Turkish Press Review

ISTANBUL (AA) – Anadolu Agency does not verify these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

Thursday’s dailies mainly dedicated their front pages to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s words on secularism, responding to the controversy over Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman’s remarks that secularism “must be removed” from a planned new constitution.

“No need to stress Islam [in new constitution],” was the headline on both HURRIYET and AKSAM, quoting Erdogan, who spoke during his official visit to Croatia.

AKSAM reported that Erdogan said, “If all religions are secured in the constitution and the state has an equal distance from all religious faiths, then why should we need to especially stress Islam?”

According to HURRIYET, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also tried to put an end to the controversy, saying that “new constitution will contain the concept of liberal secularism.”

“In our new constitution, we will include a sense of secularism that is not authoritarian but liberal. […] The [ruling Justice and Development] AK Party is not pursuing anything else in this regard, and we don’t think it is correct to make any speculations regarding this matter,” Davutoglu said, according to the daily.

Secularism has been enshrined in Turkey’s Constitution since 1924 when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk oversaw the founding of the modern republic.

Turkey is currently seeking to replace its Constitution, written after the 1980 military coup. However, a parliamentary committee on the matter disbanded in February amid a row over replacing the current parliamentary system with a presidential one.

In other news, Turkish dailies covered Wednesday’s suicide blast that killed one person and injured several others at the entrance of a historic bazaar in Bursa in northwestern Turkey.

MILLIYET ran with the headline: “The suicide bomber exploded in an uncontrolled way”, claiming that the attacker, said to be a female suicide bomber, “is a suspected member of terrorist Daesh”.

According to the paper, the bomber, who allegedly came to Bursa from the southeastern province of Sanliurfa on April 23, might have targeted tourists or a funeral prayer near the historic Ulu Mosque, which is close to the bazaar.

But she is thought to have tripped and fallen before arriving at her main target area, the daily said.

STAR also claimed on its front page that the 25-year-old female bomber blew herself up when she thought the police were onto her.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Daesh has been linked to a number of other suicide bombings in Turkey.

In addition to the Jan. 12 Sultanahmet blast that claimed the lives of 12 German tourists, the group also carried out the March 19 attack in Istanbul, which killed three Israelis and an Iranian.

The last blast in Istanbul also injured 45 others. The bomber was identified by authorities as Mehmet Ozturk, who was born in the southeastern Gaziantep province in 1992. Ozturk is suspected of having links with Daesh.

Also in October 2015, 103 people were killed in an attack on a rally in the capital Ankara.