|Wednesday, 14 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-04-01
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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
 RULING PARTY TO FACE CLOSURE TRIALFollowing nearly five hours of deliberations, Osman Paksut, deputy chief justice of the 11-member Constitutional Court, said yesterday that the court had decided to examine an indictment seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the political ban of the prime minister and dozens of lawmakers. The indictment was accepted unanimously, except the section seeking the political ban of President Abdullah Gul, which was passed by a vote of 7-4. /Hurriyet/
 PM ERDOGAN ADDRESSES THE NATIONThis government has always worked to be a uniter, not a divider, said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday. “We have strived to protect the rights of our people, always staying within democratic rules,” he said in a televised address to the nation. “We have never strayed from our people and never ignored the troubles facing our country.” Stating that the republic has made significant progress in line with its founding philosophy and ideals of modernization, Erdogan said that people may differ in terms of their lifestyle, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs, but they all enrich the Turkish nation. Touching on the Nevruz festivities of March 21, Erdogan said, “Some unpleasant incidents occurred (on that date). But take a close look at those who tried to turn a day of celebrations into one of conflict. Isn’t it deeply ironic that those who called for peace laid the groundwork for vandalism that targeted the lives and properties of innocents?” /Milliyet/
 KUWAITI EMIR MEETS WITH ERDOGANKuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and an accompanying delegation yesterday held talks with Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Before the talks, they paid a visit to Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum. /Aksam/
 EU, US OFFICIALS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER AKP CLOSURE CASE GOING FORWARDSpeaking about yesterday’s top court decision to hear a case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said he found the case without merit. “This decision shows that there is a structural and undemocratic error in Turkey’s constitution, a candidate country for the EU,” Rehn added. US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Tom Casey also commented on the decision, saying, "We understand that this is going to be a rather lengthy process. And what we would expect and hope from this process is that those involved would proceed in a way that was apolitical and that reflected the commitment to representative democracy that's been expressed by the Turkish voters in recent election." /Sabah-Turkiye/
 TURKEY TO ATTEND NATO SUMMIT THIS WEEKHeads of state and government from NATO nations and partners along with representatives from other international institutions will meet in Bucharest, Romania starting tomorrow to discuss NATO enlargement and the bloc’s operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. President Abdullah Gul, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul are all set to attend the three-day summit. /Aksam/
 LAND FORCES COMMANDER BASBUG VISITS INDIALand Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug yesterday arrived in New Delhi, India to pay an official visit. During his five-day stay, Basbug is set to meet with his Indian counterpart Deepak Kapoor as well as India’s defense minister and other top military officials to develop bilateral military cooperation between the two countries. /Hurriyet/
 CUMHURIYET COLUMNIST HOSPITALIZEDIlhan Selcuk, 83, chief columnist of daily Cumhuriyet, was hospitalized yesterday for angina pectoris and pneumonia. Selcuk is set to receive medical treatment at a hospital in Istanbul for one week. He was released 10 days ago after being questioned by security officials as part of the Ergenekon probe into a criminal gang. /Hurriyet/
 TRNC’S TALAT MEETS WITH US DIPLOMATTurkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday met with Lynn Pascoe, the US undersecretary general for political affairs. Speaking after the meeting, TRNC presidential spokesperson Hasan Ercakica said, “President Talat conveyed the Turkish Cypriots’ expectations and position on the new negotiation process and reiterated the TRNC’s determination to reach a solution at the end of this process. It was very fruitful meeting.” Ercakica also stressed that TRNC expects the UN to actively engage in new talks towards a settlement on the island. Pascoe also described the meeting as fruitful. Asked when the Lokmaci gate between the TRNC and Greek Cyprus might be opened, Ercakica said, “An exact date for opening the gate hasn’t been set yet but TRNC wants it opened as soon as possible.” /Turkiye/
 IZMIR LOSES EXPO 2015 CONTEST TO MILANAfter years of work on its bid to host the world’s premier business event, Expo 2015, Izmir failed to convince the majority of members of the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE) yesterday and lost to Milan by 21 votes. The BIE convened in Paris yesterday to make its final decision on which city would host the fair. Milan won 86 of the votes, versus 65 for Izmir. /Today’s Zaman/
FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS... FROM THE COLUMNS...
 THE AKP AND AFTERWARDSBY DERYA SAZAK (MILLIYET)
Columnist Derya Sazak comments on the trouble facing Turkey. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Turkey has again entered troubled days. When the Constitutional Court yesterday unanimously accepted the indictment seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), economic indicators for the last quarter of 2007 were also announced. The decline in such major sectors as agriculture, construction and manufacturing pushed growth figures down to 4.5%, their lowest level in years. It’s inescapable that the crisis in global markets will influence the country in the second half of 2008. During this time of slowed growth and incipient economic stagnation, we’re set to deal with real problems, particularly unemployment. In such an atmosphere, having to deal with a case to close the ruling party and ban Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 71 AKP members from politics is very thought provoking in terms of the current situation of the parliamentary regime facing the dilemma of law and democracy.
European Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn warned that the AKP closure case might cause a suspension of Turkey’s membership talks. Accusations and defenses arguments during the AKP trial will determine what comes next. Interestingly, for the first time in the republic’s history, a president will face a possible ban at the Constitutional Court.
The court accepted the indictment’s section on President Abdullah Gul by a vote of 7-4. The trial process won’t influence his duty as president, but if he’s banned from politics for five years, he won’t be able to leave the Presidential Palace to found a new party. Obviously, the fact that the case was filed doesn’t mean that AKP will be closed, but clearly democracy suffered damage. Many people in Ankara talk about what would happen if 40 or more deputies are banned from politics. The AKP might pass a constitutional amendment making it harder to close a party before the trial is concluded, and then put it to a referendum.
Erdogan and the AKP seem to want to use their parliamentary advantage to escape this process with minimum damage. Early elections might also be called. The AKP’s stubbornness on the headscarf issue brought Turkey to the brink of a political and economic crisis. If the government had grasped the global risks at the beginning of the year and saw that the party was over, we wouldn’t have gotten into this mess!”
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