GROWTH SURPRISE: 6 PCT
The shrinkage that started at the end of 2008 due to global economic crisis has stopped. Economy was on rise in the last quarter of 2009. In this period, growth rate exceeded expectations and reached 6 percent.
LET US LIFT VISAS SO TURKS CAN COME
The "Neighbor", which has been seriously damaged by the financial crisis, laid hopes on Turkey. Mayors of the Greek islands asked Athens to ease the visa procedures for Turkish tourists. In an effort to boost economy, governors said, "Let's put an end to bureaucracy. Let's recognize the green passports that do not require visas just like the EU-member countries".
CRISIS FORMALLY ENDS
At a time when the Turkish public opinion was focused on constitutional amendments, a good news came from the economic sphere. Turkey grew 6 percent in the last quarter of 2009. According to economists, this growth rate is a clear indication that the economic crisis in Turkey has formally ended.
FRIENDLY TIES WITH PAKISTAN WILL ALSO BE REFLECTED ON COMMERCIAL RELATIONS
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that, although Turkey and Pakistan shared excellent friendly relations, this relationship was not reflected on the economic field. Gul arrived in Pakistan on a four-day formal visit with a large delegation of Turkish businesspeople. "We want to increase the trade volume between Turkey and Pakistan to two billion USD from the current 700 million USD," Gul said.
TRAIN "GUL" TO DEPART
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari named a train that will start carrying cargo between Turkey and Pakistan in August after Turkish President Abdullah Gul's surname. Gul held a joint press conference with Zardari during his visit to Pakistan, and called on the entire world to stand by Pakistan in its fight against terrorism. When Gul announced that the train that would carry cargo between Turkey and Pakistan would start its journeys in August, Zardari interrupted him and said the train would be named as "Gul."
TELE HEARING FOR HABERAL
Baskent University's rector Mehmet Haberal, who has not served even a single day in prison although he is under arrest for ten months in Ergenekon case, will have a mysterious hearing. Haberal will defend himself by a video-conference from his hospital room in his first hearing. Haberal was hospitalized as he had a heart attack after he had been arrested in the 12th wave of the operation Ergenekon against the rectors on April 17, 2009 and sent to Istanbul's Metris prison.
EXPORTS NOT BELOW TARGETS
The Turkish statistical board, TurkStat, announced Turkish exports in January and February as 16.1 billion USD. When compared with the same period of 2009, exports were 1.3 percent down. However, according to calculations including gold exports, exports were 15 percent up.
ARE YOU THE POLICE OF QADHAFI?
Daily Hurriyet newspaper's reporter was attacked by a Libyan bodyguard when he was trying to take a photograph of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi's son Mutasim in Istanbul. Reporter Cenkel Tezel wanted to take Mutasim's photograph when he was coming out of "Al Jamal" club in Istanbul the previous night. Bodyguards attacked and hit Tezel, and tried to take his camera. Tezel's camera was broken, and he was handcuffed and taken to police station when he was expecting assistance from the police. The reporter was transferred to the court house on charges of battering bodyguards. He was released after he testified.
DO NOT MAKE UP, FADIL!
Fadil Akgunduz with an alias "Jet Fadil" has put forth a "timeshare hotel" project, and is again selling dreams. However, people are awake now. Fadil promoted the hotel in Istanbul on Wednesday, however nobody believed, and 20 families were thrown away from the building under Fadil's instruction. Akgunduz served 15 years in prison on charges that he collected unjust money from thousands of Turkish people living abroad.
After the Parliment Speaker's office sent the amendment bill also carrying Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin's signature to the Constitution Committee, a second bill without Sahin's signature was sent to the committee. It was claimed that this situation occurred because a blank paper, which was signed by Sahin before he became the parliament speaker, was used. The bill does not carry the signature of Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ministers or the senior officials, which was seen as a precaution for a possible closure case.
Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentarian Isa Gok who brought the incident to light, asked: "Why did not senior AK Party officials sign the bill? Did they see a risk? Was it that they knew it violates the unamendable provisions of the constitution? How can there be two different signature groups? How can such unlawfulness occur in the parliament?"
CHP Acting Group Chairman Hakki Suha Okay said the parliament was face to face with forgery noting that the bill was null and void.
LAWS ARE TRODDEN DOWN
Former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who assessed the constitutional amendment bill said, "The executive branch is dominating the legislative branch. Now it wants to dominate the judiciary. If the bill is adopted, the rule of law gets destroyed. The separation of powers becomes the union of powers." He said an appeal for annulment could not be filed before referendum, noting that the bill would most likely be cancelled.
PORK & HORSE MEAT IN TOWN OF 300,000
A health report prepared in Gebze town of the north-western province of Kocaeli has virtually shocked everyone. It has been discovered that many popular restaurants in the town were serving pork and horse meat to customers.
BLACK SEA CONTINUES TO SWALLOW COAST LINE
Black Sea continues to swallow the coast line in Karasu town of north-western province of Sakarya. The Black Sea water has swallowed up to 100 meters of coast line in the past three years and dozens of summer houses on the Black Sea coast were damaged by the waves.
THEY WILL GET USED TO IT
On constitutional amendments, State Minister Hayati Yazici reminded remarks of a former prime minister and president, Turgut Ozal, who said, "they will get used to it", and said, "also they will get used to it."
Yazici said, "the reaction of the judiciary is unjust. Every power should stay within its jurisdiction area. Heads of the High Court are criticizing the decisions of the executive branch every day, which is unacceptable."
Minister Yazici said, "the constitutional amendment bill will not receive votes below 330 in the parliament. It will neither receive more than 367 votes. You will see an unpredicted support to the bill when a referendum is held. It will get more than 60 percent support."
Yazici also said, "closing political parties is not a principle in democracy. The nation closes political parties. We should take party closures out of our laws."
NINE RELEASED IN BALYOZ OPERATION
Two admirals, three colonels, six officers and three retired officers out of 34 military personnel who were arrested five weeks ago in Balyoz operation were released as the court took into custody the evidence. Among the released are retired admiral Feyyaz Ogutcu, the former North Sea Field Commander; and Admiral Ramazan Cem Gurdeniz, Admiral Cem Aziz Cakmak, and Konya's Gendarmery Commander Colonel Huseyin Ozcoban. 25 people are still under detention in Balyoz case.
FIRST 4 YEARS WONDERFUL, LAST 3 YEARS DISAPPOINTING
Turkish economy grew with a remarkable speed that was highly praised by other countries during the first 4 years of Justice and Development (AK) Party's ruling. However, growth rates of the last 3 years were much lower than the figures of similar countries.
Turkey broke a growth record in 2003-2006 period due to its stable atmosphere stemming from the one-party administration in the country, and the plenty of money in world markets. The cumulative growth in economy was 33.5 percent in this period. Starting from 2007, Turkey stepped on the brakes. During the 3-year period between 2007 and 2009, Turkey grew only 0.5 percent.
AND AMBASSADOR TAN BACK TO USA
Turkish ambassador in Washington D.C. Namik Tan, who was recalled to the Turkish capital on March 4 following the approval of an Armenian resolution by a sub-committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, is expected to return to the U.S. capital next week. Sources said that recent statements delivered by U.S. officials one after another and last week's telephone conversation between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were effective over the decision on Tan's return.
GUL CALLS ON WORLD FOR PAKISTAN
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that Pakistan was making efforts to strengthen democracy and fight against terrorism. Gul made a call on the world to support Pakistan. "Turkey pays high importance to tranquility and stability in Pakistan," Gul also said.
RENOWNED TURKISH MOVIE STAR CELEBRATES 41ST ANNIVERSARY
Renowned Turkish movie star Kadir Inanir celebrated his career's 41st anniversary with a ceremony organized by the Association of Magazine Journalists (MGD). The reception for Inanir was named "Man Coming from North" and was attended by a selective group of guests.