|Sunday, 29 November 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 07-01-30
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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
 ERDOGAN ATTENDS AFRICA SUMMIT IN ETHIOPIAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended the opening of the Eighth African Union summit of heads of state and government held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Addressing the African leaders at the gathering, Erdogan warned that extremists and terrorists are trying to push the world into a dark, bottomless abyss, adding that the Alliance of Civilizations, an initiative launched by Turkey and Spain, was working to alter this course. "We aim at forming extensive cooperation, peace and an atmosphere of cohesion by means of highlighting common values of different cultures and religions," underlined the premier. Concerning the situation in Somalia and Darfour, Erdogan said that Ankara attaches great importance to the territorial integrity of Somalia and wants clashes there to end as soon as possible. He also stated that Turkey was trying to draw up a legal framework for political, economic, commercial, military and cultural relations with Africa. Furthermore, Erdogan asked that African countries support Turkey's bid for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council. Erdogan was specially invited to the summit by Oumar Konare, the head of African Union Commission, making him the first prime minister of the Republic of Turkey to attend the summit. Turkey was accepted to the union in April 2005 with observer country status. /Turkiye/
 SWEDISH EU MINISTER IN ANKARASwedish Minister for European Union Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom arrived in Turkey yesterday. The minister had no planned official meeting slated for Monday but will have talks today with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Parliament's EU Harmonization Commission head Yasar Yakis and Mehmet Elkatmis, head of Parliament's Human Rights Commission. /Turkish Daily News/
 ISRAELI PREMIER TO VISIT TURKEY NEXT MONTHIsraeli Premier Ehud Olmert is set to pay an official visit to Turkey on Feb. 15. Olmert's scheduled visit to Ankara last August was canceled due to developments in the Mideast. He is expected to have talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the situation in the Mideast, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lebanon and Iran's nuclear program. /Star/
 EU TERM PRESIDENT GERMANY PLANS TO OPEN 3 CHAPTERS IN TURKEY'S TALKSDuring its six-month term presidency of the European Union, Germany is planning to open talks with Turkey in three chapters. Germany reportedly aims to begin talks with Turkey on the chapter of companies and industrial policies at the end of April, and then the chapters of statistics as well as economic and monetary policy in mid-June. EU sources state that Germany is also resolved to approve direct trade regulations with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), an issue which has seen no progress since 2004. /Star/
 US' RALSTON TO VISIT ANKARAUS Special Envoy for countering terrorism Joseph Ralston is due in Ankara today to have key talks with Turkish officials. Ralston is expected to meet with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit to exchange views on the issue of the PKK in northern Iraq. During his two-day stay, Ralston and his Turkish counterpart Edip Baser will review efforts in the fight against the terrorist PKK and progress in the newly established mechanism against terror groups. In related news, before his visit to Ankara, Ralston, accompanied by a delegation, yesterday visited the Mahmur Refugee Camp in northern Iraq and had talks with representatives of the camp about the situation there. The visit came after Ankara's criticisms of Washington's ineffectiveness against the PKK. /Aksam- Turkiye/
 WB HEAD WOLFOWITZ: "TURKEY'S EDUCATION SYSTEM IS TOUGH, AND IT NEEDS FLEXIBILITY"Speaking to Hurriyet, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz yesterday said, "I think that Turkey's economic and social development are both important not only for the Turkish people but for all Muslims of the world. I believe this will be a good model for the people in these regions, as it already has been. What I like in my visit to Turkey as World Bank president is that I can focus on important issues related to Turkey and to find the opportunity to participate in this process." Also touching on education issues, Wofowitz said, "I spoke about education with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Sunday we had a meeting with Turkish young people about education where we listened to their views and could see that education has become an important issue. As a former professor and dean, I can say that the Turkish education system is tough. If we consider the changing conditions we face today, it is important to have an education system which can rapidly adapt to these conditions, and is flexible and open to innovation. The prime minister also said that a lot of things should be done about the issue." /Hurriyet/
 TUZMEN REJECTS IRAQI NOTICES ON OIL CONTRACTSState Minister Kursad Tuzmen yesterday rejected as "unacceptable" recent Iraqi National Oil Company (SOMO) notices telling Turkish companies who export oil products to neighboring Iraq that they should contact northern Iraqi officials if they want to continue to do business. Tuzmen said that these were notices sent from company to company, not official letters sent from one state to another, adding, "As Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, our counterpart is the central government, the Iraqi government." Before his visit to Libya, Tuzmen told a press conference that he has been aware of the situation since earlier this month and added, "We have been working in Iraq with the Oil Ministry and SOMO. But we've never seen such an unproductive period from SOMO." Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry is awaiting a reply to their letter to the Baghdad administration responding to the SOMO notice. New measures reportedly might be taken to stop oil shipments through the Habur border gate if Baghdad's stance doesn't change. /Sabah/
FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 RELATIONS WITH YEREVANBY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)
Columnist Sami Kohen comments on Turkish-Armenian relations. A summary of his column is as follows:
"How will the atmosphere created by the murder of Hrant Dink influence Turkey's foreign relations in terms of Yerevan? Will this incident cause a rapprochement between Ankara and Yerevan and the Armenian diaspora? How will it be reflected in certain countries' tendency to enact pro-Armenian legislation? Firstly, the shock created by Dink's murder created hope after certain positive signals coming mostly from Turkey. The Turkish nation's criticism, the government's sensitivity, the capture of the gunman and other suspects and the participation of important people from Armenia and the diaspora in the funeral created surprise and sympathy in foreign circles. Certain European newspapers even claimed that this tragic incident could be an opportunity to melt the ice between Turks and Armenians and defuse the so-called Armenian genocide as a source of tension. Repercussions of this hateful attack reminded people of the rapprochement between Turkey and Greece following our devastating 1999 Marmara earthquake. Of course, these two incidents are very different, but the similarity is that civil society gave an immediate and sincere response and took a step for mutual understanding and sympathy.
The basic thought in the rapprochement between Turkey and Greece was that the leaders of the two sides knew that they could have solved the problem between them quickly and easily. However, they also thought that dialogue must certainly be established so the two neighboring countries can live peacefully. Likewise, an atmosphere of softening initiated by civil society dominated thanks to this policy. Actually, the political disagreements are still unsolved, but the two sides learned how to live with their problems. Can such a model be applied in normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia? Diplomatic relations don't exist, the borders are closed and there are no official contacts between the two countries. Ankara stipulates certain preconditions to establish normal relations. For example, it wants Armenia to end its occupation of Karabagh and reconcile with Azerbaijan. Turkey also wants joint commission set up to examine the genocide claims. Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian, who came to Istanbul to attend Dink's funeral, suggested that relations be established unconditionally. However, the two sides only repeated their usual positions.
Actually, it's not so easy to normalize relations between Ankara and Yerevan. There are certain complications for the two sides. However, these difficulties can and should be overcome with political will and courage. Ankara's establishing relations with Yerevan can ensure a better understanding with the diaspora and even prevent certain countries supporting the genocide claims. Of course, there's no guaranteed such an opening would prevent the US Congress from passing an Armenian resolution or stop the campaigns of diaspora militants. However, the policies we've followed up to now haven't been very effective, and Turkey's relations with many countries have been harmed for this reason. The atmosphere which emerged after Dink's murder can create an opportunity to try new strategies. Now it's time for the two sides to take steps in this direction."
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