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Turkish Press Review, 07-09-18

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

18.09.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES ATO DELEGATION
  • [02] PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT THE TRNC
  • [03] CABINET DISCUSSES DRAFT CONSTITUTION
  • [04] BABACAN: “TURKEY WILL SWIFTLY IMPLEMENT EU REFORMS”
  • [05] BUYUKANIT: “TURKEY SHOULD BE POWERFUL”
  • [06] US UNDERSEC’Y OF STATE DUE IN TURKEY TODAY
  • [07] TURKISH GIRL TO RECEIVE WORLD FAIR PLAY AWARD
  • [08] THE NEW DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRATIZATION

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL RECEIVES ATO DELEGATION

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received an Izmir Chamber of Commerce (IZTO) delegation chaired by Necip Kalkan, followed by Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) head Sinan Aygun and other top members of the group. During the latter meeting, the ATO delegation proposed organizing joint visits to foreign countries in order to boost imports. “We’ll work together,” Gul replied. “We’ll do what’s needed for the country’s success.” The new draft civilian constitution was also brought up, with Gul reportedly saying he was closely following work on it. He added, “I spoke with Prime Minister (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) and told him, ‘You should be careful about the procedure. It shouldn’t be seen as the constitution of any particular political party’.” /Aksam/

    [02] PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT THE TRNC

    President Abdullah Gul is set to fly to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) today to pay his first official visit abroad since taking office. During his two-day stay, Gul will meet his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mehmet Ali Talat and receive Cabinet ministers. The president is also expected to address the TRNC Parliament. /Hurriyet/

    [03] CABINET DISCUSSES DRAFT CONSTITUTION

    The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday evaluated ongoing work on a new draft constitution. Speaking to reporters following the meeting, government spokesman Cemil Cicek said that they were preparing a new constitution not just for the supporters of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) but for the entire country. Stressing that the draft had been prepared in light of many proposals from both non- governmental organizations and political parties, Cicek said that they didn’t intend to do the work alone, adding that it shouldn’t be seen as being focused on just the headscarf issue. /Milliyet/

    [04] BABACAN: “TURKEY WILL SWIFTLY IMPLEMENT EU REFORMS”

    Foreign Minister and chief European Union negotiator Ali Babacan yesterday met with top bureaucrats of all Turkish ministries and government bodies in order to speed up their work on EU harmonization. Before the meeting, Babacan again underlined that the reforms will continue. Stating that a detailed new program will be prepared for EU reforms, Babacan said, “Turkey will swiftly implement reforms in various areas, regardless of whether accession talks with the EU on specific chapters have been officially opened or not.” He added, “Turkey has the ability to carry out its program for harmonization with the EU in the scheduled time and manner.” /Star/

    [05] BUYUKANIT: “TURKEY SHOULD BE POWERFUL”

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday attended launch ceremonies at the Istanbul Naval Yard for two minesweepers and a mosquito boat. Stressing that Turkey is located in a key region and also a risky one, Buyukanit said that Turkey needs a powerful armed forces, adding that the country should produce its own weapons through marshaling its own resources. /Turkiye/

    [06] US UNDERSEC’Y OF STATE DUE IN TURKEY TODAY

    US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns is set to arrive in Turkey today. Buns will have meetings in Istanbul before holding official contacts in Ankara tomorrow. He is expected to meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] TURKISH GIRL TO RECEIVE WORLD FAIR PLAY AWARD

    A 12-year-old Turkish girl, Hilal Coskuner, will be decorated with the 2006 International Fair Play Baron Pierre de Coubertin Prize. During a track championship last year in Trabzon, Coskuner, who was leading the runners, stopped to help a competitor who had fallen down. /Milliyet/

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

    [08] THE NEW DRAFT CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRATIZATION

    BY NURAY MERT (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Nuray Mert comments on debates over the new draft constitution. A summary of her column is as follows:

    “Discussion of the new draft constitution is continuing. I wonder how these debates will end. But first let’s talk about some basic problems. Everyone demanding democratization has wanted changes to the current Constitution, a product of the Sept. 12, 1980 regime. But, there’s no term like ‘civilian’ or ‘democratic’ ready in the world right now. Constitutions are texts which can be produced as the political result of the democratic process of particular countries.

    As a result, someone will prepare this text. There will be some political will behind it, it will be discussed, and debated, and finally accepted in a democratic way. All the measures to promote democracy, opening the draft constitution up for debate, criticisms, and listening to the proposals are part of presenting it to the public. The political will behind changing Constitution can’t possibly do more.

    But it’s clear that the new draft constitution will fall short of meeting the demands for democracy. The reason for this is simple: everybody’s understanding of democracy is different.

    People who believe that secularism is under threat are suspicious about some proposals. Yet people pressing demands for freedom of faith and conscience see these suspicious as pressure from a small sector of society. This approach is putting a different sort of pressure on the government. For this reason, one of the most important issues, that of headscarves, can’t be resolved, so it will be left to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Under these circumstances, Erdogan will bear all the responsibility, no matter what he decides. Moreover, the issue will continue to be controversial.

    Mandatory religion courses in schools are also continuing to be debated. In my opinion, it would be reasonable to end these courses, but also to lift restrictions on religious education. But in the current atmosphere, opening the floodgates of debate over religious education could lead to tension.

    The Kurdish problem is another controversial issue. If you open the way to identity and cultural rights, it could be perceived as a concession to Kurdish nationalism. But if you don’t, then the demands for these won’t be met. There isn’t social or political compromise on either secularism or the Kurdish problem. In a country where some see an issue as a threat while others see it as an indispensable right, you can’t satisfy anyone, no matter what you write. There’s no compromise in the ruling party, which is natural. However, this is Turkey’s problem, not the ruling party’s.

    Not only on the Constitution, but if things continue like this, the government will face the risk of not being able to govern, and everyone will try to put the responsibility for this on the shoulders of others.

    Easing the tension and ensuring political and social compromise can’t be achieved through pressure. Under these conditions, there’s no miracle formula, including the Constitution. But everyone should do their best to reach a compromise.”


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