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Turkish Press Review, 08-01-03

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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

03.01.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL HOSTS DINNER FOR PM ERDOGAN
  • [02] ERDOGAN, CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT ATTEND OPENING OF TUBITAK R&D CENTER
  • [03] SYRIAN DEPUTY PM VISITS TURKEY
  • [04] NEW CONSTITUTION PROPOSES SWEEPING CHANGES
  • [05] SWEDEN OFFERS FULL BACKING FOR TURKEY’S EU BID
  • [06] THE CONSTITUTION AND CRISIS

  • [01] GUL HOSTS DINNER FOR PM ERDOGAN

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday hosted a dinner for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The leader’s wives Hayrunnisa Gul and Emine Erdogan also attended the dinner hosted at the Foreign Ministry Residence. /Milliyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN, CHIEF OF STAFF BUYUKANIT ATTEND OPENING OF TUBITAK R&D CENTER

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyuakanit yesterday attended the opening of the Turkish Scientific and Technological Research Council’s (TUBITAK) new research and development center. Also attending the opening were State Minister Mehmet Aydin, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug, Air Forces Commander Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu and Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner as well as TUBITAK’s acting president, Nuket Yetis. /Aksam/

    [03] SYRIAN DEPUTY PM VISITS TURKEY

    Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Abdallah al-Dardari yesterday met with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials during an official visit to Ankara. Afterwards, the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) hosted the visiting leader. Tomorrow Dardari is also set to attend a meeting organized by DEIK and the Turkey-Syria Business Council. At the gathering, Dardari will speak on business and investment opportunities in Syria. /Turkiye-New Anatolian/

    [04] NEW CONSTITUTION PROPOSES SWEEPING CHANGES

    The text of a new constitution drafted by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has been completed, and it proposes a host of sweeping changes, including allowing political parties below the 10% election threshold to win seats in Parliament, and shutting down controversial university watchdog the Board of Higher Education (YOK). After the draft text is presented for public debate, it will be brought before Parliament. The government is expected to discuss and vote on the draft constitution in the spring and complete this work within a few months. The draft constitution will later face a public referendum. /Today’s Zaman/

    [05] SWEDEN OFFERS FULL BACKING FOR TURKEY’S EU BID

    Sweden’s Ambassador to Ankara Christer Asp said yesterday that his country gives full support to Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Speaking during a visit to the southeastern province of Hatay, Asp also backed the Turkish military’s cross-border operations into northern Iraq, saying that they are necessary to ensure security. “We don’t want families to lose their children in Turkey,” he said. /Turkish Daily News/

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

    [06] THE CONSTITUTION AND CRISIS

    BY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)

    Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on possible changes to the Constitution. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Speaking to Mustafa Balbay, a columnist from Cumhuriyet daily, Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal predicted that 2008 would be a ‘year of constitutional crisis.’ Baykal said that efforts are being made to change the country’s direction through constitutional changes. In addition, Justice Minister Cemil Cicek spoke of the difficulty of changing the Constitution, as if responding to Baykal in advance. Cicek compared the task to moving Mt. Ararat. This is exactly right, because the status quo is putting up a resistance. Actually they’re protecting a Constitution which came from a coup, the product of an understanding that ignores the individual and considers the state the only power. Some people don’t want to lose the power they enjoy under the current Constitution.

    Some people also warn of lurking issues which Turkey might face due to constitutional changes, just hidden landmines. Actually, these mines could change Turkey’s direction and stir up the public, just like last year’s assassination of Hrant Dink or the recent attacks on priests. A booklet by the Open Society Institute outlines the European Union’s impact on 100 issues in Turkey, from guaranteeing potable water, to banning factories which pollute the environment, to protecting consumer rights.

    These issues determine and affect people’s lives. In addition, laws on these issues are changing and may have to change more to be harmonized with the EU. If the decision had been left up to supporters of the status quo, the path would have been the same, because they are against Turkey’s changes for EU membership. But Turkey is changing and developing, in spite of this opposition. This change cannot but be reflected in the legal structure, because the public has seen its power as separate individuals for the first time. It almost elected its own president directly.

    It’s inevitable that people who think they have such power will expect things like better services from the state, a more modern legal structure, and more respect. Our Constitution has certain provisions which are alterable, such as secularism, the principle of the social state, and the country’s unitary character and language. It would be more correct to see 2008 not as a year of crisis, but one of a modern, democratic constitution. Of course, without taking our eyes off the hidden landmines.”


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