The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.


Bank Mellat, the second biggest bank of Iran operates in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir in Turkey without any problems [from Turkish authorities].

A report prepared by U.S. Intelligence agencies says that Iran breaks the international sanctions for her nuclear program with Bank Mellat via Turkey. According to Reuters, the U.S. warned Turkey and asked it to stop the financial operations of Bank Mellat, which is on the "black list" of the United Nations for money laundering.


It has been revealed that Hakan Fidan, the undersecretary of the [Turkish] National Intelligence Organization, who did not attend Sunday's terrorism summit in Ankara, was in the United States.

Fidan had gone to the United States to hold a series of talks on the elimination of the terrorist organization PKK and met the head of the CIA and members of the National Security Council.


Republican People's Party [CHP] leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who met officials of Gremany's Social Democratic Party [SPD] said Europe remained indifferent to anti-democratic practices and failed to grasp the situation in Turkey.

Kilicdaroglu said: "Telephones are tapped and intellectuals are imprisoned. In which democracy can such things exist?"


The Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] extended its ceasefire that expired on Sept. 20. A statement issued by the terrorist organization said though the ceasefire period has not been free of violence, it has nevertheless decided to extend it.


The Kurdish language and education movement launched a "boycott on schools," demanding education in one's mother tongue.

The boycott was most influential in the southeastern province of Hakkari. The governor of Hakkari said, "Ninety-five percent of students did not go to school in the first week of the school year last year. The low attendance is related to the first week [not to the boycott]."

The boycott was 60 percent effective in downtown Şırnak and 90 percent effective in its towns. There was no visible boycott in Elazığ, Bitlis, Tunceli or Bingöl. Three people who had threatened families in Siirt were arrested.


President Abdullah Gül said the people of the southeastern and eastern regions of Turkey have suffered economically, mostly because of the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK]. "No businessmen will go there, open factories and make investments in a place where terror, chaos and bloodshed roams."

Gül underlined that terror was solution-less and said: "Edirne is ours; so is Hakkari. It would have been very different if terror did not exist."


Governor of Turkey's Central Bank Durmuş Yılmaz said the Turkish economy, which grew 10.3 percent in Q2, has returned to pre-crisis levels.

Yılmaz said positive economic indicators showed the global downturn has been left behind. "Our economy will grow faster once the negative atmosphere in Europe disperses," said Yılmaz.


President Abdullah Gül spoke to journalists in the United States and discussed the presidential system, the use of a new language in politics and the recent referendum in Turkey which has turned into an election campaign.

Gül said: "The congress, authorities, election and control mechanisms of the presidential system are different. The election of parliamentary deputies is different. When we look at our history, this system can seem sympathetic to us. However, we should not create a sultanate from it."

President Gül also said: "A new language is necessary for a pluralist democracy, not only for the government but also for the opposition. The language of politics can destroy dialogue opportunities and co-existence. Therefore the language should change. The current situation hampers dialogue and pluralist democracy."

Regarding the Sept. 12 referendum in Turkey, Gül said: "The campaign was wrong. Nobody has asked whether the ombudsman's office is necessary, whether officers should be tried in civilian courts, or whether changes in the Constitutional Court or the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors will be beneficial. However, these should have been discussed. If they had been discussed, many more people would have voted in favor of the amendments."


Turkish President Abdullah Gül said he will call for a Middle East totally free of nuclear weapons when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly later this week.

"We would like to see our region free of nuclear weapons," Gül told the Associated Press on Monday. "The region should not be under such a threat."

Gül said he intends to raise the issue when he addresses the world body on Thursday.

Gül has called in the past for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, but his latest comments come amid deteriorating relations with Israel following the May 31 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ferry that was part of an aid flotilla attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Eight Turks and a Turkish American were killed.

Israel is generally assumed to have assembled a sizable arsenal of nuclear warheads since the 1960s, but refuses to discuss its status as a nuclear power.

Gül's remarks will likely antagonize the United States because Washington sees any move to raise the issue of Israel's nuclear arsenal as potentially destabilizing at a time of renewed Israel-Palestinian peace talks.

Last week, the Obama administration warned Arab nations that they risk contributing to a failure of the Mideast talks if they continue to pressure Israel over its nuclear program. U.S. officials have said that it would be possible to have a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East even if Israel's arsenal remains intact.

Gül said Turkey, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council, only wants to ensure stability and security in the region.

The U.S. has been more concerned about the nuclear program in Iran, which is under four sets of [U.N.] Security Council sanctions for refusing to stop its uranium enrichment and ignoring other U.N. demands meant to ease global concerns that it is seeking to make atomic weapons.

Tehran maintains that all of its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes. But the International Atomic Energy Agency says it cannot confirm that because Iran has only selectively cooperated with the U.N. watchdog agency and has rejected several nuclear inspectors.

"Iran must do what it has thus far failed to do - meet its obligations and ensure the rest of the world of the peaceful nature of its intentions," U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told delegates in Vienna Monday for the IAEA'S General Conference.

Gül said Turkish officials do not assume that Iran has a fully peaceful nuclear program, but "of course we cannot accuse Iran" of pursuing nuclear weapons without evidence.

"We want Iran to be transparent" with the IAEA officials, he said. "We in Turkey would like to see a peaceful, a diplomatic solution to this problem."

Turkey has opposed sanctions against Iran as ineffective and damaging to its interests with an important neighbor. Instead, Turkey and Brazil, to Washington's annoyance, have tried to broker a deal under which Iran would send much of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for the higher enriched uranium it needs for a research reactor. But the deal did not mandate a halt to Iran's enrichment process and fell short of U.N. demands.

Turkey, a member of the NATO alliance, has tried to improve relations with Iran.

Gül said Israel's deadly attack on the flotilla attempting to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza would be best handled under international law, but also suggested that Israel still needs to take public responsibility for the attack.

"It is not possible to act as though this incident did not take place," he said. "In the old world, in the old times, if such an incident were to take place, wars would follow. But in our world today, it is international law that has to be taken into consideration.

"It is up to Israel. They have to do what is necessary since they are the ones that created the incident," he said.


A planned meeting between Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Turkish counterpart was scrapped because of the Israeli leader's refusal to apologize for the deadly commando raid on a Turkish-led flotilla that tried to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said Monday.

In the latest bid to repair Israel's relations with its only Muslim ally in the region, Peres told reporters he had agreed to join Turkish President Abdullah Gül at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, then accepted Gül's invitation to meet on the sidelines. But Israeli officials said Gül then set unacceptable conditions for the meeting.

Gül on Monday denied that any such meeting had ever been planned. "That is not true," the Turkish president told the Associated Press. "There was never a meeting scheduled between us."

A report by Anatolia news agency quoted Gül as telling reporters in New York on Sunday that he would not meet with Peres because of a scheduling problem. Some reports had suggested that the two men would meet in a sign of a thaw in strained relations between the two formerly close allies.

Relations between the two countries have been deteriorating and hit a low point after the May raid in which nine people, including eight Turks and a Turkish American, were killed when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ferry that was part of the aid flotilla heading to Gaza. Turkey has demanded that an Israeli apology for the raid and compensation for the victims' families.

Peres told reporters that he found Turkey's conditions for a meeting with Gül to be unacceptable.

"I got some conditions which made this meeting in my judgment not a positive one," Peres told reporters as the U.N. General Assembly's Millennium Development Goals summit was getting under way.

"Now we didn't change our attitude to Turkey. We were friends, we remain friends. Maybe Turkey changed her mind, and that's for the Turks to decide," Peres said. "We don't intend to worsen the situation. Neither can we submit to preconditions which are totally unacceptable."

Peres did not elaborate on the preconditions. But senior Israeli officials confirmed that Gül wanted Israel to publicly apologize for the flotilla raid.

"The Turks came with the demands that could not be met," said Israeli U.N. Ambassador Meron Reuben. The demands included "that we apologize for the flotilla incident," he said.

Investigators from a U.N. human rights inquiry on the May 31 flotilla attack have been interviewing witnesses, including an Israeli Knesset member. Israel refused to cooperate with that probe and accused the U.N. Human Rights Council of bias.

But it is cooperating with a separate U.N. panel ordered by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. That panel, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, is looking into legal issues surrounding the incident.

Israeli commandos said they opened fire in self-defense after meeting what they called unexpected resistance when they boarded the ferry carrying aid supplies to Gaza.

An international outcry resulted, forcing Israel to ease its blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza. Israel and Egypt imposed the blockade in June 2007 after Hamas militants took control of the area.

Israel's military completed its own investigation, which found that its intelligence failed to predict the violent response but that its troops reacted properly.

Later Monday, Peres met privately with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a brief appearance before reporters, neither leader would discuss particulars about the recently renewed Mideast peace talks. The key issue of whether Israel will extend a partial ban on settlement building in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians want for a future state, was not addressed by either man publicly.

On Tuesday, Peres will appear at a roundtable discussion presented by the Clinton Global Initiative with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Bahrain's crown prince, Sheik Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. Bahrain and Israel have no formal relations. Former President Bill Clinton will moderate.


While the political crisis between Israel and Turkey has resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey, Greece is enjoying a boom in Israeli tourists.

According to data from the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry, the number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey plunged by 90 percent in June this year, while the Greek Culture Ministry said the number of Israeli tourists visiting Greece in 2010 climbed to 250,000, from 100,000 in 2009.

Only 2,605 Israeli citizens visited Turkey in June 2010, compared to 27,289 in June last year, the Turkish Tourism Ministry said.

The dramatic decline came after the deadly Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid ships on May 31, killing eight Turks and one American of Turkish origin.

Greek Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos did not think there was a connection between the strained Turkish-Israeli relations and the increasing number of Israeli tourists to Greece. "Greece is interested in strengthening its ties with Israel," Geroulanos said recently, adding that he believes Greece offers richer tourist attractions than Turkey.

An official from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review that Israeli tourists made their choices without any pressure from the Israeli government. "There is no campaign, but people do not feel they want to visit [Turkey] as much after the last events and statements by top politicians in Turkey. Greece is a natural choice for many who want a vacation and do not want to travel far. The tour operators were quick to respond to the growing, changing demand," the official said.

Meanwhile, Anna Anifandi from the Hellenic Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies said the association does not want to be seen to be benefiting from something as tragic as the May 31 incident.

"It is obvious that the intense Turkish-Israeli ties have a great impact in the increase of the number of the Israelis who visit Greece," Israeli freelance journalist Zan Cohen told the Daily News. "Under the new era of Greek-Israel relations, the percentage of Israelis who visit Greece will continue to increase."

Josef Arouch, an Israeli who is visiting Greece, also denied any political reasons and said the increased number of Israelis visiting Greece is the result of a belief that Israeli and Greek people share similar cultural values.

Shy Alkan, an Israeli from Tel Aviv, visited Greece this summer and decided to stay and start a new life. "This summer all tourism packages from Israel to Turkey were eliminated from the market for security reasons," Alkan said.

Alkan told the Daily News that Israeli's current preference of Greece over Turkey as a holiday destination would probably only be temporary.

"What attracts Israelis to Turkey is mostly the lower prices and the character of the resorts. While in Greece tourists enjoy driving around the islands and eating at local taverns, the concept of the Turkish all-inclusive holiday is more attractive to Israelis. As long as the political atmosphere between Israel and Turkey returns to normal, the Israeli romance with Greece will remain a summer memory."

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