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Turkish Press Review, 07-09-26

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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

26.09.2007

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: “UNIVERSITIES SHOULDN’T STAY SILENT”
  • [02] ERDOGAN CALLS ON US BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TURKEY
  • [03] NGOs SEEK HAND IN WRITING NEW CONSTITUTION
  • [04] IRAQI INTERIOR MINISTER VISITS TURKEY
  • [05] CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT VISITS PARLIAMENT SPEAKER
  • [06] US INVESTIGATES CLAIMS OF ITS WEAPONS IN PKK HANDS
  • [07] CHILEAN NAVAL COMMANDER VISITS TURKEY
  • [08] SPANISH QUEEN SOPHIA VISITS KONYA
  • [09] ONE MORE PRESIDENT

  • [01] GUL: “UNIVERSITIES SHOULDN’T STAY SILENT”

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday took part in a ceremony ushering in the new school year at Ankara’s Hacettepe University. Speaking at the ceremony, Gul said, “Universities cannot remain silent in the face of events taking place in society. Universities are institutions which identify the problems facing people and societies and propose ways to solve them. Another role of universities is definitely to enlighten society and help it make its voice heard. While doing so, universities should be representatives of wisdom and scholarship.” In related news, Gul received Council of Higher Education (YOK) head Erdogan Tezic at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Afterwards, Tezic told reporters that he had briefed the president about the problems of universities and ways to address them as well as personnel issues, including their rights and staffing shortages, particularly following a rise in the number of universities. Tezic added that Gul had listened to him attentively, saying, “He has an academic background.” /Aksam/

    [02] ERDOGAN CALLS ON US BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TURKEY

    Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan, currently visiting the US to attend the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting, yesterday met with Turkish and American businessmen in New York at a dinner in his honor. Erdogan was accompanied by Deputy Premier Nazim Erken, State Minister Mehmet Simsek and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. Addressing the gathering, Erdogan touted Turkey’s stability and called on US businessmen to invest his country. In addition to top executives of leading companies, among distinguished guests at the meeting were former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, and former US Ambassador to Ankara Marc Grossman. /Milliyet/

    [03] NGOs SEEK HAND IN WRITING NEW CONSTITUTION

    Eight non-governmental organizations, including the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish Confederation of Employers Associations (TISK), and Turkish Confederation of Labor Association (TURK-IS), said yesterday that they want to play a role in writing a new draft constitution. Speaking to reporters, TOOB head Rifat Hisarciklioglu said that it was a duty of citizenship for all sectors of society to help write the new constitution. “We call on Parliament, all political parties, universities, occupational institutions, unions, media and NGOs to actively participate in work to form a new constitution,” said Hisarciklioglu. He urged the government to tell all sectors of the public about the constitution’s preparations. Stressing that Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state under the rule of law, Hisarciklioglu warned against any intent to erase the enduring legacy of Ataturk, saying that he is the founder of the country and no one has power to do that. /Milliyet/

    [04] IRAQI INTERIOR MINISTER VISITS TURKEY

    Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad al-Bulani yesterday arrived in Ankara to discuss the details of an agreement between Turkey and Iraq to cooperate against terrorism. Asked about the terrorist PKK, Bolani told reporters, “We won’t approve any body or organization [which works] against Turkey. I am here to discuss all these matters.” An Iraqi delegation accompanying Bolani, made up of officials from Iraq’s Interior and Foreign Ministries, also met with their Turkish counterparts at the Foreign Ministry. At this meeting, the two sides discussed how weapons belonging to Blackwater, a controversial private security company operating in Iraq, had fallen into the hands of the terrorist PKK. /Hurriyet/

    [05] CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT VISITS PARLIAMENT SPEAKER

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday paid a congratulatory visit to Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, who took office last month. During the 45-minute meeting, the recent debate over a new draft constitution was reportedly brought up. After the meeting, Buyukanit declined to take reporters’ questions. /Hurriyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [06] US INVESTIGATES CLAIMS OF ITS WEAPONS IN PKK HANDS

    US State Department spokesman Tom Casey said yesterday that the Bush administration takes seriously allegations that US weapons have come into the hands of the terrorist group PKK. Casey said that following an ongoing investigation, if the allegations are confirmed, those responsible would face prosecution “to the full extent of the law.” /Sabah/

    [07] CHILEAN NAVAL COMMANDER VISITS TURKEY

    Chilean Naval Forces Commander Adm. Rodolfo Codina, who is currently in Turkey, yesterday met with his Turkish counterpart Adm. Metin Atac in Ankara. The two top commanders reportedly discussed ways to develop cooperation between the naval forces of their countries. Codina is expected to leave Turkey on Friday. /Turkish Daily News/

    [08] SPANISH QUEEN SOPHIA VISITS KONYA

    Spain’s Queen Sophia, who is currently on a visit to Turkey, yesterday proceeded to Konya after seeing Istanbul. The queen, accompanied by a delegation, visited the Mevlana Rumi Museum and was told by officials about Rumi’s life and philosophy. /Turkiye/

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

    [09] ONE MORE PRESIDENT

    BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on Abdullah Gul’s presidency and Turkey’s election system. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “We’ve talked about many things, but not the possibility of Turkey electing a new president within the next five months. But Ahmet Sever, the president’s chief press advisor, said that if voters indicate in next month’s constitutional referendum that the president should be elected not by Parliament but the public, Gul would be on the ballot. Interestingly, the opposition is being very silent about this. I don’t know why, but they aren’t even discussing nominating a candidate. We have to discuss the current situation until they come to their senses. Some of my colleagues also mentioned that as everybody knows, Gul was elected Turkey’s 11th president by Parliament on Aug. 28. However, Law 5678’s temporary Article 19, which will come into force if it’s accepted by the referendum, says that the first round of voting for the 11th presidential elections will be held on the first Sunday after the 40th day following publication of the law in the Official Gazette, and the second round will be held on the second Sunday following the first round. In other words, if popular election is approved in the referendum and Law 5678 goes into effect, our public will go to the ballot box on Dec. 9 to elect a new president.

    If no candidate gets a simple majority of votes in the first round, the next round will probably be held on Dec. 23. Thus, the 11th president would have been elected in accordance with the law. So, could two people actually be our 11th president? If the text facing next month’s referendum isn’t changed, we’ll face a legal conundrum, raising this pressing question: Who is Turkey’s 11th president, the person who was elected on Aug. 28, or the one elected in December 2007?

    Let’s consider what would happen if Gul is elected president ‘11-A’ on Dec. 9 or 23 for a five-year term. Then there will be two periods in which he fulfills his tasks with his authority under both the 1982 Constitution and the new draft constitution now being pushed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Today, he has a plenty of powers. So he can use these powers fearlessly as a president who was elected by popular vote, because he would be drawing his mandate from the support of at least 51 percent of the voters. But if the new draft constitution is passed, he would be a merely symbolic figure at the Presidential Palace.

    Actually, even if the draft constitution says that there are examples of parliamentary systems with popularly elected presidents, Turkey having one would be a very awkward. Because in that case, there would be problems between the prime minister who came to power with the nation’s support and the president who was elected with more support of the nation, as each would see himself as stronger than the other.”


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