|Friday, 20 September 2019|
Turkish Press Review, 06-11-29
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr>Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
 POPE BENEDICT XVI ARRIVES IN ANKARA, MEETS WITH SEZER AND ERDOGANPope Benedict XVI yesterday arrived in Ankara for a four-day official visit. The visiting pontiff first met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the airport, since Erdogan was due to fly to Latvia to attend a NATO summit. During their meeting, Erdogan said that he was pleased to see the pope in Turkey and sought his support for Turkey's European Union membership bid. For his part, the pope stated that he was glad to visit Turkey, adding that he wasn't a politician, but favored Ankara's membership. Erdogan further stressed that the visit took place when dialogue between cultures is beginning to improve. Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Erdogan said that he had had the chance to hold a short meeting with the pope. "We now need tolerance between different cultures more than in the past," said Erdogan. "Thus, the pope's visit carries great importance to give messages of peace to the world." Later, the pope was received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. During their meeting, they had discussed a number of issues, including Turkey's EU bid and Cyprus. Sezer stressed that Ankara was expecting the EU to pursue just and equal policies. Commenting on the Vatican's criticisms of restrictions on religious freedom in Turkey, Sezer stated that Turkey was a secular country. "Secularism is among the articles of our Constitution," said Sezer. Touching on the Cyprus issue, Sezer said that the Turkish Cypriots still face an embargos even though they put forward their positive stance, adding that the issue should be solved within the UN. For his part, the pope stated that he was aware of the importance of the Cyprus issue and supported efforts to solve the issue within the UN. /Cumhuriyet/
 POPE MEETS WITH BARDAKOGLUAfter completing his meeting with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pope Benedict XVI met with Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu. During their meeting, Bardakoglu said, "I view this visit of His Holiness the Pope to our country a positive step towards cultivating a culture of reconciliation amongst the members of different religions, beliefs, cultures, and civilizations for promoting the understanding of mutual respect, justice and rightness." Bardakoglu continued, "Muslims condemn all types of violence and terror, regardless of whoever commits it against whosoever. We are the members of a religion which reckons that shedding the blood of an innocent person is a serious crime and sin equal to killing all humanity." For his part, the pope said, "Your country is very dear to Christians. Many of the earliest church communities were founded here. I am fond of the Turks. I appreciate the natural qualities of these people who have their own place reserved in the march of civilization." /The New Anatolian/
 BAYKAL, MUMCU CRITICIZE GOVT HANDLING OF PAPAL VISITSpeaking at his party's group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said that the timing of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI was improper, saying that officials didn't try to arrange the visit at a more proper time. "The visit should be completed without damaging Turkey's image," said Baykal. Also addressing his party's group meeting, opposition Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu extended his welcome to the pope, adding that he hopes the pontiff came with good will. Mumcu criticized the government's handling of the papal visit, saying that it had acted clumsily over the visit. "The real reason for this visit is not Turkey, but the Fener Greek Patriarchate," added Mumcu. /Hurriyet/
 YAS MEETING TO BE HELD TOMORROWThis year's second meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) is due to be held tomorrow under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the meeting, such issues as the training and discipline of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) staff are expected to be discussed. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit is due to attend the meeting. The decisions taken by the council members will be presented to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer for approval. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN TRAVELS TO RIGA TO ATTEND NATO SUMMITPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at Ankara's Esenboga Airport, yesterday flew to Latvia to attend a NATO summit of heads of state and government. Erdogan, accompanied by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, will represent Turkey at the gathering, where the Afghanistan issue is expected to dominate talks. The summit began last evening with a dinner of leaders of the 26 NATO member states. As part of the meetings, Erdogan is set to hold bilateral talks with European leaders including his Italian, British and Spanish counterparts. Following a meeting with Latvia's president, the Turkish premier will also meet with the German premier and French president. /Turkiye/
 PM ERDOGAN WARNS WORLD LEADERS ABOUT DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that recent developments in the Mideast had turned into a dangerous game. Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Erdogan pointed to the escalating violence in Iraq and called the events a kind of civil war. "If this fire isn't put out soon, it will engulf us all," said Erdogan, adding that the division of Iraq into three parts would be the beginning of a huge disaster. Calling on everyone, but especially Iraqi religious leaders, to work hard for peace, Erdogan said that there could be no winners in this fight, but global peace and humanity would be the losers. /Turkiye/
 IZMIR PREPARES TO WELCOME POPETight security measures have been taken in the capital Ankara and the cities of Izmir and Istanbul to be visited by Pope Benedict XVI during his first trip to a Muslim country. The pontiff is expected to proceed to Izmir this morning to visit the House of the Virgin Mary in the Selcuk district. He will officiate a two-hour ceremony attended by 500 believers selected by the Vatican and invited by the archbishop of Izmir. The ceremony will be broadcast live in 67 countries. Then the pope is set to fly to Istanbul late in the afternoon to carry out his contacts in this city, before leaving Turkey on Friday. /All Papers/
 WB APPOINTS NEW TURKEY DIRECTORFollowing Andrew Vorkink's stepping down after completing his three-year term in office, Ulrich Zachau has been appointed the World Bank's new Turkey director. Zachau previously served as strategy and operations director of the WB's Latin America and Caribbean Department. /Aksam/
 MINIMUM WAGE DISCUSSIONS TO BEGIN TOMORROWThe Minimum Wage Commission is scheduled to convene tomorrow to determine the new minimum wage to be paid to workers next year. The commission has 15 members: five workers, five employers and five representatives from the government. The commission had set the minimum wage for this year at YTL 531. /Sabah/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 ERDOGAN AND THE PRESIDENTIAL PALACEBY AVNI OZGUREL (RADIKAL)
Columnist Avni Ozgurel comments on next year's presidential election. A summary of his column is as follows:
"There's rising pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to announce if he'll run for president. Journalists also want to get a sign or hint from him on the issue. However, Erdogan has a very correct stance on this subject. Imagine if Erdogan said he'd run, and then think about its repercussions in the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the impact of discussing it so early on the entire country. Who can foresee how much pressure we'll face from those who don't want him to become president? Let's consider the issue from the other side and imagine that Erdogan said he wouldn't run. Then people will start talking about who he will nominate, won't they? Or what's worse, other people within the AKP might decide to run. During the election of the Parliament speaker or AKP group administrators, we saw some from the ruling party voted without considering Erdogan's preferences. Then what would happen?
Before Sept. 12, 1980, the Presidential Palace wasn't an attractive place for politicians. The president's position, authority and term of office were limited. As you know, the 1982 Constitution changed this situation, and extensive authority was given to the president, in a break with the parliamentary system. When the late Turgut Ozal was president, he chaired the Cabinet, and former President Suleymen Demirel had a determining role in the formation of the Cabinet. Under the 1982 Constitution, our presidents were not only given extensive authority, but they also weren't answerable to anybody for their actions. Article 105 states that he can't be accused of anything except a ‘treasonous felony.' In other words, the Presidential Palace is a very attractive place for politicians. When Ozal was elected president with the votes of 263 deputies, his True Path Party (DYP) had won 36% of the vote in the previous elections. When Ozal died in 1993, Suleyman Demirel was elected president and the DYP got 27% of the vote. In 2002 the AKP got 34% of the vote. In the intervening years, the DYP, Republican People's Party (CHP), Motherland Party (ANAP), Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) and Welfare Party (RP) all took turns being the ruling party. They all argued that the president's term in office should be shortened and his authority circumscribed. However, none of them tried to do this. When the AKP became ruling party, it saw that the Presidential Palace was a key place and oriented itself to this task but then it gave up this idea. Finally, Ahmet Necdet Sezer was elected president. In sum, people who like or dislike Erdogan should accept that the current situation wasn't created by him and that he's subject to the same rules as other leaders. Thus, if Erdogan wants to become president, rejecting this has no legal or political basis. All calculations other than this are wrong. If you ask me what would come from Erdogan becoming president, I would suggest you look at the recent past. Remember what happened to ANAP (now ANAVATAN) after Ozal was elected president and the debates within the DYP after Demirel took office. I wouldn't understand it if you said that the AKP is somehow different. However, I know that saying this would be ignoring that politicians have acted with similar reflexes in our history of democracy."
 THE VISIT AS WELL AS THE VISITOR ARE CRITICALBY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)
Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done the right thing: He welcomed Pope Benedict XVI at the airport. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk said the following about the troops from Britain, New Zealand and Australia after Battle of Canakkale: ‘They lost their lives on this soil. They are our sons as long as they lie in this soil.' And Pope Benedict XVI is our guest since the moment he set foot on our soil. The words he used in Germany this September don't change this fact. Not we should be ashamed of those words, but the pope should.
We're sure that the pope is also wise enough not to expect to be greeted by flowers and love by the Turkish people. Similarly, we also don't expect a negative attitude from the people, except for protests within the framework of democratic rights. He is polite and says good words about the country and its people. We remember his words against Turkey's EU membership. And we think his words yesterday saying Turkey has a place in Europe weren't genuine. Therefore, everybody knows that although the pope came to Turkey with an invitation from President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, he attaches more importance to his meeting with Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. This shows us that the visit aims at bridging the gap between the Orthodox and Catholic Church rather than Christianity and Islam. But one should expect that he won't create tensions on other issues while visiting this country to strengthen relations between Christians. Those issues are the claims of the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos that Turkey should accept his title as ecumenical and reopening the clerical school on Heybeli Island.
Actually, Turkey doesn't need to give a response to the first issue. Turkey doesn't object to the use of this title, but it also doesn't use this title to refer to Bartholomeos. First of all the Patriarchate is subject to Turkish law. There is no judicial ruling that requires the acceptance of this title.
I wrote many things about the clerical school. With this demand, Bartholomeos says: ‘Give us a right above the law. Create a different situation then other universities.' In short, he wants the Patriarchate to have a higher authority than the law. So it would be better if the pope didn't talk about these issues."
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