Turkish dailies mostly covered in their Tuesday issues Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's statements regarding the downing of Turkish military plane, the release of Fenerbahce sports club's chairman Aziz Yildirim from the prison, Turkish economy's growth figures for the first quarter of 2012, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's visit to Egypt.
Syrian President al-Assad, who spoke to Cumhuriyet daily, expressed his regrets over crashing a Turkish military plane. Al-Assad, who made statements for the first time about the crash of Turkish plane, said that they downed a Turkish F4 reconnaissance plane by an anti-aircraft battery in Syrian airspace. When asked why they hit an unarmed plane, al-Assad said, "the Turkish plane was using the air corridor which was frequently used by Israeli planes. We did not see it on the radar and we were not informed about the plane, thus, soldiers crashed it. We learned the plane belongs to Turkey after we crashed it." Noting that Syria would have apologized to Turkey, if it had downed the plane in international airspace, al-Assad said that Syria fully regretted crashing the Turkish plane. Also commenting on Geneva document, al-Assad said, "the document does not mention an external intervention, and it expresses respect towards Syrian people's decision which are enough for me."
All newspapers wrote the release of Fenerbahce's Chairman Yildirim from prison. Istanbul's 16th Criminal Court, on Monday, released Yildirim who had been kept in prison for the past year under a match-fixing case. The court, however, sentenced Yildirim to 2.5 years in prison for the crime of establishing an illegal organization and 3 years, 9 months under match-fixing and incentive bonus charges for a total of 6 years and 3 months. Fenerbahce fans rushed in front of Metris Prison to welcome Yildirim. He was able to depart from the prison after waiting for half an hour due to crowd. Meanwhile, Yildirim, who spoke to Hurriyet daily, said that there was no such beautiful thing like freedom, adding that he would begin working after resting a week.
Turkish economy's growth figures was also another topic in the newspapers. Turkish economy grew 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012. According to TurkStat, the first quarter growth rate of gross domestic product in 2012 increased 3.2 percent in constant prices when compared to the first quarter of 2011. Also, the first quarter growth rate of gross domestic product in 2012 increased 14.2 percent and reached 329 billion Turkish lira in current prices. The first quarter growth rate of gross domestic product in 2012 increased 3.2 percent and reached 27 billion Turkish lira in constant prices. Highest growth rate was recorded in energy sector with 8.4 percent. Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan said that the figures were not surprising for him.
Another topic in the newspapers was Foreign Minister Davutoglu's visit to Egypt. Davutoglu became the first foreign minister who visited Egypt after Mohammad Mursi undertook the presidency of the country. Davutgolu also attended the meeting of Syrian opponents. He said, "Turkey took the biggest risk in Egypt, not in Syria. Turkey, while nobody was seeing, made an important prediction, and supported Egyptian people."
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