|Friday, 23 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 07-06-01
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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
 PARLIAMENT PASSES CONSTITUTIONAL PACKAGE FOR SECOND TIMEIn its second round of voting on a constitutional amendment package, Parliament yesterday passed a host of changes, including popular election of the president, by 370 votes. The package was vetoed by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer last month before being sent back to Parliament. Other changes in the package include holding general elections at least every four years, not five, and reducing the term of presidents from seven years to five while allowing two terms. The amendments would also set a parliamentary quorum of one-third of the deputies. In related news, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group leader Ali Topuz said that the CHP could appeal to the Constitutional Court to annul the vote, which he called unconstitutional. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN ADDRESSES THE NATION FOR FINAL TIME BEFORE ELECTIONSAddressing the nation on television for the last time before general elections set for July 22, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pointed to the importance of the polls and called on everyone to cast their ballots. Erdogan stressed that it shouldn’t be forgotten that political parties were competing with one another and that the final decision belonged to the people. “Governments are temporary, but the nation, flag and homeland last forever,” said Erdogan. The premier further stressed that there are global power struggles taking place near Turkey, adding, “These conditions of our region make our country important.” /Aksam/
 MUMCU: “ERDOGAN DOES HIS BEST TO DISTURB TURKEY’S PEACE”Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erka Mumcu yesterday charged that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been doing his utmost to disturb Turkey’s domestic peace. Saying that the Erdogan had insulted the Constitutional Court, Mumcu told his party’s group meeting that Erdogan didn’t give his deputies any say in choosing the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential candidate. /The New Anatolian/
 BUYUKANIT HINTS AT MILITARY ACTION AGAINST BOTH PKK, BARZANI IN N.IRAQChief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit yesterday hinted that should the government request a cross-border operation into northern Iraq, both Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and the terrorist PKK would be targeted by the military. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an international symposium organized in Istanbul by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), Buyukanit asked, “Once we enter northern Iraq, are we going to fight only the PKK, or will something happen with Barzani?” Pointing to the presence of US troops in the region, the top commander said that considering the gravity of these matters the government should clarify its political goals in writing to him. /Hurriyet/
 KISSINGER: “IF ITS EU BID FAILS, TURKEY AND THE US SHOULD DEVELOP A CLOSER PARTNERSHIP”Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said yesterday that Turkey should continue its European Union accession process and reforms, adding that if it doesn’t get into the club, it should develop a closer partnership with the US. Kissinger, in Istanbul this week for the annual Bilderberg meeting, made the remarks at a conference on global developments and Turkey sponsored by Akbank. He said that Turkey’s being part of the European system carries great strategic importance. An immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would spread the crisis to neighboring countries, warned Kissinger. He added that the US would not welcome a cross-border operation by Turkey into northern Iraq. /Milliyet/
 BILDERBERG MEETING BEGINS IN ISTANBULThe super-secretive Bilderberg meeting started yesterday in Istanbul under tight security measures. Thirteen Turkish and 122 other international figures came together at the Ritz Carlton Hotel for the group’s 55th gathering. The changing world order, Turkey, the Mideast, Europe, the US, democracy and populism as well as climate change are among the topics to be discussed during the four-day meeting. /Milliyet/
 CGREENPEACE “NOAH’S ARK” TO HIGHLIGHT GLOBAL WARMING THREATGreenpeace yesterday unveiled a replica of the legendary Noah’s Ark built by volunteers to highlight the threat posed by global warming. The unveiling of the ship, whose construction by the environmental group began on Mt. Agri (Ararat) four weeks ago, was attended by Igdir Governor Saim Saffet Karahisarli, TV star Okan Bayulgen, more than 40 Greenpeace members and other guests. /Cumhuriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE PRESIDENCY, ELECTIONS, IRAQ AND THE MILITARYBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on the presidential election process, the Iraq issue and the military. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Clearly, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit’s remarks weren’t limited to his opening speech. After his comments on the theme of ‘dark war and the fascist PKK,’ he wasn’t surprised to see reporters during the first coffee break. The initial questions were about his meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Dolmabahce Palace early last month. Buyukanit, just like Erdogan, described this as a ‘meeting between two offices.’ He wasn’t supposed to say everything. He said that there was a proper place and time to say something. Obviously, Buyukanit wanted to talk about the presence of the terrorist PKK in Iraq and what should be done about it. He also said something interesting about a remark he made during an April press conference saying that a cross- border operation would be beneficial and Erdogan’s statement on TV that he would authorize one, if the military asked. Gen. Buyukanit said that he spoke about the military necessity during that press conference. But every military operation, he said, should have a political goal, referring to Clausewitz’s famous formulation. What was this political goal? He said that the government should give a political goal, in other words, a political directive to the General Staff. This was how the planning should be done, because not only the PKK, but also Massoud Barzani’s peshmerga and US forces are present on the Iraq side of the border. In sum, Buyukanit implied that you are the political authority and we would get ready in line with your requests of us.
Actually, there’s no great desire for a cross-border operation, and they are aware of its pros and cons. On the other hand, criticism of the support the PKK enjoys on the Iraq side is rising. It was clear that when Buyukanit said during the opening speech of the international symposium at the War Academy that those who help terrorists should be considered terrorists as well, he also meant Barzani, the leader of the Iraqi Kurds. Buyukanit declined to answer questions about current political issues, but they were important. One of them was about Erdogan’s remarks that there are certain disagreements between himself and Buyukanit. Buyukanit said that he hadn’t said any such thing. The second issue was about the presidential election. When asked his views about possible popular election of the president, he declined to answer, saying that this was a political issue. Yesterday was the final round of voting on popular election of the president. The measure got 366 votes, in other words, one vote less than a two-thirds majority, and the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Ali Topuz said that this was a good reason to bring the issue to the Constitutional Court. Will they hold a referendum to determine whether the president should be elected by the people? Towards this end, President Ahmet Necdet Sezer shouldn’t approve the constitutional amendment, and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) should propose shortening the process of preparing for a referendum. The CHP’s application to the Constitutional Court will make this process more complex and deepen the debate. Two more notes from yesterday: Firstly, it seems that Buyukanit isn’t taking the issue of US planes’ airspace violation beyond the dimension of a ‘disturbance.’ Maybe this should be considered a political issue. Secondly, Erdogan once again didn’t attend his normal weekly meeting with Sezer. Explaining this, last week he said that they would meet in Izmir, and this week his reason was the vote in Parliament. However, this situation has raised suspicions. This summer will be unusually hot.”
 TIMING OF A CROSS-BORDER OPERATIONBY MUHARREM SARIKAYA (SABAH)
“The meeting hosted by the General Staff which started yesterday in the military academy carries the theme of ‘New dimensions of security and international organizations.’ Well-regarded international speakers addressed the changing nature of terrorism. They underlined that energy and the economy are new elements of the threat. We journalists aren’t interested in these issues, however. At the first break of the first session, we pounced on Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, the chief of General Staff, and asked him questions about a possible operation into northern Iraq, which led to debates over who should greenlight such an operation: the government or the military? In light of the remarks of Buyukanit and others I spoke to, I can say that the possibility of an operation into northern Iraq before the end of September or beginning of October is quite low. Why?
The following remarks of a well-known general, which were also touched upon by Gen. Buyukanit, suffice to understand: ‘The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation form their purposes.’ Thus, the government doesn’t believe that it can reach a political goal with such an operation ahead of next month’s general elections. The military, on the other hand, doesn’t intend to deviate from the legal order. As Gen. Buyukanit stressed yesterday, they don’t want to apply to the government with a written statement about a cross-border operation without political goals set before them and without planning the use of force. In this respect, we asked Buyukanit yesterday the reason for the recent military buildup along the Iraqi border. He denied the presence of a buildup, saying these were just preparations for the spring fight against domestic terrorist attacks. Warning that such news reports are making people anxious and building expectations, he also explained that the images of land cruisers and cannons at the border seen recently on TV are just troops returning to the region after withdrawal to the western regions due to winter.
In sum, the General Staff is unable to act by itself without written instructions from the government.”
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