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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-01

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

01.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE DON’T ALL HAVE TO BE THE SAME, BUT WE MUST STICK TOGETHER”
  • [02] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH GUL
  • [03] IN EGYPT, TOPTAN MEETS WITH HIS KUWAITI COUNTERPART
  • [04] BAYKAL: “POLITICIANS CAN’T GUARANTEE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM”
  • [05] ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY RECTOR, FACULTY CRITICIZE PLAN TO END HEADSCARF BAN
  • [06] US STATE DEPT: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE IS A DOMESTIC MATTER FOR TURKEY TO DECIDE”
  • [07] FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER TO VISIT TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS TODAY
  • [08] DID STABILITY BOTHER THE AKP?

  • [01] ERDOGAN: “WE DON’T ALL HAVE TO BE THE SAME, BUT WE MUST STICK TOGETHER”

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that Turkey should be a country of freedoms and ideals, not suspicions and fears. “We want all our people to express themselves and their opinions with constitutional legitimacy, and we want them to be included in the nation’s educational, economic and social life,” Erdogan said in a televised address. “We don’t have to be the same as each other, but we have to be united and stand together. Our having different beliefs, ideas, and lifestyles is no obstacle to fellowship. It’s our duty to bridge distances, if there are any.” He said that in Turkey’s democratic and legal order, every problem has a solution. Erdogan added that a country that views its own citizens as a threat can’t go forward. /Star/

    [02] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH GUL

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday saw President Abdullah Gul for their regular weekly meeting. Erdogan also received his top military adviser, Corps Commander Nusret Tasdeler, along with National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Tahsin Burcuoglu and the undersecretary of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). / Cumhuriyet/

    An explosion at an unlicensed fireworks factory in an industrial area of Istanbul yesterday killed 20 people and injured 117 others. Visiting the scene of the blast, Istanbul Governor Muammer Guler blamed fireworks illegally manufactured in the five-story building for the explosion. Istanbul Greater Municipality Mayor Kadir Topbas said that a series of explosions had destroyed the top two floors of the building in the Davutpasa district yesterday morning. President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Parliamentary Speaker Koksal Toptan all issued messages of condolences for victims of the blast. /Turkiye/

    [03] IN EGYPT, TOPTAN MEETS WITH HIS KUWAITI COUNTERPART

    In Egypt, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday met with his Kuwaiti counterpart Jassem Mohamed Al Khurafi on the sidelines of the fifth conference of the Parliamentary Union of the Organization of Islamic Conference Member states (PUOICM). Saying that Turkey and Kuwait have excellent relations, Toptan invited his counterpart to visit Turkey. For his part, Khurafi said that there will be more mutual visits and cooperation with Kuwait's “brother country” Turkey. Toptan also helped add the phrase “Turkish Cypriot state” to the OIC meeting’s final declaration. /Turkiye/

    [04] BAYKAL: “POLITICIANS CAN’T GUARANTEE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL SYSTEM”

    Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for recently calling himself the “guarantee” of Turkey’s secularism. “By no means can politicians be the guarantee of the constitutional system in a country,” Baykal told news channel NTV. “Politicians come and go. The law, our institutions, the Constitutional Court, and the Constitution itself are the guarantee.” In related news, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic paid a courtesy visit to Baykal at CHP headquarters. /Aksam/

    [05] ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY RECTOR, FACULTY CRITICIZE PLAN TO END HEADSCARF BAN

    The rector and other faculty at Istanbul University (IU) yesterday criticized a plan spearheaded by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to lift the ban on wearing headscarves at universities. At a meeting of IU deans, professors and other faculty members, Rector Mesut Parlak claimed that supporters of headscarves have put Turkey in a dangerous situation. “The issue should be dealt with through the participation of all sectors of society,” he said, complaining that universities had not been consulted on the issue. /Hurriyet/

    [06] US STATE DEPT: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE IS A DOMESTIC MATTER FOR TURKEY TO DECIDE”

    The headscarf issue is a domestic matter for Turkey to decide, said Matt Bryza, US deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, yesterday. “We don’t advocate any particular form of expression, including the wearing of a headscarf or any other religious clothing,” he said. “Whether or not to wear a headscarf is an individual choice for women to make. The United States continues to support freedom of religion, a right which democratic societies should respect.” /Milliyet/

    [07] FORMER GERMAN CHANCELLOR SCHROEDER TO VISIT TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS TODAY

    Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will arrive in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) today to pay a visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. During his stay, Schroeder is set to be accompanied by Cuneyt Zapsu, a top advisor to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. / Cumhuriyet/

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

    [08] DID STABILITY BOTHER THE AKP?

    BY MUSTAFA BALBAY (CUMHURIYET)

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

    “During its six years of rule to date, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has made frequent use of the word ‘stability.’

    Whenever somebody ventured a criticism of the government, they were accused of trying to damage Turkey’s stability.

    Stability up, stability down!

    In their eyes, stability means accepting the AKP’s views, or at least not opposing them!

    In the wake of this definition, we came to 2008.

    In fact, this wasn’t a real stability. As economic circles didn’t revive the 2001 economic crisis, and the public was tired, they couldn’t mount a serious opposition.

    To be fair, if there were objections from the public or the state on certain issues, the government avoided them or drew back.

    The government wanted to change the Board of Higher Education (YOK) Law, but four times gave it up.

    The election of the president last year was an exception …

    But debate over the headscarf issue seems to have violated this six-year atmosphere of stability. In addition to negative consequences in the short term, we can say that the AKP is among the groups being hurt by this debate.

    * *

    The approach of the traditional business world to the AKP went like so:

    This government’s economic stance is just for us, they’ll sell everything, and they’ll create new horizons in all areas; this is praiseworthy … On the other hand, its views on secularism and the public order are contrary to ours. When they try to go ahead on these, we gently raise our voices and pour cold water on their ideas…

    This explains the recent lashing out of the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD).

    I think businessmen can foresee that they’ll be among the groups most affected if the AKP establishes the new regime its grassroots are pushing for!

    Here’s another translation of TUSIAD’s recent fierce statements against the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) (which cooperated with the AKP on the new headscarf proposal):

    We can’t speak harshly to the AKP, so let’s lash out at its supporter!

    For six years, the AKP always used others to justify its activities. From 2002 to 2007, whatever it did, it said, ‘This is what the European Union wants.’ When it was a matter of the EU, its three main supporters stuck out:

    ‘Second republicans,’ liberals and radical EU fans!

    Although sometimes they seem to blur into each other, we can distinguish them.

    These three groups also seem to be feeling the headscarf issue. At least some people I know have gotten confused, and they began to ask, ‘Where is this going? Does the AKP have a hidden agenda?’

    * *

    Yesterday, Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz issued a serious warning:

    We’re in the midst of economic fluctuations, crisis may hit!

    The AKP hasn’t weighed in on other pressing issues, including the economy, as much as it has on headscarves. Maybe it’s covering them with headscarves because it can’t do anything about them!

    We may think that the AKP enlarged its scope by moving closer to the MHP, but on the other hand, it’s ending the six-year relative ‘national consensus.’

    Has the MHP helped the AKP climb out of a pit, or pushed it into one?

    The judiciary knows!


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