|Friday, 14 May 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 07-11-28
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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: “STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY HELPS OUR FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM"Speaking at press conference yesterday at the Turkish Embassy in Paris, President Abdullah Gul said that Turkey has avoided sacrificing democracy or freedom in its fight against terrorism and that this has helped it to isolate terrorists. “Some countries have opted to restrict rights and freedoms in the name of the fight against terror, but Turkey has expanded them," said Gul. “Strengthening democracy in Turkey helps our fight against terrorism." Before leaving Paris, Gul met with French Prime Minister Francois Fillon to discuss the fight against terrorism, the Armenian issue, and Turkey’s European Union membership bid. “I mentioned Turkey’s offer to set up a joint research commission regarding the Armenian issue,” he said. “Fillon supported our joint commission idea. It was very fruitful meeting.” In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, Gul said Turkey's relations with the EU have legal foundations, adding that negotiations for its membership are well underway. Gul said a French-proposed “Mediterranean union” project was no substitute for Turkey's full EU membership. /Star/
 GOVT REWORKING ANTI-TERROR COORDINATIONAfter recent deadly terrorist attacks highlighted problems in coordinating state institutions, the government is working to redress these problems. Under a new structure, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, who chairs the Supreme Anti-Terror Board, will be the only official with access to information from the related institutions. Cicek will make statements to the public and be responsible for information flow. In related news, US Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson yesterday met with three deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) along with a number of intellectuals, and they discussed ways to end the terrorist attacks. /Sabah/
 REHN: “TURKEY’S FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM DESERVES INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT”European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday called on the international community to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and its efforts to protect its people. Asked by European parliamentarians about the terrorist PKK and northern Iraq, Rehn said Turkey has pledged that any cross-border operation it carries out will be done within the framework of international law. Stating that the EU Commission has firmly condemned the terrorist PKK’s attacks, Rehn also decried the many casualties among both civilians and soldiers from attacks since September. Rehn also called on the Iraqi government and the regional northern Iraqi administration to guarantee that Iraqi territories would never be used for attacks against Turkey. /Turkiye/
 EC HEAD IN ANKARA PIERINI PRAISES “POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS” IN TURKEYMarc Pierini, the head of the European Commission delegation in Ankara, yesterday said that the European Union realizes that Turkey has modernized, become more democratic, and boosted the welfare of its people. Speaking at a conference held by the Education Ministry, Pierini said that Turkey has carried out reforms on its education policy and system. “I support this, ” he said. “I think that these are serious steps. I know that these reforms are being done for Turkey. The EU’s role is not to give lessons, or impose a model, but to share its experiences.” Stating that Turkey’s emergence from political crises meant the maturating of its democratic institutions, Pierini said that there were developments on cultural rights in the eastern and southeastern regions, as reflected in the Commission’s recent progress report on Turkey. /Milliyet/
 CHARLES AND CAMILLA VISIT EPHESUSBritain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, duchess of Cornwall, yesterday visited the ancient city of Ephesus. During their visit, British Institute of Archeology at Ankara head Dr. Lutgarde Vandeput accompanied the couple. After stopping in Izmir, Charles and Camilla returned to Ankara, where President Abdullah Gul hosted a dinner in the prince’s honor. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...ANNAPOLIS CONFERENCE
 YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on the Mideast peace conference in Annapolis this week. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The US brought together foreign ministers from more than 40 states. It wants to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and so reconcile Arabs and Jews. Annapolis is the capital of the state of Maryland and a very small city. It is famed for its Naval Academy.
President George W. Bush received Israeli President Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas separately. His predecessor Bill Clinton tried to ensure peace in the region with only two people, by reconciling the Israeli and Palestinian leaders, and he was almost successful. The late Yasser Arafat had almost accepted the terms, but then he grew afraid of opposition from Hamas in Palestine, which acts in line with orders given by Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon.
After failing to reconcile two people, doesn’t the US know the difficulty of getting an agreement among over 40 states? Of course it does. But the main concern is to get the backing of Arab countries against Iran.
Hamas, under Iranian command, condemned the Annapolis meeting, and didn’t attend. Syria attended the meeting under pressure, so as not to offend Turkey, and that is important, as it’s a move contrary to Iran. On the other hand, Iran didn’t heed Ankara’s call. As it is challenging the US, of course Tehran may not listen to Turkey.
The US, after failing to get Turkey’s support for its Iran policy, is trying to close the gap. Kurds are under the US’ thumb. It’s trying to break off Arabs from Iran, two parties already not close to each other, and subdue Iran with the help of Britain and Israel.
In this region, it would be quite difficult to try to shift the balances despite Turkey and to eliminate especially Iran. But if a serious dispute arises between the US and Iran, Turkey won’t defend Iran with weapons. It can act impartially by forsaking its authority in the newly established balances. Azerbaijan will actually stand close to the US.
In truth, although no one says so openly, the main concern of the Annapolis meeting was Iran. Tehran knows this too. On the other hand, in the best- case scenario, a provisional agreement could be reached on the Arab-Israeli issue.”
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