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Turkish Press Review, 08-11-13

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

13.11.2008

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL TO ATTEND ENERGY SUMMIT IN BAKU
  • [02] IN IZMIR, ITALY'S BERLUSCONI REITERATES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY'S EU BID
  • [03] ERDOGAN: "TURKEY WANTS TO BE MEDIATE BETWEEN IRAN AND THE NEW OBAMA ADMINISTRATION"
  • [04] BABACAN METS WITH ALGERIAN FM MEDELCI
  • [05] OPPOSITION PARTIES BLAST KILIC FOR REMARKS ON CONSTITUTION
  • [06] BASBUG WELCOMED IN IZMIR
  • [07] ZACHAU PRAISES ECONOMIC INDICATORS IN TURKEY
  • [08] PARLIAMENT TO HOLD MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR LAST VETERAN OF WAR OF INDEPENDENCE
  • [09] ALEVIS SEEKING THEIR RIGHTS

  • [01] GUL TO ATTEND ENERGY SUMMIT IN BAKU

    President Abdullah Gul, accompanied by Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler, is set to fly to Baku today to attend an energy summit at the invitation of his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. During the summit, set to focus on energy projects in the region, Gul and Guler are expected to speak about Turkey's push to strengthen energy cooperation. Gul also yesterday received US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson, whose tenure in Turkey is set to end soon, and new Bahraini Ambassador to Ankara Yousif Al Abdallah. Wilson bid farewell to Gul, while Abdallah presented his letter of credentials to the president. President Gul yesterday also received Li Conjun, the head of China's Xinhua News Agency, along with Anatolia News Agency head Hilmi Bengi. During the meeting, Gul said he was pleased with the cooperation between Xinhua and Anatolia. Touching on trade between the two countries, Gul also said the trade imbalance could be solved through better promotion of Turkish goods in China. /Turkiye/

    [02] IN IZMIR, ITALY'S BERLUSCONI REITERATES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY'S EU BID

    A Turkish-Italian intergovernmental meeting was held in Izmir yesterday, co- chaired by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi. "Italy has always supported Turkey's EU membership bid, and that support continues," Erdogan told a joint press conference afterwards. Erdogan also stated that Turkey and Italy had reached a deal on Atak helicopters. For his part, Berlusconi said, "Some countries try to block Turkey's negotiations, but we'll always underline Turkey's strategic importance and we'll convince them." In related news, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini signed an agreement to establish a Turkish-Italian university in Istanbul. /Milliyet/

    [03] ERDOGAN: "TURKEY WANTS TO BE MEDIATE BETWEEN IRAN AND THE NEW OBAMA ADMINISTRATION"

    Turkey wants to be mediate between the new Obama administration and Iran, using its growing role in the Middle East to bridge the divide between East and West, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the New York Times in an interview published yesterday. "Our principle in foreign policy is we're against earning enemies," he added. Pointing to last week's US historic election of Barack Obama as president, Erdogan stated that it offered a chance for the US to regain the trust of the world and reclaim "an image that's been lost." Erdogan said that the US had "declared certain values firmly at the start of the 21st century," but that "not only did they not advance, they stepped backward." He added, "For me, it's very important to put these values into practice." /Sabah/

    [04] BABACAN METS WITH ALGERIAN FM MEDELCI

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday met with his Algerian counterpart Mourad Medelci, who is on an official visit to Turkey. Afterwards, Babacan told a joint press conference that Turkey's more active diplomatic efforts for peace in the Caucasus will continue, including an upcoming visit to Azerbaijan, adding, "Russia has to make contributions to help normalize Azerbaijani-Armenian relations." Citing a meeting early this month in Russia to help solve problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia, he added that Turkey supports such initiatives. Speaking about recent Turkish-Armenian relations and Turkey's proposal for a Caucasus stability and cooperation platform, he stated that his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian will be in Istanbul in two weeks when Armenia ceremonially takes over the presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). For his part, Medelci said that Turkey's relations with Algeria are based on principles of sharing, friendship and brotherhood. /Turkiye-Star/

    [05] OPPOSITION PARTIES BLAST KILIC FOR REMARKS ON CONSTITUTION

    Opposition parties yesterday blasted Constitutional Court head Hasim Kilic over recent remarks saying that the first four articles of the Constitution, which are unalterable, could be open to discussion. Akif Hamzacelebi and Mustafa Ozyurek, deputies of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), and Democratic Left Party (DSP) Deputy Harun Ozturk criticized the top court's head for the remarks. Ozturk said, "Our state's founding philosophy is being secular, social, democrat and under the rule of law. Its regime is a republic, its language is Turkish, and its capital is Ankara." It is beyond comprehension why anyone is bothered by these principles, he added, saying that questioning these basic matters cannot benefit Turkey. In addition, Constitutional Court Deputy head Osman Paksut said that he assumed Kilic's remarks represented his personal views, and the members of the court had not been aware of them. /Hurriyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [06] BASBUG WELCOMED IN IZMIR

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug was enthusiastically welcomed in the Aegean city of Izmir yesterday, where together with several other commanders, he held a series of talks with provincial officials. Basbug was greeted by a crowd of people as he left Izmir Governor Cahit Kirac's office after a brief meeting. "We are with our people," Basbug told locals who welcomed him. "Izmir has a very different atmosphere. I am happy to be here." Asked by a local man if he would visit the city more often, he said he would. "I've always been delighted to be in Izmir," he said. "I will come here more often. This is how the Turkish military is. When you look at the military, you see yourselves. We are you and you are us." /Turkiye/

    [07] ZACHAU PRAISES ECONOMIC INDICATORS IN TURKEY

    Commenting on the impact of the global economic crisis on Turkey, World Bank Turkey Director Ulrich Zachau yesterday praised Turkey's economy and its reforms, saying that its economic indicators are very good. "Turkey's financial system and banks are in good condition thanks to the successful reforms of recent years," he said. "With these sure-footed economic reforms and policies, Turkey reduced its public debt below 40 percent. This is the success of those fiscal and economic policies. Also, health care system reform will make remarkable contributions to the economy in the long term." Urging Turkey to protect itself from the crisis using strong, well-designed policies and measures against risks, Zazhau said, "If Turkey continues its economic reforms, it can be more resistant and there will be no problem meeting external financing needs." He also predicted that next year Turkey will get some $13-$15 billion in foreign investment. /Turkiye/

    [08] PARLIAMENT TO HOLD MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR LAST VETERAN OF WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

    Parliament will hold a memorial service today for Mustafa Sekip Birgol, the last veteran of the War of Independence, who died on Tuesday at the age of 105. Birgol will be laid to rest tomorrow in Istanbul after a state funeral with the participation of top military and civilian officials. /Hurriyet/

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

    [09] ALEVIS SEEKING THEIR RIGHTS

    BY HASAN BULENT KAHRAMAN (SABAH)

    Columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman comments on obligatory religion courses at schools and the relationship between the state and religion. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Last weekend Turkey discussed the Kurdish issue and saw other developments. Alevis held a large demonstration in Ankara to voice their demands. Meanwhile, a declaration signed by many people was published. Addressing Turkey's Council of State and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the declaration calls for the elimination of obligatory religion courses from school curriculums. Such demands recently made by Alevis in terms of their cultural identities show that we'll see more discussion of such issues in the months to come. This January, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) met with Alevis as part of the Fast of Muharram, but later the Alevis said the AKP didn't have what they wanted.

    Both the longstanding Kurdish issue and the developing Alevi issue have built their cases on the concept of democratic rights. Here democratic rights clearly means accepting the right of cultural identity. In other words, as the cultural positions defined by the nation-state when state policies were first formulated seem to fall short in the era of the 'soft' nation-state, various sectors are now looking for ways to express their own characteristics related to identity. The abstract expression of their characteristics satisfies no one, and so naturally they want the ways and areas needed for that expression laid down. For example, the Alevis focus on a few key points.

    In sum, the Alevis want to worship in line with their beliefs and for their children to be exempted from religion courses dominated by Sunni beliefs. Both of these should have been done long ago. Despite the failure to do this and national and international rulings on the issue of obligatory religion courses, the government has inexplicably dragged its feet on this. The government should have long ago removed obligatory religion courses from the curriculum. But it didn't. In addition, it shouldn't have limited itself to the obligatory courses. As I've been arguing, religion, and religious education and practices, should be left to communities.

    We know how people might argue against this. They cite a basic principle of the republic, namely, the state's control over religion. Some people think that if the practice of religion is left to communities, our future would be anti-secular. At this point, we should look at France, where there are no obligatory religion courses, and religious education is out of the school's hands. The same system could be applied in Turkey without any harm. In addition, this would contribute to the recognition of cultural identities and expanding democratic rights. The practice of religion should be completely left up to communities, with the state confined to basic regulations. Arguing the opposite means the bureaucracy seeking to keep control of everything in Turkey, which is exactly what we're experiencing. A subtle and meaningful detail here is that religion suits all the ruling parties, though everybody complains about the bureaucracy dealing with religion. Then shouldn't we ask: Who are we really ruled by?"


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