The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
ISRAEL – IRAN FIGHT OVER TURKEY'S ADABANK
Adabank is to be sold, in a tender [offer],on October 19 by Savings Deposit Insurance Fund.
Bank Hapolaim of Israel, who owns the majority of the shares of Turkey's Bank Pozitif, was announced his interest to buy Adabank.
Since Iranians entered the negotiations for Adabank, Mossad and CIA started to follow the deal.
The main concern of the Americans and Israelis is if Iran Government buys a bank in Turkey, they might launder money for their nuclear targets through an internationally recognized bank.
MR.GOVERNOR SHELVED BY CHP
Kırklareli Governor Cengiz Aydoğdu, who said it was a mistake for the Democrat Party [DP] not to close down the Republican People's Party [CHP] when it came to power in the 1950s, has been recalled to the central headquarters.
Governor Aydoğdu made the remarks during Abant meeting held in June.
In other developments, Muammer Erol was appointed to the eastern province of Elazığ as governor. In a meeting, Erol referred to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan without naming him: "I want a prime minister who says 'one minute' to the U.S. president, instead of a prime minister who stands in 'order arms' position against the U.S. president."
Chris Spirou, who established an NGO named the "International Hagia Sofia Coalition," got the support of many Greek Orthodox people living in the United States with a promise to "conduct a religious service" in the Hagia Sofia.
Spirou, who earlier worked in some capacity with Milosevic, will set out from Dedeağaç (Alexandroupolis) with 40 people on Saturday to come to Istanbul to conduct a religious service in the Hagia Sofia.
In talks carried out between Ankara, Washington and Athens, it was reported that Spirou was not a person that would be taken seriously, however that the move could create a nationalist effect against the Greek Orthodox believers.
The [Greek Orthodox] Patriarchate, which felt uneasy over the initiative, came out against Spirou.
WISE MEN IN DIYARBAKIR
The Independent Commission on Turkey, known as the "the Wise Men" and headed by former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, paid a visit to Diyarbakır.
Ahtisaari met with the Diyarbakır governor, senior members of the Peace and Democracy Party [BD], and Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir. "All methods regarding the security perspective have been deployed. Weapons are no longer of use. Kurds need to understand Turks, and Turks need to understand Kurds," Baydemir reportedly told Ahtisaari.
The Independent Commission on Turkey is sponsored by the Open Society Foundation and the British Council to extend support to Turkey's European Union membership process.
OECD CHIEF SAYS TURKEY IMPRESSED THE WORLD WITH ECONOMIC GROWTH RATE
Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, said on Wednesday that Turkey had made a remarkable recovery from a global economic crisis, adding that the country "impressed" the world with the pace of its economic growth rate. "[The] 11 percent growth rate for the first half of 2010 is just impressive. Turkey became the most powerful country of the OECD with dropping unemployment figures and increasing foreign investment," Gurria said.
FORMER MAIN OPPOSITION LEADER CALLS FOR PARTY CONGRESS
Deniz Baykal, former chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP] who was ousted by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has called for a grand congress of the party after last Sunday's referendum that saw the approval of a raft of government-backed constitutional amendments.
"The congress needs to convene right away. I will not run for chairman. We need to find out what we have done wrong," Baykal said.
COOPERATION COUNCIL UNITES TURKIC WORLD UNDER SINGLE ROOF
A dream, the groundwork of which was laid by then-Turkish President Turgut Özal 18 years ago, has come true.
A Turkic cooperation council will officially be launched in Istanbul on Thursday. The heads of state of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan -- who met in Istanbul on Wednesday for the Turkic-speaking countries summit, have made their final decision on the cooperation council.
Thursday's leaders' summit will be the first step of the Turkish council, which will be headquartered in Istanbul.
TURKISH ENERGY MINISTER MEETS WITH IRANIAN VICE PRESIDENT
Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz met with Iranian First Vice President Mohammed Reza Rahimi in Istanbul.
Yildiz told the A.A following the meeting that existing natural-gas projects were high on agenda. "The UN has still imposing sanctions on Iran. This issue was not discussed at the meeting since the decisions of the UN Security Council are binding," he added.
TURKEY MULLS PARTICIPATION IN MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM
Turkey is yet to make a final decision regarding a Washington proposal that it participate in a collective missile defense system designed to counter potential threats from Iran.
"For our decision, we need to see a united NATO position on the missile defense matter, and it is not there at this point," a Turkish Foreign Ministry official said recently.
"There have been discussions with several members of NATO to include Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, in terms of parts of this phased-adaptive approach missile-defense architecture, and whether countries would support installations and capabilities for this overall architecture," Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during talks held in Turkey on Sept. 4.
Turkey, however, has yet to clarify its position on a defense system.
Some government officials, mainly from the Foreign Ministry, support Ankara's participation in the collective missile-defense system but others have concerns over rousing Iran's ire, said multiple sources.
The United States' collective missile-defense plans underwent major changes over the past year. U.S. President Barack Obama in September 2009 moved to cancel an earlier plan to set up anti-Iranian missile-defense bases in the Czech Republic and Poland and opted for a regional approach instead.
The White House said at the time that under the latest intelligence assessments, the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range missiles was developing more rapidly than previously projected and that in the near-term, the greatest missile threats from Iran would be to U.S. allies and partners, as well as to personnel deployed by the U.S. in the Middle East and in Europe.
Accordingly, a plan developed during former president George W. Bush's term to deploy radars and interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland to hit Iran's potential long-range and intercontinental ballistic missiles was abandoned.
The countries, however, will still be integrated into the Obama plan in a new fashion.
In phase one of the Obama plan, the U.S. will deploy state-of-the-art SM-3 interceptor missiles and radar surveillance systems on sea-based Aegis weapons systems by 2011. In phase two – to be completed by 2015 – a more capable version of the SM-3 interceptor and more advanced sensors will be used in both sea- and land-based configurations. In later phases three and four, intercepting and detecting capabilities will be further developed.
Among countries Mullen said the U.S. hopes to bring into providing "architectural" support for the system, former Warsaw Pact member and new NATO ally Romania voiced willingness in February to host interceptor missiles, while talks are continuing with Turkey and Bulgaria for the deployment of strong X-band radar stations to detect incoming missiles.
Despite Iran's controversial nuclear program, Turkey is one of Tehran's strongest economic and trade partners. A move by Turkey, a nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council, to vote against fresh sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in June angered Washington. Ankara says it wants a fully diplomatic and peaceful solution to the dispute.
In Ankara, Mullen said he did not plan to "question or rebut" Turkey over the U.N. vote. Instead, he said, the U.S. and Turkey agree that Iran should not achieve a nuclear weapons capability and that "we need to do all we can to ensure that."
Turkey is involved in an effort to buy a national missile-defense system to protect strategic areas and installations from potential ground-to-ground ballistic missile strikes, a program whose first phase is expected to cost between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Competing in an ongoing competition to win the Turkish tender are U.S.-based Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, with their Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) systems; Russia's Rosoboronexport, marketing the S300; the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp. that is offering its HQ-9; and the Italian-French consortium Eurosam, maker of the Aster 30.
Turkey is expected to decide on the tenders next year. The difference between the SM-3, the proposed U.S.-led collective defense system's main component, and the PAC-3, S300, HQ-9 and Aster is that while the systems competing for the Turkish contract are designed to defend only a specific area and can hit an approaching ballistic missile, the SM-3 is able to intercept the ballistic missile during its ascent phase.
TURKS LOOK INWARD, EASTWARD IN MARSHALL FUND POLL
A recent survey supports the opinion that Turkey is shifting away from West to East in its recent foreign policy and also Turks are more tolerant of Iran's nuclear weapons policies.
Turkish experts believe the findings of the survey show that Turks do not perceive Iran's nuclear weapons as a threat.
Experts also claimed that rather than shifting toward the Arab world, Turks prefer to be alone in the international arena and also prefer to have a leadership role in the Middle East. Reflecting international perceptions that Turkey is shifting away from the West, Turkish participants in a global survey have expressed decidedly more interest in cooperation with the Middle East than with Europe or the United States.
Experts say, however, that the trend is also an inward one, with Turks losing trust in international institutions and other countries.
Closer ties with the Middle East were supported by 20 percent of Turkish participants, double last year's rate, in the annual "Transatlantic Trends" survey, conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo in Italy and released Wednesday.
Believers in the idea that Turks should act alone in the international arena dropped from 48 percent in 2008 to 34 percent this year, yet the isolationists still far outnumbered those supporting increased alliances with any other country or group.
"This survey does not show a shift from West to East but that Turkey distances itself from every international actor," Professor Ahmet Evin from Sabancı University told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday. He said the 20 percent of respondents supporting more cooperation with Middle East was not enough to indicate a true shift in outlook.
After the Middle East, cooperation with the European Union had the highest rate of support, at 13 percent. The United States and Russia followed with 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
Turks are not shifting toward the Middle East but want to play a leadership role there without cutting their ties to the Western world, said Serhat Erkmen, a Middle East expert from the Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies. He told the Daily News that the survey figures might be the result of Turkey's recently increased regional role.
The "Transatlantic Trends" survey was conducted in the United States, 11 EU countries and Turkey among at least 1,000 people interviewed by telephone and face-to-face.
The results in Turkey showed a decline in support for Western institutions, with the number of Turks saying NATO is not essential increasing from 37 percent to 43 percent in this year's survey. Turkish respondents also expressed less interest in joining the EU and more pessimism about the prospects of Turkey's membership in the bloc. A total of 63 percent said Turkey is unlikely to join. Perceptions that Turkey's membership would be a good thing are also on a steep decline, dropping from 73 percent in 2003 to 48 percent in 2009 and to 38 percent in 2010.
Among people in the 11 European countries surveyed, on average 33 percent said Turkey's membership in the EU would be a negative thing and 23 percent saw it in a positive light.
The results showed that Turks are more provincial and more skeptical about the rest of the world, said Evin, who is also an executive committee member of the Istanbul Policy Center.
It is also obvious that Turks have a low level of trust in the policies of U.S. President Barack Obama, he told the Daily News. Among the countries surveyed, the most dramatic decrease in Obama's approval ratings was seen in Turkey, where support for the U.S. president dropped from 50 percent in 2009 to 28 percent this year.
The declining popularity of the United States and the European Union among the Turkish public can be attributed in part to Turks' belief that these international actors are not taking action against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK], whose members are trained in northern Iraq, former diplomat and politician İlter Türkmen told the Daily News.
"As Turks, we are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories and the threats coming from external powers compared to other nations. This is why we do not trust any international powers," Türkmen said.
That suspicion does not seem to extend so strongly to Iran. More than people in any other country, Turks expressed limited concern about the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear arms and preference for that scenario over military action against the Islamic republic.
Among Turks surveyed, 40 percent said they are concerned about Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and 48 percent are not concerned. The latter figure is the highest rate among countries included in the poll and, Erkmen said, shows Turks do not see a nuclear Iran as a threat to Turkey.
"Turks believe Iran's armament is a result of its desire to defend itself, especially against the U.S. and Israel, and Turks do not see any threat from Iran," Erkmen told the Daily News.
This year's survey was conducted between June 1 and June 29, right after Israel's May 31 attack on Gaza-bound aid flotilla, in which eight Turks and one American citizen of Turkish descent were killed.
If non-military options to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons are not working, only 13 percent of Turks believe that military action should be taken, while 54 percent said they would accept an Iran with nuclear weapons.
Among all countries, Turks are the least willing to take military action against Iran, but respondents in the United Kingdom and Germany also preferred, by 57 percent to 32 percent and 47 percent to 39 percent, respectively, a nuclear Iran to military action.
As a neighbor to Iran, Turks would want to refrain from seeing another war in their region following the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Erkmen said.
DEBATE HEATS UP OVER TURKISH JUDICIAL BOARD
Heated debate started among the judiciary when the undersecretary for the Justice Ministry announced online that he may stand as a candidate for membership on Turkey's Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges [HSYK].
The most-debated article on the recently approved constitutional amendment package, regarding member selection of the HSYK, has already started a "selection list" conflict.
Amid the countdown for the selection of seven main and four reserve members for the HSYK, Justice Ministry Undersecretary İbrahim Okur announced on the ministry's website that he may announce his own candidacy.
The Judges and Prosecutors Association [YARSAV] and the Democrat-Judiciary objected to his statement.
Okur posted on an Internet forum on Aug. 30 that he was considering standing as a candidate for HSYK membership. Rumors of a possible candidate list prepared by Okur are also circulating.
The Democrat-Judiciary immediately responded with a statement titled "The ruling government's judicial representatives should not interfere with the judiciary."
Democrat-Judiciary Co-Chairman Orhangazi Ertekin, speaking to the daily Radikal, said, "Government representatives, given instructions by the executive branch, are attempting to appear in the elections of the judiciary, which is against the logic of the [constitutional amendment] package."
Nuh Hüseyin Köse of YARSAV said as long as the Justice Minister is granted the authority to supervise all judges and prosecutors as well as inspectors, he poses a threat to all judges and prosecutors to be elected to the HSYK.
"If 10 judges and prosecutors act in line with the Justice Minister [during the HSYK's decision-making process], then the board will be overtaken by the executive power," Köse said.