|Friday, 16 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-04-04
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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
 GUL, BABACAN ATTEND NATO SUMMITPresident Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan yesterday attended a NATO summit of heads of state and government in Bucharest, Romania. Speaking at a special session on Afghanistan, Gul said that Turkey’s support for Afghanistan was steady and continuing. “We will continue to support Afghanistan in ways both military and civilian,” said Gul. Afterwards, Babacan met with US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. /Turkiye/
 ERDOGAN ATTENDS TURKEY-SWEDEN BUSINESS FORUMSpeaking at a Turkey-Sweden Business Forum yesterday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized the importance of cooperation and solidarity between the two nations. Erdogan said that Turkey was advancing with determination on its path towards the European Union, including its full membership talks. “Any different kind of membership is unacceptable for Turkey,” said Erdogan. “We’re doing our homework well. We’re doing what’s necessary, in line with the program which was indicated to us.” Erdogan added that the EU should make a decision on Turkey. /Turkiye/
 CYPRUS’ LOKMACI GATE REOPENEDOfficials of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot administration yesterday reopened the Lokmaci Gate between the capitals of the two countries to crossings in both directions. The move followed negotiations with the UN and is hoped to herald new talks to resolve the issue of the divided island. /Cumhuriyet/
 LAGENDIJK: “CLOSURE OF THE AKP SHOULD BE PREVENTED”Speaking at a conference in Istanbul yesterday, Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chair Joost Lagendijk said that the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) should be blocked. Lagendijk suggested that the government should submit a comprehensive reform package to prevent such party closures. /Milliyet/
 REHN: “THE EU’S SUPPORT IS FOR DEMOCRACY, NOT ANY POLITICAL PARTY”European Union Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn said yesterday that the EU’s support in Turkey is for democracy, not any particular party, including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Speaking at the European Parliament’s Foreign Relations Commission about developments in the Balkans and nearby regions, Rehn said that the EP doesn’t endorse any party in Turkey, but that it is defending the EP’s values. Rehn added that the EU’s role in Turkey is to make sure that the political criteria are applied and also to support democracy. /Milliyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE PRESSURE OF NO DIALOGUEBY MURAT YETKIN (RADIKAL)
Columnist Murat Yetkin comments on main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A summary of his column is as follows:
“The statements yesterday by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal didn’t signal that he was ready to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On the contrary, he said that it would be meaningless to hold a meeting which would produce no result, because the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Erdogan, has to face up to its mistakes about secularism and take steps to build confidence, not just make promises. Baykal pledged that if the AKP did this, he too would do what is necessary. But he stressed that he wasn’t willing to be involved in work on the Constitution. Baykal explained the issue yesterday to the CHP’s Central Executive Board. He said that of course they could meet, but first Erdogan had to engage in self-criticism and until then, calls for meetings were in vain. This stance signaled a consensus and starting efforts to draw up a framework. Actually, it was a move towards laying a groundwork for dialogue, just like Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu urged everyone to take a breather.
But it seems Baykal’s statements will end up just like Hisarciklioglu’s. Some leading figures in Ankara and Istanbul made Hisarciklioglu regret trying to ease the tension, and likewise this careful move by Baykal to half open the door drew harsh criticism. People accused Baykal of cooperating with those who favor religious law and other things besides.
Lately there have been certain disturbing moves in Ankara in which a person’s statement is distorted but in a way that the person can’t deny it. Then the statement is turned into a question and people start to explain the reasons it can’t be answered. If Baykal said he would take steps so long as Erdogan first engages in self-criticism and takes concrete steps, people immediately start to ask when and where they would hold talks and so cause both Erdogan and Baykal to say that they won’t actually meet. Thus the people turning politics into a tug of war continue to pull on the rope from both ends.
When Baykal starts to make a move, people accuse him of cooperating with those favor religious law. When Erdogan starts to soften his tone, the opposite side warns him that he shouldn’t reach a consensus with ‘coup supporters.’ Of course, this isn’t an AKP-CHP fight, but, if overcoming the crisis is possible, it will happen in the political arena. Under the current circumstances, it’s not realistic to expect that the AKP can find a real solution without CHP help. If life and politics were mere principles, this could have been possible. But they’re not. Saying this shouldn’t be seen as advocating a lack of principles, but bringing principles and the facts of life together.
The people on both sides who argue that they shouldn’t make any concessions are like two stubborn goats who won’t give way on a narrow bridge, arguing that they have the right to pass and that the opposite side will eventually surrender. But there’s also the risk that the bridge might be swallowed by an approaching flood. After yesterday’s announcement that inflation had hit 10%, Standard and Poor’s gave Turkey a negative rating, due to the global financial crisis and the government’s economic policy and also this political crisis. Things will worsen if the political crisis becomes chronic and people lose hope that our politicians can find a solution. As Constitutional Court Chief Justice Hasim Kilic said, the way to find a solution without fighting is still open. But first Erdogan and then Baykal are responsible for stepping through those doors.”
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