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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-03-31

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.61/05 31.03.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish Spokesman said port services not included in Protocol with EU.
  • [02] Lagenbdijk stated that the widening of the Customs Union Protocol will be a light recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.
  • [03] Edelman: We have done symbolic gestures to the Turkish Cypriots.
  • [04] Two more JDP deputies resigned from the party.
  • [05] JDP and RPP attempt to block out of the Turkish Parliament the Motherland Party and the SDPP.
  • [06] DP criticizes Talat for his statement that he will ask the Secretary General to undertake an initiative for a solution to the Cyprus problem after 17 April.
  • [07] Tatar says that the aim of the Turkish side is the solution of the issue of the missing persons this year.
  • [08] Circulation of the Turkish Cypriot daily newspapers.
  • [09] So-called Minister of Interior: Our internal security is bound to the army and the police.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Spread of 'green money' in Turkey unnerves Washington.
  • [11] Columnist in RADIKAL argues that the wave of MP resignations will not change the direction of Turkish politics.
  • [12] Columnist in HURRIYET suggests that Greek Cypriot ships be allowed to use Turkish ports, but...

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish Spokesman said port services not included in Protocol with EU

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.05) reports that the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan, during the weekly press conference, was recalled the news reports on statements of Kristina Nagy, spokesperson for Enlargement Director General of European Commission, who said that opening of Turkish ports and airports should be included in the Customs Union Additional Protocol.

    Mr Tan said: This issue is considered as service. Thus, opening of Turkish ports and airports cannot be included in the protocol. The EU also knows this. Thus, it was not included in the text written after talks. We expect regulations, which are on lifting of isolations over TRNC and will be adopted in the EU, to be approved soon with their original text.

    Meanwhile, Mr Tan said that the statements of Nagy regarding the protocol are important for Turkey.

    He conveyed the statements of Nagy as reference to statements which were made by EU Acting Presidency and other few EU member countries after the European Council meeting in December 2004, Turkey's signing the protocol will not mean that it will formally and legally recognize Cyprus republic. The declaration which Turkey will make while signing the protocol is a unilateral disposal and it has many examples in international laws. The time of approval of the protocol by the Turkish Parliament is not a problem for opening entry talks with the EU.

    [02] Lagenbdijk stated that the widening of the Customs Union Protocol will be a light recognition of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (31.03.05) reports that Mr Joust Lagenbdijk, the co-Chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary committee stated that the widening of the Customs Union Protocol will be a light recognition of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In order for Turkey to start negotiations, it has been asked to recognize the Republic of Cyprus. However, when Turkey will widen the Customs Union Protocol and will include Cyprus as well, this will be a light recognition, if I may use this expression, he said. He also stated that the exchange of letters as regards the Protocol between Turkey and the EU is seen as positive as regards the signing of the protocol and it is an evidence that Turkey keeps its promises.

    Mr Lagenbdijk stated that in the first half of April, he will have contacts in Cyprus with politicians of both sides. He also referred to the forthcoming so-called presidential elections of the pseudostate and said that the result will be the call of the Turkish Cypriots┤ will. He added that the Turkish Cypriots must support the parties that support the EU, like in the general elections.

    He also stated that the Greek Cypriots must finally decide what kind of changes they want in the Annan Plan and to announce this the worlds public. In the end, the Annan Plan is still on the table and in order for a solution to be found, changes will be made in this Plan, he stated.

    [03] Edelman: We have done symbolic gestures to the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (31.03.05) publishes a statement made by US Ambassador to Turkey, Eric Edelman who will leave his post in Turkey in Jue and will return to Washington to have a new appointment within the Bush Administration. Ambassador Edelman expressed his view on various issues that concern Turkish-American relations, such as Incirlik Base, Inter-governmental relations, the negative stance of the Turkish public opinion, Iraq, Cyprus etc. As for Cyprus the Ambassador said:

    Subtitle: Symbolic gesture to the Turkish Cypriots

    On the Cyprus issue we are in close cooperation with our European colleagues. We have done symbolic gestures to the Turkish Cypriots. There was a Talat-Powell meeting. The US Ambassador in South Michal Klosson crossed into the north. Visa facilities were provided to the Turkish Cypriots. We have extended 3 million USD direct assistance to the TRNC. The representatives of the US firms in Turkey went to the TRNC.

    Subtitle: Direct flights to Cyprus is not that easy

    It is true that after the referendum the Turkish Cypriots experienced a disillusion. I do admit that this had also fed the anti-Americanism in Turkey. Direct flight to Cyprus is not that easy. There are international laws governing this. This is not an issue that the US will decide alone.

    [04] Two more JDP deputies resigned from the party

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.05) reports that Ibrahim Ozdogan, a parliamentarian from the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP), resigned from his party on Wednesday.

    After a while, Serpil Yildiz, a parliamentarian again from JDP resigned also from her party.

    Below listed is the distribution of seats in the parliament after the new resignations:

    JDP :                 357
    RPP :                 163
    TPP :                   6
    ANAP :                  5
    SDPP :                  5
    PAP :                   1
    Independent :          12
    Vacant :                1
    TOTAL :               550
    

    (RPP stands for main opposition Republican People's Party, TPP stands for True Path Party, ANAP stands for Motherland Party, SDPP stands for Social Democrat People's Party, and PAP for People's Ascendance Party).

    [05] JDP and RPP attempt to block out of the Turkish Parliament the Motherland Party and the SDPP

    Istanbul NTV television (30.03.05) broadcast the following report:

    According to the regulation adopted by the parliament, only the political parties that can secure more than seven percent of the votes in the elections will be able to obtain Treasury assistance.

    This has now raised the question of whether Motherland Party, which has six deputies in the parliament, and Social Democrat Peoples Party (SDPP), which has only five deputies, are eligible for Treasury assistance under the law that will be submitted to the Cankaya presidential palace. For, the current law still in force recognizes these parties the right of obtaining Treasury assistance.

    Under the current law still in force, any party having more than three deputies is eligible for Treasury assistance. However, if President Sezer approves the law passed last night by the parliament with the joint votes of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) and Republican People's Party (RPP), then the assistance will be conditional on either receiving seven percent of the votes during the last election or forming a parliamentary group.

    Motherland and SDPP officials are saying that the President has not yet approved the law and, therefore, they have the right to obtain assistance for 2005, as they have more than three deputies each. They argue that their accrued right will not undergo change even if Sezer approves the law.

    But there are those inside JDP and RPP who take exception to that view. They argue that once yesterday's law goes into effect the SDPP and Motherland Party would be barred from obtaining assistance for 2005.

    Another opinion is that Motherland Party and SDPP could obtain assistance proportional to the period that lies between the time these two parties gained more than three seats and the time when the law goes into effect. That is, if Sezer approves the law today, they will only obtain assistance for about ten days. It is believed that if Sezer approves the law, there will be recourse to court. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan already said that the disbursement of the Treasury assistance for 2005 has already been completed and any new assistance is not on their agenda.

    Criticizing the amended law on Treasury assistance, Erkan Mumcu warned that the financing of the democracy should not be done illegitimately and added: For the ruling and opposition parties -- which for two years could never compromise on any urgent issue facing the country or on any reform -- to quickly pass such a law in one dash without going through committees and only by placing it on the agenda of the Consultative Council in haste is the product of the panic that has seized them.

    [06] DP criticizes Talat for his statement that he will ask the Secretary General to undertake an initiative for a solution to the Cyprus problem after 17 April

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (31.03.05) reports that the Democratic Party (DP) has stated that it followed with worry and surprise the statement of the so-called Prime Minister of the occupation regime, Mehmet Ali Talat who had said that after the presidential elections in the occupied part of Cyprus he could call on the UN Secretary General to undertake an initiative for the recommencement of a new effort towards reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    In a statement issued yesterday, DP argues that Mr Talat should be more careful and sensitive in his statements on the issue, even if he said this responding to a question.

    The DP claims that such an invitation to the UN Secretary - General in a period when the Greek Cypriot side has not yet given a written answer regarding the reasons for which it rejected the Annan Plan, will be contradictory to the policy of the so-called government that has been formulated together with Turkey.

    The DP argues that such a move by Mr Talat before the Greek Cypriot concerns are announced in writing will mean putting onto the table all the things that the Turkish Cypriots gained until today.

    [07] Tatar says that the aim of the Turkish side is the solution of the issue of the missing persons this year

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (31.03.05) reports that Rustem Tatar, Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons, has argued that the issue of the missing persons began in 1963 and that the aim of the Turkish side is reaching a solution to this issue this year.

    Mr Tatar alleged that the Turkish side was not responsible for the fact that this issue has been transferred from 1963 to 1974 and to 2005 and that the Turkish side is and will be doing everything it can for the solution of this problem.

    [08] Circulation of the Turkish Cypriot daily newspapers

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (31.03.05) reports that during the last month it has been increasing its circulation and that it is now second in the occupied areas regarding the number of papers sold daily.

    Based on the numbers of the distribution agency, the sale in the kiosks and the Value Added Tax paid, the paper publishes the following numbers of paper circulation on 23 March 2005:

    YENIDUZEN:          1,843
    HALKIN SESI:        1,616
    AFRIKA:             1,440
    KIBRISLI:             816
    VOLKAN:               550
    ORTAM:                269
    GUNES:                262
    CUMHURIYET K:         180
    

    The paper also reports that the newspaper KIBRIS is the first selling paper in the occupied areas, but no number of selling is given.

    [09] So-called Minister of Interior: Our internal security is bound to the army and the police

    In its front leader page Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (31.03.05), under the title Police has not caught anybody yet, reports that the so-called Minister of Internal Affairs, Ozkan Murat, commented on the bomb incident, where a bomb was planted between two vehicles and exploded causing severe damages two days ago. The one car was owned by the businessman and Cetinkaya Sports Club Chairman Cemal Bulutogullari.

    Mr Murat said: Our internal security is bound to the army and the police. It is not fair to ask me for detailed answers!


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Spread of 'green money' in Turkey unnerves Washington

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (30.03.05) publishes the following report:

    At a time when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government is busy trying to get diplomatic efforts on track to mend worsening ties with Washington, the United States is increasingly concerned over what it sees as the uncontrolled spread of green money in Turkey.

    United States policy-makers fear some of the funds circulating in the Islamic market in Turkey may spill over and be used to finance radical Islamic activity.

    Islamic business in Turkey is expanding at a pace and in ways that we fear may go out of control, said one State Department official. We urge the Turkish authorities to take every possible measure to make sure green money does not fund radical Islamic activity in or outside of Turkey.

    The official said the green money in Turkey has, in recent years, boomed in a way that it is now extremely difficult to monitor its circulation. It has spread to almost every corner of Turkish business, especially, as we have been able to spot it, through small and medium-scale businesses that have the potential to grow into big holding companies.

    Recently, Michael Rubin of the Middle East Quarterly, a think tank with close ties with the Bush administration, pointed to an economic boom in Kayseri, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's hometown..

    Malls, boutiques and fancy hotels dot the landscape. During the 1980s and early 1990s, as Turkey wallowed in economic stagnation, Kayseri's greatest export was its people. Many young, unemployed or undereducated men migrated to Germany, where they took a number of menial but relatively high-paying jobs, Rubin wrote and mentioned Kombassan Holding, founded in Konya by Hasim Bayram, a religious conservative who began his career as a schoolteacher. Groups such as Kombassan grew rapidly as they issued shares in exchange for remittance income from migrant labor in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and reinvested it in a variety of local businesses.

    Kombassan began in 1989 as a local printing and packaging concern in Konya but grew to include more than 50 firms in such key areas as automotives, electronics, construction, textiles, petroleum, shopping centers and food, even purchasing Konya's soccer team. At its height Kombassan boasted nearly 30,000 shareholders and owned companies in Turkey, Germany and the United States, which Rubin argues, translated into political influence. Bayram and other Kombassan board members were widely known to have financed former premier Necmettin Erbakan's Anatolia tour in the run-up to the 1996 elections and provided consistent support to his Welfare Party (WP) from which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (JDP) emerged.

    According to Rubin, the Islamic banks -- especially those sponsored by Saudi Arabia -- regularly channel money to Islamist enterprises in Turkey. Erdoan has been silent on these issue, perhaps because he is heavily invested in green money business, said Rubin.

    Last November Deniz Baykal, leader of the parliamentary opposition Republican People's Party (RPP), accused the JDP of trying to create a religious-based economy. Similarly, in 2001 Rahmi Koc, chairman of Koc Holding, Turkey's largest and oldest conglomerate, argued that Erdoan had a $1 billion fortune and asked where this wealth came from.

    But the Kombassan model does not always guarantee success. Earlier this month, Turkish prosecutors detained dozens of former executives of Endustri Holding, another company that issued shares in exchange for remittance income from migrant labor mostly in Germany. Endustri Holding managers are being accused of siphoning off nearly $250 million from good Muslims.

    In the early 1990s, between $2 and $3 billion was invested into Islamic holding companies, but this changed in 1997 when a Turkish court froze Kombassan's assets and ordered it to repay shareholders $101 million. But Kombassan balked, invoking a legal loophole. When it issued stocks, many were informal, written on napkins, according to one former politician. In October 2000, however, Turkey's Capital Markets Board (SPK) froze Kombassan real estate assets, and there are now many lawsuits against Bayram and his companies.

    Rubin says: The growth of the Islamic business sector is apparent across Turkey and appears intricately linked to the JDP's rise. A decade ago, rural and conservative Turks tended to inhabit poorer sections of town and shop in mom-and-pop stores or outdoor markets while wealthier, secular Turks spent their money in modern shops and Western-style supermarkets. Green money investment has caused the pattern to blur. The green money influx into Turkey is not a short-term phenomenon. Rather, through careful investment, green money is laundered into legitimate businesses that will serve as an engine for Islamic parties to whittle away at Turkey's secular traditions for years to come.

    Among the biggest conglomerates, the black sheep has always been Ulker. Military officials privately admit the Turkish military refuses to buy ▄lker products for its conscripts so as not to subsidize Islamism. The military command remains on alert against green money.

    Earlier this year military and procurement officials strongly discouraged the takeover of majority shares at a local defense company by a Turkish conglomerate widely known to have Islamic roots.

    The potential buyer was convinced that the defense company it had intended to acquire would have very slim chances to win military contracts if it went ahead with the takeover plan, a procurement official said.

    Analysts say Turkey is quietly evolving into a not-always-comfortable mix: a union of Islam and capitalism. The spread of green money is now too visible to go unnoticed, said a London-based Turkey specialist. This is particularly upsetting Washington.

    Bankers point to the growth of the Islamic market. The market is growing and as it does, what it considers local and hence lower in risk, will include a larger part of the globe. Islamic banking began as a geographic phenomenon, predominantly in the Gulf countries and Egypt. It now covers most of the Islamic world, from North Africa to Turkey, across Pakistan, all the way to Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, said one Western banker in Istanbul. By the end of this century, Islam is predicted to become second only to Christianity in the United States and Europe, in terms of numbers of adherents. Considering the issues, one gets a feel of where the growth to this market might come from and how this market will be perceiving risk that it may now be considering as foreign.

    One inevitable part of the picture is Muslim spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, who now resides in the United States. Today the Gulen community controls a nationwide media empire that includes a television station (Samanyolu), a radio station (Burc FM), a daily newspaper (Zaman) and a weekly magazine (Aksiyon) and several other periodicals. It also owns an Islamic (interest-free) bank (Asya Finans) and is linked to a number of business groups and prosperous entrepreneurs who help fund many of his endeavours especially in the field of education a network of 150 schools in Turkey and possibly more abroad.

    Alarmed by growing U.S. unrest vis-Ó-vis rising anti-Americanism (or rising Islamism) in Turkey, Erdogan and Gul sent Murat Mercan, the JDP's deputy chairman, to Washington with an olive branch.

    On March 25 Mercan told an audience of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, that his government intended to become as transparent as any other EU member state.

    We want to be as transparent as any European country. We want to be as democratic as any European country. We want to be, as you know, considered as respecting of human rights as any European country. In other words, what we are saying is that the process that we are going to go through will definitely lead to more transparency, the EU process that has been taken by my government, by my party, Mercan said.

    He also said: Our (party's) income is 99.9 percent government support, and our expenses are very clear. So if you claim that our party has to disclose its financial sources, it really hurts, because we do publicize it. We're like a public company. We are a public institution and our deeds, our statements and our policies are open everywhere and we don't have any other hidden agenda.

    [11] Columnist in RADIKAL argues that the wave of MP resignations will not change the direction of Turkish politics

    Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper (29.03.05) publishes the following commentary by Murat Yetkin under the title: "How the wave of resignations is affecting politics":

    With the resignation of six more deputies from their parties yesterday, the number of 22nd term deputies who have abandoned parties from which they were elected to Parliament in the 3 November 2002 polls has increased to 23. Some 14 of these deputies have resigned from the main opposition RPP [Republican People's Party] while some nine have resigned from the ruling JDP [Justice and Development Party]. The JDP recruited deputies both from the RPP and other parties and independents in this process. In this way, the number of the JDP's parliamentary seats (after the rerun of the elections in Siirt in March 2003) dropped from 365 to 360 as of yesterday while that of the RPP decreased from 177 to 163.

    Where the 2002 elections gave rise to a two-party parliament, the number of parties represented in the National Assembly rose to five yesterday. When the five deputies who resigned from the RPP yesterday after the expulsion of Sisli Mayor Mustafa Sarigul from the RPP join the SHP (which is expected to change its name once again to Social Democracy Party, SODEP, soon), the number of parties that have seats in Parliament will increase to six. It should not be surprising if the Felicity Party [FP], the NAP [Nationalist Action Party], and a Kurdish party follow suit.

    RPP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chairman Haluk Koc has announced that yesterday's resignations have nothing to do with the bill that increases the lowest number of seats political parties should have to become eligible for Treasury aid from three to ten and on which the RPP and the JDP have come to an agreement. Probably there is no direct link. Yet, it can be seen that this initiative is intended to deter deputies who are being pulled apart from their parties by the centrifugal force of the whirl of politics. This centrifugal force, which is the result mainly of the side effects of the legal adaptation process with the EU, exerts its influence most on deputies who engaged in politics in other parties before and entered the 2002 elections under the banner of the JDP and the R PP, which were then the main centers of attraction in the left and the right. Apart from a few deputies actuated totally by material concerns, it is their former political tendencies which exert a gravitational pull on these deputies as they are moving away from the center.

    New parties are being formed in Parliament and deputies are resigning one after another, heaping criticism on the parties that enabled them to be voted into Parliament, yet this situation is not causing major disturbances at the center of politics or giving rise to major expectations. The business world and the stock market, which is prone to be ruffled by the slightest wind, remain unperturbed. What is the reason for this? Why is it that resignations that could shake politics at another time are not causing the slightest ripple today? A few reasons could be named:

    1. The JDP is acting with the relief of being persuaded at last that it cannot actually change the Constitution without working out a compromise with the RPP. In the same way, the RPP appears to be persuaded that the JDP's clear parliamentary majority could not be ended without a new election. With its parliamentary majority, the JDP has the power to decide whether there is going to be a new election. For this reason, secure in the conviction that parliamentary balances would not be affected much by the resignation, say, of even one fourth of the deputies from their groups and their defection to other parties, both [JDP leader Recep] Tayyip Erdogan and [RPP leader] Deniz Baykal are following a policy of "whoever wants to go could go."

    2. This situation is reducing the leverage of deputies caught in the centrifugal force. Those deputies that cannot use the threat of resignation effectively against their own parties do not have much influence over other parties, either. They are returning to those parties not as saviors but as representative voices in Parliament or as political refugees of a sort in certain instances or as foxes brought to the furrier.

    3. A possible exception is Erkan Mumcu. The MP [Motherland Party], which is considered to have gone into its death throes, and whose name [MP leader] Nesrin Nas has suggested could be changed because of its public image as a party involved in corruption, has welcomed Erkan Mumcu as a sort of emergency doctor. However, it is seen that the MP in the right and the SHP in the left are only regarded as a means of draining the JDP and the RPP under extraordinary circumstances if need be. The DTP [Democratic Turkey Party] played a parallel role during the 28 February process.

    4. The new parties in Parliament do not have new or unknown policies they could offer to voters. It should not be forgotten that the JDP and the RPP's success in the 2002 elections has to do with the fact that they were not involved in previous acts of corruption.

    Due to these factors, the wave of resignations, which would have upset the political scene in previous periods, is not taken too seriously because it is powerless to change the main direction of politics.

    [12] Columnist in HURRIYET suggests that Greek Cypriot ships be allowed to use Turkish ports, but ...

    Columnist Fatih Altayli writing in Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (31.03.05) refers to Turkey┤s signing of the Customs Union additional protocol with the EU Commission and says: What is expected is that Turkey is going to sign the additional protocol that extends the Customs Union agreement to the 10 new members of the EU.

    The EU is firm on this. The negotiations will not start unless we sign this protocol which is tantamount to recognizing the South Cyprus. In fact not starting accession talks with Croatia was aimed at intimidating Turkey.

    The additional protocol will be signed, but foreign minister Abdullah Gul says Greek Cypriot ships cannot enter into Turkish ports.

    This is something impossible. It does not make any difference whether one let the Greek Cypriot ships enter Turkish ports or does not sign the protocol.

    However, ruling a state is art of creating solutions. Here one could provide simple but effective solutions. You let the Greek Cypriot ships enter the Turkish ports, but you delay embarking and disembarking of the goods due to port congestion. You let the ship anchor outside of the port, for 15 days.

    This will reflect on the running cost of the ship. As a result of this, these ships either will increase their shipping rates or refuse to get cargo to Turkey.

    Similar, implementations were made in the past in the European countries, and no one dared to say anything.

    /SK


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