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Turkish Press Review, 07-10-05

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

05.10.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL TO CHAIR NSC FOR FIRST TIME ON OCT. 24
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “NEXT MONTH’S REFERENDUM IS MEANT TO HEAD OFF QUESTIONS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS”
  • [03] FM BABACAN VISITS TRNC
  • [04] AKP PROPOSES CHANGING REFERENDUM TO AVOID LEGAL PROBLEMS
  • [05] US AMBASSADOR WILSON MEETS WITH AKP’S BAGIS
  • [06] FRENCH FM KOUCHNER TO ARRIVE IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [07] REHN: “TURKEY IS A DEMOCRATIC TOUCH POINT FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD”
  • [08] US HOUSE COMMITTEE TO DEBATE ARMENIAN RESOLUTION NEXT WEDNESDAY
  • [09] TUSIAD: “THE EU REFORM PROCESS SHOULD CONTINUE”
  • [10] THE REASON FOR THE AKP’S INSISTENCE

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL TO CHAIR NSC FOR FIRST TIME ON OCT. 24

    The National Security Council (NSC) will hold its first meeting chaired by new President Abdullah Gul on Oct. 24. A number of new Cabinet ministers and force commanders will also attend the gathering for the first time. Recent developments in Iraq and efforts to combat terrorism are expected to dominate the talks. In related news, Turkey’s Ambassador to Athens Tahsin Burcuoglu, who was recently appointed NSC secretary-general, will officially take up his office on Nov. 1 after bidding farewell to fellow diplomats in Athens. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “NEXT MONTH’S REFERENDUM IS MEANT TO HEAD OFF QUESTIONS ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS”

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday weighed in on recent political debates at a fast-breaking Iftar dinner. Speaking at Ankara’s Altinpark, Erdogan said that next month’s referendum was intended to head off questions raised about the presidential elections held this August. “Turkey has become a more democratic, fairer country which people are proud to live in,” he said. Current President Abdullah Gul was elected by Parliament, after his first run for the post in late April triggered controversy and snap general elections, but the referendum proposes, among other changes, popular election of the president. /Aksam/

    [03] FM BABACAN VISITS TRNC

    Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for European Union talks Ali Babacan yesterday traveled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Following a meeting with TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, Babacan told reporters that no one should expect one-sided initiatives from Turkey to open its airports and harbors to the Greek Cypriots. He stressed that Ankara has proposed a mutual lifting of sanctions, but there has been no positive response from the other side to this. The Turkish side wants a solution on the island and is making efforts towards this end, he added. For his part, Talat said they favored resuming comprehensive talks with the Greek Cypriots and that he would tell the UN secretary-general this when they meet later this month. In addition, Babacan visited former President TRNC Rauf Denktas. /Star/

    [04] AKP PROPOSES CHANGING REFERENDUM TO AVOID LEGAL PROBLEMS

    Top political parties are working together to avoid a possible legal snag should next month’s referendum be approved. With the support of opposition parties, including the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has proposed striking Articles 18 and 19 from the Oct. 21 referendum, which could trigger a need to reelect the current president, even though Abdullah Gul was just elected in August. Parliament is expected to the debate the changes next week. /Hurriyet/

    [05] US AMBASSADOR WILSON MEETS WITH AKP’S BAGIS

    US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson yesterday visited the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) headquarters to meet with Egemen Bagis, the party’s deputy chairman. During their meeting, Wilson and Bagis discussed a resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide set to face a vote next week at the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee. Wilson was told that a delegation led by Bagis wants to have meetings with the State Department and Defense Department in Washington next week to argue against the resolution, and Wilson said he would work to make this happen. /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] FRENCH FM KOUCHNER TO ARRIVE IN ANKARA TODAY

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner is scheduled to arrive in Ankara today. Kouchner is set to meet with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan and to be received by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Their talks will reportedly focus on Turkey’s European Union membership bid. Bilateral relations and the Cyprus issue as well as regional and international issues are also expected to be discussed. /Sabah/

    [07] REHN: “TURKEY IS A DEMOCRATIC TOUCH POINT FOR THE MUSLIM WORLD”

    From Morocco to Malaysia, Turkey is a touch point for the Muslim world on democracy, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said yesterday. Speaking in Paris, Rehn said that the EU should accept as members Turkey as well as countries in the Balkans, adding that Turkey’s strategic importance affects the stability and security of the European continent. /Milliyet/

    [08] US HOUSE COMMITTEE TO DEBATE ARMENIAN RESOLUTION NEXT WEDNESDAY

    The US House of Representative’s Foreign Affairs Committee is expected to debate a resolution on the Armenian allegations of genocide next Wednesday. In addition, the committee has also decided to vote on a separate resolution condemning the terrorist group PKK. In related news, a group of deputies from Parliament’s ruling and opposition parties will travel to the US next week in a bid to head off the Armenian resolution’s passage. President Abdullah Gul and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan are also planning to make phone calls to President George W. Bush to seek his support in blocking the resolution, and head off possible damage to Turkish-US relations. /Turkiye/

    [09] TUSIAD: “THE EU REFORM PROCESS SHOULD CONTINUE”

    The European Union carries a noteworthy risk in light of its long-term difficulties, and this situation could increase the volatility of Turkish financial markets, said Turkish Businessmen’s and Industrialists’ Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag yesterday. Speaking at a Turkish-Finnish Business Forum meeting sponsored by TUSIAD, she said that a longer EU membership bid is a considerable risk for Turkey, so the nation’s EU reform process should continue. Yalcindag also touched on economic developments over the last five years, and underlined that during this “productive” time macroeconomic stability, lower interest rates and strict fiscal discipline had all helped the economy. For his part, Finnish Foreign Trade Minister Paavo Vayrynen said that Finnish firms consider Turkey an attractive venue for investment but that this positive atmosphere is vulnerable to even small reports of negative news. Touching on Turkey’s EU bid, Vayrynen said, “Governments come and go, but the train keeps moving forward, to reach its destination. This is Turkey’s EU bid.” /Milliyet/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [10] THE REASON FOR THE AKP’S INSISTENCE

    BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the Oct. 21 referendum. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Napoleon Bonaparte once said that sometimes a bad law can be more useful than a good one. He was proven right when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) majority in Parliament passed a package of constitutional changes as a reaction to decisions of the Presidential Palace and Constitutional Court as well as the way the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) forced this spring’s presidential election to be scuttled. Back then, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that since the CHP wouldn’t let Parliament elect a president, the nation would break this deadlock (in snap general elections). But when the AKP won a second term in government in the July elections, the key in the hands of public lost its meaning and importance. What’s more, at that time, the AKP thought that the opposition wouldn’t be able to wage a campaign against the Oct. 21 referendum and that if it tried to, the AKP would drive it into a corner by accusing it of not trusting the public. But this strategy backfired and instead drove the AKP into the corner.

    Now, moved by warnings from CHP leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, the AKP trying to backtrack to prevent legal chaos. But it’s not doing so completely. The constitutional changes will face the referendum on Oct. 21, but its clauses on popular election of the president will be removed. Will this last-minute move be enough to solve all the problems and dispel all the ambiguities? No. Turks living abroad are already voting at customs gates on this package, albeit the earlier version which includes popular election. Now when these sections are removed from the package, what will happen to the votes already cast? No one knows.

    The right thing to do would call off the referendum, but the AKP refuses and so I have to play devil’s advocate. Here’s how things stand now: the current package of changes says that governments will have four-year terms (not five), the people will elect the president for five years, and he or she can be reelected (called 5+5). Politicians and the public agree on all this. In addition, both the AKP and non-governmental groups have suggested similar changes in a new constitution. In this case, as the above provisions will certainly be accepted, I think the only reason for insisting on holding the referendum is fear of a legal challenge saying that this Parliament can’t draw up a new constitution but only change the current one. If this argument carries weight, the AKP might think that it would be right to conclude the current constitutional changes. I think there’s no other reason for insisting on the referendum for a presidential election to be held seven years from now (when President Abdullah Gul’s term ends).”


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