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Turkish Press Review, 08-01-30

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

30.01.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL TO VISIT QATAR
  • [02] TOPTAN PLEDGES PARLIAMENTARY ACTION ON HEADSCARF PROPOSALS
  • [03] ERDOGAN: “WE ONLY WANT TO PROTECT GIRLS AT UNIVERSITIES”
  • [04] AKP, MHP SEND HEADSCARF PROPOSAL TO PARLIAMENT
  • [05] BABACAN: “CROSS-BORDER OPS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE PKK IS ERADICATED”
  • [06] BAYKAL CRITICIZES AKP-MHP ACCORD ON HEADSCARF ISSUE
  • [07] MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DUE IN TURKEY
  • [08] REHN: “THE EU CAN HELP TURKEY WITH ITS PLANS FOR NUCLEAR POWER”
  • [09] THE HEADSCARF ISSUE FROM THE OUTSIDE

  • [01] GUL TO VISIT QATAR

    President Abdullah Gul is set to go to Qatar next week at the invitation of its emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. Accompanying Gul during his visit will be Turkish businessmen, most from the energy and construction sectors. /Turkiye/

    [02] TOPTAN PLEDGES PARLIAMENTARY ACTION ON HEADSCARF PROPOSALS

    Constitutional changes to lift the headscarf ban at universities will be considered by Parliament in due course, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan told reporters yesterday. “After Parliament’s Presidential Council has examined the proposal, the process will begin,” said Toptan, who was in Egypt to attend the fifth conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Conference Member states (PUOICM). Toptan and his wife also visited Cairo Museum and the Great Pyramids. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] ERDOGAN: “WE ONLY WANT TO PROTECT GIRLS AT UNIVERSITIES”

    Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that a new proposal to lift headscarf restrictions at universities had been prepared after taking into consideration all concerns about the issue. Erdogan added that their only goal is to end the “unjust treatment” of girls at university gates and nothing else. “The government is the guarantor and protector of the republic, secularism, democracy and the rule of law,” he said. Erdogan stated that his government has never and will never take steps contrary to those principles. /Turkiye/

    [04] AKP, MHP SEND HEADSCARF PROPOSAL TO PARLIAMENT

    A package of constitutional changes to lift the ban on wearing headscarves at universities was submitted yesterday to Parliament after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) reached agreement on the package. The proposal was sponsored by 348 deputies, 278 from the AKP and 70 from the MHP. The proposal’s preamble stressed that no similar restrictions exist in other Council of Europe member countries. /Aksam/

    [05] BABACAN: “CROSS-BORDER OPS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE PKK IS ERADICATED”

    Iraq and the terrorist PKK will be major issues for the government this year, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday. “The next issue will be Cyprus,” he told news channel 24. “We seriously want to start a negotiation process after elections are held in the south (next month). This year we’ll discuss the Aegean problems with Greece. After elections in Armenia (also next month), I think that there will be an opportunity to discuss the Armenian issue.” Stating that anti-PKK operations both in Turkey and in northern Iraq will continue to be pursued when needed, Babacan said, “When this terrorist organization is eradicated, then military instruments will be put aside.” /Star/

    [06] BAYKAL CRITICIZES AKP-MHP ACCORD ON HEADSCARF ISSUE

    Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday criticized the agreement reached by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on a package of constitutional changes to lift certain headscarf restrictions. He claimed that if headscarves are allowed at universities, next, inevitably, girls will be able to wear them in high schools. In related news, speaking about the agreement, opposition MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said, “The arrangements will be confined to universities. Institutions offering primary and secondary education will be excluded from this arrangement.” /Hurriyet/

    [07] MACEDONIAN DEFENSE MINISTER DUE IN TURKEY

    Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski will visit Ankara today. Elenovski will meet with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. /Sabah/

    [08] REHN: “THE EU CAN HELP TURKEY WITH ITS PLANS FOR NUCLEAR POWER”

    European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday said that the EU is ready to offer Turkey assistance and advice on its plans to build nuclear power plants. Rehn said that the decision to build the plants belongs to the Turkish government, though he cautioned that Ankara should carefully assess its ability to provide high security throughout the plants’ construction and operation. /Turkiye/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [09] THE HEADSCARF ISSUE FROM THE OUTSIDE

    BY SAMI KOHEN (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Sami Kohen comments on recent disputes over the headscarf issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Foreigners have so far shown little interest in plans to lift the headscarf ban at Turkish universities. I think the international media will do more coverage when a constitutional change is made.

    But certain diplomatic circles interested in Turkey have watched developments closely from the outset.

    Islamic countries, of course, welcome the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) stance and initiatives on the matter. One Iranian diplomat said, ‘This decision will show that Turkey respects individual freedom, and will enable women to continue their higher education and serve the country when they graduate…’

    Western analysts usually favor a principle of not restricting students’ attire at universities. However, they have mixed feelings over the possible consequences of lifting the ban in Turkey now. European diplomats, and especially European Union officials, for the time being prefer to take a ‘wait and see’ approach…

    EU circles " at least in their official statements " characterize this development as a ‘legal arrangement.’

    According to European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering, the headscarf issue is a topic to be dealt with by our national Parliament. Stressing that the issue is related to the country’s religion and culture, Pottering said, ‘In my opinion, so long as people are tolerant, it’s not important how they dress’…

    Indeed, this is a common view in EU circles. A European diplomat told me yesterday that they understand Turkey’s sensitivity on the issue, but they didn’t see the matter so dramatically. He added that it could be dealt with as an arrangement in light of Turkey’s realities.

    Another diplomat said that the headscarf issue wasn’t a direct concern for the bloc. According to him, the EU’s demands and expectations from Turkey are altogether different: Constitutional arrangements for democratization, Article 301, human rights, etc…

    Western circles are divided over whether this development could harm the country’s secularism and edge Turkey towards becoming an Islamic state. Some say that there is little chance of this. Turkey is a model country with a democracy in line with its own culture and traditions … On the other hand, others say Turkey’s future depends on the AKP government’s setting proper balances in the public and acting in a spirit of tolerance and conciliation…

    This especially reflects the views of circles who know Turkey well and want it to take its place in Europe.

    Of course, there are others who want to keep Turkey outside of Europe for various reasons, and they say that this development shows how far Turkey is from Europe in terms of ‘image’ as well. Turkey’s opposition will probably try to profit from this too.

    Already, every day these circles are adding new ammunition to their arguments. Here is what French deputies said about Turkey in a recent joint declaration: Turkey is a country bordering Syria, Iraq and Azerbaijan … According to them, this is a situation contradicting EU thought!

    What can one say to such a fanatical idea?”


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