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Turkish Press Review, 08-01-23

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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

23.01.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE CAN DISCUSS AND SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS THROUGH DEMOCRACY”
  • [02] IN LONDON, CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT MEETS WITH BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY
  • [03] BAYKAL: “CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION CAN’T SOLVE THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”
  • [04] BAHCELI: “TO SOLVE THE HEADSCARF ISSUE, NO ONE SHOULD EXPLOIT IT”
  • [05] AHEAD OF HISTORIC VISIT, GREEK PM REITERATES SUPPORTS FOR TURKEY’S EU BID
  • [06] TUSIAD: “OBJECTING TO TURKEY’S EU BID IS AGAINST EU LAW”
  • [07] THE SECRET OF THE 47%

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE CAN DISCUSS AND SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS THROUGH DEMOCRACY”

    Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that nobody should see democracy and the law as benefiting only themselves or try to block others from exercising their democratic rights. Erdogan added that to develop itself, Turkey must boost its unity through tackling longstanding problems, saying, “We can discuss and solve all our problems through democracy, and our democracy and principle of the rule of law have reached that level.” Erdogan stated that ignoring the problems of the people serves neither peace nor democracy. “The Turkish people gave our policies a vote of confidence in last summer’s general elections, and they urged us to meet their expectations and demands,” he added. In related news, in a last-minute move, citing a busy schedule, Erdogan cancelled his plans to attend the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. /Aksam/

    [02] IN LONDON, CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT MEETS WITH BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, currently on a visit to London, yesterday met with British Foreign Secretary David Millaband. Buyukanit said that their meeting focused on the terrorism issue, the Middle East, and Kosovo. Afterwards Buyukanit declined to take questions about the headscarf issue, saying that he does not comment on domestic matters while abroad. /Star/

    [03] BAYKAL: “CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION CAN’T SOLVE THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”

    At his party’s group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal spoke about recent developments, including the headscarf issue. Saying that it isn’t possible to solve the issue through the Constitution, Baykal argued, “An arrangement to give a right only to those in higher education to wear headscarves is incompatible with the logic of the Constitution.” /Turkiye/

    [04] BAHCELI: “TO SOLVE THE HEADSCARF ISSUE, NO ONE SHOULD EXPLOIT IT”

    Speaking to his Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) group meeting yesterday, opposition leader Devlet Bahceli reiterated that the headscarf issue could be resolved by changing Article 10 of the Constitution. Bahceli added that solving the issue requires that it not be exploited. Saying that it has been acknowledged that headscarves pose no threat to the regime, he urged that everyone act in line with the Constitution. /Aksam/

    [05] AHEAD OF HISTORIC VISIT, GREEK PM REITERATES SUPPORTS FOR TURKEY’S EU BID

    Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who is due in Ankara today for a historic visit, yesterday sent messages of goodwill and peace. Expressing Athens’ support for Turkey’s European Union bid, Karamanlis said, “Europe is compelled to send a clear message to all candidate countries, including Turkey.” He added, “Greece believes that if Turkey fully adjusts itself to the EU acquis, this should lead to full membership. Of course, there are many things left to be done. We hope Turkey is going to meet the conditions put forth by the EU. It should also accommodate its relations with the Greek Cypriot administration and recognize it.” Touching on Turkish-Greek relations, he said, “The two countries should exert efforts to solve disagreements peacefully and in line with international law,” adding, “We hope that our Turkish friends will clasp Greece’s hand extended in friendship.” /Turkiye/

    [06] TUSIAD: “OBJECTING TO TURKEY’S EU BID IS AGAINST EU LAW”

    Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag said yesterday that objecting to Turkey’s prospective full membership in the European Union was against the law and the EU as an institution, adding that TUSIAD was watching the situation closely. She made the remarks during a meeting in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier and Federal Commissioner for Migration Maria Boehmer. During her talks with Steinmeier, Turkey’s EU accession was discussed. Yalcindag said that Turkey’s reform process, developing democracy and its determination for EU membership would help make its bid a reality. /Milliyet/

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

    [07] THE SECRET OF THE 47%

    BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)

    Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) victory in last summer’s elections. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “So much has been written about the last summer’s general elections. Everyone knew the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would win, but it was a surprise that they got 47% of the votes. Even the projections presented to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from three separate pollsters didn’t predict such a large margin. People had generally thought that the AKP would win with about 35%.

    Talking recently about the era which began with these elections with a businessman who is close to Erdogan, including such issues as headscarves and moving the Central Bank, I was able to gauge future political developments and see things through Erdogan’s eyes. ‘Our greatest advantage (in the elections) was settling economic balances in that period, which passed without an economic crisis,’ Erdogan had said in the presence of the businessman. ‘This is our foundation. But the basic change and improvement which won so many more votes was seen in healthcare. This was our greatest success and our most important. It was followed by what we did in the field of agriculture. The secret of our electoral success, particularly in rural areas and Anatolia, lay in our incentives and agriculture policies. If you add an increase of 10-11 points from the incident of the e-memorandum [a military memo posted on the Internet derailing Abdullah Gul’s first presidential bid last spring] to these to basic policies, it would equal 47%.’

    It’s not hard to guess the impact of that memorandum and healthcare improvements on the elections. But I’ve never seen such an evaluation of the agriculture factor made seriously. In dozens of analyses of the elections, I’ve never seen this issue given special importance. It also seems to be important that Erdogan found one of the formulas for its causes in agriculture.

    When it again came to power single-handedly, the importance of the AKP’s roadmap rose. It’s carrying through projects which couldn’t be done or weren’t completed during its first term. The new Foundations Law, social security reform and nuclear power station tenders are now being implemented without a veto from the Cankaya Presidential Palace. It’s trying to prevent macroeconomic balances from being spoiled through economic progress and completing the remaining privatizations. Thus it wants to eliminate the risk from foreign debt and the current account deficit stock. We can easily see that there is a discomfort in the economic team and bureaucracy.

    Another striking characteristic of the AKP’s second term is that the appointment of high-level bureaucrats who were vetoed by then President Ahmet Necdet Sezer is being completed. But considering the next elections set for 2012, what will a party which has been ruling for a decade tell the voters? This is the problem. Today’s hot debates are the basis for answering this question. When a party rules for such a long time, there are no excuses left, and how well it does in basic areas like unemployment will be key. I don’t think the AKP isn’t thinking about this. You can make a similar deduction from the headscarf issue. In your opinion, what issue will decide the next general elections? Can you predict it?”


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