|Saturday, 10 April 2021|
Turkish Press Review, 08-06-13
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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: "DURING THIS CRITICAL TIME, TURKEY SHOULDN'T EXPEND ITS ENERGY ON DOMESTIC CONFLICTS"On the last day of his official visit to Croatia at the invitation of his Croatian counterpart Stjepan Mesic, President Abdullah Gul yesterday toured the historical city of Dubrovnik. Before leaving the country, Gul told reporters that the case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had caused political turmoil. "Every development should be evaluated in terms of its cost to Turkey," he argued. "We're going through a critical time. Everybody should consider the potential costs of Turkey's rising risk premium." Stating that in the past Turkey had missed many large opportunities, he said it shouldn't throw away new chances. Asked about the Constitutional Court's recent ruling upholding the headscarf ban at universities, Gul said, "We need to overcome our differences and divisions through dialogue, as in normal democracies. Turkey should resolve its problems with the Constitution's guidance and in line with the universal principles of democracy and the law." He added that he places great importance on the Parliament speaker's meetings with top political party officials to seek a solution to the crisis over the ruling. "Parliament represents the political will of the people, and it is the top institution," he said. Turning to the current global economic crisis and rising oil and food prices, Gul said, "Turkey shouldn't expend its energy on domestic conflicts, especially during such a critical period." He added, "The more progress we make in our European Union accession talks, the stronger, not weaker, we get. So we have to move ahead, because we may face more difficult years in the course of the negotiations." /Sabah-Aksam/
 ERDOGAN URGES ARAB BUSINESSMEN TO INVEST IN TURKEYPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday attended the Third Arab- Turkish Economic Forum in Istanbul along with his Syrian counterpart Naji Otri, his Palestinian counterpart Salam Fayyad, his Somalia counterpart Hassan Hussein, his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabr Al Thani, and Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh. Speaking at the meeting, Erdogan said that the region's problems are not unsolvable, adding, "We can solve all of the problems, and overcome all hardships and obstacles through solidarity. Turkey wants to serve as a bridge of development and prosperity between the Arab world and Western countries, and our membership in the European Union will be a major step toward peace and stability in the region." Stating that he believed the forum would contribute to the region's economic development, welfare and stability, he also called on Arab businessmen to invest more in Turkey to help improve Turkish-Arab ties. "We would be very happy to see more Arab entrepreneurs and investors in our country," Erdogan added. /Turkiye/
 TOPTAN MEETS WITH POLITICAL PARTY LEADERSParliament Speaker Koksal Toptan yesterday met with the group deputy chairmen of parties represented in Parliament. The main topic of the meeting was reportedly how the legislature can work more effectively. Stating that there is a consensus on most of the relevant subjects, Toptan proposed setting up a commission along with changes to Parliament's bylaws to help it work more smoothly. He also said that more such meetings would be held. Afterwards, Toptan hosted a dinner in honor of Khalifa Bin Ahmed Al Dahrani, the head of Bahrain's Council of Representatives, and an accompanying delegation. /Star/
 BABACAN ATTENDS INTL CONFERENCE IN SUPPORT OF AFGHANISTANThe International Conference in Support of Afghanistan yesterday began in Paris. Representatives of 80 countries and international organizations attended the meeting, with Turkey represented by Foreign Minister Ali Babacan. At the gathering, Afghanistan is set to propose a five-year, $50 billion project for the country's reconstruction. /Turkiye/
 CHP'S BAYKAL VISITS NEW COUNCIL OF STATE HEADMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday paid a congratulatory visit to Mustafa Birden, the recently elected head of the Council of State, one of Turkey's top judicial bodies. Accompanying Baykal were CHP Secretary-General Onder Sav, General Auditor Mustafa Ozyurek, Deputy Chairman Onur Oymen and group deputy leader Hakkı Suha Okay. /Cumhuriyet/
 RUSSIAN FM TO VISIT TURKEY NEXT MONTHRussian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is expected to pay an official visit to Ankara in early July, Russian officials said yesterday. Lavrov's visit, which will be the first senior-level visit from Moscow to Ankara following the election of Dimitry Medvedev as president in March, is likely to take place during the first week of next month, the officials said, adding that the exact dates would be announced soon. While in Ankara, Lavrov is expected to have talks with both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in addition to his counterpart, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan,. /Today's Zaman/
 S. KOREAN LAND FORCES COMMANDER AWARDED MEDAL OF MERITSouth Korea Land Forces Commander Gen. Lim Choung Bin, in Ankara as the official guest of his Turkish counterpart Ilker Basbug, was decorated yesterday with the Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Merit. Speaking at the ceremony, Gen. Lim said that the medal would further strengthen the ties between the republics of Turkey and South Korea, and would also be a valuable contribution to world peace and justice. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS… FROM THE COLUMNS…
 THE PM'S TWO BIG MISTAKESBY TUFAN TURENC (HURRIYET)
Columnist Tufan Turenc comments on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A summary of his column is as follows:
"At his party's parliamentary group meeting, the premier criticized the Constitutional Court, saying, 'The understanding "I did it, it's done," violates a democratic state ruled by laws.' Yet from the beginning, Erdogan is the very one who has largely acted in line with this understanding. What and with whom has he shared his actions in administration, foreign policy, tender regulations, investments, and even an attempt to change the Constitution? In a nutshell, he wants the 11 members of the Constitutional Court to be like Hasim Kilic and Sacit Adali. Since his party came to power, he has wanted to put together a constitution that doesn't frustrate his agenda. But as he knows that no one would support such a constitution, he has tried to do this in secret. When we review his political strategy over the last year, we can see his two big mistakes. First, keeping silent to Bulent Arinc's (the Parliament speaker before last year's general and subsequent presidential elections) insistence on a religious president. Also, last spring, failing to make a stand for Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli's backing to overcome the 367 issue (meaning the purported necessity for a quorum of 367 deputies to begin a presidential election, which is held in Parliament), thus blocking Abdullah Gul's presidency (until after the summer general elections gave the ruling party a larger parliamentary majority). Secondly, bowing to Bahceli's encouragement to allow headscarves at universities through changing the Constitution.
Erdogan has paid heavily for these two mistakes. The election of a religious president and the attempt to allow headscarves at universities through the Constitution are the two major factors behind the prosecutor's case seeking the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Through Gul's presidency, Cankaya lost its role as a safety valve for the regime, and instead became a rubber stamp for the AKP government. Attempts to allow headscarves through the Constitution were seen as the first step to end secularism. Last week the Constitution Court rejected the constitutional changes meant to allow headscarves at universities. This ruling enraged both the AKP hawks and their media supporters. They made very odd proposals. They lost their temper to the extent of even threatening members of the court. The public may think this way: 'We voted for them to govern the country well and solve our problems. But they fought everybody, and couldn't see that there is no end to fighting.'
No politician should make such serious mistakes. A politician's duty is to govern the country without fighting, without creating tension, and without violating the values and principles of the regime. Think about what would have happened if Erdogan had instead pushed a presidential candidate who was unbiased and above political parties. Such a president would have seen how putting the headscarf issue in the Constitution would have harmed the regime and so would have rejected changes to this effect. He would have suggested that Erdogan not insist on the changes, and warned him that his insistence would cause serious problems in the regime. Would this have helped things? We'll never know, but at least the people's trust in an unbiased president acting as a safety valve would have brought them comfort. But this didn't happen. Erdogan couldn't see this reality, which is vital both for himself and his party. Now he's paying for falling for the traps of Arinc and Bahceli."
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