"WE DO NOT INTERFERE WITH THE LIFESTYLE"
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that defamatory campaign against his ruling AK Party was growing as election nears. Erdogan gave important messages on controversies over the sculpture in Kars, alcohol use and TV series about the life of Suleyman the Magnificent.
Erdogan said his government had not interfered with the lifestyle in Turkey.
"Everybody can wear what they want. Everybody is free to have booze-up," he said.
On controversies over the sculpture, Erdogan said, "any eyes could see the difference between an aesthetic work of art and a freakish one. You do not need to have a noble family for that. I cannot allow such a sculpture at a place where there is a historical building."
TURKEY, THE ADDRESS FOR SOLUTIONS
Any one who ran into a trouble came to Turkey. Iraqi government was formed by the help of Turkey. Rival siblings Pakistan and Afghanistan made peace in Istanbul. The Balkans achieved stability thanks to Turkey. We stepped in Iran's nuclear program. Now, Lebanon, which faces a government crisis, is the last example. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri asked for help from Erdogan to overcome the political crisis in his country.
TURKEY RANKED FIFTH IN SALES OF AUTOMOBILES
Turkish automotive sector has been growing while the European automotive sector has shrunk as a result of the global financial crisis. Sales of automobiles in Turkey increased 74 percent to 99,461 in 2010. Turkey ranked fifth in sales of automobiles in Europe.
PROSECUTOR WARNS SUPREME COURT
It was revealed that the chief prosecutor's office in Diyarbakir warned the Supreme Court two months ago about trial of members of the Hezbollah organization. The chief prosecutor's office urged the Supreme Court that Hezbollah members could be released from prison under an amendment to the relevant article of the Code of Criminal Procedure which came into effect on January 1.
WHERE IS JUDICIARY?
Slowness in the judicial process has reached a new point after judges issued an arrest warrant about members of the Hezbollah and PKK in eight days. Twelve members of the Hezbollah and PKK organizations have failed to show up to report to police after being released from prison on January 3 under an amendment to the Article 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The chief prosecutor's office in Diyarbakir notified the Supreme Court on January 12. The court issued an arrest warrant, but it was too late.
PRESIDENT OF ARGENTINA TO VISIT TURKEY
President Christina Fernandez of Argentina will come to Turkey on an official visit under a tour to the Middle East. However, thieves stole the cash that President Fernandez was to use on her trip to the region. A government official picked up the travel cash at the treasury and was carrying it in a briefcase when he was intercepted by three gunmen. Fernandez will pay visits to Turkey, Kuwait and Qatar with the aim of boosting trade and strengthening ties to the region.
"I EXPECT AN APOLOGY FROM MERKEL"
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he expected an apology from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who criticized Turkey and Turkish Cypriots for not doing enough to reach a deal to Greek Cypriots during a trip to the Greek Cypriot administration. "German Chancellor has showed that she did not know nothing about the Cyprus issue. Her efforts to please the Greek Cypriot party are quite meaningful. We urge the chancellor to check the historical facts and apologise to the Turkish Cypriot party which has made all sorts of sacrifices to reach a solution on the island," he said.
THEY ESCAPE TO IRAN
The Supreme Court has issued an arrest warrant for members of the Hezbollah and PKK terrorist organizations who did not show up to report to police after being released from prison six days ago. Police raided some 50 houses to detain Hezbollah members, but could not find any of them. They are believed to have escaped to Iran.
FIGHT BETWEEN PKK AND HEZBOLLAH
Spat between terrorist organizations PKK and Hezbollah, which started after Hezbollah members were freed, has become harsher. Head of PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, made a statement through his lawyers and said, "release of Hezbollah members should be assessed in relation to AKP policy to build a new power. It would be wrong to see it as release of a few people. They killed hundreds of our people. What is desired here is the creation of a Kurdish Hamas."
In return, Haci Inan, one of Hezbollah's leading figures, recommended Ocalan to read the Quran.
"We are serving the Quran and we do not know any limits on our way," Inan said. "He (Ocalan) is still threatening to shed blood. But we do not care. We disregard him and his power."
HEZBOLLAH MEMBERS ON THE LAM
The Supreme Court annulled a decision to release masterminds of Turkish Hezbollah, who were said to escape -even by their lawyers. Official have not taken any move even if it was well known for days that executives of Hezbollah had left the region. Police raided a few homes in Diyarbakir and Batman to find them but they found nothing.
FAILED TO CATCH THEM
Prosecutors were late to notify the court about Hezbollah members who did not show up to report to police after they had been released from jail. The Supreme Court issued an "urgent" arrest warrant 8 days after the release. Police raided their houses but could not find even one of them.
TAX HIKE ON TEXTILE IMPORTS
In a move to cut current account deficit, the government imposed an advance tax up to 40 percent on fabric and ready-to-wear imports. After the decision, clothing will see a 20 percent price hike.
TURKEY RANKED 67TH IN ECONOMIC FREEDOMS INDEX
Turkey ranked 67th in the world and 30th in Europe in the list of the U.S. Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal assessing economic freedoms worldwide. Turkey's economic freedom score is 64.2 in this year's index, 0.4 point higher than last year's assessment. Turkey's scores in the index are 68.7 in business freedom, 70.0 in investment freedom, 85.4 in trade freedom, 50.0 in financial freedom, 78.2 in fiscal freedom, 50.0 in property rights, 83.6 in government spending, 44.0 in freedom from corruption, 72.7 in monetary freedom and 39.6 labor freedom categories.
TURKS RETURN FROM TUNISIA
Turkish citizens have begun returning to Turkey from Tunisia in which dozens of people died in recent weeks as unrest has swept the country and security forces have cracked down on demonstrations over unemployment, food price rises and corruption. Turkish Ambassador to Tunisia Akin Algan said that Turkish citizens in the country would be evacuated by Turkish Airlines (THY) planes. Meanwhile, THY's scheduled flights between Istanbul and Tunis were cancelled. Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power as protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against him.
YOU LOST THEM, SO CATCH THEM
The Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for the members of Turkish Hezbollah who hogtied and killed dozens of people but later they were released from prison as the court could not make a decision in Hezbollah case in 10 years. However, they have just vanished into thin air. They are thought to have gone to Iran.
COALITION WITH CHP TOO HARD
CHP Deputy Chairman Gursel Tekin had told Milliyet that his party could form a coalition with MHP after the upcoming elections. But his message was not welcomed by MHP circles. MHP Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural said, "policies of AKP and CHP are too close to each other recently."
Another MHP executive Deniz Bolukbasi said his party was not thinking about a coalition with CHP.
"LIFE STYLES ARE UNDER OUR GUARANTEE"
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said about news reports on consumption of alcoholic beverage, "we have never intervened in life styles of anyone in the last eight years and we will not do it in the future. Everybody can consume alcoholic beverage."
ISTANBUL TO HOST JUAN SEBASTIAN ELCANO TRANING SHIP
Istanbul will host Spain's Juan Sebastian Elcano Training Ship. The world's third-largest ship named after Spanish explorer Juan Sebastian Elcano, captain of Ferdinand Magellan's last exploratory fleet, will visit Istanbul on January 23 and 24.
FIFTEEN MORE HOTELS TO BE BUILT IN ANTALYA
Investments have gained momentum in the southern province of Antalya. Fifteen five-star hotels will be built in Turkey's tourism center under an investment plan of 500 million euro. The province aims at drawing some 11 million foreign tourists by the end of 2011.