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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-19

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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

19.02.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY RECOGNIZES INDEPENDENT KOSOVO
  • [02] MEETING WITH GUL, SCHOLARS, WRITERS, AND CIVIL LEADERS URGE STEPS ON SOUTHEAST
  • [03] CICEK TO ATTEND INTL SECURITY CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELS
  • [04] SENEGAL’S PRESIDENT VISITS TURKEY
  • [05] TOPTAN HOSTS LUNCHEON FOR NEW AMBASSADORIAL APPOINTEES
  • [06] EU APPROVES REVISED ACCESSION PARTNERSHIP DOCUMENT
  • [07] TALAT: “PAPADOPOULOS’ ELIMINATION RAISES HOPES OF OVERCOMING CYPRUS DEADLOCK”
  • [08] HOW DOES BAHCELI FEEL NOW?

  • [01] TURKEY RECOGNIZES INDEPENDENT KOSOVO

    Turkey yesterday officially recognized the former Serbian province of Kosovo, which declared its independence on Sunday. In a written statement, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that Ankara welcomed the Kosovar Assembly’s declaration of independence and so had decided to recognize the Republic of Kosovo. Pointing to a long history of relations with Kosovo, Babacan said that Turkey’s aid and contributions to the newly independent state will continue. Responding to Kosovar Premier Hasim Taci’s official request for recognition, the US was the first state to announce it was recognizing independent Kosovo. However, in addition to Serbia and Russia, Greece, the Greek Cypriot administration, China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka all issued statements opposing Kosovo’s independence. In related news, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned his Kosovar counterpart to congratulate him. Erdogan reportedly added that Turkey has been closely following developments in the region and will back Kosovo’s progress. In addition, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Premier Mehmet Ali Talat also welcomed Kosovo’s declaration of independence. /Turkiye/

    [02] MEETING WITH GUL, SCHOLARS, WRITERS, AND CIVIL LEADERS URGE STEPS ON SOUTHEAST

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday visited Istanbul’s Center for Research on Islamic History, Art and Culture. Afterwards, he hosted a luncheon to woo the support of more than 100 international CEOs for Izmir’s bid to host the 2015 Expo. Later, Gul received a group of academics, journalists, writers and civil leaders who submitted to him a letter urging steps to address problems in Turkey’s southeast. In the letter, the group warned that rising tides of nationalism and violence are hurting prospects of Turks and Kurds living together in peace. Gul also received the just- elected Board of Directors of the Economic Development Foundation (IKV). /Hurriyet- Aksam/

    [03] CICEK TO ATTEND INTL SECURITY CONFERENCE IN BRUSSELS

    Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday flew to Brussels to attend an international security conference organized by the EastWest Institute. In a speech to the opening of the conference, Cicek will make the case that the terrorist PKK is poisoning the European public and reaping illicit gains through drug smuggling. /Hurriyet/

    [04] SENEGAL’S PRESIDENT VISITS TURKEY

    Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade arrived in Ankara yesterday to pay an official visit at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Following a meeting with Gul, Wade is set to meet separately today with Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During their talks, the leaders are expected to discuss Turkish-Senegalese relations and next month’s Organization for the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Senegal’s capital Dakar, as well as regional issues. /Turkiye/

    [05] TOPTAN HOSTS LUNCHEON FOR NEW AMBASSADORIAL APPOINTEES

    Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday hosted a luncheon for newly appointed Foreign Ministry ambassadors. Speaking at the luncheon, Toptan said that he believes the ambassadors will successfully represent Turkey abroad. /Milliyet/

    [06] EU APPROVES REVISED ACCESSION PARTNERSHIP DOCUMENT

    At a meeting in Brussels, European Union foreign ministers yesterday approved Turkey’s revised accession partnership document. A statement issued by the European Council on Foreign Relations said that the document reviewed priorities in Turkey’s accession process, along with conditions and principles. The new document highlights the need for reforms over the next three to four years in the areas of democracy and the rule of law, human rights, citizenship and political rights, economic and social rights, minority rights, cultural rights, the protection of minorities, regional and international obligations, economic criteria and harmonization with the EU acquis. Turkey is now expected to submit a national program to the EU on its reform plans. /Sabah/

    [07] TALAT: “PAPADOPOULOS’ ELIMINATION RAISES HOPES OF OVERCOMING CYPRUS DEADLOCK”

    Sunday’s elimination of incumbent Tassos Papadopoulos, who in 2003 pushed for rejection of a UN plan to resolve the Cyprus issue, from the first round of Greek Cypriot presidential elections has raised hopes that the deadlock on the island can be overcome, according to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat. “The Turkish Cypriot people favor the establishment of a new partnership state based on the political equality of the two peoples and the equal status of two constituent states,” Talat said in a written statement. “They expressly stated this position during the (runup to the 2003) referendum (on the UN plan). We are looking at the elections on the Greek Cypriot side to gauge whether or not they will give rise to new prospects for a solution. Papadopoulos was, unfortunately, not interested in solving the Cyprus problem. However, the positions put forward by the two candidates who will be competing for the presidency in the second round indicate that they are more interested in solving the problem.” The second round is set for this weekend, Sunday, Feb. 24. /Today’s Zaman/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [08] HOW DOES BAHCELI FEEL NOW?

    BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli and the headscarf issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The mood of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli must be like that of anyone who’s been cheated. There’s no way the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will support changes to the Board of Higher Education (YOK) Law, something Bahceli thought that they had reached a consensus on, because thse changes could specify acceptable ways of wearing headscarves and thereby violate the Constitution’s principles of equality and secularism by distinguishing one religion from the other. Thus, if passed, these changes would probably be overturned by the Constitutional Court. More importantly, these changes are causing political tremors since they would ban modern-style headscarves as a political symbol, by only allowing those tied beneath the chin, babushka-style.

    If reasonable people ask why the two parties needed this consensus, and look for a reasonable answer, this would be in vain, because these efforts to solve the headscarf issue are emotional, not rational. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a decision on this issue long ago without seeking advice from anyone. Yes, before last year’s general elections, the AKP had already decided to take initiatives on the issue, but when Erdogan said, ‘What happens if the headscarf is being used as a political symbol?’ he tried to strengthen his stance. In the background, no preparation or homework was done.

    I usually appreciate Erdogan’s political pragmatism, but this time he was caught unawares. The MHP also put itself into the same position just for the sake of political gain. But the MHP was unprepared. It didn’t do its homework at all, either. While protecting the headscarf, the MHP embraced the proposed changes, but it acted so hastily that it couldn’t see that they would have violated the Constitution. In addition, chances of the MHP reaping political gains might fall short in the spring 2009 local elections, because it could lose secularist votes it took from the True Path Party (DYP), Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), and even the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

    Changes to the Constitution have been passed by Parliament, but nobody understands what’s happening or what’s changed. These changes stress certain rights already present in the Constitution. If they are implemented as is, things will be unclear. Certain universities will continue to ban headscarves, while others will interpret the changes as allowing burkas, modern headscarves, etc.

    If dress restrictions are to be laid out in the YOK Law, how will this be done without making references to religion (Islam) and without excluding other religions_beliefs? Nobody has found a solution to this problem yet. I wonder how Bahceli must be feeling in this situation. I can guess the mood of a person who was cheated, but I again want to hear it from the horse’s mouth!”


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