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Turkish Press Review, 07-09-04

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

04.09.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMN

CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES PARLIAMENT SPEAKER
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “OUR DIFFERENCES ARE OUR RICHNESS”
  • [03] OPPOSITION PARTIES CRITICIZE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM
  • [04] PRELIMINARY WORK ON NEW CONSTITUTION COMPLETED
  • [05] AUGUST INFLATION FIGURES RELEASED
  • [06] TURKEY’S NEW IMAGE

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES PARLIAMENT SPEAKER

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan as his first official guest. Gul also received Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) Chairman Nurettin Ozdebir, Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Osman Arslan, All-Worker Pensioners’ Society head Satilmis Caliskan, and Ramazan Ozunal, head of the Turkish Muhktars Federation, a group of local neighborhood administrators. /Star/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “OUR DIFFERENCES ARE OUR RICHNESS”

    In Parliament yesterday responding to criticisms made by opposition parties during debate over the 60th government program, Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan said that Turkey’s differences were also its richness. He said that certain deputies in Parliament still avoided declaring the PKK a terrorist group even though both the US and the European Union had done so. Stressing that Parliament would fight for the nation’s common values, Erdogan said his party defends four pillars: one nation, one flag, one land and one state. He added that Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state under the rule of law and they this was beyond dispute. The premier stated that his government was opposed to ethnic, regional and religious nationalism, adding that over the last four years under their first government they had invested much in Turkey’s southeastern region. The premier also urged the opposition parties to offer constructive criticism of the government to help further the country’s development. /Turkiye/

    [03] OPPOSITION PARTIES CRITICIZE GOVERNMENT PROGRAM

    During debate over the new government’s program yesterday in Parliament, opposition parties offered their criticisms. “We were expecting a more extensive program but we were greeted by compliments for past actions,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said, “Efforts to define ethnic identities as national minorities and provide constitutional safeguards by giving political and legal status to such ethnic characteristics are attempts to destroy Turkey’s national unity and establish a new nation to replace the Turkish nation.” Bahceli also claimed that the program didn’t take a determined stance against domestic and foreign terrorist threats. Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Turk also took the floor to voice his party’s views of the program. At a press conference yesterday alongside fellow party deputies before the debate, opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer alluded to the program’s references to a “constitution of civil compromise” and “broad social consensus,” saying, “We find this a positive approach. However, we hope the prime minister will not mix compromise with imposition, as he did until recently. We have concerns; we are warning them not to make attempts to alter the system.” /Aksam- Cumhuriyet/

    [04] PRELIMINARY WORK ON NEW CONSTITUTION COMPLETED

    A group of academics has completed drafting Turkey’s new constitution as pledged by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) before July’s general elections. “The second round of talks (over the new constitution) will be held with the participation of the AKP’s political team and should conclude next week,” Mir Mehmet Firat, deputy leader of the AKP, told a press conference yesterday. He said that after this second round, a draft constitution would be ready to be unveiled to the general public, universities, political parties, media and non-governmental organizations for further discussion and contributions. Stating that the new constitution would be discussed for more than three months and the commission would listen to all different views, Firat said the government would present the text to Parliament early next year, adding that through a referendum, the constitution passed by Parliament would be submitted for public approval. /Turkish Daily News/

    [05] AUGUST INFLATION FIGURES RELEASED

    The Turkish Board of Statistics (TUIK) yesterday released inflation figures for August. Annual inflation on the consumer price index (CPI) was 7.39 percent, and 3.72 percent on the producer price index (PPI). On a monthly basis, CPI rose by 0.02 percent in August, while PPI rose by 0.85 percent. /Milliyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMN

    [06] TURKEY’S NEW IMAGE

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on how countries see Turkey anew following its recent general and presidential elections. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Is there a visible change in Turkey’s image abroad after our recent general and presidential elections? The answer is yes. Then what has changed or what’s the direction of this change? Most analyses of Turkey characterized the elections as a confrontation between Islamism and secularism, saying that the former had triumphed over the latter. I have already called this way of looking at things superficial and hyperbolic. Later, studies conducted by academics and researchers argued that religion wasn’t the most important factor in these elections, but that that social and economic issues played a much stronger role. Former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul being the top candidate for president made the same circles think that his election was also an outcome of the battle between Islamism and secularism. This time, however, the comments were even more hyperbolic, and Gul’s elevation was seen as the end of secularism and even a counter- revolution.

    Although the main deciding factor in the elections was neither religion nor secularism, the outcome highlighted these, and a new image of Turkey has emerged. The first element of this new image is the new first lady wearing a headscarf " in fact, this is the sole different thing in this new image. But the foreign media continue to publish comments saying that Turkey has entered a new era in which Islamic ideas have grown stronger and secularism has lost ground. Of course some analysts do better evaluations, but the general thought is that this is the direction Turkey is moving in. How will such an image affect Turkey’s foreign relations and place in the world? According to Huge Pope, an author of books on Turkey currently working for the International Crisis Group’s (ICG) Turkey Desk, there are still some people in the West who misread the outcomes of the recent elections. As a matter of fact, discussions of secularism and Islam in Turkey are leading foreigners to get such false impressions. And some prejudices about Islam in Europe give an opportunity to people looking for any excuse to use against Turkey. Actually, an image of Turkey gradually moving away from secularism towards Islamic rule will be more negative for Europe.

    The situation is different when it comes to relations between states or the policies of the government. The reelection of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Abdullah Gul being elected president aren’t expected to have a negative impact. On the contrary, clues and official statements from Brussels and other EU capitals show that now we can accelerate our negotiations with the EU, and that they rely on the AKP and President Gul in this respect. New images such as a new first lady wearing a headscarf don’t interest or disturb them. More frankly, EU officials don’t see Turkey as a country becoming Islamic where secularism is being destroyed. This is also true of a number of countries including the US, as far as I know. What is important for Washington is Turkey’s being ruled by a government which works in tune with the West, doesn’t make a mess in relations and continues democracy and stability in the country. In this respect, the US has given credit to the new government and president. As for the Islamic world, as we can tell from published comments and analyses, they see Turkey’s new image as a good one.”


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