|Wednesday, 14 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-04-16
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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
16.04.2008FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 GUL: "CHANGING ARTICLE 301 IS PARLIAMENT'S BUSINESS"President Abdullah Gul yesterday received a delegation led by Ramiz Rzayev, the chief justice of Azerbaijan's Supreme Court, with Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Hasan Gerceker also in attendance. Asked about his view on proposed changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which is set to give the president the responsibility to file charges for denigrating Turkish identity or insulting the country's institutions, Gul said that changing the law is Parliament's business. In related news, Gul yesterday also met with a delegation led by Eskisehir Chamber of Commerce Chairman Cemalettin Sarar. /Star-Aksam/
 ERDOGAN: "I DON'T BELIEVE OUR PARTY WILL BE CLOSED DOWN"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday returned from a visit to Qatar. During his visit, he told Al Jazeera television, "The closure of the AKP (the ruling Justice and Development Party) is a remote possibility. I don't believe that our party will be shut down. Because we didn't commit any offense that would cause this result." He added that the AKP has consistently carried out its responsibilities in line with constitutional principles. Speaking later about proposed changes to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Erdogan told reporters, "The government's efforts to amend Article 301 can't be regarded as an imposition by the EU," adding that evaluation of the proposed changes is continuing. /Sabah/
 BABACAN: "THE EU CAN'T IGNORE WHAT'S HAPPENING IN A CANDIDATE COUNTRY"Relations between Turkey and Britain are excellent, Foreign Minister and chief negotiator for Turkey's European Union talks Ali Babacan yesterday told reporters at Turkey's Embassy in London. Saying that the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been discussed during his talks with his British counterpart David Miliband, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the recent NATO summit, Babacan said that the EU cannot be oblivious to developments in a candidate country. "They make efforts to understand what's going on in Turkey," he explained. "We have to take steps carefully. These developments are very important for us in terms of Turkish-EU relations." In related news, in an interview with Britain's Financial Times published yesterday, Babacan said the government will propose a constitutional package to fix certain urgent issues such as procedures for closing political parties. "If we do it, we have to do it before the Constitutional Court makes its decisions, so that the Constitutional Court will have a new legal base to make judgments on," he added. /Star/
 BAYKAL: "ERDOGAN SHOULD PRACTICE POLITICS IN LINE WITH ATATURK'S PRINCIPLES"Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday rebuffed Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan's criticism that he was hiding behind the Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, to score political points. "Ataturk is a political figure, you also should practice politics this way. This is your mistake," Baykal said at his party's parliamentary group meeting. "It is not unlawful to do politics in line with Ataturk's principles, but doing politics through religion is wrong." Accusing the premier of having been implicated with committing forgery, Baykal charged that Erdogan was hiding behind his parliamentary immunity. /Hurriyet/
Speaking to his parliamentary group meeting, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday criticized European Union Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso's recent visit to Turkey. Bahceli suggested that Barroso had acted like an inspector and shown the EU's biased stance on secularism, the headscarf issue, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), and the southeastern issue. /Star/
 GONUL: "THE GOVT AND THE TSK SHARE THE COMMON GOAL OF TURKEY'S EU ACCESSION"For now, Turkey doesn't intend to take part in a proposed US missile defense system, but it does want to participate in European defense systems in addition to NATO, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul said yesterday. Speaking to Sabah daily, he stressed the Turkish Armed Forces' role in European defense projects, saying, "The TSK considers Turkey's EU bid during its decision process on these kind of projects, and I believe the TSK's contributions to these project will have a positive effect on Turkey's accession talks." The government and the TSK share the same vision of Turkey's EU accession bid, said Gonul. Touching on Greek Cyprus' bid to join NATO, he said that Turkey wouldn't allow it, adding that the bid is making the Cyprus issue worse. Gonul also said that Turkey could send additional troops to Afghanistan but that this wouldn't include combat troops. /Sabah/
 TURKEY, IRAN DISCUSS SECURITY COOPERATIONAn official commission gathered yesterday in Ankara to promote better security cooperation between Turkey and Iran. During the two-day meeting of the 12th High Security Council, respective Turkish and Iranian delegations are being chaired by Interior Ministry Undersecretary Osman Gunes and Deputy Interior Minister Abbas Mohtajand. The talks are focusing on the fight against terrorism and trafficking in drugs, arms and people. /Turkiye/
 LT. GEN. ZORLU: "THE FIGHT AGAINST THE TERRORIST PKK WILL CONTINUE"Addressing an annual conference on US-Turkish relations organized by the American- Turkish Council in Washington DC, Lt. Gen. Hilmi Akin Zorlu, chief of plans and policy at the Turkish General Staff, said that the Turkish military was determined to continue fighting the terrorist PKK in line with its authority provided by Parliament. Issuing a warning to countries which support the terrorist group, Zorlu said that terrorism might hurt them one day as well. He also signaled that Turkish troops might carry out another cross-border operation into northern Iraq if needed. /Turkiye/
 RICE: "WE'RE FOLLOWING THE AKP CLOSURE CASE CLOSELY"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday attended the 27th annual conference of the Turkish-American Council in Washington. Speaking to the council, Rice said, "Turkey is a vital and strategic partner of the United States, and so it’s fitting that this year’s conference theme is 'Regional Allies and Global Partners'," adding that the countries' relationship is evolving and moving toward the challenges of the 21st century. Rice stressed the firm relations on many important international and regional issues between Ankara and Washington, saying, "Pursuing the vision of more democratic, freer, more at peace and more secure world, Turkey and the United States share a commitment to a united Iraq that is secure, stable, prosperous, at peace with its neighbors, and free from all forms of terrorism." Rice also reiterated that Washington recognizes the PKK as a common enemy of Turkey, Iraq, and the United States. After her speech, Rice took questions about the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "We are following very closely this case, of course, and it is a matter, obviously, for Turks to decide," she said, adding that the US believes the case will be decided in line with Turkey’s secular democratic principles. /Cumhuriyet/
 LAGENDIJK: "THE AKP SHOULD SHOW THAT TURKEY IS MOVING NOT TOWARDS IRAN, BUT TOWARDS THE EU"Speaking during annual meetings of the American-Turkish Council in Washington DC, European Union-Turkey Joint Parliament Commission Co- Chairman Joost Lagendijk yesterday said that certain circles in Turkey fear that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a hidden agenda for the country. Urging the AKP to ease those anxieties, Lagendijk said that the party should show that it wants Turkey to move towards the European Union, not towards Iran. Stressing that in past years Ankara has been successful in realizing reforms, the EU commissioner decried what he called a recent slowdown, saying that Europe was disappointed by the AKP's performance. Commenting on the closure case against the AKP, he warned that if the party is closed, Turkey's EU membership talks might be suspended. /Hurriyet/
FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS…FROM THE COLUMNS
 WHO WOULD BAYKAL COOPERATE WITH?BY EMRE AKOZ (SABAH)
Columnist Emre Akoz comments on statements made yesterday by main opposition leader Deniz Baykal. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that if the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is closed, there will be serious consequences for Turkish-EU relations. Babacan said this, but actually this warning was made by leading EU politicians, who are not so sensitive about secularism as some of us are. In the EU, a party can be closed only if it defends or supports violence or is clearly racist. So what will the EU do if the AKP is closed? It will say that it was unable to make our country a member, at least for now, and suspend our membership talks. This decision would have many side effects, for example, international rating agencies would cut Turkey’s rating and our debt would rise. Investors who see a cloudy future for Turkey would send their money to other countries, and unemployment will worsen.
What sort of a future do people who support AKP closure dream of? We can divide them into two categories: First, those who say that if AKP was closed, Turkey would continue its EU membership bid. These people are risking a five-year political and economic crisis, because a Turkey which has lost its EU bid will have to face the sanctions already mentioned. Who could resist this? Secondly, there are those who say that if AKP was closed, we would break off from the EU. These people know what they’re doing. Those who support the Ergenekon probe (into a criminal gang) fall into this group, directly or indirectly. They use such attractive slogans as ‘full independence.’ They influence the people with their so-called fears such as that we’re losing secularism.
I’ve always wondered what’s the use of this case. I’m asking this because such things sooner or later help some global power. Who would closing the AKP and Turkey moving away from EU membership help? If two parties, namely, the AKP and the Democratic Society Party (AKP), which together won 90% of the votes in southeastern Anatolia, are closed down and Turkish Kurds grow more distant and the terrorist PKK rises again, who stands to benefit most from this? In sum, which great power would want Turkey exhausted, hurt and isolated?
Now let’s think about the statements made by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal in terms of this question. Baykal claimed that the AKP is cooperating with the West for its own future, so Erdogan is different from outlawed Welfare Party (SP) leader Necmettin Erbakan, because Erbakan supports an ideology called National View, and Erdogan favors cooperation. Baykal added that Erbakan paid the price for supporting National View, and now Erdogan is trying to reap the benefits of supporting cooperation. Baykal’s claim is very reasonable. Yes, the AKP had been cooperating with the US and EU since 2002. So, let me ask you again: Who does Baykal want to cooperate with? If it’s neither the EU nor the US, then who? Can somebody answer this without making speeches about ‘independence’?”
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