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Turkish Press Review, 07-07-06

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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

06.07.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BACKS POPULAR ELECTION OF PRESIDENT
  • [02] GOVT, OPPOSITION PARTIES CONTINUE CAMPAIGNING AS CLOCK TICKS DOWN TO ELECTIONS
  • [03] GUL: “SECURITY ISSUES SHOULDN’T BE MADE INTO POLITICAL FODDER”
  • [04] NEW BRITISH PM BROWN EXPRESSES SUPPORT IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
  • [05] REHN: “I SEE NO REASON FOR TURKEY NOT TO JOIN THE EU AFTER IT FULFILLS THE NECESSARY CRITERIA”
  • [06] ANTI-TERROR DEMONSTRATION SET FOR ANKARA
  • [07] BARIS AKARSU DIES
  • [08] FIVE DIFFERENT ELECTION SCENARIOS

  • [01] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT BACKS POPULAR ELECTION OF PRESIDENT

    In a surprise ruling, the Constitutional Court yesterday rejected applications from President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) by upholding a package of constitutional changes that pave the way for election of the president by popular vote. The changes are now expected to be put to a referendum in mid-October. Sezer both applied to the Constitutional Court to annul the changes and called for a referendum after reviewing the amendments passed in Parliament by an overwhelming majority. A referendum on the constitutional amendments is not expected before October, as Sezer vetoed a separate amendment to shorten the referendum period from the current 120 days, following publication of the changes in the Official Gazette on June 16. The constitutional changes would allow election of the president by popular vote, rather than the current practice of election in Parliament, for five- year terms, and allow reelection; reduce the parliamentary election period from five years to four; and stipulate that a quorum of 184 deputies would be enough to elect a president. Since the constitutional changes will not go into effect without a referendum, the current norms will apply when the new Parliament emerging after the July 22 elections attempts to elect a new president. This means the new president will be elected by parliamentary vote for a seven-year term and in a session attended by at least 367 deputies. /Today’s Zaman/

    [02] GOVT, OPPOSITION PARTIES CONTINUE CAMPAIGNING AS CLOCK TICKS DOWN TO ELECTIONS

    Political party leaders yesterday continued campaigning ahead of the July 22 general elections with rallies in various cities. Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed crowds in Bolu, Zonguldak and Duzce, while Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul visited Yozgat, Kirsehir and Nevsehir. In addition, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal continued his campaign swings with visits to Bursa and Yalova. Moreover, Labor Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek, in a first for Turkey, announced his Cabinet weeks before the polls. The Cabinet, chaired by dark horse candidate Perincek, would consist of 31 ministers. /Aksam/

    [03] GUL: “SECURITY ISSUES SHOULDN’T BE MADE INTO POLITICAL FODDER”

    Appearing on television yesterday, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul commented on a possible cross-border operation in northern Iraq, saying that security issues shouldn’t be used as political fodder. He stressed that doing so would only harm Turkey. “We have seen this historically,” said Gul. He further stated that this didn’t mean Ankara wouldn’t intervene in northern Iraq, adding that this could be done with responsibility and resolve after consulting with the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). “Our goal is to render the terrorist PKK ineffectual,” said Gul. “We’ll do whatever is necessary to achieve this.” Gul also said that ties between Kurds and Turkmen in northern Iraq have deep roots, but that they had been weakened by the PKK. In related news, Kurdistan regional government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said yesterday that Turkey had always supported them, adding that they were ready to solve their problems peacefully. /Milliyet/

    [04] NEW BRITISH PM BROWN EXPRESSES SUPPORT IN FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM

    Days after terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow were averted, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday made a telephone call to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During their conversation, Brown said that Britain would continue to support Turkey in its fight against terrorism. /Milliyet/

    [05] REHN: “I SEE NO REASON FOR TURKEY NOT TO JOIN THE EU AFTER IT FULFILLS THE NECESSARY CRITERIA”

    European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said yesterday that he saw no reason for Turkey not to join the EU after it fulfills the necessary criteria, adding that there was no problem in this. Stressing that promises have been made to Turkey, Rehn stated that Turkey was going through a difficult time due to the looming July 22 general elections. Rehn further stressed that no one should underestimate the reforms seen in Turkey in recent years. /Star/

    [06] ANTI-TERROR DEMONSTRATION SET FOR ANKARA

    Just weeks before the July 22 general elections, a demonstration against terrorism is expected to be held in Ankara tomorrow. The demonstrators plan to stress the need for a unified front against terrorism. Some 50 institutions support the demonstration, which will be held in Tandogan Square. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] BARIS AKARSU DIES

    Baris Akarsu, a young rock musician and actor, died at the age of 28 on Wednesday night at Bodrum State Hospital after struggling for his life for five days. Akarsu, who suffered critical injuries in a car accident last weekend in Bodrum, will be laid to rest today in his hometown of Amasra. /All Papers/

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

    [08] FIVE DIFFERENT ELECTION SCENARIOS

    BY BILAL CETIN (VATAN)

    Columnist Bilal Cetin comments on the July 22 general elections. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Yesterday the Constitutional Court rejected applications made by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to annul a constitutional amendment for popular election of the president using a two-round system. This ruling turned everyone’s political calculations upside down, because until yesterday, both the ruling party and the opposition had expected the court to strike down the amendment, and all the parties had been planning to elect a new president in Parliament through consensus after July 22. The court’s ruling set off political shockwaves. Now, besides the issue of how the president will be elected or if he will be elected, even the meaning of elections to be held on July 22 is up in the air.

    What will happen now? Of course, there’s no change in the current process. The elections will be held on July 22. If the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) announces the election results on July 29, Parliament will hold its first session on Aug. 3 and deputies will take their oaths. Next will be procedures to elect a new Parliament speaker, ending on Aug. 13. The process of the presidential election will follow on Aug. 15, starting with 10 days of candidacy applications. The first round of the presidential election will start on Aug. 25, and the election will conclude on Sept. 13 at the latest.

    At this point, there are two possibilities. An inter-party consensus might be ensured in the post-election Parliament, and the new president might be elected in line with the provisions of the current Constitution. In this case, a new constitutional amendment might be passed, thus closing the way to a referendum on the popular vote amendment. If this doesn’t happen and the provisions for presidential elections aren’t changed, we will hold a referendum on Oct. 21 on this constitutional change. If the referendum is passed, nothing will change, either. As the new president will already have taken office, the new procedures won’t apply for seven years, which his term ends.

    What would happen if the second possibility occurs " in other words, if a party with at least 174 deputies which didn’t like the results of the July 22 elections wants to try its luck in new general elections and doesn’t want to reach a consensus and so blocks the presidential election process? Under the Constitution, if the presidential election produces no winner in one month, early general elections will be triggered. The lifespan of the new post-election Parliament would then be cut short on Sept. 13. This situation could be avoided if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) calls Parliament to an extraordinary session before July 22 and passes without change a law shortening the preparation period before referendums. If this is done, the referendum will take place in the first week of September, thus stopping the presidential election process. Thus, the public would elect the next president with a two-round election, and Parliament would avoid early general elections. Otherwise, a new election marathon would be triggered. The constitutional referendum would take place in late October, and general elections would follow less than a month later. Then the first and second round of the presidential election would be held. In other words, voters might go to the ballot box as many as five times this year. Of course, if the constitutional referendum or one of the presidential election rounds is held simultaneously with the general elections, this number will fall to four.”


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