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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-25

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

25.03.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] US VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY VISITS TURKEY
  • [02] TURKMEN PRESIDENT VISITS ANKARA
  • [03] ERDOGAN CRITICIZES ATTEMPTS TO LINK ERGENEKON PROBE WITH AKP CLOSURE CASE
  • [04] BUYUKANIT: “WHETHER TO SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN IS A FOREIGN POLICY DECISION”
  • [05] SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS HEADED FOR PARLIAMENT
  • [06] TUSIAD URGES GOVT, OPPOSITION TO PULL BACK FROM BRINK OF POSSIBLE CRISIS
  • [07] THE KEY POINT OF TURKISH-US RELATIONS
  • [08] The PKK
  • [09] LET IT DELUGE, AFTER THE AKP IS SAVED!

  • [01] US VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY VISITS TURKEY

    US Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday visited Ankara following his visits in the Middle East. Cheney first met with President Abdullah Gul and then with Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit at the Cankaya Palace. During their meetings, the fight against terrorism was discussed, and the top officials agreed to continue bilateral cooperation on this issue. Iraq in particular was one of the topics of the meetings, and Cheney expressed his country’s approach on Iraq. The prospect of a US withdrawal from Iraq was also reportedly discussed, along with issues such as Afghanistan, Israel and Palestine, and Kosovo. Afterwards, Cheney met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and they discussed issues such as the terrorist PKK, Iraq and Afghanistan. /Turkiye/

    [02] TURKMEN PRESIDENT VISITS ANKARA

    Turkmen President Gurbanguli Berdimuhammedov yesterday arrived in Ankara at the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Gul welcomed his counterpart with an official ceremony at the Cankaya Palace. Afterwards, Gul told a press conference that the two countries have opportunities to improve their economic and commercial ties. For his part, Berdimuhammedov said that Turkish firms were active and successful in Turkmenistan and that his countrymen would continue to work effectively with Turkish businesses. Then Berdimuhammedov met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Erdogan hosted a luncheon for the Turkmen president. /Sabah/

    [03] ERDOGAN CRITICIZES ATTEMPTS TO LINK ERGENEKON PROBE WITH AKP CLOSURE CASE

    The prosecutor’s indictment seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) speaks volumes, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. Rejecting attempts to link the Ergenekon probe into a right-wing gang with his party’s closure case, Erdogan complained that some people are trying to drag the probe off course. “Why I can’t stand up to an attempt to close my party?” asked Erdogan. “If I have enough power, I’ll block the AKP’s closure case. The executive and judicial powers are clashing due to this shameful slander. The judiciary is doing its duty.” /Star/

    [04] BUYUKANIT: “WHETHER TO SEND MORE TROOPS TO AFGHANISTAN IS A FOREIGN POLICY DECISION”

    Whether Turkey will send more troops to Afghanistan isn’t up to the army, but is instead a foreign policy decision, said Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday. Asked by reporters about his meeting on Monday with US Vice President Dick Cheney, Buyukanit declined to comment, saying the talks were between himself and Cheney. The US has been urging Turkey to send more troops to NATO’s Afghan mission. /Milliyet/

    [05] SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS HEADED FOR PARLIAMENT

    Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik yesterday held a final meeting with representatives of labor unions and employers on proposed social security and health insurance reforms. “We agreed on the number of workdays needed for retirement, namely 7,200,” said Celik. Adding that the parties had been unable to reach agreement on the retirement age, he stated, “We worked for a compromise, and the demands should be met, as is their due. The ministry and other parties should be flexible.” Parliament is expected to receive the reform bill soon. /Aksam/

    [06] TUSIAD URGES GOVT, OPPOSITION TO PULL BACK FROM BRINK OF POSSIBLE CRISIS

    The Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) yesterday called on both the ruling and opposition parties to act with common sense, stressing that it is worried that Turkey is moving towards polarization and a possible regime crisis. In a statement, TUSIAD said Turkey could only overcome this crisis through lessened tension, dialogue, full democracy and respect for the rule of law. It further warned the government that pushing through legal changes to make closing parties more difficult in the midst of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) own closure case would only make things worse. Instead, the group said the government should focus on the nation’s prosperity and stability, and consider other people’s viewpoints. It also urged opposition parties to offer alternative solutions to Turkey’s problems in step with the realities of the global economy. /Milliyet/

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

    [07] THE KEY POINT OF TURKISH-US RELATIONS

    BY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Fikret Bila comments on US Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit yesterday to Ankara. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “US Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday arrived in Ankara as the last stop of his tour of the Mideast. Cheney met with President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit.

    Cheney’s desire to meet with Buyukanit pointed to the importance of military issues taken up during his talks.

    Troops to Afghanistan

    We can easily surmise that the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and the terrorist PKK dominated the meetings.

    For some time, the US has wanted to increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. Ankara’s stance on the issue hasn’t changed in the last month.

    US Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s letter to his Turkish counterpart Vecdi Gonul conveyed the same request. But Gonul replied in the negative, citing the Turkish military’s engagement with terrorism in the southeastern region.

    The defense minister also reiterated this answer when Gates recently visited Ankara.

    In addition, Buyukanit made remarks reflecting the same stance. He stated that Turkish troops could not assume front-line duties in Afghanistan, and that NATO rules also wouldn’t allow this. Cheney probably had nothing new that could change Buyukanit’s view.

    [08] The PKK

    We can say that PKK terrorism is a key factor of Turkish-US relations.

    The main reason for the US’ recent unpopularity in Turkey is its failure to take concrete steps to stop the PKK, even though Washington declared it a terrorist group, and also not allowing Turkey to do anything.

    Similarly, the reason for the recent uptick in relations and the US’ public image came from it not blocking Turkish military air strikes and our brief ground offensive.

    The future of relations

    The PKK issue is the key factor in the future of relations. In addition to continuing its support for Turkey’s fight against the PKK, a clear US explanation of what it means by ‘political resolution’ carries a lot of weight.

    The distrust between the two countries that arose back in March 2003, after Parliament rejected the use of Turkey as a springboard for a northern offensive into Iraq, can only be lessened through such a positive stance from Washington.

    But the US linking cooperation against terrorism to abundantly unclear political terms, or at least giving that impression, could give new life to his mistrust, which recently seemed to have been mostly dispelled!”

    [09] LET IT DELUGE, AFTER THE AKP IS SAVED!

    BY YUSUF KANLI (TURKISH DAILY NEWS)

    Columnist Yusuf Kanli comments on recent developments in Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) " which is widely perceived as a ‘judicial coup against Islamists’ " and the tragicomic folding of the so-called ‘counter-coup’ of the government against the secularists serve to demonstrate the ugliest facade of polarization in the country. How the AKP closure case or the Ergenekon tragicomedy will end, we cannot prejudge, but it’s certain that whatever might be the end of these two cases will be as contentious as the cases themselves.

    People accused and whisked from their beds in the middle of the night for interrogation are in opposition and cannot change trial procedures in order to secure their release. However, the government is busy pondering what constitutional amendments it might undertake to escape the closure case. Stripping the chief prosecutor of the power to bring closure cases, or restricting the power to bring such cases to parliamentary approval or a qualified vote of the General Council of the Court of Appeals, or banning party closures but holding parliamentarians ‘individually responsible’ for their actions " these are just some of the possibilities... The ruling party is planning to undertake the changes in mid-May and bring them to a referendum within 45 days. If approved, all pending cases would be brought to a close... A referendum or going to a public vote on an issue is a democratic mechanism. Yet the referendum mechanism should not be used as a tool to advance some majority dictate on the nation or as a means of evading justice...

    Not only is the AKP trying to change the laws covering the closure case against itself and is thus seriously hurting the notion of justice, but with a referendum, which in essence would be just a vote on ‘Shall we close the AKP or not,’ polarization would be further escalated in the country... Let it deluge, after the AKP is saved! That's the mentality of the ruling party...”


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