-- GATE OPENING OUT
As Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a "road map" to normalize their relations, the two sides are drawing close to re-opening the border gate, which has remained closed since 1993. According to the plan, committees would be set up to talk over problems between the two countries including "genocide" allegations. The opening of the border gate would hinge on the level of progress to be made in these talks. It would be up to Turkey to decide whether to open the gate. Armenia's future steps in the Upper Karabakh dispute would influence Turkey's decision. U.S. pressure might lead Armenia to act positively on the issue.
-- EU SIGNALS DELAY IN TURKEY'S DISPUTE WITH GREEK CYPRUS
The European Union has given signals that it could postpone writing an assessment report over Turkey's rejection to open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels as part of a deal Ankara made with the union. Reports say the EU's assessment could be delayed for a year as Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration would not oppose such an option.
-- A SHARP BEND IN BORDER
Both the United States and the EU welcomed Turkey's decision to normalize its relations with Armenia. The whole world concentrated on the Turkey-Armenia border, which has been closed for years. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement expressing hope that the agreement would serve efforts to find a solution to the Upper Karabakh dispute. But Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's comment that the details were not yet concrete led to new questions. Prime Minister Erdogan will leave for Azerbaijan on Monday.
-- ISTANBUL TO HOST UEFA CUP FINAL MATCH
UEFA President Michel Platini handed over the trophy to Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas prior to the final match. The UEFA Cup final match will take place at Istanbul's Sukru Saracoglu Stadium on May 20.
-- A.A. PHOTOJOURNALIST WINS ABDI IPEKCI AWARD
Okan Ozer, photojournalist of the Anadolu Agency in the southern province of Antalya, won the Abdi Ipekci Best Photography Award. The award was named after leading journalist Ipekci, who was assassinated in 1979.
-- HERE IS TURKISH-ARMENIAN ROAD MAP
The Upper Karabakh dispute did not have a place in the agreement envisaging normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Here is an outline of the agreement:
1. Armenia will recognize the Treaty of Kars, signed between Turkey and Russia in 1923.
2. Third countries will be allowed to join the commission to be formed by historians to deal with allegations of genocide.
3. The border crossings between the two countries will be opened, and the necessary agreements will be signed to boost commercial relations.
4. The two countries will first accredit their ambassadors in Tbilisi. Then, they will appoint ambassadors mutually.
5. An agreement about the road map, which requires approval from Parliament, will be submitted to the Turkish Parliament.
-- DOUBLE ASSURANCE
Recent developments in Turkish-Armenian relations and their impact on Azerbaijan were high on agenda of the reception held at Parliament for the April 23 National Sovereignty and Children's Day. President Abdullah Gul said he called President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, adding, "Everything is for the interests of Turkey and Azerbaijan." Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said they would not upset Azerbaijan.
-- ANOTHER SCANDAL IN DENIZ FENERI CASE
It has been revealed that German prosecutors asked Ankara for testimonies of "15 prime suspects in Turkey" in what is known as the Deniz Feneri e.V. case, in which a Germany-based charity fund stands accused of fraud. The Turkish Justice Ministry denied the report. A spokeswoman with the Frankfurt chief prosecutor's office told a Turkish news agency that the office had asked for judicial help about the bank accounts, addresses and the police testimonies of the suspects, including Zahid Akman and Zekeriya Karaman. The Turkish Justice Ministry said that no such request had been received from the German authorities.
-- PROBED ASSOCIATION NOT TO PARTICIPATE IN OPPOSITION RALLY
The Association for Supporting Contemporary Life, or CYDD, a private charity fund that grants scholarships to needy students, said it would not take part in an opposition rally scheduled for May 17. Police recently raided and searched the CYDD offices under the Ergenekon case. The rally is organized by the Association of Kemalist Thought, or ADD.
-- INTENSE TRAFFIC TO CONVINCE AZERBAIJANIS
According to the road map aimed at normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia, the border crossing between the two countries will be opened first for short periods of time. The border crossing will be opened fully within a year. This reveals that the agreement envisages a gradual settling of diplomatic relations. Azerbaijan asked Turkey to include the Upper Karabakh issue in the agreement. President Abdullah Gul ,who called President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, said Turkey's close cooperation with Azerbaijan would continue. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is preparing to visit Azerbaijan next week.
-- ECONOMY TO NARROW FURTHER
After the International Monetary Fund estimated that the Turkish economy would shrink by 5.1 percent in 2009, Deloitte released a similar report predicting that the Turkish economy would narrow by 10 percent in the first quarter and by 5 percent in 2009.
-- ROAD MAP OF HISTORIC PEACE
Turkey and Armenia will form an inter-governmental conference and discuss in detail everything from economy to transportation. On April 22, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan held a three-hour meeting. Then, The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement: "Turkey and Armenia together with Switzerland as mediator have been working intensively with a view to normalize their bilateral relations. In this context, a road map has been identified." A similar statement came from Yerevan at the same time. The steps to normalize Turkey-Armenia relations will be taken in parallel with steps by Azerbaijan and Armenia to resolve the Upper Karabakh dispute.
-- TURKISH BALLET DANCER RANKED SECOND IN US
Turkish ballet dancer Kadir Okurer was ranked second in the Youth Grand Prix in New York, one of the most significant ballet competitions in the world. Nineteen-year-old Okurer won the silver medal in the competition.
-- JUST A STEP AWAY FROM SOLUTION
Russia expressed support to Turkey and Armenia after Ankara and Yerevan said they had agreed to exert efforts to normalize relations between the two countries. The Armenian president said there was a chance to resolve the Upper Karabakh dispute. Turkish President Abdullah Gul spoke to his Azerbaijani counterpart, and the Turkish prime minister is expected to visit Baku soon.
-- TURKISH DIRECTOR NAMED MEMBER TO CANNES JURY
Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan will be a member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival, event organizers said Thursday. The committee named the director as one of the jury members of this year's event, scheduled for May 13-24. Ceylan won the best director award in the Cannes Film Festival last year with his film "Uc Maymun" (Three Monkeys).