|Monday, 28 September 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 08-05-08
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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
 ERDOGAN MEETS WITH AKP DEPUTIES TO DISCUSS CLOSURE CASEPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with 100 ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies to speak about the closure case against the party. Erdogan said that he didn't believe that the AKP would be closed, but added he was preparing for every contingency. The deputies said that they would support whatever Erdogan decides. Stating that the AKP had submitted its response to the indictment, which he characterized as not legal, but political, Erdogan said that they would continue their parliamentary and governmental work without any letup. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN TELEPHONES SYRIA'S ASSADPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday reportedly made a telephone call to Syrian President Bashar Assad. According to Syria's official news agency SANA, Erdogan and Assad discussed the situation in Iraq and the Middle East peace process as well as bilateral relations and common interests. /Cumhuriyet/
 IN STRASBOURG, BABACAN ATTENDS CoE MEETINGForeign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday represented Turkey at a Council of Europe (CoE) Committee of Ministers meeting in Strasbourg. During the one- day gathering, Sweden took over the rotating presidency from Slovakia for the next six months. The meeting focused on the CoE's contributions to Europe's security and stability. Efforts to strengthen the protection of human rights, cross-cultural dialogue and relations between the CoE and the European Union were also discussed. In addition, Babacan held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Greece, Andorra, Hungary, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as CoE human rights representatives. Babacan is expected to leave Strasbourg for Slovenia today to attend the 11th Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) European Forum in Ljubljana. / Turkiye/
 BUYUKANIT: "TURKEY CAN SOLVE ALL ITS PROBLEMS ITSELF"Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday attended a reception in Ankara marking the 60th anniversary of the foundation of Israel. Speaking to reporters at the ceremony, Buyukanit said that Turkey can solve its problems by itself, without need for advice from others. Asked about the labels "fanatic secularism" or democratic secularism" being applied to Turkey, Buyukanit said that he always objects to such labels, as only Turks can define themselves. Stressing that Turkey should avoid polarization, as it sows conflict, he added, "We created a republic from the Ottoman Empire, and Turkey has the ability to solve all its problems." Touching on past cross-border operations against the terrorist PKK, he said that Turkey has gained a psychological advantage in fighting the PKK, as will become clear in the near future. Stating that public support is very important in fighting terrorism, which has social, economic and psychological aspects, he added, "The terrorists reaching their goals is inconceivable." /Milliyet/
 TALAT, HRISTOFIAS PLEDGE TO CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS OVER CYPRUSTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Hristofias yesterday attended a reception at Slovakia's Embassy in Southern Cyprus, with TRNC Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer also in attendance. The two leaders pledge to continue negotiations over the divided island. /Star/
 REHN: "THE AKP HAS NO DESIGNS FOR A RELIGIOUS STATE"Everyone knows that Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) doesn't intend to establish a theocracy, European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said yesterday. In a TV interview, Rehn said, "The EU expects the Turkish judiciary to do its duty in line with the Union's democratic values." Asked about whether the EU will respect the judiciary's decision at the end of the legal process, Rehn said, "The rule of law is a basic European value. If the judiciary's verdict is in accordance with the democratic values of the Union, then that decision will be acceptable." He also added that the Turkish Constitution also entails respect for international agreements on human rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) precedent. /Sabah/
 BARZANI LAUDS PROGRESS IN TIES WITH ANKARAAddressing members of his Kurdistan Democrat Party (KDP) yesterday, northern Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani reportedly said that psychological hurdles between Turkey and his administration have been eliminated. "The latest meeting between Turkish and Kurdish delegations in Baghdad was very fruitful," he added. "We expect new steps to be taken." /Milliyet/
 TUZMEN MEETS WITH TOP IRANIAN OFFICIALSState Minister Kursad Tuzmen, accompanied by a delegation visiting Tehran for a Turkey-Iran Economic Cooperation Seminar, yesterday met with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. During their talks, Tuzmen urged the Iranian official to let Turkish banks do business within the country. "If Turkish banks opened branches in Iran, this would greatly serve the trade ties between our countries." said Tuzmen. He also held talks with Iranian Commerce Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi to discuss the problems Turkish businessmen face in Iran, and ask his support for solutions. Tuzmen was also received by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. /Turkiye/
 UNDP'S DERVIS SOUNDS WARNING ON GLOBAL INFLATIONUnited Nations Development Program (UNDP) head and former Economy Minister Kemal Dervis yesterday cautioned that developing countries like Turkey could face severe problems in controlling inflation and money supply due to the expansionary economic policies of developed countries seeking to protect themselves. "This may cause us a lot of headaches in the next two or three years," he told Britain's Financial Times. Dervis, who helped Turkey's economy emerge from its 2001 crisis with a successful economic stabilization program, also said that the urban poor in developing countries were already facing an "inflation tsunami" from soaring food and energy prices, making them up to 25 percent poorer in less than a year. Stressing that developed economies are facing the new phenomenon of rising commodity prices at a time of recession, or at least slowdown, and that liquidity in the system is looking for an outflow, he said, "But how can you tighten your monetary policy in an emerging market when the Fed (US Federal Reserve) is lowering interest rates? Countries like Turkey and Brazil, which have been fighting inflation for years, are now facing a real inflationary danger that does not result from a macroeconomic cycle but from the need to bail out the financial sector." He added, "We did not see this coming. We are all a little bit guilty. A year ago very few people were warning about this, although the trends were already there." /Hurriyet/
 GOLFERS ON COURSE FOR TURKISH OPENThe Ladies European Tour's (LET) first visit to Turkey started with the Pro- Am Tournament yesterday. That event marked the tee-off moment of the 250, 000-euro prized Garanti American Express Turkish open at the National Golf Club in the Mediterranean resort town of Belek, Antalya. The first round of the tournament starts today. A field of 126 players will tee up in the 72- hole stroke play event with a cut to the leading 60 players and ties after 36 holes. Britain's Lisa Hall, the ANZ Ladies Masters champion, will be among the favorites for the title, along with last week's Aberdeen Asset management ladies Scottish Open champion Gwladys Nocera from France and Sweden's Emma Zackrisson, who recently claimed the Spanish Open. /Turkish Daily News/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 REHNBY SEMIH IDIZ (MILLIYET)
Columnist Semih Idiz comments on his interview with European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. A summary of his column is as follows:
"As you can see from my interview with European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, Rehn is trying to take an extremely balanced position on the issue of secularism in Turkey. But while doing this, his statements show that he actually favors the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). His visit this week shows that a symbiosis is developing between the European Union and the AKP. Signs that this relationship was strengthened by the closure case against the AKP are also rising. We can even say that the AKP is under the EU's protection, because it thinks the AKP is Turkey's only guarantee of democracy. The EU has also defined its enemies in Turkey. In Rehn's words, these people are extreme secularists and autocratic nationalists. He evidently means the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and its supporters. Similarly, recent verbal sparring between the CHP and EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co- Chairman Joost Lagendijk and the CHP's salvos against EU Commission Head Jose Manuel Barroso show this enmity.
The EU also clearly considers the Constitutional Court, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Kemalist bureaucracy to be against it. In addition, due to recent killings of priests, the violence in Malatya, last year's Hrant Dink assassination and the Ergenekon probe associated with the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) Idealist Hearths, the EU considers the party a potential criminal. Likewise, Rehn's response to the way Cumhuriyet daily columnist Ilhan Selcuk was taken into custody showed this to some extent. Although Rehn said that he understood the humanitarian concerns over Selcuk's detention, he then immediately emphasized the importance of the Ergenekon probe. He said that this would show the work done by the legislative branch and security forces. In short, he didn't say that Selcuk's human rights were violated.
It was also strange for a person who tried to paint himself as knowledgeable about Ergenekon to say that the EU has no intelligence agency and so can't know about every development in Turkey. In sum, his answer about Selcuk also reflected his bias. In addition, I found his suggestion of setting up an ombudsman system to deal with problematic issues like the headscarf to be naïve. He said that this would be the best way to solve certain 'small problems' about secularism, which showed that he hasn't grasped how deep this conflict is. This enmity between the EU and extreme secularists and autocratic nationalists show that if the AKP is closed down, Turkish-EU relations will suffer serious turbulence. Of course, meanwhile, all sorts of bad things happen to Turkey's liberal and secular democrats, who consider themselves neither extreme secularists, nor autocratic nationalist. Rehn, who says that EU reforms aim to ensure that liberal democracy and democratic secularism in Turkey flourish, fails to see this."
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