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Turkish Press Review, 08-04-08

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

08.04.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] BABACAN: “THE NORTHERN IRAQI ADMINISTRATION MUST TAKE A CLEAR STANCE AGAINST THE TERRORIST PKK”
  • [02] IN CHINA, TOPTAN MEETS WITH HEAD OF PEOPLE’S CONGRESS
  • [03] CICEK: “FUTURE PROSECUTION UNDER ARTICLE 301 WILL REQUIRE PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL”
  • [04] AKP’S FIRAT: “CONSENSUS WILL BE SOUGHT ON CHANGES TO MAKE PARTY CLOSURES HARDER”
  • [05] EU’S DUFF: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE THREATENS TO HARM TURKEY’S IMAGE”
  • [06] OPPOSITION PARTIES REBUFF TUSIAD LEADER OVER CLAIM TURKEY LACKS AN OPPOSITION
  • [07] TURKEY’S REAL PROBLEM IS ITS WEAK OPPOSITION

  • [01] BABACAN: “THE NORTHERN IRAQI ADMINISTRATION MUST TAKE A CLEAR STANCE AGAINST THE TERRORIST PKK”

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday that the northern Iraqi administration must take a clearer stance and concrete steps against the terrorist PKK. Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his visiting Laotian counterpart Thongloune Sisoulith, Babacan said that prospects for dialogue between the northern Iraqi administration and Turkey depend on the administration’s stance on the PKK. Babacan added that Ankara’s European Union harmonization reforms would continue decisively. /Turkiye/

    [02] IN CHINA, TOPTAN MEETS WITH HEAD OF PEOPLE’S CONGRESS

    Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, currently in China to hold official talks, yesterday met in Beijing with Wu Banggua, president of the National People’s Congress. Afterwards, he said, “Turkey and China share the same views on Cyprus, the fight against terrorism, and our bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] CICEK: “FUTURE PROSECUTION UNDER ARTICLE 301 WILL REQUIRE PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL”

    The Cabinet met for nearly four hours yesterday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Afterwards, Justice Minister and government spokesperson Cemil Cicek said the government wants to change controversial Article 301 so that any future prosecutions under it would require presidential approval. Cicek also criticized a recent incident of political violence at Antalya’s Akdeniz University, saying that deans and staff should pay more attention to their university duties. /All papers/

    [04] AKP’S FIRAT: “CONSENSUS WILL BE SOUGHT ON CHANGES TO MAKE PARTY CLOSURES HARDER”

    A top official of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said yesterday pledged to seek a political consensus on proposed constitutional changes to make closing political parties more difficult. Speaking to reporters after a six-hour meeting of top AKP members chaired by Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AKP Deputy Chair Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat said that working groups would be set up to deal with the court case seeking to close the party. Saying that the AKP would prepare its defense in line with procedures and the law, Firat added that in the end, Turkey’s legislative system, democracy, political and economic stability, and people would all benefit. /Hurriyet/

    European Union Commission head Jose Manuel Barosso and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn are due to arrive in Turkey on Thursday for a visit at a time of rising political tension due to the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The closure case and democratic reform efforts, especially proposals to change controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), are expected to dominate Barosso and Rehn’s talks with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, and representatives of other parties and non- governmental organizations. In related news, Barosso yesterday said Turkey must convince the EU of its willingness and readiness to join the bloc and that Turkey will be able to join if it meets all the required membership criteria. /Star/

    [05] EU’S DUFF: “THE AKP CLOSURE CASE THREATENS TO HARM TURKEY’S IMAGE”

    European Parliament Liberal Group member and Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Deputy Co-Chair Andrew Duff yesterday said that supporters of pluralist democracy and secularism could suffer due to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In an interview with ABHaber, Duff said, “This closure case will harm Turkey’s image in the European Union.” He added that having the spotlight on these issues, rather than reforms, would cause Turkey to lose EU support. /Aksam/

    [06] OPPOSITION PARTIES REBUFF TUSIAD LEADER OVER CLAIM TURKEY LACKS AN OPPOSITION

    The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) yesterday rebuffed a claim by the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association’s (TUSIAD) leader Arzuhan Yalcindag that Turkey lacks a serious political opposition. “There’s no lack of opposition,” said CHP deputy leader Mustafa Ozyurek. “Instead, there’s government partisanship.” Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy group leader Oktay Vural also took exception to the TUSIAD leader’s claim, adding that the AKP and TUSIAD were coalition partners. /Aksam/

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

    [07] TURKEY’S REAL PROBLEM IS ITS WEAK OPPOSITION

    BY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)

    Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) leader Arzuhan Yalcindag’s claim that Turkey lacks a vigorous opposition. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Our two main opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), both yesterday criticized the claim by Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (TUSIAD) leader Arzuhan Yalcindag that Turkey lacks an opposition. TUSIAD and Yalcindag were said to be favoring the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Yalcindag had said the lack of a serious opposition in Turkey makes statements by TUSIAD be seen more politically than they would be otherwise. She added that she wished there was a stronger and more constructive main opposition.

    All reasonable people in Turkey would agree with her evaluation. Even the insulting replies to it show that she’s right. Due to the lack of opposition in Turkey, the judicial branch and bureaucracy try to fill this void. The existence of a main opposition party which doesn’t want to rule and which takes a stand only to protect the regime has ended up causing troubles for the regime itself. The lack of opposition also causes the ruling AKP to be overly comfortable and sometimes intolerant of criticisms. If the main opposition CHP sees that it’s being controlled not only in terms of its secularism, but also its achievements, and that its draw at the ballot box is in danger, it would feel the need to pull itself together.

    Since this hasn’t happened, it has fallen to non-governmental groups like TUSIAD to criticize the ruling AKP for slowing down European Union reforms and its policies on the economy and children. The lack of an opposition party which seeks the leadership causes certain values to be identified with the AKP. Some people even expect a party with a conservative identity to follow a social democrat line. Turkey is suffering one of the most serious regime crises in its recent history because those who are disturbed by the AKP see that there’s no opposition which wants to take the place of this party, as so they resort to non-electoral means. Thus Turkey is being propelled into a process whose end is uncertain. So it becomes inevitable that a democracy lacking a left will fail repeatedly.”


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