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Turkish Press Review, 09-02-18

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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

18.02.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN STUMPS FOR AKP CANDIDATES IN KIRIKKALE
  • [02] CONSTITUTIONAL PACKAGE CENTERS ON PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES
  • [03] TURKISH FRIGATE HEADED TO GULF OF ADEN TO FIGHT PIRACY
  • [04] DEFENSE MINISTER GONUL IN POLAND FOR NATO MEETING
  • [05] CHP'S BAYKAL SLAMS AK PARTY ECONOMIC POLICY
  • [06] TUZMEN PREDICTS DOUBLED TURKISH-SYRIAN TRADE WITHIN 5 YEARS
  • [07] ACTOR OZCAN PASSES AWAY
  • [08] THE KURDISH ISSUE WITHOUT THE PKK

  • [01] ERDOGAN STUMPS FOR AKP CANDIDATES IN KIRIKKALE

    Stumping for Justice and Development Party (AK Party) candidates for local elections late next month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke to a campaign rally in the central Anatolian province of Kirikkale. Again accusing opposition parties of basing their campaigns on smears and baseless claims, Erdogan told a crowd of thousands, "If you have any evidence of corruption involving the government or AK Party mayors, you should go to the legal system, not spread smears. Turkey is a country ruled by law, and such smear campaigns accomplish nothing." Charging that opposition leaders are avoiding holding rallies despite the looming polls, Erdogan said, "The nation has the right and authority to make a choice. You should come to the people and promote your policies and projects to serve them, if you have any. But instead your campaigns are based on slander." Erdogan also accused some media outlets of complicity in the smears. Stressing that his party's books are fully transparent, Erdogan said the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had been convicted by the Constitutional Court of misusing Treasury aid to the party. Erdogan added that his party would seek justice in the courts against the purported smears. Accusing the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) of trying to monopolize patriotism, Erdogan said, "Patriotism isn't a matter of words but instead of working to serve the people. We don't talk about patriotism but carry out projects to serve the people." Rejecting ethnic discrimination, Erdogan said Turkish citizenship is an inseparable unity. /Turkiye/

    [02] CONSTITUTIONAL PACKAGE CENTERS ON PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has prepared a package of constitutional changes focused on Parliament, in such areas as proposing and debating bills, the length of parliamentary sessions, quorums, investigations of the prime minister or other Cabinet ministers, and budget debates. The package also proposes a public referendum on those changes. /Star/

    [03] TURKISH FRIGATE HEADED TO GULF OF ADEN TO FIGHT PIRACY

    A Turkish warship set sail yesterday from the Aksaz naval base on the Aegean coast to Somalia as part of a UN-led force to prevent pirates from hijacking foreign ships. Flying the Turkish flag in the region as part of the fight against piracy will be a source of honor, Staff Col. Cenk Dalkanat, who commands the TCG Giresun, said at a ceremony before the ship set sail. "The Giresun stands ready to fulfill the duties assigned to it using modern arms and systems, and will participate in the operation with 263 crew members … whose hearts are full of love for their country and their mission," he added. At the ceremony, many wives and children of the crew were full of emotion and pride at the departure of their loved ones. Last week Parliament approved a government motion allowing Turkey to deploy naval forces for the operation. The motion entails a one-year limit for the deployment in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, where more than a dozen commercial vessels have been hijacked by pirates. In 2008, pirates attacked 111 ships in the waterway, hijacking 42 of them and receiving tens of millions of dollars in ransoms. Three of these vessels were Turkish cargo ships. /Sabah/

    [04] DEFENSE MINISTER GONUL IN POLAND FOR NATO MEETING

    Defense ministers of 26 NATO member countries are convening in Krakow, Poland today. Turkey will be represented by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul at the two-day meeting, during which the officials will discuss issues such as the defense planning, military operations, and nuclear planning. They will also work on a declaration on alliance security. /Hurriyet Daily News/

    [05] CHP'S BAYKAL SLAMS AK PARTY ECONOMIC POLICY

    Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal lambasted ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) economic policies, including its handling of unemployment. Stating that Turkey has become a haven for corruption, Baykal also criticized the government stance on the court case against the Lighthouse Foundation, a German-based charity run by Turks. In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli criticized both the AK Party and the CHP at his party's parliamentary group meeting, saying they were using each other to threaten the Turkish nation. /Hurriyet-Milliyet/

    [06] TUZMEN PREDICTS DOUBLED TURKISH-SYRIAN TRADE WITHIN 5 YEARS

    This year's trade volume between Turkey and Syria is expected to reach $2.5 billion, said State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen yesterday. Speaking at a Turkish-Syrian Business Forum in Damascus, Tuzmen said that after last year's $2 billion trade volume, Turkey and Syria should see this volume grow to $5 billion within the next five years. /Today's Zaman/

    [07] ACTOR OZCAN PASSES AWAY

    Prominent stage actor Gazanfer Ozcan passed away yesterday at the age of 78. Ozcan had been undergoing treatment at Istanbul's American Hospital since late last month. /Cumhuriyet/

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

    [08] THE KURDISH ISSUE WITHOUT THE PKK

    BY NAGEHAN ALCI (AKSAM)

    Columnist Nagehan Alci comments on the Kurdish issue. A summary of her column is as follows:

    "Some people have tried to solve Kurdish issue through bombs, violence and blood, but they failed. The issue has never been helped by terrorism. That's why steps taken this week in Erbil are very important for breaking this unfortunate vicious cycle.

    Nearly 200 Turks and Kurds from Turkey and Iraq congregated in Iraq's Kurdish region on Sunday and Monday to discuss many issues, including language, politics, emotions, reason, etc. during the 18th meeting of the Abant Platform. Here's some background to the meeting:

    1) Kurds from Iraq and Turkey came together in the Kurdish region of Iraq. The meeting of the both sides particularly in Erbil was a significant first step.

    2) It was also significant that Turkey's Consul General to Mosul Huseyin Avni Botsali came to the meeting and made one of the opening speeches, which shows that the Turkish state supports this initiative.

    3) The government was unable to send representatives for various reasons, but it's known that the meeting is an important initiative between northern Iraq and Turkey, so the consul general's presence was important.

    4) The northern Iraqi administration must be disturbed by its deputies' not attending it, because their prime minister, Nechirvan Barzani, was expected to make the opening speech, but he didn't come. Scheduling conflicts were blamed, but it's an interesting coincidence that this coincided with the deputies' absence.

    5) The Abant Platform tried to organize a meeting on the Kurdish issue in Diyarbakir last summer, but then canceled it due to the threat of the terrorist PKK. Now organizing an event in Erbil is a challenge to the group. The Barzani government is tackling this challenge. It's important to understand the PKK's position. It's very disturbed by being excluded from efforts for dialogue, so it's trying to hinder the process, and that's why it warned Kurdish intellectuals not to go to Erbil. But it's clear that these obstructionist efforts came to nothing.

    Consequently, people who think hard about the Kurdish issue in Turkey put forth new ideas on the issue under Barzani's auspices. What's more, they did it on February 15, the anniversary of terrorist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan being taken into custody in Turkey. When the PKK was issuing provocations in Turkey, a significant answer came from Erbil from Kurds who decry this. Even this much is a very important sign that some things are changing in the region."


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