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Turkish Press Review, 08-02-20

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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

20.02.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] SENEGAL’S PRESIDENT HOLDS TALK IN ANKARA
  • [02] ERDOGAN TOUTS ECONOMIC PROGRESS, VOWS TO COUNTER SPECULATORS
  • [03] CICEK: “ONLY WORLDWIDE COOPERATION CAN SUCCESSFULLY DEAL WITH GLOBAL TERRORISM”
  • [04] BABACAN: “THE OPTION OF AN ANTI-PKK GROUND OPERATION REMAINS OPEN”
  • [05] QUEEN ELIZABETH TO VISIT TURKEY THIS MAY
  • [06] BAYKAL: “SOLVING THE HEADSCARF ISSUE WILL TAKE TIME”
  • [07] WILL SECULARISM BE LOST?

  • [01] SENEGAL’S PRESIDENT HOLDS TALK IN ANKARA

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received his Senegalese counterpart Abdoulaye Wade at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Afterwards, agreements were signed for cultural cooperation as well as technical, scientific and economic cooperation in agriculture between the two countries. At a joint press conference, Gul said that he and Wade had agreed to develop political and economic relations between Turkey and Senegal. Wade also expressed a desire to strengthen bilateral ties, and called on the Turkish private sector to invest in Senegal, which he called the gateway to Africa. Afterwards, Gul hosted a luncheon for Wade, with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit also in attendance. Wade also met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and they reportedly discussed economic relations between the two countries and Sudan’s Darfur issue. /Hurriyet-Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN TOUTS ECONOMIC PROGRESS, VOWS TO COUNTER SPECULATORS

    Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday stressed his resolve to develop Turkey, adding that the economy had doubled in size since 2002 and reached a stability unseen for a half-century. “Speculators used to be found just in the stock market, but now they are everywhere,” he said. “No one should try to sow a pessimistic climate in Turkey. Whoever works to generate negative speculation on the economy will have to face us.” /Star/

    [03] CICEK: “ONLY WORLDWIDE COOPERATION CAN SUCCESSFULLY DEAL WITH GLOBAL TERRORISM”

    Speaking in Brussels at an international security conference organized by the EastWest Institute, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday said that terrorism poses one of the most dire threats to world peace and stability, democracy, fundamental human rights, and the rule of law. Stating that no country can feel safe from the terrorist threat, Cicek added, “Only worldwide cooperation can successfully deal with global terrorism.” Cicek also underlined the importance of full respect for human rights in fighting terrorism. “Otherwise terrorism will reach its goal,” he added. /Turkiye/

    [04] BABACAN: “THE OPTION OF AN ANTI-PKK GROUND OPERATION REMAINS OPEN”

    A ground operation against terrorist PKK hideouts in northern Iraq remains possible, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday while en route to Moscow. Responding to remarks by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani on Turkey’s recent cross-border operations, Babacan stated that the option for a ground operation is open, with the timing of any such operation dependent on weather conditions. /Hurriyet/

    [05] QUEEN ELIZABETH TO VISIT TURKEY THIS MAY

    Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will pay an official visit to Turkey this May, her first in 37 years. The queen will be hosted by President Abdullah Gul, who will give a banquet for her at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Elizabeth’s itinerary has yet to be finalized, but she is due to visit Istanbul following Ankara. Elizabeth had previously visited Turkey twice, in 1961 and 1971. /Sabah/

    [06] BAYKAL: “SOLVING THE HEADSCARF ISSUE WILL TAKE TIME”

    Speaking yesterday to his party’s parliamentary group about recently passed constitutional changes on the headscarf issue, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal warned, “The changes will cause a legal crisis.” Stressing that President Abdullah Gul still has yet to approve the changes passed by Parliament, he added, “Solving this issue will take time. A government with three characteristics could solve the issue: First, it has no problem with secularism; second, it doesn’t exploit the issue for political gain; and lastly, it doesn’t compel people to adopt another lifestyle.” /TUrkiye/

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

    [07] WILL SECULARISM BE LOST?

    BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on the concept of secularism. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Let me go ahead and answer this question. For those seeking a ‘yes,’ read no further, but those who’d like to hear ‘no,’ read on. No, we won’t. Why? In thinking about this question, let me draw a line in the sand. When would secularism be lost? For me, if our Constitution ever said: ‘No law or provision of this Constitution can be contrary to Koran.’ Until that time, secularism won’t be lost, and nothing will happen to the republic which was established by Ataturk, and Turkey would never witness such a day!

    So what have we been discussing for all these months, years and decades? For many years, people have been warning that we’re losing secularism. Are these just empty words? No. Religion’s place in social life and politics has long been a controversial matter, and this will continue as long as Turkey exists. What’s important is to know and accept that this is a political debate. There have been governments which advocated a larger place for religion in our society and had policies towards this end, and other governments which thought and did the opposite.

    Some people painted each debate on secularism as a matter of life and death, while others knew that it was no such thing, but only a political debate. Of course we know there are people who want to erode secularism, while others fight back. If we consider the issue this way, we can relax a bit: This is a political struggle between people who think that a looser form of secularism isn’t good for Turkey and those who disagree.

    The US was the first country to enshrine the principle of secularism in its Constitution: ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.’ This amendment, which has been in force since 1791, is the rule which makes the US envy of the entire world. It ensures that laws can’t be drawn up according to religious rules and that freedom of belief can’t be restricted, provides for freedom of expression, and allows the right to assemble, protest and seek legal remedies.

    The basis of this country of freedoms rests in this single sentence. In the US, just like in our country, the rising place and visibility of religion in social life has been the subject of fierce political debate since the country was young. Thanks to its self-confidence, the US has continued to stay true to itself. Don’t worry; the same applies here. Even if secularism is constantly debated, we’ll continue to stay Turkey " a secular, democratic state under the rule of law " thanks to our own self- confidence.”


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