billion last year. Secondly, he wants the same Europe to have confidence in thinking big with Turkey. Obviously, of all the political figures in our country Gul is the one taking this long and narrow way the most seriously and aspiring to this goal the most. All his travels back and forth are like feeder roads which complement and lead to that strategic long, narrow way."
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