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Turkish Press Review, 02-11-08
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> <map name="FPMap1"> </map> <map name="FPMap1"></map> Press & Information Turkish Press Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
08.11.2002FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 SEZER RECEIVES ERDOGAN, BAYKALPresident Ahmet Necdet Sezer yesterday received separately at the Cankaya Presidential Palace the leaders of the two parties due to enter Parliament following last Sunday’s general elections. After a 35-minute meeting, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that the president had congratulated both him and his party for their success in the elections. “The president expressed his best wishes regarding a new era in Turkey under one-party rule and a single opposition party in Parliament,” said Erdogan. “We vowed to cooperate with the opposition party and other parties outside Parliament, as well as non- governmental organizations [NGOs] during our term in office.” In response to a question, the AKP leader stated that the matter of who might become the next prime minister had not been discussed during his talk with Sezer. Following his meeting with Erdogan, Sezer received Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal. For his part, Baykal said that he pledged to the president to cooperate with the incoming government in helping to tackle Turkey’s problems. /All Papers/
 ILDEM: “SEZER WILL APPOINT A PRIME MINISTER AFTER CONSULTING WITH THE AKP”Following meetings yesterday with Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, President Ahment Necdet Sezer issued a statement through his Chief Advisor Tacan Ildem. In the statement, Sezer said that last Sunday’s elections had reflected the nation’s will and that everyone should respect this. Stressing his satisfaction that the AKP and CHP would work together to address Turkey’s urgent issues, particularly its European Union membership bid, Sezer stated, for his part, that he would also do whatever he could to promote the bid. Answering reporters’ questions, Ildem said that the president would act in line with his authority as laid out in the Constitution, but would be in contact with the AKP before making an appointment to the prime ministry. Ildem added that Sezer would have bilateral meetings with the EU member countries’ heads of state during a NATO summit in Prague on Nov. 20-22 and would pay a working visit to Germany on Nov. 26-27. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN PLEDGES NEW GOVERNMENT WILL MAKE FURTHER REFORMS FOR DEMOCRATIZATIONSpeaking to the European Union member state ambassadors at a banquet in Ankara earlier this week, Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that the incoming AKP government was determined to make new reforms for further democratization and advancement of human rights. Though currently unable to lead the new government, Erdogan is widely expected to have a pivotal influence on its policies. Reiterating to the ambassadors that Turkey expected to get a date at the EU’s Copenhagen summit next month for its membership negotiations, Erdogan pledged the AKP government would take further steps for Turkey’s EU membership bid and summarized his party’s plans on the issue in a nine-item list: 1) Turkey’s Constitution will be amended in the light of the European Convention of Human Rights. 2) Rights and freedoms concerning religious matters and freedom of expression will be enhanced. 3) The Law on Political Parties and the Elections Law will be changed. 4) The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights will be immediately put into practice. 5) Every possible measure will be taken in order to completely eliminate torture and end impunity for perpetrators. 6) New reforms will be enacted in order to facilitate the activities of Turkish and foreign associations and foundations in the country. 7) New regulations will be formulated in order to make it easier for religious foundations to purchase real estate. 8) A European Union Commission will be set up within the Parliament to coordinate all of these reforms. 9) Turkey will sign and ratify all the international conventions on human rights. /Cumhuriyet/
 BAYKAL SUGGESTS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTSRepublican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal, leader of the sole opposition party in the incoming Parliament, yesterday stated that Turkey’s constitution should be amended so as to annul provisions concerning political crimes. “Political crimes should not be considered a threat against the state,” said Baykal. “Politicians should not be banned from politics. I believe that this issue should be discussed within a constitutional reform package also including the abolition of political immunity [from criminal prosecution] and the reduction of the government’s term from five years to four.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, leader of the Justice and Development Party which will single-handedly make up Turkey’s new government, is currently barred from holding political office. /Hurriyet/
 PEARSON MEETS WITH AKP LEADER ERDOGANUnited States Ambassador to Turkey Robert Pearson met yesterday with Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. During their talks, Pearson conveyed US President George W. Bush’s congratulations for the victory of Erdogan’s party in Turkey’s general elections earlier this week. Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Pearson said that the US stood by Turkey’s efforts to get a date from the European Union to start membership negotiations. He added that the US supported Turkey in a number of issues such as carrying out democratic reforms and attacking corruption. “Turkey has a new leadership and a new spirit now, and the US is ready to work with the new AKP government,” stated Pearson. “We will try to create new opportunities with the AKP government in order to better the Turkish nation’s standards of living.” Asked about US plans concerning an Iraq operation, Pearson said that US foreign policy was to work with the United Nations. /Star/
 SIMITIS: “THE EU SHOULD GIVE A POSITIVE MESSAGE TO TURKEY AT COPENHAGEN”Speaking to reporters after meeting with French President Jacques Chirac yesterday, Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis said that Greece was ready to support Turkey during the European Union’s summit in Copenhagen to be held next month. Simitis stated that the meeting would focus on a number of issues such as expansion of the EU, a possible United States operation in Iraq, Turkey’s relations with the EU, and also the Cyprus problem. Simitis also stated that the EU should give a positive message to Turkey at Copenhagen. He added that he would soon meet with Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but that no date had yet been set. /Turkiye/
 NETHERLANDS AND GERMANY TO JOINTLY TAKE OVER ISAF COMMAND FROM TURKEYGerman government spokesman Bela Anda yesterday officially confirmed what had been rumored for months, that the German and Dutch governments have decided to jointly take over the command of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, a force currently led by Turkey. “The Netherlands and Germany are ready to take over the ISAF command and to begin national and international preparations for this mission,” said Anda. Turkey’s six-month command is due to expire in January, and transition to the joint command should begin next month, he added. /Star/
 IRAQ: “WE ARE READY TO COOPERATE WITH THE AKP GOVERNMENT”In an interview yesterday with Turkey’s Ihlas News Agency, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yasin Ramazan said that Iraq respected the Turkish people’s will as expressed in its recent elections. “It’s not so important which party, but one-party government will be beneficial for Turkey, as it needs stability,” said Ramazan. “I hope that the new government will serve the interests of Turkey, which has good relations with Iraq. In my opinion, a Turkish government supporting the US and cooperating with it on an Iraqi operation wouldn’t serve Turkey’s interests.” Ramazan added that Iraq was willing to improve its relations with Turkey, including bilateral economic relations. /Turkiye/
 IMF: “THERE MAY BE SMALL CHANGES IN THE ECONOMIC PROGRAM”Speaking at a press conference in Washington yesterday, International Monetary Fund External Relations Director Tom Dawson said that it was natural that minor adjustments in Turkey’s economic program might be made since a new government would soon be coming into office. Dawson also said that the IMF looked forward to working with the new Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, adding that Turkey’s markets had reacted positively to last Sunday’s election results. “It is clear that the new government is determined to continue the nation’s current economic program,” said Dawson. “We are pleased that the AKP has declared its support for Turkey’s current economic program, but there may be small changes, which is very natural.” /Milliyet/
 TOBB CHAIRMAN: “ERDOGAN AND BAYKAL SHOULD TOUR EUROPEAN CAPITALS TOGETHER TO PROMOTE TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP BID”Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu said yesterday that Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal should travel European capitals together to urge EU leaders to extend to Turkey a date at next month’s Copenhagen summit for its accession talks. Hisarciklioglu stressed that Turkey should speed up implementing political reforms in the leadup to the summit. He also stated that the Cyprus issue played a key role in Turkish-EU relations and that a settlement on the island was urgently needed. “Any solution to the Cyprus issue which both parties don’t agree on can’t last for long,” said Hisarciklioglu. “That’s why a permanent solution must be sustainable and reflect the realities of the island.” /Hurriyet/
 TURKISH CONDUCTOR WINS FIRST PRIZE IN ATHENSTurkish conductor Alpaslan Ertungealp, 33, this week added another garland to his list of honors with his first-place win at an international music competition in Athens. Over 200 musicians from 40 countries worldwide competed in the competition, which is held every three years in the memory of famous Greek conductor Dimitris Mitropoulos. /Aksam/
 FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 A SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY BY MUSTAFA BALBAY(CUMHURIYET)Columnist Mustafa Balbay comments on the situation of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP). A summary of his column is as follows:
“After the first dust clouds settled in the days following this Sunday’s elections, small clues have begun to emerge about how the upcoming period will be shaped.
1. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader is looking like one of those fabrics that changes its color depending on the light. He looks different depending on the side you’re looking from. It’s unnecessary to go into details right now but Erdogan’s comments, which to the public look extremely moderate and compromising, are understood very well at his party’s base.
2. Erdogan’s comments on the European Union seems aimed at people who are looking for Turkey’s future in this region but who don’t care for Erdogan. Steps taken in this direction won’t hurt Turkey. However, it seems that Erdogan is making more effort than is really necessary in order to gain acceptance in the West. Time will tell if these efforts are directed at Turkey’s EU membership, or if they are actually meant to make the EU accept Erdogan and his party.
3. We can evaluate his start concerning the Cyprus issue in light of the above interpretation. He tried to solve the Cyprus problem by establishing contact with Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis without receiving information from the government organs, without knowing the background of developments there, and even before the elections. What sort of diplomacy is this?
4. If the AKP places more importance on filling government offices with its members than serving the nation, then things will change. If the AKP spoils its poised posture, the AKP and the entire country will suffer.
5. The AKP’s only opposition in Parliament will be the Republican People’s Party (CHP). CHP leader Deniz Baykal’s line was, ‘We shouldn’t be on the side creating tension.’ Baykal is aware of the tension that the AKP’s power could bring to the agenda. ‘There are universities and the judiciary, and we can guess what they can do there,’ he said. ‘But it wouldn’t suit us to say that you will do this-and-that. In such a situation, we can oppose.’ Such an approach can be considered natural at this stage. However, if their relations go further and close cooperation with the AKP continues, the following question comes to one’s mind: ‘Is this government really an AKP- CHP coalition?’
6. The last sentence of the above item is a very critical threshold. While trying not to be the side which creates tension, the CHP should yet not be the side giving carte blanche to the AKP. The CHP should keep in mind why many people voted for it. In this respect, the public gave the government a certain measure of ‘power credit’ for a period of time, and meanwhile it gave the CHP an ‘opposition credit.’ Even if Erdogan cannot become prime minister, he will be accepted as the ‘leader of the power.’ If Baykal draws up a good strategy, he will have the title of the ‘opposition leader’ and he will thus lay the groundwork for the next elections.
7. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer will be one of the closest followers of the AKP’s operations. We can evaluate this as a separate insurance policy. Sezer’s greatest independence is that he doesn’t carry a heavy political burden. Sezer welcomed the leaders of power and opposition yesterday and by treating Erdogan and Baykal equally, he gave a unique message!
8. The AKP has a very serious responsibility now. They have enjoyed praise both at home and abroad since the election. Instead of issuing praise, we prefer to voice our concerns and point out what is lacking.”
 COOPERATION SHOULD BE TURKISH POLITICS’ NEW LEITMOTIF BY FERAI TINC (HURRIYET)Columnist Ferai Tinc comments on Turkey’s new political outlook and chances for cooperation between the two parties which will make up Parliament following this Sunday’s general elections. A summary of her column is as follows:
“We have been witnessing very interesting developments since this Sunday’s elections. The victorious Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in spite of his controversial legal status, has been quite successful in having himself recognized in both Turkey and the international community as his party’s undisputed leader. This, in turn, owes much to the AKP’s compromising and reassuring stance. A strong leadership in the AKP will gradually prove a guarantee for fulfillment of the party’s responsibilities vis-à-vis society without giving an opportunity to create domestic political tensions.
The discrepancy between Erdogan’s legal status and his actual position, discussions on who the next prime minister will be, and the question marks in people’s minds about the AKP concerning whether or not it’s a ‘Trojan Horse’ could all distract us from one very important point: the crucial part to be played by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) on the political stage in the days to come. If Turkey really wants to make that great leap which it has been long waiting for, the CHP’s role must not be limited to being a mere opposition party in Parliament. Both the AKP and the CHP must try to find ways of cooperating as if they were partners of a coalition government. Indeed, CHP leader Baykal’s recent meeting with Erdogan and yesterday’s meeting of both leaders with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer all pointed to cooperation being the leitmotif of the new era in Turkish politics.
Baykal has indicated that the CHP is ready to fully cooperate with the AKP in matters awaiting urgent solution. Therefore, the CHP must be given the chance to actively contribute to formulating policies in such areas as Turkey’s EU membership bid, relations with Greece, Russia and the Caucasus, as well as the conflict in the Middle East, with the party’s prominent figures seasoned in foreign affairs.
Such cooperation between the two parties would do much to re-establish Turkey’s trust in politics and politicians. But if the AKP chooses to turn its back to the opposition party and rule solely on its own, the civil and military bureaucracy will again be pushed to the foreground in Turkey’s political scene, a situation that nobody wants to ever face again.
The Turkish nation, together with both its government and opposition, is for the first time demonstrating a resolved and determined stance on its EU membership bid. This could be a historical opportunity for Turkey to work things out with the EU. Let’s all hope that we don’t pass it up.”
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