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Turkish Press Review, 07-07-03

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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

03.07.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “DEMOCRACY SUFFERED GREAT HARM IN THE ABORTED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION”
  • [02] BAYKAL PLEDGES TO END PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY
  • [03] GUL TOUTS GOVT’S RECORD IN BARTIN
  • [04] DP’S AGAR: “OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO ENSURE PEACE”
  • [05] FIRST HEARING IN DINK MURDER TRIAL HELD
  • [06] 14TH ANNIVERSARY OF SIVAS INCIDENT COMMEMORATED
  • [07] TOBB HEAD MEETS WITH FORMER US SEC’Y OF STATE ALBRIGHT
  • [08] BABACAN: “WE WON’T RAISE ELECTRICITY OR NATURAL GAS PRICES”
  • [09] FIRST BLACK SEA GAMES BEGIN
  • [10] SENDING SOLDIERS TO THE GAZA STRIP

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “DEMOCRACY SUFFERED GREAT HARM IN THE ABORTED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION”

    Speaking at a campaign rally in Trabzon yesterday, Prime Minister and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that democracy had suffered great harm in the aborted presidential election earlier this year, adding that on July 22 the nation would give the best response to this at the ballot box. Erdogan stated that the nation believed that a brighter future lies ahead. “The reason for good developments in Turkey is that the nation is in power,” said the premier. “Turkey is a large country. In the past the nation has faced difficulties due to poor leadership.” The premier added that Turkey would be in a much better situation today if in years past it had been ruled according to AKP principles. /Hurriyet/

    [02] BAYKAL PLEDGES TO END PARLIAMENTARY IMMUNITY

    Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday made a campaign trip to the central Anatolian city of Nevsehir. Speaking at a rally organized by his party, Baykal criticized the policies of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and decried a recent escalation in terrorist attacks. Pointing to the death of 37 intellectuals in the Sivas incident 14 years ago, Baykal said that the nation never wanted to see such a tragedy again. He also pledged to lift the immunity of lawmakers to fight corruption. /Star/

    [03] GUL TOUTS GOVT’S RECORD IN BARTIN

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül yesterday made a campaign visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Bartin. Gul said that his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had scored great successes during its four-and-a-half years in power. Also touching on his aborted presidential bid this May, Gul said that developments during the presidential election period had ill-suited Turkey. /Turkiye/

    [04] DP’S AGAR: “OUR MAIN GOAL IS TO ENSURE PEACE”

    Promoting his party’s election program at a press conference yesterday, Democrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar Agar said that his party would work to eliminate social and political unrest in Turkey. Pointing to the fueling of domestic conflicts, the DP leader pledged to protect the nation’s indivisible integrity and unity. Later Agar continued campaigning for the July 22 general elections with a visit to the Black Sea coastal city of Zonguldak. /Turkiye/

    [05] FIRST HEARING IN DINK MURDER TRIAL HELD

    The first hearing was held yesterday for four defendants accused of planning and carrying out the murder of Armenian-origin journalist Hrant Dink this January. At the hearing, the court ordered the release of defendants Irfan Ozkan, Osman Altay, Veysel Toprak, and Salih Hacisalihoglu during the trial. Dink’s family attended the hearing, which was closed to the press. The next hearing is set for Oct. 1. /Milliyet/

    [06] 14TH ANNIVERSARY OF SIVAS INCIDENT COMMEMORATED

    The 14th anniversary of the Sivas incident, in which 37 Alevi and leftist intellectuals, poets and musicians were killed in a hotel firebombed by rioting religious fundamentalists, was commemorated yesterday. During memorial services held in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, mourners demanded a full investigation into the deaths. /Aksam/

    [07] TOBB HEAD MEETS WITH FORMER US SEC’Y OF STATE ALBRIGHT

    Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu yesterday met in Istanbul with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. During their meeting, Albright said that US business circles were making plans concerning Turkey. “Our businesspeople love Turkey,” she said. Albright added that Washington would continue to support Turkey’s European Union membership bid. /Hurriyet/

    [08] BABACAN: “WE WON’T RAISE ELECTRICITY OR NATURAL GAS PRICES”

    Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Economy Minister Ali Babacan denied claims by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal that the government had signed an agreement with Washington not to enter northern Iraq, saying that Ankara had never made any such commitment. Touching on economic developments, Babacan said that the government wouldn’t raise the prices of electricity or natural gas. /Sabah/

    [09] FIRST BLACK SEA GAMES BEGIN

    The First Black Sea Games began yesterday with a ceremony in the coastal city of Trabzon. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accompanied by a number of Cabinet ministers attended the opening of the games, which are set to continue in Giresun and Rize along with Trabzon. Turkey, Russia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania, Ukraine, Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia and Moldova are participating in the games. /Cumhuriyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [10] SENDING SOLDIERS TO THE GAZA STRIP

    BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the situation in the Middle East and Turkey’s relation to it. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “As if Turkey didn’t have enough problems, some people want to drag it into the hell of Palestine. Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Secretary General Yaser Abed Rabbo said that if an international peacekeeping force is to be sent to the Gaza Strip, it should include soldiers from such countries as Turkey, Indonesia and Qatar. He added that only this way could the trust of all the parties be ensured. Gaza fell into Hamas’ hands following the bloody conflicts of June 15. The 360 square kilometer region where more than 1.5 million Palestinians live is now completely isolated and has become the target of Israeli operations. This situation is making Hamas more radical every day. Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Western countries are concerned that the Gaza Strip will turn into a headquarters of fundamentalist groups, even al-Qaeda. In a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked for his support for sending an international peacekeeping force to Gaza. Before this meeting, the issue was discussed by Palestinian, Israeli, Egyptian and Jordanian leaders during the Sharm al- Sheikh summit. Just after that, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the EU and Israel stated that they welcomed this suggestion warmly. At the same time, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema told his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul that such a force would be necessary.

    It’s true that Gul told his guest that the issue should be discussed in detail, but cautious expressions used by Gul probably left the impression on diplomatic circles that Ankara had opened the door. I think sending Turkish soldiers to Gaza would be a nightmare for Turkey due to the following reasons:

    Such a multinational force would be perceived by the Turkish and Arab publics as protecting Israel against Hamas.

    Hamas stated that even if the force comes with a UN mandate, it would be seen as an ‘occupying force’ and be received with rockets.

    Even if Hamas is somehow persuaded, more radical groups that it can’t control are present in Gaza.

    Israel wants to be given the authority to intervene, in return for commissioning the multinational power with only a coordinating or observer status.

    The force would have to face Iran, even indirectly, because Hamas is surviving with arms and money sent by Tehran.

    Just these five reasons are enough for keeping Turkey away from the circle of fire. If a peacekeeping force is sent to the region, firstly Egypt should undertake this task, because it holds one of the keys to the Gaza Strip’s two doors to the world. In addition, it has had a responsibility for Gaza since the 1967 War.

    If Egypt ducks its responsibility, European Union countries should send soldiers. But they say though they’re ready to support sending a multinational force to Gaza, they can’t send their own soldiers to such a dangerous task whose duration is still unknown. This was said by a high- level EU diplomat as quoted in Le Monde on June 16. Actually, authorization from Parliament would be necessary for Turkey to contribute to this force, and Parliament and the new ruling party will have a lot to do following the July 22 elections, but let me just ask this: What is Turkey doing at a hornet’s nest that everybody sees as very dangerous?”


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