|Saturday, 24 February 2024
Turkish Press Review, 08-10-08
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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
 GUL: "DEMOCRACY CAN ISOLATE TERRORISTS"New measures can be taken to combat terrorism, said President Abdullah Gul yesterday. Before leaving for official visits to Finland and Estonia , Gul told reporters that guns must be fought with guns, but added, "We shouldn't lose our belief in democracy. Terrorists can be isolated through democracy." There is a power vacuum in northern Iraq , which is why the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is continuing to carry out cross-border operations there, Gul said. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN PLEDGES NEW ANTI-TERRORIST MEASURESSpeaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that new anti-terrorist measures will be taken after Parliament extends the military's authorization to carry out cross-border operations. Touching on last week's deadly terrorist PKK attack on a military outpost in Hakkari, Erdogan defended the General Staff, saying, "We believe that our security forces are doing their genuine best." He added, "The fight against terrorism will continue. We'll take all necessary measures to stop this bloodshed. We're exercising our rights under international law." /Milliyet/
 SAHIN: "DEMOCRACY AND SECURITY SHOULD BOTH BE ENSURED"Commenting on the recent debate over the balance between security and democracy, amid security forces' requests for greater latitude to fight terrorism, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin yesterday said that Turkey doesn't have to choose between democracy and security, but instead should ensure both. "Turkey shouldn't retreat from democracy or security, but must achieve both together," he added. /Turkiye/
 BAYKAL: "THE GOVT HAS BEEN UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND TERRORISM"Turkey's fight against terrorism has been marked by weaknesses, said main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday, adding, " Northern Iraq should no longer be a safe haven for the terrorist PKK." Speaking at his party's group meeting, Baykal said that before the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in fall 2002, terrorist attacks had almost come to a halt. "The government has either been unable to understand the terrorism issue or it has chosen not to understand it," he claimed. "It has not grasped the significance of the fight against terrorism." He said that last week's PKK attack on a military outpost in Hakkari exposed negligence and shortcomings in the fight against terrorism. /Cumhuriyet/
 BAHCELI URGES BUFFER ZONE IN N.IRAQ TO PROTECT AGAINST TERRORIST PKKSpeaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) should cross into northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK terrorists who last week killed 17 soldiers in the southeastern province of Hakkari,. Bahceli also urged the government to establish a buffer zone in northern Iraq to prevent any future attacks. "Under international law, Turkey has the right to carry out hot pursuit against the terrorist PKK members who fled to northern Iraq after their deadly attack, and it should exercise this right," he said, adding that all the requirements for using this right have been fulfilled. In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said yesterday that the government would consider Bahceli's proposal, if necessary. /Turkiye/
 RUSSIAN FM LAVROV PRAISES TURKISH DIPLOMACYTurkey's active role and initiatives to restore peace and stability to the Caucasus during the recent crisis in the region reflect the experience of Turkish diplomacy, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday. Speaking to Russian daily Rossiskaya, Lavrov also touched on Turkish- Armenian relations, saying, "The Upper Karabakh issue should be solved to end Armenia 's isolation. After solving this, Turkey can normalize its relations with Armenia and help the country connect with the outside world." He added, "Immediately after the crisis broke out in the Caucasus, Ankara realized the importance of the developments in the region and saw that the situation in the Caucasus presented a great opportunity to stress Turkey's presence in the region." /Milliyet/
 ISTANBUL TO HOST CONFERENCE ON EUAhead of the release of the European Commission's fall progress report on Turkey , a conference co-organized by the British Council, the Centre for European Reform and the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) will be held this week in Istanbul. Relations between Turkey and the European Union will be discussed at the meeting, and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn will be among those present. /Star/
 CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BASBUG MEETS WITH THINK-TANK REPRESENTATIVES, ACADEMICSChief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday met with representatives from local think-tanks and a group of academics to exchange views on the fight against terrorism. Among those attending the meeting were Nihat Ali Ozcan from the Turkish Economic Policy Research Foundation (TEPAV), Ihsan Bal from the International Strategic Research Organization (USAK), and Abdulkadir Cevik, head of the Political Psychology Association. Basbug was reportedly presented with reports on terrorism, and the participants discussed recent developments. Basbug is today expected to visit main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli on Friday. /Cumhuriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 POLITICIANS AT A CROSSROADSBY FIKRET BILA (MILLIYET)
Columnist Fikret Bile comments on efforts to stop terrorism. A summary of his column is as follows:
"Following last week's terrorist PKK attack on a military outpost which took 17 soldiers' lives, the government has reached a crossroads over measures to fight terrorism.
Besides the government, other political parties in Parliament also have to take a stance on this issue soon.
Our politicians have two alternatives:
1) To meet the military requests by changing anti-terrorism laws
2) To continue the current laws without any change
Both alternatives carry a political price, but you can't fight terrorism without paying this price.
If our politicians go with the first option, and change anti-terrorism laws in line with Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) requests, they will face criticisms over democracy and human rights, as well as European Union law and standards.
If, on the other hand, no change is made, then critics will say that the government has failed to take necessary measures and so hindered success in the fight against terrorism. Such criticisms, as we have seen recently, can especially be heard at the funerals of victims of terrorism.
This political decision rests largely on the government's leanings.
We learned about the military's requests from Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin. They include the authority to search suspects and vehicles; giving soldiers police powers; the right to search houses, workshops and closed areas not open to the public without warrants, in exigent circumstances; and extending the duration of custody.
Some of these requests will be criticized by people who favor freedom in the security-freedom balance. But the government is leaning towards meeting them. In addition, the political parties in Parliament, excepting the Democratic Society Party (DTP), are likely to support this.
Following last week's attack, a series of meetings on terrorism was held, and tomorrow Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan will chair another meeting alongside military commanders. During this gathering, the military's requests, non-military measures, and TSK proposals are expected to be discussed.
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli has proposed a large cross-border operation and establishing a buffer zone in Iraqi territory. Deputy Premier Cemil Cicek said that they could evaluate this proposal. But approving and implementing it seems problematic. Iraq and the US would have to back the idea, and the TSK would have to judge it useful.
Speaking about a possible buffer zone, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Igsiz showed some hesitation, citing the number of military units, vehicles and equipment that would be needed, as well as the cost. He said it would be better to strengthen our current positions and step up other measures. Of course, he didn't announce any decision.
Soon we'll see which way the government chooses and what measures it proposes to Parliament."
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