The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
TURKISH AIR FORCE ANNOUNCEMENT: NO PAKSITANI INTELLIGENCE REPORTS ON TURKISH JET PILOT IN AL-QAEDA
Turkish military officials have cited Pakistani intelligence officials as saying that they had no intelligence reports that a former Turkish jet fighter pilot had been recruited by the terrorist network al-Qaeda. "Pakistani intelligence said they had no information about a former Turkish officer being a member of al-Qaeda," the Turkish Air Force said in a statement.
CHP WILL NOT OPPOSE YOK'S DECREE ABOUT TURBANS
The main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP] has reportedly decided to remain silent regarding an order by Turkey's Higher Education Board that would allow female university students to wear headscarves while in class.
The Higher Education Board [YÖK] recently sent a message to university administration [officials] that no student should be asked to leave class for any reason whatsoever.
CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said his party would not take any counter steps against the YOK order.
SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS [INVESTIGATES] LECTURER
The Higher Board of Education [YÖK] said that it would launch a disciplinary investigation against a lecturer who did not let students with inappropriate dress attend [his lectures].
However, the decisions of the judiciary seem to support the opposite [view]. In a 2008 decision, the Supreme Court of Appeals sentenced a university administration [official] that gave a warning to a lecturer who dismissed a student wearing a headscarf from class [and ordered him to] to pay compensation. Also, the Council of State defined the act of the university administration as "against constitutional principles."
TURKEY SHOULD BE MORE FREE, ŞAHİN SAYS
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin said that there is an ideal atmosphere among the political parties of Turkey to solve the problem of the headscarf.
"At a time when political parties are trying to solve the issue of the headscarf, it is impossible for the universities to not take any steps on the matter. Turkey should be more free," Şahin said.
PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED DUE TO CHANGES, GÜL SAYS
Turkish President Abdullah Gül said that Turkey's future was bright and that Turkey has gone through unbelievable changes. "The problems experienced in Turkey are due to these changes," Gül said. "Turkish businesspeople would benefit from a constitution made according to democratic and legal standards. The Turkish economy has become more transparent as legal standards [improved]. Foreigners who had no confidence in Turkey in the past are now making investments in Turkey and contributing to Turkey's development."
NATO HEAD RASMUSSEN IN ANKARA FOR STRATEGIC DOCUMENT
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will arrive in Ankara on Thursday. The most important item on Rasmussen's agenda in Ankara will be NATO's Strategic Document, which will reflect NATO's current vision.
TURKEY DECIDES TO TAKE KABUL REGIONAL COMMAND MISSION FOR ANOTHER YEAR
Turkey has made a decision to take over the Kabul Regional Command mission for another year in Afghanistan. In a statement issued Monday, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said that Turkey took over NATO's Kabul Regional Command mission in Afghanistan for eight months in 2007.
On November 1, 2009, Turkey took over the Kabul Regional Command mission for one year.
Turkey was offered (by NATO) to take over the Kabul Regional Command mission for one year based on the achievements of the Turkish Armed Forces in Afghanistan and the close relations Turkish troops established with the Afghan people, the MFA said.
Turkey has decided to take over the Kabul Regional Command mission for one more year as of November 1, 2010 in order to create an atmosphere of sustainable security and stability in friendly and brotherly country of Afghanistan, the MFA also said.
Kabul Regional Command assists the Afghanistan government in security and reconstruction issues. The command does not [conduct] anti-terror combat missions.
US LAMENTS DELAY IN APPROVING ENVOYS TO TURKEY, SYRIA
The US Senate's delay in confirming President Barack Obama's choices for ambassadors to Syria and Turkey "does have an impact" on US policy in the region, an Obama administration official said Monday.
In February, Obama nominated career diplomat Robert Ford as the first US ambassador to Syria in five years. In July, he nominated career diplomat Francis Ricciardone as ambassador to Turkey.
But their long-awaited confirmations hung in the balance as senators left on a month-long break to campaign ahead of November legislative elections.
"We want to see the nominations of Ambassador Ricciardone and Ambassador Ford go forward and we continue in consultation with the Senate on those nominations," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
"It does have an impact. These are vitally important countries to the future of the region," Crowley said.
"They are countries that we need that kind of day-to-day interaction with, and we're hopeful that when the Senate reconvenes after the election that their nominations will go forward," he said.
Ford's nomination ignited a [fight] with Republicans over Obama's signature policy of seeking to engage US foes.
If approved, Ford would be the first US ambassador to Damascus since Washington recalled its envoy after Lebanon's former prime minister Rafiq Hariri was killed in February 2005 in a bombing blamed on Syria.
The Obama administration, which last month relaunched direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, decided to re-engage Damascus as part of its push for a broader Arab-Israeli peace.
Washington meanwhile values the role played in the Middle East by Turkey, one of the few Muslim-majority nations to recognize the Jewish state.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee endorsed Ricciardone for the post, but confirmation by the full Senate has stalled after Republican Sam Brownback place a "hold" on the nomination.
Brownback reportedly expressed concern that Ricciardone might not engage enough with opposition parties in Turkey, which is run by an Islamist-rooted government.
TURKEY IS NOT SECULAR, BOYNER SAYS
Chairperson of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association [TÜSİAD] Ümit Boyner said that Turkey was not a secular country. "I do not think that the Religious Affairs Directorate is secular. This directorate does nothing for the Alevis. There are also atheists in Turkey. The state must be at an equal distance to all religions and sects. I do not think that lifting the ban on the headscarf in Turkey would be a blow to secularism," Boyner said.
GIANT COMMERCIAL AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA
A great contributor to the Turkish economy, the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists [TUSKON] has taken an important step with Russia.
TUSKON has signed a cooperation agreement with the Chamber of Trade and Industry of the Russian Federation that will pave the way for an annual trade volume of $100 billion between Turkey and Russia.
TURKEY TO JOIN OECD MEETING IN JERUSALEM SHUNNED BY SPAIN, BRITAIN
Turkey is sending a delegation to an OECD conference later this month in east Jerusalem despite Spain and Britain's refusal to attend.
Ankara's participation in the conference on sustainable tourism is seen as surprising amid the ongoing political tension between the two countries following the Gaza war and Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla with many Turks onboard. Turkey will be sending a high-level official to Israel for a biannual tourism conference this month despite Britain and Spain's refusal to attend because the event will take place in east Jerusalem, ministry officials said Tuesday.
Culture and Tourism Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Özgür Özaslan will represent Turkey at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development conference on Oct. 20-22, officials told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. The Israeli press has claimed that Palestinians are pressuring European countries to shun the October conference on sustainable tourism, which normally takes place in Paris.
"Nobody is able to attend this meeting from the British side. It is not a boycott; it is a bureaucratic issue, not a political one. We are opposed to any boycott against Israel," a British diplomat told the Daily News, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"Britain will be participating in future OECD meetings in west Jerusalem," the diplomat added. Palestinians consider east Jerusalem the capital of their future state, while Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital.
"OECD officials demanded that we not bring the delegates to east Jerusalem, or that we move the conference to Tel Aviv," Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. "If we agreed to that, they promised to send many delegates. We held a meeting with the Foreign Ministry and decided to reject" the Tel Aviv idea, Misezhnikov added. Though Ankara approved Israel's OECD membership in May, its participation in the conference is seen as surprising amid the ongoing tension between the two countries following the Gaza war and Israel's deadly raid May 31 on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla with many Turks onboard. Despite the row, however, there are signs that both countries are trying to send a message that their cooperation remains intact. Israel has, for example, lifted the travel ban on Israeli tourists visiting Turkey, and according to recent statistics, Turkish exports to Israel increased by 30 percent compared to last year. Israel's recent delivery of unmanned aerial vehicles to Turkey without any problem was also seen as a positive sign.
Diplomatic sources told the Daily News that dialogue between the two countries is continuing through different channels amid a political environment that does not allow a publicized meeting between Turkish and Israeli politicians.
"I don't expect any publicized meeting between the two countries' politicians under the current circumstances, but if it happens, I would not be surprised," one diplomatic source told the Daily News.