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Turkish Press Review, 08-10-28
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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
28.10.2008FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 GUL: "THE SYSTEM FOR APPOINTING RECTORS SHOULD BE CHANGED"Addressing a meeting yesterday in Ankara, coinciding with the release of a Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) and European University Association (EUA) report on higher education in Turkey, President Abdullah Gul said that he was ready to relinquish his authority to appoint university rectors. "The current method of rector appointments should be revised," he explained. "It creates huge problems at universities. We know how this issue is handled in developed countries. Such issues shouldn't be left to the authorization of the president. I'd like to state that I am ready to turn over my authority to appoint university rectors to more appropriate institutions." Urging universities to adopt a more flexible management structure and competitive atmosphere, Gul said that making sure universities benefit Turkey should be a priority. He also said that university budgets should not be limited to funds allocated from the general budget, but instead should be autonomous and produce their own performance criteria and funds, as well as communicate with Turkey's economic and business community. Also speaking at the meeting, TUSIAD head Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag said that universities' decision-making process should be improved, with autonomy tempered by accountability. Board of Higher Education (YOK) head Yusuf Ziya Özcan decried how Turkey has too few universities to accommodate the high school graduates who want to further their education. But recently, he added, the situation has improved, as universities used to have room for only one in four graduates, but this year that changed to one in two. /Hurriyet/
 PRESIDENT GUL SET TO CHAIR EU MEETINGPresident Abdullah Gul will chair a meeting today at the Cankaya Presidential Palace to discuss Turkish-EU relations. Attending the meeting will be Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, members of Parliament's Harmonization Commission, and other Foreign Ministry and Secretariat-General for EU Affairs officials. /Cumhuriyet/
 ERDOGAN TO VISIT NEW YORK, WASHINGTON NEXT MONTHPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will reportedly visit the US on Nov. 12. Erdogan is expected to hold a reception in New York to celebrate Turkey winning its bid for a non-permanent seat on the 15-member UN Security Council. Afterwards, he will proceed to Washington to attend a D-20 meeting. /Cumhuriyet/
 CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BRIEFS CABINET ON TERRORISMAt a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday, Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug gave his first briefing to the group on the fight against terrorism. Afterwards, government spokesperson and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek told reporters that terrorism is the biggest issue facing Turkey, and added, "Today's meeting was extremely useful for reviewing anti-terrorist measures and discussing additional measures." Cicek said that Basbug's briefing was done in line with Article 117 of the Constitution. Cicek said that all institutions of the Turkish state share the same determination to fight terrorism, rebuffing claims that some institutions have a different view. /Cumhuriyet/
 GEN. KOSANER DENIES MILITARY SHORTCOMINGS CONTRIBUTED TO LOSSES IN AKTUTUN ATTACKAt a press conference at the General Staff yesterday, Land Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner firmly denied that military shortcomings had contributed to the losses in last month's terrorist attack on a military outpost in Aktutun, Hakkari, which left 17 soldiers dead. Citing the findings of an investigation following the attack, said, "Military units positioned in (the area) completed their mission with superior courage and defended their positions at the risk of their own lives." The top commander added that the terrorists were unable to even retrieve corpses during the attack, which he characterized as a near suicide attack. /Hurriyet/
 PRIME MINISTRY TO HOST ANTI-TORTURE AND MISTREATMENT SUMMITThe Prime Ministry's Human Rights Chairmanship is set to hold a meeting this week to assess a recent rise in allegations of torture and mistreatment. Also set to be present are Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Parliament's Foreign Affairs Commission head Murat Mercan, and Omer Atalar, a member of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture. /Aksam/
 UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT HOLDS TALKS IN ANKARAUkrainian President Viktor Yushchenko yesterday arrived in Ankara as the official guest of his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. Yushchenko first met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Prime Ministry, with Energy Minister Hilmi Guler also in attendance. The gathering addressed problems in transporting Russian natural gas to Turkey via Ukraine. Afterwards, Yushchenko met with Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, and then was received by Gul at the Cankaya Palace. At a joint press conference, Gul said Turkey supports NATO offering membership to Ukraine. For his part, Yushchenko suggested cooperation on space research. /Star-Milliyet/
 PARRIS: "JUST BECAUSE HE'S NOT BUSH, THE NEXT US PRESIDENT WILL BE MORE POPULAR AMONG TURKS"President George W. Bush is leaving Turkish-US relations worse than he found them, according to former US Ambassador to Turkey Mark Paris, now a counselor to the Brookings Institution's Turkey Project. In his article "Common Values and Common Interests? The Bush Legacy in US-Turkish Relations," Paris wrote, "The burden of responsibility for what has been the most problematic six years in US-Turkish relations since the Cyprus crisis of the 1970s lies with Washington." He added that the next president will get a bounce in Turkish public opinion just by not being Bush. /Aksam/
 CB GOVERNOR: "TURKEY DOESN'T NEED AN IMF DEAL RIGHT NOW"Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz said yesterday that although Turkey is currently facing a serious US dollar liquidity problem, it doesn't need a new International Monetary Fund deal. Speaking to reporters during a meeting in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) to introduce the Turkish lira, Yilmaz added that due to prevailing uncertainty, new regulations would help to restore market confidence, saying that this is a political decision which is up to the government. Speaking about the recent rise in exchange rates, Yilmaz said such fluctuations are possible under Turkey's floating exchange regime, adding that the market, not the CB, set currency rates. He also advised people to use liras in their transactions and savings to protect themselves from possible risks. /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 A GRAVE MISTAKEBY GUNERI CIVAOGLU (MILLIYET)
Columnist Guneri Civaoglu comments on the importance of the Constitutional Court and the National Security Council (NSC). A summary of his column is as follows:
"Besides the legislative and judicial branches, the Constitutional Court and National Security Council (NSC) are also important for the operation of democracy. These two institutions, which were added to the system 30 years after the republic was founded and 15 years after multiparty democracy began, act as safety valves. The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has intervened in democracy mostly with words, but sometimes with actions. The legitimate way for the TSK to express its political thoughts and concerns - the NSC - was introduced by the 1961 Constitution, thus setting a permanent atmosphere of dialogue between the TSK and the ruling parties. But the years since saw one coup as well as an influential memorandum. Anyway, if the NSC hadn't existed, our democracy may well have suffered more problems. The NSC helps to defuse tension between the TSK and the ruling parties.
The Constitutional Court should also be looked at from this point of view. It's a barrier to ruling parties believing they can do anything they want if they have enough votes. Populists trying to curb the Constitutional Court's authority should ask themselves why it was introduced into the system. Young people who don't know this should also look into it. Let's review: The then ruling Democrat Party (DP) violated the Constitution's principle of the separation of powers by setting up an "inquiry board" within Parliament to work like the judicial branch. This commission, which was condemned by newspapers, had only DP members serving on it. It used to grill dissenters and raid newspapers and magazines which questioned or opposed it. It usurped the judicial branch's authority. The DTP also set up a 'home front,' and state radio announced thousands of people joining this 'front' every day. Turkey found itself caught in the claws of this commission and the home front. If the Constitutional Court had existed back then, it could have stopped these clear violations of the Constitution and democracy. These were the main reasons put forth for the May 1960 coup.
Claims that the Constitutional Court can hear only procedural cases, not ones involving substantial issues, as well as proposals to change the Constitution to curb the court's powers should be considered carefully. If the Constitution's unalterable provisions are changed by this or subsequent Parliaments, how will the system be able to protect itself? Wouldn't democracy be defenseless? No institution should be exempt from judicial review. Under democracies' principle of the separation of powers, of course the legislative branch should be subject to judicial branch review. So it would be a grave mistake to leave the Constitution's unalterable provisions unprotected. The national will doesn't manifest itself only in the legislative branch, but in the three institutions which use this will on behalf of the nation. We should not try to leave democracy defenseless, but instead should promote a new, civilian Constitution."
TO OUR READERS: In observance of Wednesday, Oct. 29, Republic Day, the Turkish Press Review will not appear tomorrow. Please rejoin us on Thursday.
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