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Turkish Press Review, 08-05-14
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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
14.05.2008FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦.FROM THE COLUMNS
 QUEEN ELIZABETH BEGINS HER LANDMARK VISIT TO TURKEYBritain's Queen Elizabeth yesterday arrived in Ankara to pay a four-day official visit at the invitation of President Abdullah Gul. The queen's husband Prince Philip and British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband is also accompanying the queen on her visit. The British monarch was welcomed with an official ceremony at the Cankaya Presidential Palace by Gul and his wife Hayrunnisa. The queen first visited Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. "It is an honor to pay my respects to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, a much-beloved friend of the United Kingdom and one of the great figures of modern history, " she wrote in Anitkabir's memorial guestbook. Gul and his wife later hosted a banquet at the Presidential Palace in the queen's honor. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan, and many leading figures from politics, business, and the media also attended. During the dinner, the queen made a toast in honor of the friendship between the two countries, and stressed Turkey's importance for Europe and the world. Saying that Turkey has been going through a critical period in recent years, the queen reiterated Britain's firm support for Turkey's EU accession bid, and highlighted the strategic partner relationship between the two countries. Referring to Ataturk's famous words on the British soldiers who died in Canakkale during World War I â€" "Those who lost their lives here are now sons of the Turkish people" â€" the queen said, "Ataturk is a great leader for not only the Turkish people, but also the British people." For his turn, Gul also underlined Turkey's strategic relationship with Britain, and said, "Our armies faced each other a number of times. But they also fought shoulder to shoulder against common enemies." Today the queen will travel to Bursa and visit historical sites of the city. She will also watch a traditional Turkish puppet show, and attend a fashion show. The international media is closely following her visit, and 750 foreign journalists and reporters are covering it. First Lady Hayrunnisa Gul will also accompany the queen on her visit to Bursa. /Sabah/
 ERDOGAN CRITICIZES OPPOSITION AS BEING ANTI-EUAt his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) group meeting, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday said that objections to EU do nothing to preserve Turkey's dignity and prestige. "These objections are not a position meant to preserve secularism either," he added. "Because it would be madness to say that EU was against secularism." Erdogan also said that Turkey gets closer to EU standards every day, but opposition parties are resisting this change. He said that the PKK has become isolated both in Turkey and abroad, leaving the terrorist group on its own. "Everyone has begun abandoning terrorism and terrorists," he explained. "And the terrorist group will either leave this path or be abandoned on this path." Erdogan also said that the government would soon announce a series of new steps to boost economic and social development in eastern and southeastern Turkey. /Milliyet-Aksam/
 PM ERDOGAN: "EVEN WHEN THERE ARE DIFFERENCES, THE GOVT DOESN'T INTERVENE IN THE CENTRAL BANK"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the government may hold discussions and exchange views on monetary policy, but it doesn't intervene in the Central Bank's business. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Erdogan said that even if the government and the CB have different views on policy matters, the CB has an autonomous structure and the government can't intervene in its business. /Hurriyet/
 OPPOSITION LEADERS CRITICIZE EU OFFICIALS' STATEMENTS ON TURKEYMain opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal yesterday responded to EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso's remarks that secularism cannot be imposed by force, saying, "Nobody in Turkey or in the EU has the right to veto the CHP's understanding of democracy. Everybody should be respectful, and they shouldn't see Turkey as a horde to be directed by another's command." In related news, opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli yesterday said that he would be pleased if the Constitutional Court doesn't close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), but that a closure decision wouldn't mean the end of the world. Bahceli also strongly criticized recent statements by European Union officials on issues relating to Turkey. "The inspectors of Brussels haughtily making remarks about the fundamentals of the Republic of Turkey have strained the already tense atmosphere even more, " he added. /Milliyet/
 CHIEF OF GENERAL STAFF BUYUKANIT TO ATTEND NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE MEETINGS TODAYSpring meetings of the Military Committee, NATO's highest military decision- making organ, will begin in Brussels today. Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit will attend the two days of meetings to discuss issues such as cyber-defense and ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo. /Turkiye/
 DSP LEADER SEZER CALLS ON GOVT TO RESIGN OVER PARTY CLOSURE CASEDemocratic Left Party (DSP) leader Zeki Sezer yesterday urged the government to resign due to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Speaking at his party's meeting in Ankara, Sezer said that the government was making missteps in many areas, including the economy, foreign policy and social security, adding that this was casting a pall over the country's future. Sezer stressed that his party was against party closures, but added that no one can act against the Constitution or the laws. He added that the government should resign for the sake of the ongoing closure case. /Cumhuriyet/
 DTP'S TURK URGES GOVT TO SOLVE KURDISH ISSUEDemocratic Society Party (DTP) group leader Ahmet Turk said yesterday that if the government fails to solve the Kurdish issue, another terror group could rise out of the PKK's ashes. Addressing deputies at his party's parliamentary group meeting, Turk criticized the government's operations against the terrorist PKK. Pointing to the premier's call for the PKK militants to surrender, Turk said that the PKK was a result of the Kurdish issue, not the reason for it. The issue can't be resolved through the surrender of a handful of militants, said Turk, urging the government to take concrete steps to find a settlement to the Kurdish issue. /Cumhuriyet/
 ALBANIA FM UNDERLINES BETTER RELATIONS WITH TURKEYSpeaking to Turkiye daily, Albanian Foreign Minister Lulzim Basha yesterday said Turkey and Albania enjoy very good political ties, and added that Turkey has always provided support for his country on every issue. Stressing that the Albanian government is very pleased to see Turkish investors in Albania, Basha also said his country hopes to boost cooperation with Turkey in every area. On May 6 Albania took over the term presidency of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSECO) for six months. /Turkiye/
 TUZMEN ATTENDS MEETING TO BOOST TRADE WITH AFRICAState Minister for Foreign Trade Kursad Tuzmen yesterday attended the third "Turkey-Africa: Foreign Trade Bridge" meeting organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON). Speaking at the opening ceremony in Istanbul, Tuzmen warned that food and energy prices are soaring and that cooperation in these areas is a must. Pointing out that in 2003 the trade volume between Turkey and African countries amounted to $5.4 billion, he added that this rose to $13 billion at the end of 2007 due to improving bilateral relations. "We aim to boost our trade volume with African countries to $50 billion by the end of 2012," he added. TUSKON Chairman Rizanur Meral said that in recent years Turkey's exports to African countries had increased 78.4% and its imports 78.7%. /Turkiye/
FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦FROM THE COLUMNSâ€¦.FROM THE COLUMNS
 FOUR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE AKP AND THE WELFARE PARTYBY ERGUN BABAHAN (SABAH)
Columnist Ergun Babahan comments on differences between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Welfare Party (RP), which was ordered closed in the late 1990s. A summary of his column is as follows:
"People who are angry with the European Union's criticisms of the closure case against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) cite the Welfare Party (RP), which was closed in 1998, as an example, stressing that the RP's closure was approved by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and ask what's different now. Retired Ambassador Volkan Vural, who has made great efforts for Turkey's basic EU reforms, gives the best answer. In an interview with Milliyet's Devrim Sevimay, he summed up the differences as follows:
1. With the RP there was an incident close to violence, but not in this case.
2. At that time, Turkey wasn't an EU candidate country.
3. Now the AKP has the image of the only party protecting Turkey's EU project.
4. The groups opposing AKP are also against the EU, and the xenophobic and slightly militarist atmosphere during recent demonstrations to protect the republic was very disturbing.
This evaluation was made by an experienced analyst who has serious concerns about certain issues in Turkey, who for example openly says that he's extremely disturbed by the alcohol ban in certain Anatolian cities. The style he uses in telling the difference between himself and certain opinion makers who challenge the EU is also interesting: 'I had to voice my concerns, and this language has to be a democratic one, in other words, I have to settle this within the framework of democracy.' This is the basic difference between on the one hand, those who declare an implied war on the EU, and on the other, those who support this process and believe that this process will benefit Turkey.
Today, moneyed interests and some sections of the media are trying to put a distance between Turkey and the EU, and the democratic process isn't their principle concern. They don't shrink from sacrificing democracy due to their fears and concerns, and they would even support the democratic process going off the rails. But they don't say what would happen to Turkey if our EU bid endeda.
Today's operations against terrorist hideouts in northern Iraq have been greeted with understanding all over the world, because Turkey is not only continuing its armed struggle, but also trying to find a solution to this issue within the democratic system. They don't even imagine what the world's reaction would be to a Turkey whose democratic system has gone awry and which doesn't seek scholarly, cultural and economic solutions to its regional problems within this system. It's up to us. We will either accept European values and continue our struggle on this path, or say yes to becoming a third-class country."
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