Kurdish opening, Gaza attack dominate Turkey's 2009 agenda

Ergenekon coup plot, Kurdish opening and Gaza offensive dominated Turkey's agenda in domestic and foreign policy.

Kurdish opening, Gaza attack dominate Turkey's 2009 agenda

Ergenekon coup plot, Kurdish opening and Gaza offensive dominated Turkey's agenda in domestic and foreign policy.

"Ergenekon" investigation, the law suits filed within the framework of the inquiry and "democratic move" were the major issues on Turkey's agenda in 2009.

Overruling Ankara 11th High Criminal Court's decision on the attacks against the Council of State and daily Cumhuriyet, 9th Criminal Court of the Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that such case shall be combined with "Ergenekon" case.

Upon such decision, Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court decided to combine the two cases. A total of 86 suspects, including Labor Party (IP) chairman Dogu Perincek and retired general Veli Kucuk, are being tried in the case at the moment. 27 of these suspects are currently detained.

While trial process continued in the second Ergenekon case, the third indictment was prepared and sent to the relevant court. The court afterwards decided to combine the second and third cases. Journalist Tuncay Ozkan, Cumhuriyet daily's Ankara representative Mustafa Balbay, Baskent University's rector Mehmet Haberal and former deputy head of Special Forces Department Ibrahim Sahin are among the 108 suspects that are being tried in the case. 48 of the suspects are currently under arrest.

After a Turkish daily published a plot document called "Action Plan against Reactionaries" allegedly signed by Col. Dursun Cicek, in addition to the "Ergenekon" investigation conducted by Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of Istanbul, an investigation was launched by the Military Prosecutor's Office of the General Staff. The military office decided to dismiss the proceedings, however, Cicek was questioned by the prosecutors in charge of "Ergenekon" probe and he was later arrested by the court. Upon the acceptance of the appeal, Cicek was released.

Cicek was questioned and detained for the second time, after the original copy of the said document was delivered to the relevant prosecutor's office. He was released again. The investigation, re-launched by the Military Prosecutor's Office of the General Staff, still continues.

Former heads of Turkish naval, land and air forces were questioned by prosecutors within the framework of the investigation.

"Kurdish opening"

Activities carried out within the framework of the "democratic move" and discussions held on the issue were high on agenda of Turkey during the second half of 2009.

The first meeting of the move was held on August 1 and participants discussed the terrorism issue and the motives behind such problem.

After the meeting, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay held talks with representatives of political parties and NGOs.

Turkish parliament convened on November 10 to discuss the "democratic move".

Several amendments were carried out on issues such as the language used in visits to prisons and lifting the time limitation on TV and radio broadcasts in different languages.

"New appointments"

There have been some changes in the Council of Ministers in 2009.

Justice and Development (AK) Party's Istanbul deputy Egemen Bagis was appointed as the state minister who will act as the "chief negotiator" in Turkey's EU talks.

Moreover, Ali Babacan was appointed as state minister & deputy premier, Hayati Yazici, Faruk Nafiz Ozak and Zafer Caglayan were assigned as state ministers, Mehmet Simsek became the finance minister and Nimet Cubukcu was appointed as the new education minister.

Bulent Arinc was appointed as state minister & deputy premier while Ahmet Davutoglu became the country's foreign minister.

"DTP banned"

The lawsuit filed by Chief Public Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2007 for the closure of Democratic Society Party (DTP), was concluded in 2009.

Turkey's Constitutional Court said that DTP was closed down as it became "a focal point of acts against inseparable unity of the state".

37 DTP members, including DTP chairman Ahmet Turk and MP Aysel Tugluk were banned from politics for five years. The court also decided that legislators Turk and Tugluk shall be expelled from the parliament.

Justice and Development (AK) Party chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) chairman Devlet Bahceli were re-elected to their positions during the congresses held by their parties.

Zeki Sezer, chairman of Democratic Left Party (DSP), resigned from his position and Masum Turker became the new leader of the party.

Former minister Abdullatif Sener founded a party named "Turkey Party" while Democrat Party (DP) and Motherland Party (ANAP) joined forces under the roof of DP and selected Husamettin Cindoruk as the party's chairman.

Muhsin Yazicioglu, former head of Grand Unity Party (BBP), lost his life in a helicopter crash near the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras.

"Davos summit"

Turkey strongly condemned Israel, that killed nearly 1500 Palestinians, a third of them children in the 22-day military aggression in Decemcer 2008 on Gaza and wounded at more than 5,000 Palestinians.

Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, On January 29, Erdogan stormed off a stage with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos. He told Peres, "you know well how to kill people and babies", referring Israeli killing of Palestinian children in Gaza offensive and previous massacres.

Erdogan had said that "Allah would punish Israel over its crimes and called for Israel to be banned from the United Nations since it has never complied its repeated resolutions over the treatments of Palestinians in occupied territories.

"Obama visit"

U.S. President Barack Obama paid his first official country visit to Turkey and held a series of talks. As part of his visit, Obama addressed the Turkish parliament and met with President Abdullah Gul, Premier Erdogan, as well as chairmen of the political parties represented in the parliament.

Turkish President Gul and Armenian President Serzh Sargsian watched the 2010 World Cup qualifying match between Turkish and Armenian national soccer teams in the northwestern province of Bursa.

"Alliance of Civilizations" summit was held in Istanbul. During the press conference held within the framework of the gathering, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who later became the secretary general of NATO, was expected to apologize to the Muslim world for "the cartoons about Prophet Mohammad", however, he didn't.

Premier Erdogan and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a cooperation protocol on natural gas and petroleum.

In a letter he sent to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Erdogan said that Turkish-Greek relations, which were being developed based on mutual respect and understanding, would have a positive effect on regional peace and stability.

"Gulf of Aden"

Turkish parliament adopted a motion authorizing the government for a one-year term to send Turkish naval troops to Gulf of Aden. Turkish troops undertook important duties for the prevention of piracy near Somalia.

A Turkish flagged ship named "Horizon-1" was hijacked by pirates near Somalia in July. Developments regarding the Turkish crew on board were on the agenda of the press for a long time. The ship was released by the pirates and the crew returned to Turkey in October.

"High speed and 3G technology"

Turkey's first "High Speed Train" started operating on Ankara-Eskisehir route. The opening ceremony of the service was held with the participation of Premier Erdogan. Eight months after the inauguration, the train had an accident near Eskisehir, but there were no casualties.

Concession agreements were signed for Third Generation Mobile Communication Sytems (3G). Turkish GSM operators started to give 3G service as of July 30.

Turkish Radio Television's (TRT) new channels "TRT Ses", "TRT Turk" and "TRT Music" started broadcasting.

"Swine flu"

Pandemic H1N1 influenza, also known as "swine flu", was detected at a private primary school in capital Ankara on October 14.

Within the framework of the mass vaccination program covering the whole country, Health Minister Recep Akdag got vaccinated as well. Premier Erdogan said that "he did not consider to get vaccinated".

The number of deaths caused by "swine flu" reached 415 in Turkey as of December 14, officials said.

"Local votes"

Local elections were held all across Turkey on March 29. In the elections, 16 metropolitan cities, 65 provinces and 892 towns chose their mayors.

The law regarding Turkey's participation in Kyoto Protocol entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette on February 17.

The law expanding the smoking ban in Turkey became effective as of July 19. With the new arrangement, smoking was prohibited in all public and private buildings including cafes, bars and restaurants.

"PKK issue"

The motion, which authorizes the Turkish government to deploy soldiers to fight against the PKK activities waged from the north of Iraq, was extended for one more year starting from October 17, 2009.

PKK members coming from Iraq's Qandil and Makhmour regions surrendered to Turkish security forces at the Habur border gate near Silopi town of the southeastern province of Sirnak. The group, which was named as "peace group" by members of Democratic Society Party (DTP), was questioned by prosecutors at the border gate. The "welcoming ceremony" organized by DTP members gave rise to discussions in the public and an investigation was launched afterwards.

Five prisoners were sent to Imrali prison where Abdullah Ocalan, jailed head of the PKK, has been serving life sentence.

Seven soldiers lost their lives in an attack in Resadiye town of the northern province of Tokat. After a couple of days, PKK assumed responsibility for the attack.

"Disasters"

A total of 31 people lost their lives in a flood disaster that took place in Istanbul and the northwestern province of Tekirdag in September.

In an armed attack targeting a wedding ceremony in Bilge village of southeastern Mardin province, 44 people were killed and 6 were wounded. Suspects of the attack are being tried in Corum province.

A Turkish Airlines (THY) plane, carrying 127 passengers and 7 crew members, crashed while landing at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. A total of 9 people, including 3 pilots and a cabin crew member, died in the accident, during which nearly 100 people were wounded.



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Last Mod: 01 Ocak 2010, 12:15
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