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Turkish Press Review, 08-07-23

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

23.07.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL TO WITNESS START OF TURKISH LEG OF BAKU-TBILISI-KARS RAILWAY
  • [02] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO BEGIN DELIBERATIONS ON AKP CLOSURE CASE NEXT MONDAY
  • [03] ERDOGAN CALLS FOR UNITY WITH OPPOSITION
  • [04] AT HIS PARTY GROUP MEETING, BAYKAL LAMBASTES AKP GOVT
  • [05] BAHCELI: "IT WOULD BENEFIT TURKEY TO DISPOSE OF THE AKP CLOSURE CASE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE"
  • [06] IRAQI VP DUE IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [07] TURKEY WELCOMES ARREST OF ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL KARADZIC
  • [08] RENOWNED ACTRESS PEKUYSAL PASSES AWAY
  • [09] THE EU'S FINE-TUNING ON TURKEY

  • [01] GUL TO WITNESS START OF TURKISH LEG OF BAKU-TBILISI-KARS RAILWAY

    President Abdullah Gul will attend a ceremony in Kars tomorrow marking the beginning of construction of the Turkish leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, also known as the " Iron Silk Road ." Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will also attend. Gul is expected to hold bilateral talks with the visiting leaders, and to host a luncheon in their honor. He will later proceed to Istanbul to attend the graduation ceremony of the War Academies. When the railway is eventually completed, planned to coincide with completion of the Marmaray tunnel beneath the Istanbul Straits, it will provide an continuous link from China to Europe. /Turkiye/

    [02] CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO BEGIN DELIBERATIONS ON AKP CLOSURE CASE NEXT MONDAY

    The Constitutional Court will begin deliberations on the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) next Monday, it announced yesterday. Under the Constitution, a qualified majority of votes of the court is required to disband a political party, meaning at least seven out of 11 of the court's members. In lieu of dissolution, the court could also rule to deny the AKP financial assistance from the Treasury. This March the Court of Appeals chief prosecutor filed the case asking Turkey's top court to ban the AKP for alleged anti-secular activities. In his indictment, the chief prosecutor also asked that 71 people, including President Abdullah Gul, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and former Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, be banned from politics for five years. Earlier, court rapporteur Osman Can recommended that the court reject the case. Chief Justice Hasim Kılic said yesterday that the court members would consider the case until they reach a decision. /Aksam/

    [03] ERDOGAN CALLS FOR UNITY WITH OPPOSITION

    Speaking to his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan decried the level of conflict between the AKP and the political opposition, and called on the opposition leader to work with his party. Marking one year since his party's reelection, Erdogan cited a speech he gave after the victory saying that he respected every voter's choice, no matter who they voted for. "Whatever their choices, all of our citizens are equal in our eyes," he said. "Everybody's choice is important, valuable and worthy of respect. Everybody's problem is our problem. Our party was founded on this principle, and we have maintained this since the elections of July 22 last year." Erdogan added that he and his party want a win-win situation. "We aim at unity and togetherness and making progress together," he said. "History shows that if nations are unable to come together for victory, then they are destined to fall together in defeat. We defend freedom, justice, democracy and welfare for everybody. With this spirit of unity, our democratic, secular and social republic where the rule of law prevails will reach greater heights." Touching on the government's recent contacts with senior US and Iranian officials, he said, "We are conducting diplomacy to find a peaceful solution to the international dispute over Iran's nuclear activities. There is no doubt that any country can have peaceful nuclear activities. Turkey is also taking steps to use nuclear energy to meet the country's rising energy needs. We have advised Iranian officials to take steps to reassure the international community about its nuclear activities. We told them that Turkey can act as a go-between for Iran and the international community." On the Cyprus issue, Erdogan said, "A comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue should be based on the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots. This new partnership should be two-sided and based on political equality, and be under Turkey's active guarantorship." /Star/

    [04] AT HIS PARTY GROUP MEETING, BAYKAL LAMBASTES AKP GOVT

    Turkey is being dragged into an era of political trials, warned main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday about the controversial Ergenekon probe. "Waging a political fight by taking sides using the law and the judicial branch is unacceptable," he told his party's group meeting. "The ruling party is before the Constitutional Court, and our economic problems are mounting," he added. "This big case is shaking Turkey like a big earthquake. State institutions are being put at odds with each other, and societal splits are being provoked." Referring to the ruling party's margin of victory in last year's general elections, he said, "For those who created this situation, nothing would change if they got 60% of the votes instead of 47%. It's clear these people are unable to govern this country." /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] BAHCELI: "IT WOULD BENEFIT TURKEY TO DISPOSE OF THE AKP CLOSURE CASE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE"

    An atmosphere of "uncontrolled crisis" dominates Turkey as its top court is set to hear the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli in a statement yesterday. "It would benefit Turkey to dispose of the case as soon as possible," he added. Bahceli also said that unwarranted speculation over the judiciary's legal processes poses a great danger. /Turkiye/

    [06] IRAQI VP DUE IN ANKARA TODAY

    Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi will arrive today in Ankara to hold talks on issues such as local elections in his country set for this fall, the Kirkuk issue, economic ties, and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The details of a Strategic Cooperation Agreement recently signed during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Iraq will also be discussed. Al- Hashemi will be received by President Abdullah Gul and will also meet with Erdogan. /Aksam/

    [07] TURKEY WELCOMES ARREST OF ACCUSED WAR CRIMINAL KARADZIC

    Turkey yesterday welcomed the arrest by Serbian authorities of accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic, whose delivery to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has been long awaited by the international community. "The trial of Karadzic will ease the pains which occurred in the former Yugoslavia, which constituted one of the most terrible incidents of the 20th century," said a Foreign Ministry statement. "This trial will also demonstrate that the perpetrators of such tragedies can not escape justice." It added, "This historic step by the newly established Serbian government is a milestone in the integration of Serbia with European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. This step proves that the new Serbian government is genuinely cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. It will also consolidate stability in the Balkans and develop further friendly relations among the countries and peoples of the region." The statement also said, "Turkey hopes that the remaining war criminals, and particularly Ratko Mladic, will be brought to justice, and that this will help heal the wounds." /Turkiye/

    [08] RENOWNED ACTRESS PEKUYSAL PASSES AWAY

    Renowned stage and screen actress Suna Pekuysal passed away in Istanbul yesterday. She was 75. Pekuysal had been at the intensive care unit of Istanbul University Hospital since she broke her hip five days ago at her house. Born in Istanbul in 1933, Pekuysal retired from the Istanbul Municipal Theater after working there for over 50 years. She appeared in more than 250 plays and nearly 100 movies. /All papers/

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

    [09] THE EU'S FINE-TUNING ON TURKEY

    BY MEHMET ALI BIRAND (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Mehmet Ali Birand comments on the European Union's stance on Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Like other living organisms, the European Union also makes mistakes in its views and policies but when it sees that it's taken a wrong turn, it changes course. It engages in self-criticism when necessary. This was seen last month in Turkish-EU relations. EU officials are fine-tuning their view of Turkey as a decision in the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) draws closer. All signals from the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council show the extent of this change.

    As you may remember, when the case was brought against the AKP in March, the EU Commission in particular criticized it. On their official visits to Turkey , EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn and European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso decried what they saw as totalitarian Kemalists suppressing democratic Muslims. They also said that closing the AKP would hurt democracy and seriously jeopardize Turkey's membership talks.

    The European Parliament made almost the same criticism. European Parliament Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen Ruijten said that if the AKP were closed, Turkey would be unable to justify this. The full EP issued a similar warning. The EU didn't make these criticisms to damage Turkey's secular system. For them, democracy is indispensable, and secularism is part of democracy. That's why they interpreted things differently from how we did. Now the EU institutions are busy shifting their stances. Officials from the EU Commission, and Rehn in particular, have retreated from their earlier statements, and are now saying that they started to understand the concerns of secular circles and that they don't think that the AKP is doing enough to address these concerns. In Strasbourg, Ruijten told me very clearly that her initial evaluation had been mistaken and that a possible freeze on relations with Turkey wasn't an issue to be decided by the EU, but by Turkey.

    Daniel Cohn Bendit, co-chair of the EP's European Greens-European Free Alliance, and MEP Joost Lagendijk, who both generally support the AKP, recently showed that they had changed their stances. They both told me openly that fears that women who don't cover their heads now might be pressured to do so in the future were not without foundation. They added that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had done nothing to dispel these concerns and that this was unacceptable. The change in their stances is telling.

    The situation is the same in the EU Council. Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa " fresh from his country's EU presidency " told reporters openly that debates over secularism and the closure case are Turkey 's domestic business and that he sees no relation between the case and the EU membership talks. A few important elements played an important role in this change of stance. Most importantly, secular circles in Turkey spoke to the European Parliament and Commission about AKP policies. They said it wasn't just a struggle between Kemalists and Muslims, but that a great many members of the Turkish public had important and understandable concerns, and this helped change the single-sided interpretations of EU institutions.

    Greek Cypriots and Greece also played an important role in this change, because these two member countries are greatly concerned about a suspension of relations with Turkey. They know that if this happened, they would lose their leverage on the Cyprus and Aegean issues, so they're doing intensive lobbying for Turkey. The last and perhaps most important reason is that almost everybody understood that if our membership talks were suspended, restarting them would be impossible. Similarly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) said that if the AKP were closed, Turkey would be subject to monitoring. PACE's reports would be able to be used by the EU, and this lifted the burden from the EU's shoulders. I have written before that our membership talks wouldn't be halted, and in the end this turned out to be true."


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