|Saturday, 10 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-04-03
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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
03.04.2008FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 PRESIDENT GUL ATTENDS NATO SUMMITPresident Abdullah Gul, accompanied by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, yesterday arrived in Bucharest, Romania, to attend a NATO summit. Speaking to reporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, Gul said that during the gathering, the prospective NATO memberships of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, relations with Georgia and Ukraine, policies on the Balkans, and operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo would be taken up. Asked if Ankara would send additional troops to Afghanistan, Gul said that Ankara was very interested in the county’s situation, but had no plans to send additional soldiers. /Turkiye/
 GUL, AL-SABAH AT TURKISH-KUWAITI BUSINESS FORUMBefore leaving for Romania, President Abdullah Gul yesterday attended the Turkish-Kuwaiti Business Forum along with visiting Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. Touching on the importance of Al- Sabah’s visit, Gul said, “This will contribute to the beginning of a new era not only between Turkey and Kuwait, but all Gulf countries. Businessmen of the two countries should step up to this responsibility.” In related news, Gul yesterday met with Suleyman Celebi, head of the Confederation of Revolutionary Labor Unions (DISK). Afterwards, Celebi said that they had discussed problems facing Turkey, including the current polarization and tension. /Turkiye-Aksam/
 ERDOGAN VISITS SWEDENPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by State Minister Sait Yazicioglu, Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan, and Interior Minister Besir Atalay, yesterday traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, to pay an official visit at the invitation of his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt. Erdogan was first received by King XVI Gustaf and then met with Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission head Goeran Lennmarker and European Union Affairs Commission head Anna Kinberg Batra. Addressing Sweden’s International Relations Institute, Erdogan said that his government places great importance on Turkey’s EU membership bid. Stressing that Turkey’s reform process will continue decisively, the premier said the EU including Turkey in its enlargement will strengthen the Union. In addition, speaking to reporters about the closure case against his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan said that the process will continue in line with the law and his party will prepare its defense, adding that Turkey is powerful enough to overcome any difficulty. He also said work on amending controversial Article 301 is continuing and will be taken up in Parliament following debate on the Social Security Bill. /Turkiye/
 EU TO KEEP CLOSE WATCH ON AKP CLOSURE CASEEuropean Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday briefed the European Commission on the court case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). After the briefing, a spokesman said the Commission would closely follow the case and its progress. He added that the Commission would take another look at the case after an upcoming visit to Ankara by Rehn and Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso. /Cumhuriyet/
 CYPRUS’ LOKMACI GATE DUE TO REOPEN TODAYThe Lokmaci Gate, a crossing between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration closed for over three decades, will reopen today with a ceremony. TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, Turkish Cypriot representative for European Union and UN talks Ozdil Nami, Lefkosha’s Turkish Mayor Cemal Bulutoglu, Nicosia’s Greek Cypriot Mayor Eleni Mavro, and UNDP Program Manager Titiana Zennaro will be among the dignitaries at the ceremony. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 WHAT KIND OF TURKEY?BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)
Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on what sort of Turkey should be created. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Actually I should have asked my question like this: What kind of Turkey would the world want? This approach isn’t an effort to position Turkey passively, but the search for a position which will maximize our country’s power and influence, because interaction is always mutual, and the correct stance needs to be able to see both sides of the coin.
We should address the criticisms from foreign quarters about the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and their reverberations in Turkey. Yes, these criticisms were mentioned aloud, which gives us the impression that our sovereignty is being violated. It’s true that our state was originally established by overcoming the West’s scheme to divide up Turkey. And we’re right in saying no Westerner who hasn’t lived in our country is capable of or willing to understand our peculiar dynamics, fears and traumas.
But in the globalizing world, each country like Turkey which is fully integrated into the international system has to ensure that incidents within its borders are correctly understood by the entire international public and that its image is strengthened. No state or government can lead a life out of touch, inaccessible and free from international interpretations, within its walls of sovereignty. Now everybody is watching and monitoring each other worldwide.
So what kind of Turkey can make itself accepted in the strongest way on the global stage? Or should we stress the characteristics that make us original and indispensable? If we consider geography to be our basic, indispensable axis, can we create a strong Turkey without democracy? So can we do this without secularism, without our military power, without our social and cultural structure with all of its colors and beliefs, without our history, without our republic, without our state?
The stage is global, the set is ornate, the actors are very competitive, the lines have been memorized, and the audience is the entire world. Actually, Turkey is no walk-on and maybe it’s not playing the leading role either, but it certainly plays a pivotal role. If it forces the situation a little, it could even steal the scene and rewrite the script. But certain facts must first be accepted. This requires knowing the rules of the game.
What we call the ‘West’ isn’t a unitary whole. There are different opinions and different openings and views about us. All global players have various local alliances and cooperation. Who is sharing them with whom and what sort of mutual interests are being protected? We should look at this. In addition, there isn’t one single Turkey, because different strategies and policies are being followed.
Nevertheless, there are certain values we have to reach a consensus on. We all love the same country in our own way. We might want to play different roles, but basically we know that we’re part of the same play. Even if we all have a different image of Turkey in mind, we have certain values which unite us. Thus, our only chance lies in embracing these values for the sake of Turkey’s role and establishing perceptions of common interests and threats. Our indispensable element is certain, that is, ‘Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law.’ These aren’t separable and we can’t exclude any of them. We’ll keep all of them together.
As there are people watching us, even if our domestic conflicts are fierce, we should ensure that our outer image fits the role we want to have. This means everyone must take responsibility.”
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