|Saturday, 24 July 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 07-11-08
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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
 IN BAKU, GUL SCOLDS ARMENIA OVER OCCUPATION, UNFRIENDLINESS TOWARDS NEIGHBORSTurkey recognized Armenia soon after it gained independence, but this was followed by problems hindering good relations, President Abdullah Gul said in neighboring Azerbaijan yesterday. “I don’t think that Turkey is responsible for today’s situation,” he said in an address to the Azerbaijani Parliament. “I can’t say we’re pleased with this situation. In the context of the region’s peace and stability, there should be good-neighbor relations among all countries in the region. Armenia has acted in an unfriendly way towards its neighbors.” Gul added, “Nobody should expect the normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan as long as Armenia continues to push other countries’ parliaments to comment on the incidents of 1915. In addition to this, the whole world should recognize that the reason Armenia is in this situation today is its occupation of Azerbaijani territory.” Gul reiterated Turkey’s proposal that a joint historical commission be set up to study the incidents of 1915. He also delivered a speech at the Turkish-Azerbaijani Business Forum alongside his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev. Afterwards, Gul told a press conference at the Turkish Embassy in Baku that Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) had hurt Turkey’s image and that there is a will in Turkey to change the law, even if this wasn’t been mentioned in the European Union progress report released this week. /Milliyet-Sabah/
 ERDOGAN VISITS ITALYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visiting Italy after completing his contacts in the US, yesterday began his official talks with top Italian officials. The premier was received by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, and then met with his counterpart Romano Prodi. Speaking to reporters, Erdogan praised the good state of Turkish-Italian relations in all areas. Stressing that Ankara has enjoyed Rome’s constant support on its road to European Union membership, Erdogan added that he agrees with the new EU progress report’s criticism that Turkey’s pace of reforms has slowed. “Turkey recently had elections (this year), which negatively affected this work,” he said. Regarding PKK terrorism, Erdogan said international efforts are needed to defeat terrorism, and accused EU states of failing to give necessary backing to Turkey even though they call the PKK a terrorist group. For his part, Prodi praised Ankara keeping calm during its fight against the PKK. He also reiterated Italy’s backing for Turkey’s EU process. Italy favors Turkey’s full EU membership and opposes proposals for anything else, added the Italian premier. Erdogan also met with Giorgio Zappa, the COO of defense industry group Finmeccanica and head of the Turkish-Italian Friendship Union. Their talks reportedly focused on possible Italian investments and continuing ventures in Turkey. He also had talks with Italian Foreign Trade Minister Emma Bonino, accompanied by Radical Party (RP) leader emeritus Marco Pannnella and Deputy Maurizio Turco. They reportedly discussed the EU progress report and Turkish-EU relations. In addition, Erdogan visited former Premier Silvio Berlusconi. /Turkiye/
 SIMSEK MEETS WITH EU OFFICIALS IN BRUSSELSIn Brussels yesterday, State Minister Mehmet Simsek met with European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn. Speaking afterwards to journalists, Simsek said that they had discussed the EU Commission’s progress report on Turkey which was released this week. “Ankara will decisively continue its reforms,” he added. As part of his contacts in Brussels, Simsek is expected to also have talks with EU Commissioner for the Economy and Monetary Policy Joaquin Almunia. /Turkiye/
 NEW DRAFT CONSTITUTION TO BE RELEASED THIS WEEKA 12-deputy Justice and Development Party (AKP) commission, chaired by Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, has reportedly finished work on a new draft constitution. The draft was submitted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and will be made public on Friday at an AKP symposium. Following public discussion, the draft is expected to be sent to Parliament next month. /Star/
 SARKOZY: “I WON’T BLOCK TURKEY’S EU NEGOTIATIONS”Speaking to Aksam daily during his visit to the White House this week, French President Nicholas Sarkozy said that he won’t block Turkey’s European Union membership negotiations. Stating that though the US supports Turkey’s bid he opposes enlargement of the EU, Sarkozy said, “I’m not against opening new chapters in Turkey’s negotiations, except those aiming at full membership. I won’t block Turkey’s negotiations.” Asked about a possible Turkish cross-border operation into Iraq, Sarkozy said, “I know that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President George W. Bush discussed this issue in detail.” He added, “We don’t favor the prospect of new initiatives which could push Iraq into chaos. I know how sensitive Bush is about the Iraq issue. I’m sure there is a formula which would address the concerns of both Turkey and the US.” /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 27 YEARS LATER, AN APOLOGYBY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)
Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on the importance of democracy. A summary of his column is as follows:
“When retired generals speak out, the value of discussing a variety of views becomes clearer. First retired Gen. Aytac Yalman said that they had made a mistake by calling Kurds ‘mountain Turks.’ Then Kenan Evren, who led the 1980 coup, said that they made a big mistake in its aftermath by forbidding the speaking of Kurdish in speeches, public gatherings, etc. and giving education in Kurdish at schools. Evren now argues that a public official serving in the southeastern region should be able to speak Kurdish.
But after the coup, people who condemned the ban and defended the right to speak in Kurdish were arrested and sent to prisons notorious for torture and cruelty. Of course, the people who raised their voices to protest were doing the right thing. The wrong thing was to muzzle opinions through pressure and prison time. If people had listened to those who raised their voices three decades ago, Turkey wouldn’t have gone through such difficult times in the years since.
Today, people who think that the only solution is violence are trying to silence and repress those who express different views and opinions. When there’s no atmosphere of free discussion, sound solutions cannot be developed. Even those who imposed bans during that period now accept that they were mistaken. If we buckle under the stentorian voices, 30 years from now we might have to see another period of self-criticism. Smart societies are able to learn lessons from their mistakes.
But just accepting a mistake isn’t enough. It’s also important to learn your lesson and not repeat your error. Towards this end, everybody’s views should be respected, within legal limits. The importance of democracy comes from this. That’s why democracy is the best system among those available.”
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