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Turkish Press Review, 08-05-01

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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

01.05.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] NATION SET FOR MAY 1 CELEBRATIONS
  • [02] PRESIDENT GUL HOSTS LUNCHEON FOR PARTY LEADERS
  • [03] ERDOGAN WELCOMES LITHUANIAN PM
  • [04] PARLIAMENT APPROVES CHANGES TO ARTICLE 301
  • [05] ERDOGAN: "FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL APPRECIATE OUR EFFORTS FOR THE NEW SOCIAL SECURITY LAW"
  • [06] AKP SUBMITS PRELIMINARY DEFENSE TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
  • [07] BABACAN: "WE WANT TO SET UP A STRATEGIC DIALOGUE MECHANISM WITH IRAQ"
  • [08] IRAQI VP IN ANKARA FOR TALKS
  • [09] CAGLAYAN TOUTS HUGE AUTO INVESTMENTS
  • [10] HOW MUCH LONGER WILL WE FEAR MAY 1?

  • [01] NATION SET FOR MAY 1 CELEBRATIONS

    May 1 is set to be celebrated today across the country, by workers from a variety of sectors, amid union demands that celebrations in Istanbul's Taksim Square be again allowed. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the government wouldn't allow mass celebrations in Taksim, and that only a small group of union representatives would be allowed to read out a statement and lay a wreath at the Taksim Memorial. Erdogan warned the unions against possible provocations, saying, "The Cabinet took this decision out of security concerns." He also said that any provocation could make the situation get out of hand, and that the government has to safeguard people's lives. But some unions declared their determination to hold large celebrations in Taksim anyway. The Istanbul police have planned tight safety measures for the celebrations. The square has great symbolic importance for unions because on May 1, 1977, known as "Bloody May 1," shots were fired into a crowd at Taksim, leaving five dead from gunfire and 30 others trampled to death. Since then, large May 1 celebrations in Taksim have been banned. /Sabah/

    [02] PRESIDENT GUL HOSTS LUNCHEON FOR PARTY LEADERS

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday hosted a luncheon at the Cankaya Presidential Palace for Democrat Party (DP) leader Suleyman Soylu, Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu, Social Democrat Party (SHP) leader Murat Karayalcin, and Felicity Party (SP) leader Recai Kutan. The luncheon with Gul was part of his contacts with top political and social figures. /Aksam/

    [03] ERDOGAN WELCOMES LITHUANIAN PM

    Lithuanian Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas yesterday arrived in Ankara for official talks, the first visit from a Lithuanian premier. Speaking at a press conference after their meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he and Kirkilas had discussed regional and international issues. He stated that Lithuania lent support to Turkey's European Union membership bid, adding that he had voiced Turkey's views and expectations on the Cyprus issue. For his part, Kirkilas said that the two countries were working together under the umbrella of NATO and that he hoped they could do the same in the EU. /Milliyet/

    [04] PARLIAMENT APPROVES CHANGES TO ARTICLE 301

    Following eight hours of debate, and amid fierce criticism from the nationalist opposition, Parliament early yesterday approved controversial changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) by a vote of 250-65. Under the changes, the world "Turkishness" - a term criticized as too broad and vague - would be replaced with "Turkish nation," and prison sentences under the law would be reduced from three years to two, thus allowing them to be suspended or commuted to a fine. In addition, the arrangement would require the justice minister's approval before prosecutors could file charges. The opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) accused the government of betraying the country's identity and kowtowing to European Union demands. Defending the reforms, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said sanctions against insulting Turkey would still exist. "With these changes, it isn't a question of letting people freely insult Turkishness," he added. EU officials also welcomed the changes to the controversial law. /Turkiye-Turkish Daily News/

    [05] ERDOGAN: "FUTURE GENERATIONS WILL APPRECIATE OUR EFFORTS FOR THE NEW SOCIAL SECURITY LAW"

    Addressing the nation yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the effects of social security reforms passed last week by Parliament would be felt not in just a few months, but in the years and decades to come. Erdogan said that under the new Social Security Law, everybody living in Turkey is now covered by health insurance. Concerning the global economic crisis, the premier stated that Turkey is capable of resisting economic shocks, fluctuations, uncertainties and negative surprises with minimum losses. He added that the government will continue to do its best to preserve the country's atmosphere of stability and confidence. /Turkiye/

    [06] AKP SUBMITS PRELIMINARY DEFENSE TO CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

    Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, accompanied by other top AKP officials, yesterday submitted to Turkey's top court their party's preliminary defense against a case seeking its closure. In March, Court of Appeals Chief Public Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya filed a case asking the Constitutional Court to close down the ruling party, alleging that it had become the focal point of anti-secular activities. In his indictment, the chief prosecutor demanded that 71 people, including President and former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, be banned from politics for five years. The Constitutional Court on April 2 sent the indictment to the party, asking for its defense within one month, meaning tomorrow. The preliminary defense will now be sent to the Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor's Office. After the prosecutor states his views on the merits of the case, the party will present a verbal defense within one month. /Turkiye/

    [07] BABACAN: "WE WANT TO SET UP A STRATEGIC DIALOGUE MECHANISM WITH IRAQ"

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday said that a Turkish delegation will soon visit Iraq and added, "We want to set up a strategic dialogue mechanism co-chaired by the premiers of the two countries." Babacan added that cabinet ministers from both sides would also be part of the dialogue mechanism, meant to discuss cooperation between the two countries in all areas. Speaking after meeting with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Store, Babacan said that he wants to develop cooperation with Iraq in many sectors. Stressing energy as an important part of Turkey's cooperation with Iraq, Babacan said he believes Turkey will play an important role in bringing Iraq's natural resources to world markets. /Star/

    [08] IRAQI VP IN ANKARA FOR TALKS

    After arriving in Ankara yesterday, Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi is set to be received by President Abdullah Gul and meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During the meetings, issues such as bilateral relations, the terrorist PKK, and the situation in the region will be discussed. /Star/

    [09] CAGLAYAN TOUTS HUGE AUTO INVESTMENTS

    Industry and Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said yesterday that an unspecified auto industry giant was getting ready to invest €800 million in Turkey's automotive industry, creating 5,000 jobs in the process. Stressing that industrial goods account for more than 90 percent of Turkey's exports, he said, "Turkey aims to reach $25 billion in automotive exports, and to allocate $20 billion for research and development by 2011." Caglayan also said that talks with another automaker that plans to invest in Turkey were continuing, but did not specify the companies involved. Touching on government efforts to simplify legal procedures for foreign investment, he said, "The government has enacted many laws towards this end, and will also make sweeping changes to the Turkish Commercial Code." He added that those changes would be passed by Parliament by July at the latest. /Hurriyet/

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

    [10] HOW MUCH LONGER WILL WE FEAR MAY 1?

    BY MAHMUT OVUR (SABAH)

    Columnist Mahmut Ovur comments on the importance of May 1. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Today is May 1, the holiday of workers. Unfortunately, workers in Turkey are unable to celebrate and enjoy this holiday, because the Turkish state doesn't trust its people and wants to put pressure on it. Let's look at the recent discussions. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies challenge laborers and workers with the same understanding. This same stubbornness can be seen not only in banning celebrations of May 1 at Istanbul's Taksim Square, but in the headscarf issue, the Kurdish and Alawi issues, and even party closure cases. We produce no solutions, only problems. But in modern democracies all over the world, May 1 is celebrated the way it deserves. In Turkey, efforts were made to make people forget this date by painting it as just a spring festival. This should change.

    Today everybody who defends democracy and supports Turkey's European Union membership should confront the dark 1977 incident in Taksim which left 37 people dead (through shooting and trampling by a panicked crowd). Those who ignore it will be unable to fight such gangs as Ergenekon which today threaten democracy and civilization. Maybe we can't get rid of coups and tensions. Turkey has to confront those who turned May 1 into a blood bath, when I too experienced the danger of being crushed. As long as we fail to confront this, the figures who committed a massacre on May 1 re-emerge by brazenly attacking the Council of State, assassinating Hrant Dink, and committing murders at Malatya's Zirve Bookstore.

    The current situation is hard to grasp. Let's say that in the past, perhaps dark powers used to stoke societal tension by raising the fear of leftists or communists taking power. But what about today? Today, we live in a global age and Turkey and the world have changed so much since the 1990s, including the workers' movement and socialist thinking. Only the state remained the same, and it resists change. Actually, the state is afraid of May 1. If it didn't, would celebrations of May 1 in Taksim Square be banned? Such an approach can never ensure democratization and a transparent state."


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