|Wednesday, 14 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 07-06-06
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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
 EU’S REHN: “ONLY TURKEY CAN SET THE PACE OF ITS REFORMS”Speaking at a conference in Istanbul entitled “Turkey and the EU: Together for a European Energy Policy,” European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday said that only Turkey could set the pace of its reforms, adding, “This could be a fast samba or a slow waltz, but the orchestra and the music should never stop.” He added that it’s to Turkey’s own benefit to be integrated into the European Union in its modernization process, which was started by Kemal Ataturk. Also condemning last month’s terrorist attack in Ankara, Rehn said, “Rest assured, the EU is on your side in this struggle against terrorism.” Rehn emphasized that Turkey, as a democratic country with a predominantly Muslim population, sets an unparalleled example and has made use of this to establish a dialogue between civilizations. Taking the floor at the same conference, Turkish Economy Minister and chief EU negotiator Ali Babacan stated that Ankara has to abide by the Copenhagen criteria, and added, “Beliefs that each country has its own special conditions, our democracy is unique, we have the rule of law but sometimes things outside this can be done, and the like, could unfortunately consign Turkey to be a third world country for decades. How democracy works in Turkey is being reported by the EU every year. Member countries are closely watching developments in Turkey, now we no longer have a (purely) domestic agenda. All important developments in Turkey make headlines in EU papers.” /Milliyet/
 CHP ASKS TO TOP COURT TO ANNUL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PACKAGEThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) yesterday applied to the Constitutional Court to annul Parliament’s recent passage of a constitutional amendment package paving the way for popular election of the president. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) tried to amend the Constitution following their failure to elect their candidate Abdullah Gul as president in Parliament. After President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed the reform package, Parliament passed it again. But the CHP, in its application to the court, argued that since first article of the package, which would shorten the tenure of Parliament from the current five years to four, was approved by 366 deputies, one less than the required two-thirds majority, the approval of the whole package should be annulled under Article 175 of the Constitution. President Sezer, who has no authority to re-veto the package, will either sign it into law or take it to a referendum. /Turkish Daily News/
 BELGIUM’S LATERNE: “NO ONE CAN MAKE ME CALL IT A GENOCIDE”Yves Leterne, who is expected to become Belgium’s next prime minister after elections this weekend, this week said, “Nobody can make me call the incidents of 1915 ‘genocide’ unless there’s an international decision.” Belgian daily De Morgen yesterday made his statement top news, claiming that it would cost him votes. Leterne said that as a politician, he wasn’t interested in the genocide allegations and that the issue should be left to international courts. With this statement, Laterne also supported the stance of Ergun Top, a Turkish-origin candidate for Senate from his party. /Hurriyet/
 CB FORECASTS FALLING INFLATION TO CONTINUEIn its report on price developments in May released yesterday, the Central Bank said inflation’s downward trend continued last month, pushing the annual inflation rate down 1.5 points to come in at 9.23%. This fall was attributed to the delayed results of monetary tightening and a partial correction in food prices as well as the high base at the same time last year. The CB also said that a cut in value-added taxes (VAT) for some foodstuffs will help this downward trend continue in the coming months. /Aksam/
FROM THE COLUMNS ...FROM THE COLUMNS ... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 CENTER-RIGHT DISCUSSIONS AND THE AKPBY BILAL CETIN (VATAN)
Columnist Bilal Cetin comments on recent developments in the center right and the candidate lists just submitted by parties for the July 22 general elections. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Once again we’ve seen that a single day can change a great deal in Turkish politics. In fact we should expect important changes from now on. But the most important development of the election process is seeking the answer to this question: Who is exactly the center right? But the debate over the real owner of the center right and unification is now over. As of today, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the only party on this section of the political spectrum.
The AKP has been working to position itself on the center right since it was founded. At first the expectations and doubts about both the AKP itself and some outside developments didn’t let this happen, but recent developments largely dispelled the confusion. In this respect, it’s clear that the AKP and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan owe much to some politicians who left the AKP without an alternative due to their petty causes. Only a few days ago, the unification project of the opposition True Path Party (DYP) and Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) under the umbrella of the Democrat Party (DP) posed a serious risk to the AKP, whose possible failure in next month’s general elections could have placed the DP at the apex of the center right. But this project fizzled, and now the DYP and ANAVATAN are at a point where we can wonder if they can defend their integrity any longer.
One of the most important steps the AKP took towards becoming the sole choice on the center right is its list of candidates released yesterday. With this list the AKP is giving an important message: It’s true that most of the founders of this party as well as the current deputies come from the Islamist National Voice tradition, but yesterday’s list flies in the face of this. When we look at the list, we can’t call the AKP an Islamist, anti-secularist party. The list is a reasonable one that classic center and center right parties could draw up.
In sum, the AKP is positioning itself as a modern-day version of the 1950s Democrat Party (DP) or the ‘60s and ‘70s Justice Party (AP).”
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