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Turkish Press Review, 08-04-25
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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
25.04.2008FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 MGK DISCUSSES RECENT CROSS-BORDER OP AGAINST TERRORIST PKKThe National Security Council (MGK), chaired by President Abdullah Gul, yesterday convened for nearly six hours. The results of Turkey's recent cross-border operation against the terrorist PKK in northern Iraq were discussed at the meeting, according to a statement released afterwards. In the statement, the MGK reaffirmed its determination to maintain measures against the activities of the terrorist group and its supporters, which aim to harm public order, unity, solidarity, and peace and confidence. "The council also discussed recent developments in Iraq, and underlined the need to improve bilateral relations in such areas as economic and energy cooperation," said the statement. The MGK also discussed recent developments on Cyprus and the Armenian allegations concerning 1915. "In the face of Turkey's determination, such allegations will avail nothing," it added. /Aksam/
 ANZACS' DESCENDANTS COMMEMORATE 93RD ANNIVERSARY OF BATTLE OF GALLIPOLIOn the 93rd anniversary yesterday of the Battle of Gallipoli (Canakkale) between the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACS) and Turkish soldiers during World War I, nearly two thousand descendants of ANZACS came to Turkey to commemorate their forebears. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon also attended the ceremonies. Unakitan recalled Ataturk's famous words about the fallen ANZACS: "Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... You, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well." Unakitan said Ataturk's words reflect the feelings of the Turkish people very well. /Aksam/
 ERDOGAN VISITING SYRIA THIS WEEKENDPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to arrive in Damascus tomorrow to attend a Turkish-Syrian Economic Forum. Erdogan is also expected to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Prime Minister Naji Otri. Their discussions will reportedly focus on ways to resolve issues between Turkey and Syria. Erdogan will also work to ease escalating tensions between Syria and Israel. /Milliyet/
 TRNC'S TALAT CALLS UPCOMING CYPRUS TALKS A "LAST CHANCE"Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat, currently visiting Turkey, yesterday met with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Topping their discussion were recent meetings of Turkish and Greek Cypriot working groups and committees, and Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Hristofias' confidence-building measures. Afterwards, Talat spoke to the Eurasia Strategic Studies Center (ASAM). Stating that he hopes to initiate negotiations with Greek Cyprus at the end of the June, he added, "This is the last chance. We have a responsibility. We'll have either a solution or division." /Star/
 AT CHP CONGRESS, BAYKAL EXPECTED TO KEEP PARTY HELMThe main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) general congress will begin tomorrow in Ankara. During the two-day gathering, longtime CHP leader Deniz Baykal could face as many as five challengers for the party helm. Umut Oran, the youngest would-be leader, said he could win with the support of 253 delegates. He also told fellow CHP members that he aims for not only the party leadership, but also the prime ministry. Baykal's supporters, however, are confident he can easily win another term. /Hurriyet/
 TOP SECURITY OFFICIALS MEET IN ANKARAOfficials from all of Turkey's 81 provinces convened yesterday in Ankara to discuss security issues. During the three-day gathering chaired by Interior Minister Besir Atalay, the officials are focusing on recent violent events at universities and measures to handle any problems during next week's May 1 celebrations. /Turkiye/
 REHN: "THE COURT SHOULD RULE ON THE AKP CLOSURE CASE IN LINE WITH EU STANDARDS"European Union commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn yesterday met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin. Following their talks, Rehn commented on the closure case against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), saying he expects the court's decision will be in line with European standards. He added that political parties should only be closed if they urge or back violence, discrimination or terrorism. /Turkiye/
 DEPPLER: "TURKEY DOESN'T NEED ANOTHER IMF PROGRAM"Speaking to this week's Forum Istanbul-2008 meeting, International Monetary Fund European Department head Michael Deppler yesterday said there is no need for a new IMF program for Turkey, saying that the country's economy has grown stronger over the past five years. Addressing the impact of current US economic woes on the global economy, Deppler said, "The US is experiencing a severe economic slowdown, and this will affect Europe and Turkey." Deppler said the IMF anticipates Turkey's annual growth rate will fall to 4 percent. Urging Turkey to maintain its current fiscal policies to cushion the impact of the global recession, Deppler also called for steps to boost foreign investors' confidence. He said Turkey needs to reform its tax system, curb the informal economy, and make the labor market more flexible. Also speaking to the forum, State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Simsek said that over the last five years Turkey has substantially reduced its budget deficit and reformed its financial system and banking sector, adding that thanks to these achievements, its economy had become more resistant to global shocks. Simsek also said the flow of foreign capital to Turkey should continue. /Aksam/
 GERMAN, TURKISH BUSINESSMEN MEET IN ANKARABusinessmen from leading German companies participated in this week's 14th Turkish-German Business Corporation Council at Ankara's TOBB University. Speaking at the gathering, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler called on German investors to do business in Turkey as usual regardless of recent political developments. "Continuity is a must in state affairs, just as in energy policy," he said. "Turkey offers tremendous opportunities for investors. We're ready to work with you." Also addressing the meeting, Reinhard Silberberg, the state secretary of Germany's federal foreign office, said that Turkey is going through a critical phase and urged the government to embrace European Union-inspired reforms. Stressing Turkey's strategic location as a bridge between East and West, Silberberg said it plays a central role in the dialogue between Europe and Islamic countries. /Turkish Daily News/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE CHP: CENTER OF GRAVITYBY M. ALI KISLALI (RADIKAL)
Columnist M. Ali Kislali comments on the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and its weekend congress. A summary of his column is as follows:
"When we were gearing up for its general elections this time last year, I heard the words of three wise men who had done important duties in Turkey. The most senior of them played an important role in saving the country from a great misfortune. He told me that the starting point in the elections could be found by supporting the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). I listened with curiosity. While the third man in terms of seniority stayed silent, the second one said that as long as Deniz Baykal remains CHP leader, the party will never come to power. 'In war, the primary target is important,' he explained. 'You have to direct your forces towards that goal and create a center of gravity. The goal is to make the CHP win elections.'
The CHP's position shaped under Baykal's leadership doesn't allow the formation of a center of gravity within the borders he has drawn. Now the wise men are looking for new ways out. It's uncertain if the challengers to Baykal at this weekend's CHP congress will prevail or not. While some are wondering if this can make the CHP a center of gravity, others are looking at different paths. Some say that during the congress, Baykal should make a statement that will capture public attention and signal that the party's doors are open to those who left it for whatever reason.
The momentum the CHP might get through this invitation, without going into detail about arranging the power to be created by the center of gravity, is also being stressed. Even those who say Baykal opening the CHP's doors this way isn't at all realistic have to agree that finding another way out is hard, because they think the CHP has lost its dynamism and position as a hope for the masses.
It seems Turkey is at a crossroads. On the one hand, there is a political power which showed that it internalized the gains it acquired since the foundation of the Turkish Republic with the votes it won through normal methods and support from external environments based on these votes. On the other hand, there are masses and institutions which believe in maintaining the republic's secular, democratic, social and legal bases.
Some people are trying to spread the demoralizing belief that a force which knew how to remove the threat created by the first group has been neutered. If a political party like the CHP which is based on the republic can't show the driving force and leadership to make itself part of the struggle, where will this center of gravity be established? Before trying to answer this question, we'll have to see if a miracle happens there."
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