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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-24

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

24.03.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] IN MANISA, ERDOGAN URGES PUBLIC TO RESIST EFFORTS TO RAISE TENSION
  • [02] TURKMEN PRESIDENT DUE IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [03] NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST RELEASED AFTER DETENTION IN ERGENEKON PROBE
  • [04] CHENEY EXPECTED IN TURKEY TODAY
  • [05] FINAL MEETING ON SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS TODAY
  • [06] A TIME FOR DECENCY

  • [01] IN MANISA, ERDOGAN URGES PUBLIC TO RESIST EFFORTS TO RAISE TENSION

    Speaking at a festival in Manisa yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that there are people in Turkey trying to raise tension and called on the public not to fall for these tricks. Erdogan also said that the media should act responsibly by helping to strengthen the country’s atmosphere of peace. Criticizing recent statements by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, Erdogan said, “If there’s a deep state in this country, you are its architect.” /Star/

    [02] TURKMEN PRESIDENT DUE IN ANKARA TODAY

    Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdimuhammedov will visit Ankara today at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. During his visit, which will be his first to Turkey as Turkmenistan’s president, several economic and cultural agreements are expected to be signed. /Milliyet/

    [03] NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST RELEASED AFTER DETENTION IN ERGENEKON PROBE

    Veteran journalist Ilhan Selcuk, 83, the chief columnist for Cumhuriyet daily, was released yesterday after being detained along with 12 other well- known figures, including Worker’s Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek and former Istanbul University Rector Kemal Alemdaroglu, as part of the ongoing Ergenekon investigation. Selcuk was questioned for more than four hours on suspicion of being the mastermind behind the armed right-wing Ergenekon gang. Perincek was arrested on charges of being a top leader of the terrorist gang and possessing confidential documents about the state, while Alemdaroglu was sent to the court. /All Papers/

    [04] CHENEY EXPECTED IN TURKEY TODAY

    US Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to visit Turkey today as part of his Middle East tour. Cheney is expected to meet separately with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit to discuss Iran, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Cheney is also expected to bring up issues such as a request to send additional Turkish troops to Afghanistan and a planned US missile defense system. /Aksam/

    [05] FINAL MEETING ON SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS TODAY

    Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik will hold a final meeting today with representatives of labor unions and employers to discuss proposed social security and health insurance reforms, after overall compromise was reached on the legislation last week. A final statement on the social security bill is also expected today. /Sabah/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [06] A TIME FOR DECENCY

    BY TAHA AKYOL (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Taha Akyol comments on last week’s arrest of veteran journalist Ilhan Selcuk in the Ergenekon probe and the need for decency. A summary of his column is as follows.

    “Two sides criticize calls for decency, asking, ‘How long will we stay silent?’ Both sides see the ‘other’ as an enemy trying to defeat them. This is the way we experienced the bloody madness of the 1970s. Now we’re going through a similar and extremely dangerous process of polarization. At such times, two things are very important. One is that leading figures on both sides should avoid being provocative. Second, the belief in the impartial arbitration of the law shouldn’t be shaken.

    Towards this end, I call on main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and especially Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to speak calmly. Commenting on the arrest of Ilhan Selcuk, chief columnist for Cumhuriyet daily and chairman of its board of trustees, President Abdullah Gul expressed his confusion and sorrow over the matter. This shows some promise. I hope his interest in the issue is a sign of an opening in the presidency’s role of being an ‘impartial arbitrator.’

    Selcuk and I have never been on the same side politically, but now is no time to criticize his thoughts or actions. Of course, he might have been taken into custody to get a statement, but the way he was treated was shameful. I condemn and protest it. Despite this treatment, when he was released by the judge, Selcuk resisted the temptation to say things which could have provoked his already agitated and angry followers. This showed maturity on his part.

    Today the legions of all intellectual and political currents in Turkey are angry! This anger could easily be set off, and all well-intentioned people should avoid lighting this fuse. If Selcuk had been politely asked to make a statement, would this explosion of anger have occurred? How important style and attitude are! We can also convey our thoughts with kindness and calm.

    But there are sick trends in the history of both the world and Turkey, which made provocation a theory and even a profession under the name of agitation. Some people might be doing this on purpose, and others might be being used as tools towards this end. Some also might be organizing marches and calling on the army to ‘do its duty,’ seeing violence as heroism, inciting mass efforts, and even agitating over the army. For example, attempts to paint the police as the enemy of the army are typical examples of agitation. These are sick veins in our political culture. In this respect, the Ergenekon probe into an alleged right-wing terrorist group is very important.

    Everybody should speak carefully about this interrogation for legal reasons, and we shouldn’t be in a rush to prematurely declare anyone found suspicious to be guilty. It’s also very wrong to declare the questioning of Selcuk illegal and even try to depict it as an attack against ‘nationalists.’ The polarization in Turkey over both the Ergenekon probe and the case to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has gotten extreme. Our criticisms shouldn’t agitate. Everybody needs decency and the law. What’s more, those who operate legal processes should be impartial and provide the nation with reasons to trust the law.


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