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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-07

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

07.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL ATTENDS TURKISH-QATAR BUSINESS COUNCIL MEETING
  • [02] PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT SOUTHERN ANATOLIAN CITIES
  • [03] PARLIAMENT VOTES ON ENDING HEADSCARF BAN
  • [04] ERDOGAN REITERATES SUPPORT FOR KOSOVO
  • [05] YAZICIOGLU VISITS SCENE OF GERMAN FIRE
  • [06] BAYKAL: “A NEW DAY MAY DAWN FOR THE TRNC”
  • [07] SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS ELECTS NEW CHIEF JUSTICE
  • [08] PIERINI: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE DOESN’T CONCERN THE EU”
  • [09] WITHOUT THE EU COMPASS, TENSIONS WILL RAGE ON
  • [10] END

  • [01] GUL ATTENDS TURKISH-QATAR BUSINESS COUNCIL MEETING

    President Abdullah Gul, on a three-day official visit to Qatar, yesterday attended the first meeting of the Turkish-Qatar Business Council. Speaking at the gathering, Gul, accompanied by 150 businessmen and Turkey’s energy, finance and public works ministers, said that recent democratic and economic reforms had strengthened Turkey and made it a more attractive country for investments. Also addressing the businessmen, Qatari Premier and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabr Al Thani pointed to Turkey’s importance for the region, adding that they were determined to further develop bilateral ties. /Aksam-Turkiye/

    [02] PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT SOUTHERN ANATOLIAN CITIES

    President Abdullah Gul is planning to pay visits to the southern Anatolian provinces of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras and Sanliurfa. After traveling to Gaziantep tomorrow, the president is expected to visit the other two cities next week. Gul is also expected to soon pay visits to cities in Thrace, on Turkey’s European side. /Turkiye/

    [03] PARLIAMENT VOTES ON ENDING HEADSCARF BAN

    After weeks of controversy, constitutional changes to allow students to wear headscarves in universities faced a first vote in Parliament yesterday, with full support from the ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Following highly tense debate on the issue, the amendments to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution were passed easily, by a vote of 397-113. The second round of voting is set for Saturday. During yesterday’s session, which began at 3:00 pm and lasted past midnight, parliamentary deputies voiced their views on the proposed changes. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies argued that the amendments were unconstitutional and would blatantly violate the republic’s principle of secularism. Deputies from the AKP, MHP and Democratic Society Party (DTP), on the other hand, said the headscarf was a longstanding issue which should be dealt with in the context of individual freedom, adding that the amendments would allow all girls to continue their education. If the changes pass by a two-thirds majority of 367 votes in the 550-seat chamber on Saturday, they would go into effect after being signed by President Abdullah Gul. /Turkiye-Hurriyet/

    [04] ERDOGAN REITERATES SUPPORT FOR KOSOVO

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with Fatmir Sejdiu, the president of the Kosovo Provisional Self-Governing Institutions. During their meeting, Sedjiu told Erdogan about Kosovo’s current status as well as recent developments. “Kosovo will reach a position backed by the international community in which it will have good relations with its neighbors,” Erdogan reportedly said. “Turkey supports such a position as well.” /Star/

    [05] YAZICIOGLU VISITS SCENE OF GERMAN FIRE

    In Germany yesterday, State Minister Said Yazicioglu and German Government Commissioner for Migration Maria Boehmer visited the scene of a deadly fire from earlier this week. “Our people shouldn’t worry about the investigation," Yazicioglu said afterwards. "It will be concluded in a way that leaves no room for any doubt." For her part, Boehmer said that the German government shares the grief of the victims’ relatives. /Aksam/

    [06] BAYKAL: “A NEW DAY MAY DAWN FOR THE TRNC”

    Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday met with Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. At a joint press conference afterwards, Baykal said that the international community should be ashamed of its failure to keep its promises to the TRNC. Saying that a new era may be beginning for the Cyprus issue, he added, “The attitude of peace and goodwill shown by the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriot community on the international stage has come to nothing. The international community owes the Turkish (Cypriot) community. Promises were made, but not kept. On the other hand, this (Turkish Cypriot) community showed remarkable unity and cooperation.” For his part, Soyer decried efforts in Europe and elsewhere to ignore the existence of the Turkish Cypriot community, calling the TRNC’s forced isolation “inhumane.” Saying that Turkish Cypriot young people are unable to take part in international sports events, Soyer stated, “Nor can they participate in cultural events. We can’t have direct flights. Our right to direct trade is blocked. This is a major violation of human rights. We will continue our work to change this situation." /Turkiye/

    [07] SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS ELECTS NEW CHIEF JUSTICE

    In the 19th round of voting, the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday elected a new chief justice to succeed the retired Osman Arslan. Hasan Gerceker, former head of the Supreme Court of Appeals 9th Criminal Chamber, was elected to the post. The head of the court serves a four-year term. /Milliyet/

    [08] PIERINI: “THE HEADSCARF ISSUE DOESN’T CONCERN THE EU”

    The headscarf issue doesn’t concern the European Union, but it is keeping an eye on developments, said Marc Pierini, the head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey, yesterday. Speaking to the Aegean Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (ESIAD), he said that the EU supports reforms for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and strengthening civil society both in Turkey and other candidate countries. “When it comes to Turkey’s membership process, legal facts and political perception must be well distinguished,” he added. /Star/

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

    [09] WITHOUT THE EU COMPASS, TENSIONS WILL RAGE ON

    BY EMRE AKOZ (SABAH)

    Columnist Emre Akoz comments on the headscarf issue and the impact of the “European Union vision” on it. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Everyone, from politicians to professors, say the same thing: There’s still a war in our southeast, Turkish Penal Code (TSK) Article 301 remains unchanged, Alevis’ problems are being ignored, and there are troubling signs that we’re about to face an economic crisis, but the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have no interest in anything but the headscarf issue. Interestingly, even people who oppose the headscarf ban say this.

    First, let me ask: Is it possible to tackle the country’s problems as a whole? Both practically and categorically, it would be unreasonable to say yes. Practically, for example, it’s not easy for Parliament to take action on Article 301, Alevis’ request on their cemevi houses, and solving the headscarf issue.These problems are in different areas. Measures to head off a possible economic crisis and the Alevis’ requests are very separate. But there is also another dimension of the issue, which is the general stance of the AKP and MHP. What are our general stances, aims and goals? In other words, what is our vision? When we put the question this way, actually, we reach a vision which will bring us to a solution: the European Union!

    Kriter, a monthly supplement to Radikal daily, this week published an important interview with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. In the interview, Babacan said that the new Foundations Law was ready, Article 301 was back on track, Turkey had held 229 meetings with the EU since last September, 17 delegations have been sent to Brussels in the last five months alone, and more than 40 visits have been paid at the level of premier and foreign minister, but we still can’t open certain chapters with the EU, because there are certain political obstacles. For example, Greece is creating hurdles on the energy chapter due to oil issues in the Mediterranean, and France is hindering the economy and monetary policies chapter, fearing this would make Turkey a full EU member. Also, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is against Turkey’s full EU membership, but he said openly that he didn’t mean to stop the process.

    Babacan concluded that this year could be very different in terms of the EU and everybody would be surprised. Let me reiterate that a similar argument was made by President Abdullah Gul, who said that 2008 would be the year of Europe. Because Turkey’s improvement in every area, from democratization to the economy and from freedoms to transparency, is possible only through continuing our EU vision. But unfortunately, we Turks don’t see this eagerness. On the contrary, the AKP gives the impression that it has lost the EU compass. But, if the AKP and the government had dealt with the headscarf issue not separately, but as part of an EU vision, things would be very different, as, for instance, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association would not have made such criticisms. Now people see only one problem in Turkey, namely, the headscarf. But the same issue would have developed freedom in terms of the EU. That’s why the EU vision is important for this reason as well.”

    [10] END


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