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Turkish Press Review, 07-09-20

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

20.09.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

CONTENTS

  • [01] SPEAKING TO TRNC PARLIAMENT, GUL PLEDGES TO CONTINUE SAFEGUARDING PEACE OF TURKISH CYPRIOTS
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “THE RECTORS SHOULD MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS”
  • [03] YOK HEAD: “THE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE PROCESS SHOULD BE HALTED UNTIL AFTER OCT. 21 REFERENDUM”
  • [04] US STATE DEPT’S BURNS MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN, AND EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S ANTI-TERROR EFFORTS
  • [05] BABACAN FACES BUSY SCHEDULE DURING US VISIT
  • [06] FRENCH FM PUSHES SARKOZY TO CHANGE STANCE ON TURKEY
  • [07] TURKISH-AMERICAN BUSINESS COUNCIL TO HOLD CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK NEXT MONTH
  • [08] PROTOCOL PROBLEM

  • [01] SPEAKING TO TRNC PARLIAMENT, GUL PLEDGES TO CONTINUE SAFEGUARDING PEACE OF TURKISH CYPRIOTS

    On the final day of his visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), President Abdullah Gul yesterday addressed the TRNC Parliament, saying that the Turkish Cypriots have proved their peaceful approach on the island. Gul said that though the TRNC president had recently declared his readiness for comprehensive negotiations with the Greek Cypriots, Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos had rejected this overture. Saying that the basic parameters of the Cyprus issue are equality and balance, Gul added that it is futile to hope that the Turkish Cypriots will accept a minority status. “Naturally, the issue should be solved at the United Nations,” he said, stating that doing so depends on the will of the two nations. He added that as in the past, Turkey will continue to be the greatest guarantor of the peace of the Turkish Cypriots. Gul further called negative Greek Cypriot remarks directed at the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) “unacceptable.” Gul yesterday returned to Ankara after completing his contacts in the TRNC. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “THE RECTORS SHOULD MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS”

    Speaking to reporters at his party’s headquarters in Ankara, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that in the interest of social consensus over the proposed new constitution, it would eventually face a public referendum. Stating that he favors abolishing the ban on headscarves at universities, Erdogan added that they won’t touch the unalterable articles of the Constitution. Responding to a call by rectors urging continuation of the headscarf ban and a halt to efforts to rewrite the Constitution, Erdogan stated that the rectors have no right to decide whether the constitutional change process should continue. He added, “They should mind their own business.” /Aksam/

    [03] YOK HEAD: “THE CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE PROCESS SHOULD BE HALTED UNTIL AFTER OCT. 21 REFERENDUM”

    The Committee of Rectors held a meeting yesterday under the chairmanship of Council of Higher Education (YOK) head Erdogan Tezic. After the meeting, Tezic told reporters that promises a new draft constitution would be finalized through participatory democratic means were from plausible. He added, “These efforts to change the Constitution should be halted, and it would be better to start a new process with the participation of political parties after the referendum of Oct. 21,” when a number of constitutional changes will be on the ballot. Stating that political parties’ participation in the process was a legal and democratic necessity, Tezic said that the parties should help to prepare the new constitution and discuss the major issues facing it. Tezic also defended the headscarf ban in universities, saying that it is legal and stems from rulings of both high Turkish courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). In related news, yesterday the Supreme Court of Appeals also criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) new draft constitution. Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcin said that legal prohibitions coming from the ECHR and judicial organs of modern governments should not be reversed through constitutional amendments. “This will incite hatred among people in society as well as shake the confidence and authority of executive and judicial bodies,” he warned. /Aksam-Hurriyet/

    [04] US STATE DEPT’S BURNS MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN, AND EXPRESSES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S ANTI-TERROR EFFORTS

    Visiting Ankara yesterday, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns was received separately by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During his meetings, Burns said that he brought messages of friendship and respect from US President George W. Bush and expressed support for Turkey in its fight against terrorism. Touching on Iran’s nuclear program, Burns stated that Washington needs the support of all countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe in order to strengthen sanctions on Iran. Burns further stated that US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice would come to Istanbul next month to attend a meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries. /Milliyet/

    [05] BABACAN FACES BUSY SCHEDULE DURING US VISIT

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is facing a busy schedule during his current visit to the US. First, in Chicago, Babacan is expected to meet with representatives of Turkish associations and Jewish groups. Next week, in New York, Babacan will attend the UN General Assembly meeting and have bilateral talks with fellow foreign ministers from 30 countries. Babacan will also meet with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary-General and Turkish scholar Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, and European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. In related news, Pvt. Erkut Babacan, a relative of the foreign minister, died in a PKK attack in the eastern Anatolian town of Bitlis. /Turkiye-Turkish Daily News/

    [06] FRENCH FM PUSHES SARKOZY TO CHANGE STANCE ON TURKEY

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner yesterday said he was trying to persuade President Nicholas Sarkozy to drop his opposition to Turkey’s accession to the European Union. “I believe that Monsieur le President needs to change his mind about Turkey, and I have a part to play in this, ” Kouchner said in a French radio interview. “He is maintaining his position on Turkey, but he also knows that I haven’t changed my mind on the issue.” Kouchner also said that he would visit Turkey early next month. /The New Anatolian/

    [07] TURKISH-AMERICAN BUSINESS COUNCIL TO HOLD CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK NEXT MONTH

    The Turkish-American Business Council (TAIK) is set to hold a conference in New York on Oct. 16. The conference, entitled “Turkey Beyond 2008,” will focus on developments in private investment funds, the economic climate, and the legal business framework. Mehmet Simsek, Turkey’s state minister for the economy, is expected to attend the gathering, along with leading businessmen. /Sabah/

    FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [08] PROTOCOL PROBLEM

    BY ARDAN ZENTURK (STAR)

    Columnist Ardan Zenturk comments on President Abdullah Gul’s visit this week to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). A summary of his column is as follows:

    “At first glance, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat seems like a distant person, one who likes to keep himself apart from people. But he’s actually a warm, communicative person. After his goodbyes to President Abdullah Gul and Mrs. Gul at the Presidential Palace, we found some time to talk earlier this week. Obviously, he’s very happy that Gul paid his first visit abroad as president to the TRNC. But it seems that he’s very tired, because a thorny problem stemming from Turkey’s domestic debates turned into a protocol issue in Lefkosha. At first he tried to brush aside my question about why there were no representatives of the Turkish Cypriot Peace Forces at the reception. For Talat, it seems that this was mere coincidence. But when I insisted that there was never any military presence wherever Mrs. Gul goes, he felt he had to comment. Talat admitted that actually he has certain problems understanding Turkey, because a lot of issues which can be easily solved on the basis of democracy grow very big, and sometimes even become intractable. He added that in fact, there was no problem with the TRNC protocol, because everybody can wear whatever they want and that they consider a democratic right.

    The Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which Talat hails from, is known as a left-wing party in the TRNC, and its sensitivity about secularism is as high as that of Turkey’s own opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). But, it’s interesting that the picture painted by Talat and the stance of Gul, who hailed from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), are quite similar.

    Now let’s talk about strategy in the Eastern Mediterranean. I wouldn’t like Gul’s remarks at the TRNC Parliament to be forgotten or ignored amid the debates over headscarves and the Constitution. Gul said that obviously the East Mediterranean is gaining increasing strategic importance in terms of pipelines and sea transportation and that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and other routes parallel to this are the fruits of our common potential along the West-East corridor. Gul added that Turkey’s vision of cooperation for the future also includes a new state of partnership and Greece, following a comprehensive solution on Cyprus. Gul said that after the Cyprus issue is solved peacefully, Turkey, Greece and the island would be able to establish a triangle of peace, stability and welfare in the East Mediterranean.

    With these remarks, Gul suggested that the Eastern Mediterranean has turned into a hugely important region, following the Gulf, in terms of the world’s oil, natural gas and energy markets, and will be part of the European Union. Efforts are being made to turn the Cyprus issue from a Turkish-Greek problem to one in a key region for stability in Europe. This approach is important for showing the dimensions of Gul’s concept of a president who has vision.

    Let me share another important detail. The Turkish Cypriot acceptance of the Annan plan while the Greek Cypriots rejected it is actually the reason why Turkey could have relaxed about this issue for the last three years, even if only partially. Maybe Annan’s proposal was shelved, but it never went away. Whatever happens on the Cyprus issue at the UN from now, this plan will be the starting point. In addition, one of the most important planks of the plan was establishing a political formation called the Turkish Cypriot state. In retaliation for Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos’ uncompromising policies, the Turkish side is preparing to turn the TRNC into the Turkish Cypriot state. Let’s see what will happen next; I hope everything will work out.”


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