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Turkish Press Review, 08-10-27

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

27.10.2008


CONTENTS

  • [01] AT PARTY CONGRESS IN ANKARA, ERDOGAN CRITICIZES DTP
  • [02] GENERAL STAFF TO BRIEF CABINET ON TERRORISM
  • [03] DEFENSE MINISTER GONUL TRAVELING TO GREECE, ISRAEL
  • [04] STATE MINISTER CUBUKCU GOING TO SYRIA TODAY
  • [05] ISTANBUL, ANKARA AND ANTALYA BAR ASSOCIATIONS CHOOSE HEADS
  • [06] NEW BLOOD ELECTED TO ANAVATAN, SP HELMS
  • [07] BABACAN VISITS TURKISH BATTALION IN KABUL
  • [08] AFTER 17 YEARS, THY RESUMES FLIGHTS TO BAGHDAD
  • [09] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [10] KURDS, OR KURDISHNESS?

  • [01] AT PARTY CONGRESS IN ANKARA, ERDOGAN CRITICIZES DTP

    Speaking at his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) congress yesterday in Ankara's Altindag district, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the Democratic Society Party (DTP), without mentioning it by name, calling it a "support party" for the terrorist PKK. Erdogan said the party lacks the ethos of public service, adding, "They think they can win more votes by supporting terrorism. There's no difference between our citizens of Turkish origin and those of Kurdish origin." Turning to economic matters, Erdogan responded to voices offering advice about meetings with the International Monetary Fund. "We're already meeting with the IMF," he explained. "This is based on the principle of mutual benefit. If the IMF will benefit Turkey, we can make a deal. But we can't kowtow to IMF demands and darken Turkey's future in this period of crisis. This is the issue." Also attending the congress were Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroglu, and Greater Ankara Municipality Mayor Melih Gokcek. Afterwards, Erdogan proceeded to Kirikkale to attend an opening ceremony. /Milliyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [02] GENERAL STAFF TO BRIEF CABINET ON TERRORISM

    The General Staff will brief Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Cabinet on terrorism today. The main subject of the briefing, proposed by Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug, will be domestic security. /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] DEFENSE MINISTER GONUL TRAVELING TO GREECE, ISRAEL

    Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul will pay an official visit to Athens at the invitation of his Greek counterpart Evangelos Meimarakis beginning today. On Wednesday, he will proceed to Israel to witness test flights of unmanned aerial vehicles. /Turkish Daily News/

    [04] STATE MINISTER CUBUKCU GOING TO SYRIA TODAY

    State Minister Nimet Cubukcu is set to travel to Damascus for an official visit today. Cubukcu will attend a meeting on women's role in society led by Emine Erdogan, the wife of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Syrian President Bashar Assad's wife Esma. /Turkish Daily News/

    [05] ISTANBUL, ANKARA AND ANTALYA BAR ASSOCIATIONS CHOOSE HEADS

    The Istanbul, Ankara and Antalya Bar Associations all elected new heads over the weekend. In Istanbul, Muammer Aydin was elected with about 73% of the votes cast. In Ankara, Vedat Ahsen Cosar won a third term, and in Antalya , Zafer Koken was chosen the group's new head. /Milliyet/

    [06] NEW BLOOD ELECTED TO ANAVATAN, SP HELMS

    Two parties, the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) and Felicity Party (SP), currently unrepresented in Parliament, selected new leaders in separate party congresses over the weekend. On Saturday, Salih Uzun was selected to replace Erkan Mumcu at ANAVATAN's helm. Uzun, 38, was formerly a top official at the Anatolia News Agency. Speaking after his win, Uzun said that the new administration will act in line with the principles and values of the party to serve the nation. In addition, SP leader Recai Kutan was succeeded by Numan Kurtulus, 49, on Sunday. Leader emeritus Necmettin Erbakan, who also attended the congress, was warmly welcomed by SP supporters. /Hurriyet/

    [07] BABACAN VISITS TURKISH BATTALION IN KABUL

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan over the weekend visited a Turkish battalion and a children's home in Kabul as part of an official trip to Afghanistan. Babacan had lunch with Turkish troops in the battalion and also visited the city of Vardak, where he learned about the work of a Turkish development and construction team there from civilian coordinator Cuneyt Yavuzcan. The team works under the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA). "All assistance teams, including the United Nations, have left Vardak," Yavuzcan told Babacan. "Only the Turks remain. We will continue our work in the city, which is one of Afghanistan's poorest." He also said that 267 Afghans had been trained by Turkish police officers at a training center. Protected by Turkish security forces, Vardak carries great importance for Kabul's security. /Turkiye/

    [08] AFTER 17 YEARS, THY RESUMES FLIGHTS TO BAGHDAD

    Turkish Airlines (THY), one of Europe's fastest-growing airlines, has resumed flights to Baghdad after nearly two decades. The flights, suspended in 1991 due to the Gulf War, will now run three times a week between Istanbul and Baghdad. A plane carrying business leaders, reporters, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen, along with Turkish and Iraqi air passengers, left yesterday for Baghdad to attend a ceremony marking the renewal of service. Before leaving, Yildirim told reporters at Ataturk International Airport that the renewed THY service will do much to strengthen relations with Iraq. He also said that thanks to an agreement between the two countries, additional flights could be offered between other cities. For his part, Tuzmen said, "The restarted flights will help boost business relations between the two countries and also show that security in Iraq is starting to be restored." Touching on the rising tide of bilateral trade in recent years, Tuzmen also said that it would reach $5 billion by the end of this year, and could be $20 billion by 2011. /Sabah/

    [09] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [10] KURDS, OR KURDISHNESS?

    BY HASAN BULENT KAHRAMAN ( SABAH )

    Columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman comments on the concepts of Kurds and Kurdishness. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Today's question reflects a thorny domestic problem which we've been grappling with for nearly a quarter-century at every level. The problem in Turkey isn't about 'Kurds,' but 'Kurdishness.' This is a concept covering both Turks and Kurds. It's also the factor underlying what we're facing now and have faced in the past. Let me try to explain.

    It's sometimes difficult for members of a society's major ethnic group to co-exist with members of another group. Sometimes this tension results in a civil war or an undemocratic society developing. But even if the laws and social groups are largely shaped by the major ethnic group, other ethnic group members can culturally express themselves in different identities, providing that they accept those conditions. This is the most basic definition of the nation-state, in which the existence of other ethnic identities is accepted, even if there's a major ethnic identity, just like in Turkey. But the identity which is accepted isn't a political identity, but a cultural one. Whatever it refers to - Turkey's Lazes, Bosnians, Circassians, Azeris, etc. - it's more about private space and cultural identity.

    The other one is political identity. An identity defined by the state is always political. Turkishness is shaped not only as a cultural identity, but also as a political concept. Everybody can express their own ethnic identity both culturally and politically only in a political model which is different from (and more limited than) the nation-unitary state model (for example, federations or canton systems). This isn't easy, nor can it be applied to all the identities living and existing in a society. Obviously, even federal systems limit this concept. Although the US has a federal state structure, it hasn't provided different ethnic identities with federal autonomies. But different cultural identities can express themselves in the US ' social and public area, provided they aren't politicized.

    In Turkey, we can still ask a delayed question: What do the Kurds basically want? The answer to this isn't clear to the Kurds either. The only answer which is given - not only by Kurds, but by all of us - is 'the adoption of democratic rights.' As far as I can tell, here 'democratic rights' means accepting cultural characteristics (language, most importantly) outside political identity and belonging and allowing a life with them. This is where the critical question is shaped: What's the expression of this identity, 'Kurd' or 'Kurdishness'?

    The importance of this question is that it concerns not only Kurds, but also Turks. 'Kurd' isn't just a historical or sociological 'neutral' or 'inert' indicator. In today's world, it corresponds to Kurdishness with its Kurdish culture, language and other characteristics. An abstract definition of Kurd stripped of identity characteristics has no meaning. If there is a Kurd, he's there with his Kurdishness. It makes no sense for Turks to assert that we will coexist with Kurds, as of course no other option is thinkable. But the person to be lived with will be a Kurd with all his or her Kurdishness. Or if he's a Kurd who is accepted with his Kurdishness, coexisting with him would take on a democratic meaning. The Turks' and Kurds' sides in this matter are based on the same point: where the cultural and political extent of Kurdishness should be indicated openly. Of course, anything cultural is also political. We know this, but the discussion here is about the contradiction and interaction between the unitary state and a federal structure. In short, both sides have to know that they're talking about not Kurds, but Kurdishness, and the Kurds should move closer to cultural Kurdishness, and the Turks should also move closer to political Kurdishness. Democracy demands it!"


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