Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope that a consensus would be reached with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) regarding the oath-taking at Parliament.

BDP deputies refused to take the oath at the Turkish Parliament after one of their deputies was dropped from his post due to a past conviction. Several of them were not released from prison.

A meeting took place on Wednesday between the Justice and Development Party (AK) and BDP. The meeting was held by invitation of the Speaker of Turkish Parliament, Cemil Cicek, and aimed at solving the BDP's oath-taking crisis.

Regarding the meeting, Erdogan said that he wanted to be hopeful about the.

"I hope the BDP deputies come to Parliament and take their oath as soon as possible," Erdogan said.

Following the meeting, the group chair of BDP, Selahattin Demirtas, said they hoped to meet the AK Party delegation again today or Thursday.

"The next time we meet the AK Party delegation, we will decide on what we could do together with the AK Party group in the Parliament," Demirtas said.

The BDP group would continue to discuss the oath-taking issue and make a decision accordingly, Demirtas said.


Gadhafi Lacks Cash After Turkish Move, Intel Says

Following Turkey's move last week to seize hundreds of millions of dollars in the Arab Turkish Bank, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is facing dramatic shortages of fuel for his soldiers and citizens in Tripoli; he is also running out of cash to pay his forces and what is left of his government, according to the latest U.S. intelligence reports.

Rebel forces that captured towns from Nalut to Kikla in Libya's western Nafusa mountains could cut a vital crude oil pipeline that feeds into one of the government's major refineries in the town of al-Zawiya, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence. Citing U.S. intelligence estimates, fuel shortages could occur in as little as one month.

The Libyan Foreign Bank, or LFB, was recently confiscated by Turkish authorities in the Arab Turk Bank, or A&T Bank. Of the shares of the A&T Bank owned by the Gadhafi-controlled LFB, 62.37 percent were temporarily seized by Turkey's Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, or SDIF, on July 4.

The executive board members and the managing director were also dismissed. The Turkish government froze assets of LFB, the biggest shareholder in A&T Bank, in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions. LFB's shares will remain under the fund's control for as long as the UN resolutions are in effect. The deputy general manager of Turkey's Halk Bank, Osman Arslan, has been appointed to manage the shares of the LFB.

While the Libyan strongman could not access actual cash, he had been issuing letters of credit to pay his debtors, including fuel importers, the U.S. officials said. Intelligence analysts are pointing to the collection of indicators, including territory seized and looming fuel and money shortages, as the first shift from stalemate to momentum for the rebels since the conflict began in mid-March, the U.S. officials said.

Word of the building pressure against Gadhafi came as France's foreign minister reported that Gadhafi was prepared to leave power, citing Libyan emissaries who have approached Paris. The U.S. State Department said that Washington, too, is getting visitors.

"We have a lot of folks claiming to be representatives of Gadhafi one way or the other reaching out to lots of other folks in the West," State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports could not confirm that Gadhafi was considering leaving, but they cited rising pressure against his government.


'If Europe Shakes, We Will Feel It,' Babacan Says

After Greece, alarm bells are ringing in Italy. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for the Economy Ali Babacan said, "Risk indicators have climbed to a record level. If Europe shakes, we will also feel it. What is important is to stand firm on our feet."

Markets feared that "Italy was sinking" after all economic indicators turned to a negative in Italy -- a European country with the highest debts worth $1.6 trillion. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said Turkey could not remain indifferent to a tremor in EU economy.

"If permanent solutions are not found to problems soon, we may face a crisis similar to that in 2008-2009," Babacan said.


Al-Qaeda Was Planning Attack on U.S. Embassy in Ankara

Police detained 15 al-Qaeda supporters in their operations in Ankara, Bursa and Yalova with 700 kilograms of explosives, two long-range rifles and landscape sketches. The detainees are still being interrogated by police officers.

Al-Qaeda is preparing to attack some foreign representations of the United States, including the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, in order to take revenge of their killed leader Osama Bin Laden.

Government Wins Vote of Confidence

The new Turkish government won a parliamentary vote of confidence on Wednesday. The new government won 322 votes in the 550-seat Turkish parliament, 173 lawmakers voted against it. Fifty-five lawmakers were absent.

Turkey's 61st government was formed by the Justice and Development Party (AK) Chairman, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The AK Party secured 327 seats in Parliament after a landslide victory in the June 12 elections.

Two hundred and seventy-six votes would help the government win the confidence vote.

In his brief speech after the voting, Prime Minister Erdogan thanked lawmakers and said: "I know we have a busy time ahead. I believe that we will be together in struggle for a bright future under this blessed roof where sovereignty rests unconditionally with the nation."

Erdogan went on, saying: "Our solidarity and unity here will be an important test for us to carry our country beyond the level of contemporary civilization. We will pass this test together."


AKP, BDP Executives Gather in Parliament

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) lawmakers gathered in Parliament on Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay, AK Party Group Deputy Chairpersons Nurettin Canikli and Ahmet Aydin, and AK Party Deputy Chairman Haluk Ipek, BDP Group Chairman Selahattin Demirtas, BDP Group Deputy Chairpersons Pervin Buldan and Hasip Kaplan, and Siirt Deputy Gultan Kisanak are attending the meeting under the presidency of Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek.

The gathering in Parliament began at 1 p.m. Before this meeting, Cicek had a brief meeting with Demirtas and Kisanak.

Earlier AK Party executives met twice with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmakers under the presidency of Cicek. CHP ended the boycott on Monday after an agreement with the ruling AK Party. CHP deputies took the oath in Parliament.

BDP lawmakers have refused to take the oath of office in Turkey's newly elected Parliament to protest court rulings that held some candidates in detention and stripped one of the BDP-backed independent lawmakers of his legislative rights due to a past conviction for spreading terrorist propaganda.

Turkish Parliament will begin its summer recess on Wednesday after a vote of confidence by the AK Party government.


Proposal: Special Courts Should be Abolished

Emine Ulker Tarhan, the deputy chairperson of the CHP group, submitted a bill for an amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, asking criminal courts with special authority to be abolished. It has been learned that CHP will submit another bill limiting the longest arrest period with three years. Aydin Ayaydin, of CHP, also presented a bill on the establishment of the Political Ethics Committee to Parliament Speaker's Office.

Clinton Kicks Off Global Tour with Libya Talks

On her latest around-the-world tour, the volatile situation in Libya will be the first item on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's packed agenda.

Clinton departs Washington for Turkey on Thursday, where she will attend a meeting of senior officials from the more than 40 nations supporting NATO's operation to protect Libyan civilians in Istanbul. The fourth meeting of foreign ministers from the so-called Contact Group on Libya will be looking not only at stepping up pressure on Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to leave power, but also boosting support to the cash-starved opposition, Transitional National Council.

Clinton has participated in two previous Contact Group meetings during which the countries represented, including the U.S., have moved to formalize ties with the council and provide it with financial and other assistance. The Obama administration has delivered humanitarian aid and has been working for weeks with Congress to free up some of the roughly $30 billion in frozen Gadhafi regime assets in U.S. banks to support the council. But, much to the council's disappointment, Washington has not yet recognized the group as Libya's legitimate government.

Friday's Contact Group meeting comes as U.S. officials say pressure appears to be building against Gadhafi's regime, after months of apparent stalemate between his forces and rebels. The battle is far from won, and the officials point to three key indicators: dwindling fuel supplies, a cash crisis and reports of low morale among regime troops. That assessment came as French authorities said Libyan emissaries are seeking sanctuary for Gadhafi, who has survived sustained bombing by NATO war planes and U.S. armed drones since mid-March.

Clinton has steered clear of discussing intelligence reports from the ground, and what she may be bringing to the table in Istanbul, but said Wednesday that she believed Gadhafi's days in power "are numbered." She also said Gadhafi associates were sending mixed messages about whether he would be willing to step down.

"We are still getting contradictory signals from Col. Gadhafi's camp," she told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "He has yet to meet the red lines that are set by the international community to cease violence against his people, withdraw his forces and step down from power," Clinton said.

"So, although neither of us can predict to you the exact day or hour that Gadhafi will leave power, we do understand and agree that his days are numbered," Clinton said. "We will continue to work closely with our international partners, including Russia, to increase the pressure on him and his regime, and we will keep looking for a way to achieve a cease-fire, end the military action, and give the Libyan people a chance to plot their own way forward."

After the focus on Libya at the Contact Group, Clinton will hold talks with Turkish officials on Saturday that are expected to concentrate on Middle East peace efforts, Turkey's strained relations with Israel and Iran and the brutal crackdown on pro-reform demonstrators in Syria. Clinton will also attend an event in Istanbul aimed at promoting religious tolerance with the head of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, which represents Muslim interests.

From Turkey, Clinton travels on Sunday to Greece for talks likely to be dominated by the country's financial crisis and Greek relations with Turkey and its neighbors in the Balkans.

She will then head further east, to India, to resume the U.S-India Strategic Dialogue that will likely focus on counterterrorism, particularly after Wednesday's bombings in Mumbai and India's role in promoting stability in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Clinton said Wednesday that she would not be deterred from visiting India by the latest attacks.

"I believe it is more important than ever that we stand with India, deepen our partnership and reaffirm our commitment to the shared struggle against terrorism," she said.

In India, Clinton will become the first secretary of state to visit the southeastern port city of Chennai, where she will deliver a speech on U.S.-Indian relations and India's role as a leader in South Asia. Chennai (formerly Madras) is home to many, and is a growing U.S. investment. In May, Ford Motor Co. said it would spend $72 million to expand an engine plant in the city to support sales and export growth and help the company build more fuel-efficient engines for India and other markets.

After India, Clinton will move to Indonesia for a Southeast Asian regional security conference on the resort island of Bali. In addition to meetings with Pacific Rim foreign ministers, she plans to address developments in the South China Sea, where the U.S. has expressed concerns about increasing Chinese belligerence, the Obama administration's engagement policy with the military leaders in Myanmar and efforts to get North Korea back to nuclear disarmament talks.

Clinton will also visit Hong Kong to deliver a major speech on the administration's promotion of U.S. companies overseas and the need for foreign countries to abandon protectionist policies. She will then make a brief trip to southern mainland China and return to the United States on July 25.


EU Needs Turkey, Ukraine's Membership, Official Says

The Turkish minister for affairs with the European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that the EU got older with each passing day, and thus, it needed members like Turkey and Ukraine.

Speaking during his meeting with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Hryschenko in the capital of Ankara, Turkey's EU Minister Egemen Bagis said Turkey and the Ukraine could cooperate in many areas, including EU membership.

Pointing to the EU's need for member countries like Turkey and Ukraine, due to its aging population, Bagis said, "I have a slogan for Europeans: 'Hang on Europe, Turkey will save you!'"

Bagis noted that the Ukraine's membership could make a similar contribution to the Union.

Ukrainian Minister Hryschenko said in his part that both Turkey and Ukraine were still neighbors of the EU while they had to be a part of the Union.

The guest minister also said Ukraine was eager to learn from Turkey's experiences in its EU negotiation process, as well as in privatization and visa exemption processes.


Relations With EU will be Frozen, if Cyprus Issue Not Solved, Foreign Minister Says

Cyprus and the visa problem were the main topics of the breakfast between European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Fule and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara on Wednesday.

Fule promised to find a solution to the visa problem, but did not detail how so. Davutoglu reacted harshly regarding the Cyprus problem, saying, "If the problem is not solved, Turkey-EU relations will be frozen next year. Think, and then decide."


Turkey's Foreign Minister has Harsh Words for Greek Cypriots

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu drew attention to the uncompromising attitude of the Greek Cypriots, saying, "If the Greek Cypriot administration undertakes the rotating presidency of the EU before a settlement in Cyprus, we may freeze our relations with the union."

Davutoglu said the Turkish side was continuously taking the initiative in Cyprus, and reacted to the Greek Cypriots who were trying to take their time for a settlement. Davutoglu said, "We will not take [the] Greek Cypriot administration's EU presidency as an interlocutor."


Sengun Gets New Appointment

Koksal Sengun, the head of the 13th Heavy Criminal Court who voted for the release of the Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmakers, Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay, was appointed to the Black Sea province of Bolu.

The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) showed a discipline punishment as a reason for Sengun's appointment. Sengun's meeting with Ergenekon case suspect lawyer Tulay Bekar and former justice minister Seyfi Oktay was taken under technical surveillance. Sengun said he did not ask for his appointment, adding, "I did what I believed was right. The decision is an intimidation."


U.S. Secretary of State to Meet Main Turkish Opposition Leader

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will come together with Turkey's main opposition leader in Istanbul, sources said on Thursday.

The meeting between Clinton and the Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu will take place at Istanbul's Conrad Hotel on Saturday afternoon.

Clinton will pay a two-day visit to Turkey to attend the Libya Contact Group meeting and hold bilateral talks.


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