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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 02-09-11

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.173.02 11.09.02

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Uncertainty over Turkish government's survival
  • [02] Prosecutors continue to probe Erdogan's file
  • [03] Akinci stresses that Turkey will pay for Levent's and Ener's imprisonment
  • [04] Serdar Denktas: "The economic package is a disaster for the people"
  • [05] Illegal Turkish settlers critical of UN Secretary-General
  • [06] "Common Vision" goes to Brussels to explain its aim
  • [07] Full membership to bring seven billion euros annually to Turkey
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [08] Mehmet Ali Birand: On the Cyprus issue Turkey has failed to display the kind of flexibility Greece expects

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Uncertainty over Turkish government's survival

    NTV television (10.09.02) broadcast that the Turkish government is teetering on the brink of collapse after the coalition's junior partner called on the Prime Minister to resign in response to the Nationalist Action Party's (NAP) lodging an appeal through the courts to overturn recently legislated reforms designed to bring Turkey's laws into line with those of the European Union.

    Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Y?lmaz, leader of the Motherland Party (MP) met with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit on Tuesday after voicing his doubts that the tripartite coalition could continue.

    During the meeting Y?lmaz said that Ecevit should resign and bring an end to the government after the coalition's third partner, the far right NAP launched its court case to annul the reforms to Turkey's laws, which abolished capital punishment and gave greater cultural rights to ethnic communities.

    After the meeting Prime Minister Ecevit spoke briefly to the media, before beginning a meeting with senior members of his Democratic Left Party (DLP). "The atmosphere is a bit confused. I cannot say anything right now," he said.

    However, Y?lmaz seemed more determined on his proposal to withdraw. "I have serious questions over whether this coalition could continue as an election government," he said.

    Speaking later at a meeting to welcome new members to MP, Y?lmaz stressed the great importance his party attached to Turkey's bid to gain membership of the European Union and that they would do their best for that.

    Another senior MP official, Deputy Chairman Cengiz Altinkaya, confirmed that the party was considering leaving the government and that he did not think that Turkey was ready for elections, scheduled for November 3.

    Ecevit and Yilmaz's partner, the Nationalist Action Party (NAP) on Monday said it would challenge the rights legislation, which includes an end to the death penalty and greater Kurdish cultural rights. The sensitive reforms passed parliament in August, but only after the government agreed to call snap polls, to be held on November 3.

    Speaking at a meeting at Motherland Party headquarters in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Y?lmaz said that MP cannot be a part of a government obstructing Turkey's path. Referring to his meeting earlier in the day with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, Y?lmaz said that he asked him to step down and dissolve the government. Y?lmaz said that Ecevit had responded by saying that he had remained in office at the request of his coalition partners.

    Y?lmaz did not say what he would do in case Ecevit, who was meeting with senior members of his Democratic Left Party, did not resign. However, he said that the coalition no longer had a joint position to work from.

    Speaking at a press conference mid-Tuesday afternoon, on his part Bulent Ecevit said that after consulting with ministers of his Democratic Left Party he had taken the decision that his party could not assume the responsibility of leaving office at this time. He stressed that there were only two and a half months left before the November 3 elections and that a government could not be founded in such a short period. The burden of leaving Turkey without a government at a time when its economy remained sensitive was too heavy to bear.

    Ecevit said that he failed to understand the strong reaction of MP leader Y?lmaz over the Nationalist Action Party, applying to the Constitutional Court to overturn recently legislated reforms that were designed to smooth Turkey's path to acceptance as a member of the European Union.

    The Prime Minister also said that the call made by the far right coalition NAP for himself and other ministers to be investigated by prosecutors for approving legislation that brought Turkey's laws into line with those of the European Union were nonsense. The NAP had claimed that the EU harmonisation laws, which included the abolition of the death penalty and the granting of increased rights to ethnic groups, had helped Abdullah Ocalan, and gave support to terrorists. "It was during my term in office that Ocalan was seized and brought back to Turkey to face Turkish justice", Ecevit said.

    [02] Prosecutors continue to probe Erdogan's file

    Turkish Daily News (10.09.02) reports that Diyarbakir State Security Court (DGM) prosecutors continued on Monday to probe the DGM's earlier ruling that erased a criminal conviction from the records of the popular leader of the Justice and Development Party (JDP).

    The ruling of the court has boosted the chances of Recep Tayyip Erdogan being allowed to stand in the Nov. 3 polls but the final decision on whether the former Istanbul metropolitan mayor, who was convicted in 1998 and served a four-month jail sentence for "inciting hatred" in a 1997 speech, can be a candidate lies with the Supreme Electoral Board which will examine the list of candidates by September 16.

    An Anatolia news agency quoted DGM officials as saying: "We are examining the decision of the court. We will use our right to approve or reject after we complete the examination."

    Erdogan founded the JDP last year from the more moderate wing of an Islamist party banned for threatening Turkey's strictly secular order. Erdogan's original conviction was based on a speech in which he quoted lines from a poem reading: "Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracks, believers are our soldiers."

    A court ruled that the poem incited hatred along religious lines and sentenced Erdogan. But new laws require evidence of "a concrete danger" for conviction.

    Diyarbakir's State Security Court No. 4, acting as a higher court, ruled late on Friday in favour of Erdogan's request for his 1998 conviction under article 312 of Turkey's penal code to be wiped from his record because of changes to the law since his conviction.

    If the ban had not been lifted, Erdogan could not have served in Parliament. Erdogan's supporters said the decision meant the electoral board would have no further grounds to reject his candidacy. But Turkish court rulings are rarely clear cut. There could be an appeal against the decision, and the electoral board has some discretion.

    The elections are being closely watched in the European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, and in the United States, which may call on its NATO ally Turkey in the coming months for support in military action against Iraq. A recent opinion poll by Deutsche Bank put popular support for Erdogan at 25 percent of the electorate, 10 percent more than any other politician.

    [03] Akinci stresses that Turkey will pay for Levent's and Ener's imprisonment

    AFRIKA (11.09.02) reports that Mustafa Akinci, so-called MP and former leader of the Communal Liberation Party (CLP), has accused Turkey of being responsible for all the terrorist acts, the murders the perpetrators of which remain unknown, the bomb attacks and the conspiracies which took place in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Speaking yesterday at the so-called "assembly" during the discussions for pardoning the imprisoned journalists of AFRIKA, Sener Levent and Memduh Ener, Mr Akinci argued that Turkey would pay the price for this imprisonment at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

    "One day Turkey will be forced to pay compensation to Sener Levent and Memduh Ener, in the same way that it pays its punishment for the people to whom it gave faeces to eat in the South East (translator's note: the south eastern areas of Turkey)", said Mr Akinci.

    The Turkish Cypriot politician reminded his colleague "MP's" the May 2001 ECHR decision according to which Turkey is responsible for everything that happens in the occupied part of Cyprus and noted the following regarding Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas' behaviour:

    "In fact, who insults whom in this country? Every single day, our esteem president, the greatest of us all, insults many people in this country. This happens every day. .The Media are under his control. He can insult everybody the way he wants. Place your hand onto your conscience and answer me. Does he not do this? Does he not attack vehemently his opponents? Is the word 'sold' not the mildest accusation he uses? Does he not use accusations like 'those who are betraying us' or 'the paid or unpaid spies'? Who does this? The man who sits at the highest post of this country.".

    [04] Serdar Denktas: "The economic package is a disaster for the people"

    KIBRIS (11.09.02) reports that Serdar Denktas, so-called "Tourism Minister", "MP" of the Democratic Party and candidate for the presidency of the party during its regular congress planned for next December, has said that the economic package which the so-called "government" is planning to apply, is "a disaster for the people".

    Speaking yesterday during a meeting in occupied Trikomo, Mr Denktas accused the pseudogovernment of ignoring this fact and insisting to apply the package. "How could you take taxes from those who do not earn enough money for their living", wondered Mr Denktas.

    Meanwhile, Ozay Andic, chairman of the Action and Solidarity Platform, said yesterday that they would organize a meeting on 17 September within the framework of continuing their protest against the economic situation in the occupied areas, the low salaries etc. The pseudogovernment had announced last June that it would give increases to the employees, but the salaries remain the same until now, with the pretext that "financial resources are being sought".

    [05] Illegal Turkish settlers critical of UN Secretary-General

    According to  …BRIS (11.09.02), the leader of the illegal Turkish settlers party, Nationalist Justice Party (NJP) Kenan Akin in a press conference yesterday criticized the UN Secretary -General Kofi Annan regarding his stance in Paris. He claimed that Kofi Annan's statement that if the sides do not agree in a short period of time he will report to the UN Security Council, was an incomplete and wrong approach. Akin demanded that the UN chief should call off the EU-Cyprus accession process.

    Akin then put some questions to the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas to answer. They are as follows:

    1. ''What will be the status of the people with dual nationality who came and settled after 1974?

    2. In case of a settlement what will be the percentage of the territory to be left to the Greek Cypriots?

    3. Where will the displaced people be resettled?

    4. The percentage of the Greek Cypriots who will be settled among the Turks?

    5. What is the situation as regards the tree freedoms?

    6. Will Turkey's effective and active guarantorship be possible?

    7. Did one ask the UN and the EU what kind of measures were being examined to increase the national income of the Turkish side?''

    During the press conference Kenan Akin referred to the domestic problems of the occupied area and called the so-called government to resign and call early elections.

    [06] "Common Vision" goes to Brussels to explain its aim

    According to KIBRIS (11.09.02), a delegation from the ''Common Vision'', which was made up of 90 civilian organisations in the occupied area is to travel to Brussels for contacts there. The delegation, mainly made up of people from the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will have meetings with Gunter Verheugen responsible for EU enlargement, and with the Chairman of the delegation that carries out accession negotiations with candidate countries, Michael Leigh. The delegation will meet also with members of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    The Chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ali Erel, said that in Brussels they would explain the aims of the ''common vision''.

    Erel added that they want to enter into the EU under equal political conditions. He said that for a permanent peace the time is suitable.

    [07] Full membership to bring seven billion euros annually to Turkey

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (11.09.02) reports that Turkey Research Center (TAM) Director Faruk Sen said that Turkey would get seven billion euros annually if it became a full member of the European Union. Stressing that there were different figures concerning EU funds that Turkey could benefit from, Sen said: "Turkey will start receiving annually two billion euros when the full membership negotiations start. This amount will increase to seven billion euros when it becomes a full member."

    Sen stated that regional and social funds to be allocated for Turkey would not surpass the two billion euro limit, adding that Turkey would get the chance of receiving seven billion euros, which it did not have pay back, in case of full membership. Sen also informed that the EU's budget would rise to 110 billion euros from 92 billion euros in the next enlargement process, which would start in 2004.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [08] Mehmet Ali Birand: On the Cyprus issue Turkey has failed to display the kind of flexibility Greece expects

    In his regular column "Opinion" of Turkish Daily News (11.09.02), Mr Mehmet Ali Birand assesses the effects on Turkey as a result of the September 11 terrorist attack in New York and supports that Turkey has made significant gains in many aspects, but in Cyprus it has not yet stopped demanding sovereignty. The full text of the commentary is as follows:

    "The criminal act of "Sept. 11" has affected almost all countries -- in different ways. If, after a year has passed since that terrible incident, we made an overall assessment about Turkey, we would see that Turkey has made significant gains in many aspects as a result of that incident. First and foremost, Turkey has changed its relations with its own Islamists.

    Prior to Sept. 11, the tense climate caused by the Erbakan government, which was brought down due to the pressure exerted by the military-civilian secular-minded circles especially after Feb. 28, 1997, was still continuing. The Islamist circles had had an exaggerated view of their political clout, and they were simmering with anger because their chance to govern Turkey had slipped through their fingers.

    Meanwhile, some democratic forces of the country had sided up with the Islamists and started to support them in the name of defending their democratic rights, forgetting all about the Islamists' dark, anachronistic relationships and the nature of their projects for Turkey's future. The Islamists were gradually trying to gather themselves together under that "democratic rights umbrella". They predicted that they would come to power once again, even on their own, after the country held a few elections in a row.

    A big blow to Islamists

    The Sept. 11 incident has shattered all these dreams.

    Prior to Sept. 11, the horrible murders of the Turkish Hizbullah that had been organized in the name of political Islam, had been unearthed. At a time the general public had been shaken by the murders committed in the name of Islam, the Bin Laden operation came on top of all that. The Turkish public was shocked.

    This has had a profound effect on the way they view political Islam. The initial result of that was that the Turkish democrats stopped protecting the Islamists democratic rights. They returned to the secularist-democratic ranks.

    Political Islam came to be seen in a different light. Various segments of the society stopped approaching it in a tolerant manner. Those parties, associations and companies that want to use the religion factor in politics and those who cooperate with them, have lost favour with the general public.

    As a result, the burden of "protecting and safeguarding the secular state" which, as a tradition, remains on the shoulders of the Turkish Armed Forces and the civilian secularist forces, has been eased to a great extent. Sept. 11 has affected the Islamists too to a great extent.

    Those practicing political Islam and their sympathizers in the conservative circles, reassessed themselves for the first time. They realized that with that old approach they would never be allowed to govern Turkey.

    As a result, Justice and Development Party was founded. Tayyip Erdogan severed his links with Erbakan and raised his voice to demand the votes of the conservatives and pious people with a new rhetoric and new faces. He has distanced himself from the fundamentalists.

    Turkey has become free -- maybe temporarily -- of the pressure being exerted by the Islamists. It has been more at ease and it has been able to establish new balances.

    Sept. 11 has made a very important impact on Turkey's strategic importance as well. Turkey's strategic importance has grown and taken a "new shape". When the Sept. 11 attack occurred, Ankara promptly announced that it was on Washington's side. In fact, Ankara did not content itself with merely issuing a statement. It displayed its intentions in more substantial ways. For example, Ankara has made a voluntary contribution to the Afghanistan Operation, promptly contributing troops to the peace force. This attitude has increased Turkey's value in the eyes of both America and Europe.

    Until that day Turkey had an "ordinary ally" status. After Sept. 11, all of a sudden, the fact that Turkey is an "Islamic" country was remembered. The idea that Turkey would be able to serve as a bulwark in the international field against the threat posed by radical political Islam, came to be popular. That specific role has been a key factor whenever Turkey came to be evaluated in the western capitals over the past 12 months. The most prominent sign of that was seen during the second stage of the economic crisis in Turkey.

    In the aftermath of Sept. 11, the Bush Administration clearly altered its general approach, ensuring that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provide Turkey with an extra $9 billion at the most critical moment of the economic crisis in Turkey.

    It was as if Bin Laden has saved Turkey from bankruptcy (!)

    This process has mostly been reflected in a positive manner in Turkey's rapprochement with Greece policy. Thanks to the confidence it has gained from its new status, Ankara came to alter rapidly its approach to Greece as well.

    So much so that, as a last sign, in the external "threat" listing given in the "National Policy Document" which is almost seen as the military's manual, Greece has been moved down by several rungs from the top place. Turkey was indicating in many ways that it wanted a lasting peace in the Aegean.

    On the other hand, on the Cyprus issue, Turkey has failed to display the kind of flexibility Greece expects. In other words, it has not yet stopped demanding sovereignty.

    In some other ways too Turkey has had "fringe benefits" from the Sept. 11 process.

    For example, the Kurdish and Islamist movements' using terrorism could be brought to an end radically. The Turkish Armed Forces proved successful in this fight.

    Furthermore, the Kurdish and Islamist movements saw that they would not be able to get support from abroad anymore and that they would not be able to hide under the democracy flag.

    Indeed, as a result of this realization, extremely important bills could be passed, the bills needed for Turkey to comply with the EU's Copenhagen criteria, bills abolishing the death penalty and introducing Kurdish teaching and broadcasting, for example.

    Thus the principles that constituted the foundations of the Republic, could be rearranged with "fine tuning."

    To sum up, it could be said that the process of Turkey's coming closer to the Western world and tying itself to it with stronger bonds, has been greatly accelerated in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

    Naturally, whether this will indeed happen in practice depends on the outcome of the Nov. 3 general election and, as a result, on whether the European Union will, at its Copenhagen summit on Dec. 12, give Turkey any sign on when exactly the accession talks could begin.


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