Πέμπτη, 18 Μαρτίου 2010

Τι συμβαίνει στην Τουρκία: Turkey Weekly Report (5-12 Μαρτίου 2010)

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Turkish National Agenda (March 05th-12th)

Armenian Protocol

The US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the Armenian ‘genocide’ resolution last Thursday.
* Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said Tuesday that Turkish Ambassador to Washington Nam?k Tan, who was called to Ankara over the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee's approval of a bill recognizing the World War I deaths of Anatolian Armenians as "genocide," will not be sent back to the US, the Anatolia news agency has reported.
o Turkey will take its time during a broad assessment of bilateral relations with the United States after a US congressional committee last week
* NATO member Turkey recalled its ambassador to the United States for consultations after a vote in a US congressional committee on Thursday branded the World War I incidents as genocide.
o PM Erdo?an: In a statement, Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdo?an also said he was seriously concerned that the non-binding resolution would harm Turkish-US ties and efforts by Muslim Turkey and Christian Armenia to bury a century of hostility.
* Turkey said on Friday it was determined to press ahead with efforts to normalise ties with Armenia despite a US congresional panel vote terming as 'genocide' the World War I incidents.
o Foregin Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu: "We are determined to press ahead with normalisation of relations with Armenia," Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu told a news conference. However, he said parliamentary rafification of peace accords with Armenia were at risk. Davuto?lu said on Friday the issue was a matter of “honor” for Turkey.
o Normalization ties with Armenia: The vote at the US congressional panel is also expected to further strain a process of normalization between estranged neighbors Turkey and Armenia. Davuto?lu said Turkey was determined to go ahead with efforts to restore ties with Armenia but said it would not be “pressured” into taking any decisions. According to the minister, the vote put the ratification of agreements to normalize ties with Armenia at risk.
o The protocols have not yet been debated in the Turkish Parliament, although the government submitted the protocols on Nov. 21 for approval. Suat K?l??, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) parliamentary group, said the US vote would influence the approval of the protocols with Armenia. He said, however, that the government would not act “emotionally” on the issue and would take mutual steps.
o The US resolution, which Ankara expects will not reach the House floor, and the normalization process “must” definitely be dealt with as two separate processes which are independent from each other, he stressed.
o US on resolution: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the administration believed the resolution should not and will not proceed to the full House. But even if the resolution fails to make its way to the House floor, the tension -- a recurring theme straining Turkish-US ties almost on an annual basis -- is still expected to escalate in the coming weeks. President Barack Obama is preparing to issue a traditional April 24 message marking, according to Armenians, the start of the genocide campaign nearly a century ago and whether he would keep his election campaign promise to refer to the World War I-era events as genocide -- something he avoided in last year’s message -- remains to be seen.
* Cabinet discussing new roadmap: At this week’s regular weekly Cabinet meeting presided by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an will focus on drawing up a roadmap concerning the current course of affairs in bilateral relations between Ankara and Washington.
o Diplomatic sources have said self-isolating measures such as shutting down ?ncirlik Air Base, used by the US military, or cutting defense imports from the US are unlikely at this stage. But damage to the partnership with Turkey is likely to hurt US strategic interests in the Middle East and Afghanistan, where Turkey is a key contributor to the NATO-led peacekeeping force. Its growing clout in the Middle East has given Turkey a key role in the region, making it a valuable ally for the US that is capable of exerting influence in areas and groups where the US presence and influence are limited.
* Sweden: Turkey recalled its ambassador to Sweden on Thursday and cancelled an upcoming summit between the countries after the Swedish parliament branded the World War One killings of Anatolian Armenians as "genocide." The resolution including recognition of Armenian allegations was approved with 131 votes against 130.
Nabucco

* The strategically crucial Nabucco pipeline got a thumbs up from the Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, breaking legal ground in Turkey for the pipeline connecting the country’s eastern neighbors to Austria.
o Parliament passed a bill approving the Nabucco project and the establishment of a national Nabucco company dealing with issues regarding the new pipeline. The bill, titled “The Acceptance Agreement Regarding the Nabucco Project between Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey,” was passed after debate on the floor of Parliament.
o Parliament passed a bill approving the Nabucco project and the establishment of a national Nabucco company dealing with issues regarding the new pipeline. The bill, titled “The Acceptance Agreement Regarding the Nabucco Project between Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey,” was passed after debate on the floor of Parliament.

Cyprus issue

* Prime Minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus Dervis Ero?lu said Friday that there was no agreement between parties over the topics discussed under the settlement talks, pointing at the Greek Cypriot side as the cause of probable failure of talks.
* The European Court of Human Rights on Friday ruled that the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) is a valid domestic judicial remedy whose jurisdiction extends to Greek Cypriots.
o The verdict means that from now on Greek Cypriots will not be able to launch court cases against Turkey at the European court prior to seeking redress with the IPC and sets a precedent for approximately 1,500 property cases pending at the European court.
o The top European court’s recognition of the Immovable Property Commission (IPC) of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) as a valid domestic judicial remedy whose jurisdiction extends to Greek Cypriots is a “historic” decision that needs to be well comprehended, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu has remarked.
* UN Special Envoy to Cyprus Alexander Downer was in the Turkish capital on Monday as diplomacy gained visible mobility on several fronts ahead of the presidential election in the northern part of Cyprus scheduled for the second-half of April.
* Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has said he will meet with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, soon to discuss the Cyprus problem and Turkish-Greek ties, asserting that the Aegean neighbors can display the best of partnership in today’s globalized world.

Energy

* Mideast rivals Israel and Syria on Tuesday each announced ambitions to develop nuclear energy, with Israel facing the prospect that its plan could bring new international attention to its secretive nuclear activities.
o Both countries laid out their hopes at an international conference on civilian nuclear energy at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Civilian nuclear energy contributes far less to global warming than burning of fossil fuels but worries many because of the risks of long-term waste storage and the possibility of proliferation.
* Turkey and South Korea signed on Wednesday a cooperation protocol to establish a nuclear energy power plant in the northern Turkish province of Sinop.
* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will visit Turkey on May 11-13 for talks with Turkish officials focusing on energy cooperation and expanding bilateral ties, Russian officials have said.

Military/Defense

* An agreement on civil aviation cooperation was signed by Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m and New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Murray McCully at a ceremony in Ankara on Thursday.
o Speaking during the ceremony Y?ld?r?m said the two countries had agreed to exert efforts to launch direct flights, which could boost economic relations and tourism. “The agreement not only regulates flights between the two countries, it also includes technical cooperation, engineering and air traffic issues,” Y?ld?r?m noted.
* The co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC), H?l?ne Flautre, has said the ongoing democratization process in Turkey calls on the military to return to its duties and to stop meddling in the political and public domain.
* Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said that Turkey wanted the whole Middle East purified from nuclear weapons. Speaking to reporters in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Erdo?an assessed the recent developments in the region and said that Iran was an important country in the region.
o "We believe there should be cooperation, not polarization, in the region. We support dialogue and diplomacy in solution of the problem about Iran's nuclear program. During the solution process, Iran should be given the right of having civil nuclear energy with peaceful means. On the other hand, we want the Middle East to be turned into a region which is purified from nuclear weapons," said Erdo?an.
* A400M: A conclusion has finally been reached following technical problems and delays for the Airbus A400M agreement. The EU countries agreed on allocating additional resources of 3.5 billion euros to the project. Turkey which is one of the seven partners in the project has agreed to pay 83 million Euros indirectly to help the project together with 111 million Euros paid in first place.
o Therefore, Turkey will be paying an additional 194 million euros (405.5 million TL) for this project. In the framework of the project, Turkey is procuring 10 aircrafts and is taking on a cost of 1 billion 66 million euros for the 6% share that falls on Turkey.

Syria-Israel talks

* Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu had talks with senior Syrian officials on Sunday that focused on the Middle East peace process as well as tensions escalating from time to time between Lebanon and Syria. Davuto?lu had separate closed-door meetings with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani. Later in the day, he was also expected to meet with his counterpart, Walid al-Moallem.
* Turkey's prime minister said Tuesday that Israel had accepted that his country again mediate talks with Syria but the Israeli prime minister said no decision had been made.
o "Syria wants Turkey's mediation," the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted Recep Tayyip Erdo?an as telling journalists during a visit to Saudi Arabia. "Israel has accepted this."

Iran

* The outlook for imposing tough new UN sanctions on Iran is increasingly grim, as Russia and China work to slow down a US and European drive for swift action, Israel's UN envoy said on Tuesday.

Israel

* Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an has strongly criticized Israel’s decision to designate two shrines located in Palestinian territory as Israeli national heritage sites, while some Israeli media outlets have interpreted his remarks as a continuation of his “verbal attack” on Israel.

Afghanistan

* Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said that all western countries demanded cooperation of Turkey in settlement of security in Afghanistan. Speaking to reporters in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, Erdo?an said that international community appreciated Turkey's efforts to restore security, stability and prosperity in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said that Turkish soldiers and civil officials who were under mission in Afghanistan were embraced by all Afghan people, adding that all western countries demanded Turkey's cooperation in Afghanistan.

Other

* Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an will travel to Saudi Arabia on a formal visit on March 8 to receive the King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam, popularly known as the "Arab Nobel Prize."
* The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which recently announced plans to press ahead with constitutional reform, will send the relevant legislation to Parliament this week.
* The Turkish prime minister said on Wednesday that Turkey and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) jointly decided not to sign a stand-by arrangement.

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