The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
TURKEY TO OPEN OUR PATH
New Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atanbayev spoke to Hürriyet in Turkish and said: "Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit from Turkey to our country on February 1 and 2 will be a symbol for us. We have high expectations for the visit. Turkey will become a world giant and open our path too."
I HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT THE PRESIDENCY
Speaking about the new constitution aboard the plane on his way to Strasbourg, President Abdullah Gül said that his preference was for "a great consensus." He also did not hide that he had reservations about a presidential system [of government in Turkey].
ERDOĞAN SAYS THAT ELECTORAL THRESHOLD IS NECESSARY
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech in Kiev and said: "Some say that the threshold should be lowered, but our country made great progress during the period of single party governments. Turkey did not achieve progress during the period of coalition governments."
Prime Minister Erdoğan said that the great strides that have been made by Turkey should not be spoiled.
EUROPE HAS A DARK HISTORY, TOO
Turkish President Abdullah Gül addressed the plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg. Answering a question on the Armenian allegations regarding the incidents of 1915, Gül said: "If we try to live with history, people in Europe could not look each other [in the eye]."
TUGLUK REQUESTS HOUSE ARREST FOR ÖCALAN
Aysel Tuğluk is one of the lawyers of PKK terrorist organization's head Abdullah Öcalan. Before she paid a visit to İmrali (the prison where Öcalan has been held), she spoke to Vatan and said: "Abdullah Öcalan is an important actor for the Kurdish people and the PKK. The state is pursuing talks with Öcalan. It is not possible for Öcalan to make a full contribution to the solution in the current conditions. He has to know and be influential about the developments. Öcalan has to be under house arrest."
SLOWDOWN IN TRADE WITH U.S.
Turkey has not determined who to include in the business council that was established with the United States. Jose Fernandez, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic, Energy and Business Affairs, who visited Ankara, said the business council was the important part of the strategic framework between the two countries. Fernandez said the United States hoped that names of organizations and unions to be included in the Turkish-American Business Council would be determined soon.
TURKEY TO LIFT VISA APPLICATIONS WITH UKRAINE
The nature of the partnership Turkey has been establishing with the countries in its region is expanding. As part of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Ukraine, Turkish and Ukrainian authorities agreed to launch cooperation and lift visa procedures for each other's citizens. Nearly 600 businessmen accompanied Erdoğan during his visit to Ukraine.
U.S. BACKS ISRAEL IN PROBE INTO MAVI MARMARA ASSAULT
The Israeli probe into a deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships in May was "credible and impartial and transparent," the United States said Monday, a day after Turkey depicted the report as distorted and without substance.
"We do not want to comment on how the Americans described the Israeli report. We openly expressed our position with regard to the report on Sunday," a Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday.
In its report, Israel's six-member Turkel commission concluded that both the raid and the blockade of the impoverished Palestinian territory complied with international law.
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's panel remains the "primary forum for the international community to review the incident." But he called the completion of the first part of the Israeli probe "an important step," as it looked forward to the release of the second part over the next few months.
"We think this is an independent report, credible and impartial and transparent investigation that has been undertaken by Israel," Crowley said. "And it will contribute to the broader process that continues through the [U.N.] secretary-general."
Ambassador Özdem Sanberk, Turkey's representative on the U.N.'s panel, said the Israeli report was met with suspicion by the international community. In an interview with the Daily News on Monday, he said "There has to be a great suspicion and understanding that the report just serves for the acquittal of Israel. There are so many important figures on the panel and I expect they would raise important objections to its content."
The way Washington reads the Israeli report may stand as an important disagreement between Turkey and the United States, just two weeks before Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Turkey. Diplomats said Turkish-Israeli ties and the Mavi Marmara probe will be on the agenda for the two countries' officials on February 7.
In its preliminary findings released the same day, a Turkish investigation said Israeli troops used "disproportionate" force in boarding the flotilla of ships to prevent them from reaching Israeli-blockaded Gaza.
Turkey's President Abdullah Gül on Monday lambasted the Israeli inquiry as having "no value or credibility." Gül said the findings illustrate "Israel's spoiled attitude, which has no regard for the world or for international law."
"What Israel did has nothing to do with international law. This is Israel's own document and it has no value or credibility in terms of international law," he told reporters.
GERMAN FILM BOARD PREVENTS RELEASE OF TURKISH FILM
Plans to screen a Turkish film in Germany starting Thursday have been halted over concerns the action movie contains anti-Semitic propaganda.
A spokesperson for the Pera Film Company in Cologne, which was distributing "Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin" (Valley of the Wolves: Palestine) in Germany, said the German Movie Control Association (FSK) would prevent the screening because the movie, which allegedly features anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli overtones, was to be released on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Noting that the company would obey the FSK's decision for now, the spokesperson said they would make a final decision concerning the issue after examining the justification for the order.
"Kurtlar Vadisi" had been criticized by German politicians of various political persuasions in recent days.
"'Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin' is a problematic movie because it foments violence, anti-Israeli [feelings] and anti-Semitic sentiments," said Kerstin Griese, a parliamentary deputy for the opposition Social Democratic Party.
The date chosen to release the movie elicited anger from across the political spectrum, with Philip Missfelder, a parliamentary member of the ruling Christian Democratic Party, saying it disrespected victims of the Holocaust. Jerzy Montag of the Green Party said it was "irresponsible" to release the film January 27.
The film reprises the raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship that was carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip last year when it was attacked by Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of eight Turks and one U.S. citizen of Turkish origin.
Kurtlar Vadisi first started as a television series, but spin-off movies have since come to accompany the continuing TV shows. The franchise is famous for touching upon political issues, such as when U.S. forces detained Turkish soldiers in Iraq and put sacks over their heads. The nationalist hero of the movie, Polat Alemdar, is a semi-official Turkish agent who exacts revenge on those who act against the Turks.