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Turkish Press Review, 08-08-08

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

08.08.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "THESE ARE GOOD DAYS, AND EVEN BETTER ONES FOR TURKEY LIE AHEAD"
  • [02] TOPTAN: "TURKEY SHOULD DRAW UP A MODERN, CONSENSUS CONSTITUTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE"
  • [03] BAYKAL: "THE CHP DOESN'T WANT ITS DEBATE WITH THE ARMY TO ESCALATE"
  • [04] IRANIAN DELEGATION ARRIVES AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK'S AHMADINEJAD VISIT
  • [05] EXPLOSIONS IN ISTANBUL INJURE THREE
  • [06] SIMSEK: "NO IMF PROGRAM CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR A STRONG, REFORM-MINDED GOVERNMENT"
  • [07] TUSIAD: "HIGHER EDUCATION SHOULD BE SEEN THROUGH A MORE DEMOCRATIC POINT OF VIEW"
  • [08] 68 TURKISH ATHLETES TO COMPETE IN BEIJING OLYMPICS
  • [09] DID YOU KNOW PARLIAMENT LOST ITS AUTHORITY TO DRAW UP A NEW CONSTITUTION?

  • [01] ERDOGAN: "THESE ARE GOOD DAYS, AND EVEN BETTER ONES FOR TURKEY LIE AHEAD"

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday went to the eastern province of Bitlis to attend ceremonies commemorating the deliverance of the city from foreign invaders. On his way to the city, stopping in a small town to address the locals, Erdogan said that Turkey has recently seen good days and that even better ones lie ahead for it. "Thanks to the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP), this region will see a massive economic development boom in the years to come," he said. Erdogan also pledged investments in areas such as energy, education, transportation and healthcare. /Turkiye/

    [02] TOPTAN: "TURKEY SHOULD DRAW UP A MODERN, CONSENSUS CONSTITUTION AS SOON AS POSSIBLE"

    At a press conference yesterday concerning Parliament's performance over the last legislative year, Parliament Speaker Kosksal Toptan said the legislature had worked hard and passed a host of measures to address the country's problems amid rising political tension and debates. Stressing that Turkey shouldn't waste its energy on fruitless domestic tensions and debates, he said Turkey should leave behind such pointless debates and look ahead. He said in the last legislative year, 710 bills were submitted to Parliament, and 116 of them were passed. Toptan said that the meeting of Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, the Israeli and Palestinian presidents, under Parliament's roof was the most important diplomatic event of that time. "This gathering, during which the two leaders addressed the full Parliament, was a historic meeting highlighting Turkey's role for world peace," Toptan said. He said that in addition to its legislative efforts, Parliament had also carried out successful activities all around the world to promote Turkey, and that it now has friendship groups with nearly 100 countries. Addressing the need for a new Constitution, Toptan said Turkey should draw up a modern Constitution as soon as possible, one which would bolster Turkey's democracy and expand freedom. He also stressed the importance of broad consensus reflecting the expectations of all sectors of Turkish society. /Turkiye/

    [03] BAYKAL: "THE CHP DOESN'T WANT ITS DEBATE WITH THE ARMY TO ESCALATE"

    Speaking to Aksam daily, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday said his party doesn't want the recent tension between the CHP and the General Staff to escalate, and added, "It's not right to harming state institutions through ratcheting up political debates." Asked about the recent meeting of the Supreme Military Council (YAS), which unlike past ones had not expelled any officers for alleged anti-secular activities, he said, "I don't think the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) will change its traditional stance on the principle of secularism." Earlier this week, the CHP alleged that a deal between the army and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was behind the lack of dismissals, an allegation the TSK dismissed as a "figment of their imagination." /Aksam/

    [04] IRANIAN DELEGATION ARRIVES AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK'S AHMADINEJAD VISIT

    An Iranian delegation arrived yesterday in Ankara to discuss the schedule and content of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Turkey next week. The meeting, led by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan, was held at the Foreign Ministry, and focused on the diplomatic, political, economic and social aspects of the visit. According to the program, Ahmadinejad is set to meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Istanbul. /Star/

    [05] EXPLOSIONS IN ISTANBUL INJURE THREE

    Three explosions occurred yesterday near a municipal government building in Istanbul, slightly injuring three people. The explosions were caused by mortars that were fired from a cemetery and fell short of their intended target, a nearby military barracks. /All papers/

    [06] SIMSEK: "NO IMF PROGRAM CAN SUBSTITUTE FOR A STRONG, REFORM-MINDED GOVERNMENT"

    State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said yesterday that no International Monetary Fund program is more important than a strong, reform- minded government. Simsek said Turkey's last two programs with the IMF ended successfully, and that this was achieved thanks to decisive government policies. "Before our government, Turkey had had 17 IMF programs, " he said. "It's clear that Turkey made little of those programs. Since then Turkey has gone through important changes and development, and addressed some of its weaknesses, as the current government decisively backed the last two programs." He added, "Despite the recent upward trend in inflation, we have actually made important and lasting strides against inflation over the last five years. Inflation will likely drop to single digits after the effects of the global shocks are overcome." On the current account deficit, he said Turkey has been dealing with this very important problem for some time, and added, "We take this seriously, but there's no easy solution. What we should focus on is improving our competitive edge, productivity, physical infrastructure and human resources." /Hurriyet/

    [07] TUSIAD: "HIGHER EDUCATION SHOULD BE SEEN THROUGH A MORE DEMOCRATIC POINT OF VIEW"

    Education should be taken out of the reach of politics, said the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) yesterday, in a statement on controversial rectorial appointment by President Abdullah Gul, which led more than a dozen senior Turkish academics to resign in protest. Noting the negative reaction the appointments got at some universities, it added that institutions will certainly exercise their authority under the law, but that will not change the Board of Higher Education's (YOK) "controversial" structure. It said that every decision and appointment causes debate, and that YOK needs to be reformed. "In an atmosphere of open dialogue, the vision of higher education policy should be evaluated through a more democratic point of view," it added. /Sabah/

    [08] 68 TURKISH ATHLETES TO COMPETE IN BEIJING OLYMPICS

    The same day China paraded the Olympic torch along its ancient Great Wall just prior to opening the Summer Olympics, the Turkish flag was also raised at the Olympic village in Beijing. State Minister for Youth and Sports Murat Basesgioglu, Youth and Sports Directorate head Mehmet Atalay, deputy directorate head Yunus Akgul, Turkish Olympic Committee Chair Togay Bayatlı and Turkish Ambassador to China Oktay Ozuye attended the ceremony. A total of 68 Turkish athletes, including 20 women, will be battling for medals in track and field, wrestling, weightlifting, taekwondo, boxing, swimming, sailing, table tennis, archery, shooting, judo and cycling. /Today's Zaman/

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

    [09] DID YOU KNOW PARLIAMENT LOST ITS AUTHORITY TO DRAW UP A NEW CONSTITUTION?

    BY MAHMUT OVUR (SABAH)

    Columnist Mahmut Ovur comments on the aftermath of the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP). A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic made remarks well worth listening to last month when he announced the verdict in the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Back then, he said that constitutional and legal changes needed to provide solidarity in modern democratic countries have yet to be made here, but having a closure case brought against a political party has spurred vigorous discussion of this need. Kilic then urged political parties to reach a consensus over changes to the Political Parties Law. His statement was welcomed by the nation. For years our political parties, and especially the AKP, have been unable to provide common ground to make these changes.

    So can they create it? The hope created by the decision not to close down the AKP at least shows that these changes can be made. The nation also hopes this. But it seems that even if we don't know if the AKP learned any lessons from this closure attempt, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is cold on the idea of a new Constitution. That leaves the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Democratic Society Party (DTP), but as we saw with the overturned law on headscarves, their support isn't enough. So what will happen? As the AKP's plan is unknown, nothing is definite, but there's one pivotal point in the midst of all this.

    About a month-and-a-half ago, before the verdict on the closure case, news magazine Aktuel published an interview with AKP deputy leader Dengir Mir Fırat. The interviewer said that the AKP had been working on a democratic package including changes to the Political Parties Law, greater transparency, and a new political ethics commission in Parliament. Then he asked Firat if this work was still underway and who was drawing up a new Constitution.

    Firat replied that the politics in Turkey moves very rapidly. 'But making legal changes to strengthen democracy isn't in the cards, because changing the Political Parties Law requires first changing the Constitution,' he added. 'Under a recent Constitutional Court decision, Parliament seems unable to use its authority under Article 132. This decision took away Parliament's authority to draw up a new Constitution and gave it to the judicial branch. So don't expect any change in terms of democracy in Turkey. I believe first we need to clarify who has the authority to draw up a new Constitution.'

    Firat is a politician with a legal background. He openly says that the Parliament had its authority taken away. So we rescued the AKP, but we lost Parliament. So what does this mean? It means the AKP can't make any legal changes in Parliament during the next legislative year. So 2008 can't be our 'Year of Europe.' But First also said: 'The AKP can't solve this problem alone. Political parties " mostly the CHP and MHP " agree that the problem exists, but they also show that they're not sincere about seeking a solution.' I don't know, maybe the Constitutional Court knew this and that's why it didn't close down the AKP. Actually I'm curious what will happen next. So the AKP will either call for early elections, or find a way to reach a consensus with other parties. Which do you think will happen?"


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