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Turkish Press Review, 07-08-07

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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

07.08.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE’LL ASSEMBLE A MUCH BETTER CABINET”
  • [02] ON EVE OF MALIKI’S VISIT, IRAQ SIGNALS COOPERATION AGAINST PKK
  • [03] WASHINGTON POST: “TURKEY TO GIVE IRAQ FINAL WARNING ON PKK”
  • [04] AKP BOARD DISCUSSES CANDIDATES FOR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, PRESIDENT
  • [05] FIRST CANDIDATE FOR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ENTERS RACE
  • [06] GERMAN GREENS’ ROTH: “TURKEY IS SECULAR”
  • [07] CAN MALIKI CLEAR UP THE PKK ISSUE?

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE’LL ASSEMBLE A MUCH BETTER CABINET”

    Speaking yesterday after being assigned by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer to form a new government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he would put together a better government than the last one. “We’ll avoid shortcomings by taking advantage of our five years of accumulated experience and form a much more better government,” said Erdogan. Stressing that the new Cabinet would be formed through consultations with the organs of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan stated that AKP goals for 2008 include raising per capita income to $10,000, improving democracy, strengthening peace and solidarity, and ensuring a structure guided by the pillars of a single nation, single flag, single country, and single state. Asked if he would present the new Cabinet list to Sezer or to his successor, set to be elected soon, Erdogan said that he would consider the constitutional calendar in deciding on this. /Sabah- Turkiye/

    [02] ON EVE OF MALIKI’S VISIT, IRAQ SIGNALS COOPERATION AGAINST PKK

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is due to arrive in Ankara today to pay an official visit. Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, who arrived in Ankara before Maliki, said that the PKK is a terrorist group and that the Iraqi government is ready to cooperate with Turkey to eliminate terrorism. Maliki, who will be accompanied by a 30-member delegation, is expected to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Following their meeting, Erdogan and Maliki are expected to release a declaration on the fight against terrorism. /Milliyet/

    [03] WASHINGTON POST: “TURKEY TO GIVE IRAQ FINAL WARNING ON PKK”

    Turkish leaders are expected during Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki’s visit to Ankara today to give Iraq a final warning to act against the terrorist PKK, reported The Washington Post yesterday. The paper said that if Iraq fails to take action against the terrorist PKK, Turkey might conduct a cross-border operation. “It's time for the Kurds to act,” former US Ambassador to Ankara Morton Abramowitz told The Post. “If they don't, I hope the Americans will act. And if there's another serious incident, I think the Turks will act. I think you have a very dangerous situation.” /Star/

    [04] AKP BOARD DISCUSSES CANDIDATES FOR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER, PRESIDENT

    The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Central Executive Board (MYK) yesterday convened under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During its five-hour meeting, five possible candidates for Parliament speaker were discussed, including Vecdi Gonul, Cemil Cicek, Koksal Toptan, Murat Basesgioglu, and Ertugrul Gunay. The AKP’s choice for presidential candidate was also discussed at the meeting, and reportedly the only name brought up was that of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, whose candidacy earlier this year triggered opposition protests and early elections. After an opening meeting of the party’s Central Decision and Executive Board (MKYK), the AKP is expected to announce its Parliament speaker candidate. /Turkiye/

    [05] FIRST CANDIDATE FOR PARLIAMENT SPEAKER ENTERS RACE

    Kamer Genc, a former Parliament speaker now serving as an independent deputy from the southeastern city of Tunceli, yesterday filed an application to run for the position of speaker in the current Parliament. Voting procedures to select a new speaker are set to begin this Thursday. /Today’s Zaman/

    [06] GERMAN GREENS’ ROTH: “TURKEY IS SECULAR”

    Turkey is a secular country, not a Muslim one, said Claudia Roth, co-chair of the German Greens, yesterday. Roth also stated that she wants Turkey to unconditionally join the European Union. Speaking to German ZDF TV, Roth said, “Turkey’s democracy isn’t perfect but despite everything, it works. Turkey isn’t a Muslim country, it’s secular. But most Turkish people are Muslim.” Stating that she understands concerns in Europe about Turkey, Roth added, however, “It’s wrong to use these concerns against Turkey’s EU membership.” /Cumhuriyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [07] CAN MALIKI CLEAR UP THE PKK ISSUE?

    BY RUSEN CAKIR (VATAN)

    Columnist Rusen Cakir comments on this week’s visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Nouri al-Maliki’s visit to Turkey has great symbolic importance, as he’s the first international leader to visit Ankara after last month’s general elections. But it wouldn’t be realistic to expect this one-day visit to do very much about the presence of the PKK in northern Iraq. Moreover, even assuming that Maliki makes clear and binding statements about the PKK and sign some agreements in Ankara, it’s doubtful how and with whom he’ll implement them. Because there’s more than one power center in occupied Iraq, which is going through an unsuccessful reconstruction period. The authority and influence of the prime minister is highly limited. Former Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, like Maliki from the Dawa Party, only lasted a year in office. Maliki, who succeeded him in May 2006, has yet to show an impressive performance, as he always acts in fear of stumbling.

    Furthermore, Maliki is visiting Turkey at a time when he’s very weak. First of all, six Sunni government ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Salam Al-Zubayi, recently resigned, but Maliki refused to approve this.

    Secondly, Maliki is on bad terms with the US. The reason for the crisis is the strategy of Gen. David Petraeus, head of the US forces in Iraq, to arm Sunni rebels against al-Qaeda. Shiite groups affiliated with Moqtada al- Sadr are protesting, saying that they’ll arm their own militias, and Maliki, a Shiite himself, has made similar statements. Maliki’s authority over Shiites is also in danger.

    Lastly, in order not to threaten regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Maliki can’t rely on Iran. Besides, Tehran supports Maliki’s rival party, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, and even Moqtada al-Sadr.

    Turkey and Iran will talk about the terrorist PKK in bilateral meetings. It seems that Kirkuk will play second fiddle as the minimum conditions for the planned referendum late this year haven’t been met in the set time. Maliki is expected to ask Ankara, which has been influential in persuading Sunnis to join the government, to help get the resignations withdrawn. But Turkey believes that the Sunnis were right to resign, so it will want Maliki to take steps to placate them.

    Maliki will later go to Tehran, which has led some to ask if he’s using this as a shield against criticism of his visiting Turkey. A source close to the government says that the opposite is true, and that in fact he’s only visiting Turkey because he doesn’t want to look like he’s just visiting Iran.”


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