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Turkish Press Review, 07-08-21
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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
21.08.2007FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 NSC TO MEET TODAYThe National Security Council (NSC), chaired for a final time by outgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, is set to convene today. The official agenda of the meeting reportedly includes developments concerning Iraq and Cyprus. Sezer, who will soon step down from the presidency to make way for his successor, is expected to make a farewell speech at the gathering. In addition, Naval Forces Commander Adm. Yener Karahanoglu and Air Forces Commander Gen. Faruk Comert, whose terms in office are concluding, will also be making their final NSC appearances. /Milliyet/
 SEZER MAKES FAREWELL VISITSOutgoing President Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday began making farewell visits. During his visits to state institutions including the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Religious Affairs Directorate and Board of Higher Education (YOK), Sezer reportedly thanked them for their performance during his seven-plus years in office. Sezer is expected to hand over his post following the election of a new president late this month, most likely on Aug. 28. /Star/
 PRESIDENTIAL VOTE GOES TO ROUND 2 AFTER VICTORY ELUDES GUL IN FIRST ROUNDForeign Minister Abdullah Gul, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential candidate, yesterday fell short of the 341 votes needed to be elected in the first round of balloting in Parliament. Round two is set for Friday. The minimum number of votes required at this stage is 367; Gul is expected to be elected in the third round next week, when just 276 votes will suffice for victory. Gul competed against the Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) Sebahattin Cakmakoglu and the Democratic Left Party’s (DSP) Tayfun Icli. Cakmakoglu secured 70 votes, while Icli just won 13. The ballot was secret, but Gul appears to have secured the support of all 340 AKP deputies and also that of Muhsin Yazicioglu, representative of the one-seat Great Unity Party (BBP). Ufuk Aras, leader of the Freedom and Democracy Party (ODP), was there for the balloting but did not vote for Gul. With all parties other than the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) attending, 448 deputies were present. The MHP and DSP deputies were there to support their candidates, while the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) took part in the vote but apparently declined to support Gul. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN: “AS PRESIDENT, GUL WILL BE IMPARTIAL”Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday held a meeting with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies at AKP headquarters in Ankara before the first-round presidential vote in Parliament. Addressing the deputies, Erdogan charged that President Ahmet Necdet Sezer had not acted impartially during his term in office. “Our candidate Abdullah Gul will be both impartial and active when he became the next president,” said Erdogan. Stressing that the AKP had completed work on proposed revisions to the Constitution, the premier said the fruits of this work would be presented to Parliament on Oct. 1. Erdogan added that a referendum on a package of constitutional changes including popular election of the president will be held on Oct. 21. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: “OUR REPUBLIC IS IN DANGER”Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday that Turkey’s secular republic, which stands as the sole model for Islamic countries, is in danger. Addressing his deputies in a parliamentary meeting before the beginning of presidential balloting in Parliament, Baykal said that his party doesn’t believe that leading presidential candidate Abdullah Gul is loyal to the principles of the republic, not just in words but in his heart. He also reiterated that the CHP would not attend the presidential balloting in Parliament, so as not to take responsibility for a “dangerous process” beginning in the country. He also criticized the Democratic Left Party’s (DSP) decision to attend the vote by nominating its own candidate. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN, BUREAUCRATS TALK RECENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTSPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with State Minister for the Economy Ali Babcan and bureaucrats from the Central Bank and Treasury Undersecretariat. During the gathering, recent fluctuations in world markets and their effect on Turkey were taken up, along with necessary counter-measures. /Hurriyet/
 TURKEY, IRAN SIGN ELECTRICITY AGREEMENTEnergy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler stated yesterday that the Turkish private sector had reached a consensus with Iran to build three power stations. Guler said that he had held successful meetings with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, acting Petroleum Minister Gulam Hussein Nozeri and Energy Minister Perviz Fettah. Stating that they had signed a memorandum of understanding on electricity during his visit, Guler said that under this, three power stations will be built. Guler added that the two countries had agreed to develop cross-border electricity transmission lines through which 3-6 billion kilowatts of electricity per hour will be exchanged annually between the two during peak hours of electricity consumption. Guler added that this agreement would help both two countries economically due to the time difference between them. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 PIECES FALLING INTO PLACEBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on the current presidential election. A summary of his column is as follows:
“As expected, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul wasn’t elected during yesterday’s first round of the presidential election. But we saw something important yesterday. The first round showed that the pieces have started to fall into place in Parliament. Its situation can be summarized as follows:
Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP): If Gul is elected president on Aug. 28, there will be a series of changes in the Cabinet and within the AKP. Then Erdogan won’t face any obstacles like President Ahmet Necdet Sezer’s vetoes, which he has complained about. This situation makes Erdogan more answerable to the public and his own body of voters. When the new Cabinet is announced and promises are made in the government program, we’ll see how sincere Erdogan is in his policy of ‘redefining the center, while moving towards the center’ from the recent general election campaign. But a big party group, a multi-party opposition and such factors as the presence of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) in that opposition might create problems in terms of the group’s integrity in the long run.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP): The CHP was the hardest hit in last month’s general elections, under the leadership of Deniz Baykal. The Democratic Left Party (DSP) had said that it might work together with CHP in Parliament, but then it quickly left the CHP and uselessly nominated Tayfun İçli as its president candidate, leaving the CHP alone. But this didn’t deter the CHP. CHP deputy leader Mustafa Özyürek was right to say that if you walk by yourself along a road that you know, this doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. On the other hand, Baykal said that they opposed Gul, but they wouldn’t question his legitimacy. He added that the president elected by Parliament will be legitimate. These remarks show that Baykal won’t turn his current stance into a blood feud. After the presidential election, the CHP might work to dress its wounds.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP): MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said just after the general elections that they would be present for the presidential vote, and thus opened up Gul’s path to the Presidential Palace. There are signs that the opposition line followed by the MHP in Parliament will take its own way and be legitimist. The MHP group has been warned that it shouldn’t be caught up in provocations.
Democratic Society Party (DTP): DTP members tried to win points by treating MHP members kindly during the swearing-in ceremony, and then turned to dealing with conditions at the prison where PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is being held. This situation led to new question marks. They requested an opening for a solution to the Kurdish issue in order to support Gul, and while this step was politically legitimate, its pragmatism is debatable. DTP leader Ahmet Turk is an experienced parliamentarian, but the DTP group might face certain problems with their policies, particularly in the short term.
-Democratic Left Party (DSP): The fact that DSP leader doesn’t have a seat in Parliament and the DSP lacks a group at the moment might not be so disadvantageous s it first seems. On the contrary, the DSP can use its 13 seats as a political trump card and so make its presence felt.
Moreover, there are three people in Parliament lacking any arithmetical leverage themselves but whose words on certain issues will always be paid attention to. Former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz is the most important of these. Clearly, Yilmaz is following developments in the True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) closely and actively.
Muhsin Yazicioglu, who was elected leader of the Great Union Party (BBP) last weekend, showed his supporters’ feelings by stating yesterday that he would vote for Gul. Ufuk Uras is also carrying the left wing’s stance to Parliament through the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP). For example, he cast a blank ballot in Parliament yesterday, which showed that he would continue his work in Parliament but won’t be dependent on the current alternatives. The pieces falling into place also mean determining the ranks, and this started to be clear yesterday.”
 THE CHP’S REASONSBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bila comments on the first round of the presidential election held yesterday. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The first round of the presidential election was held yesterday. The votes showed that the deputies cast ballots along party lines. No surprise! While the voting was going on, I took the pulse of the deputies. This time there was less tension. The most important reason for this was that the quorum of 367 was met yesterday. As all the parties except the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) were present, the high emotions (of the aborted election earlier this year) were not to be found. But the focus of discussions was, once more, the stance of the CHP. Deputies of both the ruling and opposition parties were talking about why the CHP boycotted the session. The Democratic Left Party (DSP) fielding a candidate and being present for the vote was resented by the CHP deputies. Citing DSP leader Zeki Sezer’s promise before last month’s general elections that they would act like a group with the CHP, they said that in fielding a candidate in order to join the vote Sezer seems to have forgotten his pledge. The DSP deputies, on the other hand, said that they view the prospect of Abdullah Gul becoming president the same way as their CHP colleagues, but their method differs. For instance, DSP Istanbul Deputy Ahmet Tan characterized Tayfun İcli’s candidacy as a counter-measure.
CHP leader Deniz Baykal told me yesterday that their not taking part in the voting was a democratic right and supervision mechanism, explaining that this CHP stance will make Gul move more cautiously should he become president. According to Baykal, Gul won’t feel so free to take steps opposed by the CHP. ‘If Gul takes steps in favor of the core principles of our republic, of course we’ll be delighted,’ said Baykal. ‘But if he works against these values, the CHP will oppose him with all its power. With this move, the CHP fulfills its responsibility as the party which founded the republic. It’s performing a kind of supervision.’ Baykal also said that characterizing the CHP’s stance and rhetoric as the voice of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the CHP as a supporter of military intervention is a sign of ill will and by no means objective. Saying that it was the CHP and the left which suffered the most during past military interventions, Baykal reiterated that his party is fulfilling its duty of protecting the core values and principles of the republic.”
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