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Turkish Press Review, 08-01-31

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

31.01.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION TO DEBATE HEADSCARF AMENDMENT TOMORROW
  • [02] ERDOGAN TO VISIT GERMANY NEXT WEEK
  • [03] ECONOMIC EVALUATION COMMITTEE: “TURKEY HAS GAINED THE ABILITY TO RESIST GLOBAL CRISES”
  • [04] BABACAN: “IN 2013, TURKEY WILL BE READY FOR THE EU”
  • [05] CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT: “OUR STANCE ON THE HEADSCARF ISSUE IS CLEAR”
  • [06] GEN. SAYGUN: “MY TALKS WITH US OFFICIALS WERE FRUITFUL”
  • [07] SARKOZY, MERKEL REPEAT “PRIVILEGED PARTNERSHIP” PROPOSAL
  • [08] TUSIAD: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE HAS BEEN DEALT WITH HASTILY AND CARELESSLY”
  • [09] TOBB HEAD HISARCIKLIOGLU HOLDS TALKS IN BRUSSELS
  • [10] WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THE HEADSCARF ISSUE?

  • [01] CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSION TO DEBATE HEADSCARF AMENDMENT TOMORROW

    A proposed constitutional amendment to end the headscarf ban at universities was sent yesterday to Parliament’s Constitutional Commission. The commission members will meet tomorrow to debate the proposal, which is co-sponsored by 348 deputies from both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). If the commission passes it, the proposal is set to be debated and voted on by the full Parliament next Wednesday, with a second round of voting on Saturday. Once passed, it would then be sent to President Abdullah Gul for approval. Gul could approve it within 15 days or call for a referendum. Meanwhile, commenting on claims that the Constitutional Court could overrule the amendment, Constitutional Commission head Burhan Kuzu said yesterday that the court has no right to do so. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN TO VISIT GERMANY NEXT WEEK

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Germany next week. Erdogan will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and attend a meeting in Munich on Feb. 9. Due to this visit, Erdogan will be unable to attend Parliament’s second round of voting next Saturday on a constitutional amendment to lift the headscarf ban at universities. /Turkiye/

    [03] ECONOMIC EVALUATION COMMITTEE: “TURKEY HAS GAINED THE ABILITY TO RESIST GLOBAL CRISES”

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday chaired a seven-hour Economic Evaluation Committee meeting. Also in attendance were Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Eken, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Industry Minister Zafer Caglayan, State Ministers Kursad Tuzmen and Mehmet Simsek, and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. “Turkey’s economy has reached stability as a result of the government’s policies,” said a statement afterward. “It has gained the ability to resist global and local crises. These advantages will be effective in limiting the impact of global fluctuations on Turkey.” /Sabah/

    [04] BABACAN: “IN 2013, TURKEY WILL BE READY FOR THE EU”

    At the closing ceremony of the International Education Forum held by the Turkish Education Association (TED), Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday said that Turkey is not only a European Union candidate country but also a participant country. Stating that the negotiation process which started in 2005 was continuing with hard work and the participation of many public bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Babacan said, “Over the last five months 229 meetings were held in both Ankara and Brussels to advance various chapters. In the same period, 46 visits were paid to EU countries at the level of state minister and head of government. Now the EU process is part of Turkey’s daily work.” He added, “We have no time to lose. Turkey will declare its readiness as of 2013. Turkey’s full membership is one of the most important peace projects of the 21st century.” /Turkiye/

    [05] CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT: “OUR STANCE ON THE HEADSCARF ISSUE IS CLEAR”

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday met with Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Buyuknait said that headscarf issue is currently Turkey’s top issue. “All sectors of Turkish society and everybody knows the Turkish army's view on this issue,” he said, adding that these views needed no elaboration. Commenting on a recent crackdown on illegal gangs, Buyukanit said that members of the military who engage in illegal activities will be brought before the court for punishment. /Hurriyet/

    [06] GEN. SAYGUN: “MY TALKS WITH US OFFICIALS WERE FRUITFUL”

    Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun, in Washington for talks with US officials about bilateral defense relations and cooperation against the terrorist PKK, said yesterday that his meetings have been fruitful. Speaking to reporters, Saygun said that during the Turkey-US High Level Defense Group gathering, military, training and defense cooperation were discussed. After completing his contacts in Washington, Saygun will pay visits to military bases and facilities before returning to Turkey next Thursday. /Sabah/

    [07] SARKOZY, MERKEL REPEAT “PRIVILEGED PARTNERSHIP” PROPOSAL

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday separately reiterated their stances against Turkey’s European Union membership. At a meeting of his Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) Party, Sarkozy said, “Turkey should benefit from a ‘privileged partnership’ status” with the EU, meaning one less than full membership. Merkel also restated her opposition to Turkey’s EU membership, stressing that her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) shares the UMP’s views on the issue. “Both parties want to initiate a privileged partnership proposal instead of full membership for Turkey,” she said. /Sabah/

    [08] TUSIAD: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE HAS BEEN DEALT WITH HASTILY AND CARELESSLY”

    The Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’ Association (TUSIAD) yesterday lashed out against opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli’s recent remarks on TUSIAD’s stance on the headscarf issue. In written statement, the association claimed the haste and lack of care in the way the headscarf issue has been dealt with exposes how some are secretly planning to sway Turkey from its path to becoming a modern country. It added that people who try to break Turkey away from its European Union membership process cannot give lectures on democracy. /Hurriyet/

    [09] TOBB HEAD HISARCIKLIOGLU HOLDS TALKS IN BRUSSELS

    Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu yesterday held separate talks with European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and European Parliament Chairman Hans-Gert Poettering in Brussels. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey should continue its economic reforms for sustainable growth and enhanced competitiveness. Pointing to recent international economic troubles in the world, Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey should focus on economic issues rather than politics. /Turkiye/

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

    [10] WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT THE HEADSCARF ISSUE?

    BY ISMAIL KUCUKKAYA (AKSAM)

    Columnist Ismail Kucukkaya comments on the headscarf issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “All the newspapers and TV policy shows are talking about the headscarf issue. All the sides have expressed their views in a clear, determined way. Only one has yet to speak. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday reiterated the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) views on the issue in two sentences. In sum, Buyukanit said everybody knows the TSK’s views on the issue and so there’s no point in repeating them. Visiting Macedonian Defense Minister Lazar Elenovski probably had the shock of his life. He must have been surprised when he saw the dozens of satellite vans, cameras and reporters. Maybe at first he thought they all wanted to cover the strong relations between Turkey and Macedonia, but he must have soon been disabused of this idea.

    Unfortunately, debate over the headscarf issue is of a low quality and favors form over substance. It has created public polarization and worn all the parties down. The headscarf is a multidimensional and ambiguous issue. It seems that from now on, its legal " not political " dimension will be in the foreground. The military’s stance is already known. It’s a smart strategy for the military not to weigh in on this tiring discussion. It wants to protect itself from being worn down. They will see how the process goes.

    Before Buyukanit’s statement, two parties forged cooperation on a social problem. They set up a commission and looked for a solution. Two top courts published a declaration containing harsh words and warnings. This can happen under the rule of law. In all developed countries, sometimes the judiciary and politicians get into fierce arguments. The headscarf issue centers around both basic rights and freedoms, and protecting secularism and the republic. The military remembered its position and chose to stay in the background.

    Political alliances over the issue are more complicated than they may seem. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) took a very reasonable strategy. We should recognize that the headscarf issue turned into a mechanism against secularists. As long as it remains unresolved, it helps the people described as Islamists. Groups from many different views and factions have united under the glue of the headscarf issue. As a political tool, the headscarf has given benefits which aren’t deserved.

    Considering the issue from a humanitarian perspective, we don’t allow girls wearing headscarves to enter universities, but what about Islamic boys? They can enter universities. Why has political Islam continued its inexorable rise, despite all the years of bans? Could there be a problem somewhere? Certain reservations were taken into consideration in consensus arrangements between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Now the definition of a ban has been made for the first time. We’re seeing sentences like, ‘Girls wearing headscarves can enter universities, but not public institutions, primary schools or high schools.’ If this line is being drawn, we should see two sides of this. But now it’s the law’s turn. Obviously, the issue will be brought to the Council of State and the Constitutional Court. Then we should see the legal interpretation of the solution produced by politicians. What Buyukanit did was right.”


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