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Turkish Press Review, 08-07-22

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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

22.07.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES NEW SPANISH AMBASSADOR MATHEU
  • [02] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO SET DATE TO HEAR AKP CLOSURE CASE
  • [03] FRENCH PARLIAMENT NARROWLY PASSES MEASURE EASING REFERENDUM CONDITION FOR NEW EU MEMBERS
  • [04] MERKEL THANKS TURKISH SECURITY FORCES FOR SECURING HOSTAGES' RELEASE
  • [05] THE COMMON MIND MOVEMENT AND DEMOCRACY

  • [01] GUL RECEIVES NEW SPANISH AMBASSADOR MATHEU

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday received Joan Clos Matheu, Spain's new ambassador to Ankara, at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Matheu presented his letter of credentials to Gul. /Star/

    [02] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO SET DATE TO HEAR AKP CLOSURE CASE

    The Constitutional Court will convene today at 1:30 pm for a regular meeting where it will set a date to discuss the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The court justices, having already examined a case report by rapporteur Osman Can, will fix a date to begin hearing the case against the AKP. According to the Constitution, in order for the court to ban the AKP, it would need the approval of a qualified majority, namely seven of its 11 members. /Sabah/

    While the terrorist PKK has done some $300 billion in damage to Turkey over the last 25 years, the price tag of the Southeastern Anatolian Project (GAP) is only $32 billion, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Cemil Cicek said yesterday. Speaking to reporters after a regular Cabinet meeting, he said that the Cyprus issue had been discussed at the meeting, pointing out how Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended weekend ceremonies in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) marking the 34th anniversary of the 1974 Peace and Freedom Operation on the island. Cicek said that Turkey was doing its best to promote a solution on the island, as shown through its policies. Asked about the Constitutional Court's meeting to set a date to discuss the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Cicek said that the Cabinet ministers hadn't discussed this at the meeting, adding, "We've already expressed our view on the matter." /Star/

    [03] FRENCH PARLIAMENT NARROWLY PASSES MEASURE EASING REFERENDUM CONDITION FOR NEW EU MEMBERS

    The French Parliament yesterday narrowly passed a long-debated constitutional reform package, backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, which would ease the referendum condition for the accession of European Union candidate countries. The vote was 539-357. One part of the package requires a referendum on new members whose population exceeds 5 percent of the EU's total population, but also allows the president to ask the Senate and Parliament to bypass this. To do so, a three-fifths supermajority of both houses would be needed. /Aksam/

    [04] MERKEL THANKS TURKISH SECURITY FORCES FOR SECURING HOSTAGES' RELEASE

    Speaking to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed news of the rescue of three German mountain climbers by Turkish security forces from the terrorist PKK and thanked the Turkish government and security forces for their efforts. The mountaineers had been kidnapped by the terrorist group earlier this month near Mt. Agri (Ararat), and yesterday returned to their country. German Ambassador to Ankara Eckhart Kuntz also expressed his thanks to Turkish security forces and praised the Turkish-German friendship. In related news, two Turkish engineers kidnapped in western Afghanistan last week have been set free and were returned home yesterday. /Turkiye/

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

    [05] THE COMMON MIND MOVEMENT AND DEMOCRACY

    BY HASAN CELAL GUZEL (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Hasan Celal Guzel comments on the new Common Mind Movement. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Since last year Turkey has seen rapid political change, along with social changes. There are people favoring change in Turkey and ones opposing it. People who call themselves revolutionary, Kemalist or pro-modernization flounder in a strange paradox, because it's precisely they who most favor the status quo and oppose change. Those who are against change are also against the European Union, and they try to hinder the expansion of human rights and freedoms while working to build pressure for a military coup or a new military memorandum against the government. They also try to set up secret terrorist groups to plot coups and try to close down a party which came to power by winning half of the people's votes.

    On the other hand, those who favor change have come to reject the desperation and contempt they've seen in a half-century of coups. They have also done unprecedented things in Turkey's political and social life. For the first time, a ruling political party facing clear military opposition was able to resist this pressure, i.e. the April 2007 memorandum; democratic countries started to criticize undemocratic pressure and the drive to close down the ruling party; political and social resistance has emerged against the politicized judiciary; and a terrorist gang favoring a coup was challenged, with certain retired generals even arrested as part of this. Most importantly, for the first time, the public started to make others hear their voices and fill public squares in cities.

    Since the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was first filed, I've been saying that it's a conspiracy against the nation's will and the national sovereignty. Unfortunately, the champions of this case have showed no signs of letup. But the Turkish nation started to show its democratic disgust for the first time since 1960, when Turkey saw its first coup. This is the greatest change. Public pro-democracy demonstrations are continuing as organized by the Common Mind Movement, which is led by the Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-Is) and the Confederation of Public Servants Trade Unions (Memur-Sen), and organized by the Turkish Volunteer Organizations Association (TGTV) with the support of nearly 300 non-governmental organizations.

    The New Constitution and Democracy Platform, founded this May, is made up of many democratic academics, artists, writers, reporters and opinion makers favoring various views. These intellectuals came together to form the Common Mind Movement. The movement's main slogan is based on a saying of Ataturk which is also found in Article 6 of the Constitution: 'Sovereignty is vested fully and unconditionally in the nation.' Responding to the public will, the Common Mind Movement has held pro-democracy demonstrations in such cities as Malatya, Samsun and Bursa. More than 50, 000 people participated in each of these protests, which were not dependent on money or organizing from a political party. For my part, I also spoke at the Bursa demonstration. I would like those who favor coups to see these enthusiastic crowds.

    In addition, the support of young people within the Common Mind Movement against a coup is also key. In Istanbul, these young people organized 15, 000 people in a '70 Million Steps to Stop a Coup' march. Everyone who believes in democracy should take to the streets for the Ankara version of this march on Saturday. Now both Turkey and our nation are changing, and our wonderful country is ceasing to be a third-world nation where gangsters and oligarchic despots run wild."


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