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Turkish Press Review, 09-01-05

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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

05.01.2009

President Abdullah Gul yesterday received Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and several Foreign Ministry officials at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. During the meeting, Babacan briefed Gul about the recent situation in the Gaza Strip in the face of Israeli attacks and Turkey's stance on the issue as a regional country and non-permanent UN Security Council member. Turkey will reportedly step up its efforts to push for an immediate cease-fire and end to Israel's blockade on Gaza. For a lasting cease-fire, Turkey reportedly believes that an UN observer force, consisting mostly of Arabs, should be deployed on the border between Gaza and Israel, and this force should assume responsibility for border crossings and delivering humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza. Turkey reportedly also believes that the various Palestinian groups should end disputes among themselves, and Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries and the international community should take responsibility for the reconstruction of Gaza. Over the weekend, Gul also had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the situation in the region. Erdogan briefed Gul about his talks in regional countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to find a peaceful solution to the conflict. Gul and Erdogan are also expected to meet today to discuss the issue in detail. In related news, in a TV interview yesterday, Gul criticized indiscriminate Israeli attacks on Palestinians as "ruthless." Also a Foreign Ministry statement yesterday called Israel's ground operation on Gaza in the face of widespread international opposition "unacceptable." The Israeli airstrikes and ground operation were protested by thousands of people in demonstrations across Turkey and the world over the weekend. /Turkiye-Star/

CONTENTS

  • [01] IN ANTALYA, ERDOGAN LAMBASTES ISRAEL
  • [02] ERDOGAN CONTINUES EFFORTS TO HALT ISRAEL'S ATTACKS ON GAZA
  • [03] MHP ANNOUNCES MAYORAL CANDIDATES IN ANKARA
  • [04] SYRIAN FM DUE IN ANKARA TODAY
  • [05] LOCAL ELECTIONS AND UNEMPLOYMENT

  • [01] IN ANTALYA, ERDOGAN LAMBASTES ISRAEL

    Israel's use of disproportionate force will cause a humanitarian crisis, warned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. In Antalya, Erdogan stated, "This humanitarian drama will condemn Israel to many internal difficulties." Erdogan said that Turkey is a responsible country and added, "We will calculate the steps we'll take. We have to make our diplomatic efforts non-emotionally. Then Turkey will do what is appropriate in its historical mission." /Cumhuriyet/

    [02] ERDOGAN CONTINUES EFFORTS TO HALT ISRAEL'S ATTACKS ON GAZA

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday telephoned his Czech counterpart Mirek Topolanek, whose country just took over the rotating term presidency of the European Union from France, as part of his diplomatic efforts to halt Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip. Following his three-day Middle East tour including Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Erdogan also telephoned French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Spanish counterpart and Alliance of Civilizations Co-Chair Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, calling on them to actively engage in international efforts to halt Israel's attacks in Gaza. /Star/

    [03] MHP ANNOUNCES MAYORAL CANDIDATES IN ANKARA

    Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday attended a ceremony announcing his party's mayoral candidates for this March's local elections. Speaking at Ankara's Anadolu Show and Congress Center, Bahceli criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its media allies and called on those who want to serve the country. In related news, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Secretary-General Mehmet Sevigen announced Cemil Eksi as the CHP mayoral candidate for Istanbul's Tuzla district. /Milliyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [04] SYRIAN FM DUE IN ANKARA TODAY

    Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem is set to pay a one-day visit to Ankara today at invitation of his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan. The two top diplomats will discuss recent developments in the region, including Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip. Afterwards, Muallem will meet separately with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. /Aksam/

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

    [05] LOCAL ELECTIONS AND UNEMPLOYMENT

    BY HURSIT GUNES (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Hursit Gunes comments on the local elections set for March. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "Local elections will be held on March 29. All parties will do their best to flex their muscles in this election. The effect of the economic crisis will have a major impact.

    Of course the government is the sole party responsible for the current crisis, due to its bad economic policies, as Turkey's economy began to decline long before the global crisis. Moreover, it has been affected more than other states. And because of this, the ruling party should lose votes. But there's a possibility that these losses will be limited.

    Let's come to the reasons. Worldwide, the basic factor making up voters' minds is unemployment. Here, unemployment seems set to surge this summer " in other words, after the elections. But none of the opposition parties are making enough of the issue. If they did, they could win more votes.

    Secondly, all the opposition parties have failed to form a serious alternative to the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) years-long municipal rule in big cities, even though the AKP has gotten exhausted over this span of time.

    Indeed, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) has a very successful tradition in local administration (although it hasn't capitalized on this). Both in the '70s and '80s, it had major accomplishments. But we have seen little made of this on the eve of elections.

    Another issue is the candidates. The AKP has announced its candidates. The Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) candidates have never come forward. The candidates of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) will be chosen by its partisans. But votes for both parties are quite militant. This means who runs isn't so important.

    Meanwhile, CHP voters, as they are relatively well educated, don't act in lockstep. Who runs has great importance. That's why the CHP is in bind. It has taken good steps in both Ankara and Izmir. By not changing the current mayor in Izmir, it said, 'We have been successful here.' In Ankara, it proposed a legendary name from the past, Murat Karayalcin. This choice was a real turning point for CHP leader Deniz Baykal. He gave the message that he's ready to do anything to promote the party's success. But, after that, the CHP should find new figures for the capital.

    In Adana, the main opposition party is rumored to favor Umit Ozgumus. Following the AKP's dismissal of Aytac Durak, the CHP seems set to rise in the city. The CHP administration has recently had a hard time finding a candidate for Istanbul. Baykal has made many attempts but couldn't find a candidate that satisfies him. Istanbul is very important. As Ercan Karakas says, 'First Istanbul, than Turkey.'

    The CHP has three names for Istanbul. One of them is provincial Chairman Gursel Tekin, along with " although he doesn't want it " the honest, hardworking Kemal Kilicdaroglu, and finally former State Minister Ercan Karakas. Kilicdaroglu may be a wonderful name, but during the campaign instead of general policies, talking about Istanbul may be more effective. In addition, I never welcome a mayoral candidate from Parliament. Perhaps to emphasize unity on the left, Karakas may be the best figure.

    During this election, the candidates should talk about local ventures, while opposition parties are focusing on the economic crisis. Otherwise, the AKP can add another five years to its 15 years ruling local administrations."


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