World Bulletin/News Desk
There is no genetically modified rice that is being traded in the world and there is none in Turkey, Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Mehdi Eker firmly stated on Thursday.
Eker, who was attending the Expo fair in Antalya on Thursday, responded to questions from the press regarding allegations that first emerged on April 10 that rice with genetically modified content was seized at a customs department.
“It is possible that there could be a spread, perhaps through pulverization on a rice husk, but this does not mean the rice itself is genetically modified.”
He said the İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ), which in a report said that GMOs were detected in rice seized at the border, was guilty of releasing an erroneous report. He said İTÜ later announced that the report was invalid, and even the individual in charge of the report was suspended indefinitely.
He said food is not an ordinary issue and told the press that publishing reports on unconfirmed results and unofficial reports is dangerous. Eker said: “I want the public to understand three points.
First, genetically modified food production has not been allowed in Turkey and it is still not being allowed. Second, its import is also not allowed. Third, and most importantly, our inspections on this are very strict. There is no reason for our citizens to be concerned in any way.”
Eker's remarks came hours after a group of Greenpeace members gathered in front of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry to protest the alleged GMO presence in the rice seized in April. The group opened up stands used by street vendors in Turkey who sell rice, with signs that read “Rice with GMOs.”
The activists were stopped by police officers and ministry security. Group members also said the İTÜ's backpedalling on its report was a crime and a direct attempt at influencing any court trial that might arise as a result of the rice seized in April.
Thursday’s dailies cover the clashes between ISIL and the pro-Kurdish Democratic Union party in Kobani and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks at the opening of the country’s new legislative year.
Turkey will speed up the process of nuclear power plant construction, said Turkish energy minister following talks with Russian energy officials.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu compared the Syrian regime to the ISIL.
"If this massacre attempt achieves its goal it will end the process," said Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Turkey had warned Kurdish and Syrian fighters to unite against ISIL, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.
The advanceof ISIL insurgents to within sight of the Turkish army on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to play a greater role in the U.S.-led coalition.
"Immediately subsequent to the 2015 elections, all parties in the parliament should free themselves from prejudice and come together to write a new constitution based on reconciliation," Erdogan said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said "We will fight effectively against both ISIL and all other terrorist organizations within the region; this will always be our priority."
Concerns Kiev could stop gas flow to Turkey and construction of nuclear plant on agenda for Taner Yildiz.
Turkish government's motion for military action against ISIL is extensively covered by Turkish dailies on Wednesday.
The Syrian Kurdish People’s Defence Units (PYD), a strong affiliate of the Kurdish separatist PKK terrorist organization, asked for weapons from Turley to fight the ISIL.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker called on Turkey to 'lift barriers' for American investment in the country.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said a special 'solution process council' will guide government's efforts to solve the Kurdish issue.
The newly-submitted motion, seeking parliamentary mandate for military action, cites the rising threats on southern borders as a motive.
A Turkish warship was harrassed in international waters, while a Turkish training aircraft was tracked in international air space.
Turkey's energy minister says the strength of the dollar has made next month's price hike inevitable. But Turkish consumers currently pay lowest prices for gas among EU countries.