|Wednesday, 19 February 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 03-06-25
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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
 NSC TO CONVENE TOMORROW TO DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU BIDThe National Security Council (NSC) is set to convene tomorrow to discuss a number of issues, including Turkey’s European Union membership bid. The council will also discuss the seventh EU harmonization package which the government is preparing in the wake of the successful passage last week of package six. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the National Program would also be the agenda of the NSC meeting. In related news, the Cabinet is expected to hold an extraordinary meeting today to discuss Cyprus and the government’s National Program. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN: “OUR GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION”Prime Minister AND Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that his government was determined to fight against corruption. Speaking at the AKP’s parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan said, “Whoever has been involved in corruption must give an accounting.” Pointing to recent government reforms, Erdogan said that Turkey’s accomplishments were astounding the whole world. Stressing that the nation was resolved to make progress on its road to European Union membership, the prime minister stated that certain matters needed to be addressed, namely harmonization and carrying out the reforms. “We have put through many reforms under the harmonization process, and we continue to do so,” stated Erdogan. “However, that’s not enough. We should prove that we can also implement them. Then we will have done our part, and the final decision will belong to the EU.” /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN URGES MINISTERS TO TALK LESS AND WORK HARDERPrime Minister and Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged the AKP’s government ministers to talk less and work harder. “Ministers speaking outside their areas of expertise only cause problems for our government,” said Erdogan, in an apparent reference to State Minister Kursat Tuzmen’s recent unwelcome prediction that Turkey might soon face an economic crisis. “Unfortunately, I see that some ministers are failing to heed my words. Let’s talk less and work harder.” The premier added that mission of the government ministers was not to address every issue, but to work harder in the service of the nation. /Aksam/
 TURKEY OPENS PORTS, MILITARY BASES TO THE US FOR IRAQ RECONSTRUCTIONIn another significant step in efforts to mend relations with the US which were strained in the wake of Ankara’s refusal of US troop deployments for the Iraq war, the Cabinet this week decided to open all of Turkey’s airports, ports and bases to the use of the US for Iraq’s reconstruction. US Secretary of State Colin Powell had conveyed a request to this end from the Bush administration to Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul at the World Economic Forum in Amman last week. The same request had also been conveyed to Foreign Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal during his recent visit to Washington. The Cabinet set one year as the duration of this decision and stated that it was made with the aim of contributing to Iraq’s reconstruction in compliance with United Nations resolutions. /Hurriyet/
 COUNCIL OF EUROPE’S PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY APPROVES TWO CYPRUS REPORTS CRITICIZING TURKEYThe Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly yesterday approved two Cyprus reports prepared by Swiss rapporteur Dick Marty and Finnish rapporteur Jaakso Laakso, both of whom criticized Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for allegedly failing to contribute to the Cyprus peace process. Marty’s report entitled “Rights and fundamental freedoms of Greek Cypriots and Maronites living in the northern part of Cyprus” alleges that “Turkey established violations of the human rights of the Greek Cypriot and Maronite [a minority Christian] communities living in the TRNC.” It also argues that the TRNC should “cease all humiliation of the Greek and Maronite communities and put an end to the dispossessions affecting members of these communities.” Meanwhile, Laakso’s report entitled “Colonisation by Turkish settlers of the occupied part of Cyprus” supports “the idea of the creation of a Fund which would ensure the financing of possible voluntary returns of the Turkish settlers to Turkey.” He also urges Turkey to “use its influence on the Turkish Cypriot administration with a view to stopping the process of colonization and consequently to review their migration legislation and policies.” The Turkish delegation to the Council of Europe objected strongly to these reports, charging that they both distorted the facts and ignored all recent positive developments on the island. In addition, TRNC President Rauf Denktas called Laakso’s report biased and reflective only of the views of the Greek Cypriots. He harshly criticized the rapporteur for conducting an unscientific study, failing to pay even a single visit to the TRNC, and gathering all of his data from the Greek Cypriots alone. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL: “I BELIEVE THE CYPRUS ISSUE WILL BE RESOLVED BY THE END OF THIS SUMMER”The Cyprus issue will be resolved by the end of this summer, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul predicted confidently yesterday. Gul said that negotiations over the island would begin again soon and that Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas had no intention of avoiding talking with the Greek administration towards a resolution. Touching on the Aegean dispute, the foreign minister also said that Turkish and Greek officials would also meet soon to resolve that issue. /Milliyet/
 DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE LARSON: “TURKEY HAS A GREAT POTENTIAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST”Speaking to reporters during the recently concluded World Economic Forum extraordinary annual meeting in Amman, Jordan, US Deputy Secretary of State for the Economy and Trade Alan Larson said that Turkey has a great commercial potential in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq, and urged the nation to make the best use of this. Praising Ankara’s recent structural reforms, Larson pointed to the importance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program being carried out in Turkey. “Turkey should follow the program closely,” he added. /Turkiye/
 AKP PROPOSES BOOSTING STAFF OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS DIRECTORATE TENFOLDThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday presented a motion to Parliament’s Planning and Budget Commision to increase staffing levels at the Religious Affairs Directorate by nearly tenfold. Under the motion, the staff ranks would grow from 1,600 to 15,000. /Milliyet/
 ERDOGAN TO VISIT PORTUGAL NEXT WEEKPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to pay an official visit to Portugal on next Tuesday and Wednesday, July 1-2. After meeting in Lisbon with his Portuguese counterpart as well as the Parliament speaker, Erdogan will attend a seminar of the Turkish-Portuguese Business Council. /Turkiye/
*  FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE MILITARY AND POLITICS BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)Columnist Taha Akyol comments on creating a balance between Turkey’s military and civilian spheres. A summary of his column is as follows:
“With the National Security Council (NSC), the military’s influence on our nation’s politics will finally be in the spotlight. The focus of the seventh harmonization package will be this. The government is staying mum about the contents of the package in order not to start a discussion between the military and civilian powers. However, for example, the media is hinting that the Secretariat-General of the NSC will become a civilian post. This issue should be solved calmly and reasonably without turning it into a contest between the military and civilian powers. For this purpose, the civilian leadership, which favors reform, and the military, which favors Turkey’s European Union membership, should avoid polemics.
The seventh harmonization package is getting public support. There are three reasons for this:
Decreased terrorist threat: The lessening of the terrorist threat means a decrease in the need for the military to provide domestic security. For this reason, the term of compulsory military service is being shortened. * Our EU accession process: With our EU membership, most of our security problems will recede, and we will gain economic and political power. For this reason, the military is supporting the EU. The NSC’s becoming subject to civilian authority will accelerate our EU membership. Periphery’s power: The Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) peripheral nature is strengthening the NSC’s will to harmonize with democratic standards.
With these three factors, the NSC will be reorganized through the seventh harmonization package.
Modernization requires becoming civilian as well because the narrowing of the political field by the military bureaucracy hampers social development. For this reason, as nations become modernized, the scope of the military is limited to only matters of defense and the fight against terrorism. Today politics should reconcile society’s competing opinions and interests. However, the logic of the military is completely different. The military considers reactionaryism the ‘domestic enemy,’ but politicians knows that these kinds of social issues can be solved not by excluding them, but by opening up means of participation in the modernization process. At least the difference in logic makes a civilian NSC Secretariat-General indispensable. These are the EU standards for both our civilian and military powers.”
 WHY IS IRAN THE NEXT TARGET? BY ALI BULAC (ZAMAN)Columnist Ali Bulac comments on US plans for Iran in particular and the Middle East in general. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Though completely lacking any legal or moral justifications, the Bush administration’s pointing the finger at Tehran has certain understandable (but in no way acceptable) reasons. With the new US definitions of ‘terrorism’ and ‘justified preemptive strikes’ just pulled out of thin air following the 9_11 attacks, Washington no longer has even the slightest concern for respecting international rules or trying to find at least ostensibly legitimate explanations for its fraudulent acts. The Spinozistic axiom ‘might makes right’ is the motto of the new US global doctrine.
As a part of its global plans, the US seems convinced that it can, and in fact must, make to Iran fall on its knees either this way or that after completing its two ‘very successful’ operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. With the influential US media and other effective tools at Washington’s disposal, a campaign is now underway to brand the Tehran administration as ‘ugly, authoritarian, oppressive, and unlivable.’ Most of all, Iran is a country which must be ‘saved’ and ‘liberated’ immediately.
Iran is a big country, and it is quite different from both Afghanistan and Iraq. Since the 1979 religious revolution, this ‘uncontrolled power’ has effectively resisted integration with the US-led global order, an action which has no doubt made it a perceived threat to Washington’s designs.
Israel cannot be neglected within this anti-Iran campaign. Everyone would agree that the Israeli factor is now far more influential on US foreign policy than ever before. There are even those who claim that the US administration as a whole has been ‘hijacked’ by Jewish lobbies. Saddam’s regime used to be a ‘grave threat’ against Israel, and so ‘is’ Iran now.
The Iranian reins must be grabbed should the US want to control the three rich energy basins in Eurasia and access routes to these resources, because Iran is a part of these basins and is now the biggest obstacle to a new imperialist age beginning throughout the Middle East. Unless this obstacle is overcome, the US designs in the region are doomed to failure.”
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