Turkish press review

May 22, 2012, Tuesday/ 11:38:00

On Tuesday Turkish dailies mostly covered President Abdullah Gül's meetings with various world leaders on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Chicago, an open letter from a group of Pakistani doctors to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and negotiations between the government and civil servants unions on wage increases.

Several newspapers reported on President Gül's talks with US President Barack Obama in Chicago on the sidelines of a NATO Summit. Gül, who met with Obama for half an hour, reiterated Turkey's request for unmanned aerial vehicles. Obama said: “I understand your need, but I cannot decide it by myself. There is Congress.” Gül added that US-Turkey relations would be further strengthened if Turkey's need was met. The Turkish leader also had a meeting with French President Francois Hollande. Gül reportedly asked Hollande why French-Turkish relations have so clearly deteriorated and Hollande said he would instruct his ministers to work on improving relations between the two nations. Hollande also told Gül that several countries in Africa and the Middle East look to Turkey as a political example. Gül also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Gül told Merkel that Turkey would not cut ties with the EU when Greek Cyprus takes over the EU presidency, but that it would not hold any talks with the term presidency.

Another widely reported story was an open letter written and signed by a group of Pakistani doctors to Prime Minister Erdoğan. The Turkish prime minister received the letter during his visit to Pakistan. A group of Pakistani doctors -- led by Dr. Hasan Rizvi -- have requested that Dr. Mehmet Haberal, who is currently in prison, be released. The letter was printed in local newspapers during Erdoğan's visit and listed the services Haberal has offered in Pakistan. The letter read, “It is against human rights to deprive hundreds of thousands of patients of Haberal's services.”

Turkish dailies covered negotiations between the government and civil servants unions which have not yielded any solutions yet. The government revised its proposal for a salary increase, changing it to 3.54 percent annually up from 3.3 percent. However, the Civil Servants' Trade Union (Memur-Sen), which had requested a 16 percent rise, and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), which had requested 30 percent, did not find the government's proposal to be enough. Turkish Public Workers' Labour Union (Kamu-Sen) Chairman İsmail Koncuk has said civil servants will go on a strike across Turkey on May 23.