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Turkish Press Review, 08-04-28

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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

28.04.2008

FINE TUNING BY THE US

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN VISITS DENIZLI
  • [02] BAYKAL OVERWHELMINGLY REGAINS CHP'S LEADERSHIP
  • [03] BABACAN: "EU REFORMS WILL CONTINUE"
  • [04] ISRAEL'S AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA LEVY: "TURKS HELPED US TOO MUCH IN THE PAST"
  • [05] SWEDISH DELEGATION VISITS PARLIAMENT
  • [06] NEW ZEALAND'S FM ARRIVES IN ANKARA
  • [07] PACE RAPPORTEUR GROSS VISITS GOKCEADA AND BOZCAADA
  • [08] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

  • [01] ERDOGAN VISITS DENIZLI

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by State Minister Murat Basesgioglu, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Minister Mehdi Eker and Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim yesterday visited western province of Denizli to attend a series of openings. Speaking at an inauguration ceremony, Erdogan said that protecting democratic and economic stability was a great responsibility for all who were responsible for the country. Stressing that as long as Turkey preserves self-confidence, all problems can be overcome, Erdogan said, "We continue to serve our country." /Turkiye/

    [02] BAYKAL OVERWHELMINGLY REGAINS CHP'S LEADERSHIP

    Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal was re-elected his party's leader for the 10th time at the 32nd CHP congress over the weekend, after receiving 1,021 of 1,105 votes. Baykal was the only candidate in the election thanks to the CHP's charter, which stipulates the approval of 20 percent of party delegates to participate in the election. Other possible candidates couldn't gather necessary signatures from delegates for electoral participation. In his victory speech, stressing the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on charges of anti-secular activities, Baykal said, "Everyone will freely be able to exercise their beliefs. Everyone will have the right to teach their children their religion, but Turkish state will remain secular. Legal and education system and politics in Turkey will continue to be secular. The golden synthesis of Islam and secularism only exists in Turkey in the Islamic world." Stressing that Turkish people had gained its independence by its own struggle without any support from foreign powers, Baykal added, "We are not enemies of the West but we want the West to respect us. They never supported us when we were building our democracy." Baykal also signaled that the CHP would pursue a more liberal policy on the Kurdish issue. Losing also their seats in the party assembly as well as leadership of the party, the intra-party opposition took pounding in the elections. Baykal's list for the assembly was elected en bloc. The representatives of intra-party opposition harshly criticized Baykal's administration, and anti- democratic structure and charter of the party. In response to the criticisms, Baykal said, "I have quit twice, but you called me back. Those who abandoned the party in 1994 when it received only 4.7 percent of votes are running for leadership today." /Aksam-Sabah/

    [03] BABACAN: "EU REFORMS WILL CONTINUE"

    Speaking to reporters on the way to Ankara from Oman, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had focused on issues including preparation of a defense for the AKP closure case, forming a new Constitution and continuation of the European Union reform process. Concerning economy, he said that the flow of direct capital into Turkey will decrease in 2008. Undoubtedly, the global economic fluctuation will have an impact on the flow of direct capital into Turkey, said Babacan, adding that Turkey's domestic issues will also have an impact on capital flow into country. Direct capital that entered Turkey in 2007 was $22 billion, Babacan said. /Turkiye/

    [04] ISRAEL'S AMBASSADOR TO ANKARA LEVY: "TURKS HELPED US TOO MUCH IN THE PAST"

    Israel's Ambassador to Ankara Gaby Levy over the weekend spoke about Turkey mediating peace negotiations between Israel and Syria, stating that Turkey has influence in the region and added, "Turks helped us too much in the past." Speaking to Israeli state radio, Levy said, "Turks want to partake in this process. They have influence in the Muslim world and the region." In related news, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that he supported Turkey mediating Israeli-Syrian peace. /Milliyet/

    [05] SWEDISH DELEGATION VISITS PARLIAMENT

    A delegation led by Vice Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Liselott Hagberg will hold meetings in Parliament today. The delegation is expected to meet with Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan and Parliament's European Union adaptation commission head, Yasar Yakis. Deputies from the Liberal Party, Socialist Party and Green Party will participate in the visit. /Turkish Daily News/

    [06] NEW ZEALAND'S FM ARRIVES IN ANKARA

    New Zealand's Foreign Minister Winston Peters' first official visit to Ankara begins today. During his talks with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, further development of relations, as well as regional and international matters will be taken up. He will also be received by President Abdullah Gul and Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan. The New Zealander top diplomat arrived in Turkey last week and attended the 93rd annual commemoration of the Gallipoli Wars. /Turkish Daily News/

    [07] PACE RAPPORTEUR GROSS VISITS GOKCEADA AND BOZCAADA

    Andreas Gross, rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) went to Gokceada and Bozcaada to prepare a report. Gross considers that many islanders of Greek origin have left the islands as a result of policies carried out at the time. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    FINE TUNING BY THE US

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on the US' stance on the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows:

    "It can be seen that the US is following the EU, which has initially evaluated the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) only in terms of democracy and then started to discuss the importance of secularism in Turkey. US Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Daniel Fried's statements about the closure case against the AKP at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs last week is the final example of this. As remembered, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also said at the annual meeting of the Turkish-American Council in Washington that the 'US believes the case will be decided in line with Turkey's secular democratic principles.' But just a few days before she made this statement, US State Department Spokesman Sean Mccormack said without making any reference to secularism that the US believes democracy was developing in Turkey and that Turkish laws and the Constitution should be interpreted away from political influences. These words had been considered a support by the AKP. So why did the US need this fine tuning which obviously didn't make the AKP glad?

    I guess there are a few reasons for this and clues about this can be seen in statements made by both Rice and Fried. First of all, as Rice said openly, Washington is closely following the closure case. Now, American officials don't hide this. Obviously, the US thinks that results of this case will have an impact on its regional policies this way or the other. As the US started to understand details of the issue, it also started to see that the view reflected in McCormack's first statement was very simple. By the way, the impact of recent articles written by important opinion leaders of the right like Barry Rubin that the danger of fundamentalism in Turkey can't be ignored here. Similarly, it's interesting in these terms that Democrat Party's John Tanner who asked a question to Fried at the Committee on Foreign Affairs said that during his latest visit to Turkey he was told that fundamentalism was being developed in an undesired way.

    To sum up, Washington has understood that intervening in this issue would exacerbate discussions in Turkey undesirably and that this situation wouldn't serve its own interests. In other words, it believes that this issue should be solved by Turks, as part of Turkish laws. So we can conclude that the US will consider this domestic issue of Turkey during the process of the closure case only in terms of principles and wish that a solution to the issue will be found as part of democracy and the country's Constitutional secular order."


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