|Tuesday, 21 January 2020|
Turkish Press Review, 07-05-28
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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
 ERDOGAN PLEDGES HOUSING HELP TO FAMILIES OF FALLEN SOLDIERSWith the July 22 general elections looming, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend attended a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Sivas. Also attending the ribbon-cutting of facilities built by the Turkish Housing Development Administration (TOKI), Erdogan pledged to provide houses for the families of families of fallen soldiers with a 10% down payment and interest-free loans over 20 years. Also touching on the presidential election system, Erdogan said, "The Turkish Republic belongs to the people as an institution, not to any one person. Hopefully the people will sooner or later elect their own president as part of a democratic, secular, social state of law." Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting in Sivas, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told how previous presidents were elected, and added, "Cankaya will belong to the people." Last month a legal challenge by the opposition party derailed Gul's being elected president in Parliament. After calling for early general elections, the AKP also proposed changing the Constitution to move to popular election of the president. /Sabah/
 PARTY LEADERS TRADE JABS AT TOBB CONGRESSThe Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) yesterday held its congress in Ankara with the leaders of political parties in attendance. TOBB Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu, in his opening remarks, said that Turkey's democratic, secular and social rule of law could not be a subject for debate. Concerning the recently aborted presidential election, Hisarciklioglu said that Turkey, as a whole, failed that test, adding that the Parliament emerging from July's elections should draft a new constitution since the current one has outlived its usefulness. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gave a speech criticizing the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), saying that those who seek sovereignty elsewhere would pay the price on July 22. This will be the most important election for the future of the country, said the premier. He added that whichever party can maintain stability should be the winner. Also addressing the gathering, Democrat Party (DP) leader Mehmet Agar decried continued unemployment and the problems of small- and medium-size enterprises, accusing Erdogan of distorting economic figures. Speaking at the meeting, CHP leader Deniz Baykal jabbed back at the premier, saying that he had started a debate over secularism and accusing him of failing to seek consensus in selecting the AKP's presidential candidate. /Milliyet/
 AFTER PRESIDENTIAL VETO, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PACKAGE FACES NEW VOTEThe ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is determined this week to re-send a vetoed constitutional amendment package back to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer without any changes. Debate of the package in Parliament's Constitutional Commission ended yesterday, and first round of voting is set to be held today in the full Parliament. The package proposes electing presidents by popular vote for five-year terms with a chance of reelection, reducing the tenure of Parliament to four years instead of the current five, and lowering the parliamentary quorum to elect a president from 367 to 184. President Sezer has the authority to put the package to a public referendum. /Turkiye/
 AIRSPACE VIOLATION B.Y AMERICAN F-16s CAUSES STIRAs Turkey is pressing harder for a cross-border operation into northern Iraq, something the US has consistently opposed, airspace violations by two US warplanes have caused a stir. In the incident, which occurred in Hakkari's Uzumlu region last Thursday, two US F-16 jets violated Turkish airspace. The region in question is near the border with Iraq, which terrorists have been infiltrating to commit deadly attacks. The Air Force Command informed the General Staff about the incident, and the General Staff told the Foreign Ministry that necessary steps should be taken. The two US F-16 jets violated Turkish airspace for four minutes, according to the official General Staff website. US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson said that the planes had violated Turkish airspace by mistake. Foreign Ministry officials said that they would ask US officials for an explanation. /Aksam/
 17 PARTIES ON BALLOTS FOR JULY POLLSThe order of 17 political parties on ballots in July's general elections was determined yesterday by the drawing of lots. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will be the number 13 choice on the ballot, and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will be fifth. Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) Chairman Muamamer Aydin said that the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), which recently merged to become the Democrat Party (DP), had not officially applied and that necessary arrangements would be made before the ballots are published. /Hurriyet/
 DYP BECOMES DEMOCRAT PARTYDuring its second ordinary general congress yesterday, the True Path Party (DYP), established by Suleyman Demirel 25 years ago, officially changed its name to the Democrat Party (DP). Speaking at the gathering, DP leader Mehmet Agar charged that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) were polarizing the people, adding that the DP would seek to unite Turkey. The Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) will convene its congress next week to join the DP. ANAVATAN officials including party leader Erkan Mumcu were also present at yesterday's DP congress. /Turkiye/
 AKIN AWARDED BEST SCREENPLAY IN CANNESTurkish director Fatih Akin yesterday was honored with the best screenplay award at the 60th Cannes Film Festival for his new movie "The Edge of Heaven." /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 CROSSING INTO IRAQBY YILMAZ OZTUNA (TURKIYE)
"The terrorist PKK was behind last week's deadly bombing in Ankara's Ulus shopping district, but this time I think that it was an indirect party to the attack. It seems certain that it was (northern Iraqi Kurdish region leader) Massoud Barzani who gave the order. I don't know if there is someone behind him.
Who is Barzani? He is one of the two leaders of the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq. He determinedly advocates Kurdish union, and his aim is an independent Kurdistan.
The biggest obstacle to a state of 'Kurdistan' is Turkey. In March 2003, when Turkey's Parliament rejected a motion for Turkish troops to go into Iraq for the Iraq war, both Barzani and Talabani said that this would help the foundation of a Kurdish state.
US support is needed in order to establish such a state, otherwise it will never happen. The US is Turkey's ally. Although its desire to be a strategic ally hasn't gotten a positive response, the alliance is continuing. Since 1952, Turkey has had the second-largest armed forces in NATO, following the US.
Barzani's most important hope is that Turkish and US soldiers come to loggerheads and take up arms against each other. Then Kurdistan's independence will be certain. If this happen, the world's balance will shift. If there is a rift within NATO, all of the world's balances will change. No country in the world, including Turkey, could benefit from coming at odds with a superpower like the US. Stressing this is a requirement of modern nationalism.
Turkey wouldn't benefit from shifting balances. Even if it spends $100 billion to cross into Iraq, this would be wasted effort. It's clear that the terrorist PKK would leave northern Iraq and fade away before our army even enters the country.
Then we'd face protests from the entire world. No state would support Turkey's Iraq operation. Let's do everything to combat the PKK in Turkey. War is a disaster and should be considered only as a last resort."
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