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Turkish Press Review, 03-05-20
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From: Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information <http://www.byegm.gov.tr><LINK href="http://www.byegm.gov.tr_yayinlarimiz_chr_pics_css/tpr.css" rel=STYLESHEET type=text/css> e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org <caption> <_caption> Summary of the political and economic news in the Turkish press this morning
20.05.2003FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 YOUTH AND SPORTS DAY CELEBRATEDMay 19 Youth and Sports Day was celebrated yesterday throughout the country, in Turkey’s embassies abroad and in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal and other top civilian and military officials attended a ceremony at Anitkabir, Ataturk’s mausoleum. In Anitkabir’s commemorative guestbook, Sezer wrote about his efforts to place Turkey among the strong, democratic countries of the world. In related news, Sezer also received Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin along with young people from 81 cities in Turkey as well as the TRNC at the Cankaya Presidential Palace. During the meeting, Sezer said that the nation’s youth were duty-bound to educate themselves and accept Ataturk’s reforms and principles as their guiding light. He added that Ataturk had entrusted his great accomplishment to the youth of the nation and that he could be sure today that they were worthy of that trust. /All papers/
 GUL TO TRAVEL TO PAKISTANForeign Minister Abdullah Gul is due to travel to Pakistan today upon the invitation of his Pakistani counterpart Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. Gul’s official visit is due to last two days, during which he is to discuss bilateral relations as well as a number of significant international issues with Pakistani officials. /Cumhuriyet/
 AMBASSADOR LOLOGLU: “TURKISH TROOPS WON’T WITHDRAW FROM NORTHERN IRAQ BEFORE TERRORIST THREAT ENDS”Turkey’s Ambassador to the US Faruk Lologlu said yesterday that Turkish troops would remain deployed in northern Iraq as long as the terrorist threat against Turkey from PKK_KADEK and similar groups persists. Speaking to a Turkish-American Business Forum in Washington, Lologlu stated that no ethnic group should be allowed to dominate northern Iraq. Stressing that Turkish troops were in the region in order to prevent possible terrorist attacks against Turkey, the ambassador added that they wouldn’t leave before this threat is eliminated. /Turkiye/
 ITF LEADER AHMET AGA: “IRAQ’S NEW GOVERNMENT MUST INCLUDE THE COUNTRY’S TURKMEN”Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) leader Sanan Ahmet Aga said yesterday that any ruling government in Iraq that excludes the country’s ethnic Turkmen could not be successful Addressing a press conference in Baghdad, Ahmet Aga said that although the Turkmen were of Turkish origin, they were upstanding Iraqi citizens. He stated that the ITF had asked for an appointment with Paul Bremer, the veteran US diplomat recently named head of Iraq’s interim administration, but had yet to receive a response. Stressing that the Turkmen wanted to take part in a commission set to pave the way for Iraq’s new government, Ahmet Aga said, “It would not be fair to leave some 3 million Iraqi Turkmen unrepresented at this commission.” In related news, a Turkish Foreign Ministry delegation including Turkey’s Ambassador to Iraq Osman Paksut yesterday met with Ahmet Aga in Baghdad. The delegation is scheduled today to meet with Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP) leader Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) leader Jalal Talabani as well. /Turkiye/
 TUZMEN MEETS TURKMENISTAN PRESIDENT TURKMENBASHIState Minister Kursat Tuzmen, on an official visit to Turkmenistan accompanied by a delegation of businessmen, yesterday met with Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov Turkmenbashi. Afterwards, Tuzmen told reporters that the two had discussed bilateral trade relations and various issues, adding that the current $220 million trade volume was not sufficient and should be brought to $500 million as soon as possible. Tuzmen stated that Turkish firms wanted to boost their investments in Turkmenistan, including ones in airport construction and highways. /Turkiye/
 REPUBLICAN CHIEF PROSECUTOR KANADOGLU’S TERM IN OFFICE ENDS TODAYHigh Court of Appeals Republican Chief Prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu is set to retire today, as he has reached the mandatory retirement age. Kanadoglu, who has served in the office since the beginning of 2001, is set to hand over his post to Nuri Ok, former head of the 11th Penal Division. /All Papers/
 WASHINGTON POST: “KURDISH ORGANIZATIONS HAVE MOVED SWIFTLY TO GAIN A POLITICAL HOLD ON KIRKUK”In cooperation with US occupation forces, two armed Kurdish organizations have moved swiftly in recent weeks to gain a political hold on Kirkuk, an oil-rich northern Iraqi city that the groups have long coveted as a Kurdish economic and cultural center, reported the Washington Post yesterday. “Since moving into Kirkuk on April 10 behind fleeing Iraqi soldiers, US forces have struggled to build a viable local administration in a region where Kurds are the majority among several often hostile ethnic groups,” wrote foreign service writer Scott Wilson. “For help, US officers have turned to eager leaders from the Iraqi Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (IPUK) and the Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (IKDP), who have administered sectors of a largely autonomous US-protected portion of northern Iraq since shortly after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The two groups, each with strong militias, have sent in more than 400 police officers and a variety of city administrators from the Kurdish enclave that begins 25 miles east of this city.” Wilson stated that Turkey, which this March declined to allow US troops deployment for a northern front into Iraq, was warning against allowing Kurdish groups to assume political or military power in Kirkuk or elsewhere in northern Iraq. “Fearing that Kurdish control of the economically important city could encourage Turkey's separatist Kurds, Turkish officials threatened to dispatch troops to evict peshmerga militias after they defied US orders not to enter Kirkuk,” added Wilson. “The peshmerga withdrew, but the US has invited their political wing to return.” /Sabah/
 US REP. FRANK ACCUSES WOLFOWITZ OF UNDERMINING TURKISH DEMOCRACYUS Representative Barney Frank yesterday called on US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to resign, accusing him of undermining Turkey’s democracy. Wolfowitz had stated on an May 6 interview with news channel CNN Turk that the Bush administration had been disappointed by Turkish military’s failure, in his view, to convince the nation’s Parliament to support the US during the Iraq war. “For a high-ranking American official to urge the undermining of democratic decision-making by military intervention is appalling in any case," said Frank. “It is particularly disturbing in this instance …. One of the most encouraging examples we have seen to date in the effort to repudiate the notion that Muslim fundamentalism is incompatible with democratic government has been the election in Turkey of a regime that is both Islamist and committed to free elections and respect for basic political freedoms. For Mr. Wolfowitz to lament the fact that the Turkish military showed respect for democracy and did not seek to muscle an elected government is a startling betrayal of what ought to be an American effort to support this sort of development." /Cumhuriyet/
 IMF TO BEGIN FIFTH ECONOMIC PROGRAM REVIEW TOMORROWA delegation from the International Monetary Fund is set to arrive in Turkey tomorrow for the fifth review of the nation’s economic program. The public procurement law is expected to be one of most pressing issues of negotiations since IMF First Managing Director Anne Krueger, during her recent visit to Ankara, had urged the government not to make any changes to the law. /Milliyet/
 VERHEUGEN TO VISIT THE TRNC NEXT MONTHGuenter Verheugen, the European Union’s commissioner for enlargement, is expected to visit the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) next month. In announcing the visit, Verheugen said that recent developments on the island had proven that its two nations could peacefully co-exist. Asked if he would meet with TRNC President Rauf Denktas, Verheugen said that the visit’s program had yet to be finalized. After the collapse of Cyprus peace talks in March, Greek Cyprus signed its EU accession treaty single-handedly, without its neighbor the TRNC. /Aksam/
 PAMUK WINS IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARDTurkish author Orhan Pamuk was named yesterday as the recipient of another prestigious literary laurel for his novel “My Name is Red,” namely the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, whose 1,000 euro cash prize makes it one of the world's richest literary honors. Pamuk will formally receive the IMPAC award, which was set up in 1996 by Dublin’s City Council and US management company IMPAC to underline the Irish capital’s status as an international literary center, at a ceremony in Dublin on June 14. Pamuk will receive $87, 800 of the approximately $116,000 prize money, with the rest going to translator Erdag Koknar. Since its Turkish publication in 1998, Pamuk’s novel has been translated into 20 foreign languages worldwide. /Sabah/
 FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS...FROM THE COLUMNS
 IMPROVING OUR PRISONS BY OKTAY EKSI (HURRIYET)Columnist Oktay Eksi comments on the improvement of Turkish prisons. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Before Professor Hikmet Sami Turk became justice minister under Bulent Ecevit’s government, the inmates in Turkey had been controlling our nation’s prisons for nearly 15 years. The warden, guards, etc. were effectively servants of the convicts. Would you expect that such an atmosphere would be able to change in just a few years? When I read the news headlined ‘Bayrampasa Prison’ in today’s Hurriyet, I was convinced that this problem has actually been successfully solved. In other words, from now on the state is the dominant actor in prisons.
As most readers may know, criminals convicted of terrorist offenses were transferred to the newly built F-type prisons on Dec. 19, 2002. The system of prison wards, which was the reason for the domination of the inmates, thus came to an end.
Then Justice Minister Turk provided convicts and prisoners with certain rights which had never before been guaranteed. For example, he gave them the right to seek redress for alleged mistreatment by applying directly to judges. He set up a system whereby the prisoners’ conditions are inspected by Monitoring Councils at least once every two months.
All this was actually achieved by three brave men. As justice minister, Turk determinedly applied himself to solve the political and legal aspects of the problem. Prisons and Penitentiaries Director Ali Suat Ertosun assumed the duty of improving the physical structure and administration of the prisons, and Istanbul Republican Chief Prosecutor Ferzan Citici improved the situation at Bayrampasa Prison.
As a matter of fact, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CTP) no longer decries the ‘desperate situation’ of our prisons after visiting and seeing them. How about that? Don’t you think this example holds a very important lesson for all of us, showing that it’s possible to actually solve our problems instead of endlessly putting them off?”
 AKP, THE POLITICAL ISLAMIST? BY ISMET BERKAN (RADIKAL)Columnist Ismet Berkan comments on political Islamism in Turkey and the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ideological roots. A summary of his column is as follows:
“Political Islamism strives for the foundation of a state based on Islamic lines, rather than extending the scope of existing religious freedoms within a secular establishment. Its only goal is to form a state operating under the rules of a religion whose constitution is the Holy Koran. In a country like Turkey, which has always faced a political Islamist threat, advancing a democratic order demands that country’s constitution cite secularism as one of its basic, founding pillars. Other countries may not see such a vigorous safeguard of secularism as vitally important, but in Muslim countries like Turkey, a Western-type liberal democracy is impossible without making direct reference to the secularist principle (that’s the reason for the possible US failure establish a democratic order in Iraq), as secularism means the creation of the legal body by the people. Religious law cannot get along with democracy, for the former regulates everything under ‘divine revelation,’ whereas the latter requires a man- made constitution.
Since the day Turkey took to the multi-party system, the country has been governed by, in scholar Idris Kucukomer’s words, the resisting political parties of the periphery to the up-to-down modernizing center. And clearly there were always elements in these parties (Adnan Menderes’s Democratic Party – DP, Suleyman Demirel’s Justice Party – AP and Turgut Ozal’s Motherland Party – ANAP) massive electorates who would welcome political Islam. The political Islamist current, ‘National View (Milli Gorus)’ in Turkey came to the political scene with the 1969 general elections through what was called ‘the independents’ movement,’ led by Necmettin Erbakan. Yet it remained marginal and incapable of mobilizing its ‘affiliated circle’ into a mass movement until decades later. Then in the 1990s we witnessed a brand new development. The mainstream political parties who had traditionally represented the periphery began to move out of it in the name of differentiating themselves with the new political outlook pioneered by then President Ozal’s ANAP. Calling themselves ‘liberal centrist parties,’ Mesut Yilmaz’s (ANAP) and Tansu Ciller’s True Path Party (DYP) – the latter the successor of both the DP and AP – effectively committed a sort of political suicide by turning their backs to the periphery in favor of the backyard of two political parties which had been merely remained marginal up to then. Erbakan’s Welfare Party (RP) didn’t even need to hide its political Islamist tendencies. In the 1995 general elections, the RP won 22% of the vote. The party was closed down in 1997 by the Constitutional Court and its leader barred from politics. In 1998, the one-time marginal Nationalist Action Party (MHP) came to the forefront. But in 2002, the MHP suffered the worst defeat of its history, proving unable to even reach the 10% representation threshold.
The unquestionable victor of the 2002 general elections, the AKP, was a party born from an old political tradition. Its roots in the ‘National View’ are obvious and undeniable. But since the day the party was established, it preferred to keep the political Islamist discourse and symbols at bay. Moreover, in spite of its overwhelming majority in Parliament, so far it hasn’t attempted anything so radical as to politically challenge the secularist foundations of the regime. The bulk of the issue lies in whether the AKP wants to be a lasting actor in the political arena. If it chooses to play out the agenda of the marginal Islamist political school from which it sprang rather than that of the broad sectors of society which constituted peripheral opposition to the center, the AKP, too, is doomed to share the RP and MHP’s fate.”
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