The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
A VISIT IN ISRAEL TO MAKE TURKEY ANGRY
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu visited the team of commandos who carried out the Mavi Marmara operation. Netanyahu says the team acted courageously and the operation was professionally executed.
ICOC CHAIRMAN ARRESTED
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce Chairman Murat Yalçıntaş and eight [other] people were arrested and sent to Sincan prison in the investigation that was launched over 1.2 million Turkish Lira bribery claims between CNR Fair Company and World Trade Center. The court found Yalçıntaş guilty of being member of a criminal organization and influencing justice on behalf of a criminal organization.
OUR CITIZENS ON THE STREET ARE THE OWNERS OF THE REPUBLIC
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the solution to the headscarf problem had been delayed until after 2011 elections because of the stance of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
In his speech where he made emphasis on the "Republic," Erdoğan said, "In every step we have made, they said [the] republic would be endangered, we will be divided. TRT Şeş was established, what happened? Were we divided? We have removed the bans... This is not a fragile republic. It has its roots in the past.
"In the name of protecting the republic, they formed a fear republic. Workers, villagers, tradesmen and artisans are the owners of this republic as well as the bureaucrats, judges, prosecutors, soldiers and police," he said.
Erdoğan said CHP leader has been smashed under his pledge for headscarf. "The stance of MHP also does not give confidence. Both the headscarf and removal of other bans are parts of rights and freedoms," he said.
STOP BLAMING WOMEN WITHOUT HEADSCARVES
Commenting on statements by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said that women without the headscarf did not struggle for women wearing the headscarf, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli said that it would be good for the prime minister to stop blaming women who did not wear the headscarf.
THE NATION WILL BE THE JUDGE
Speaking at his Justice & Development Party group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave the message that the solution of the headscarf issue would be delayed until after the general elections in 2011.
OUR REPUBLIC IS NOT FRAGILE
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized those who intervene in democracy as saying, "with which constitutional authority, are you trying to align the parliament? The Republic was established by this nation itself, not by so-called elite people. This Republic is not a fragile one, and it has its roots in the past. Those who see the Republic as weak and intervene in democracy have been those who have harmed our Republic the most throughout our history."
GANG LEAKS INTO YAŞ
Allegations of involvement in a prostitution gang have followed officers that would have been promoted in the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting. Before last August's YAŞ meeting, the gang studied the affection of admirals and [other] high-level officers for "women, money and authority" and followed the spouses and children of officers in order to blackmail them. It has been claimed that some officers close to the gang had been promoted at YAŞ.
STABLE IRAQ NEEDED FOR PKK FIGHT, TURKISH OFFICIALS SAY
The formation of an Iraqi government is crucial for Turkey as is the southern neighbor's fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK], according to Turkish officials speaking on a visit from northern Iraqi officials to Ankara.
"The formation of the Iraqi government as soon as possible is important with regard to the stability of the region, along with our expectations from the Iraqi government for the struggle against PKK terrorism," an official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told Hürriyet Daily News and Economic Review Tuesday.
Nechirvan Barzani, deputy chairman of Iraq's Kurdistan Democratic Party visited Ankara as a part of discussions Turkey is holding with the representatives of Iraqi groups in order to establish a new administration in Iraq, which has been without a government for seven months.
"Turkey is not discriminating among any groups in Iraq during efforts to set up a new government," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters Tuesday.
Barzani met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with the Turkish foreign minister.
"Turkey will continue contributing to the formation of a strong Iraq in which Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Sunnis, Shiites and Christians live in peace and order irrespective of their origin," Davutoğlu told reporters before meeting Barzani over a working lunch in Ankara.
A new Iraqi government based on the comprehensive and full cooperation of different ethnic and sectarian groups, Davutoğlu said, adding that Turkey attached importance to having good relations will all groups and political leaders.
Barzani welcomed Turkey's call for the establishment of a broad-based government in Iraq and added that relations with Turkey were a priority for the regional administration in northern Iraq.
He also said he would discuss with Davutoğlu economic ties and security arrangements, particularly with regard to a cease-fire from the PKK, which is set to end at the end of this month.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish leader of northern Iraq, recently presented Nuri al-Maliki, the president of the State of Law's coalition and frontrunner to become Iraqi prime minister, with a series of northern Iraqi demands in exchange for supporting the latter's goal of forming a new coalition.
"Kurdish support is a must to establish a new government in Iraq and they gave al-Maliki a list of 19 Kurdish demands. Eighteen of them were reportedly accepted by al-Maliki," Bilgay Duman, Middle East expert from Centre for Middle East Strategic Research told the Daily News on Tuesday.
The article which al-Maliki rejected is the demand that the "government will fall if Kurds withdraw," the Daily News has learned.
Duman also said Barzani offered to create a commission to hold talks on establishing a new government rather than encouraging bilateral talks between groups.
"Barzani's proposal is parallel to what Turkey wants, since Ankara prefers all Iraqi groups to be involved in the political process of Iraq. I think that from now on Turkey will play a more critical role in Iraq's political process, since Ankara's role balances the impact of Iran on Iraq," Duman said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. seems to be supporting al-Maliki as a candidate to become the new government prime minister, Duman said.
TURKEY MOVES TO DEEPEN CHINA TIES
With China rising as a world power, Turkey has intensified its efforts to increase dialogue, sending its foreign minister to the Asian nation for a weeklong trip just three weeks after receiving the Chinese prime minister.
Experts say, however, that it will not be easy to establish an equal relationship with Beijing.
"The increase in trade with China is creating a situation [weighted] against Turkey," Selçuk Çolakoğlu of the Ankara-based think tank USAK, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "Economic targets set by the two countries are not overlapping."
The trade balance between Turkey and China is heavily in the latter's favor. Turkish exports to China surpassed $1.45 billion in the first eight months of 2010, compared to imports of $10.67 billion. Statistics show that 65 percent of Turkey's $28.5 billion total foreign trade deficit from January to June was due to imports from Russia, China and the United States.
Turkey imports natural gas from Russia and technological products from the United States, while the trade deficit with China largely comes from consumer goods.
Though Turkey officially recognized the People's Republic of China in 1971, the country has not been prominent in Ankara's strategic vision. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's departure for China late Wednesday indicates that is changing. Turkish businessmen expressed high hopes about the new engagement, saying high-level interaction in the political realm will encourage mutual investment.
"We were continually in the position of being the importing country. Exports were long neglected. Now there's an awakening," said Derya Aydıner, head of the Turkish-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. "We are moving from one-sided interaction toward mutual trade with China."
Both economic and political relationships between the two countries remained weak until the 1990s, when China stepped onto the world stage after its reforms in 1978, becoming a member of the World Trade Organization in 2001. Turkey and China have set a timetable to increase their trade volume to $50 billion by 2015 and to $100 billion by 2020, boldly vowing to trade in their national currencies.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said earlier this month that Turkey and China had agreed to boost their relationship to the level of strategic cooperation, something he hailed as an important sign following the institution of similar policies with Russia and Iran.
Though Western-oriented opinion makers have recently criticized Ankara for moving away from Europe and forging close links with countries in the Middle East, especially Iran, analysts say the warming of Turkish-Chinese relations will not fuel such debates. Instead, they say, the growing ties should be seen as an effort to fill a significant gap in Turkish foreign policy.
President Abdullah Gül visited China in 2009 and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao became the first Chinese premier in eight years to visit Turkey when he traveled to Ankara early this month. Turkey and China have signed eight separate agreements to deepen their ties on issues ranging from energy and transportation to telecommunications and culture. The relationship has also grown in the military sphere, with NATO-member Turkey inviting China to join an Anatolian Eagle military exercise.
Not all analysts think the relationship will continue to progress smoothly, though.
"All this should not be interpreted as Turkish-Chinese relations turning into a strategic partnership. This is not the case at all. Whatever Turkey and China do to improve their relationship, they will remain rivals," said Sinan Oğan, the chairman of the Ankara-based think tank TÜRKSAM. "In 15 to 20 years time, Turkey will become part of a natural alliance made up of the United States, Russia and Japan against China. The Turkish position will not be for, but against China."
Energy could be a key part of the two countries' future relations, but with both dependent on oil and gas, and competing for Caspian-based resources, cooperation will not be easy to come by. Experts say renewable energy and nuclear energy could be more promising.
Connections between Turkey and Uighur Turks in China continue to be a potential source of problems in Turkish-Chinese relations.
Turkey, a predominantly Muslim country, shares linguistic and religious links with the Uighurs in China's western-most region, known in Turkish as Doğu Türkistan (East Turkistan). There are several associations belonging to Uighur Turks in Turkey.
Ankara was only able to normalize its relationship with Beijing after it made some restrictions on activities of Uighur Turks in Turkey, who protested Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao's trip to Ankara early this month. Members of the East Turkistan Culture and Solidarity Association chanted slogans and unfurled banners in front of the hotel where Wen was staying. One of the protesters attempted to throw a shoe at the Chinese leader but failed to connect with his target.
The relationship with China was strained by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's describing the 2009 ethnic violence in China's Xinjiang region as "a kind of genocide" and granting a visa to Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled Uighur based in the United States who China has blamed for the ethnic unrest that killed some 184 people.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will set out for China late Wednesday, after attending the National Security Council meeting in Ankara. He will first visit Kashgar, an oasis city in the western part of the Xinjiang region, and then travel to Urumqui, the capital of Xinjiang, on Thursday. Davutoğlu will fly to Shanghai on Saturday and visit the Turkish pavilion at the EXPO fair. On Monday, he will travel to the capital, Beijing, to participate in official meetings and lecture on Turkish-Chinese relations at the Beijing International Studies Institute.