|Sunday, 16 February 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 04-07-28
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 SEZER, ERDOGAN ATTEND WAR ACADEMY GRADUATIONThree hundred and fifty-eight students at Istanbul’s War Academy yesterday received their diplomas. In attendance at the ceremony were President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener. /Hurriyet/
 ERDOGAN TRAVELS TO IRANPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accompanied by Cabinet ministers, deputies, businessmen and reporters yesterday traveled to Tehran to pay a two-day official visit at the invitation of Iranian Vice President Muhammad Reza Aref. Before his departure, Erdogan told reporters that his contacts with Iranian officials would focus on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues. He added that he would ask Tehran to add the terrorist group PKK to its official terrorist list. In related news, Iranian officials are reportedly expected to discuss the matter of selling their natural gas to Turkey. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN ADDRESSES THE NATION, SPEAKS ON TRAIN ACCIDENTLeaders worldwide are praising our reforms, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a televised address to the nation last evening. The bulk of Erdogan’s speech concerned last week’s deadly train derailment, stating that the cause of the accident would soon be known. “Using this tragic incident for political ends is unacceptable,” warned Erdogan. Stressing that the government’s aim is to make Turkey a prosperous country that will take its place among the world’s great economies, Erdogan said that Turkey would become an active country in the region. /Star/
 EU PREPARES NEW INITIATIVE FOR CYPRUSEuropean Union Term President the Netherlands is reportedly planning to launch a new initiative in line with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s plan for resolving the Cyprus issue. The Netherlands wants to shape possible negotiations between the island’s two sides before the December EU summit where Turkey is hoping for a date to begin accession talks with the Union. According to Greek sources, Dutch officials think that if Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopulos and AKEL party leader and Parliament Speaker Dimitris Hiristofyas contribute to the plan, the possibility of its success would be high. On the other hand, officials believe that Papadopulos’ new offer to re-negotiate the Annan plan, including hundreds of amendments, was not realistic. Yesterday, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Talat also criticized the Greek proposal, charging that the Greek side had fled the negotiations and that no amendments to the plan would be accepted by the TRNC. Greek Cyprus’ rejection of Annan's plan in an April referendum, even as Turkish Cypriots approved it, caused the collapse of efforts to reunify the island. /Cumhuriyet/
 GREEK CYPRUS FIGHTS EU TRADE WITH TRNCSpeaking to reporters yesterday in Brussels, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister George Yakovu said that he opposed the European Union’s recent plans to begin direct trade with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). He charged that the initiative lacked a firm political and legal basis. Stressing that Greek Cyprus had no objection to EU financial support for the TRNC, Yakovu said that it was not possible to control the trade. He also called for more gates to be opened on the island’s Green Line, the border between the two countries. /Turkiye/
 RTUK FINALIZES NOMINEES FOR TRT BOARDThe Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) yesterday finalized its list of nominees for 12 members of the executive board of state broadcaster the Turkish Radio and Television Cooperation (TRT). The list is set to be presented to the Cabinet, whose the ministers will decide on the board’s six new members. /Turkiye/
 TCDD PREPARES REPORT ON PAMUKOVA TRAIN ACCIDENTA Turkish State Railways (TCDD) team is nearing the end of its investigation of last week’s deadly train derailment near Pamukova. TCDD analysts reportedly agreed that the train’s conductors had not lowered its speed at the bend where the crash took place. The train’s speed was 118 km/hr, they say, exceeding the mandated speed of 80 km/hr. The officials are expected to release the report soon. Meanwhile, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is planning to submit a motion to the Office of the Parliament Speaker concerning Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and the accident. In related news, train passenger Serap Sarikose, who suffered major injuries during the crash, died yesterday, bringing the disaster’s death toll to 38. /Turkiye/
 AKP DEPUTY PASSES AWAYAKP Deputy from Kutahya Halil Ibrahim Yilmaz passed away yesterday. Yilmaz, 50, had recently had a heart operation, but his doctor stated that he had not died of a heart complications. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN’S VISIT TO IRAN
 BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Iran. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently visiting Iran. There are principles of Iran’s foreign policy that never change, and Erdogan’s delegation knows this. Erdogan went to Iran hoping that the PKK_KONGRA-GEL organization would be registered as a terrorist group. Iran fears what the Kurds could do and it will stand with the EU and the US against the PKK. Iran should also agree with us about Iraq’s territorial integrity. If Tehran doesn’t want Shiite autonomy without Baghdad or a Shiite state which speaks Arabic in southern Iraq, Iran should act in compliance with this policy.
In addition, selling natural gas to Turkey at above-market prices isn’t right. Tehran should appreciate that Ankara is making all sorts of moves for rapprochement and US follow-up. Obviously Iran has been undergoing a critical period since 1940. Even in this period there have not been concerns that the country might break up. We know the value and importance of our neighbor. Erdogan shouldn’t return to Ankara empty-handed. Besides pretty words, we expect concrete developments. We will understand how Tehran acts these days when reports on Iran come out of Washington.”
 IRAN-FRANCE, OR THE MIDDLE EAST-EUROPE?
 BY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on Turkey’s relations with the West and the East. A summary of his column is as follows:
“In the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to France last week, his current visit to Iran provides us with an ideal opportunity to assess Turkey’s political options. First of all, we should take a look at what Ankara expects from these visits.
Ankara’s biggest expectation from Erdogan’s visit to France was ensuring Paris’ support for Turkey’s European Union membership bid as we approach the critical December summit, where the Union is set to decide whether to start our membership talks. Towards this end, Erdogan met not only with the French president and prime minister but also with opposition leaders and business circles. However, Turkey’s expectations from its neighbor Iran usually cover more quotidian issues such as a possible discount in natural gas prices or Iran’s attitude towards the terrorist PKK. As a matter of fact, Ankara is satisfied with Iran’s recent stance on the PKK; therefore the two countries seem to agree on the benefits of an anti-Kurdistan bloc in the region.
The current situation can also be summarized as follows:
While Turkey is currently exerting efforts to make its Western borders politically permeable, it is at the same time trying to do the opposite at its Eastern borders, namely, make them politically impermeable.
Where can Turkey feel like home? In Iran, Iraq or Saudi Arabia? Or in France, Germany and Spain? Poverty, oppression and uncertainty? Or social welfare, progress and freedom?
The border between the Turks and greater Persian culture is the oldest terrestrial border in the world. I believe everybody would benefit if it became Europe’s eastern border.”
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