'I have no Intention to Run for Presidential Office'

Zaman (Istanbul)
05.29.2005 Sunday
POLITICS

ISTANBUL -- Turkish Minister of Justice Cemil Cicek said that those,
who believe he "intends to become president ", try to set a trap for
the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Emphasizing that he has no problems with his party, Cicek noted:
"I have no such intention. No one should fall into this trap. I
am ready for any kind of sacrifice for the unity and integrity
of my party. I would not do any business against my party and the
government. " Minister Cicek also expressed that his remark "This is
a stab in the back against Turkish nation", as he uttered to defined
a conference on Armenians that was planned to be conducted at the
Bogazici (Bosphorous) University, should be evaluated within the
framework of freedom of thought.

It has been claimed that Cicek had exhibited a different attitude
than his party during negotiations regarding the new Turkish Penal
Code (TCK) in order to become president in 2007. Answering Zaman's
questions, the Minister of Justice stressed that these claims are
only gossip. Cicek indicated that the political circles that are
disturbed with the AKP want to stir the party and similar attempts
would increase as presidential elections approach.

My remarks should be considered within the framework of freedom of
thought as well.'

Minister of Justice Cicek has also sat on the agenda by his tough
statements about the conference on Armenians that was to be held at the
Bosphorous University. After Cicek's statement "This is a stab in the
back against Turkish nation", the conference was cancelled. Standing
behind his statements, Cicek does not believe that relations with the
European Union (EU) will be damaged. He notes: "Why would my reaction
affect the EU negatively? My remarks should be evaluated within the
framework of freedom of thought. There has been prepared a law, which
makes saying 'Turks did not commit genocide' a crime in Brussels,
the EU's capital. Why is saying this free but objecting to this is a
crime? This is also a freedom of thought. I am a politician. I have
thoughts and ideas. I have to express them."