This week, the Turkish press covered several points of ongoing debate regarding the country’s foreign policy in the Middle East. Reporting by Seymour Hersh on Turkey’s pursuit of its first aircraft carrier received front-page coverage. (Takvim) In an interview with Milliyet, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja described Turkey, which maintains the world’s ninth largest army as a “soft power,” noting “it lacks military strength.” During a visit to Turkey, his first official foreign travel, Libyan Prime Minister Abdel Rahim al-Keib described Turkey as a “model” for his country. (Hürriyet) In a press conference after the “Friends of Syria” meeting held in Tunisia, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that “All options, including military intervention, have been discussed by as a solution in Syria.” (Sabah) Later in the week, reports emerged of extensive meetings held by Turkey’s National Security Council regarding ongoing developments in Syria. (Zaman) Special attention was paid to a report prepared for the US Congress by Jim Zanotti which discussed Turkey’s rising regional prominence. (Akşam) Part of NATO’s new missile defense system based in Malatya province became operational this week (Güneş), with over 50 US troops arriving at the base. (Hürriyet) Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he will visit Iran later this month. (Hürriyet) Sabah daily newspaper broke details of a thwarted scheme by the Syrian intelligence service, Al Muhaberat, to kidnap a leader from the Free Syrian Army from a refugee camp near Hatay.Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu stated that talks on a settlement in Cyprus would be halted if a preliminary agreement did not emerge by July 1. (Zaman) Nearly unanimous positive coverage was given to news that France’s Constitutional Council had struck down the bill that would criminalize the denial of genocide, including the 1915 Ottoman massacres of Armenians in that category. The president of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, was reported to have sent a letter to Prime Minister Erdoğan this week calling for reforms to Turkey’s constitution. (Hürriyet) The International Criminal Court announced that it had accepted an application submitted by Turkey’s Peace and Democracy Party (BDP, which represents Kurdish minority interests) to hear a case regarding the deadly airstrikes ordered by Ankara on Turkish territory near the Iraqi border. (Özgür Gündem) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon received commendation for his appointment of Ayse Cihan Sultanoğlu, a Turkish citizen, to serve as Assistant Administrator and Director of the Regional Bureau for Europe at the UNDP. (Habertürk) While in Turkey on a formal state visit, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbangulu Berdimuhamedov signed a series of partnership agreements with President Abdullah Gül, while the press remarked that the visit occurred during the twentieth anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries. (Zaman)Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was vindicated this week after a boycott of the CHP convention led by dissidents in his party failed, providing for him to address the delegates and to urge them that unity will be necessary to defeat the “post-modern dictatorship” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). (Habertürk) Reports of torture and rape of children held as political detainees at Pozantı prison in Adana province surfaced this week, prompting an investigation by the Ministry of Justice. (Evrensel) Turkey’s Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors introduced new regulations to embolden officials in the judiciature to conform to decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, (Radikal) while the Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Kemal Aktaş, a BDP activist elected to parliament last summer, who has since been excluded from taking his seat to serve the sentence imposed for a speech he delivered in Diyarbakır during Nevruz 2006. (VATAN) Fresh criticism was heaped on Erdoğan’s “4+4+4” education reform package by Veli Demir of the Eğitim-İş Labor Union, who argued that the proposed changes would promote vocational training, ultimately decriminalizing child labor. Ankara issued a new symbol for the Turkish lira.