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Turkish Press Review, 09-05-13

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

13.05.2009

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT SILVA MEETS GUL
  • [02] RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONVENE IN ISTANBUL TO PROMOTE PEACE AND TOLERANCE
  • [03] ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH AZERBAIJAN 'S ALIYEV TODAY
  • [04] FM DAVUTOGLU: "OUR FOREIGN POLICY NO LONGER FOCUSES ON JUST ONE ISSUE, BUT IS WIDE-RANGING"
  • [05] BAYKAL CRITICIZES PUSH FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES
  • [06] MHP'S BAHCELI CALLS ON GUL TO EXPLAIN HIS REMARKS ON SOUTHEASTERN ISSUE
  • [07] CHINA'S GUO VISITS CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BASBUG
  • [08] FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS …
  • [09] CONSTITUTIONAL DANCE

  • [01] PORTUGUESE PRESIDENT SILVA MEETS GUL

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday met with his Portuguese counterpart Anibal Cavacu Silva at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. Afterwards, asked about recent statements by German and French leaders suggesting a "privileged partnership" for Turkey in lieu of full membership, Gul said, "The EU unanimously decided to open membership negotiations with Turkey. This was a binding decision for all member countries, and everyone is aware of this fact. We are determined to maintain the negotiation process." For his part, Silva said that Turkey and Portugal share much in common, adding that it took Portugal seven years to get into the EU, and that many countries had opposed its membership. "Turkey has many positive and strong sides. It must use these to get the European public on its side," he added. During the meeting, Gul decorated Silva with Turkey's State Medal of Merit. In return, Silva presented Gul the Grande Colar, Portugal's highest medal of merit. Gul also hosted a banquet for Silva, who delivered a speech to Parliament. /Milliyet-Cumhuriyet/

    [02] RELIGIOUS LEADERS CONVENE IN ISTANBUL TO PROMOTE PEACE AND TOLERANCE

    About 80 religious leaders and clerics from 42 countries yesterday gathered in Istanbul for the seventh Eurasian Islamic Council meeting, hosted by Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate, in a bid to promote the message that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance. Among those at the gathering were Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, State Minister for Religious Affairs Faruk Celik, Religious Affairs Directorate head Ali Bardakoglu, Kosovo Islamic Union President Naim Ternava, and the oldest member of the council, Russian Muslims' Center of Religious Administration head Safa Tacuttin. Speaking to the gathering, Erdogan said, "We cannot explain how a person who prostrates in worship of God can kill another person for any reason. This cannot be explained in any way." He added that Islam doesn't approve of violence or terrorism for any reason and that it is wrong to associate Islam with terrorism or terrorists. Stating that sectarian differences should not divide Muslims, Erdogan said, "Islam treats sects merely as manifestations of different opinions. If we take this any further, then we will find ourselves back in the religious conflicts of the past." Calling Islamophobia a crime against humanity, like anti-Semitism, Erdogan also said, "Any policy built upon Islamophobia is wrong and destructive. I am personally trying to make sure that international circles understand this." Erdogan also criticized Denmark over the 2005-2006 cartoon crises, saying, "We saw that the position that was taken in a so-called defense of freedom of speech in connection with the cartoon crisis, which amounted to an international crisis, served to hurt another culture. This did nothing but to create a fire out of a spark. If there were well-defined limits to freedom of speech, such tragic events would not happen. We must minimize historical prejudices or we will fail." /Turkiye/

    [03] ERDOGAN TO MEET WITH AZERBAIJAN 'S ALIYEV TODAY

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday traveled to Azerbaijan. Speaking to reporters before the trip, Erdogan said that Turkey will continue to defend Azerbaijan's interests. Stressing that there are no problems between Ankara and Baku, he added that reports to contrary trouble him. Afterwards, Erdogan was greeted by Azeri Deputy Prime Minister Abid Sharifov. Erdogan will meet today with President Ilham Aliyev and address the Azeri Parliament. /Sabah/

    [04] FM DAVUTOGLU: "OUR FOREIGN POLICY NO LONGER FOCUSES ON JUST ONE ISSUE, BUT IS WIDE-RANGING"

    Speaking to reporters after his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon in New York yesterday, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that they had discussed recent developments on Cyprus , Iraq , the Middle East, Afghanistan , Pakistan and the Caucasus . Stating that Turkey is no longer a country which focuses only one issue to the neglect of others, Davutoglu said the world now sees it as a country that can find a solution to every issue. "The Turkish Foreign Ministry is closely dealing with all issues and it has the necessary capacity and clout to do so," he said. During the meeting, Ban thanked Turkey for its growing contributions to global and regional peace. Davutoglu also addressed a UN Security Council session on the Middle East and Palestinian issue on Monday. Speaking to reporters after the session, Davutoglu said peace in the Middle East requires a comprehensive approach, which necessitates coordinated work for all the problems in the region, adding that all Palestinian groups should be part of talks aimed at peace. "We believe that success will come if there are coordinated efforts in all the processes " namely the Palestinian-Lebanon, Syrian-Israeli and even the Iraq process " as well as other issues that don't seem directly related to the Palestinian conflict," Davutoglu said. He added that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is still deplorable and urged immediate international efforts to meet Gazans' need for shelter, food, and medicine. On the sidelines of the Security Council session, Davutoglu also met with his Russian, French and British counterparts. The Security Council told Israel at the end of its meeting that the international community is demanding "urgent efforts" to create a separate Palestinian state and achieve an overall Middle East peace settlement. /Turkiye/

    [05] BAYKAL CRITICIZES PUSH FOR CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES

    Speaking to his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal spoke on President Abdullah Gul's recent remarks on the Kurdish issue. "The president was talking about a historical opportunity on the Kurdish issue. What is this historical opportunity?" he asked. He also criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) push for constitutional changes. In an apparent reference to changes on the presidency, he said, "Parliament has just changed the Constitution, and there is no need for more." /Aksam-Star/

    [06] MHP'S BAHCELI CALLS ON GUL TO EXPLAIN HIS REMARKS ON SOUTHEASTERN ISSUE

    Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli criticized President Abdullah Gul's recent remarks on the southeastern Anatolia issue. "The president said there is consensus within the state about a solution to the Kurdish issue," he said. "He should explain who they reached this consensus with. History demands it." Gul last week told journalists that Turkey's biggest problem is the Kurdish question. "Whether you call it a terror problem, a southeastern Anatolia problem or a Kurdish problem, this is the first question for Turkey. It has to be solved," he said. Gul also said progress should be made on the Kurdish issue. "Everybody is aware of the issue," he said. "First, a working understanding should be established. Everybody in the state is now talking to each other more frequently and openly. When I say everybody, I mean soldiers, civilians and the intelligence community. In such an atmosphere, good things happen. This is why I am saying improvements will take place. There is an opportunity, and it should not be missed." Bahceli also said his party is the only group that does not bow to external pressure when it comes to Turkey's fundamental issues. /Hurriyet/

    [07] CHINA'S GUO VISITS CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BASBUG

    Guo Boxiong, the vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, yesterday visited Chief of General Staff Gen. Ilker Basbug. During the meeting, Basbug and Guo discussed bilateral military relations. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS … FROM THE COLUMNS …

    [09] CONSTITUTIONAL DANCE

    BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on possible constitutional changes. A summary of his column is as follows:

    Turkey needs to make certain constitutional changes to continue its path to European Union membership. When our National Program was drawn up last year, then Foreign Minister Ali Babacan sought to meet with opposition party leaders to explain the program firsthand and request support for the legal and constitutional changes it requires.

    But neither main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal nor Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli would meet with Babacan. This situation raised tensions, and so Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan picked a fight with Baykal and the two leaders even refused to shake hands with each other. And of course the issue of constitutional changes was never discussed and was dropped. Today I'm talking about two important changes. One of them would give the position of ombudsman a constitutional status, because a law establishing an ombudsman was struck down by the Constitutional Court on the grounds that the Constitution makes no mention of it. The second issue is harmonizing with the Council of Europe's Venice Commission report about closing down political parties.

    Certain changes are needed, but they concern technical harmonization. But whenever such changes come up, other irrelevant proposals are made in order to sound out the opposition and ruling parties. And it happened again this time. But in light of what happened with failed changes on the headscarf issue and how this tension hurt the government, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party changed its stance on constitutional changes. In the past, the AK Party's strategy was to trigger public referendums on whatever changes it wanted.

    Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek announced the AK Party's new stance, saying it would seek a consensus with the CHP. Although this statement was reiterated and Erdogan even mentioned it, no answer has come from Baykal. But at his party's group meeting yesterday, Baykal said two proposed changes are indispensable, namely one clarifying parliamentary and presidential terms of office and another providing individuals the right to file petitions with the Constitutional Court .

    It seems Baykal isn't dead set against the rest of the proposed changes. Baykal may be responding to Erdogan's more conciliatory stance since the recent local elections and the Cabinet reshuffle. Now a commission will probably be set up at Parliament to look for a basis and consensus for the changes with the help of Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan. It is very important and noteworthy that our politicians took action to resolve this first important deadlock.”


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