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Turkish Press Review, 08-05-09

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

09.05.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN WARNS NEW GOVERNORS OF FORCES SEEKING PROVOCATION
  • [02] PM ERDOGAN URGES CALM, COMPROMISE IN LEBANON
  • [03] BABACAN VISITS EU PRESIDENT SLOVENIA
  • [04] TUZMEN: "THROUGH TRADE WITH IRAN, TURKEY CAN HELP COVER ITS FUEL BILL"
  • [05] BARROSO: "THE EU SHOULD CONTINUE FAIR NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY"
  • [06] TURKEY AIDING MYANMAR AFTER CYCLONE DISASTER
  • [07] FORMER US DIPLOMAT: "CIVILIAN RULE FOR TURKEY IS KEY"
  • [08] TUSIAD MEMBERS MEET WITH AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT
  • [09] ISTANBUL HOSTS FORMULA ONE'S TURKISH GRAND PRIX
  • [10] VERY IMPORTANT OBSERVATIONS

  • [01] ERDOGAN WARNS NEW GOVERNORS OF FORCES SEEKING PROVOCATION

    There are some trying to stir unrest in Turkey through stressing our differences, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. He made the remarks to 14 governors newly appointed or transferred at the Prime Ministry, with Interior Minister Besir Atalay also in attendance. Stating that there have always people wanting to throw the nation into disorder, and there always will be, he added, "Leaders who cannot work for the people's future can no longer called successful or respectable administrators. In the past we, the Turkish people, have suffered great pain. Our government, stressing democracy, human rights, and the rule of the law, never want the people to experience such problems again." He added, "Units of the state and governors should be more sensitive, careful and aware." Afterwards, Erdogan went to Rize, his hometown, to attend a number of activities. /Star/

    [02] PM ERDOGAN URGES CALM, COMPROMISE IN LEBANON

    Working to help end the recent political tension between Lebanon's government and opposition parties, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday telephoned Lebanon's Parliament Speaker Nebih Berri and Prime Minister Fuad Siniora to urge restraint and compromise. Erdogan's talks focused on possible ways to end the tension. The political crisis exploded into violence on Wednesday when supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah-led opposition blocked roads in Beirut to enforce a strike called by labor unions protesting the government's economic policies and demanding pay raises. The strike escalated into street confrontations between supporters of the rival camps. About a dozen people were injured. On Thursday, the violence spread outside the capital. The Turkish premier on Wednesday also telephoned his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad on the issue. Erdogan is expected to continue his efforts to ease the tension in Lebanon. /Turkiye/

    [03] BABACAN VISITS EU PRESIDENT SLOVENIA

    After completing his contacts in Strasbourg, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday proceeded to Ljubljana, Slovenia to attend the 11th European Forum. He also met with President Danilo Turk, whose country currently holds the rotating term presidency of the European Union. In addition, in a guest column in Slovenian daily Dnevnik, Babacan wrote that after completing its accession process, Turkey wants full European Union membership with rights and responsibilities equal to all other member countries. Turkey's full membership is closely related to the vision of a future in which the EU is a global actor, added Babacan. An EU with Turkey in its ranks will also be a source of inspiration for other regions in the world, by proving that differences can come together around common values and interests, he wrote. /Turkiye/

    [04] TUZMEN: "THROUGH TRADE WITH IRAN, TURKEY CAN HELP COVER ITS FUEL BILL"

    In Iran for an official visit, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen was received yesterday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. During the meeting, Ahmadinejad expressed his country's desire to import wheat from Turkey. Stating that Turkey also needs rice, Tuzmen said if the necessary technical conditions are met, Turkey can trade its wheat for Iranian rice. Afterwards, predicting that Turkish construction work and investment in Iran would rise in the years to come, Tuzmen said this has great importance for bilateral trade ties. "Turkey's oil and natural gas expenses this year will reach $43 billion," he said. "Thanks to such investments and business relations, Turkey can regain a substantial portion of the money spent on oil and natural gas." Touching on the pressure on Turkish banks to limit their trade relations with Iran, Tuzmen said, "This is unacceptable for Turkey. Turkey will continue to trade with Iran," He added that Ahmadnejad had also proposed cooperation in the banking sector, and an agreement on financing for a Van railway project had been reached. Tuzmen also met with his Iranian counterpart Massoud Mirkazemi. /Hurriyet/

    [05] BARROSO: "THE EU SHOULD CONTINUE FAIR NEGOTIATIONS WITH TURKEY"

    European Union Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso yesterday attended the 11th European Forum in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In a session discussing Turkey's future in the EU, Barroso said that Turkey needs both full democracy and "democratic secularism" to get into the EU. He criticized a state prosecutor's case seeking the closure of Turkey's ruling party, saying it was irregular and called into question the state's structure. Saying secularism can't be imposed by force, he added, "We're concerned about recent developments in Turkey. After visiting there, I was convinced that Turkey need to be closer to the EU and that the EU should continue fair negotiations with Turkey." /Sabah/

    [06] TURKEY AIDING MYANMAR AFTER CYCLONE DISASTER

    Turkey has decided to send $1 million in aid to cyclone-struck Myanmar, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday. The statement said that a team from the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) has been sent to the Southeast Asian country, which was hit by a devastating cyclone on Monday, to asses the situation. /Turkish Daily News/

    [07] FORMER US DIPLOMAT: "CIVILIAN RULE FOR TURKEY IS KEY"

    Former US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Nick Burns yesterday said that a government structure ruled by civilians is very important for Turkey's future. In a speech to the Sakip Sabanci Conference at the Brookings Institute in Washington, Burns also said that Turkey had left the era of military interventions behind it. /Sabah/

    [08] TUSIAD MEMBERS MEET WITH AUSTRIAN PRESIDENT

    Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) Chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag and Vice Chairman Ferit Sahenk were received yesterday by Austrian President Heinz Fischer. During their meeting, Fischer reportedly said that Turkey shouldn't feel discouraged about its EU bid. Afterwards, Yalcindag said that they hadn't discussed political developments in Turkey or the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). /Star/

    [09] ISTANBUL HOSTS FORMULA ONE'S TURKISH GRAND PRIX

    Formula One's Turkish Grand Prix will start today with practice runs. In the grand prix, the fifth race of the year, qualifying runs will be held on Saturday, and the race will start at Istanbul Park on Sunday. Istanbul will also host GP2 and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races. This is the fourth time Istanbul has hosted the race. Kimi Raikkonen (Mercedes McLaren) was the winner of the first Turkish Grand Prix, followed by Felipe Massa (Ferrari) in 2006 and 2007. /All Papers/

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

    [10] VERY IMPORTANT OBSERVATIONS

    BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on one academic's thoughts on the secularism issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "This week Vatan's Ruşen Çakır wrote about Bogazici University's Hakan Yılmaz observations about European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn's suggestion that we set up an ombudsman system to deal with the secularism issue.

    A short quote from Yılmaz's well-written observations is as follows: 'The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is right to say that the state has the characteristic of secularism. But secularism hasn't been a characteristic peculiar to the state in recent years in Turkey, and now it's becoming a right for citizens, because during the course of performing their tasks, certain public officials " possibly local governors or officials from certain central administrations " convey to some that they would like them to comply with certain religious norms in return for or a certain service or that a certain public service would stop if certain religious norms are not followed. This is sometimes called 'neighborhood pressure' or 'hindering modern life.' In conclusion, there are certain complaints that people's freedom to not believe a religion or not abide by certain religious norms is restricted. At this point, we see that the secularism has been brought top-down and that it has become a right for citizens, beyond being a rule of the state. But there's no way of coping with the state's imposition of religious norms on people. As this imposition wasn't defined, it's not covered by the law. For example, it's an imposition that an enterprise owned by a municipality be banned from selling alcoholic drinks, and there's no judicial authority to prosecute this. For example, a teacher might favor religious students and gives higher grades to them and protect them.'

    This is where the entire issue lies. As Yılmaz wrote, making people religious through the public or through public force or imposing a certain lifestyle through relatively softer methods is a problem for Turkey. Twenty- five years ago in Konya you could get a bottle of beer at any restaurant, but today you can't. I recently heard about how the last restaurant in Kayseri serving alcohol was pressured to stop. In Denizli, that is, in the Aegean region, a life without alcohol is being imposed, because the municipality won't issue new licenses to sell alcohol. I wonder how many alcohol licenses were given by Istanbul's district municipalities of Beykoz, Uskudar or Sariyer over the last four years.

    Here's another quote from Yılmaz: 'The AKP argues in its defense that secularism is a situation peculiar to the state and that people can't be secular. In other words, it's still dealing with the classical understanding of secularism and it still hasn't realized how the violation of secularism as a citizens' right hurts them greatly. The point where the AKP and religious people come to a deadlock is that they consider being religious a normal thing and other attitudes to be abnormal and something to be tolerated. The entire problem comes from this.'

    Personally, I don't need the AKP's tolerance, and I think and argue that nobody should need it. This is a state of law and we're all equal before the law under Article 10 of the Constitution. The law guarantees my right and freedom to believe in a religion and worship and also to not believe in a religion. But this is exactly the situation: the AKP is basically tolerating us. You can see this stance very clearly in certain statements made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Education Ministry. Similarly, Erdogan asks and can ask, 'Do I interfere with your wearing a miniskirt?' as if he could if he wanted to, but he doesn't, because he's a democrat and a forgiving person."


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