The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.

AN APOLOGY WOULD NOT BE THE END OF THE WORLD

Israel's leading newspaper Haaretz wrote that an apology from Tel Aviv to Ankara would not be the end of the world.

Criticizing the raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship, Haaretz wrote that Turkey was not Israel's enemy and stressed that Tel Aviv should do its best to recover relations between Turkey and Israel. The newspaper also wrote that Israel should overcome its obsession of prestige and show that it was sorry, as well as apologize and pay compensation.

http://haber.gazetevatan.com/dunyanin-sonu-olmaz/338161/30/Dunya

NUCLEAR SUBMARINE IN MARMARIS

One of the United States' first nuclear submarines, the USS Providence, docked Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris on October 30.

Submarine and the crew will stay one week.

A spokesman for the TGS brigadier General Tayyar Sungu says: "This is a routine visit between two allies. The crew will have a chance to learn about Turkey, its culture and its people."

Some authorities say that the timing of the visit is interesting while Iran's nuclear program is on the agenda.

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/16203826.asp?gid=373

A MOST DIFFICULT TEST

A critical Republican People's Party (CHP) assembly meeting will take place today.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu can either choose the people he wants at the party assembly and send the message that "he has the power" or share his leadership with powerful Secretary-General Önder Sav.

http://haber.gazetevatan.com/Haber/338187/1/Gundem

SUICIDE BOMBER IDENTIFIED

Istanbul's Counter-Terrorism Police officials announced that his name is Vedat Acar. He was born in the eastern province of Van in 1986. He joined the terrorist PKK six years ago and was trained with to assemble bombs at Kandil Mountain training camp. He entered Turkey through the Habur border crossing four months ago; he was allowed entry because he was not listed as a terrorist in official documents. He was suffering from Behcet's disease.

He blew up the bombs on his body at Istanbul's Taksim Square on Sunday and wounded 32 people.

Acar, the bomber, stayed in the homes of various militants in Istanbul for some time and rented an apartment in Şirinevler a month ago. Police detained eight people, including Acar's relatives.

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/canli-bomba-pkk-li-cikti/guncel/haberdetay/03.11.2010/1309441/default.htm

SPANISH BANK CALLS TURKEY AN "EAGLE"

The CEO of Spanish giant BBVA, which purchased recently purchased nearly one-quarter of Garanti Bankası's shares, described Turkey as an "emerging and growth-led economy," the English acronym for which is EAGLE.

BBVA paid $5.8 billion for 24.89 percent of Garanti's shares. The Doğuş Group sold 6.29 percent of its shares in Garanti to BBVA, and General Electric sold 18.6 percent of its shares in the bank to the Spanish bank.

CEO Francisco Rodriguez said Turkey was a fairly stable and a rapidly growing market and that the Garanti share purchase was a unique opportunity.

Rodriguez also said the BBVA had gained a serious market advantage with the acquisition of Garanti's shares.

http://www.milliyet.com.tr/kartal-operasyonu/ekonomi/haberdetay/03.11.2010/1309484/default.htm

5.3-MAGNITUDE EARTHQUAKE RATTLES WESTERN TURKEY

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck the Gulf of Soros off the Aegean Sea in western Turkey early Wednesday morning, Anatolia news agency reported, citing the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

The quake struck at 4:51 a.m. and caused panic among the residents in Çanakkale, a province near the gulf. They fled outdoors when the quake struck but returned to their homes when they saw that the quake had not caused much damage.

Daily Hürriyet reported that quake was also felt in the provinces of Istanbul, Balıkesir, Edirne and Tekirdağ.

http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/16202910.asp?gid=373

CIVIL-MILITARY TIES ENTER NEW ERA IN TURKEY UNDER AKP RULE

During its eight-year reign, the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] has often faced off against the military, gaining political power by challenging a pillar of the country's secular establishment.

The ruling party, which came to power following the Nov. 3, 2002 general elections, is not the first government to have tangled with the military in Turkey, where the powerful Turkish Armed Forces have periodically carried out coups d'état since the 1960s.

The shift in the balance of power in civil-military ties has been one of the most important changes the AKP has made to Turkey's political landscape.

Under the party's tenure, the military, while it remains suspicious of the motives of the AKP, has become much less enthusiastic about making public statements on political issues and more cooperative in efforts to further align Turkey's standards to those of the European Union – even when such moves would curb the Turkish Armed Force's own powers.

With its efforts to challenge the military winning it political capital and votes, the AKP seems unlikely to back down in the coming months as Turkey prepares to go to general elections again next year, most likely in June.

From the very first day of the AKP government in 2002, the military, which sees itself as the guardian of the secular, democratic and republican Turkish state, flexed its muscles against what it saw as a "pro-Islamic party" aiming to undermine the country's secular regime. It had successfully challenged the AKP's predecessor, the Welfare Party, in 1996, overthrowing Necmettin Erbakan's government following the months-long struggle known as the "Feb. 28 process." The process resulted in Erbakan's resignation from the government and the dissolution of his party by the Constitutional Court.

In the 2000s, however, the political landscape was not as favorable to military influence in politics. The first reason for this shift was the European Union membership process, which nurtured the notion of democratization in the country; another was the AKP election victory that brought this "democratic conservative party" a clear majority in Parliament in 2002. Having seen what the political choices of many of its members led to in the past, the AKP resolved to be firm in confronting the military this time around.

Negotiating for membership in the European Union, which was highly critical of the military's influence in politics, no doubt strengthened the AKP's hand. The three-party coalition that previously led the country had already taken initial steps in 2001 and 2002 to stem this influence, helping prepare a suitable environment for the AKP to further move against the TSK.

"Since 1999, civilian control of the military has been strengthened. The constitutional and legal framework has been amended to clarify the position of the armed forces versus the civilian authorities," the European Union said in its 2004 Progress Report on Turkey, which cited various developments with regard to civil-military ties. "A number of changes have been introduced over the last year to strengthen civilian control of the military with a view to aligning it with practice in EU member states."

In 2001, the coalition party had amended the law governing the National Security Council, turning the country's top security board into an advisory board with an increased number of civilian members. The AKP further amended the duties and composition of the National Security Council in 2003, a move that paved the way for the appointment of a civilian secretary and reduced the frequency of the council's meetings to once every two months.

In an attempt to strengthen Parliament's supervision of the military's budget, the government initiated amendments to the Law on Public Financial Management and Control in 2003. Though there are still difficulties in implementing these amendments, the change established a new foundation for full parliamentary oversight of defense expenditures. In addition, it was under the AKP government that the military's budget became smaller than the education budget.

In 2006, an amendment made to the Military Criminal Code prevented military courts from trying civilians in peacetime unless military personnel and civilians commit a crime together. That was followed by legislation in 2009 that allowed civilian courts to try military personnel in peacetime for crimes subject to the Heavy Penal Court. In 2010, the EMASYA protocol, a secret blueprint that allowed the military to conduct operations for internal matters under certain conditions without a request from civilian authorities, was annulled with the consent of the chief of General Staff.

Last, a constitutional amendment approved by voters in a referendum Sept. 12 paved the way for military personnel expelled through Supreme Military Council to appeal that decision.

The AKP meanwhile drew opposition support for its attempt to annul the famous Article 35 of the military's Internal Service Law, which is seen as the legal basis for the army's intervention into politics. A draft text was submitted to parliament by the main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP], but it has not yet been put on the parliament's agenda.

Despite the AKP's legal moves to diminish the means by which the military could interfere in politics, the army continued to exercise significant political influence. Chiefs of General Staff, force commanders and lesser-ranking military personnel did not hesitate to express their opinions on domestic and foreign policy issues, many of which were critical of the government.

The biggest issue that caused deep fissures between the army and the government was the midnight "e-memorandum" posted on the military's website objecting to the selection of Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül as the ruling party's candidate for the Presidency in 2007. The election of Gül, whose wife wears an Islamic headscarf, could undermine the secular order of the country, the military argued at the time.

Contrary to expectations, the government responded harshly to former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt's e-memorandum, saying the selection of the presidential candidate had nothing to do with the military.

This was followed by a confidential meeting between Büyükanıt and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Dolmabahçe Palace – a conversation whose content has never been revealed.

Despite all the tension, Gül was eventually elected president, becoming the first head of state in Turkey whose wife is covered [by Islmaic dress]. This has continued to be an issue between Gül and the military, as top generals have avoided participating in official events where First Lady Hayrünnisa Gül would also be present.

The military's outrage about the headscarf issue has not been left unanswered by the government. The ruling party has fully backed prosecutors who launched judicial proceedings against senior military personnel, including former four-star generals, in regard to alleged coup plots against the government in 2003 and 2004. As part of the Ergenekon and "Balyoz" (Sledgehammer) cases, hundreds of retired and active-duty military personnel, as well as other prominent figures, have been arrested by prosecutors on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. The cases marked the first time such high-ranking military personnel had been accused of anti-democratic moves and prosecuted by civilian prosecutors.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=civil-military-ties-in-akp-rule---akp-series-part-3-2010-11-02

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