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Turkish Press Review, 05-05-03

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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> e-mail : newspot@byegm.gov.tr <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning

03.05.2005

FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT, DISCUSSES MIDEAST PEACE EFFORTS
  • [02] GEN. OZKOK: “THE TURKISH ARMED FORCES FAVORS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP”
  • [03] SCHROEDER TO VISIT TURKEY
  • [04] IRAQI FM ZEBARI: “WE’LL NEED MORE TIME TO DEAL WITH THE PRESENCE OF PKK MILITANTS”
  • [05] ECHR TO RULE ON OCALAN NEXT WEEK
  • [06] MILITARY CHIEF TO TOUR ARAB COUNTRIES
  • [07] CONTROVERSY OVER CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CONTINUES
  • [08] HALACOGLU: “THE EFFORTS AGAINST ME ALSO TARGET TURKEY”
  • [09] WB’S VORKINK: “FOREIGN INVESTORS’ TRUST IN THE TURKISH ECONOMY EXCEEDS THAT OF TURKISH FIRMS”
  • [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...
  • [11] A NEW ERA FOR TURKISH-ISRAELI RELATIONS? BY DAVUT DURSUN (YENI SAFAK)
  • [12] UNNECESSARY TALK BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

  • [01] ERDOGAN MEETS WITH PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT, DISCUSSES MIDEAST PEACE EFFORTS

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, paying an official visit to Palestine following Israel, yesterday met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss bilateral relations and the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. During their meeting, Abbas said that he wanted Ankara to be a mediator to help the parties overcome their conflict. For his part, Erdogan said that Abbas should be able to halt terrorism and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had told him that Abbas should work harder to assert his authority and crack down on armed groups. Speaking at a joint press conference afterwards, Abbas reiterated that he wanted Turkey to be a mediator in the dispute. “The country which will mediate should have good relations with both Palestine and Israel, and this country is our ally Turkey,” he said. For his part, Erdogan said, “We have let it be known to both parties with whom we enjoy excellent relations that we are completely ready to do anything we can to contribute to peace. It’s up to the two parties to determine the type of assistance that we can provide and carry out.” Later, addressing a conference of businessmen, Erdogan reiterated that Ankara had responsibility to help the Israelis and Palestinians reach a settlement and that it wouldn’t shrink from doing so. After completing his contacts, Erdogan yesterday returned to Turkey. /Sabah/

    [02] GEN. OZKOK: “THE TURKISH ARMED FORCES FAVORS TURKEY’S EU MEMBERSHIP”

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok said yesterday that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was giving its support to Turkey’s efforts to become a European Union member. Speaking to Cizgi Otesi magazine, Ozkok said that the TSK had qualified staff ready to keep pace with rapid changes during the accession period. Stressing that becoming an EU member was a state policy and enjoyed the support of 75% of the citizens, Ozkok said all state institutions would work in harmony in the ongoing period. /Turkiye/

    [03] SCHROEDER TO VISIT TURKEY

    German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is due to arrive in Turkey today for a two-day official visit. During his stay in the country, Schroeder is expected to meet with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss a number of issues, including the so-called Armenian genocide, Cyprus, and Turkey’s European Union membership bid. During his contacts, Schroeder is expected to call for Turkey to give ground on the “genocide” issue and take steps on both the Kurdish problem and the nation’s EU membership bid. In related news, Turkish-German Chamber of Industry and Trade Chairman Kemal Sahin touted the chamber’s success, adding that it had exceeded expectations. /Cumhuriyet/

    [04] IRAQI FM ZEBARI: “WE’LL NEED MORE TIME TO DEAL WITH THE PRESENCE OF PKK MILITANTS”

    Appearing on news channel NTV yesterday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who attended the Iraq neighbors’ meeting in Istanbul over the weekend, said that his country needed more time to fight the PKK terrorist organization. “Iraq will need more time before it can deal with the presence of militants of the terrorist PKK taking shelter in the north of the country,” he said, adding that the new Iraqi government wouldn’t let foreign armed militants or armies operate within their own borders. “It’s not only the PKK, there are militants from Iranian dissident groups,” he said. “These were groups that Saddam Hussein welcomed. These are old polices, and the new government will not allow such forces against its neighbors.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [05] ECHR TO RULE ON OCALAN NEXT WEEK

    The European Court of Human Rights is expected to issue a verdict on May 12 that could pave the way for the retrial of imprisoned terrorist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Sources stated that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe will also have a say on whether Ocalan should be retried by Turkish judges if the court rules that his right to a free trial was violated. /Star/

    [06] MILITARY CHIEF TO TOUR ARAB COUNTRIES

    Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok yesterday left for a tour of Arab countries to pay official visits. Ozkok is set to begin his tour with the United Arab Emirates and later proceed to Yemen and Qatar. /Turkish Daily News/

    [07] CONTROVERSY OVER CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CONTINUES

    A controversy over Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc’s recent remark that Parliament had the legislative authority and the power to abolish the Constitutional Court grew yesterday due to an exchange of statements on the issue. Commenting on Arinc’s statements, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin said yesterday that respecting the rule of law necessitated maturity and understanding, noting that almost all European countries had a constitutional court of one type or another. “Like it or not, everybody needs to respect the decisions of the Constitutional Court,” added Bumin. On the other hand, speaking to reporters, Arinc said that apart from the first three articles of the Constitution, Parliament had the authority to change every constitutional article and make changes to the structure of the body. “There is no authority higher than Parliament. We’re given our legislative power by the people and we have no intention of sharing it with others,” said Arinc. Furthermore, visiting the top judge yesterday, opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal lent his support to Bumin. Warning that ongoing efforts to change the main state institutions and the nation’s Constitution could sow legal confusion and chaos, Baykal underlined that such efforts would harm the country’s peace and stability. “A country should not be constantly discussing its regime,” added Baykal. /Turkiye/

    [08] HALACOGLU: “THE EFFORTS AGAINST ME ALSO TARGET TURKEY”

    Commenting on the beginning of legal procedures against him in Switzerland, Turkish Historical Society (TTK) head Yusuf Halacoglu said yesterday that the attempt wasn’t directed at him alone, but also against Turkey. “This is an effort to convict Turkey,” he said. Stressing that he had delivered two separate speeches in Switzerland last year disproving the Armenian allegations using documents, Halacoglu said that that the action against him was inconsistent with law and democracy. On the other hand, Swiss Embassy officials in Ankara yesterday characterized a request by officials for Halacoglu’s personal information from Turkish authorities via Interpol as “a normal and ordinary procedure” in the context of the investigation. /Hurriyet/

    [09] WB’S VORKINK: “FOREIGN INVESTORS’ TRUST IN THE TURKISH ECONOMY EXCEEDS THAT OF TURKISH FIRMS”

    World Bank Turkey Director Andrew Vorkink said yesterday that foreign investors’ confidence in the Turkish economy was greater than that of Turkish firms, adding that this was a curious development. “As a result of Ankara getting a date from the European Union to begin its accession talks, foreign investors see Turkey as a European country,” he said. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Vorkink stated that he believed results of the recent Investment Consultation Council would be fruitful, adding that investments would begin to rise this year. Vorking further stated that multinational corporations in Turkey were closely watching the Turkish economy and politics and that these corporations were keeping an eye on developments in the international markets as well. /Milliyet/

    [10] FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...

    [11] A NEW ERA FOR TURKISH-ISRAELI RELATIONS? BY DAVUT DURSUN (YENI SAFAK)

    Columnist Davut Dursun comments on Turkish-Israeli relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Israel and Palestine this week is expected to yield positive results for the region. Israel seems to attach great importance to its relations with Turkey, as it is an isolated country which wants to ensure our support and friendship.

    Turkish-Israeli relations, in fact, go beyond bilateral contacts and ties between the two countries. Since Turkey’s relations with this country are considered an extension of its relations with the United States and Western countries, any problem with Israel is likely to affect our relations with the latter. As a matter of fact, one of the motives behind Erdogan’s visit is Washington’s pressure and demands. The US wants Turkey to have good relations with Israel.

    Turkish-Israeli relations have always followed an interesting course with alternating ups and downs. Turkey recognized Israel immediately after its establishment in 1948. Thus, Turkish-Arab relations have long been overshadowed by Turkey’s being the first Muslim country to officially accept the Israeli government.

    In addition, Turkey not only recognized the presence of the Israeli government, but also signed a trade agreement with it in an effort to boost its relations with Western countries. However, in 1964, when Turkey was left alone by its so-called Western allies in a United Nations vote on the Cyprus issue, but was fully supported by Islamic countries, Ankara finally recognized what a grave mistake it had made in its foreign policy. Our officials saw that the policy of trying to manage Turkey’s relations with other Muslim countries by taking the West as a reference point and positioning Ankara against Arabs in line with a Western perspective was both mistaken and useless. Ankara then diversified its foreign policy and started to forge cordial ties with Islamic and Eastern bloc countries. In the 1970s, in the other words, during the times of pro-Islamic governments which wanted to boost Ankara’s relations with Muslims, Israel was always a problem, a political hot potato. Therefore, Turkey always had to strive to maintain a balance between the two sides.

    1980 was an interesting year for both Turkey and Israel. Our government was overthrown by a military intervention, and Israel declared Jerusalem its ‘eternal capital.’ Despite loud protests at this from Islamic countries, the Turkish Foreign Ministry kept silent. On the other hand, Turkey decided to lower its level of diplomatic representation with Israel to charge d’affaires. The tenser Turkey’s relations with the West, the closer Ankara moved to the Islamic world. This has always been the pattern.

    In the 1990s, bilateral relations reached a peak and the two countries managed to maintain good relations in many areas. However, after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in late 2002, our two countries again experienced a chilly period, especially after Erdogan’s tough criticisms of Sharon’s violent campaign against the Palestinians. Therefore, this week’s visit to the region will be key for mending fences. Will Turkey be able to undertake new initiatives in the region thanks to this visit? Turkey can give up neither Israel nor Palestine, but it can greatly contribute to the development of the region. Can Turkey and Israel share common interests? Will this be a new era for Turkish-Israeli relations? Let’s wait and see…”

    [12] UNNECESSARY TALK BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)

    Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on the recent debate between Supreme Court Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin and Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc over the headscarf issue. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “A few days ago, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin made some remarks on the headscarf issue. He said that the Parliament didn’t have the authority to permit the use of headscarves at universities and state bodies, even if they made the required changes to the Constitution.

    I’ve previously written in this space that Bumin’s words weren’t entirely accurate, and that if necessary changes are made to the Constitution, the use of headscarves may be allowed in state buildings.

    But Bumin’s statement quickly became popular among the controversy-seeking media and politicians. Parliament Speaker Arinc was the last to weigh in.

    Unfortunately, Arinc is a politician who is often misunderstood, because whatever he says invites misunderstanding. This time Arinc asked, ‘Can’t the Parliament even abolish the Constitutional Court if it wants to?’

    Here comes another misunderstanding. A majority of the media interpreted Arinc’s words as: ‘We will abolish the Constitutional Court if necessary.’

    In fact, there was only some unnecessary talk, and nothing more.

    Let’s take it from the beginning… Our Constitution calls for the separation of state powers. The legislative, executive and judicial branches must exist together but work independently. These branches of power balance and oversee one another. According to the Constitution, none of these branches is superior to the others.

    However, some people tend to think that democracy merely consists of people electing new members to the Parliament. These people assume that the legislative branch is above the others, which is wrong.

    The Constitutional Court thinks that it’s the highest authority safeguarding secularism, and it reviews laws made by the Parliament in this manner.

    The Parliament actually has the authority to abolish the Constitutional Court, but first it needs to make the necessary changes in the Constitution, and this has never been easy.

    As a matter of fact, all this is nothing but hot air. And the people involved in this are the Constitutional Court’s top judge and the Parliament speaker, which is a shame.”

    ARCHIVE

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