|Sunday, 18 February 2018|
Turkish Press Review, 09-02-09
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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
 PRESIDENT GUL TO VISIT RUSSIAPresident Abdullah Gul will arrive in Moscow on Thursday for a four-day visit as the official guest of his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Gul will meet with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday and then will proceed to Tatarstan to meet with his Tatar counterpart Mintimer Shaimiev in Kazan. Gul's visit to Russia will be the first high- level visit between the two countries. /Cumhuriyet/
 GUL TELEPHONES SYRIA'S ASSADPresident Abdullah Gul yesterday telephoned his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad. The two discussed recent developments in the region and Palestine such as Gul's visit to Saudi Arabia and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' visit to Turkey, according to the Presidential Press Center. /Star/
 ERDOGAN STARTS AK PARTY CAMPAIGN FOR NEXT MONTH'S LOCAL ELECTIONSAt a mass weekend rally attended by thousands in Kocaeli, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan started his Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) campaign for local elections late next month. Addressing the rally, Erdogan accused the traditional secularist main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) of hypocrisy, pointing to recent CHP moves such as courting women wearing chadors and vowing to open Koran courses across the country. These are welcome developments, he said, but then cited how last year state prosecutors sought to close the AK Party last year over its push to lift the university headscarf ban. Alleging the presence of a double standard and accusing the CHP of vote-pandering, Erdogan said, "No doubt those who sought to close the AK Party are aware of the CHP's moves. In the elections, the public will give them what's coming to them." He also charged the CHP had raised tension and spread smears, adding that it has nothing to offer the people. /Sabah/
 BABACAN: "TURKEY AND ARMENIA HAVE A PLATFORM FOR DISCUSSING OUR PROBLEMS"Turkey is now engaged in its most important negotiations with Armenia since World War I, said Foreign Minister Ali Babacan over the weekend. At the 45th Munich Security Conference in Germany, Babacan told reporters that Turkey and Armenia have a platform to discuss their problems. Touching on his meeting on the sidelines of the conference with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his counterpart Edward Nalbandian, he added that they made progress towards normalizing relations, which he said was their goal. Pointing to the high-level US presence at the conference, he said it was probably the first forum for the Obama administration to express its views on foreign policy and security. Meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden, Babacan added, "We want to advance our relations in every area with the US as a friend and allied country." /Turkey/
 ABBAS: "DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST WAY TO BRIDGE THE PALESTINIAN DIVIDE"Speaking to a group of Turkish and Arab journalists at a dinner on Saturday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was in Ankara to hold talks with top Turkish officials on recent developments and the future of Middle East peace talks, said that he welcomes Turkey's efforts to restore peace and stability to the region and to pull Hamas to the center. Abbas said they plan to call elections by establishing a national unity government, adding that that Turkey also supports this. Stressing that Turkey treats all Palestinian groups equally and only wants to promote peace, Abbas said the only way to bridge the divide among the Palestinians is democracy. "If Hamas wins elections, we will hand power over it, but for Hamas, democracy means just one election," he said. "To Hamas, democracy means coming to power through elections and then being able to cancel everything you have. Now Hamas is avoiding early elections." He also said that a recent Arab League statement urging non-Arab countries not to intercede in the situation was not directed at Turkey. /Sabah/
 CHP'S BAYKAL TO VISIT BRUSSELSMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal will visit Brussels today and tomorrow as part of the party opening an office in the European Union administrative capital. Baykal will meet with EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, European Parliament Socialist Group head Martin Schulz and a number of MEPs. He will also deliver a speech as the guest of honor at the EP's Turkey's Friends Group, spearheaded by Britain's Labour Party, and will visit the European Policy Center. /Cumhuriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦ FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦
 THE CHP, HEADSCARVES, CHADORS AND RELIGIONBY HASAN BULENT KAHRAMAN (SABAH)
Columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman comments on the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). A summary of his column is as follows:
"Moves on the headscarf issue by the Republican People's Party (CHP) have spurred debate. For example, columnist Taha Akyol has compared these to the CHP's 'left of the center' move of the mid-'60s. The more conservative press supports this new stance, while Kemalist circles object to it. Of course, there are parallels to the 'left of the center' move, when the CHP tried to remake itself from a party of the state to one of the people. The CHP shifted its previous statist model to a more populist understanding.
But there are some key differences between now and then. First, the previous move, which cost the CHP votes in the 1965 and '69 elections, was built on a social and economic basis. Back then, the now-defunct Turkish Workers' Party (TIP) was its main competitor. So once the CHP opened itself to the left, there was another base it could draw on. But this approach only yielded fruit in the 1973 elections, following the 1971 coup. This success had a couple of reasons.
First, back then, the late Bulent Ecevit won credibility through his principled opposition to the March 12, 1971 memorandum (which brought the government down), and wrote extensively on this issue and held discussions in Parliament. What's more, he had the support of Ismet Inonu, the second president of the republic. But when Inonu supported the memorandum, Ecevit, who supported the concept of 'new democracy,' wouldn't change his mind and so Inonu abandoned him. When Ecevit again resisted and won over the party's base, the CHP's leftist character grew firmer.
Secondly, this concept wasn't based on arrogant CHP stances that only it is capable of bring leftism to the country. On the contrary, Ecevit toured villages and public squares and tried to bring the masses and the party together. Back then, the CHP wasn't a party which condescended towards the public.
With all this in mind, two things are different today. The new CHP stance, which is clearly right in its essence, has certain problems convincing the public. There's still the problem of trust. Secondly, this time the CHP is trying a more cultural transformation, rather than a leftist movement with more social and economic content. (One could argue that the headscarf issue is also a social problem, but I don't mean that.) While doing this, it strangely argues along the lines of 'if I do this, it would be right, but if others do so, it would be wrong.' Thus something which is almost like the Kemalist Koran courses emerges, which is the classical understanding of the CHP and a classical reflection of our secularism. The CHP might have taken a historically important step, but the important thing is to make it convincing. Otherwise it will lose twice over!"
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