ASH NIGHTMARE COMES BACK
Ash clouds spreading from Iceland reached Marmara region. Airports were closed, hundreds of flights were cancelled.
Volcanic ash clouds are again in Turkey. The clouds reached Marmara region on Sunday and are expected to spread to south of Aegean. The clouds are expected to be seen between Izmir and Mugla.
Europe is also under the effect of ashes. Experts estimate the ash clouds would be more intensive in the week. Airports were closed in Spain, Italy, France, Ireland and Britain. Flights were cancelled.
PEACE TRAFFIC IN ISTANBUL
The Strait was a scene to an intensive traffic for Middle East peace on Sunday. President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani, and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met at a "mini" summit. The meeting was closed to the press.
BUSY DIPLOMACY IN ISTANBUL
After the parliament ended debates on the constitutional amendment bill, a busy traffic began in Turkey's foreign policy. Diplomatic talks took place in Istanbul at the weekend. President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani of Qatar in Istanbul. Talks focused on developments in the Middle East.
KURTULMUS CRITICIZES BDP
Felicity Party (SP) chairman Numan Kurtulmus said that the constitution should be amended completely to solve problems of Turkey. Delivering a speech at his party's meeting in Diyarbakir, Kurtulmus criticized Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) which did not support constitutional amendment bill. BDP caused an obstacle to positive steps for the future of Kurds, he said.
CAPITAL OF DIPLOMACY
Istanbul became scene of a busy diplomacy traffic at the weekend. President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani.
THY FLIGHTS TO ITALY CANCELLED
Scheduled flights of the Turkish Airlines (THY) to Italy were cancelled due to ash plume from an Icelandic volcano. THY's flights from Istanbul to Rome, Bologna and Milan were cancelled. Ashes are expected to reach Turkey.
ERDOGAN'S ORDER TO THREE MINISTERS
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim about the video footage allegedly featuring Turkey's main opposition leader Deniz Baykal having an affair with Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Nesrin Baytok. Erdogan told three ministers to share any intelligence and technical information about the tape with only CHP executives and Baykal.
"MIDDLE EAST" SUMMIT AT ISTANBUL STRAIT
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani in Istanbul. Israel and Iran topped the agenda of the meeting. Following the meeting, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Syria expressed its will that peace talks should resume under mediation of Turkey.
RO-RO INSTEAD OF THIRD BRIDGE
The lorries which are shown as the reason for the third bridge that would be constructed at Istanbul Strait can be carried with "Ro-Ro" ships that are projected to sail between ports of "Ambarli-Mudanya-Bandirma".
Ro-Ro project shortens land transportation time which takes 6-8 hours to 3 hours and provides a cheaper transportation.
THERE WILL NOT BE ANY MARRIAGE IN CUSTOMS UNION
May 9, the Europe Day, was marked in Turkey. Then-foreign minister Murat Karayalcin, who signed Customs Union agreement, the only tangible acquis in Turkey-EU relationship, said, "If Turkey-EU relationship is an engagement and full membership is a marriage, then, it is very difficult to make a marriage here."
UN TO GIVE MARK TO CICEK
A conference on human rights in Turkey will take place in the United Nations on Monday. Human rights in Turkey and a report prepared by Turkish nongovernmental organizations will be assessed at the conference in the UN. Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek will represent Turkey in the conference.
PRIZE TO THOSE WHO GIVE BIRTH
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again expressed concern over the declining younger population in Turkey and said, "if we continue the existing trend, 2038 will mark a disaster for us. Therefore, we should fix it." Erdogan said the government might give prize to those who give birth. He said, "Turkey's annual population growth rate is now around 1.5 percent. This figure should be over 2.5 percent."
THREE TURKISH BUSINESSMEN AWARDED WITH ELLIS MEDAL OF HONOR
Three Turkish citizens were awarded with the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in New York, the United States. Businessman Kenan Sahin living in Boston, Matt Yildizlar living in Chicago and Turkish citizen of Greek descent Andre Dimitriadis received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for outstanding achievement in his personal and professional life coupled with preservation of their culture and heritage and noteworthy citizenship to the United States. Kenan Sahin said, "I am glad to receive this award as a Turk living in the United States for 50 years. Turks' power has been growing in this country."
HE CYCLES FOR EUROPE DAY
State Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bagis and Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek rode bicycle for the Europe Day on Sunday. Within the scope of Europe Day, a bicycle tour was organized between the parliament and Genclik (Youth) Park with participation of ambassadors from EU member states. Bagis said, "it is impossible to carry out the country's EU accession process without pedalling. We are progressing on our path."
"I KNOW IT IS STATE'S WORK"
It was revealed that the video footage allegedly featuring Turkey's main opposition leader Deniz Baykal having an affair with Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Nesrin Baytok was recorded not eight years ago, but during a recent trip to Istanbul. And Baykal thinks that it was the state's work. The opposition leader will meet with executives of his political party later in the day and plan what to do next. He is not expected to resign.
CRITICAL SEAT VACANT FOR FOUR MONTHS
An appointment has not been made to the Chief Prosecutor's Office in Ankara which carry out investigations such as Cukurambar and Deniz Feneri. Huseyin Poyrazoglu, former chief prosecutor, was elected a member of the Supreme Court of Appeals on January 18. The position has been vacant since then. A dispute between the Ministry of Justice and the Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors could be the reason.
PKK PROBLEM GOES BACK TO SEVRES
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad replied to the questions of reporters at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace. Commenting on PKK problem, al-Assad said, "it would not be solved till Iraq problem is solved. It is not a problem of today. It may go back to (Treaty of) Sevres."
"The solutions Turkey produced for the problem are important. First, Turkey should convince the Kurds living within its borders by saying, 'my brothers, sisters, you can live equally and freely together with Turks," Al-Assad said.
Al-Assad also said it was Turkey who first realized the change in Syria. "Almost in all the hotels in Aleppo, Turkish language is spoken. They do not employ those who do not know to speak Turkish."
SURPRISING GUEST AT DARULACEZE
Esma al-Assad, wife of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, and Emine Erdogan, wife of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited Darulaceze (Institution to shelter poor people) in Istanbul on Mother's Day. Erdogan and al-Assad presented toys to children and shoes to elderly people.
CONCERT IN NEW YORK IN HONOR OF DINK
Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Yasar Kurt and Navy Band took to the stage in a concert given in the memory of Hrant Dink who was assassinated.
Tuncboyaciyan sang the song "Against Hatred and Hostility" which he wrote, composed and dedicated for Dink.