The following are translations of excerpts from the Turkish press.
NEW PROTOCOL FOR A NEW CHAIRMAN
Professor Mehmet Görmez, new head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, took over the post from his predecessor, Professor Ali Bardakoğlu.
The position of the chairman of state protocol will also change.
State Minister Faruk Çelik said that the chairman was in the third place in protocol during Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's time.
He said now it is in 52nd place and it should be changed.
GUIDANCE FORMULA TO SOLVE KURDISH ISSUE
The Religious Affairs Directorate will warn people against separatist moves in Turkey's east and southeast through "special guidance units."
The teams will carry out activities in mosques as well.
The Directorate's draft budget for 2011 consists of several regulations on "Turkey's national unity and integrity." The draft, which points to the institution's duties against separatist and destructive acts, envisages the establishment of special guidance units all across Turkey. The units will get together with local people, both inside and outside mosques, and warn them against the threat of terrorism.
GÜL: THERE IS NO DISAGREEMENT
President Abdullah Gül said he had no disagreement with Prime Minister Erdogan about "the headscarf in primary schools."
The president's spouse, Hayrünnisa Gül, earlier said that no primary school student would wear the headscarf of her own will and President Gül supported her on the issue.
Upon such remarks, Erdoğan said the headscarf issue would be solved with the new constitution, which will be written after the general elections. "My approach to [individual] freedoms is very different," the prime minister said.
Speaking to reporters prior to his departure for Turkmenistan yesterday, Gül said his view on freedom is no different than Erdoğan's. "I think it is unnecessary to discuss these issues this much," the president added.
WE ARE BACK AT THE SAME POINT
Republican People's Party (CHP) chairperson Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said President Abdullah Gül's "headscarf move" has come to an end, three days following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks on the issue.
Kılıçdaroğlu described Erdoğan's remaining silence about discussions on "headscarves in primary schools" as a "desperate situation."
Kılıçdaroğlu said it has been understood that Erdoğan would continue to use religion as a political instrument. "Witnessing this issue among primary school students is a very dangerous development for Turkey's future. I hope Mr. Prime Minister is aware of this danger," he said.
IRAQ RIVALS SEAL POWER-SHARING DEAL EIGHT MONTHS AFTER VOTE
Iraq's deeply divided political factions have sealed a power-sharing deal more than eight months after an inconclusive general election, paving the way for MPs to elect a speaker on Thursday.
The deal, clinched late Wednesday night after three days of high-pressure talks between the rival factions, sees Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, set to return for a second term, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, likely to retain the presidency and a Sunni Arab MP poised to be elected as speaker of parliament.
It also establishes a new statutory body to oversee security as a sop to former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, who had held out for months to take the premiership from al-Maliki after his mainly Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc narrowly won more seats in the March election.
The hard-won agreement now paves the way for an end to a months-long power vacuum that had witnessed growing violence in the country.
Allawi's Iraqiya bloc confirmed it finally signed the deal. "I can confirm there was an accord last night, but I cannot give details," Iraqiya spokesman Intissar Allawi said.
The support of the bloc, which won most of its votes from among the Sunni Arab minority that dominated Saddam Hussein's regime and has been the bedrock of the anti-U.S. insurgency since the 2003 invasion, was seen as vital to prevent a resurgence of violence.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraqiya had agreed to accept the position of parliament speaker --not the presidency or the premiership they had long sought. "A power-sharing agreement has been concluded and parliament will meet ... to elect Osama al-Nujaifi as speaker," Dabbagh said, referring to a Sunni MP from Iraqiya.
The session, which was also expected to select the country's president, was delayed until 6 p.m. as the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press amid last-minute disputes within the National Alliance, the mainly Shiite bloc of which Maliki is leader, over the distribution of posts.
Dabbagh said al-Maliki would not be formally named prime minister until after the "Eid al-Adha" (Feast of the Sacrifice) holiday, which concludes Nov. 20.
Regional Kurdish Administration President Massoud Barzani, who brokered the deal, earlier paid tribute to the 11th-hour concessions by Iraqiya that had made it possible and said he hoped its leader Allawi would now agree to head the new National Council for Strategic Policy [NCSP].
"In the final minutes of Wednesday's meeting, our brothers in Iraqiya adopted a very responsible attitude by deciding to take part in the government and the parliament session," Barzani, who is president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, told a Baghdad news conference.
Iraqiya MP Mustafa al-Hiti told AFP that U.S. President Barack Obama had "telephoned Allawi to confirm to him that the NCSP would be a decision-making body and that that the law creating it would be voted on before the formation of a new government."
Allawi had repeatedly accused Maliki of monopolizing security decisions during his first term and as long as six months ago U.S. officials floated the idea of a new counterweight to the power of the prime minister's office as a way of breaking the deadlock between the two men over the premiership.
Hiti said a Sunni Arab politician would also take the post of foreign minister in the new government, replacing Kurdish incumbent Hoshyar Zebari.
He said it would go to Saleh al-Mutlak, a secular Sunni member of the previous parliament who was barred from standing for re-election for alleged links to the Baath party of the now-executed Saddam Hussein.
Barzani said he expected Washington, which is due to withdraw its remaining 50,000 troops from Iraq by the end of next year, to endorse the deal. "The Americans will support anything that we Iraqis reach agreement on, even if there have been differences of opinion with them," he said, in allusion to the inclusion in the power-sharing deal of the Shiite radical movement of Moqtada al-Sadr, who led two uprisings against U.S.-led troops in 2004.
VICTIMS OF SUPREME MILITARY COUNCIL WILL FIRST GO TO COUNCIL, AND THEN TO COURT
Within the framework of adjustment laws, the government has drafted a new regulation for the return of rights to military personnel who were discharged from the army. The cases of victims will first be discussed at the Supreme Military Council (YAS). Those who cannot get the green light from the council will be able to go to a higher administrative court.
In line with these developments, hundreds of YAŞ victims submitted their petitions to the courts on Thursday.