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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-01

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

01.08.2008

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL URGES RENEWED FOCUS ON TURKEY'S PRIORITIES
  • [02] ERDOGAN CALLS ON NATION TO TAKE FRESH BEGINNING
  • [03] GERMANY'S MERKEL WELCOMES COURT DECISION NOT TO BAN AKP
  • [04] CICEK: "EVERYONE SHOULD LEARN LESSONS FROM THIS WEEK'S RULING"
  • [05] EU'S LAGENDIJK: "THE AKP SHOULD LEARN SOMETHING FROM THE TOP COURT'S DECISION"
  • [06] SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL CONVENES TODAY
  • [07] CAN HE KEEP HIS PROMISE?

  • [01] GUL URGES RENEWED FOCUS ON TURKEY'S PRIORITIES

    President Abdullah Gul said yesterday that Turkey is a state of law where democracy functions through rules and institutions, and called on everyone to focus on the country's priorities in light of international political and economic developments. "All state institutions carry out their duties under the Constitution," Gul said in a written statement one day after the Constitutional Court ruled not to ban the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and top party figures, including former AKP member Gul himself, deciding instead to penalize it financially. "I believe that from now on everyone, especially the government, must put more focus on Turkey's priorities in light of international political and economic developments." Gul said these priorities include success in the fight against terrorism, continuing economic and political reforms, completion of full membership talks with the European Union, and getting results from Turkey's peaceful foreign policy initiatives. He said that focusing on these priorities would contribute to a stable, safe and prosperous Turkey. /Turkiye/

    [02] ERDOGAN CALLS ON NATION TO TAKE FRESH BEGINNING

    In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the government would continue walking towards the modernization goals set out by Ataturk, the founder of Turkish Republic. Erdogan said that there would be no straying from that path. He told the nation that there would always be problems and obstacles to be overcome, and added, "What is important is that our people should not lose their faith in our future, and their affection and tenderness for each other and our country." He also said, "We stand on the verge of a new beginning and we should revive our hopes, dreams and bonds of fellowship." Condemning Sunday's deadly terrorist attack in Istanbul, Erdogan said that such heinous attacks only serve to firm Turkey's resolve and will to counter terrorism. "I believe our nation will continue to give the best response to terrorist networks trying to harm our peace and stability by our standing up for unity and solidarity," Erdogan said. He said that Turkish Armed Forces is continuing its operations against the terrorist PKK both in and outside the country. "The terrorist group is growing more and more isolated thanks to the political, diplomatic, social and economic measures we have taken," he said. Erdogan said that recent desperate acts by the terrorist group show it lacks a safe haven. "Terrorism can accomplish nothing," he added. "Everyone should take a common stance against terrorism." On the Cyprus problem, Erdogan said that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) would not accept any settlement unless it includes a bi-zonal structure with political equality and Turkey's continued status as a guarantor state. Turning to Iraq, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey hopes Iraq's territorial integrity will be preserved, the country will regain political stability, and the problems of the Iraqi people will end. Erdogan also expressed sadness over a bloody terrorist attack in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk this week, saying that Turkey and Iraq have cooperation and a common approach towards fighting the terrorist PKK. Both countries benefit greatly from this cooperation, he added. /Turkiye/

    [03] GERMANY'S MERKEL WELCOMES COURT DECISION NOT TO BAN AKP

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday that she felt relieved at a top court decision not to ban Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In a phone conversation, Merkel told Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Germany places importance on Turkey's stability and democracy, and added that her country will continue to cooperate with Turkey on its European Union membership bid. German Greens Jurgen Trittin and Rainder Steenblock also hailed the decision. Closing the AKP could have triggered a serious crisis and political paralysis in Turkey, they said. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said that he welcomed the ruling. "The important thing is now that all officials should contribute to reconciliation and political stability, and decisively continue with the reform process," Steinmeier said. He added that it is important for Turkey to strengthen its democratic institutions by reforming the Constitution and bringing its law on political parties in line with European standards. Silvio Berlusconi and Nouri al-Maliki, the Italian and Iraqi prime ministers, also telephoned Erdogan to express their pleasure at the decision. /Sabah/

    [04] CICEK: "EVERYONE SHOULD LEARN LESSONS FROM THIS WEEK'S RULING"

    Everyone should draw lessons from the Constitutional Court's ruling this week not to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek yesterday. "This decision was primarily meant for us, but it concerns everybody," he said in a televised interview. On Chief Justice Hasim Kilic's remarks urging reforms to the law on closing political parties, he said the AKP was ready to work on this, but added that reaching a societal consensus on this could be difficult. Cicek said Turkey would focus more attention on its European Union bid and the economy in the days to come. He added that concrete steps are needed for the smooth continuation of Turkey's democratization process. Cicek also said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had visited the headquarters of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) headquarters, and said CHP officials should return the courtesy. CHP deputy leader Onur Oymen later welcomed the invitation, saying, "We have never turned back a helping hand reaching out to us." In related news, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said yesterday that the government would take necessary steps to dispel all doubts regarding itself and embrace all sectors of society. He said that the government was keenly aware of its responsibility to ease political tension in the country, and would prioritize compromise and dialogue in the days ahead. /Milliyet/

    [05] EU'S LAGENDIJK: "THE AKP SHOULD LEARN SOMETHING FROM THE TOP COURT'S DECISION"

    Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Committee Co-Chairman Joost Lagendijk said yesterday that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) should learn lessons from the Constitutional Court's decision this week not to close it down. He said the ruling had been a significant relief for Turkey's democratization process, as closing down the ruling party would have been an undemocratic decision. He added that government should be aware of the need for a new constitution and should also continue its EU reform process. Most importantly, it should listen to people concerned about the future of secularism in Turkey, he said. Lagendijk said that the court's decision was important in terms of Turkish-EU relations as well. If the court had decided to close down the AKP, this would have complicated Turkey's EU bid, he said. /Milliyet/

    [06] SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL CONVENES TODAY

    The Supreme Military Council, chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will convene today to appoint new commanders of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and commanding officers of the army will be among those in attendance. The annual regular meeting discusses the promotion of colonels, generals and admirals, the extension of tours of duty or retirement of generals and admirals, and the dismissal of military personnel due to disciplinary problems or conduct unbecoming. After the meeting ends on Monday, the council's decisions will be submitted to President Abdullah Gul for approval. Current Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit will retire after the meeting, and he is expected to be succeeded by Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug. /Turkiye/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [07] CAN HE KEEP HIS PROMISE?

    BY TUFAN TURENC (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Tufan Turenc comments on the Constitutional Court's decision not to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows:

    "The Constitutional Court ruled that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has become the focus of anti-secular actions and that if it continues down this path, it would be closed. As any reasonable person can see, this is no acquittal. This decision can benefit our country and nation, but only if the AKP takes this important warning seriously. Ten of the court's 11 justices decided that the AKP has become the focus of anti-secular actions.

    Six of these 10 justices voted to close down the party, and four voted to cut the party's financial assistance from the Treasury. One of these four is Sacit Adali, who rejected the claims of anti-secular actions and voted not to close the party. The AKP should consider this vote carefully. If Erdogan and his staff see it as a victory or the Constitutional Court not taking a risk due to pressure, they would be very mistaken. If they do this, they won't be able to avoid an inevitable end.

    Erdogan's slogan 'We won't stop, but will keep on going' is wrong. If this road had been smooth, the court's chief justice wouldn't have warned them to change course. The idea 'we won 45% of the vote so we can do whatever we want' should be immediately abandoned. In democracies, ruling parties don't govern the country however they want, regardless of how many votes brought them to power. They also can't flout the law.

    Now some people think optimistically that the AKP will learn from this decision and Erdogan will give another speech from party headquarters embracing the entire nation. The same people also thought that Erdogan and his circle would change. They still think this. Some even think that Erdogan isn't the focus of anti-secular actions. These people aren't doing the AKP any favors. The AKP tried to rule the country without seeking any counsel or protecting the regime's balances. We saw how this ended up, and how the party just barely escaped closure.

    The AKP should immediately stop scuffling with the institutions of the regime and the republic. It should also end its efforts to use democracy as a cover to reshape social life to fit its own preferences. It shouldn't exploit religion for political ends and also shouldn't try to make the country's administration share its religious obsessions. It should see that dividing society between its supporters and non-supporters hurts the country terribly and that it shouldn't discriminate between citizens, organizations and institutions.

    The AKP should see that diluting modern education with religious education poses a great danger for future generations and so give up this quest. It should move towards real democracy, not the one it wants, and rapidly implement necessary reforms. If the AKP does all these things, the court's decision and warning will have done their job. But if the prime minister's statement that our road is the one laid out by Ataturk remains mere words, Turkey will continue to feel this distress."


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