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Turkish Press Review, 08-04-17

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

17.04.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL INVITES POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS TO APRIL 23 CHILDREN'S DAY LUNCHEON
  • [02] BABACAN: "ARTICLE 301 WON'T BE ABOLISHED"
  • [03] AKP PACKAGES OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES READY
  • [04] IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS PUSHED BACK TO OCTOBER
  • [05] TURKISH JETS HITS TERRORIST PKK TARGETS IN N.IRAQ
  • [06] EP'S RUIJTEN: "IF THE AKP IS CLOSED DOWN, TURKEY WILL PAY DEARLY"
  • [07] PACE TO ISSUE DECLARATION AGAINST PARTY CLOSURES
  • [08] HOLDING ONTO THE WEST

  • [01] GUL INVITES POLITICAL PARTY LEADERS TO APRIL 23 CHILDREN'S DAY LUNCHEON

    President Abdullah Gul is planning to invite the Parliament speaker, prime minister, main opposition party leader, deputy Parliament speakers and other parliamentary party leaders to a luncheon on next Wednesday, April 23, National Sovereignty and Children's Day. In addition, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and his wife will host a reception in Parliament on the same day. President Abdullah Gul will also attend the reception and watch Parliament's special session that day, which will be led by children. /Hurriyet/

    [02] BABACAN: "ARTICLE 301 WON'T BE ABOLISHED"

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday met with his Maldivian counterpart Abdallah Shaheed and signed a cooperative pact between the two countries. Asked later by reporters how Turkey's domestic woes are affecting its foreign policy, Babacan said, "Lately Turkey has gotten a lot of international attention due to its domestic problems." Babacan also touched upon proposed changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), saying the government doesn't intend to do away with the controversial law, and that Parliament will decide how to change it. For his part, Shaheed said the people of the Maldives remain grateful for the support Turkey extended after the disastrous 2004 South Asian tsunami. Stressing that Turkey is a very important model for the Maldives, Shaheed said, "Certain international developments have caused prejudices against Islam to rise, and it is seen as a source of violence." He added that to eliminate those prejudices, all Islamic countries must show the true face of Islam as a religion of peace and understanding. In related news, Babacan told Britain's Daily Telegraph that NATO shouldn't rely on military power alone to defeat Taliban militants in Afghanistan, warning that doing so will worsen the situation. Stressing the importance of winning the Afghan people's hearts and minds, Babacan said, "If the people of that country start to perceive the security forces as occupiers, it's going to be a very complicated situation." /Star/

    [03] AKP PACKAGES OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES READY

    Top leaders from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have prepared two separate draft constitutional packages to present for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's approval. The drafts include a proposal to make closing political parties more difficult as well as measures in areas such as children's rights and gender equality. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] IMPLEMENTATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS PUSHED BACK TO OCTOBER

    Implementation of the government's social security reform package, which is currently been debated by the full Parliament, has been pushed back to Oct. 1. The package aims to raise the retirement age and balance the social security system's books, but it is encountering opposition from labor unions. It was originally scheduled to take effect in June. /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] TURKISH JETS HITS TERRORIST PKK TARGETS IN N.IRAQ

    The General Staff yesterday announced that Turkish warplanes had hit an area in northern Iraq where a group of PKK terrorists were trying to infiltrate Turkey. "Warplanes attacked terrorists in the Avasin-Basyan region of northern Iraq, near the Turkish border town of Cukurca," the military said. /Sabah/

    [06] EP'S RUIJTEN: "IF THE AKP IS CLOSED DOWN, TURKEY WILL PAY DEARLY"

    Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Turkey rapporteur of the European Parliament, yesterday met with visiting deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), main opposition Republican People's Party, and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). "Turkey is falling behind in the Copenhagen Criteria," she said. "If the AKP is shut down, negotiations with the European Union will be suspended." Ruijten, who will prepare the progress report on Turkey this June, signaled that if the AKP is closed, Turkey would pay a heavy price. /Star/

    [07] PACE TO ISSUE DECLARATION AGAINST PARTY CLOSURES

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is expected to soon issue a declaration expressing its opposition to political party closures. Speaking to NTV yesterday, PACE President Lluis Maria de Puig said that a Turkish delegation had asked the assembly to issue the declaration. But this statement caused friction within the Turkish delegation currently in Strasbourg, made up of eight deputies from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and two each from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The opposition deputies stated that they had no part in seeking the declaration, while the AKP deputies also denied any role in it. The AKP's Mevlut Cavusoglu, who heads the delegation, said that the decision to issue a declaration had already made before they arrived in Strasbourg, where PACE is headquartered. /Hurriyet/

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

    [08] HOLDING ONTO THE WEST

    BY OKAY GONENSIN (VATAN)

    Columnist Okay Gonensin comments on Turkey's relations with the West and its own people. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "There's a habit in Turkey. We can relate this to our complexes sometimes. Anyone who's in trouble seeks the solution to his problem in the West. The West sometimes means Europe, and sometimes the US. We used to think that once we got the West's support, our problems would be easily solved. Now there is the problem of Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 301. Actually, we know that the 'pure' basis of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) isn't so democratic. AKP spokesmen say that we're disgracing ourselves before the West, instead of thinking of getting rid of this disgrace out of our own will and political decision. It's an easy thing to say and it seems to be an effective rationale, due to the implication that it has the support of the great West.

    For weeks AKP opponents have been saying that political parties are closed in the West too, but they don't know how many parties are closed annually or what the political conditions are. So we try to convince ourselves and others by saying that political parties are also often closed in the West and get an excuse and support for closing the AKP from the West. In the latest such operation, some Turkish parliamentarians in the Council of Europe went to the Council's head and asked for a declaration against closure of the AKP. What will happen if such a declaration is issued? Will some people who want it to be closed say, if the AKP is closed, Europe would cause us trouble and so let's give it up?

    If we can change Article 301 not for Europe's sake, but due to the Turkish people's readiness for democracy; if we can discuss closing the AKP not in relation to incidents in Europe, but by telling the truth openly based on real evidence; and if we can explain seeking support from the West in terms of democracy; then we will be able to get rid of our complexes over the West. This would be an important mentality revolution and only through this can we convince ourselves that we have a place in the developed world.”


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