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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-14

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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

14.03.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: “ISLAMIC COUNTRIES MUST WORK TOGETHER TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS FACING US”
  • [02] ERDOGAN RULES OUT MEETING WITH DTP MEMBERS UNLESS THEY CALL THE PKK A TERRORIST GROUP
  • [03] TRNC’S TALAT: “I BELIEVE THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL TAKE ACTION ON CYPRUS”
  • [04] FORMER MHP DEPUTY PASSES AWAY
  • [05] EP CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO SPEED UP REFORMS
  • [06] LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS

  • [01] GUL: “ISLAMIC COUNTRIES MUST WORK TOGETHER TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS FACING US”

    Addressing the 11th Summit Meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Dakar, Senegal, President Abdullah Gul yesterday said Islamic countries still suffer from inadequate democracy, human rights, and socioeconomic standards of living. Stressing that the OIC should be made more effective in confronting the issues facing Islamic countries, Gul said, “The Islamic world is faced with critical economic, social, and political problems as well as violence and terrorism, which target our peoples and also harm the image of Islam all over the world. This constitutes a vicious cycle, and Islamic countries should move together to eliminate this cycle. Finding global, regional and national solutions to these problems is our shared mission.” Gul also touched on the importance of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) taking part in an OIC summit meeting for the first time, saying, “The TRNC participating in the meeting with its own flag and president is a very important development for the future.” Today a resolution proposing a fundamental transformation in the OIC’s guiding principles will be voted on. The changes are meant to make the OIC a more active, UN-like organization on the international stage and one that can answer the challenges of the 21st century. Gul yesterday also met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the two leaders reiterated their determination to fight the terrorist PKK and its Iranian affiliate PJAK. Speaking about Turkey’s recent ground operation into northern Iraq, Ahmadinejad said, “Turkey respected the territorial integrity of Iraq and only targeted terrorist PKK bases. Turkey, Iran and Syria are mounting a cooperative defense against the terrorists.” /Sabah-Milliyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN RULES OUT MEETING WITH DTP MEMBERS UNLESS THEY CALL THE PKK A TERRORIST GROUP

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said he would not meet with officials from the Democratic Society Party (DTP) unless they call the PKK a terrorist group. At a joint press conference alongside Ralph Gonsalves, his visiting counterpart from the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Erdogan said that he had urged Gonsalves to support Izmir’s bid to host the Expo 2015 and Turkey’s candidacy for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council. For his part, Gonsalves said the people of his country support Turkey’s bid. Asked if members of the pro-Kurdish DTP had sought a meeting with him, Erdogan said yes, and that he had assigned senior members of his party and government to speak with DTP parliamentary group leader Ahmet Turk and DTP Diyarbakir Deputy Aysel Tugluk on his behalf. Saying that as prime minister he could not meet with DTP officials unless they call the PKK a terrorist group, he added that he couldn’t accept a party in Parliament refusing to call the PKK what it is. /Star/

    [03] TRNC’S TALAT: “I BELIEVE THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL WILL TAKE ACTION ON CYPRUS”

    Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat, currently in Dakar, Senegal to attend a summit meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), yesterday met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Afterwards, Talat said, “I got the impression he would take action” on the Cyprus issue, and stressed the importance of active UN participation in the process. “The secretary-general said that the UN would take a position after looking into the situation,” he added. “He said that he soon would send Lynn Pascoe, the UN’s undersecretary-general for political affairs, to Cyprus.” /Turkiye/

    [04] FORMER MHP DEPUTY PASSES AWAY

    Mehmet Gul, a former Istanbul deputy for the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), yesterday passed away in Kiev, Ukraine. He was 58. /Aksam/

    [05] EP CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO SPEED UP REFORMS

    Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Turkey rapporteur of the European Parliament, yesterday called on Turkey to speed up its reforms for European Union membership and to carry them out resolutely. “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government made a commitment that 2008 would be a year of reforms,” said a draft report by Oomen-Ruijten which was made public yesterday. “It is time to implement these commitments by using the (ruling party’s) majority in Parliament to speed up reforms.” /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [06] LAYING DOWN THEIR ARMS

    BY MUHARREM SARIKAYA (SABAH)

    Columnist Muharrem Sarikaya comments on his conversation with Democratic Society Party (DTP) parliamentary group leader Ahmet Turk. A summary of his column is as follows.

    “Will we see a process to implement a political package for the Turkey’s southeast? Actually, preparations for this have been going on in certain government bodies for some time. Even if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that he wouldn’t meet with members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) unless they declare the PKK a terrorist group, the main theme of meetings this week between DTP officials and President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek was terrorists laying down their arms. DTP group leader Ahmet Turk told me the same. Turk said that he told them that economic investments alone wouldn’t be enough to solve the region’s problems. ‘Social, cultural and administrative measures should be taken as well,’ he explained Turk. ‘When saying this, we don’t seek or want a federation, as some claim. We also favor a unitary state.’

    I asked Turk if the issue of the terrorist PKK laying down its arms had been discussed during his meeting with Gul. Instead of answering directly, he said, ‘If there is an opening, the rest would follow this and we would be involved in the issue and make some calls. But a structure embracing our own citizens should emerge. Now everybody is expecting something from us, but I don’t have any magic wand to wave.’ Turk also described his expectations for an opening, saying that a constitutional amendment recognizing cultural differences would be the first step.

    As for the second step, he said: ‘The government and the people bearing weapons should reach a consensus, and the weapons should fall silent. We’re ready to play an active role in this process, but first reassuring openings are necessary.’ He added that first there should be a process for a cease-fire, followed by the laying down of arms, if certain steps are taken. He also said something interesting, stressing that the place and person delivering the weapons are also important.

    So will the government start a social and cultural package parallel with the Southeast Anatolian Project’s (GAP) economic package, immediately after the spring festival of Nevruz? Actually, it has been willing to make an arrangement on the Penitence Law in order to end terrorist PKK attacks. But nothing is being done on the issue now. Instead, the Turkish Penal Code’s (TCK) section on penitence might be reinterpreted. Similarly, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek has been saying for a while that if that law is read carefully, it could be better understood.

    Other preparations, which have been mentioned for years, include: authorizing local administrations to collect taxes in certain areas; transferring functions of primary and secondary schools to local administrations; using Kurdish as a service language, starting with municipalities; transferring traffic police within cities to local administrations; and giving places their old names back. Could these things be done immediately? What one influential DTP figure said should be repeated here: ‘Let alone on TV, it used to be forbidden to speak Kurdish even on the street. Now (state-owned broadcaster) TRT will do Kurdish broadcasts all day. This is also a great step forward.”


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