|Tuesday, 20 February 2024
Turkish Press Review, 07-08-16
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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
 ERDOGAN: “WITH HIS PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS, GUL MAKES FOR AN IDEAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE”Speaking at a press conference following his party’s Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan said that the board had evaluated recent developments ahead of the presidential election set to start next week. “We’ll see through the presidential election with maturity, just as we did the July 22 general elections,” said Erdogan. “We believe in our presidential candidate (Foreign Minister) Abdullah Gul. He deserves this high post with his knowledge, experience, record and good will, and with his personal qualifications he makes for an ideal presidential candidate.” In related news, Erdogan is expected to present his new Cabinet list to outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer today. /Turkiye/
 CANDIDATE GUL MEETS WITH TOBB HEADForeign Minister Abdullah Gul, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate for president, yesterday met with Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchange (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu to seek support for his presidential bid. After the meeting, Hisarciklioglu told a press conference that Gul had the necessary qualifications for the office. “I believe that Gul, with his qualifications, will impartially fulfill the duties the presidency requires and will sincerely embrace the country,” said Hisarciklioglu. Stating that democracy is a regime of principles and institutions with no place for policy favoritism, Hisarciklioglu added that democracy offers equal opportunities. Gul also visited other non- governmental organizations, including the Turkish Confederation of Labor Unions (Turk-Is), Turkish Confederation of Trade Unions (Hak-Is), Turkish Confederation of Employers' Unions (TISK) and Turkish Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK). /Star/
 MHP NOMINATES BOLUKBASI FOR PRESIDENTThe Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has nominated its Ankara Deputy Deniz Bolukbasi to be its presidential candidate. On the eve of the Iraq war, Bolukbasi represented Turkey during negotiations between Ankara and Washington over the March 1, 2003 motion. He is the son of veteran politician Osman Bolukbasi. /Turkiye/
 AGAR TO REMAIN DP HEAD UNTIL GENERAL CONGRESSDemocrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar, who announced his resignation following the party’s poor showing in last month’s general elections, yesterday said he would remain at the helm until the party’s general congress, where his successor will be elected. That congress is set to be held on Nov. 17-18. /Milliyet/
 US GEN. GEORGE CASEY: “TURKEY WOULD CONSULT WITH THE PENTAGON BEFORE AN OPERATION IN N.IRAQ”Speaking to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington on Tuesday, Gen. George Casey, the Army chief of staff, said that he believed that Turkey would consult with the Pentagon before conducting any operation in northern Iraq. Asked about a possible operation in northern Iraq, Casey said, “I believe that our Turkish ally would hold comprehensive consultations before such an operation.” /Hurriyet/
 CIVIL SERVICE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BEGINSRepresentatives from civil servants’ unions and the government yesterday held their first meeting to discuss next year’s pay raises for some 2.5 million civil servants. At the meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, it was decided to form a commission. Speaking afterwards, Sahin said that they had determined the subjects they would discuss two weeks from now, but have yet to discuss the pay raises. “We’re at the beginning of the process,” added Sahin. /Sabah/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...BAYKAL: “WE’RE ACTING AS THE FOUNDING PARTY”
 FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) opposition to Abdullah Gul’s presidential candidacy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The Republican People’s Party (CHP) didn’t make an appointment to meet with Abdullah Gul. Furthermore, it announced that the CHP would apply a kind of boycott on him if he becomes our next president. It stated that they would not attend any activities or receptions held in the Cankaya Presidential Palace, other than meetings vital for the country.
Even before he’s elected, the main opposition CHP has taken a very hard line against Gul.
During the recent general election campaign and after this new decision, CHP leader Deniz Baykal and his party were criticized as a party which both creates and is nourished by crises.
Speaking with Baykal, I asked why his party is making such hard-line decisions, and here’s what he said:
‘The CHP led by our great leader Ataturk is the founding party of the modern Republic of Turkey. As a founding party, it carries historic responsibility. We react in line with our responsibility as the founding party, and are doing our historic duty of warning.
Someone who isn’t loyal to secularism and the nation-state principles of the Constitution rising to the presidency is the beginning of a dangerous process for the country. We are only trying to preserve Ataturk’s trust and make a serious warning on that issue. This is both our duty and responsibility.’
When I asked about criticisms that the CHP is creating crises, Baykal denied this, saying it was rather preventing crisis by issuing necessary warnings beforehand.
‘The premier also saw the possibility of crisis, but he couldn’t stop Gul. This process is going beyond both Erdogan and Gul. This process is one which will change both the structure and image of Turkey in 10-20 years, turning it into a moderate Islamic country. We’re trying to underline that danger. When Gul becomes president, the presidency, an institution which serves as a guarantor for the democratic, secular republic, will begin to function differently. We are worried about that. We’re not acting out of concern over votes. While expressing our concerns during the general election campaign, we didn’t even try to score votes or political points. We still aren’t making such calculations. We are trying to prevent the Republic of Turkey from being diverted from its democratic, secular structure. Don’t forget that the international powers which want Turkey transformed from a secular state into a moderate Islamic country also have a great on impact on these developments. The accumulated capital of our 80-year-old republic is in danger. All this, from the economy to politics, from bureaucracy to daily life, can be at risk. So we’re taking a definite stance to prevent those things from happening. Gul should understand that when he becomes president he can’t act however he likes’.”
 TURKEY HAS A LOT ON ITS PLATEBY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on the upcoming presidential election and what issues the new government should address. A summary of his column is as follows:
“We would do well to consider the presidential election a closed matter. Some people like Gul, while others don’t. Some people are happy that he’ll be president, while others aren’t. And so it will continue. This is a natural outcome of politicians becoming president. But it is clear that these discussions are to no one’s advantage.
While discussing this issue since last month’s general elections, Turkey has lost precious time. In fact, we have a great many real problems and challenging goals ahead. It’s high time we started to discuss them.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to present his new Cabinet list to outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer today, and the new government will take the reins with Sezer’s approval.
Five years ago, when the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won the fall 2002 elections and Abdullah Gul became prime minister (filling in for Erdogan, who cleared up his political ban early the next year), the AKP issued an urgent action plan. We should expect the same from the new government. Turkey’s problems and priorities are clear, so if the new government doesn’t declare how and when it will address the problems facing Turkey, the nation will lose years in everyday political squabbling rather than taking needed reforms.
The EU is at the top of Turkey’s agenda. The new government should urgently declare that it will stick to the harmonization reform programs and that Turkish-EU relations, which have seemed stalled in recent years, should be reinvigorated.
An initiative should be developed for the Cyprus issue and an active stance should be taken to start negotiations between the two societies on the island.
The economy has been awaiting a series of small reforms for some time. Big projects such as the Commerce Law are also pending. Progressive steps should be taken in these areas with the direction of the government. Because Turkey should again take active economic measures which inspire confidence.
Radical changes are necessary on issues weighing down the budget such as social security reform. Moreover, encouraging registered employment through cutting taxes on employment will make it possible to ease adult vocational training.
Education may be the most important issue of this term. It’s essential to take up the Higher Board of Education (YOK) thoroughly by reaching a compromise over the necessary constitutional amendment, but the government and the AKP’s impositions would be as dangerous as the current system.
Another important aspect of education is education based on religion and vocational religious (iman hatip) high schools. Turkey should reduce the number of these schools while meeting the need with methods like selective certificate programs. It should raise educational standards, especially in public schools, especially by providing in-service training for teachers.
Another important matter is the Kurdish issue. The boost in the AKP’s votes in eastern and southeastern Anatolia shouldn’t make people think that this issue is being solved. The new government should handle this issue so as to marginalize separatist terror.
I think this is enough. Turkey should return to its real agenda as soon as possible. This is what I’m trying to say.”
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