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Turkish Press Review, 08-03-28

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

28.03.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADERS
  • [02] ERDOGAN VISITS BULGARIA
  • [03] CHIEF JUSTICE KILIC: “NOBODY BENEFITS FROM ESCALATING TENSION”
  • [04] BUYUKANIT: “THE TRNC’S INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION SHOULD BE ENDED”
  • [05] PARLIAMENT DEBATES SOCIAL SECURITY BILL
  • [06] TUSIAD CONTINUES EFFORTS TO CURB TENSION
  • [07] BRITISH MINISTER FOR EUROPE: “WE FAVOR CYPRUS ’ UNITY”
  • [08] LAGENDIJK: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE SEEKS TO SUBVERT THE MAJORITY PUBLIC WILL”
  • [09] TWO ROADS FOR THE AKP

  • [01] GUL MEETS WITH OPPOSITION LEADERS

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday held separate talks with main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, and Great Union Party (BBP) Muhsin Yazicioglu. Afterwards, Baykal said that he and Gul had spoken about Turkey’s recent cross-border operation into northern Iraq and visits to Ankara by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and US Vice President Dick Cheney. Saying that neither had brought up the Ergenekon probe, the headscarf issue, or proposed constitutional changes on closing political parties, he added, “We focused on subjects such as foreign policy and security issues.” Later, Gul met with Bahceli and Yazicioglu at the Cankaya Palace. Following the gathering, Yazicioglu said that the northern Iraq operation and foreign policy had dominated the discussion, along with recent domestic political tension. Gul is expected today to meet with Democratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer and Freedom and Solidarity Party leader (ODP) Ufuk Uras. /Hurriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN VISITS BULGARIA

    As part of a four-day tour of Balkan countries, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday paid a visit to Bulgaria . A press conference set to follow Erdogan’s midday meeting with his Bulgarian counterpart Sergey Stanishev was postponed to the evening due to disruption by deputies of the ultra-nationalist Ataka party. Erdogan today is set to visit Kircaali, a region where many ethnic Turks live. /Milliyet/

    [03] CHIEF JUSTICE KILIC: “NOBODY BENEFITS FROM ESCALATING TENSION”

    Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic yesterday met with members of the media in his office. Calling for calm from all sides involved in and responsible for recent domestic political tension, he added that everyone " every individual, every institution, including the governing party and the opposition " has a role to play in this. “There is a duty which the opposition as well as the ruling party should fulfill,” he said. “Nobody would benefit from escalating societal tension. We should fulfill our responsibilities of living together. I don’t have any concerns as long as the institutions work. Our problems will be solved within the framework of the law.” Kilic added that no one should feel concern or fear as long as Turkey’s institutions continue to work as they should. /Aksam/

    [04] BUYUKANIT: “THE TRNC’S INTERNATIONAL ISOLATION SHOULD BE ENDED”

    On the second day of his visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday decried the suffering the TRNC’s international isolation causes Turkish Cypriots, adding that that isolation should be brought to a swift end and the TRNC should be integrated to the international community. Underlining that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) troops on the island are not an occupying force but instead ensure the security of the Turkish Cypriots, Buyukanit said, “Turkish troops will stay on the island until a just and lasting settlement is reached.” /Milliyet/

    [05] PARLIAMENT DEBATES SOCIAL SECURITY BILL

    Parliament yesterday began debate over a social security reform bill. Addressing the assembled lawmakers, Labor and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik said that Turkey’s social security structure should be reworked, adding, “We’re making these arrangements to ensure a bright future for our country.” Debates over the bill will continue next Tuesday. /Turkiye/

    [06] TUSIAD CONTINUES EFFORTS TO CURB TENSION

    As part of its efforts to curb rising tension due to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) head Arzuhan Dogan Yacindag yesterday held separate meetings with Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Suleyman Celebi, head of the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers Unions (DISK). “The joint call of TUSIAD and other groups for common sense is a very encouraging step that everybody should support,” said Toptan afterwards. Stressing that TUSIAD’s aim is to give hope and confidence to the Turkish people, Yalcindag said, “We intend to find a way through this crisis, and we can see that these visits are a great help in finding a solution.” Appearing alongside Yalcindag, Celebi said, “DISK is ready to fulfill its duty to help reach a compromise,” adding that the ruling party is mainly responsible for this crisis. Yalcindag also met with Tugrul Kutadgobilik, head of the Confederation of Turkish Employers Associations (TISK). In related news, speaking about the closure case and rising tension, leading Turkish businesswomen Guler Sabanci, the chair of Sabanci Holding, said, “Turkey is now undergoing a critical period, and the world is facing a pressing important economic crisis. Everyone needs to show common sense, calm and a spirit of compromise.” /Cumhuriyet-Sabah/

    [07] BRITISH MINISTER FOR EUROPE: “WE FAVOR CYPRUS ’ UNITY”

    British Minister for European Affairs Jim Murphy said yesterday that his country favored not the division of Cyprus, but its unity. Speaking in London, Murphy said that he was ready to do his best to promote a resolution on the island, adding that this year he expects to see progress on the issue. Murphy will pay an official visit to Ankara next week. /Milliyet/

    [08] LAGENDIJK: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE SEEKS TO SUBVERT THE MAJORITY PUBLIC WILL”

    Turkey must be determined in pursuing judicial reforms if it wants to be a modern, working democracy, said Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Co- Chairman Joost Lagendijk yesterday. Referring to the prosecutor’s indictment seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), he said Turkey’s judiciary was trying to overrule the choice of the majority of the people, calling this an attempted “judicial coup.” He also reiterated that the European Union opposes the closure of political parties, except in extreme cases. /Sabah/

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

    [09] TWO ROADS FOR THE AKP

    BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows.

    “If the calls being made for common sense get results, and if main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal strikes a deal and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) thereby escapes from the closure case against it, this would be good. Otherwise, what will happen? What would happen if the AKP found itself alone in pushing constitutional changes that would make its own closure more difficult? In this bad-case scenario, it seems the AKP would have two alternatives: push through a constitutional amendment anyhow and hold a referendum, or give up the amendment and defend itself in court. Both situations would set off a period of conflict and struggle for the AKP.

    Let’s start with the first alternative. With a constitutional amendment to rescue itself from closure and a referendum on it, the AKP would argue that it has no problem with secularism and the case against it damages democracy. Of course, opposite views would be expressed during campaigning over the referendum. We already know what the CHP would say: ‘This referendum isn’t about whether the AKP will be saved or not, but whether our country will remain secular or not.’

    During this campaigning, obviously, Turkey would be in a period of high tension, polarization and antagonism. If this coincides with economic problems, the government would argue, ‘See? These people ruined our stability.’ Then the CHP would say that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is responsible for the confusion and economic problems. In short, we’re heading towards hard times.

    What would happen if the AKP goes for the second alternative? To begin with, this is very unlikely. Reporters and newspaper columnists close to the government say that it will choose to go to a referendum. But it still could choose the second alternative, although the probability is low. If this happens, the AKP would argue its case using such concepts as secularism and freedom of expression. The party and Erdogan would make the same argument to the public. In other words, the AKP would defend itself not only in court, but also to the public and try to convince at least five judges and the general public that it’s innocent and its enemies have bad intentions.

    The advantage of this approach is that public debate wouldn’t be as harsh and maybe the opposition would even be silent. There would be less tension and antagonism compared to a referendum. But this path involves a serious risk. The party might be closed despite its defense, resulting in scores of leading politicians being banned from politics for five years, and the upsetting of the national atmosphere.

    Obviously it’s due to this risk that the AKP doesn’t favor this alternative. But think of it this way: If a part which makes a proper defense of democracy in the next 6-8 months and also puts forth a consistent democratization program that few would object to and convinces the public that it’s loyal to secularism, it this party is closed, would it be seen as the loser? Forget about the party; in this case, would Turkey itself have lost or won?

    Also don’t forget this: The heart of the case against the AKP isn’t secularism, but the limits of freedom of expression. As I have said before, if a party uses says words which don’t constitute a crime when an ordinary person says them, and then it’s closed, is this fair?”


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