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Turkish Press Review, 08-06-11

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

11.06.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL: "OUR PROBLEMS SHOULD BE SOLVED THROUGH DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW"
  • [02] AT AKP GROUP MEETING, ERDOGAN SLAMS COURT RULING UPHOLDING HEADSCARF BAN
  • [03] IN THE US, BABACAN MEETS WITH ADVISORS OF PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS MCCAIN, OBAMA
  • [04] PACE INVITES BABACAN TO ADDRESS DEBATE ON TURKISH DEMOCRACY IN STRASBOURG
  • [05] PARLIAMENT DECIDES NOT TO RECESS UNTIL CLOSURE CASE IS CONCLUDED
  • [06] BAYKAL LASHES OUT AT GOVT REACTION TO TOP COURT RULING
  • [07] BAHCELI: "IN DEMOCRATIC REGIMES, POWER MUST BE EXERCISED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION"
  • [08] BUSH URGES EU TO ALLOW TURKEY'S ACCESSION TO THE BLOC
  • [09] IRAQI GOVT SIGNALS DESIRE FOR STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP WITH TURKEY
  • [10] INTERFERING IN THE LEGISLATIVE POWER
  • [11] HEADSCARVES, DEMOCRACY AND POLITICS

  • [01] GUL: "OUR PROBLEMS SHOULD BE SOLVED THROUGH DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW"

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday traveled to Croatia for a three-day visit at the invitation of his Croatian counterpart Stepan Mesic. Before leaving, Gul held a press conference at Ankara's Esenboga Airport. Asked about last week's Constitutional Court ruling upholding the headscarf ban at universities, Gul said that Turkey's problems should be solved through universal principles of democracy, the rule of law, and the Constitution's guidance. "In approaching issues such as the fight against terrorism, and economic and other global problems, Turkey and its institutions should be strong and also maintain their dignity," he added. /Turkiye/

    [02] AT AKP GROUP MEETING, ERDOGAN SLAMS COURT RULING UPHOLDING HEADSCARF BAN

    Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) group meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticized last week's Constitutional Court ruling repealing constitutional changes that would have ended a ban on wearing headscarves at universities. Erdogan pointed to the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) as the major culprit responsible for the situation Turkey is facing. "In my opinion, the CHP is the primary cause of this situation," he said, "No one has the right to bring the judiciary into a debate and make it part of such a discussion." He charged that the situation was the result of CHP efforts to spark a conflict between the judiciary and the legislature. /Milliyet/

    [03] IN THE US, BABACAN MEETS WITH ADVISORS OF PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS MCCAIN, OBAMA

    In the US yesterday, Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union talks Ali Babacan separately met with advisors of presumptive US presidential nominees Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama. The meetings focused mainly on developments in Iran, Syria and Turkish-US relations. Issues such as energy and Turkey's economy were also discussed at the gatherings. /Star/

    [04] PACE INVITES BABACAN TO ADDRESS DEBATE ON TURKISH DEMOCRACY IN STRASBOURG

    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has decided to have an urgent debate on the performance of Turkey's democratic institutions during its general session at the end of this month and to invite Foreign Minister Ali Babacan to Strasbourg to make a presentation at the session. Holding such a meeting on the performance of political institutions is important, as it carries the risk of being the first signal of returning to a monitoring mechanism. During the debate, PACE is expected to appoint a Belgian member, Luc Van Den Brande, as rapporteur for Turkey. /Milliyet/

    [05] PARLIAMENT DECIDES NOT TO RECESS UNTIL CLOSURE CASE IS CONCLUDED

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) yesterday decided that Parliament will not to go on summer recess until the closure case against it is concluded. During its parliamentary group meeting, AKP deputies agreed to postpone recess until the Constitutional Court issues a verdict on the case seeking closure of the party. /Sabah/

    [06] BAYKAL LASHES OUT AT GOVT REACTION TO TOP COURT RULING

    Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal warned Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to attempt to change the Constitution to establish a judiciary of his own. Lashing out at the government reaction to last week's Constitutional Court ruling upholding the university headscarf ban, Baykal said, "They argue that the court cannot discuss the content of (constitutional) amendments. But if they attempt to change articles of the Constitution which are unalterable and whose alteration can't even be proposed, who will decide on this?" Stressing that every country has sacred political elements, Baykal said that Turkey's sacred Constitutional principle is secularism, adding that among 53 Muslim countries, Turkey is the sole secular example. No one is openly proposing changing this sacred principle, but rather trying to do it indirectly, but the top court wouldn't allow it, added Baykal. /Hurriyet/

    [07] BAHCELI: "IN DEMOCRATIC REGIMES, POWER MUST BE EXERCISED UNDER THE CONSTITUTION"

    Speaking to his party's parliamentary group yesterday, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said that last week's Constitutional Court ruling upholding the headscarf ban at universities would have serious, lasting consequences, and moreover constituted interference with Parliament's legislative authority. Bahceli said the ruling was taken for political, not legal, reasons. Stating that Constitutional Court rulings are final, binding and must be respected, Bahceli added, "However, this will not prevent us from voicing certain facts on the decision. The court can examine constitutional changes only in terms of their form, not their content, but in its recent decision, the court overstepped its authority and made its decision on the basis of the content of the constitutional changes. In a democratic regime under the rule of law, one cannot exercise a power not grounded in the Constitution." He also stressed that keeping the Constitutional Court out of political debates and not making it a tool or a party to political conflicts was crucial. Bahceli also warned, "If the current political crisis is mismanaged, it could turn into a regime crisis jeopardizing the future of the Turkey's democracy," and said his party was ready to consider any proposal from Prime Minister Erdogan to avert such a crisis. /Sabah/

    [08] BUSH URGES EU TO ALLOW TURKEY'S ACCESSION TO THE BLOC

    Following a European Union-US summit in Slovenia, US President George W. Bush yesterday voiced support for Turkey's efforts to become a full EU member. "We strongly believe Turkey ought to be a member of the EU, and we appreciate Turkey's record of democratic and free market reforms, and working to realize its EU aspirations," said Bush. /Sabah/

    [09] IRAQI GOVT SIGNALS DESIRE FOR STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIP WITH TURKEY

    Iraqi government spokesman Ali al Dabbagh this week called Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to Iraq "highly significant." In an interview with The Times of London published Monday, Dabbagh stated that Erdogan will meet his Iraqi counterpart Nouri al-Maliki and President Jalal Talabani during his forthcoming stay, whose dates were unspecified. "We are looking to have a strategic relationship with Turkey," Dabbagh added. /Star/

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

    [10] INTERFERING IN THE LEGISLATIVE POWER

    BY MEHMET Y. YILMAZ (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Mehmet Yilmaz comments on the separation of powers. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Deputy Premier Cemil Cicek, following yesterday's meeting of the Cabinet ministers, pointed to a very serious constitutional problem. 'Under Article 7, legislative power can't be handed over. This isn't only a problem of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), but our very democracy. What does the separation of powers mean today? Following the Constitutional Court ruling, is there still a separation of powers. We should first make this clear. Where is democracy going in Turkey, what is its standard? That should be discussed.'

    I wish Cicek had remembered the separation of powers issue before the latest ruling of the top court.

    This isn't just for the AKP but also for other parties.

    If the matter of separation of powers had come to their mind in the past, we wouldn't be discussing the situation of the court and its ruling now.

    When we mention separation of powers, we mean the bounds of the three constitutional powers " the legislative, executive and judiciary.'

    Yes, we may well complain about judicial interference in the legislative power. But we shouldn't forget that we also can't talk about any separation between the legislative and the executive.

    Both the judiciary and the executive organs are acting under the orders of only one person.

    This is not a separation but uniformity, one caused by the current Political Parties Law.

    This is a system which enables one person to hold onto the helm of a party until they die and abolish democracy within the party, and fill Parliament with puppets of party leaders.

    This is the main factor holding back our constitutional system, and all parties are trying to hide this reality from the people.

    If a new legal framework is needed to overcome this crisis, this should be among the matters taken up. The Political Parties Law should be democratized, and measures preventing party leaders' hegemony should be taken.

    But the issue isn't only between the legislative and the judiciary.

    There is a serious issue of separation of powers between the legislative and the executive and a serious interference of the executive in legislative power."

    [11] HEADSCARVES, DEMOCRACY AND POLITICS

    BY HASAN BULENT KAHRAMAN (SABAH)

    Columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman comments on culture, democracy, headscarf and politics. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Let's consider the Constitutional Court's recent ruling repealing constitutional changes to lift the headscarf ban at universities and the concept of democratic control as part of the plurality of realities and democratic culture. Democracy is a concept of culture, based on several elements: tolerance, the relational character of freedom, and respect for minority rights. The last element is particularly important. The sovereignty of democratic control mechanisms, independence on the judicial branch, and superiority and validity of judicial decisions are all results of this understanding. These are all valid, but there's another concept which is even more important and establishes the backbone of democratic culture: the plurality of realities. The reality is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon. This situation is the same for political plans. The preference for different ideologies and politics constitute different political faces of the same reality. The fact that politics is based on democratic culture starts with the acceptance of this definition, because democracy means the redefinition of a multiple reality which is known differently by different sides as part of a common acceptance. In other words, democratic decision is the construction of a new_common reality. This is provided by dialogue. But dialogue shouldn't be considered simplistically. On the contrary, there's a new democratic model called dialogue-based democracy, and it's very hard to consider modern democracy outside of this.

    Turkey is closed to this understanding. This is the biggest problem of our democracy. That's why it never considers the concept of control or considers it only institutionally. Again, that's why the Turkish politics is suffering serious problems which constantly erode democracy. This problem is that politics thinks as part of a single reality in Turkey. This is not only politics, but also a philosophy and a social cultural problem. Politics in Turkey thinks that a single thought, symbol or concept will encircle or appoint all of life. And headscarves turned into such a problem. Those who favor or oppose headscarves see it as a symbol-concept which will establish or destroy a whole socio-political structure. This situation causes great problems in Turkey, because if the issue is seen this way, all the concepts which are discussed go through an excessive politicization. Any socio-cultural or democratic or freedom problem is turned into a means for conflict between political positions. Thus its essence is lost.

    Political parties aren't the focus of producing problem. They can define problems, but their main function is solving them. But just the opposite is happening in Turkey. Any issue is turned into a serious problem of regime, system or politics due to the excessive politicization of politics. As there's no dialogue either, the issue is stuck there. Sometimes politics contradicts democracy, because the existence of democracy doesn't guarantee it will continue. Let's go back to the same point. The headscarf issue felt this consequence in Turkey. If headscarves had been defined generally as the extension of democracy, freedoms and democratic consciousness from the beginning and held at that point, it would have been possible to prevent parties from acting under defensive impulses. But we didn't do this. Instead of creating an expanded realm of freedom through the headscarf issue, we created a problem and narrowed the current realm. Now we're at square one and discussing not a democratic domestic problem, but a problem of regime and system. I hope we won't fall into the same pitfalls in this debate."


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