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    Turk president says political crisis hurt Turkey's image

    Hurriyet English
    09.05.2008 - 13:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkey's image abroad is suffering because of a crippling domestic political crisis that has shaken confidence in the financial markets said Abdullah Gul in an interview with Financial Times published on Friday.

    Gul said the crisis, involving a threat to close down the governing party, was undermining the positive image built up in recent years through political and economic reform and the start of accession negotiations with the European Union.

    "Turkey was a country where the headlines were about reform and progress - all these positive headlines. Now we may not have the best appearance when looked at from abroad. I see this fact. I see it clearly," Gul said.

    Turkey's chief prosecutor filed a lawsuit against the AKP claiming the ruling party became the focal point of anti-secular activities and demanded its closure on March 14.

    Gul also issued a plea for "bravery" in the pursuit of EU entry, to which he remains passionately committed but which has run out of steam because of mutual suspicions about agendas and intentions. Gul argued that recent events showed the value of democratic and other reforms necessary for the accession talks to progress.

    The reform process "makes Turkey stronger in the context of democracy and democratic rights, in the context of legal changes, as well as in the context of its economy," Gul said. "I believe its outcome will make artificial issues less significant."

    Gul responding a question asked about the last one year of the country, said he was remove from politics and he had to preserve and protect this position.

    "But this certainly does not mean that I have to be detached from the events transpiring. However, I don't want to be involved in polemics, so I stay where I am, in a situation where I observe things and follow things closely. But my comments and actions should not to be made issues of polemics."

    Last year Turkey dragged into early elections when the Constitutional Court decided a condition that at least 367 MPs should be present in the parliament to elect the president, a move prevented Gul to be elected initialy. Later the government called early elections and with the support of nationalist MHP Gul was elected.

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