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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-18

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

18.03.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] 93RD ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH 18 CANAKKALE NAVAL VICTORY TO BE MARKED TODAY
  • [02] GUL RECEIVES DELEGATION FROM ABANT PLATFORM
  • [03] ERDOGAN: “THE AKP WILL CONTINUE TO PURSUE ITS COURSE”
  • [04] COURT TO BEGIN INITIAL EXAMINATION OF AKP CLOSURE CASE
  • [05] SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS CHIEF JUSTICE: “THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR IS DOING HIS DUTY”
  • [06] GERMAN FM STEIMEIER: “I THINK THE MOVE TO CLOSE DOWN THE AKP WILL BE QUICKLY REBUFFED”
  • [07] EU’S REHN: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR A COUNTRY IN EU MEMBERSHIP TALKS”
  • [08] US AMBASSADOR WILSON: “I HOPE THE CLOSURE CASE AGAINST THE AKP WILL BE QUICKLY RESOLVED”
  • [09] NATO’S SCHEFFER MEETS WITH TURKISH JOURNALISTS
  • [10] THE AKP CLOSURE CASE THROUGH FOREIGN EYES

  • [01] 93RD ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH 18 CANAKKALE NAVAL VICTORY TO BE MARKED TODAY

    Ceremonies will be held today in Canakkale to commemorate the 93rd anniversary of the March 18 Canakkale Naval Victory and to commemorate that battle’s fallen soldiers. President Abdullah Gul along with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine will attend the ceremonies to be held at the fallen soldiers’ monument on the Gallipoli peninsula. /Sabah/

    [02] GUL RECEIVES DELEGATION FROM ABANT PLATFORM

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received at the Cankaya Palace a delegation representing the Abant Platform, a think-tank of writers and journalists, led by the group’s head Mete Tuncay. Members of the delegation told Gul about why they had cancelled a meeting to discuss the Kurdish issue initially set for later this month. During their meeting, Gul criticized an indictment seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Urging continued calm in the interest of preserve political stability, Gul said that the indictment is wrong but that he would follow the process. In related news, the Turgut Ozal Opinion and Movement Association yesterday awarded Gul its Turgut Ozal Democracy Prize./Aksam/

    [03] ERDOGAN: “THE AKP WILL CONTINUE TO PURSUE ITS COURSE”

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his Cabinet Ministers. Following the almost two-hour gathering, he spoke to his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) parliamentary group about the new closure case against the party. No statements were made after either gathering. Then the premier met with his visiting Estonian counterpart Andrus Ansip. In a joint press conference, Erdogan said he and Ansip they had discussed political, military, commercial and cultural ties as well as regional and international matters. "We also discussed the Cyprus issue, and I had the chance to tell Ansip our views and expectations,” he said. Erdogan also praised a recent visit by Estonian parliamentarians to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). Ansip is also set to attend a Turkish-Estonian Information and Communication Technology Forum in Istanbul, Erdogan said. Asked about the closure case, the premier said, "It is a judicial process. Necessary steps will be taken in this process. Our colleagues are working on the matter." He added, "Forty-seven percent of the people voted in favor of AKP in last summer’s general elections. This shows that the people approve of our party’s policies. There’s no need for concern. We will continue walking our course hand in hand." /Turkiye/

    [04] COURT TO BEGIN INITIAL EXAMINATION OF AKP CLOSURE CASE

    Speaking to reporters yesterday, Constitutional Court Deputy Chief Justice Osman Paksut said that copies of Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya’s indictment seeking closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been given to members of the court, thus officially beginning the case’s legal process. Paksut said that a preliminary examination of the indictment would be done by the top court’s members within about 10 days. He added that a report on a separate case challenging recent constitutional changes on the headscarf issue has yet to be completed, saying that he expects the court will take it up by this weekend. /Hurriyet/

    [05] SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS CHIEF JUSTICE: “THE PUBLIC PROSECUTOR IS DOING HIS DUTY”

    Hasan Gerceker, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals, said yesterday that Chief Public Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya’s case seeking closure of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party had been filed of his own initiative, under the authority, duty and responsibility given to him by the laws and the Constitution. In a press release, Gerceker said the Constitutional Court will have the final word on the case and called on all parties to respect its decision. Stressing that every individual and institution has the right to make criticism, Gerceker added, however, that they should avoid violating the law or insulting others. "People shouldn’t force the limits of criticism," said Gerceker, underlining that it is the media’s duty to keep the public informed without violating legal or ethical boundaries. /Hurriyet/

    [06] GERMAN FM STEIMEIER: “I THINK THE MOVE TO CLOSE DOWN THE AKP WILL BE QUICKLY REBUFFED”

    Responding to the new indictment seeking closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier yesterday said the AKP wants to implement the principles of democracy and the rule of law under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “I trust in the independence of the Turkish Constitutional Court, and I believe that this move will be quickly rebuffed,” he said in a written statement. In other foreign reactions, European Council Secretary- General Terry Davis said that he was concerned about the closure case. In a written statement, Davis said that democracies solve political disputes through elections, and that government policies and political views should be open for debate in the media and Parliament. /Star/

    [07] EU’S REHN: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR A COUNTRY IN EU MEMBERSHIP TALKS”

    In a statement reacting to a new case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), European Union Term President Slovenia said yesterday it would follow developments in the process closely, adding that in resolving the case the choice of Turkish voters in last summer’s general elections should be respected. In related news, German government deputy spokesperson Thomas Steg said, “The decision of the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals is incomprehensible, and we’re concerned about it. The AKP is obviously a democratic party, and it won 47% of the votes in the July 2007 elections, clearly emerging as the most powerful party. Thus, the chief prosecutor’s decision (to seek the AKP’s closure) should be seen as a decision against the will of the Turkish people.” EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said that the chief prosecutor’s decision was incompatible with EU principles and is unacceptable for a country in the midst of EU membership negotiations. The Spanish Foreign Ministry also released a statement calling the closure case unjust and a cause for concern, adding that political issues shouldn’t be resolved in courtrooms. /Milliyet/

    [08] US AMBASSADOR WILSON: “I HOPE THE CLOSURE CASE AGAINST THE AKP WILL BE QUICKLY RESOLVED”

    US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson yesterday urged a quick resolution to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Stressing that the US values democracy, Wilson told reporters that the way to democracy is through the ballot box. “I hope this issue will be resolved quickly and Turkey can move to other issues in its region,” he added. /Cumhuriyet/

    [09] NATO’S SCHEFFER MEETS WITH TURKISH JOURNALISTS

    NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer yesterday met with a group of Turkish journalists in Belgium in the runup to next month’s NATO summit in Romania. Turkey’s NATO Permanent Representative Tacan Ildem also attended the gathering, where Scheffer spoke about Afghanistan, PKK, Kosovo, and US plans for a missile defense system. “If the chaos in Kosovo gets worse, the number of Turkish troops may be increased and their mission extended,” he said. “The solution to problems emerging from Turkey not recognizing Greek Cyprus will be up for discussion at the Bucharest summit. I support Turkey’s European Union membership. It shouldn’t be delayed by difficult issues to be solved only by Turkey. Turkey shouldn’t be painted as the only party responsible in these processes. The Cyprus problem should be discussed in both EU capitals and NATO.” He added that Turkey would have no role in a planned US missile defense system. /Sabah/

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

    [10] THE AKP CLOSURE CASE THROUGH FOREIGN EYES

    BY SEMIH IDIZ (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the foreign reaction to a new prosecutor’s case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows.

    “When I get back from trips abroad, I’m almost always welcomed by a political surprise rocking Turkey. When I left Istanbul two weeks ago, people were focused on the headscarf issue. When I got back, I saw the top issue is the prosecutor’s case at the Constitutional Court seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). When a person returns from calm, peaceful places to his home, he’s astonished by news showing such tension. Fortunately, I’m used to it, and the shock soon wears off! Looking at the issue from outside, Turkey has been praised for its developing democracy, growing economy and increasing regional presence. Unfortunately, this latest incident is likely to ruin all this.

    Reactions from foreign countries show this as well. Both officials in Western countries and the world media criticized the initiative to close the AKP. The main issue stressed in these criticisms is that this move could damage democracy in Turkey. US and European Union officials say this openly. A US spokesperson said it would be wrong to ban a party which came to power through elections and enjoys wide public support. EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said it’s wrong to interfere with the legal system and democratic politics, as the executive branch can’t interfere with the judiciary. All these evaluations show that the West and foreign countries in general prioritize freedoms and democracy. They give little credit to reasons cited by the Supreme Court of Appeals’ chief prosecutor and are interested in reasons behind the move, rather than its results. Another factor weighing in on this way of thinking is that there’s no problem of secularism in Western countries, unlike in Turkey. So it’s hard for foreign observers to understand conditions in Turkey.

    The foreign media’s view of the headscarf issue has been echoed in this new situation. In other words, it sees the issue as one of friction between secularists and Islamists. Some interpreters even see this not as a legal struggle, but a political one. Actually, the incident has split secularists as well. Many people who don’t like the AKP and are attached to secularism and quite a few non-governmental groups oppose the move. So this issue isn’t limited to the fight between secularists and Islamists. It’s turning things upside down. Finally, foreign interpretations show that other countries are worried that closing the AKP would damage democracy in Turkey and threaten our peace and stability. Financial markets are worried about the Turkish market being hurt by the move. The US is trying to see the future of the ruling party that it’s cooperating with and the future of bilateral relations. The EU believes that if the closure happens, Turkey will put its reforms aside completely. People who’ve seen Turkey as a model and example of a democratic, secular country are curious about how this image will be affected.”


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