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Turkish Press Review, 08-04-09

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

09.04.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN STRESSES MAKING PARTY CLOSURES HARDER, SPEEDING EU REFORMS
  • [02] BABACAN: “WE’LL BE READY FOR THE EU IN 2013”
  • [03] BAYKAL: “OUR JUDICIARY MUST SOLVE THE CLOSURE CASE ISSUE”
  • [04] TOPTAN CONTINUES CHINA VISIT
  • [05] EU’S LAGENDIJK: “EVEN IN THE WORST CASE, TURKISH-EU TIES WOULDN’T BE INTERRUPTED”
  • [06] EUROPOL: “THE PKK IS A TERRORIST GROUP”
  • [07] GERMAN AMBASSADOR: “THE PKK WILL REMAIN ON OUR LIST OF TERROR GROUPS”
  • [08] HOW DO WE SEE EACH OTHER?
  • [09] END

  • [01] ERDOGAN STRESSES MAKING PARTY CLOSURES HARDER, SPEEDING EU REFORMS

    Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled that the party is determined to enact a package of constitutional changes to make closing political parties more difficult. His party now faces a court case seeking its closure. In an appeal to opposition parties, he said he hoped they all could reach a consensus for the good of Turkey. He also stated that his government plans to speed up political reforms required to join the European Union, as the accession process remains a top priority. “For us, the key aspect about the EU is that it is an important platform for raising our democracy to universal standards,” he added. “For this reason, it’s out of the question for our government to slow down or stall the EU process.” /Aksam/

    [02] BABACAN: “WE’LL BE READY FOR THE EU IN 2013”

    Claims that Turkey’s European Union accession process has slowed down are unfounded, and in fact by 2013 Turkey will be ready for the EU, declared Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday. “There’s a lot to do,” he said. “We have to make a great many changes to the Constitution and laws to deepen our political reforms. Our target in the EU process is full membership.” He also stated that they will announce Turkey’s national program for full EU membership this summer. In related news, today Babacan will open a Turkey-Pacific islands foreign ministers’ meeting in Istanbul aiming to strengthen Turkey’s relationship with south Pacific nations. /Star-Cumhuriyet/

    [03] BAYKAL: “OUR JUDICIARY MUST SOLVE THE CLOSURE CASE ISSUE”

    Speaking to his party’s group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said if there has been a violation of the Constitution, the responsibility for solving that issue belongs to the judiciary, not politicians. “One of society’s defense mechanisms is the judiciary,” he said. “If politicians attempt to interfere with a legal process through constitutional changes to make closing political parties more difficult, this means there is no need for any measures to protect the Constitution’s principle of secularism,” he added, referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) drive to change the Constitution in the midst of a case seeking to close it. The AKP is looking in the wrong place for a solution to save itself from the threat of closure, Baykal said. In related news, opposition National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday accused the AKP of trying to manipulate public opinion through fear-mongering and added, “The solution to the recent political crisis from the AKP closure case can only be found in Parliament.” Bahceli also warned the government that proposing changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) in the midst of the closure case crisis would harm both Turkey and the AKP. Bahceli also criticized efforts to link his party to recent incidents of political violence at Akdeniz University, saying that MHP members and sympathizers wouldn’t let themselves be manipulated by “malicious circles” but would instead express their views democratically. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] TOPTAN CONTINUES CHINA VISIT

    Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, on an official visit to China, yesterday met with Ismail Tiliwaldi, the deputy chair of the Chinese National Public Council Permanent Committee. Afterwards, Tiliwaldi said that Toptan’s visit would help strengthen bilateral relations. Toptan and his accompanying delegation then visit the Great Wall of China and proceeded to Xian. /Turkiye/

    A two-day visit to Turkey by EU Commission head Jose Manuel Durao Barroso will begin tomorrow. Barroso is set to hold talks with top officials first in Ankara and then is expected to proceed to Istanbul. Barroso, accompanied by EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, will also address Parliament. In related news, speaking to reporters yesterday, Barroso said that he was astonished by the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Stressing that he respects Turkey’s history and culture, Barroso said that he didn’t intend to lecture Turkish officials, adding that during his talks, the country’s EU membership process would be reviewed. /Turkiye/

    [05] EU’S LAGENDIJK: “EVEN IN THE WORST CASE, TURKISH-EU TIES WOULDN’T BE INTERRUPTED”

    Even in the worst scenario, Turkey’s European Union negotiation process could slow down, but it wouldn’t be interrupted, said Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk yesterday. He added, “Despite everything, there’s still the potential for a golden era between the EU and Turkey.” In related news, speaking to the European Parliament, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana yesterday said that the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could have serious consequences for Turkey’s EU bid. /Milliyet-Star/

    [06] EUROPOL: “THE PKK IS A TERRORIST GROUP”

    Contrary to a European Council of Justice report claiming that the PKK is not a terrorist group, the European Union Police Organization (EUROPOL) yesterday released a report documenting the group’s terrorist attacks. The 54-page report stated that the PKK was the group behind all separatist activities in Germany last year. /Aksam/

    [07] GERMAN AMBASSADOR: “THE PKK WILL REMAIN ON OUR LIST OF TERROR GROUPS”

    German Ambassador to Ankara Eckart Cuntz said yesterday that Turkey and Germany should work together to prevent terrorist attacks, whether by al- Qaeda or the PKK. Speaking at a Turkey-Germany Cooperation Day meeting in Konya, Cuntz said that the PKK will remain on Germany’s official list of terrorist groups and continues to be outlawed. /Turkiye/

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

    [08] HOW DO WE SEE EACH OTHER?

    BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on how people on both sides of the headscarf issue see and understand the other. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Walker Connor, a researcher on nationalism focusing on the stance of nations, individuals and groups of people, argues that it’s not the facts, but people’s beliefs which guide their behavior. I guess we can’t or don’t want to see that we can see concepts differently. For example, with headscarves, some people certainly use it for political ends, while others wear them as a requirement of faith. But a great many people who are highly sensitive about secularism see headscarves only as political symbols, and almost don’t want to see that some people wear then out of faith, and also don’t want to tolerate those who wear them as political symbols.

    On the other hand, those who wear headscarves or who are highly sensitive about religion fail to consider that even if they wear them due to their beliefs, headscarves might be seen as a threat by the opposite side. For example, people who say that the headscarf isn’t a political symbol don’t tell the opposite side: ‘If you consider the headscarf a political symbol, I will knot it differently to dispel your fears.’ They believe doing so would be a concession to the other side. In addition, very few women say, ‘I don’t cover my head, but I wouldn’t interfere with women who do, and I even oppose the headscarf ban at universities.’

    Recently I’ve been arguing two things: Political parties shouldn’t be closed as long as they don’t use, praise or incite violence, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) can’t ignore or belittle people who see headscarves as a threat. On the contrary, as the government has to serve all citizens of the Turkish Republic, dispelling this perception of a threat is its duty. Towards both ends, while guaranteeing in the Constitution the right to wear headscarves at universities, the AKP should also make a constitutional guarantee that headscarves can’t be worn either during the performance of public duties or by minors. In addition, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) should support making the necessary changes to the Constitution and relevant laws, including limiting party closures to the above cases.

    Since expressing these views for a couple of weeks, I’ve gotten a lot of criticism from supporters of both the AKP and MHP. So now I can see that neither side has any real intention of looking at and understanding each other’s beliefs and views.”

    [09] END


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