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Turkish Press Review, 08-05-05

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

05.05.2008

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "I HOPE MACEDONIA WILL SOON BE A MEMBER OF NATO"
  • [02] ERDOGAN: "THE AKP ISN'T JUST FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE"
  • [03] IN IZMIR, BAYKAL CRITICIZES NEW LAW ON MUNICIPALITIES
  • [04] ANKARA TO HOST TURKEY-EU TROIKA MEETING TOMORROW
  • [05] N.IRAQ BEEFING UP SECURITY ALONG TURKISH BORDER
  • [06] EU'S LAGENDIJK: "THE AKP IS THE ONLY PARTY WORKING FOR TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP"
  • [07] EASTWEST INSTITUTE VP: "EUROPE CAN'T IGNORE TURKEY"
  • [08] CB HEAD PREDICTS NEW INFLATION TARGET FOR 2009
  • [09] SECULARISM IN DEFENSE

  • [01] GUL: "I HOPE MACEDONIA WILL SOON BE A MEMBER OF NATO"

    In Macedonia, President Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Macedonian counterpart Branko Crvenkovski. At a joint press conference afterwards, Gul said that Turkey had tried its best at NATO's recent Bucharest summit to bring Macedonia into the bloc, but to no avail. "I hope Macedonia will be a full member of NATO as soon as possible," he added. For his part, Crvenkovski said that Turkey has consistently supported Macedonia since it gained independence. "The sole reason Macedonia was unable to get into in NATO at the Bucharest summit is because the right to veto was exploited," he added. /Star/

    [02] ERDOGAN: "THE AKP ISN'T JUST FOR RELIGIOUS PEOPLE"

    Turkey has succeeded in ensuring a balance between Islam, democracy, secularism and modernism, something previously seen as impossible, said ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the current issue of Newsweek international magazine. Speaking to Owen Matthews, he declined to comment on the closure case against his party, as the judicial process is ongoing. Saying that in the West the AKP is painted as a party rooted in Islam, Erdogan called this a misperception. "The AKP is not a party just for religiously observant people " we are the party of the average Turk," he said. The premier stated that even as attitudes towards religion have shifted, religious rules have not, adding that his government has also strengthened the rights and freedoms of non- Muslims. /Hurriyet/

    [03] IN IZMIR, BAYKAL CRITICIZES NEW LAW ON MUNICIPALITIES

    In Izmir yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal said Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan is mistaken to believe that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) could capture the Aegean coastal city in local elections scheduled for next spring. Baykal also criticized the recently passed law on municipalities, saying, "This error will be corrected by the Constitutional Court, which will do what is necessary." /Aksam-Turkiye/

    [04] ANKARA TO HOST TURKEY-EU TROIKA MEETING TOMORROW

    A semi-annual Turkey-EU Troika meeting will take place tomorrow in Ankara. Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will head the Turkish delegation, with European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, Dimitrij Rupel, foreign minister of Slovenia, which currently holds the EU presidency, and Jean-Pierre Jouyet, state minister responsible for European affairs of France, which next holds the presidency, also in attendance. At the meeting, Turkey's EU reform process and membership negotiations will be discussed. /Star/

    [05] N.IRAQ BEEFING UP SECURITY ALONG TURKISH BORDER

    The northern Iraqi administration is establishing 40 security checkpoints along the Turkish border to ensure security and prevent PKK militants for entering Turkish territory. Cabar Yaver, a spokesman for peshmerga forces in the area, said that the checkpoints between the Zaho and Hakurk regions would help frustrate the terrorist PKK. /Hurriyet/

    [06] EU'S LAGENDIJK: "THE AKP IS THE ONLY PARTY WORKING FOR TURKEY'S EU MEMBERSHIP"

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the only Turkish political party actively seeking Turkey's EU membership, said visiting Turkey-European Union Joint Parliamentary Commission head Joost Lagendijk yesterday. Although the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also claim to also support Turkey's EU bid, they do nothing to promote it, and actually do all they can to oppose it, Lagendijk told reporters. He stated that the CHP has failed to act in the areas of minority rights, the foundations law, Kurdish issue and religious freedom, although it should have. The commissioner added that he couldn't understand why labor unions weren't allowed to celebrate May 1 last week at Istanbul's Taksim Square. /Hurriyet/

    [07] EASTWEST INSTITUTE VP: "EUROPE CAN'T IGNORE TURKEY"

    There are many negative views about Turkey in the European public, and many reasons for this, said EastWest Institute Vice President Greg Austin yesterday. "First, Turks' immigration to Europe happens for economic reasons," he explained at a Brussels meeting on the impact of 50 years of Turkish immigration to Europe. "Second, the role of the media. Third, the domestic policy maneuvering of European politicians. We have to promote a political image in order to change this." He added, "Turkey is very important for Europe. Turkey has the world's 17th-largest economy, and it has a very dynamic population. Europe cannot ignore Turkey." Also speaking at the meeting, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Bingol Deputy Cevdet Yilmaz said that the AKP supports integration, rather than assimilation. Afterwards, Brigitte Grouwels, Belgium's minister for equal opportunity, said, "We are grateful to Turkish workers, who are Belgium's economic engine. But the needs of fourth-generation immigrants are different. We have to meet these needs with mutual understanding and tolerance." /Turkiye/

    [08] CB HEAD PREDICTS NEW INFLATION TARGET FOR 2009

    Meeting yesterday with business editors of leading newspapers, Central Bank President Durmus Yilmaz said that this year's inflation target, 4 percent, won't be revised, but that the CB would submit a new inflation target for 2009 during fall budget debates. Stating that this new target would be 9.3 percent, he said, "All economic actors should adjust their plans to this new target." Yilmaz also said that the economic problems facing Turkey should be overcome without damaging the country's potential for medium- and long-term growth. Stressing that tight fiscal policy had helped Turkey's disinflation drive enormously, he said if there's any relaxation in that policy the CB would raise interest rates to keep inflation low. Asked about the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Yilmaz said, "The case has hurt the economy, but we haven't talked about this so much publicly, to avoid further harm." He added that the CB will swiftly change its monetary policy if it sees any threat to price stability. Rejecting claims that he has had problems with the government, he said, "The government and I have worked in harmony so far and we will continue to do so." /Star/

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

    [09] SECULARISM IN DEFENSE

    BY SUKRU KUCUKSAHIN (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Sukru Kucuksahin comments on the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) defense against the case seeking its closure. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Obviously the sections on secularism will get the most attention in the 98- page defense submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the Constitutional Court. According to the AKP, the public prosecutor's indictment tendentiously tried to create a difference between the AKP he perceives and the real AKP, and took the same strategy on secularism as well. So how did the defense respond to this?

    The defense started by saying that the indictment assumes that Turks fail to do enough to protect the characteristics of the republic and calls into question the nation's loyalty to the state and republic. It called those unfair assumptions unacceptable, saying they amount to denying all the republic's advances and successes.

    The defense said that Ataturk believed it would be impossible to maintain the republic's pillars without making the nation adopt them and that he had activated all the principles of the regime established with Parliament's democratic will. The defense added that therefore Parliament and the Turkish nation as a whole are protectors of Ataturk's principles and revolutions and that the process of modernization has reached its aim, in terms of coming together with the nation. It added that Turkey is now closer than ever to Ataturk's aims of modernization, mostly through progress in Turkey's European Union bid. As for the AKP, the defense said that its understanding and stance on secularism are very important for Turkish politics and that the AKP government has not only respected the institutional and practical conditions of secularism within the legal framework, but also contributed to the state's protecting and adopting the secular characteristics. It said that the AKP has succeeded in a very important mission in integrating different sectors of the system and so the AKP is a movement which isn't against secularism, but is socializing it.

    The defense said that the indictment painted secularism as a one- dimensional concept and the final stage of societies' intellectual and organizational evolution, adding that this is a strict progressive understanding of the 19th century. The defense argued that on the contrary, the AKP's understanding of secularism is fully in line with modern democratic societies' understanding of libertarian secularism and that it doesn't threaten others' basic rights and freedoms, but envisages that all individuals coexist peacefully with their different beliefs and lifestyles. Then the defense reiterated that the public prosecutor tried to paint the understanding of the AKP as something contrary to secularism and cited as evidence that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said previously that secularism isn't a religion and that it would be a mistake to present it as an alternative to religion and that not the individual, but the state is secular. The defense added that the understanding of modern secularism is a political principle, aiming to accept different religions and beliefs as social realities and to provide their peaceful coexistence, and that's why secularism isn't about the individual, but the state. I wonder if this defense will be enough to dispel the dark cloud over the AKP."


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