|Friday, 14 May 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-09-17
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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 RECEIVES NEW UNIVERSITY RECTORSPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday received five newly appointed university rectors. The rectors told Gul about new projects at their universities. Meeting with Ankara University Rector Cemal Talug, Gul learned about its Child University and Africa Institute. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN HOSTS IFTAR DINNER FOR AMBASSADORS IN ANKARAPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday hosted an iftar dinner for ambassadors and heads of foreign missions at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) headquarters in Ankara Speaking at the dinner, Erdogan complained about delays between the opening and closing of chapters in Turkey 's European Union membership talks. Criticizing the EU for complicating the screening process for Turkey Erdogan said this was not a fair approach. "We want you to give us the same rights you gave other candidates before Turkey," he said. "If you see us as a burden, then say so, " he added. "But you should know that Turkey is coming to relieve you of burdens, not bring new ones. You should see Turkey like this." Erdogan said despite Turkey's determination in its EU bid, the EU continues to issue unhelpful statements and show a demoralizing attitude. /Milliyet-Sabah/
 JUSTICE MINISTER MEETS WITH GERMAN AMBASSADOR CUNTZJustice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin yesterday met with German Ambassador to Ankara Eckart Cuntz. Speaking to reporters, Sahin said that Ankara had never asked German authorities to hold back or do anything else concerning the case against the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-based charity run by Turks. Stressing that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office had already filed fraud charges against the group, Sahin said that the government in no way protects criminals or suspects. In related news, the trial in Germany against Lighthouse is expected to end today. /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL LAMBASTES ERDOGAN OVER ALLEGED LINKS TO LIGHTHOUSE FOUNDATIONMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday continued to speak out on a fraud case involving the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-based Turkish charity, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's stance on the case. "Those who perpetrated the fraud of this century are on intimate terms with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)," he said. Baykal also called on Erdogan to apologize to the public for his past support for the group. /Cumhuriyet/
 BASBUG URGES MEDIA NOT TO DRAG MILITARY INTO POLITICSChief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Başbuğ yesterday met with leading media representatives at General Staff headquarters. Deputy Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hasan Igsız and Media and Public Relations Department head Gen. Metin Gürak were also in attendance. The meeting focused on the Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) communication and media strategies, and Basbug also spoke about current events. Saying that the TSK would hold weekly press conferences to tell reporters about the army's views, and added, "We will keep communication channels with the media open for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week." He said defense reporters would play an important role in this process. Basbug urged reporters and editors not try to get the army embroiled in political debates, adding that this is a very sensitive point. He said that no one should try to use the army to further political ends. Stating that the current restrictions on the TSK access of some media organizations will continue, he said, "We are open to constructive criticism but opposed to biased, tendentious and false media coverage against the army. We will be very careful about security issues and preventing leaks." Asked about the army's "e-memorandum" of April 2007 on the then-looming presidential elections, Basbug said, "The army's stance on the main principles of the republic is clear. It doesn't change." Touching on Turkey's relations with the European Union, Basbug said the full EU membership goal carries great importance for Turkey, and urged the Union to treat Turkey 's accession the same as other candidate countries. "If the EU fails to give access to Turkey, then it will lose strategic influence in the Balkans and the world," he warned. Commenting on a recent visit of a serving general to two retired generals under arrest as part of the Ergenekon probe, Başbuğ said this had been a mere courtesy call and show of personal loyalty. He dismissed claims that the visit would affect the judiciary's decision on the probe, saying this insulted the courts. Basbug also said that he expected that the government's motion enabling cross- border operations into northern Iraq would be extended. /Turkiye/
 HIGHER PLANNING COUNCIL MEETS IN ANKARAThe Higher Planning Council (YPK), led by State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Erken, met yesterday in Ankara. The meeting lasted over seven hours, with government spokesman and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, State Minister Hayati Yazici, and various bureaucrats also in attendance. The meeting focused on public investments and policies for 2009- 2011. Speaking to reporters, Erken said that regional economic development and investment projects such as the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GOP) and Konya Plain Project will be government priorities. Stating that areas such as education, health, technological research and the "e-state" project will also be priorities, he added, "The investment shares of the energy and transportation sectors have been preserved through 2010. The government will work to reduce regional differences in terms of development." The government is also focused on projects in line with Turkey's European Union harmonization, he added. /Sabah/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 BASBUG BETWEEN THE LINESBY MUSTAFA KARAALIOGLU (STAR)
Columnist Mustafa Karaalioglu comments on a press conference held by Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Important military issues were discussed during a press conference held by Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday. Basbug talked about current issues with a new style, and both answered and asked questions. What really got my attention was his frequent self-criticism on the fight against terrorism. He mentioned missed opportunities, various security measures, other anti-terrorist steps, and the need to prevent terrorists from going into the mountains. Here's what I jotted down from his words:
1. 'From now on, we'd like to reduce the number of press releases. As much as possible, we'll issue fewer statements.' This is an important step in terms of making Turkey a normal civilian, democratic country. Basbug said what statements are issued would focus on military issues, and this is the right thing to do.
2. 'Nobody, particularly the media, should try to practice politics through the military.' Basbug stressed that he was disturbed by the use of the military as for political ends. Accordingly, he spoke very carefully about the Ergenekon probe, saying that the claims that the military is trying to influence the judiciary insult the bench.
3. His self-criticism on the fight against terrorism… Basbug spoke in detail about the price of steps taken, and not taken, to fight terror in years past. He said that, for example, if the situation had been correctly evaluated in 1985, the problem could have been solved. He added that they misperceived temporary lulls in terrorist attacks as the end of the terrorist PKK and that similar mistakes were made. He added that the fight will continue, but that measures are needed in certain areas. Steps in other issues, mostly economic ones, should accompany the armed struggle.
4. No other stance could have been expected from a military man who says openly that we couldn't have reduced the number of terrorists in the mountains, though we have suffered great losses at the hands of the terrorist PKK.
4. Basbug was again asked about the military's stance and sensitivities over the issue of secularism. He said that this sensitivity would never change, but added that democratization, a state governed by the rule of law, and the principle of social welfare are also important. Article 2 of the Constitution says the same thing, and it's a very positive stance to stress the importance of democracy.
5. 'We favor full membership in the European Union.' There's a perception that the military lost its affinity for the EU during the process of membership talks and had even started to take a stance against it. Basbug's position on this issue was again clear. He said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) supports full membership and sees it as a means to reach the goal of modern civilization set by Ataturk. He added that they have no problem with EU membership and even understand the EU, because Turkey is a country of 70 million people, not, say, a country of 7 million like Bulgaria . He added that they were only objecting to EU demands which would endanger the state's unitary structure.
6. 'The TSK looks at every issue.' Basbug said he was disturbed by headlines such as 'Again, dead soldiers,' which he sees as demoralizing and also implying military failure. He said that if the military has any shortcomings it would look at them, but that it doesn't have to make this self-examination public.
7. There was one moment when he raised his voice, when he said that no one wants the end of terrorism more than the TSK, and that those who say otherwise are traitors! He asked: How could anyone think that we want our soldiers or officers to die?
8. His analyses of the Caucasus, NATO and the Balkans… Basbug gave me the impression that he's a soldier who can consider these situations not only from the military point of view, but also through civilian eyes in terms of foreign policy.
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