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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-13

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

13.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: “TURKEY CAN OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES”
  • [02] CHANGES TO END UNIVERSITY HEADSCARF BAN SENT TO PRESIDENT GUL
  • [03] ERDOGAN LAMBASTES MEDIA, CHP LEADER BAYKAL
  • [04] OSCE SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS ANKARA
  • [05] ISRAEL’S BARAK HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARA
  • [06] BAHCELI: “THE MHP DOESN’T EXPECT TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS FROM RESOLVING THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”
  • [07] BAYKAL: “YOU MAY WEAR A HEADSCARF, BUT YOU CAN’T IMPOSE IT ON THE STATE”
  • [08] ANTIDOTE TO FEAR

  • [01] GUL: “TURKEY CAN OVERCOME ALL OBSTACLES”

    President Abdullah Gul, accompanied by his wife, yesterday traveled to Kahramanmaras to attend celebrations marking the 88th anniversary of the city’s liberation from French occupation. Speaking to the gathering, Gul said that Turkey was capable of overcoming all obstacles. The country belongs to all of us, and we should live on this land in happiness, peace and harmony, said the president. Pointing to differences within society, Gul said that as Turkey is a large country, such differences are quite normal. He added that varied views, beliefs and ethnicities are a rich resource for the nation. Gul also called on all people to be tolerant and respect each other. /Sabah/

    [02] CHANGES TO END UNIVERSITY HEADSCARF BAN SENT TO PRESIDENT GUL

    Constitutional amendments under which girls would be allowed to wear headscarves at universities were sent yesterday to the Cankaya Palace for President Abdullah Gul’s approval. Gul is expected to examine the proposed changes to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution and make a decision within two weeks. /Turkiye/

    [03] ERDOGAN LAMBASTES MEDIA, CHP LEADER BAYKAL

    Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday lashed out at the stance of main opposition leader Deniz Baykal and certain media outlets in the wake of Parliament’s vote to end the university headscarf ban. “Unfortunately, such media outlets try to paint Turkey as a divided country,” he said. “They think that they can accomplish something by showing two different images of Turkey to the world and creating virtual divisions and raising tension.” Erdogan said that the CHP had similarly worked to raise tension in the runup to last year’s general elections and now some of the media are doing the same. /Milliyet/

    [04] OSCE SECRETARY-GENERAL VISITS ANKARA

    Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, secretary-general of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), on a two-day visit to Ankara, yesterday met with Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. He will also hold talks with President Abdullah Gul and State Minister Mehmet Aydin. Topics such as Europe’s security and OSCE activities in Central Asia are expected to dominate the talks. /Turkiye/

    [05] ISRAEL’S BARAK HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARA

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak yesterday separately met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonül, and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. “Turkey will continue to give every kind of support to promoting Middle East peace,” Erdogan said during the meeting. For his part, Barak said that Israel appreciates Turkey’s efforts for Middle East peace. At a joint press conference afterwards, Gonul said that 15 military agreements had been signed with Israel, but there were no plans to buy an Israeli-produced spy satellite system. Today, Barak is scheduled to meet with President Abdullah Gul and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. /Cumhuriyet-Star/

    [06] BAHCELI: “THE MHP DOESN’T EXPECT TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS FROM RESOLVING THE HEADSCARF ISSUE”

    Speaking at his party’s group meeting, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday said that the Board of Higher Education (YOK) Law must be amended to prevent women wearing burkas and chadors, as opposed to headscarves, from entering universities. Saying that his party does not expect to benefit politically from resolving the headscarf issue, Bahceli added, “We feel spiritual joy that one of our country's deep-rooted problems has been resolved.” Underlining that headscarves should not be considered a threat to the state or its regime, Bahceli warned that refusing to comply with the Constitution and the law would drag the country into chaos and conflict. /Cumhuriyet- Star/

    [07] BAYKAL: “YOU MAY WEAR A HEADSCARF, BUT YOU CAN’T IMPOSE IT ON THE STATE”

    Speaking at his party’s group meeting, main opposition leader Deniz Baykal (CHP) yesterday said that constitutional amendments recently passed by Parliament are about more than letting girls wear headscarves at universities. “We are trying to understand and show respect for religion, ” he said. “There is a tradition in Islam of covering one’s head, but headscarves are not that tradition. You may wear a headscarf, but you can’t impose it on the state. This is where the problem lies.” Baykal added that it is not proper to enshrine an Islamic tradition in the Turkish Constitution and that secularism is not the enemy of religion. “Were there headscarves in the 1,400 years of Islamic history so far?” he asked. “Were there headscarves during the time of our Prophet Muhammad?” /Aksam-Milliyet/

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

    [08] ANTIDOTE TO FEAR

    BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdal Safak comments on debates over the headscarf issue and Turkey’s EU bid. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “President Abdullah Gul said something important this week about debates over the headscarf issue, which recently grew louder. He said that in the future, when Turkey has joined the European Union, there won’t be these concerns or problems, and that we should make progress on our EU path in order to dispel these concerns. He’s absolutely right. For example, as main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said yesterday, if only millions of Alawites in Turkey hadn’t been forced to take Sunni-oriented religion courses, if only we had obeyed European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rulings on the issue, if only steps had been taken to solve the Kurdish issue on the basis of unitary state, if only a few laws had been carried out to bring our rights and freedoms to EU standards and roads had been opened for legal and judicial reform, would lifting the headscarf ban at universities had scared so many people so much and caused great concerns in the EU?

    The EU Commission is now keeping silent, but there are suspicions in the European media that the government is considering or even using the EU membership process as a tool to reach its own goals " in other words, it has a hidden agenda. Here are a few examples of such interpretations: French website agoravox.com said that when talking to people in Europe, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has started to create excuses for Turkey’s exclusion from the EU. Portuguese daily Diario de Noticias said that the problem goes beyond the headscarf, so the EU can’t follow developments in Turkey impartially. Austrian daily Die Presse said that of course, a piece of fabric shouldn’t deprive anyone of the right of education, but there is a danger lurking, that is, after Erdogan came to power, men whose wives wear headscarves started to be favored in public appointments and hiring, which is destroying the state’s secular basis. I could cite more examples, but I think even these are sufficient to reflect the atmosphere in Europe.

    As we are very uncomfortable that concerns have started to be voiced more loudly in Europe, we placed great importance on Erdogan’s speech to the AKP party group yesterday, in other words, hoping that he would give concrete good news of new reforms. Indeed, he reiterated that their aim is to bring Turkey to EU standards and they’re prioritizing Turkey’s EU bid. But he didn’t mention any preparation for reforms, except the Foundations Law, which is still before Parliament. You’ll see that that law will be challenged at the ECHR, as it fails to meet EU criteria and expectations. But we have a great opportunity to change the atmosphere in the EU. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the leader of the Turkey opponents, is in a very tight spot. Public support for him fell 10 points in one month, to below 40%. What’s more, he lost his respect, credibility and reliability in the French people’s eyes.

    This development is very important for Turkey. Sarkozy, who will take over the EU term presidency in the second half of this year, won’t be able to raise his voice so much. This means that the Turkey’s membership talks with the EU won’t be as painful as was feared, so long as we do our homework. The majority of 35 chapters can’t be touched, because Turkey hasn’t implemented minimum reforms for those chapters. Gul is right that we should advance along our EU path in order to dispel these concerns, because, as EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn often says, the strongest guarantee of secularism in Turkey would be EU membership.”


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