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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-06

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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

06.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: “SOME OF TURKEY’S ISSUES ARE BEING OVERBLOWN”
  • [02] ERDOGAN: “SECULARISM SHOULD SERVE TO UNITE PEOPLE, NOT DIVIDE THEM”
  • [03] AHEAD OF VISIT TO GERMANY, ERDOGAN SENDS FORENSIC TEAM TO PROBE FIRE
  • [04] PM ERDOGAN PRAISES TSK ANTI-TERROR OPS IN N.IRAQ
  • [05] BAYKAL: “I DON’T TRUST THE AKP WITH SECULARISM”
  • [06] BAHCELI DOWNPLAYS FEARS SOME WILL FEEL COMPELLED TO WEAR HEADSCARVES
  • [07] SWEDISH PARLIAMENTARIAN: “THE EU WANTS A SECULAR TURKEY”
  • [08] US’ WILSON: “THE PKK KNOWS N.IRAQ IS NO LONGER SAFE FOR THEM”
  • [09] DEVELOPMENTS AT HOME AND ABROAD

  • [01] GUL: “SOME OF TURKEY’S ISSUES ARE BEING OVERBLOWN”

    In Qatar for a three-day visit at the invitation of the country’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, President Abdullah Gul yesterday attended a luncheon hosted by Turkey’s Ambassador in Doha Mithat Rende. Touching on the headscarf debate, Gul said that certain issues in Turkey are being blown out of proportion. Commenting on a weekend fire in Germany which left nine Turks dead, Gul said that they are urging a thorough probe of the incident. /Hurriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN: “SECULARISM SHOULD SERVE TO UNITE PEOPLE, NOT DIVIDE THEM”

    Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting yesterday, Erdogan said that lifting the headscarf ban at universities would only reinforce the principle of secularism. “Secularism should serve as a tool to unite people, not a divisive force, ” Erdogan added. “We are working to put into practice universal principles to ensure the right to education. No one should have any concerns about that. We stand by all our citizens, no matter their political views." Saying that everyone should pay special attention to the principle of secularism, Erdogan added that his government has strived to strengthen the republic and democracy, and will continue with the same determination. /Star/

    [03] AHEAD OF VISIT TO GERMANY, ERDOGAN SENDS FORENSIC TEAM TO PROBE FIRE

    On a visit to Germany starting tomorrow, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to visit the city of Ludwigshafen, where nine Turks died and 60 were injured in an apartment building fire on Sunday. State Minister Sait Yazicioglu and four other officials, including three forensic experts, yesterday went ahead of Erdogan to visit the scene of the fire and meet with witnesses. The team will stay in Germany until their investigation is completed. Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting yesterday, Erdogan said that they want to learn the truth behind the tragic fire as soon as possible, adding that he hoped hostility towards foreigners played no role in it. /Hurriyet/

    [04] PM ERDOGAN PRAISES TSK ANTI-TERROR OPS IN N.IRAQ

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday praised the performance of Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) officers, pilots, soldiers and the General Staff in recent anti-terrorist operations in northern Iraq. “Our fight against terrorism will continue in all areas,” said Erdogan after a meeting with his Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) counterpart Ferdi Sabit Soyer. Stressing that Turkey has long supported Iraqi’s integrity, he added, “We want the Iraqi people to achieve peace as soon as possible. In our armed forces’ cross-border operations in northern Iraq, we are taking all necessary measures not to harm the civilian population. We are exercising our legal rights.” /Turkiye/

    [05] BAYKAL: “I DON’T TRUST THE AKP WITH SECULARISM”

    Speaking at his party’s group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal lambasted both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for their plan to lift the ban on headscarves at universities. “They tell us to trust them with secularism,” he said, “I would trust liver to a cat, but I wouldn’t trust you with secularism.” In related news, opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer paid a visit to Baykal. Afterwards, Sezer said that constitutional changes to lift the ban would be rejected by the Constitutional Court. /Milliyet/

    [06] BAHCELI DOWNPLAYS FEARS SOME WILL FEEL COMPELLED TO WEAR HEADSCARVES

    Plans to lift the headscarf ban at universities are going forward in order to solve a festering national problem, said Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday. Speaking to his party’s group meeting, Bahceli also said that concerns over students in places outside large cities feeling pressure to wear headscarves are overblown. /Sabah/

    [07] SWEDISH PARLIAMENTARIAN: “THE EU WANTS A SECULAR TURKEY”

    The European Union wants to embrace a secular Turkey, said a visiting Swedish parliamentarian yesterday, speaking on the debate over plans to end the university headscarf ban. Susanne Eberstein, deputy head of the Swedish Parliament’s EU Affairs Committee, led a delegation which met with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and State Minister Nimet Cubukcu in Ankara. Afterwards, Eberstein told reporters at the Swedish Embassy Residence, “For the EU, Turkey is a secular state today and it will also be secular tomorrow.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] US’ WILSON: “THE PKK KNOWS N.IRAQ IS NO LONGER SAFE FOR THEM”

    Cross-border operations by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have left the terrorist PKK knowing that northern Iraq is no longer safe for it, said US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson yesterday. Speaking at a meeting about the US presidential primaries at his residence, Wilson added that the successful operations have devastated the PKK infrastructure and that he believes they will continue. /Hurriyet/

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

    [09] DEVELOPMENTS AT HOME AND ABROAD

    BY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)

    Columnist Yilmaz Oztuna comments on recent developments both in Turkey and abroad. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Today in Parliament, the first round of voting on the government’s proposed constitutional amendment will be held. The amendment would enable our girls to enter universities while covering their heads, but leaving their faces bare.

    There will be countless benefits to ending debate over this issue. The conflict should drop out of newspaper headlines as soon as possible without becoming a chronic issue for the country.

    The fire earlier this week in Ludwigshaven, Germany which took the lives of nine Turks, including five children, and left 60 others injured should be investigated thoroughly. While writing these lines, I heard about another fire at a building where Turks live in the city of Herne, very close to Solingen, where five Turks also died in a fire set by Nazis eight years ago. Our government is closely following such incidents. Yesterday, our Ambassador in Berlin Mehmet Ali Irtemcelik and other Turkish diplomats arrived at the site of the fire to see for themselves. In addition, State Minister Mustafa Said Yazicioglu, accompanied by security officials, traveled to the region. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also fly to Germany. Racist nationalism and xenophobia are still very strong in Germany.

    The world has a completely different focus. The hottest topic is the Tuesday primaries in 24 US states to select the two major parties’ presidential candidates … The US will witness a couple of firsts in this presidential election. Republican John McCain, the apparent GOP frontrunner, seems set to go down in defeat this November due to the backlash against current President George W. Bush.

    For this reason, the main competition is among the two Democratic candidates. If Hillary Clinton wins the election, she will be the US’ first woman president. If, on the other hand, her rival Barack Obama triumphs, he will be the first black and second Catholic president of the country. It is also strange that he has a Muslim father from Kenya who is still alive.

    The parties’ presidential candidates are selected by the state delegates. The candidate has to get one vote more than half of the total delegates from the 50 states " 2,025 for the Democrat Party and 1,191 for the Republicans. Among the 50 states, California has the most delegates. New York state follows it. These two, and Illinois and New Jersey, two other populous states, are among the 24 states voting today. So the presidential election set for Nov. 4 will show which of the two candidates will be the winner. But the new president elected then won’t take over the office from Bush until January 2009.”


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