June 2008

AKP Throws The Ball To The Parliament

AKP’s Central Executive Board [MYK] met today for six hours to discuss the party's road map after the Constitutional Court's ruling to annul the law lifting the headscarf ban. At the end of the meeting AKP’s deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat spoke to journalists and said, "This ruling will be discussed for a long time. The target of this ruling is our parliament, and not any one party. This is a direct interference with the authority of the legislative. The initial assessment should be made by the parliament”. He added, "It is a violation of the rule on the separation of powers." Firat also said that AKP’s parliamentary group would have a meeting on Tuesday, after which PM Erdogan would share his opinions with the public.

PM Erdogan paid a midnight visit to Parliamentary Speaker Koksal Toptan’s residence. TV channels reported that Toptan will hold a press conference on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Source: Vatan, Hurriyet, Turkey, June 7, 2008

Date Posted: June 6, 2008
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Turkey Cooperates With Iran Against PKK

A senior Turkish general said yesterday that Turkey's military is cooperating with Iran by sharing information and coordinating strikes against the outlawed PKK based in northern Iraq.

"We haven't coordinated strikes for the last couple of months, but we would do it, if necessary" Gen. Ilker Basbug, land forces commander and the second most powerful man in the Turkish military, told reporters on the sidelines of an international security conference held in Istanbul.

Turkey and Iran have long been fighting against the terrorist activities by both the outlawed PKK and the PEJAK - the PKK’s breakaway faction in Iran.

Source: AA – Anatolia News Agency, Zaman, Hurriyet, Turkey, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 6, 2008
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Turkey Deals With Recent Tensions Through Humor

Recording: "Hello, please press 1 if you wish to be listened to by the Police; press 2 if you wish to be listened to by the Gendermarie; press 3 if you wish to be listened to by MIT [national intelligence organization]. If you are Onder Sav [CHP MP] don't do anything, we will call you..."

Source: Penguen Weekly Humor Magazine, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 6, 2008
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Reactions From Opposition Parties

Nationalist Movement Party [MHP] deputy chairman, MP Faruk Bal said, "The party respects the court’s ruling, but does not agree with its decision". MHP had worked together with AKP in preparing the constitutional amendments to lift the Islamic headscarf ban in universities.

Democratic Left Party [DSP] leader Zeki Sezer said, “Turkey was polarized unnecessarily with the ‘headscarf’ discussions and lost valuable time. I hope common sense prevails from now on”.

Independent MP and former Turkish PM Mesut Yilmaz said that the ruling was what was expected. He criticized AKP for the way it handled this issue and by its uncompromising policies it had brought this outcome - which means that the door for headscarves are permanently closed now.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 6, 2008
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First Reactions From CHP

Republican People’s Party [CHP] leader Deniz Baykal told the journalists that he was not happy about the high court's decision, that in fact was saddened because the issue had gone that far. He said that the court’s decision was extremely important, and that it would have legal ramifications.

CHP MP and leader of the parliamentary group, Kemal Anadol said, “We respect the Constitutional Court's decision based on the objection that we submitted to the court 99 days ago, but this is should not be read that we are in any way elated by the decision".

Anadol said that they were expecting such a decision to be handed down, adding the decision was in line with the basic philosophy of the Turkish Republic and said that both secularism and democracy are integral parts of each other.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 5, 2008
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AKP’s First Reactions To Historic Court Decision; PM Erdogan Cancels All His Programs; AKP Executive Board Will Meet Tomorrow

AKP members began to react to the historic decision of Turkey's top court that dealt a harsh blow to the ruling AKP. PM Erdogan who was in Istanbul when the decision was taken, refused to comment.

In a televised program AKP MP and deputy chairman of the parliamentary group Bekir Bozdag said, “The Constitutional Court violated the constitution with this ruling”.

AKP MP Husrev Kutlu: “This decision reveals the existence of judicial oligarchy in Turkey. A decision to be regarded as void. From now on, the Constitutional Court decisions must be brought to the people’s vote [referendum]”

AKP MP Abdurrahman Kurt: “This is a judicial coup”Source: Hurriyet, Milliyet, Turkey, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 5, 2008
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President Gul Reacts To Annulment Of Constitutional Amendments For Islamic Headscarf

Turkish President Abdullah Gul learned about the Constitutional Court’s decision in Tokyo, where he is on an official visit. Asked by journalists to comment on the High Court’s decision to annul the amendments lifting the Islamic headscarf ban in universities, Gul said, "This is a legal process and I do not want to say anything".

Source: All Turkish dailies, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 5, 2008
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Turkey’s Top Court Deals A Blow To AKP; Annuls Islamic Headscarf Law

High Constitutional Court annulled today the constitutional amendments passed by the AKP government to lift the turban [Islamic headscarf] ban in Turkey’s universities, on grounds that the amendments conflicted with the “unchangeable” articles [numbers 2, 4 and 148] of the Turkish Constitution. Article 2 describes Turkey as a “secular and democratic Republic”.

The decision to cancel, and to stop the execution of the amendments was taken by nine of the 11 justices; two voted against.

Source: All Turkish media organs, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 5, 2008
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All Eyes On Constitutional Court For Today’s Verdict On Islamic Headscarf

The 11 justices of the Turkish High Constitutional Court will convene today to discuss and decide on AKP’s constitutional amendments to allow turban [the Islamic headscarf] in Turkey’s universities. The verdict is likely to affect the closure case against the AKP as well.

AKP officials have said that they are waiting to hear the verdict on the turban issue, before they submit to the high court their written defense against the closure case.

Source: Vatan, Turkish Daily News, Turkey, June 5, 2008

Date Posted: June 5, 2008
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Important Decision By Turkey’s Supreme Court On Countrywide Tapping Of Communications

Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals [Yargitay] cancelled a lower court decision that gave authority to Turkish gendarme [military police] to monitor all communications in the country. It was the Ministry of Justice that had taken the case to the high court to appeal the authority given to the gendarme.

Yargitay by its decision created a precedent to be applied to all similar cases that will be brought to higher court. The high court's decision said that no institution can be given the authority to monitor the entire country, treating the citizens of the democratic and constitutional state of Turkey as suspects.

The decision was welcomed by the public but question are raised: If the AKP government objects to the military gendarme having such authority, why is it that it does not oppose to the police and the intelligence agency to have such broad authority.

CHP leader Deniz Baykal has been drawing the attention to the fact that these two institutions are dominated by members of the influential, Islamist Fethullah Gulen community, that are partners with the AKP government.

Source: Milliyet, Hurriyet, Vatan, Turkey, June 4, 2008

Date Posted: June 4, 2008
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