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Turkish Press Review, 09-02-19

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

19.02.2009


CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN RECEIVES VISITING CROATIAN PM
  • [02] US CONGRESSMAN WEXLER MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN
  • [03] SPECIAL ENVOY TO IRAQ OZCELIK MEETS WITH TALABANI
  • [04] SYRIA'S ASSAD: "THE MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS IS UNIMAGINABLE WITHOUT TURKEY"
  • [05] AMBASSADOR JEFFREY: "TURKISH-US COOPERATION WILL CONTINUE"
  • [06] SIMSEK: "TURKEY EXPECTS A NEW APPROACH FROM THE IMF"
  • [07] OUR NEED FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION

  • [01] ERDOGAN RECEIVES VISITING CROATIAN PM

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday met with his Croatian counterpart Ivo Sanader at the Prime Ministry. Afterwards, asked at a joint press conference whether the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel will hold without the release of a captured Israeli soldier, Erdogan said Hamas rejects any link between the two issues. "Turkey is ready to engage in peace efforts, but only if it is asked," he added. Erdoğan also cast doubt on the credibility of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's account of the runup to Israel's attack in Gaza starting late last year. "You (Olmert) first say you didn't know about the operation and then you say you're not supposed to let other leaders know," said Erdogan, referring to Olmert's visit to Turkey in December, when he made no mention of the impending attack. "Can one say this statement is credible? Such statements create problems of trust for the future." /Star/

    [02] US CONGRESSMAN WEXLER MEETS WITH GUL, ERDOGAN

    US Congressman Robert Wexler, the co-chair of Congress' Turkey Caucasus, yesterday was received by President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Afterwards, Wexler stressed that the US and Turkey can work together to provide peace and welfare. Asked whether Turkish-Israeli relations were discussed at the meeting, Wexler said, "Our countries have high-level cooperation on issues such as Iraq, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and the Middle East peace process." He added, "I have no doubt that these relations will continue to go well. Developing them is the best path. The US believes in their importance." Asked about Turkish-Armenian relations, Wexler praised Gul's efforts in this area, saying, "The US Congress should also focus on successful normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia." /Milliyet/

    [03] SPECIAL ENVOY TO IRAQ OZCELIK MEETS WITH TALABANI

    Turkey's Special Envoy to Iraq Murat Ozcelik yesterday met with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. The two discussed subjects such as a possible visit by President Abdullah Gul next week and the tripartite counter- terrorist mechanism between Turkey, the US and Iraq. Talabani also conveyed a message to Gul saying that Turkey and Iraq are two important countries in the region and also strategic partners. "Nobody, not even the terrorist PKK, can ruin this partnership," it added. In related news, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan visited Aleppo as part of his visit to Syria, and saw Aleppo University. /Hurriyet/

    [04] SYRIA'S ASSAD: "THE MIDEAST PEACE PROCESS IS UNIMAGINABLE WITHOUT TURKEY"

    On the last day of his official visit to Syria with a large business delegation, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen was received yesterday by Syrian President Bashar Assad and Prime Minister Naji al-Otri in Damascus. Meeting with Tuzmen, Assad said trade ties between Turkey and Syria are growing, adding that he hopes they come up to the level of bilateral political relations. "The Middle East peace process is unthinkable without Turkey. Without Turkey, the process will come to nothing," he said, thanking Turkey for its efforts for peace in the region. Turkey has mediated peace talks in Istanbul between Syria and Israel. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Tuzmen said, "President Assad has made important contributions to Turkish-Syrian relations. Mutual high-level visits are important for boosting the bilateral trade volume to $5 billion over the next three years." He added, "President Assad suggested that meetings to promote a compromise between some Arab countries and Palestinians should take place in Istanbul." As one outcome of the visit, Turkish vehicles carrying goods to Syria will no longer have to pay a border toll of $250, effectively cutting Turkish firms' transportation costs by 30 percent. Commenting on this decision during his meeting with Syrian Finance Minister Muhammad al-Husayn, Tuzmen said it will help cushion the impact of the global economic crisis on bilateral trade. Tuzmen said vehicles carrying transit goods should also be exempt from the toll, which would help Turkey's trade with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iraq. /Sabah/

    [05] AMBASSADOR JEFFREY: "TURKISH-US COOPERATION WILL CONTINUE"

    Turkish-US cooperation will definitely continue under the Obama administration, said US Ambassador to Ankara James Jeffrey yesterday. At a breakfast in Ankara given in his honor by the Turkish-American Businessmen's Association, Jeffrey said that Obama had stressed the continuing cooperation in phone conversations with both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Jeffrey stressed the importance of this cooperation particularly during the economic crisis, and said that a new deal with the International Monetary Fund would benefit Turkey. Jeffrey said that Turkey was very attractive for foreign investors and underlined the importance of energy cooperation. He said that the US was proud to be Turkey's partner, adding, "I'm also very proud to be here today." /Cumhuriyet/

    [06] SIMSEK: "TURKEY EXPECTS A NEW APPROACH FROM THE IMF"

    Speaking at a meeting yesterday on an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report on Turkey's healthcare system, State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said that the nation has made great progress in this area. "There are many things we can learn from international healthcare policies. At the same time, there are many countries that can learn from Turkey's experience," Simsek said. Turkey provides excellent healthcare at very affordable prices compared to many other countries, he said. Asked whether a new deal with the International Monetary Fund would be delayed until after local elections late next month, Simsek said, "We expect the IMF to bring a new perspective to issues we put forth earlier. We're at least expecting them to declare their views. I believe this will be discussed in a few days." Talks with the Fund were paused after the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos late last month, but both sides expressed expectations that a new loan agreement would be signed soon. Stressing that Turkey has a great potential to boost its national income, Simsek said that the country's revenue administration would be strengthened through various reforms in the years to come. On the impact of the global economic crisis, Simsek said that all countries have felt the crisis, adding that the government has taken all necessary measures against the crisis and will continue to do so. The government has a very strategic approach to the crisis, directed at particular goals in light of Turkey's capabilities, and meant to protect general economic stability, he said. /Turkiye-Sabah/

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

    [07] OUR NEED FOR A NEW CONSTITUTION

    BY MUSTAFA ERDOGAN (STAR)

    Columnist Mustafa Erdogan argues that Turkey needs a new constitution. A summary of his column is as follows:

    "People have long said that our country needs a new civilian constitution. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also touched on this issue last week, saying it would be discussed in April, after the local elections. There's a general public belief that we need a new constitution.

    Advocates for a new constitution aren't just liberal-democratic intellectuals, but also supporters of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and other parties, and those aligned to no party. In addition, we can hope that the Democratic Society Party (DTP) and the Kurds support this initiative. In spite of this broad support, it's clear there could be considerable opposition to the idea.

    In fact, everybody should remember the strong resistance to a draft prepared by constitutional law Professor Ergun Ozbudun. Obviously, the AK Party's failure to take a firm stance on this hasn't helped things. I mention this because I would like to stress how difficult the initiative may be. But does this difficulty mean we should abandon the effort? I say no. On the contrary, Turkey urgently needs a civilian constitution, one which would concretize liberal-democratic principles, rules and institutions, because:

    1. Turkey lacks a liberal-democratic understanding of the legitimacy of the political regime based on both the people and the law. The main reference of legitimacy is the official ideology in this regime. But this is a de facto situation for Turkey and also has a constitutional basis. So we urgently need a new constitution which would base the political regime's legitimacy on the people and universal law.

    2. Nearly all our regime problems stem from this understanding of an ideological constitution. As the last few years have again confirmed, the resistance to efforts at liberalization and democratization draws its greatest strength from references to the official ideology. This has nothing to do with whether the references made to this ideology, which is defined as Kemalism, are sincere or not. It's also not about properly understanding the Kemalist way of thinking. The issue is that the unquestionable character of the state ideology grants immunity to those who try to guarantee the unchangeable character of the status quo.

    3. The same official ideology is the basic baseline of certain institutions of the current regime, which are painted as the requirement of so-called pluralism but actually are reflections of an understanding which supports guardianship. Every time these institutions take the liberty to place the democratic process under guardianship, they legitimize this stance by referring to the official ideology. Likewise, a corporatist philosophy which was integrated with the official ideology makes it easier for certain organized sectors to be clamped together around the state " in other words, the status quo " against all sorts of pressure for change.

    Consequently, besides other oft-cited reasons which might come to mind, the reasons I mentioned today are enough to show Turkey's need for a new constitution."


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