Monday, August 25, 2008

Anticipating Difficulties

From Today's Zaman:
Though the Third National Program declared last Monday by government spokesperson and State Minister Cemil Çiçek raised hopes among the pro-EU intellectuals of Turkey, many are skeptical about the program's prospects.

The program is too presumptuous for a government weakened by two years of friction with the organs of the establishment, according to analysts. But the top politicians of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) are determined to go through with the program. Though not all the AK Party politicians are aware of its details, all are aware that the success of the program would be a life buoy for the AK Party in a hostile political environment.

For AK Party members, the situation is clear: The program will be carried out not because the government is up to the task, but because it has no other option. AK Party parliamentary group deputy chairman Nihat Ergün is frank enough to admit that even the program itself was a product of a lack of options. "The Third National Program is important in the sense that it defines the priorities of the government." Stressing that the program was shaped according to the priorities set by the EU, Ergün said it was important that the EU was there to prevent arbitrary program priorities that may change from government to government. AK Party Yozgat deputy and parliamentary group deputy chairman Bekir Bozdağ could not agree more.

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