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Turkish Press Review, 07-05-29

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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

29.05.2007

FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

CONTENTS

  • [01] ERDOGAN RECEIVES TURKISH-SPEAKING FOREIGN STUDENTS, US CONGRESSMEN
  • [02] PARLIAMENT APPROVES FIRST ROUND OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES
  • [03] US’ WILSON: “THE AIRSPACE VIOLATION WAS AN ACCIDENT”
  • [04] TURKISH DELEGATION MEETS WITH IRAQI DEPUTY PM
  • [05] TURKEY TO TAKE COMMAND IN KOSOVO
  • [06] TURKEY-EU TROIKA TO CONVENE NEXT WEEK
  • [07] SARKOZY: “WE’LL DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU BID IN DECEMBER”
  • [08] EASTERN FLOODS DELUGE VILLAGES, KILL 10
  • [09] COULD GUL HAVE BECOME PRESIDENT?

  • [01] ERDOGAN RECEIVES TURKISH-SPEAKING FOREIGN STUDENTS, US CONGRESSMEN

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday received some 600 students from foreign schools in over 100 different countries being educated in Turkish. Speaking with the pupils, who are in Turkey to attend the Fifth Turkish Olympics, Erdogan said that he was proud to see them speak Turkish so well, adding that the spread of the Turkish tongue worldwide would be a momentous development. The premier also met with US congressmen on a visit to Turkey. Speaking to reporters afterwards, Representative Ed Whitfield and Senator Benjamin Nelson said that they had talked with Erdogan about the presence of the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq, the so-called Armenian genocide resolution before the US Congress, and Turkey’s European Union membership bid, as well as Germany and France’s stance towards it. The Cyprus issue was also taken up, they added. Moreover, the congressmen stated that they expected more concrete steps from the US administration against the terrorist PKK, adding that they had not encouraged Ankara to take a cross-border military operation into northern Iraq. /Turkiye/

    [02] PARLIAMENT APPROVES FIRST ROUND OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES

    The first round of debate on a package of constitutional amendments to allow popular election of the president along with other changes, which was sent back to Parliament last week by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer after his veto, concluded yesterday. Parliament again approved the changes, and a second round of debate on further changes is expected to be held on Thursday. /Sabah/

    [03] US’ WILSON: “THE AIRSPACE VIOLATION WAS AN ACCIDENT”

    US Ambassador to Ankara Ross Wilson said yesterday that an airspace violation last week by US jets in Hakkari was an accident due to pilot error. In addition, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul told reporters that the Foreign Ministry would take up the matter after they are fully informed by the General Staff about the incident. Gul also stated that from time to time such violations can happen in border areas. /Milliyet/

    [04] TURKISH DELEGATION MEETS WITH IRAQI DEPUTY PM

    A delegation led by Turkey’s Special Iraq Envoy Ambassador Oguz Celikkol, currently in Baghdad, yesterday met with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Berham Salih. During their meeting, Salih called on Turkey to use diplomatic means in its fight against the terrorist PKK and urged it not to intervene in northern Iraq. Salih said that foreign intervention in northern Iraq would only exacerbate the problem and that they wouldn’t accept any violation of Iraq’s sovereignty. Despite having appointments, the delegation was unable to meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki or Vice Presidents Tariq Al-Hasimi and Adel Abdulmehdi. /Aksam/

    [05] TURKEY TO TAKE COMMAND IN KOSOVO

    The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is set tomorrow to take command of Kosovo’s Multinational NATO Forces in South (MNTF-S) for one year. Turkish Commander Brigadier Gen. Ugur Tarcin will assume command of the unit from his German counterpart Erich Pfeffer in a ceremony in Prizren. In addition to current forces, some 300 more Turkish troops will be deployed in the region to support the forces in the region. Turkey is to hand over the command to Austria this time next year. /Turkiye/

    [06] TURKEY-EU TROIKA TO CONVENE NEXT WEEK

    A Turkey-European Union troika meeting will take place next Monday in Ankara. During the meeting, hosted by Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s EU accession process and other regional and international issues are expected to be taken up. EU Term President Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, next Term President Portugal’s Foreign Minister Luis Amado and EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn will attend the gathering. /Hurriyet/

    [07] SARKOZY: “WE’LL DISCUSS TURKEY’S EU BID IN DECEMBER”

    French President Nicholas Sarkozy yesterday said that he would discuss the issue of Turkey’s European Union membership bid with fellow members of the bloc in December. After meeting with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Sarkozy told a press conference that he wouldn’t bring up the Turkey issue in June so the bloc can instead focus on its constitutional crisis. Sarkozy also said that Turkey’s role in a proposed Mediterranean union wasn’t related to its possible EU membership. /Sabah/

    [08] EASTERN FLOODS DELUGE VILLAGES, KILL 10

    Floodwaters in seven villages in the Hamur district of the eastern city of Ağri have killed 10 people, including children, while two have been reported missing. Heavy rainfall that started on Sunday evening caused flooding in the region, forcing dozens of families out of their homes and sweeping away entire villages. The Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) has sent hundreds of tents, 1,000 blankets, drinking water and other relief supplies to the victims. Four villages in the Ercis district of the eastern city of Van also battled flooding on Sunday. A young mother and her two-year old son were drowned in the floodwaters. Another young woman was killed and two others were injured when lightning struck the village of Hacikas. The central Anatolian town of Sivas was also hit hard by floods. /Today’s Zaman/

    FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS

    [09] COULD GUL HAVE BECOME PRESIDENT?

    BY CUNEYT ULSEVER (HURRIYET)

    Columnist Cuneyt Ulsever comments on Turkey’s presidential election process. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Last month’s first round of the presidential election in Parliament was annulled through a novel Constitutional Court interpretation of Article 102. The Parliament didn’t have 367 votes, the president couldn’t be elected, and a decision to hold early elections was taken. Although the situation was clear beforehand, the General Staff announced on the Internet that evening that it didn’t want Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to be president. Actually, this statement was made even though it was clear that Gul’s election would be rejected by the Constitutional Court. The reason for this was unclear.

    If the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) and the True Path Party (DYP) had shown up, Parliament would have had 367 votes, the election would have been held in the way the Constitutional Court wanted, and Gul would have been elected president. The fact that ANAVATAN and the DYP weren’t there and so hindered the national will with an anti-democratic stance and caused chaotic developments was criticized greatly. I have also criticized this situation more than once.

    On the other hand, subsequent developments led some to think the following: If Parliament had elected Gul president in spite of all the hurdles, Gul would never have taken office, and actually the Internet statement was stressing this. Some people looking back at the aborted election say Gul would never have taken the presidency. Certain intellectuals who had nothing to do with Kemalists and even supported the Justice and Development Party (AKP) also said that Vecdi Gonul or indeed any AKP member would never have been allowed to take the office.

    Why am I writing about this? Some people who weren’t in Parliament that day and whose stance and views are respected by members of the new Democratic Party (DP) " formed by a merger of the DYP and ANAVATAN " said that if they had been there and had helped elect Gul, the country’s situation would have been worse and the AKP members know this too. Remember that just afterwards ANAVATAN leader Erkan Mumcu claimed that certain AKP Cabinet ministers knew about the General Staff Internet statement beforehand.

    DYP leader Mehmet Agar and ANAVATAN leader Mumcu haven’t responded to criticism of their sitting out the election. They have kept their silence on the issue. Obviously, history will make its own decision. Did the leaders of ANAVATAN and DYP follow the state’s project on that day, or did they pull the country back from a dangerous precipice?”


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