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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-05
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> <map name="FPMap1"> </map> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
05.11.2002SEZER TO MEET SCHROEDER IN LEADUP TO COPENHAGEN AKP WINS 363-SEAT MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT ECEVIT TENDERS HIS RESIGNATION TO THE PRESIDENT ERDOGAN: “OUR AIM TO DEVELOP TURKEY FURTHER” DERVIS: “THE ERA OF FRAGMENTED POLITICS HAS ENDED” LEADERS OF DEFEATED PARTIES TO GIVE UP POWER WHEELS IN MOTION TOWARDS POST-ELECTION GOVERNMENT BAYKAL, AKP LEADER ERDOGAN TO MEET EU COMMISSION: “THE NEW GOVERNMENT SHOULD CONTINUE TURKEY’S POLITICAL REFORMS” IMF: “WE ARE READY TO WORK WITH THE NEW GOVERNMENT” TUSIAD: “THE AKP SHOULD EXPLAIN ITSELF TO THE EU MEMBER STATES” S&P: “NO MAJOR ECONOMIC POLICY CHANGE IN TURKEY IS EXPECTED” TWO OFFICERS LOST IN IZMIT HELICOPTER CRASH FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS… THE AKP’S OPPORTUNITY BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET) THE DAY AFTER BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
 SEZER TO MEET SCHROEDER IN LEADUP TO COPENHAGENPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer is scheduled to travel to Germany on Nov. 27 in the leadup to the European Union’s Copenhagen summit set to be held on Dec. 12-13. Sezer is expected to meet with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and reiterate to him that Turkey is the only EU candidate country whose situation remains uncertain, and that Turkey expects a constructive attitude on Germany’s part at the summit. /Cumhuriyet/
 AKP WINS 363-SEAT MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENTIn results of Sunday’s elections set to soon become official, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) scored a landslide victory, capturing 363 seats in Turkey’s 550-seat Parliament. The party is preparing to take power after winning a majority in the polls -- the first time in 15 years that any party has been in a position to govern alone. The only other party that won seats in the elections was the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which will have 178 deputies as the opposition party. Nine independent candidates also won seats in the elections, while the 16 other parties participating in the polls remained below the 10 percent threshold needed to enter Parliament. /All papers/
 ECEVIT TENDERS HIS RESIGNATION TO THE PRESIDENTPrime Minister Bulent Ecevit yesterday presented his Cabinet’s resignation to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Sezer then asked Ecevit to continue to fulfill his duties until a new government officially takes office. Before leaving the Cankaya Presidential Palace, Ecevit told reporters that he and the current Cabinet would serve until the formation of a new government. Answering journalists’ questions, Ecevit said that his government had erred in failing to lower the 10% elections threshold. Ecevit’s Democratic Left Party (DSP) failed to meet the threshold, as did 16 of the 18 parties competing in Sunday’s elections. Regarding the initial statements of Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan following his party’s election victory, Ecevit stated that Erdogan had spoken carefully but in a way that was as yet unclear. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “OUR AIM TO DEVELOP TURKEY FURTHER”Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Sunday’s election winner the Justice and Development Party (AKP), yesterday received foreign journalists at his party’s Ankara headquarters. Answering reporters’ questions about his party’s stance towards the military, Erdogan said, “The Republic of Turkey is a secular, democratic and social state ruled by the law. Every institution’s duties and authority are clearly laid out in the Constitution.” The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are also our force and nobody should try to come between us, stated Erdogan. Reiterating that his party was not “centered on religion,” Erdogan said that its policies during its term in power would prove this. “Our aim to develop Turkey further,” he added. He also stressed that his party placed great importance on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. “We will do whatever we can to get a date for membership talks at the EU’s Copenhagen summit next month,” said Erdogan. He also stated that in one or two weeks, he would pay a visit to Greece at the invitation of Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis. Meanwhile, Vittorio Surdo, Italy’s ambassador to Turkey, yesterday visited Erdogan to congratulate him on his party’s success in the elections. Surdo was the first foreign representative to pay Erdogan a visit. /Turkiye/
 DERVIS: “THE ERA OF FRAGMENTED POLITICS HAS ENDED”Asked yesterday by reporters to comment the results of Sunday’s general elections, incoming Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Kemal Dervis said that perhaps what Turkey had long needed was a two-party system, adding that its fragmented political structure had now came to an end. “In this new political climate, a harmonious government may be able to carry out its policies on firmer ground,” Dervis stated. “If the new government works well, Turkey will benefit greatly from this.” /Cumhuriyet/
 LEADERS OF DEFEATED PARTIES TO GIVE UP POWERAfter their respective parties’ defeats in Sunday’s general elections, the leaders of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), the Motherland Party (ANAP) and the True Path Party (DYP) have all declared that they will step down and quit active politics. Following the lead of MHP leader Devlet Bahceli, who declared his decision to step down just after preliminary election results were released, ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz and DYP leader Tansu Ciller yesterday did the same. At a press conference, Yilmaz said, “The ANAP needs to be restructured. To gave the party the space to do this, I’ll step down from the party’s leadership, and I have furthermore decided to leave active political life.” Stressing that a new era had begun in Turkish politics with the elections, Yilmaz remarked that the center-right also needed to go through a restructuring process. He also expressed his pleasure that the winning Justice and Development Party (AKP) had declared it would give priority to Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Meanwhile, in a written statement, DYP leader Tansu Ciller yesterday also declared her decision to convene a party congress and not to stand for its leadership again. /Turkiye/
 WHEELS IN MOTION TOWARDS POST-ELECTION GOVERNMENTFollowing the Supreme Election Board’s (YSK) declaration of the official results OF Sunday’s elections, expected soon, the wheels will begin turning in earnest towards the formation of a new government. Under the Constitution and Parliament’s regulations, on the fifth day after the YSK’s declaration Parliament will convene chaired by Sukru Elekdag, who will be the oldest deputy serving in Parliament. During this session, the 550 new deputies will take their oaths of office, and five days later a new Parliament speaker will be elected and the Parliament Speakership Council will be formed. Then, after the President appoints a deputy to establish a new government, the process of forming this government is to begin. Once a new cabinet list is submitted to the president and it receives his approval, seven days later a vote of confidence will be held in Parliament. If the deputy appointed by the president is unable to establish a government within 45 days, the Constitution mandates that a new round of elections be held. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL, AKP LEADER ERDOGAN TO MEETRecep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of Sunday’s election winner the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is set to meet today with Deniz Baykal, leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). The AKP and the CHP will be the sole parties in Turkey’s new Parliament, the former with a near two-thirds majority, the latter as the opposition, a role Baykal has promised to fill “responsibly.” During their meeting, Erdogan and Baykal will reportedly discuss the election results and recent developments in Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Erdogan will also reportedly brief Baykal on the visit he has promised too soon pay to Greece. /Milliyet/
 EU COMMISSION: “THE NEW GOVERNMENT SHOULD CONTINUE TURKEY’S POLITICAL REFORMS”Addressing the results of Turkey’s general elections on Sunday, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Guenter Verheugen said yesterday that the new government to be formed should continue the process of carrying out political reforms. Verheugen also stated that the election results would be a test as to whether a Muslim democratic party in a Muslim country could take a similar role to those of Europe’s Christian democratic parties, adding that the issue of religion should not cast a shadow on the political reforms that Turkey had to pursue for its EU membership. “This represents a tremendous opportunity to see if Turkey will be able to incorporate a democratic party based on religious grounds,” Verheugen added. In related news, EU Commission Spokesman Jean-Christophe Filori said that the commission had taken note of the results of the elections in Turkey and that it was ready to cooperate with the new government. “We have seen that the two parties set to be represented in Parliament have both pledged to take a pro-EU stance,” Filori added. “The EU Commission will continue to watch Turkey’s steps closely.” /Hurriyet/
 IMF: “WE ARE READY TO WORK WITH THE NEW GOVERNMENT”International Monetary Fund Spokesman Conny Lotze and IMF Representative to Turkey Odd Per Brekk declared yesterday that the IMF was ready to work with the new government set to be formed in the wake of Sunday’s elections. Lotze said that the IMF welcomed the victorious Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) stated pledge to support Turkey’s current economic program. Brekk said that the IMF would be pleased to coperate with the AKP. “We are waiting to be invited by the new government after it comes into office in order to continue our contacts,” addded Brekk. “We are pleased that Turkey’s political uncertainty has been brought to an end through this week’s early elections.” In related news, the World Bank issued a written statement saying that results of the elections were positive and had set the nation on track to greater economic stability. /Milliyet/
 TUSIAD: “THE AKP SHOULD EXPLAIN ITSELF TO THE EU MEMBER STATES”Appearing on television yesterday, Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairman Tuncay Ozilhan congratulated the victorious Justice and Development Party (AKP), calling it the only winner of Sunday’s elections. The AKP’s margin of victory has put it on track to become Turkey’s first one-party government in over a decade. Ozilhan further stated that the new government should take important steps before December’s European Union summit in Copenhagen and should also start to implement the EU harmonization laws which Parliament passed this summer. “Two issues the AKP government should give priority to are the economic program and Turkey’s EU membership bid,” added Ozilhan. “The AKP should respect the basic principles of the republic.” Ozilhan also remarked that the EU member states were curious about the AKP’s conception of Islam, so it needed to explain itself well. A delegation of TUSIAD members will meet with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi tomorrow in order to secure Italy’s support for Turkey’s EU membership bid. /Milliyet/
 S&P: “NO MAJOR ECONOMIC POLICY CHANGE IN TURKEY IS EXPECTED”Turkey’s newly elected government is expected to continue the market-friendly economic policies of the outgoing government, said international credit rating institution Standard & Poors Rating Services yesterday. S&P also stated that Turkey’s credit rating largely hinged on the new government’s policy stance and its willingness to implement its policies. Turkey’s ratings have been constrained “by a fragmented political environment, in which personality-driven politics and short-run positioning frequently limit attempts to implement policies conducive to sustainable and more equitable growth,” said S&P’s Marie Cavanaugh. “We hope that the new government to be formed will rigorously continue to implement the ongoing economic policies.” /Hurriyet/
 TWO OFFICERS LOST IN IZMIT HELICOPTER CRASHA military helicopter crashed yesterday during a training flight in Izmit’s Esme district, going down into Lake Sapanca. Two non-commissioned officers, Mustafa Serbest and Hakan Sagiroglu, survived and were rescued, but Cpts. Zafer Dilbaz and Hakan Imamoglu were both lost in the crash. /Milliyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE AKP’S OPPORTUNITY BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)Columnist Sami Kohen writes on the victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sunday’s elections. A summary of his column is as follows:
“According to the foreign media, an Islamist party won the elections in Turkey on Sunday. That’s how most foreign reporters know the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Some call the AKP ‘old Islamists,’ or some prefer labeling it ‘neo-Islamist.’ Although AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly rejected such labels during his election campaigns, the Western countries still tend to see the AKP as an Islamist party. However, Erdogan prefers to call his party a ‘conservative democratic’ one.
The policies pursued by the AKP government will show the world whether it is an Islamist or a conservative democratic party. It’s now the AKP’s turn to clean up its notorious image. The world has turned its eyes to Erdogan to see his next move. As a matter of fact, neither Washington nor Brussels was surprised by the results of the elections. Most of the foreign diplomats and officials fully expected the AKP to win. Their concern now is whether or not the AKP government will be able to continue to pursue its predecessor’s constructive, positive policies on a number of sensitive issues such as Cyprus and Turkish-EU relations. For instance, will Ankara continue to be a strategic ally of the US? Will the new government be able to fulfill the EU’s Copenhagen criteria?
Recent statements by Erdogan underlining Turkey’s EU membership bid as the country’s priority have eased the concerns of Western leaders. However, they want to see the actual implementation of the AKP’s program supporting the continuation of Turkey’s close alliance with the US, the IMF-backed economic program and efforts aimed at further democratization.
In brief, the new government is coming to power in the midst of a critical period during which Turkey needs to take important steps concerning certain sensitive issues. This might be an opportunity for the AKP to gain greater support and to prove its determination.”
 THE DAY AFTER BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the results of the elections held on Sunday. A summary of his column is as follows:
“It’s customary that after the election results become clear, politicians interpret them according to own interests, growing happy or unhappy depending on their position. However, then they try to give the results, whether truly positive or negative, a positive spin. For example, when former Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Alparslan Turkes received the support of only 6.4% of voters in 1977, he said in order to save face, ‘Since last year, we’ve doubled our rate of support.’ However, in the previous elections they had received only 362,000 votes out of nearly 17 million voters. In other words, doubling their votes was hardly something to brag about. I’m not criticizing this spin doctoring, because the leadership of each party is obliged to do it. However, this time all the parties besides the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Republican People’s Party (CHP) fall flat on their faces. Therefore none of their leaders can say, ‘We were, to a certain extent, successful.’ As a result, the house cleaning which the political parties proved incapable of doing internally has now been done by the voters. All our political leaders have a well-known habit of coming to power but being unable and unwilling to relinquish it. They do this by making democracy inside the party unworkable. For example, they don’t leave the responsibility of determining its members to the organization. They prevent the organization from coming up with opinions and suggestions, treating their parties just like a family farm, refusing to quit the land till they drop dead plowing the field. But the voters ended this tradition and showed all these leaders the door. The voters were furious that they were being made to suffer for the sins of their leaders. The partners of the 57th government, that is, those who deserved it the least, were dealt the heaviest blow.
So many things could be said about the Nov. 3 elections. We intend to tell them all when it’s time, but for now there’s an important point that we shouldn’t miss. As you probably know, our Constitution left the administration and control of elections to the judiciary organs in general and the Higher Elections Board (YSK) in particular. Turkey held clean, honest and peaceful elections on Nov. 3, but we sometimes harshly criticized the YSK because of its decisions during the election campaign. However, today let’s emphasize our gratitude that the YSK administered the system properly. Turkey proved with these elections once more that it has reached a serious level of maturity in terms of holding democratic, free and independent elections. Now it’s the duty of both the AKP and ourselves to show that we have a system that administers Turkey well. In other words, it’s our turn to take a test.”
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