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Turkish Press Review, 05-05-30

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

30.05.2005

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

CONTENTS

  • [01] GUL TRAVELS TO BAHRAIN
  • [02] ARINC IN CHICAGO ON LAST LEG OF US VISIT
  • [03] FRANCE REJECTS EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION
  • [04] 552ND ANNIVERSARY OF OTTOMAN CONQUEST OF ISTANBUL CELEBRATED
  • [05] US CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO VISIT TRNC
  • [06] FRIENDSHIP AWARDS GIVEN IN SOLINGEN
  • [07] TOBB SEEKS POST OF DEPUTY EU CHIEF NEGOTIATOR
  • [08] FRENCH BUSINESSMEN TO VISIT TURKEY
  • [09] CONSORTIUM WITH TURKISH FIRM WINS DUBAI METRO TENDER
  • [10] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
  • [11] THE FRENCH VOTE AND TURKEY BY FAIK OZTRAK (MILLIYET)
  • [12] LAICISM AND SECULARISM BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

  • [01] GUL TRAVELS TO BAHRAIN

    Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul yesterday arrived in Manama for talks with Bahraini officials. During his two-day visit, Gul is expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues. Speaking to reporters en route to Bahrain, Gul said Parliament would decide on the new Turkish Penal Code (TCK), set to come into effect this Wednesday. As a democratic country, he added, everybody in Turkey should respect Parliament’s decisions. Commenting on State Minister Ali Babacan’s recent appointment as chief negotiator for Turkey’s European Union accession talks, Gul said that he believed that Babacan would carry out the talks with great success. /Turkiye/

    [02] ARINC IN CHICAGO ON LAST LEG OF US VISIT

    Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, on the last two days of his trip to the US, on Saturday attended a dinner hosted by the Chicago Union League Club. Speaking to the gathering, Arinc spoke about Turkey’s recent reforms and his contacts in the country. Stressing that during the three-year rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey had taken great steps forward, Arinc said that recent reforms had improved Turkish citizens’ legal and democratic standards. He added that Turkish-US relations were very important and their cooperation in various areas would continue. /Star/

    [03] FRANCE REJECTS EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION

    In yesterday’s landmark French referendum on the proposed European Union constitution, the nays had it, by about 55% to 45%. After the results were announced, French President Jacques Chirac said, “France rejected the constitution. We should continue to work for a better Europe. This result will make it harder for France to defend its interests within the EU.” According to analysts, the French public rejected the constitution due to such factors as rising unemployment, a desire to protect social rights, and opposition to enlargement and Turkey’s EU membership. Meanwhile, EU Commission President Manuel Barroso said that the issue of the EU constitution was not yet closed and that everybody would work hard for the future of Europe. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said, “We can’t expect other countries to pay a price. I believe Turkey should become an EU member.” /Sabah/

    [04] 552ND ANNIVERSARY OF OTTOMAN CONQUEST OF ISTANBUL CELEBRATED

    The 552nd anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul by Fatih Sultan Mehmet yesterday was celebrated in the country with ceremonies. President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Deputy Speaker Nevzat Pakdil and other party leaders issued messages marking the occasion. /Milliyet/

    [05] US CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TO VISIT TRNC

    A delegation from the US House of Representatives Turkish Caucus is set to arrive in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) today for talks with President Mehmet Ali Talat, Foreign Minister Serdar Denktas and representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). After completing their contacts in the TRNC, the delegation led by Congressman Ed Whitfield will travel to Turkey to have talks with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok on Turkish-American relations. In related news, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told reporters that he welcomed the US delegation’s visit to the TRNC. /Turkiye/

    [06] FRIENDSHIP AWARDS GIVEN IN SOLINGEN

    Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal attended yesterday a friendship award ceremony in the German city of Solingen. The Turkish- German Friendship Federation handed out awards to help build a consensus against racism. Five relatives of the Genc family, which died after their house was set on fire by neo-Nazis in Solingen on May 29, 1993, were commemorated yesterday. Nearly 2,000 people attended the ceremony, including Baykal, former German President Johannes Rau, Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin, deputy CHP leader Onur Oymen, former Parliament Acting Speaker Yilmaz Ates, CHP Deputy Secretary-General Bihlul Tamayligil, Yozgat Deputy Emin Koc, Istanbul Deputy Ali Riza Gulcicek, True Path Party (DYP) deputy leader Nuzhet Kandemir, Solingen Mayor Franz Haug, North Rhine- Westphalia State Minister for the EU Wolfram Kuschke, members of the Turkish and German press, representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and political parties, artists, and Solingen residents. Rau won the federation’s award in the field of politics, renowned pianist Fazil Say won the award for art, badminton player Avni Kertmen was awarded for sports, businessman Mustafa Baklan got the business world award, and Faruk Sen received the award in the field of science and research. /Cumhuriyet/

    [07] TOBB SEEKS POST OF DEPUTY EU CHIEF NEGOTIATOR

    Turkish Union of Chamber of Stock Exchanges (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu yesterday requested that the duty of deputy European Union chief negotiator be given to the TOBB. Stating that the TOBB had delivered its request to Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, Hisarciklioglu said that Gul also agreed that the TOBB should be given an influential role in Turkey’s membership negotiations with the EU. /Cumhuriyet/

    [08] FRENCH BUSINESSMEN TO VISIT TURKEY

    Turkish-French Business Council Co-Chairman Aldo Kaslowski said yesterday that a French Businessmen and Industrialists Association (MEDEF International) delegation would visit Turkey with high-ranking French businessmen on June 12-14. Kaslowski added that the MEDEF International’s visit to Turkey was very important for Turkish-French relations. “The French business world’s support for Turkey’s EU membership negotiations and full membership will be renewed during MEDEF’s visit,” he added. /Hurriyet/

    [09] CONSORTIUM WITH TURKISH FIRM WINS DUBAI METRO TENDER

    A consortium including Turkish firm Yapi Merkezi Construction and Industry has won a tender to build the Dubai Metro in the United Arab Emirates. The metro is expected to be completed in five years and to cost $3.8 billion. The firm will also carry out the maintenance service for 15 years. /Hurriyet/

    [10] FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…

    [11] THE FRENCH VOTE AND TURKEY BY FAIK OZTRAK (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Faik Oztrak comments on the French vote on the European Union constitution and Turkey’s EU membership bid. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “The official results of the weekend’s French referendum on the European Union constitution will be announced today. Unfortunately, the latest polls predicted that the ‘no’ camp had won a resounding victory.

    France is one of the six leading and founding countries of the bloc. Moreover, a former French president was one of the guiding figures in the crafting of the EU constitution. But why aren’t the French supporting the constitution? The Union's constitutional treaty seems to some to impose sweeping changes. Yet in fact, most of its provisions come straight from the bloc’s founding agreements; in other words, they aren’t new at all. In addition, under the new treaty, France would have a stronger hand thanks to a number of changes in decision-making processes. I guess the French nation had a hard time accepting the handing-over of national sovereignty to a trans-national institution. It was easy for the World War II generation to accept this idea, but the new one is cold to the idea.

    The two most important factors behind the French reaction are perhaps Europe’s economic stagnation and its ever-rising unemployment. The old continent is having difficulties embracing new reforms to adapt itself to the new conditions set by a new global order. Where there is no economic growth, political decision-makers can’t sustain the social welfare state, a concept that the Europeans are very familiar with.

    Political analysts once argued that the bloc’s enlargement process would be a solution to these problems. However, unemployment rose even more after new countries joined the Union. Europeans are now fearful of losing their jobs due to cheap Polish and other Eastern European labor. This is also one of the most important reasons why most Europeans don’t want Turkey in.

    The Europeans have started to see both Brussels and the enlargement process as a threat to their own welfare. The process initiated by the French vote will continue with this Wednesday’s Dutch referendum and Germany’s early elections. Turkey is likely to face major bumps and shocks on the eve of its membership negotiations. Due to the French opposition, Brussels is being more cautious in evaluating our reform process. One of my concerns is whether Ankara is capable of resisting increasing pressure without losing sight of its ultimate goal, namely full membership.

    What we should do now is to avoid acting like the Europeans. In other words, we shouldn’t blame foreigners and their home countries for our own problems but instead try harder than ever to improve ourselves, reinforce our structural reforms and fiscal discipline, and avoid steps that could lead to political instability.”

    [12] LAICISM AND SECULARISM BY ERDAL SAFAK (SABAH)

    Columnist Erdak Safak comments on the increasing suggestions that Turkey should trade in its French “laicism” model for the Anglo-Saxon “secularism” model. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Are you aware that suggestions that Turkey should trade in its French laicism model for the Angolo-Saxon secularism model have started to rise? For example, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arýnc said in Chicago last week, ‘The understanding of secularism in the United States is more suitable to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.’

    Three days after this, Samuel Huntington, whose ideas do not carry very favorable connotations, said in Istanbul, ‘It’s time that Turkey should amend Ataturk’s doctrines.’ Before that, Zeyno Baran, who started to see her country from the viewpoint of American neoconservatives after starting to work in a think-tank in Washington, said at a symposium that ‘Turkey should change its rigid French model for the US model.’

    Parliament Constitutional Commission head Burhan Kuzu also said at a symposium in the United States that the time has come to adopt the Anglo- Saxon ‘secularism’ model. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also expressed similar ideas.

    However, in our opinion two questions must be answered on this subject: Is there really a ‘rigid’ French laicism model in Turkey? Are the claims that Turkey is turning to a ‘secular’ understanding true?

    In order to answer these questions, it will be useful to review French laicism, how it is applied in Turkey, and what Anglo-Saxon secularism is.

    French laicism, which is called ‘Jacobin,’ means that religion doesn’t interfere in the state, and the state doesn’t interfere in religion, and religion is removed from the public sphere.

    On the other hand, Anglo-Saxon secularism is based on the principle that the state is at an equal distance from all religions and beliefs. This means that the state is secular, but the organization of religious groups is unrestricted. The state’s responsibility is limited to not favoring a particular specific religion or sect, not interfering in their work, and creating a free atmosphere for their religious beliefs.

    According to these definitions, secularism in Turkey suits neither the one in France nor that in the United States.

    As a matter of fact, in the decisions of the Constitutional Court, it is stressed that secularism in Turkey is one of a kind.”

    ARCHIVE

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