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Turkish Press Review, 08-01-07

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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

07.01.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL VISITING THE US THIS WEEK
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS FAMED WORLDWIDE”
  • [03] SACRIFICE OF SOLDIERS IN SARIKAMIS COMMEMORATED
  • [04] BAYKAL VISITS DIYARBAKIR IN WAKE OF BOMBING
  • [05] DP ELECTS NEW LEADER
  • [06] TURKS IN EUROPE

  • [01] PRESIDENT GUL VISITING THE US THIS WEEK

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday flew to Washington for an official visit. He will meet with his US counterpart George W. Bush as well as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Gul will proceed to New York on Wednesday to meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Gul is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler and State Minister Mehmet Simsek. /Cumhuriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “THE AKP IS FAMED WORLDWIDE”

    Speaking in Istanbul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that since it was founded in 2001, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has moved forward with determination to become known and distinguished worldwide. “Wisdom, scholarship and experience have shaped our work,” he said. “If we continue this way, the AKP will grow more and become even stronger.” He also touted the AKP’s political, social and economic record. /Turkiye/

    [03] SACRIFICE OF SOLDIERS IN SARIKAMIS COMMEMORATED

    The sacrifice of thousands of Turkish soldiers who froze to death in the Allahuekber Mountains in 1914 during World War I was commemorated yesterday in a ceremony. The gathering in the village of Sarikamis in Kars drew Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, soldiers, students, and crowds of people. /Aksam/

    [04] BAYKAL VISITS DIYARBAKIR IN WAKE OF BOMBING

    In the wake of a deadly terrorist bombing last week, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday arrived in Diyarbakir. He first met with 7th Corps Commander Gen. Bekir Kalyoncu, and then visited people who were wounded in the attack. Afterwards he met with Diyarbakir Governor Avni Mutlu and visited the scene of the blast. “Whatever their ethnic origin, every citizen of the Turkish Republic is equal,” he said. Baykal said that threatening peace and fellowship helps nobody, adding that no one should try to impose their identity on others. People will coexist and live hand in hand under the Republic of Turkey, he said. /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] DP ELECTS NEW LEADER

    The opposition Democrat Party (DP) yesterday held its fourth extraordinary party congress in Ankara to replace its leader. Outgoing Chairman Mehmet Agar, in his opening speech to the congress, announced that he had officially stepped down. From a field of 16 candidates, Suleyman Soylu, backed by former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, was elected the new DP leader. /Hurriyet/

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

    [06] TURKS IN EUROPE

    BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdal Safak comments on the situation of Turks living in Europe. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The dream or hope of a common Turkish future with Europe is growing more distant each day, due to Europeans’ policy of exclusion. What’s more, these policies target not only Turks living in Turkey, but also Turks living abroad. The treatment that Europeans consider us worthy of is known. For example, citizens of all European Union candidate countries are given the right of free movement, but Turks are excluded from this. For example, while the existing Customs Union is based on the free movement of goods, services and labor, the free movement of labor or people is rejected for Turkey. What’s more, people predict that even if Turkey joins the European Union one day, this free movement of people will never happen.

    For example, while the borders of the Schengen region, where people can cross from one country to another with just their identity cards, are being expanded, EU countries’ representations in Turkey require stricter conditions to provide a Schengen visa. They even set the goal of providing fewer visas each year and cite doing so as a measure of success. The situation of Turks living in Europe, the problems they face and the numerous exclusionary laws and decisions are more humiliating. Hostile laws in France and the rising xenophobia and the Islamophobia in many EU countries, particularly Austria and the Netherlands, have made Turks into a second class.

    But the situation in Germany, where 2.7 million Turks live (out of 5.2 million in EU countries overall), is a complete disaster, because discrimination and exclusion are now practiced openly there. Here’s one example: a law which came into force last summer made it (almost) impossible for Turks living in Germany to marry Turks from Turkey, because the spouse from Turkey must speak basic German to emigrate. They also tell people to enroll in German courses at the local Goethe Institutes in Ankara, Istanbul or Izmir, saying that if they study hard they can learn how to speak German in 6 months. So what will happen if the spouse-to-be lives in Adana, Diyarbakir, Kars or Agri? It’s their problem.

    Philippe de Bruycker of Özgür University in Brussels said that integration was once the last stage of a voluntary process but now it’s become an obligation to enter a country. Meanwhile, the requirement that the spouse-to-be speaks German doesn’t cover EU member countries. Countries such as the US, Canada, Russia or Japan are also exempt. In addition, a bride from Russia or South Korea doesn’t have to speak German. What’s more, if a Turkish man living in Germany marries a Bulgarian, Romanian, Italian or any European girl, she doesn’t have to speak German either. The target is only Turkey and Islamic countries.

    Turks who live in Turkey and face such problems have recently felt another pressure. An elderly German man was beaten up by a Turkish man and a Greek man at the Munich subway before Christmas. Politicians from the Christian Democrat Party saw an opportunity to exploit this for this month’s local elections in Hessen and Lower Saxonia. Hessen’s Christian Democrat Prime Minister Roland Koch is campaigning heavily on this incident, pushing for harsher sentences and correctional camps for young criminals of ‘immigrant origin’. The reason for this was that 45.7 percent of the young people who committed crimes in 2006 were foreign. Actually this rate was a decline compared to past years, but this detail doesn’t suit anybody’s interests. What’s more, the number of attacks on foreigners by Germans rises every year, but this is never brought up. The final point is this: There were calls to deport one of the two young people who beat up the old man. Which do you think? The Turk, of course! Unfortunately, those who say that there is a new crusade against Turks living in Europe are right.”


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