TURKISH FOREIGN TRADE MINISTER MEETS GERMAN PRESIDENT
Turkish State Minister for Foreign Trade Zafer Caglayan on Friday was received by German President Christian Wulff in Berlin. Zafer and Wulff held a one-hour meeting. The Turkish minister expressed to Wulff his concerns over the German chancellor's attitude on Turkey's EU bid and Germany's visa regime on Turkish nationals. "Turks are really upset about Chancellor Merkel's policy against Turkey's EU membership and her insistence on tough visa procedures on Turkish nationals," Caglayan told the German president.
BIGGEST COCAINE SEIZURE EVER
Turkish anti-narcotics teams seized on Friday 281.5 kilograms of cocaine, the largest stash of the illegal substance ever impounded in Turkey. Turkish drug lord Abdullah Baybasin and his son were detained.
HERE ARE THE EQUIPMENTS STOLEN FROM DEBRIS OF HELICOPTER CRASH
Doubts are piling up about the helicopter crash during which Grand Unity Party (BBP) Chairman Muhsin Yazicioglu was killed on March 25, 2009. State Inspection Board determined that equipments which recorded the flight info of the helicopter were stolen. The photos, which Zaman daily has reached, confirm this too. It is obvious that the equipments in the helicopter were pulled out two days after the crash. Experts say, "this is the first equipment that must be destroyed, if the helicopter crashed due to an intervention of an air vehicle."
TURKEY'S POPULATION UP TO 73.7 MILLION
Turkey's population increased 1,161,000 to 73,722,000 as of the end of 2010. The speed of rise in population was posted as 15.88 per thousand. 50.2 percent of the population is men, and 49.8 is women. The population had increased one million in 2009, and the speed of rise had been 14.5 per thousand. According to the figures, the speed of rise in population increased.
FORMALLY IN DAMASCUS
Turkish Airlines (THY) has been holding flights to Damascus, Syria through local agencies since 1984. Now, THY's flights to Damascus have become official. After registration process was completed, THY Damascus office moved to a new office. The office will be opened formally on February 17.
ORDERS ABOUT DINK TO DDK
President Abdullah Gul gave directions to State Inspection Board (DDK) to inspect assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. DDK will ask for the contribution of Dink's family and relatives.
WE ROSE ONE MLN IN ONE YEAR
Turkey's population increased 1,161,676 in one year. According to figures TurkStat announced on Friday, the country's population increased 16 percent and reached 73,722,988 in 2010.
After presidency system, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also opened the two-party system --like in the U.S.-- to discussion. He said that the two-party system was beneficial. Regarding the debates on presidency system, Erdogan said that people should know about this system. Erdogan gave a surprising response to Aksam newspaper's question as "do you want a two-party system at Parliament?". "Actually, yes I do. I consider this system beneficial," he said. "Because, parliaments function more effectively in two-party system, and the management becomes more stable. Look at the United States. I don't say it should be the same system, but you see how laws are adopted," said Erdogan.
MHP GETTING HARSHER
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bahceli said, "dissolution of Justice & Development (AK) Party through democratic ways has become an issue of existence. Either AK Party will be drawn away from the rule or Turkey will be divided."
POLICE SEIZE HUGE AMOUNT OF COCAINE IN ISTANBUL
Turkish anti-narcotics police impounded on Friday 281.5 kilograms of cocaine in Istanbul. Fifteen people were detained including Turkish drug lord Abdullah Baybasin and his son, Cagdas Baybasin. Security officials said the cocaine stash was the largest ever seized in Turkey.
BUDGET DEFICIT HITS ALL-TIME RECORD HIGH
Turkey ran a $71.5 billion in foreign trade deficit 2010, the highest ever in the country's history. The Turkish government was expecting the figure to stand at $65.8 billion for 2010 according to a medium term economic program. Turkey's exports were worth $113.9 billion while imports were worth $185.4 billion last year. The trade deficit soared 84.5 percent last year over a year earlier.
GUL ORDERS PROBE INTO KILLING OF TURKISH-ARMENIAN JOURNALIST
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has ordered two of his presidential inspectors to scrutinize the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and the court trial of suspects that followed. The State Inspection Board will examine official procedures that were carried out before and after the assassination of Dink. Military and civil officials have been accused of negligence in the killing of the journalist.
U.S. AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
New U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Francis Joseph Ricciardone, presented his letter of credence to Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Friday. Ricciardone spoke in Turkish and said he was honored to present letter of credence of U.S. President Barack Obama and later introduced his wife and embassy staff to Gul.
73 BILLION TL OF PROMISE TO 73 MILLION POPULATION
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli announced his party's election declaration. He said, "we will lift university entrance exam. Women will be given 320 Turkish lira (TL) of family insurance monthly. Poor people will be supported through Hilal Card. Monthly pay for the old people will be increased from 65 TL to 250 TL. We will not take tax from minimum wage. Our promises are not imaginary and rambling."
FEARS PUMPED TO PEOPLE IRRATIONAL
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took up discussions on alcoholic beverages and the monument (in Kars province) during his address to nation: We did not impose a life style to anyone. Everybody's life style is under our assurance. Fears which are pumped to society are irrational.
TURKISH DRUG LORD BUSTED, HUGE COCAINE STASH SEIZED
Anti-narcotics police in Turkey impounded on Friday 281.5 kilograms of cocaine in a vessel off coast of the country's Marmara Sea near Istanbul. Abdullah Baybasin (53), a Turkish drug baron, was detained along with his son and his business partner, Mehmet Sait Ozmen. Police raided the cargo vessel immediately after she anchored in Ambarli in the Sea of Marmara. The illegal substance -- the largest amount of cocaine security forces ever seized in Turkey-- has been hidden in a cargo of nearly 25 tons of wooden tile planks. Baybasin returned to Turkey after he was released from a prison in Britain where he served a six-year term.
SCHOLARS, OPPOSITION AGAINST PREMIER'S PROPOSAL FOR BIPARTISAN SYSTEM
A number of scholars and members from opposition parties in Turkey have voiced their objections to a proposal by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan over introducing a bipartisan system in Turkey. A professor in law said the bipartisan system could not be enforced through legal means unless it came as consequence of of social and political circumstances. Opposition accused the premier of "trying to establish a single party rule."
BRADLEY IS ABOUT TO BE A LION
Galatasaray (lion) soccer club of Turkey is very close to complete the transfer of U.S. player Michael Bradley. Manager Max Eberl of Borussia Monchengladbach, the team Bradley is playing, said that they reached an agreement with Galatasaray for Bradley. The bargaining between the Turkish club and Bradley is under way.
THEY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Peace & Democracy Party (BDP) was making pressure on citizens, while Republican People's Party (CHP) was pursuing "provocative politics". Erdogan attended the inauguration of 41 facilities in the eastern province of Agri. He said, "we have targets as big as Agri Mountain." Erdogan criticised the opposition parties, and said, "they feel uncomfortable when we published the magnificent work of Ahmedi Hani both in Kurdish and Turkish. They feel uncomfortable with TRT Ses channel. They feel uncomfortable with universities and divided roads. They cannot digest democracy."