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Turkish Press Review, 09-05-11
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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
11.05.2009FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ...
 GUL CALLS FOR MORE DEMOCRACY TO SOLVE SOUTHEASTERN ANATOLIA ISSUESpeaking to reporters on Friday on his way back from a European summit in Prague, President Abdullah Gul said the only way to resolve the southeastern Anatolia or Kurdish issue was through democratization. "If the standards of democracy in our country had been improved in the past, many things would have been resolved by now," said Gul, adding that in an environment dominated by violence, democratization had lost its appeal. "Whether you call it a terror problem, a southeastern Anatolia problem or a Kurdish problem, this is Turkey's priority question," he added. "It has to be solved." Gul called on everyone to work to resolve the issue. "On the one hand, reforms slowly resolve the problems, but one is also constantly reminded of the missed opportunities of the past," Gul said. He added that failure to resolve the problem now would cost dearly in the future. In related news, Gul is set today to host a dinner for the reshuffled Cabinet at the Foreign Ministry Residence. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN REPEATS RESOLUTION OF NAGORNO-KARABAKH ISSUE A MUST FOR TURKEY OPENING BORDER WITH ARMENIAResolving the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute between Yerevan and Baku is a condition for Turkey opening its border with Armenia, as this dispute was the main reason the border was originally closed, stressed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend. There are no problems in bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, despite efforts at disinformation, Erdogan told the state-run TRT. He reiterated that Turkey would never accept Armenia's labeling of the killing of Anatolian Armenians during World War I a genocide, while underlining Ankara's precondition for opening Turkey's border with Armenia. "There is a causal link here," he said. "As for this link on the border gates, Nagorno-Karabakh has been occupied by Armenians and, in addition, 1 million Azerbaijanis have been forced into being refugees. We closed the border. The reason was the occupation and the result was our closing the border. If the reason disappears â€" then let's open the border." In related news, addressing a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the eastern Anatolian province of Malatya, Erdogan charged that some have still not accepted the nation's democratic support for his party. Stating that they are taking a new approach to the country's problems, Erdogan also pledged to accelerate these efforts in the months to come, embracing all sectors of the Turkish people. Citing TRT's four new TV channels (TRT 6 in Kurdish, TRT Children, TRT Avaz for the Turkic world and TRT Turk), Erdogan also announced that these would be followed by channels in Arabic and Persian. In other news, Erdogan yesterday also visited his 82-year-old mother, Tenzile, for Mother's Day. "I celebrate the Mother's Day of all mothers," he said. "I offer my love and regards to them all. I also hope for forbearance among the mothers of fallen soldiers." /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN, FM DAVUTOGLU TO VISIT GREECEGreek daily Elefteros Tipos reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and new Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will visit Greece. It said that Erdogan wanted to attend the June 20 opening of the Acropolis Museum, and that Davutoglu is expected to attend a European Security and Cooperation Organization's (OSCE) foreign ministers' summit on June 28-29. /Cumhuriyet/
 COUNCIL OF STATE MARKS 141st ANNIVERSARYThe 141st anniversary of the Council of State was celebrated over the weekend with official ceremonies attended by high-level state officials, including President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin, and Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Hasan Gerceker. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal also attended. Addressing the ceremony, Council of State Chief Justice Mustafa Birden said that a new constitution should include measures to restrict the authority of political bodies. "Constitutions include articles that guarantee the state's legal structure and individuals' rights and freedoms and that restrict the political authority," he said. Birden added he is against the idea of granting individuals the right to make individual petitions to the Constitutional Court. "Efforts to draft a new constitution should be conducted with a consensus among all circles in the country, including political parties," he said. "Suggestions for constitutional changes should not be rejected with political prejudice, but should be considered with the public's interests in mind." He also said Article 104 of the Constitution on the duties and authorities of the president should be revised. Saying that secularism forms the basis of human rights and freedoms and puts the state at an equal distance from different beliefs, Birden said secularism is a pillar that should be protected in any constitutional changes. On the ongoing Ergenekon probe, Birden said prosecutors should pay heed to the law and the presumption of innocence. "They should not use evidence acquired through illegal means or that violates human rights," he added. /Sabah/
 DAVUTOGLU, CHIEF OF STAFF GEN. BASBUG TO ATTEND ATC CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTONForeign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Chief of General Staff Ilker Basbug will be among the key Turkish participants at an upcoming conference on US- Turkish relations at the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington from May 31 to June 3. Davutoglu is expected to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, while Basbug will be visiting Washington as the official guest of Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, and attending the conference on the visit's sidelines. Also attending the conference will be Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim. Representing the US side will be Gen. James Cartwright, vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Democratic Sen. John Kerry, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The annual conference on US-Turkish relations is a forum for government and military officials, business leaders and academics to discuss issues and opportunities that connect the US and Turkey. /Hurriyet Daily News/
 PORTUGAL'S SILVA: "TURKEY WOULD MAKE THE EU STRONGER"A Europe that wants to have a stronger say in international politics needs Turkey and its enthusiasm, according to Portuguese President Cavaco Silva. Speaking to Today's Zaman daily on the eve of a two-day official visit to Turkey, Silva said that his country wants all obstacles to the opening of new chapters in Turkey's accession negotiation removed and no chapter left frozen. Silva said the EU would have a stronger say in peace, security and stability with Turkey as a member, and also Turkey would have an influence in international politics it wouldn't have otherwise. "Even a small member country has a chance to project its own image to world politics through the EU," Silva said. Speaking of his own country's difficult seven-year EU membership bid, he said that both Turkish officials and the public should be ready for problems and that a final decision will necessitate compromises among the EU's 27 member states. /Today's Zaman/
 OIL FROM NORTHERN IRAQ TO BE TRANSPORTED TO CEYHANIraq's Petroleum Ministry yesterday announced that crude petrol from northern Iraq will be linked to Iraqi pipelines, then transported to the Ceyhan terminal in southern Turkey. Speaking to Reuters, the northern Iraqi administration's natural resources minister said that he had gotten a directive from the Iraqi Oil Ministry giving approval to export oil to Ceyhan. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS ...
 TURKEY'S TOP ISSUEBY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)
Columnist Taha Akyol comments on the Kurdish issue. A summary of his column is as follows:
"President Abdullah Gul told reporters on his return from Prague that the Kurdish issue is Turkey's most important issue. This statement is very important. Of course, the founders of the Turkish Republic knew that it was the most important issue, but they never announced or mentioned it. Even Ataturk thought that there would not be Kurdish nationalism for many generations, as he told Henry Dobbs, an administrator in India, in 1926. The Kurdish movement developed as the 'left' in the 1970s, won municipal elections in four provinces, including Diyarbakir, in 1977 and burst out with a terrible terrorism in 1984. Finally, now Turkey's president has called it the most important problem and urged people within the state talk to each other much more clearly.
Turkey has been ruled by many civilian and military powers since the 1930s, but exclusionary and oppressive policies haven't solved the problem. On the contrary, they have only fuelled Kurdish nationalism. Some 40,000 PKK members were neutralized, but the terrorist group remains. Even former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said that not even the entire Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) could clear the PKK from northern Iraq! This issue can be solved not by ignoring or excluding our Kurdish citizens, but by integrating them into the democratic system. Such developments indicate there will be a change of climate towards good things and a solution. But the continuation of PKK terrorism and the provocation of certain narrow- minded fanatics within the Democratic Society Party (DTP) might trigger problems. As Gul said, incidents could spiral out of control. Ethnic nationalism is insane, especially at larger levels!
The first step is the PKK's ending terrorism. Yes, the PKK can't be finished, but it is in trouble, faced by military and political difficulties. That's why the military should and must continue its fight against the PKK and force it to give up terrorism. But certain Kurds reject this, saying that if the PKK lays down its weapons, the state should forget about a solution. Nobody should forget that Turkey's democratic openings on the Kurdish issue came not in the 1990s, when terrorism went wild, but since 2000, when the movement saw inertia. The conditions of our day require a democratic opening, but PKK terrorism is an obstacle to this. So all Kurds should put pressure on the PKK to lay down its weapons unconditionally. Of course, the state should draw up a road map to facilitate their leaving their mountain camps and integrating the Kurdish potential into Turkey's unitary political system in line with terrorism's shift from inertia to laying down its weapons."
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