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Turkish Press Review, 07-05-31

Turkish Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

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

31.05.2007


CONTENTS

  • [01] CHIEF JUSTICE TUGCU: “CRITICISMS OF OUR DECISION SHOULD BE BASED ON THE CONSTITUTION”
  • [02] BAYKAL: “ERDOGAN IS DAMAGING THE NATION’S STABILITY”
  • [03] DOGRAMACI RECEIVES MEDAL OF HONOR AT PARLIAMENT
  • [04] EU’S REHN: “CONTINUING TURKEY’S TALKS IS IMPORTANT FOR THE EU’S REPUTATION”
  • [05] VATICAN VOICES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BID
  • [06] GENERAL STAFF SECURITY SYMPOSIUM TO BEGIN TODAY
  • [07] SOIL SOWN BY THE US
  • [08] A NORTHERN IRAQ OPERATION?

  • [01] CHIEF JUSTICE TUGCU: “CRITICISMS OF OUR DECISION SHOULD BE BASED ON THE CONSTITUTION”

    Speaking at a pres conference yesterday, Constitutional Court Chief Justice Tulay Tugcu said that the court’s recent ruling leading to an aborted presidential election was open to criticism, but that such criticisms should be legal, scholarly and based on the Constitution. She stressed that in democracies, the powers and responsibilities of all institutions are spelled out. Tugcu added that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s criticisms of the court’s ruling were incompatible with the responsibility and seriousness he should display as a statesman. /Turkiye/

    [02] BAYKAL: “ERDOGAN IS DAMAGING THE NATION’S STABILITY”

    Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent remarks about the Constitutional Court ruling which resulted in an aborted presidential election. “The prime minister is hurting stability,” said Baykal. “First of all, the prime minister has a very serious problem of wording. He has an appearance which is imposing and divorced from common sense. His remarks show that he has shed the last vestige of civilized understanding. Turkey has a problem with the prime minister. The main wrecker of stability mentioned by everybody is the prime minister. For the first time in the republic’s history, a high court has filed a criminal complaint against a prime minister.” /Cumhuriyet/

    [03] DOGRAMACI RECEIVES MEDAL OF HONOR AT PARLIAMENT

    Bilkent University Rector Ihsan Dogramaci yesterday received a medal of honor at a ceremony held at Parliament. Present at the award ceremony were Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, Education Minister Huseyin Celik, and State Minister Besir Atalay. /Sabah/

    [04] EU’S REHN: “CONTINUING TURKEY’S TALKS IS IMPORTANT FOR THE EU’S REPUTATION”

    French President Sarkozy’s dropping his opposition to Turkey opening the next phase of its European Union negotiations and sending his national security adviser Jean-David Levitte to Turkey got coverage in the European media this week. The Times of London wrote of Sarkozy, “Tough guy melts into soft-shoe shuffler,” while a headline in Britain’s Financial Times said, “France gives Turkish EU hopes reprieve.” The paper also wrote about the domestic tension in Turkey, saying, “But against the backdrop of the recent face-off between the Turkish army and the governing AKP, many diplomats say that a coup or even an incursion by the Turkish army into northern Iraq would signify the demise of Turkey's membership hopes.” Meanwhile, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn praised Sarkozy letting three more chapters of Ankara’s talks go forward unopposed, saying that continuing Ankara’s negotiations was important for the Union’s reputation of trustworthiness. /Star/

    [05] VATICAN VOICES SUPPORT FOR TURKEY’S EU BID

    Speaking yesterday in Rome, Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said that Turkey had made great progress in its European Union membership bid. “A dialogue of nations and governments in accordance with the basic principles of coexistence could be established,” he said, adding that this could be achieved with Turkey’s EU membership. /Sabah/

    [06] GENERAL STAFF SECURITY SYMPOSIUM TO BEGIN TODAY

    A General Staff symposium on “New Aspects of Security and International Organizations” is scheduled to begin today. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit is set to make the opening speech at the gathering. Some 800 representatives from 55 countries are expected to attend. /Turkiye/

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

    [07] SOIL SOWN BY THE US

    BY SEMIH IDIZ (MILLIYET)

    Columnist Semih Idiz comments on Turkish-US relations. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “After Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit accused the US of encouraging Iraqi Kurds who support the terrorist PKK, the outbreak of tension between the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the US Army over its airspace violation shows that Turkish-US relations are deteriorating. In addition, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks, which one could easily interpret to mean that Turkey would fire at US planes in a second violation, sum up the current situation well. When the remarks of Buyukanit and Erdogan are put together, we could say that our alliance "

    considered a vital one for 50 years " is moving to a very different place sown with seeds of discord. Former high-ranking officers have also suggested that Turkey quit NATO. This suggestion shouldn’t be seen as just inane. Considering how far anti-Americanism has spread in Turkish society, many see nothing wrong with this stance.

    It’s also not hard to guess that similar views are shared by many Turkish officers. I’ve written before that military relations form the essential basis of Turkish-US ties. Clearly, this has been the case since the days of the Truman Doctrine. The TSK and the US Army have coexisted for over 50 years on the level of the defense industry, in terms of bilateral and multilateral ‘operational’ issues. It’s also no secret that many Turkish officers were trained at American military schools and have worked with the US military as part of NATO. So, obviously, weakening the military dimension of Turkish-American ties would change the usual meaning of our bilateral political relations.

    Diplomats from both countries are now working hard to halt this negative course of events. This is what they are supposed to do. But we see that developments in Turkish-US relations are going beyond diplomats and have their own dynamics. The tense atmosphere over our upcoming elections and the confusion over the Iraq issue will obviously hurt bilateral relations. I think the US is responsible for the current situation. It was a huge mistake for the US to consider Turkey ‘a bird in hand’ by relying on an alliance which has been strong for 50 years. It was a worse mistake to consider Turkey a country which can be ‘distracted’ on such a vital issue as the terrorist PKK. But if it had instead seen Turkey realistically, it would have known that the collective will in Turkey has always been in favor of its national interests, even if there is a ‘strategic’ relationship. The fact that Washington didn’t see this it is now dragging its relations with Turkey to an uncertain and dangerous future.”

    [08] A NORTHERN IRAQ OPERATION?

    BY BILAL CETIN (VATAN)

    Columnist Bilal Cetin comments on the possibility of a military operation into northern Iraq. A summary of his column is as follows:

    “Recently, we’ve heard a lot of scenarios about a possible military operation into northern Iraq. Would it be a limited to airstrikes in the Kandil Mountains, or there be a full-force deployment of troops? Or both? Or will nothing happen until after July’s general elections? The answer to the last question is no, because some serious initiatives are already underway. But when will such an operation take place? Of course no one can answer for certain. Ask whoever you want, the answer is nearly always the same: ‘When the conditions are ripe and the situation necessitates, Turkey will use its right to self-protection in line with international law and carry out a cross-border operation.’ Left unclear, however, is, what those conditions are as well as when and how they will ripen. Moreover, how a cross-border military operation will take place and what advantages and disadvantages it would bring about is another sticking point.

    Turkey’s main policy along these lines is the eradication of the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq, by working in concert with the US and Iraqi governments. Turkey has been working for this for four years, but has yet to get any concrete results. Now, we’re back at square one. Last week Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a very important message to Baghdad via his special envoy, Ambassador Omer Celikkol. Contacts with the US about the issue are being tightened. Turkey has consistently said the following to both the Iraqi and US governments: ‘The terrorists based in northern Iraq threaten Turkey’s domestic security. Every day our citizens die and our soldiers fall. We can’t tolerate this any more. The separatist terrorist group is based in northern Iraq, and is protected and supported. It is allowed to infiltrate our territory, and its terrorist acts in our country are overlooked. Stop this! If you say that you can’t afford to do so, let’s do it together. If you don’t do this either, Turkey is determined to single-handedly take effective measures against this terrorist group in line with the UN Charter and internationally binding conventions.’ In sum, Turkey gives the message that it will go and strike these terrorists’ dens. But this isn’t the first time Turkey has given such a message to the US and Iraq….

    What will Turkey do now?

    It will follow a policy of pressuring the Kurdish government in northern Iraq to abandon the support and freedom it gives and the tolerance it shows the PKK. It will seek the support of the US and the Iraqi central government for this.

    Should this policy not yield any concrete results, a military operation seems inevitable. But such an operation isn’t very likely, at least before July’s general elections.”


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