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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-11
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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
11.11.2002MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK COMMEMORATED SEZER: “ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS WILL BE COUNTERED WITH DETERMINATION” YSK RELEASES OFFICIAL POLL RESULTS ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS NOT ISLAMIC” ERDOGAN MEETS WITH INCOMING AKP DEPUTIES CHIEF OF STAFF OZKOK RETURNS FROM US VISIT BAYKAL: “WE WILL WORK HARMONIOUSLY WITH THE AKP” UN TO PRESENT CYPRUS PROPOSAL TO DENKTAS, CLERIDES PAPANDREOU: “GREECE SUPPORTS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID” FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS ERDOGAN, BUSH AND SADDAM BY YASEMIN CONGAR (MILLIYET) WHILE COMMEMORATING ATATURK BY ORHAN ERINC (CUMHURIYET)
 MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATURK COMMEMORATEDMustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, was commemorated yesterday in scores of ceremonies held throughout the country to mark the anniversary of his death. Present at a ceremony held yesterday morning in the capital Ankara at Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum, were President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and members of the Cabinet, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, other party leaders, top judicial and military officials, and high-level bureaucrats. The top-level delegation stood for a minute of silence at 9:05 a.m., the exact time when Ataturk passed away 64 years ago. “Our citizens in every corner of Turkey commemorate you with respect and a profound feeling of gratitude,” wrote Sezer in Anitkabir’s visitors book. “The democratic and secular Republic that you created after your victory in the Turkish War of Independence is our most valuable treasure, one that we will keep alive forever.” /All Papers/
 SEZER: “ANTI-DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENTS WILL BE COUNTERED WITH DETERMINATION”Speaking to a panel on “The Turkish Republic and Ataturk” at the Ataturk Higher Institution of Culture, Language and History held yesterday to mark the 64th anniversary of Ataturk’s death, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said that all movements aiming to destroy the democratic, secular Republic or damage the benefits which it provides to the nation would be countered with determination. Against a background of recent discussions by election winner the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of amending the Constitution so that their leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, can become prime minister, Sezer added that the practice of passing laws which apply to a single individual alone should be avoided. “We should strive carefully to implement politics according to the law, and not try to politicize the law,” added Sezer. Speaking at the same ceremony, Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, who vowed to step down from his party’s helm after its defeat in last week’s elections, said that everyone should remember the conditions in which the Republic was founded and the basic principles it rests on. “If we can produce more people of insight, people capable of transforming our national independence into a national consciousness, as Ataturk did, then our nation will be able to face its future with increased confidence,” added Bahceli. /Milliyet/
 YSK RELEASES OFFICIAL POLL RESULTSThe Supreme Elections Board (YSK) released the final results of the Nov. 3 elections over the weekend, formally confirming the victory of the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) in the polls. The AKP won 34% of the votes cast, thus giving it 363 seats in the 550-member Parliament, said Tufan Algan, head of the YSK. The center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP) won 178 seats, with 19% of the votes, while nine independent candidates also won one seat apiece. The new Parliament is scheduled to hold its first session this Thursday, during which the newly elected deputies will take their oath of office. /All Papers/
 ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS NOT ISLAMIC”In an interview in the current issue of Newsweek’s European edition, Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that the AKP was not in fact an Islamist party, saying “It is not based on religion. The Turkish media tried to place us in that category.” Erdogan stated that Turkey needed “a new vision,” adding that he was going to change Turkey as he had changed Istanbul when he was mayor of the city. Asked whether the incoming AKP government would let the United States use Turkish airbases and station troops for an Iraq intervention, Erdogan stated that the relevant United Nations decisions were binding on Turkey. “If the goal is to remove weapons of mass destruction,” he added, “Iraq appears to be willing to accept the UN inspectors. If the reports of these inspectors are positive, the problem might be solved peacefully.” When asked about Turkey’s “strong relationship” with Israel, Erdogan replied that such relations would continue under an AKP government, but pointedly referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: “We have made statements concerning Palestine because of the situation there We’re against all types of terrorism, both individual and state terrorism. We are by no means anti-Semitic.” /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH INCOMING AKP DEPUTIESThe incoming deputies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), numbering 363 all together, a clear majority set to take office this Thursday, gathered yesterday in Ankara. Speaking to the deputies, AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that they would work to reconstruct the center-right and make the AKP the center of Turkish politics. Stressing that the AKP had attracted the support of voters from across the political spectrum, Erdogan said, “The prospect of AKP rule has been greeted by hope among the people, and we should embrace everyone. We have a great responsibility.” Urging his party’s deputies to refrain from moving into the special residences reserved for parliamentarians, Erdogan said, “You should live among the people who voted for you.” He also marked the anniversary of the passing away of Ataturk, vowing that the AKP government would work to reach the targets set by the founder of the Republic of Turkey. Erdogan added that during AKP rule, all positions would be assigned to people on the basis of merit and ability alone. /Turkiye/
 CHIEF OF STAFF OZKOK RETURNS FROM US VISITFollowing his one-week visit to the United States, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday returned to Turkish soil. Speaking at Ankara’s Etimesgut Military Airport, Gen. Ozkok told reporters that during his stay in Washington, he had met with Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. He and the US officials conferred on Iraq, Afghanistan, the Cyprus issue, NATO, and issues pertaining to the European Defense and Security Policy (EDSP), he added. Ozkok stated that he had been pleased by the US’ candid attitude on Turkey’s concerns about Iraq and Cyprus. “The US seems very much determined to rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction and to end the threat posed by that country,” said Ozkok. “However, the Bush administration has not yet made up its mind on how to reach its goal.” Ozkok said that he had reiterated Turkey’s sensitivities on the Iraq issue to the US officials. “A peaceful solution to the Iraq problem must be pursued until the last possible minute. But if a military operation proves unavoidable, it must be undertaken on internationally legitimate grounds,” Ozkok stressed, adding that the US had not yet officially approached Turkey about a possible military operation. Addressing the Cyprus issue, Gen. Ozkok said that he had also reiterated that Cyprus carries great importance for Turkey’s security and that the island being admitted to the European Union at the same time as Turkey would facilitate a permanent settlement on the island. /Hurriyet/
 BAYKAL: “WE WILL WORK HARMONIOUSLY WITH THE AKP”Appearing on television yesterday, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that his party would strive to work harmoniously with the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the leader of the incoming government. He stressed that the CHP would support all positive AKP government initiatives, but added that it would carry out its duty as the opposition party when necessary in order to protect Turkey’s vital interests. Addressing the possibility of AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan becoming prime minister, something which would require a constitutional amendment, Baykal said that the CHP would support amendments to Articles 76 and 109 of the Constitution to allow this. “ But we also await the AKP’s initiative to abolish deputies’ immunity [from criminal prosecution],” added Baykal, echoing a CHP campaign pledge. /Turkiye/
 UN TO PRESENT CYPRUS PROPOSAL TO DENKTAS, CLERIDESA new United Nations proposal to resolve the Cyprus issue is due to be presented today to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Rauf Denktas and Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides. UN Deputy Secretary-General Kieran Prendergast will reportedly meet with TRNC Undersecretary Ergün Olgun to give him details of the proposal, while UN Cyprus Envoy Alvara de Soto will reportedly present the package to Clerides. After a month-long period to review the proposal, Denktas and Clerides are then to meet in order to discuss it. /Cumhuriyet/
 PAPANDREOU: “GREECE SUPPORTS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday took sharp exception to the stance of European Convention Chairman Valery Giscard d’Estaing, who last week publicly stated that Turkey’s accession to the EU would bring about “the end” of the Union. Papandreou stressed that Turkey’s membership bid would be a great test for the EU, adding that it would be a terrible mistake on the EU’s part if this great European project failed to enlarge its boundaries to the east of the Balkan countries. “Greece, both at the Copenhagen summit and during its term presidency [next year], will support Turkey’s membership bid, and work for the EU’s extending a date to Turkey [for its accession negotiations],” added Papandreou. /Cumhuriyet/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN, BUSH AND SADDAM BY YASEMIN CONGAR (MILLIYET)Columnist Yasemin Congar comments on Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish-US relations and the recent US elections which culminated in a historic victory for the Republicans, President Bush’s party. A summary of her column is as follows:
I’m writing this editorial just after delivering a speech at a panel entitled ‘How Does the World See the United States?’ at the Chicago Festival. My speech basically focused on the first two years of the Bush administration and last week’s US congressional elections. Although the panel had nothing to do with Turkish-US relations, I did touch upon the issue when discussing the Iraq problem. Most of the questions I was asked at the panel revolved around the possible future actions of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is seen by many as an Islamist party.
One of the most interesting questions I was asked came from a US judge. ‘I’m not afraid that the AKP is Islamist or that it has designs against the secular regime,’ he began. ‘What concerns me is the chance that it will pursue populist policies or be an incapable ruler. The question that must be asked is whether the AKP government will cause Turkey to backtrack to the populist policies of the ‘90s, which would inevitably make the economy completely dependent on politics.’ This is the most popular question within US circles, which know Turkey’s political and economic dynamics very well. Let’s first focus on the statement of a US official who is intimately responsible for Turkish-US relations: ‘The US shouldn’t be suspicious of the AKP’s policies or intentions. We have to help the AKP, which has clearly stated that it is ready to support the IMF- backed economic program and to improve Turkish-EU as well as Turkish-US relations.’ Although there are still certain unanswered questions on people’s minds, the Bush administration has already decided to fully cooperate with the new AKP-led Turkish government.
Another issue on the minds of Washington circles is AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unclear political situation as a leader currently unable to officially take part in the new AKP government. The Bush administration believes that Erdogan is a charismatic, successful leader who played a major role in attracting votes to the AKP. Therefore, Washington thinks that the laws must be changed as soon as possible in order to eliminate the obstacles to Erdogan’s becoming prime minister. US officials also believe that if this isn’t done, there would effectively be two prime ministers in Turkey, one holding the post and Erdogan acting as a highly influential behind-the-scenes PM. The Bush administration wants to see an elected prime minister rather than some other figure appointed due to the AKP leader’s political ban.
As we all know, the Republicans recaptured control of the Senate earlier last week, giving President Bush dominance over both houses of Congress and their legislative agendas. During the election campaign, Bush pounded home his agenda -- tax cuts, homeland security, and a strong military -- and accused the Democrats of having no agenda besides obstructionism. We can evaluate his victory as indicating that US voters trusted the Republicans more than the Democrats, or we can say that the Democrats failed to develop alternative strategies to Bush’s peculiar policies such as tax cuts. Now, Bush is a truly elected president. There are two important points here regarding Turkish-US relations: The Bush administration now seems to be omnipotent in dealing with almost every issue, including the Iraq problem. In addition, it will be easier for the Bush administration, which now has a majority of seats in both houses, to pass though Congress an aid package for Turkey in return for its full support for the US Army during a possible Iraq military intervention.
The UN Security Council last week unanimously approved a new disarmament resolution for Iraq, warning its leader Saddam Hussein that he must scrap his weapons programs or face ‘serious consequences,’ such as a US-led war. The 15-0 vote represented a significant achievement for the Bush administration. The Security Council decided ‘to afford Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant resolutions of the council; and accordingly decides to set up an enhanced inspection regime with the aim of bringing to full and verified completion the disarmament process established by subsequent resolutions of the council.’ However, we should also see that this resolution is a clear sign that Saddam Hussein is facing his last days as the leader of his government. Ankara has to play this game very carefully, taking into consideration all the possible consequences of an imminent war.”
 WHILE COMMEMORATING ATATURK BY ORHAN ERINC (CUMHURIYET)Columnist Orhan Erinc comments on Turkey’s commemoration of Ataturk and recent political developments. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Yesterday we commemorated Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who left this world 64 years ago, with respect and gratitude. I never personally saw Ataturk. However, I sincerely believe his statement that seeing him doesn’t mean only mean seeing with your eyes. The number of young people agreeing with this is growing with each passing day, and thus strengthening the Turkish Republic’s confidence in its future.
‘The level of modern civilization’ which was pointed to as an example to us by Ataturk is a target that can be reached and continued if the Turkish Republic remains a secular, democratic and social state of law. However, there are still efforts being made against secularism and the law. During the present period, in which claims that ‘Turkey is advancing towards modernity’ are being repeated, the law and politics are once again coming to a crossroads. Justice and Development Party (AKP) administrators and their supporters continue to say that they chose the path of politics to better their situation. The system of law in our country begins with the Constitution, and it continues with the laws and their rules and regulations. It seems clear that one political party leader now intends to change the Constitution, and the lower-ranking party members are looking to do the same for their future. The AKP should decide if it’s going to represent one group within the nation or the nation itself.
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s speech at the Ataturk Higher Institution of Culture, Language and History yesterday vindicated those who say, ‘Thank God there’s Sezer at the Cankaya Presidential Palace.’ This section of his speech carried important messages for today and tomorrow: ‘Becoming a modern, civilized nation is possible when secularism isn’t confined to written rules alone, but instead spreads to every area of life and practice. Some of us are trying to make this so, but I must emphasize that we will oppose those who aim to destroy the democratic, secular Turkish Republic and the gains toward modernity that our nation made after becoming a republic. Today one of our top issues should be avoiding arrangements peculiar to one person alone, as these don’t suit a democratic rule of law, and taking pains to make politics according to the law, instead of politicizing the law.’ Mr. Sezer’s message is clear: If the constitutional articles barring the appointment of a prime minister from outside are changed, he will send such changes back to Parliament and then if they are passed once more, he will be submit this to the people for a plebiscite. Naturally, the government will be responsible for the tension between those who support the changes and those who oppose them in the runup to the plebiscite. The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) success in remaining in the opposition and opposing as well are known by all. Looking at its silence and support for the AKP, it would be wrong to think that the incoming Parliament will be a garden of roses.”
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