Mar. 15th Press Review

GUL HOSTS BANQUET IN HONOR OF CROATIAN PRESIDENT

President Abdullah Gul yesterday hosted a banquet in honor of his Croatian counterpart Ivo Josipovic, who is currently in Turkey on an official visit. Earlier Gul and Josipovic held a joint press conference after a face-to-face meeting and co-chairing talks between Turkish and Croatian delegations. Josipovic is the first Croatian president to officially visit Turkey in six years.

PM ERDOGAN VISITS RUSSIA

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to Russia today for the second meeting of the Turkish-Russian High-Level Cooperation Council. During his three-day visit, key energy issues such as natural gas and nuclear power plants will be discussed. The final official step in the process of introducing a visa-free regime between the Black Sea neighbors will also be taken. In January Turkish and Russian officials signed a readmission agreement in Moscow in a step towards a visa-free travel regime between their countries. As the foreign ministries of both countries have laid the legal groundwork, the two sides will now exchange notes, which will pave the way for 30 days of visa-free travel within a 90-day period for citizens of both nations.

ERDOGAN: "TO STAY IN POWER, LEADERS MUST NOT RESIST THE WINDS OF CHANGE"

Addressing the opening of the Leaders of Change Summit in Istanbul yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged leaders not to resist change, commenting on recent developments in the Middle East and northern Iraq. "Leaders that fall behind their people will grow cruel," said Erdogan. "Every leader that is deaf to the demands of society will sooner or later fall to the winds of change." Erdogan also again warned of the dangers of possible NATO intervention in Libya.

ERDOGAN: "TO END THE LIBYAN CRISIS, GADDAFI SHOULD APPOINT A NEW PRESIDENT"

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his son and told them in order to end the crisis in Libya, he should appoint a new president who has the support of the people, Erdogan told al-Arabia television yesterday. Gaddafi should take positive steps to end the crisis in his country, said Erdogan.

BABACAN: "TURKEY HAS MAJOR ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTIONS TO MAKE TO EUROPE"

Turkey is a powerful economic actor, and far from being a burden on Europe’s economy, it will make contributions to it, said Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Ali Babacan yesterday. Babacan made the remarks in his speech to the Leaders of Change Summit in Istanbul, set to conclude today.

TUNISIAN OPPOSITION LEADER VOICES HIS COUNTRY’S "AFFINITY" FOR TURKEY

The Tunisian people have a great affinity for Turkey, but it would be incorrect to call Turkey a model, said Ahmed Najib Chebbi, the leader of Tunisia’s Democratic Progressive Party, in Istanbul yesterday. Chebbi, in Turkey for the two-day Leaders of Change Summit, said that Turkey’s popularity in Tunisia has historical roots but is also due to its economic success. "And it is also because of the new role that Turkey is playing on the international stage," he added. "Turkish politics are being watched by the whole world to see the reconciliation between political Islam and democracy."

UKRAINIAN PM PLEDGES EASIER INVESTMENT FOR TURKS

Ukraine will cut taxes on imports from Turkey, and Turks will be able to take advantage of tax exemptions for tourism investments, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov announced at a meeting with Turkish businessmen in Istanbul on Monday. "We’re inviting Turkish investors to invest in Ukraine," Azarov said at the meeting organized by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK). Various tax cuts and exemptions will be introduced for Turkish investors to boost Ukraine’s economic growth, he said. As the state is planning to privatize nearly 80 percent of state-run firms, Azarov added, "Nearly $20 billion is being allocated to a program to modernize the country for various projects." According to Azarov, the 20 percent tax applied to Turkish products will fall to 17 percent by 2014.

EU ACCESSION IN JEOPARDY? NOT ACCORDING TO THE EIB

Reading between the lines of what a leading European Union official stated Monday in Ankara on financing from the Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB), it appears that Turkey is enjoying ever-increasing support, at least from this important European Union institution. Successfully implemented EIB projects will firstly help Brussels better appreciate Turkey’s economic, administrative and societal progress, as well as show a recently rather EU-skeptical Turkish public that EU funding works.

14TH EURASIAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT IN ISTANBUL FAST APPROACHING

The 14th Eurasian Economic Summit will take place next month in Istanbul with the participation of many current and former presidents, government ministers, lawmakers, economists and representatives from the region. Some of the major issues to be discussed at the summit, set to be held on April 13-15 by the Marmara Group Strategic and Social Research Foundation, include energy, the economy, terrorism and intercultural dialogue. The summit has been held in Istanbul for the past 13 years. Three presidents and a prime minister are scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the summit at Istanbul’s WOW Hotel and Convention Center: Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, Albanian President Bamir Topi, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic, and Republic of Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, along with Mikhail Formuzal, the governor of Moldova’s Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia. A number of first ladies will also attend the summit to discuss their role in influencing gender policies, including Maja Ivanova of Macedonia, Teuta Topi of Albania, Svetlana Vujanovic of Montenegro, and Lumnije Thaci of Kosovo.

TURKEY AWARDED HOSTING RIGHTS TO 2014 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Turkey will host the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women after getting the nod over Australia for the honor, world basketball’s governing body announced Sunday. FIBA announced the decision to award Turkey the biggest international women’s basketball tournament following a board meeting in Lyon, France. "We had two outstanding bids, with both countries doing an amazing job of giving the board very good reasons to believe they were very capable of hosting the event and having it be a great success," said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann. "The quality of the two bids is testament to the growth of women’s basketball." Turkey won the bid with an overwhelming majority of 16-4.

TURKISH AIRLINES SET TO OFFER THIRD DESTINATION IN CHINA

Turkish Airlines is set to soon begin direct flights to Guangzhou, China, the country’s main manufacturing hub. Guangzhou is the third destination for THY’s direct flights to China, following Beijing and Shanghai.

TURKISH AND ARMENIAN DANCERS TO TAKE STAGE IN ISTANBUL TONIGHT

Turkish and Armenian dancers will take to the stage tonight in Istanbul together to present performances combining Turkish and Armenian traditions. In a show called "Istanbulluys" (Istanbul-light), 90 dancers from Turkey’s well-known dance theater Shaman and the Armenian group Maral (gazelle) will present Turkish and Armenian poetry togethe with magic rhythms of dance and colorful costumes. Shaman Artistic Director Murat Uygun told reporters the groups don’t want to underline their identities. "Two groups of friends will take the stage together," he said. "Their songs, actions and figures are so similar that one can’t tell of the love for humanity in the poetry of Armenian Sayat Nova and Turkish Yunus Emre with a different language. That’s why we try to do something beyond identities." Maral Artistic Director Garbis Capkan agreed with Uygun, saying: "Rumi says, ’Come, come, whoever you are.’ Beyond this, all words are meaningless."

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