The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
PRESIDENT GUL SAYS IT IS HARD TO FIND COUNTRY LIKE TURKEY
President Abdullah Gül met with executives of 20 U.S. companies in New York and told them that it was hard to find a country like Turkey. Gül said Turkey was a country with minimum risk and maximum gain. "I know some of you do not see Turkey. The country has passed through a great transformation and this process continues," he said. "We attracted $1 billion in foreign capital in the past year. Before global economic crisis, it reached $24 billion." Gül also said Turkey was advancing on its path [to EU membership].
BERLIN PUSHES TURKEY'S EU BID
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on the European Union to step up its floundering talks with Turkey over the country's bid to join the bloc, saying Europe should send Ankara a positive signal in response to the country's latest political reforms. "Nobody should rashly snub Turkey by slamming the door in its face after all its efforts," Westerwelle told The Wall Street Journal in his first interview as foreign minister with an international newspaper.
TURKISH PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION [GOING] TO U.S.
A Turkish parliamentary delegation led by chairman of Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group and Justice and Development Party's deputy chairman in charge of foreign relations Suat Kınıklıoğlu will travel to the U.S. to attend a meeting of the Turkey-U.S. Friendship Group on Sunday. The Turkish delegation will meet members of the U.S. Congress and other U.S. dignitaries. The Turkish delegation will also deliver speeches at several U.S. think-tanks.
PKK CHANGES ITS DISPLAY
In an effort to make the public feel more comfortable during the process of resolving the Kurdish issue, new people will be highlighted instead of the PKK's bloody faces [those leaders tied to terrorism].
The outlawed PKK, a terrorist organization that is faced with increasing pressure to lay down its arms permanently, has decided to put on display the terrorist organization's recently admitted well-educated members.
THEY DISCUSSED THE CONSTITUTION
As talks with Imralı continue, it was decided in a meeting between the government and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) that dialogue should be continued. "The content and method of the new constitution" was on the agenda of the government-BDP meeting, which was scheduled for last week after the outlawed PKK's extended its unilateral cease-fire after the referendum, but later delayed because of an attack in southeastern province of Hakkari.
Making a call to all the political parties and NGOs for a new constitution, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek said "a solution could be achieved through channels of democracy."
TUSİAD: IT IS TIME FOR REFORMS
Ümit Boyner, chairwoman of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSİAD), said the economy was on a track of solid recovery and that it was time for the government to put structural reforms into place to strengthen Turkey's position in the international markets. "The Turkish economy showed remarkable resilience to the global recession thanks to reforms made after a crippling 2001 crisis in the banking sector. And now we are expecting impressive economic growth in 2010 over other developing countries," Boyner said.
GUL PRAISES UN REPORT
Turkish President Abdullah Gül on Thursday praised a report prepared by the U.N. Human Rights Council on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara last May in which nine Turks were killed. "The U.N. report showed how painful the Mavi Marmara incident was," Gül said. Gül reiterated Turkey's demand for an apology and compensation from Israel.
TURKISH PRESIDENT: WE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO HELP WITH IRANIAN NUCLEAR ISSUE
In an interview with the Washington Post, President Gul said: "We are a NATO member and we are against nuclear weapons in our region. We believe the solution must come through diplomatic channels and diplomatic means. If there is a war in the region, that will affect us as, for example, the war in Iraq has affected us. When there are binding sanctions, we abide by those binding sanctions."
[Responding to] a question about a Reuters story that Turkey was allowing an Iranian bank to operate, President Gul said: "I did see that report. But if it falls within the sanctions [and the sanctions do] not to permit it, it wouldn't have happened." "
Iran is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and is also party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The issue here is for Iran to be more transparent. That is where there is a problem. There shouldn't be any question mark in your mind that Turkey in any way would look favorably upon Iran having a nuclear weapon. The issue here is to see whether or not nuclear weapons are being produced and that has to be understood through diplomatic means," he said.
Referring to Turkey-Israel relations, President Gul said "relations between Turkey and Israel in the region are important. We have done many things in common in the past. Where we are today is not our choice and it is not our doing, either. It is up to Israel."
[The] "Israeli embargo on Gaza is against human rights of the people. Not only Turkey -- President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, all the European countries -- they called on Israel to lift this embargo. The flotilla was organized by a non-government organization. They were attacked in international waters. Nine people were killed, one being a Turkish-U.S. citizen. Not a single weapon was found on board the ships [sic]. All they found was food and clothing and other items of aid. This is not a crime -- to have organized that. But to attack ships in international waters, to kill people -- those are crimes. That is why I say that there are things that Israel needs to do to change the situation. That would involve apologizing and admitting that a mistake was made and it also involves compensating the families of the people who lost their lives," he said.
[Responding to] a question about his scheduled meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President Gul said "I will have a meeting with the Iranian president. No country other than Turkey can speak to them the way that we can and I don't think that is very appreciated. We tell them to be more conciliatory. We tell the Iranians that since there are certain question marks in people's minds, it is up to them to try to overcome these concerns, to act openly and transparently so that these concerns can go away."
Referring to Turkey-U.S. relations, President Gul said "Turkish[-American] relations are very important to us. We are allies and that fact in itself is very important. On the Iranian nuclear issue, we have the capacity to help and I believe the U.S. administration has understood that, and they want us to continue to go that route."
TURKEY APPRECIATES UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL REPORT ON ISRAELI ATTACK, DAVUTOGLU
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday that Turkey appreciated UN Human Rights Council report on deadly Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Mavi Marmara.
Davutoglu further commented on news reports, which claimed that Turkey had not abided by UN Security Council decisions on imposing sanctions on Iran. He said they were "unfounded, totally provocative and biased."
Asked to comment on report of the Council regarding the attack, Davutoglu told reporters that the report was based on a strong basis and evidence, noting that it was an impartial report that used a legal language. Davutoglu said the Human Rights Council was comprised of esteemed international jurists.
"Since May 31, the time when the attack took place, Turkey has always used language of international law. Turkey attaches importance to formation of an impartial commission. Actually, we expected the council to release a strong report based on strong evidence. In this sense, this report met our expectations. We hope that Israel will learn to use language of international law and act in line with it," Davutoglu said.
Turkish foreign minister underlined that the report of the UN Human Rights Council and UN Investigation Commission were parts of the UN system. "Turkey attaches importance and supports both commissions," he added.
"A stance in line with standards of international law should be displayed. No country, especially Turkey a country that has a strong state tradition and respected in international arena, can remain indifferent against killing of its citizens in open seas. We have called on international community to take action. In case an impartial report is released, it is the success of international law," he said.
When recalled that the Israelis had not submitted the interim report to UN Investigation Commission, Davutoglu said, "in my speech in the UN Security Council on May 31, I made seven requests. The requests were later adopted by the UN Security Council as the presidential statement of the Council. We will continue to follow them one by one. Most of them have been met to a considerable extent so far. Turkish citizens and other passengers as well as the ships were released. The materials were shipped to Gaza. Two international commissions were established. The blockade against Gaza has been eased up. Now, as a part of it, we request Israel to take the necessary steps as there is a crime there. From our point of view, it was a crime and it was committed not only against Turkey but also against the international community."
Davutoglu said it was not a problem between Turkey and Israel but a problem between Israel and the international community. "The report released today affirms this. The Human Rights Council did not consider a problem between two states but examined it with respect to human rights. Everybody should abide by the requirements of the international law."
Davutoglu said none of those who wrote the report of the Human Rights Council was a Turkish citizen or Muslim and none of them had a problem with Israel or any other country. He said there were esteemed chief prosecutors and expert jurists in the commission and none of them were designated by Turkey. Davutoglu reiterated that the report was not political but it [simply] investigated the incident.
The United Nations Human Rights Council set up the international fact-finding mission on June 2 to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.
Referring to news reports on Turkey's stance towards Iran, Davutoglu said: "We have said before the UN Security Council, and also in the council, that Turkey is against sanctions. We say that the issue should be resolved through diplomatic ways."
"Although we voted 'no' in the Security Council, the decisions issued there bind us, too as they are UN Security Council resolutions. Turkey said it would abide by those decisions.
However, Turkey does not consider the sanctions, which the countries announced unilaterally, as sanctions that should be abided by with respect to international law," he said. Davutoglu said Turkey should of course protect its benefits, "it does not mean refusing to abide by the resolutions of the UN Council. We will abide by them, but we do not have obligation to abide by the others."
Asked to comment on the news reports that an Iranian bank, which is under sanction, is operating in Turkey, Davutoglu said, "the day when the UN Security Council decision was issued, we examined it in detail. We know what is binding and what is not. Nobody would dare to impose embargo on some specific banks on their own. It should also be known that there is not a bank activity in Turkey against the sanctions in question."
Davutoglu described the meeting of Turkish President Abdullah Gul with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in New York as very constructive. Turkish foreign minister said he would have a meeting with the Iranian party on Friday.