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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-03-09

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.47/05 09.03.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The so-called Cabinet List
  • [02] KIBRIS reports details of the agreement in coalition talks
  • [03] Rehn said Ankara Protocol is Precondition to Accession Talks
  • [04] Mr Talat and Christofias agreed to maintain high-level dialogue
  • [05] Erdogan will meet Annan and ask to start negotiations on the Cyprus problem
  • [06] Yasar Yakis briefed the French Senate on the Cyprus problem
  • [07] The knife used for the murder of two Britons in occupied Cyprus was discovered by the pseudo police - The foreigners living in occupied Cyprus fear for their lives
  • [08] Turkish Cypriot fishermen protest against importing fish from Turkey
  • [09] Turkish raki is confiscated from the shelves of the markets in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [10] The Human Rights Watch on the Kurds who are prevented from returning to their homes. Nobody cares about the European Greek Cypriots who are prevented from returning to their homes.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] "Press Freedom Turkish-Style"

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The so-called Cabinet List

    Istanbul NTV (Internet Version) (08/03/05) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Rauf Denktas, has approved the "cabinet list" of the so-called coalition government under the premiership of Republican Turkish Party (RTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    After Talat was designated as the so-called prime minister, the RTP and the Democratic Party (DP) agreed on a 7 to 3 ratio with regards to the distribution of the "ministers". Here is the "cabinet list":

    "Prime Minister": Mehmet Ali Talat

    "Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister": Serdar Denktas

    "Interior Minister": Ozkan Murat

    "Labour and Social Security Minister": Erkan Emekci

    "Health and Social Assistance Minister": Huseyin Celal

    "National Education and Culture Minister": Erbil Akbil

    "Finance Minister": Ahmet Uzun

    "Youth and Sports Minister": Ozkan Yorgancioglu

    "Public Works and Transportation Minister": Omer Kalyoncu

    "Economy and Tourism Minister": Dervis Kemal Deniz

    "Agriculture and Forestry Minister": Rasit Pertev

    The "cabinet" will be the continuation of the RTP-DP so-called coalition government that was established on 13 January 2004 and that became a "minority government" as a result of resignations.

    A short protocol and program will be prepared and the vote of the confidence of the "Republican Assembly" will be sought. This "government" will try and pass the "budget bill and the constitutional amendments".

    If Mr Talat is elected "president" on 17 April, then a new "cabinet" will be established under the leadership of RTP secretary general Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    [02] KIBRIS reports details of the agreement in coalition talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08/03/05) reports the following article on the preliminary agreement between the Republican Turkish Party- United Forces (RTP) and the Democratic Party (DP):

    "The RTP and the DP have reached an agreement to form a new 'coalition government'.

    The RTP and the DP, which were the partners of a 'coalition government' for more than one year, decided to renew their alliance. The two parties, which shared 'cabinet portfolios' based on a formula allocating seven 'ministries' to the RTP and three 'ministries' to the DP, agreed to continue working together although they could not iron out some differences.

    The leaders of the two parties, who consulted with the competent organs of their respective parties about the progress made in the negotiations aimed at forming a new 'coalition government', are expected to meet again today (08/03/05) in order to make a last-ditch attempt to reach a final agreement about all the outstanding issues. The prevailing view in both parties is that those issues, which are described as 'minor hitches," could obstruct formation of a new 'government'.

    Following a new attempt to be made by the technical committees of the RTP and the DP today, the new RTP-DP 'coalition government' is expected to be formally announced today. Thus, Mr Talat said yesterday evening that the talks about formation of a new 'government' had not been completed yet, adding that a new meeting would be held today. He said: "We hope that we will achieve a result tomorrow. Our objective is to ensure that our efforts yield a satisfactory result as soon as possible because we are keen to keep the 'presidential election' separate from the process of formation of a new 'government'.

    The new 'government', which is expected to be announced today, will serve until the 'presidential election' scheduled for 17 April and it will have a short-term program and protocol for this interim period.

    To be led by Talat, the new 'coalition government' will actually be a continuation of the incumbent 'government'. There will be no change in the 'cabinet' or distribution of portfolios. A major 'cabinet' reshuffle will be made after the 'presidential election' on 17 April.

    There will be changes in the 'government' for the period after the 'presidential election' if Talat, whose candidacy for 'presidency' was announced late yesterday, wins the election. The RTP and the DP are initially expected to retain seven and three portfolios, respectively, in the 'cabinet' in a new 'government' probably to be headed by Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    The anticipated 'cabinet' reshuffle and reallocation of portfolios will be made after the formation of a new 'government' in April.

    Following tough negotiations the two parties reached an agreement on a formula giving seven 'cabinet seats' to the RTP and three to the DP. The 'cabinet' portfolios were shared as follows:

    RTP: 'Prime Ministry', 'Ministry of Interior', 'Ministry of Labour and Social Security', 'Ministry of Public Works and Communications', 'Ministry of Health and Social Welfare', 'Ministry of Education and Culture', 'Ministry of Finance', 'Ministry of Youth and Sports'. DP: 'Ministry of Foreign Affairs', 'Ministry of Economy and Tourism', 'Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry'.

    Meanwhile, the 'State Planning Organization' (SPO) will be controlled by the RTP while the DP will be responsible for the 'Information Department', which will be in contrast to the present situation.

    According to well-placed sources, the two parties reached an agreement to keep Huseyin Ozel as the head of the 'Information Department'.

    It was also reported that the DP had withdrawn its demand to control the 'BRT' and the 'Money and Foreign Exchange Department' due to the RTP's firm opposition to the idea.

    Although the two parties hammered out an agreement to form a new 'government', they could not work out a deal about the 'Electricity Authority '(KIB-TEK) and 'Cypruvex'.

    In response to the RTP's proposal that KIB-TEK, which is currently under the responsibility of a 'minister' from the DP, be handed over to the RTP, DP said that it could accept the proposal if it takes Cypruvex over from the RTP. The competent organs of the two parties, however, refuse to accept this swap. Political observers said that the matter was discussed by the leaders of the two parties yesterday without any tangible outcome.

    If the two sides fail to reach a compromise, the problem is expected to be overcome by maintaining the current status of the two organizations.

    KIB-TEK and Cypruvex will, however, be discussed again in the last meeting to be held today.

    Meanwhile, the new 'government', which will serve for a short period, is expected to carry out major tasks during the interim period.

    During its almost one-month interim period, one of the goals of the new 'government' will be to push the 'draft budget for 2005' through the 'National Assembly'.

    In addition, the coalition partners will try to a reach a consensus among all the political parties in order to submit possible 'constitutional amendments' to referendum on 17 April concurrently with the 'presidential election'.

    Meanwhile, Mustafa Arabacioglu, Secretary General of the Democratic Party, said in an interview with a TAK reporter that party leadership was averse to the idea of forming a 'cabinet' entirely made up of independent figures during the interim period. Noting that the final decision would be made by the competent organs of the party, Arabacioglu said: "I did not want to be appointed a 'minister'. I have never said that no agreement would be reached unless I was offered a 'cabinet' role and I will never take such an approach."

    According to RTP officials, however, the prevailing view within the party is that the policy of appointing 'cabinet' members from outside should also be maintained during the forthcoming period although no final decision had yet been made about the matter.

    [03] Rehn said Ankara Protocol is Precondition to Accession Talks

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08/03/05) reports from Istanbul that the Member of the European Commission, responsible for Enlargement, Mr Olli Rehn, taking the floor in a meeting held by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) in Istanbul, said: "Zero tolerance to torture should be implemented in every level of the Turkish state with determination, and the remaining traces of torture should be erased."

    Mr Rehn stated that the European Council's decision to open negotiations with Turkey was a result of the peaceful unification of the continent of Europe, and said: "Turkey has many characteristics peculiar to itself. It can harmonize a secular and democratic state with a population which is overwhelmingly Muslim. Turkey can make significant contribution to regional stability."

    Noting that Turkey was making very significant, brave and radical changes for EU membership, Rehn said: "I believe that both the EU and Turkey are aware that the path before them will be long and tough. We will prepare a negotiation draft in coming months and submit it to the parliaments of the member states. This document aims at setting the method and principles of negotiations.''

    "Turkey will confirm new memberships signing the Ankara Agreement Protocol. This is very important and one of important preconditions put by the European Council before start of entry talks," said Mr Rehn.

    Noting that Turkey's reforms were appreciated by Europe, Rehn said: "Turkey should consolidate legal and political reforms, normalize the situation in the southeast, improve socio-economic situation, enable return of displaced people to their places, and grant equal conditions to all Turkish citizens, irrespective of what their origins are."

    Mr Rehn stressed that Turkey should also assure economic stability, and added: "Turkey has never been this close to stability and rapid economic growth."

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (09/03/05) reports that the Mr Rehn, commenting on the Cyprus issue at the same meeting, said: "The opening of the new chapter in EU- Turkey relations offers fresh opportunities to improve relations with the Republic of Cyprus. I am convinced that the business community can make a very positive contribution by fostering closer contacts between the two communities on the island and with Turkey. There is a clear desire of the Turkish Cypriot community to be reunited and fully integrated into the EU. I know about the current stalemate among the Member States which prevents adoption of the Commission proposals for trade and aid, but I remain confident that we will be able to overcome such disagreements.

    In the next few months we must create a new momentum that should be used to take new initiatives on a comprehensive Cyprus settlement. The Commission indeed continues to support the resumption of talks under the auspices of the United Nations. We are ready to play an active role to prepare the ground for this aim."

    [04] Mr Talat and Christofias agreed to maintain high-level dialogue

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08/03/05) reports from occupied Lefkosia that the leader of the Republican Turkish Party (RTP), Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and AKEL party's leader, Mr Demetris Christofias met on Tuesday at RTP's headquarters.

    Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Mr Talat said they decided to maintain dialogue, stating that "this dialogue will aim at a solution".

    Mr Talat said: "We decided to improve dialogue with AKEL to resolve current daily problems between Turkish and Greek Cypriots."

    AKEL Secretary General Mr Christofias in his part said: "I came carrying an olive branch", and wished the meeting to be the start of a high-level dialogue and compromise which will bring a solution to Cyprus question on the basis of the Annan plan.

    Mr Talat stated that the RTP always reiterated that it was ready to resume the dialogue and negotiations on the basis of the Annan Plan.

    Mr Christofias said they hoped to continue fruitful negotiations under United Nations auspices on the basis of the Annan plan, noting, "We can only find an acceptable solution through dialogue". He also added that it was time for "the beginning of dialogue to help create the conditions" for negotiations.

    [05] Erdogan will meet Annan and ask to start negotiations on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (09.03.05), reports that, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will attend the International Summit in Madrid, Spain, on "Democracy for a more Secure World" will have a meeting with the the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who will also attend the summit. The paper reports that during this meeting Erdogan might ask Annan to invite the Greek Cypriots to the negotiation table.

    [06] Yasar Yakis briefed the French Senate on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.05) reports that a delegation of some members of the EU Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) visited yesterday the French Assembly and Senate where it held various contacts regarding Turkey's membership to the EU. Mr Yasar Yakis, the chairman of the TGNA's EU Committee and deputy of the ruling Justice and Development Party, headed the delegation.

    As the paper writes the Turkish delegation briefed the French Senate about the Cyprus problem and asked that the EU takes the necessary steps for the lifting of the "isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots. In addition, the Turkish delegation asked for EU's action so that the two sides in Cyprus reach an agreement as regards the solution in the framework of the Annan Plan.

    [07] The knife used for the murder of two Britons in occupied Cyprus was discovered by the pseudo police - The foreigners living in occupied Cyprus fear for their lives

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.05) reports that the pseudo police discovered the knife used for the murder of a British couple in occupied Cyprus.

    The two Britons, 71-year-old Lien Mohaney and 63-year-old Ann Mohaney, who had been residing in occupied Lapithos for 17 years, were stabbed to death at the entrance of their house.

    The 17-year-old Ufuk Degnekli, who was arrested as a suspect for the crime, a few hours after the murder, has stated to the pseudo police that he threw the knife in the sea. However, the knife was discovered among his belongings. Ufuk Degnekli also confessed to the "police" that he perpetrated the crime on the 27th of February. The bodies of two Britons stayed in the balcony of their house for five days before they were discovered, on the 4th of March.

    Besides, as HALKIN SESI newspaper (09.03.05) writes, the murder of the two Britons, spread anxiety to the foreigners living in occupied Cyprus. The foreigners stated to the paper that they felt distressed by the murder of the Mohaney couple and that highway robberies have increased during the last years in occupied Cyprus, something that causes them uneasiness.

    [08] Turkish Cypriot fishermen protest against importing fish from Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot VOLKAN newspaper (09.03.05) reports that the Turkish Cypriot fishermen living in occupied Kyrenia demanded that the import of fish from Turkey be stopped as soon as possible. The paper writes that the fishermen protest against the import of fish such as bream, bass, octopus, cuttlefish, crap, pickerel, mackerel, blue fin tuna etc.

    The fishermen are complaining because in spite of the fact that the fishing season has been very productive, they can sell the fish they catch at low prices. The member of the Turkish Cypriot Fishermen's Union, Munur Hasimoglu, said that this is due to the continuation of the import of fish from Turkey.

    "While the fish we catch should be sold in the market for five New Turkish Liras (NTL), it is sold only for one and a half NTL", noted Hasimoglu complaining that they cannot even cover their fuel and personnel expenses.

    He added that in case their problems are not solved, the fishermen will begin a protest act in order to prevent the import of fish from Turkey at the "customs" in the occupied part of Cyprus.

    [09] Turkish raki is confiscated from the shelves of the markets in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (09.03.05) reports that the so-called minister of agriculture and forests of the occupation regime, Rasit Pertev has said that they had evaluated the issue of the death of people in Turkey who consumed adulterated raki.

    In statements yesterday during a Press conference, Mr Pertev noted that the bottles of 70 cc of the raki of YENI RAKI brand imported from Turkey will be removed from the shelves of the markets in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    [10] The Human Rights Watch on the Kurds who are prevented from returning to their homes. Nobody cares about the European Greek Cypriots who are prevented from returning to their homes.

    NTV MSNBC internet site (08/03/05) reports the following: "The New York based Human Rights Watch has released a report on the situation of Kurds that were subject to domestic migration.

    The report called on the European Union to place more pressure on Ankara in the membership process over the scheme to allow displaced Kurds to return to home. The human rights group's report said that Ankara was not doing enough to put the scheme into practice.

    The report also claimed that Turkish conditions were not allowing people to return to their home. Reasons that were cited as obstacles are the destruction of the houses, the lack of infrastructure and attacks made by state paid militia serving as armed village guards.

    The report said that since 1990 hundreds of thousands of people from villages in the southeast were being dislocated."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] "Press Freedom Turkish-Style"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (06/03/05) publishes the following commentary by Sedat Ergin:

    "One of the most important steps among the political reforms that the Justice and Development Party (JDP) government has instituted towards the goal of full membership in the EU was the new Press Law that passed last June.

    One of the basic innovations introduced by this law was an end to the penalty of imprisonment for crimes committed via the press.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan portrays this aspect of the law as one of the indicators of deepening democracy in Turkey.

    When the Prime Minister, in an address he made to the Executive Board of the International Press Institute on 27 November 2004 in Istanbul, said that 'Turkey is no longer a country in which journalists are thrown into prison and influential writers are silenced by various means', he was presumably referring to the new Press Law.

    Erdogan continued as follows:

    "I want you to realize that, since I know from direct experience what it means to have one's freedom of expression restricted, I look with great suspicion on every sort of pretext offered for the restriction of freedoms. Because I once fell off the roof myself, and I know very well what it is like to fall off the roof." (A reference to a Turkish proverb that states that only someone who has fallen off a roof understands what it is like to fall off a roof. In Erdogan's specific case, he is alluding to his prison sentence for having read an Islamist poem during a speech.)

    There is presumably no need to point out that that there is a great contradiction between the spirit of this speech and the situation of a politician, who has fallen off the roof himself, who brings a lawsuit against a caricaturist who portrayed him as a cat.

    There is yet another situation that forms a contradiction. This situation is the fact that the substance of the Press Law, in which the Prime Minister takes such pride as to say "Journalists will no longer be cast into prison in Turkey", is eviscerated by yet another law that has been introduced.

    While the Press Law does away with penalties of imprisonment for journalists, a full 23 provisions of the new Turkish Penal Code (TPC), which will go into effect on 1 April, impose imprisonment penalties for crimes committed by means of the press.

    Included among these provisions are some that in my view indeed entail appropriately heavy penalties, such as fraud by means of the press, and the publication of transcripts of illegally monitored telephone communications.

    But there are also provisions that substantially narrow the scope of the freedom of the press. Let me underscore one article in particular. The TPC punishes the crime of defamation by means of the press with imprisonment of from 3 months to 2 years.

    In developed democracies, cases of defamation are not included in criminal law, but rather among the norms of civil law, and payment of compensation is generally considered sufficient. But in Turkey, this is still assessed to be a matter of criminal law.

    For the JDP government, which prides itself on doing away with the imprisonment penalty, to introduce yet new imprisonment penalties for journalists, is a clear contradiction.

    Contradictions of this type show that the JDP government is unable to deal with legal provisions in terms of a comprehensive approach, and that it operates more with a "piecework" approach.

    Yet another point needing explanation is the polemics that have broken out on the Turkish Criminal Code (TCC) introduction of prison sentences for press crimes between the Turkish Journalists' Association (TJA) and Justice Minister Cemil Cicek.

    When Cemil Cicek said that the TJA had not warned the government and the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) regarding the provisions in the Penal Code, the Association revealed that they had sent their views, amounting to 37 pages, not only to Cicek, but also to the TGNA Justice Commission and the members of the government, and provided the date on which these views had been sent.

    As for Cicek, when I reminded him the day before yesterday of this announcement of the TJA, he said "The views that the Association put forth on the Penal Code were very general, and furthermore they did not present me a file during the commission phase."

    The statements by the Association and Cicek thus contradict each other. Even so, Cicek appears to be aware of the problem, and is temporizing by saying "No law is a commandment from Allah. We can amend it, but we have no chance of doing so before the law in question goes into effect, as the agenda of the Assembly is not conducive to this."

    In addition, by saying "The European Union also saw the Penal Code. There were some points to which they objected, such as on 'honour killings', and we changed them," he gives the impression that no objections came from the EU regarding the imprisonment penalties involving the press.

    As is seen, the new Turkish Penal Code, because of its provisions dealing with the press, will be going into effect in a "defective" form on 1 April."


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