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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-09-08

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.171/05 08.09.05

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey expects legitimization of its faits accomplis in Cyprus in return for implementing the Additional Protocol it has signed. Statements by Namik Tan
  • [02] Statements by Gul on the current political agenda
  • [03] How the Turkish Cypriot and the Turkish press cover the developments in COREPER regarding the counter declaration for Turkeys declaration on Cyprus
  • [04] The General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktas resigned
  • [05] The Turkish Military major contributor to Azerbaijanīs Military strength
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [06] A Turkish authorīs view of the role of the Turkish army in EU-bound Turkey

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey expects legitimization of its faits accomplis in Cyprus in return for implementing the Additional Protocol it has signed. Statements by Namik Tan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07/09/05) reported the following from Ankara:

    ''Turkey has been waiting for a response to its initiative, which was published as a United Nations General Assembly document on May 30th,'' Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Namik Tan said on Wednesday.

    When asked during the weekly press briefing whether Ankara has reached information about the request of the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) asking Turkey to open its airports and ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels before the end of 2006, Tan said: ''During the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Cardiff, Britain, Foreign Minister and Deputy PM Abdullah Gul explained Turkey's views once again. There are several opinions in the EU. I want to draw your attention to a document. Gul launched an initiative, which was published as a UN General Assembly document on May 30th. We have been waiting for a response to our initiative. We explained our attitude in detail in the document. It is a quite important document.''

    ''If problems emerge in practice, the EU has several organs to deal with them,'' Mr Tan said.

    Mr Gul proposed a five-article package on May 30th on the basis of ''lifting of all kinds of restrictions by all parties in Cyprus''. The package was conveyed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan with a letter.

    [02] Statements by Gul on the current political agenda

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07/09/05) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul has said, ''Ankara is intensively getting prepared for October 3rd.''

    ''The important thing for both Turkey and EU is to carefully run the last 100 meters of the marathon,'' he added.

    Gul replied questions of reporters during an exhibition in Ankara on Wednesday.

    Upon a question about Turkey's EU process, Gul said: ''Necessary studies are under way both in Europe and Ankara regarding the process. We hope the entry talks will start on October 3rd as it was planned. There is not any reason to prevent start of the talks because Turkey fulfilled everything it was asked to do.''

    When asked about Turkey's attitude against EU's determination on opening of Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot administration, Gul said, ''If problems and claims emerge about functioning of Customs Union, there are legal platforms within the Customs Union for discussion. Turkey's EU process is not related with this issue.''

    When recalled of criticisms of the EU about the lawsuit against Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, Gul said, ''There is no decision about it now. There is freedom of expression in Turkey. The reform process in Turkey has brought the country to this point. Courts are independent in Turkey. Courts will take the most correct decisions in line with the current laws.''

    [03] How the Turkish Cypriot and the Turkish press cover the developments in COREPER regarding the counter declaration for Turkeys declaration on Cyprus

    Some Turkish Cypriot newspapers cover on their front page today (08.09.05) the issue of the unsuccessful efforts by the EU Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) to reach an agreement on Europes counter declaration for Turkeys statement that it does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus.

    Under the banner front page title The counter declaration is a Gordian knot KIBRIS writes that the British term presidency will conduct bilateral talks next week with the Republic of Cyprus in order to settle the issue. The paper notes, inter alia, the following: While Britain, the EU term presidency, wants the issue of the recognition of the Republic of Cyprus to be related to the solution process in the United Nations, it opposes to a clear reference such as recognition. All the other member states, except the Greek Cypriots, aligned together with Britain on this issue. .

    Under the title The British rope was not enough for Turkey, AFRIKA notes that France and Greece supported the Republic of Cyprus and that the issue will be discussed at COREPERs meeting on 14 September.

    HALKIN SESI refers to the issue under the banner front page title The EU was not able to reach consensus on the issue of Turkey. The paper notes that the differences in the views within the EU are getting deeper and that Britain searches for a way out.

    YENI DUZEN writes that there is no agreement yet on the issue, but it publishes the declaration expected with interest, as reported by Anatolia news agency.

    VOLKAN argues that the draft of the EUs counter declaration makes invalid the declaration of Turkey and corners the JDP government.

    Meanwhile, the main Turkish newspapers refer to the issue under the following titles:

    HURRIYET: France brought Cyprus onto the table. The paper alleges that France hardened its position against Turkey prior to October 3.

    MILLIYET: The Cyprus impasse of the EU. The paper writes that Britain was not able to break the insistence of the Greek Cypriots.

    RADIKAL: The counter declaration creates difficulties to the EU.

    [04] The General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Serdar Denktas resigned

    Illegal Bayrak television (07/09/05) broadcast the following:

    The Democratic Party Lefkosia MP Mustafa Arabac1oglu has resigned from his post as the party s General Secretary.

    According to the information provided by the Democratic Party - the junior partner of the coalition government - Mr Arabacioglu resigned from the post for personal reasons.

    Speaking to reporters just before entering todays Council of Ministers, the leader of the Democratic Party Serdar Denktas said that Mr Arabacioglu informed him on his decision to resign as the partys General Secretary, a few days ago.

    Reminding that the partys regular congress will be held in November, Mr Denktas said that no one will be appointed to the post until then.

    On the same issue Kibris (08/09/05) reports that Mr Ertugrul Hasipoglu, Vice, President of the Democratic Party will be acting General Secretary of the Party.

    [05] The Turkish Military major contributor to Azerbaijanīs Military strength

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07/09/05) reported the following from Baku:

    Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has indicated today that the Turkish military has contributed to the establishment of a contemporary and strong Azerbaijani army.

    Hosting Turkish Land Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit, Aliyev remarked that relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan are at the highest level possible and developing rapidly. Aliyev stressed that ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan are also contributing to the regional peace and stability.

    According to a news story at Azertac Agency, Aliyev referred to Turkey and Azerbaijan as ''one nation and two states.'' ''Our countries (Turkey & Azerbaijan) are uniting around global projects. But, more important than that, our hearts are united,'' noted Aliyev.

    Meanwhile, General Buyukanit commented that he feels ''at home'' in Azerbaijan and that he believes brotherhood between Turkey and Azerbaijan is not alive only in words but also hearts and goals.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [06] A Turkish authorīs view of the role of the Turkish army in EU-bound Turkey

    Istanbul Radikal newspaper (05/09/05) publishes the following interview with author and Yeni Safak columnist Kursat Bumin by Nese Duzel under the title: The Army is not a Part of the Nation:

    It is impossible to understand Turkey's social and political fabric without clarifying the status of the army. In Turkey the armed forces exert a political influence that is not seen in developed countries. Indeed, as we progress toward membership in the EU our most fundamental political discourse is over the army's role in politics and the administration of the country, even if we refuse to admit it. Recently Chief of the General Staff Gen Hilmi Ozkok underscored the special status of the TAF [Turkish Armed Forces] in this country by saying that the Turkish army is "a part of the nation." He said that "although it is a universal rule that armies must be subordinate to civilian administrations, the Turkish army has a non-standard status." Kursat Bumin, a political philosopher and a writer, evaluated the relationship the army has with the nation and the state in Turkey in a recent series of articles. In these articles he shows how the words picked and the messages adopted can define relationships within society and what consequences they may have. He explains how the military terminology that a large portion of our society and media accept without questions signal the "special circumstances" of our society. We discussed the relationship between the army and the nation as well as the causes and effects of the terminology used with Bumin, author of the books "Civilian Society and the State," and "The State and the Child."

    Following are Mr Buminīs replies to Nese Duzelīs questions:

    Question: Turkey is once again discussing the army and generals' comments. Land Forces Commander Gen Yasar Buyukanit told reporters that "there are attempts to turn Turkey into Palestine." Why do you think he made such a comparison? Which part of us resembles Palestine?

    Answer: There is no close or remote similarity between Turkey and Palestine either historically or today. I cannot see any relationship between the two. The commander himself probably failed to see any relationship because he could follow up this sentence with a second one.

    Question: There were also interpretations of the absence of the Land Forces Commander from among the protocol members standing under the arbor at the 30 August reception. Why do we draw conclusions from every action of the generals? Is Turkey, a nation of 70 million people, still a country whose destiny may change by whether a general stands a few steps this way or that way?

    Answer: Obviously it is not, but this country's interest in generals is not solely in their presence or absence under the arbor. This interest extends as far as the wives of retired force commanders. Tears shed by the wives of outgoing and incoming commanders at ceremonies marking command transfers are featured on the front pages of newspapers. Such reports are not newsworthy, and I do not think that readers are interested in them, but in this country the TAF has defined a role and status for itself. The media accept this role and status that the TAF has defined for itself, and this is why conclusions are drawn from every action of the generals. The truth is that in European countries people do not even notice where a general stands or sits at a reception.

    Question: You wrote a series of articles in response to and opposing Chief of the General Staff Gen Ozkok's comment that "the army is a part of the nation." Why do you disagree with the view that the army is a part of the nation?

    Answer: Describing the army with comments such as "the TAF is an inseparable part of the nation" is highly problematic and very dangerous. Institutionally the army is a part of the state--it is an instrument of the state. However the TAF does not like to define itself as an instrument of the state. It keeps going over to the side of the nation and saying that it is "an inseparable part of the nation."

    Question: What, in your opinion, are the political and social consequences of seeing the army as an inseparable part of the nation?

    Answer: That is a description that spoils everything. Many things change when you define yourself this way. Saying that they are "an inseparable part of the nation" legitimizes all the military declarations, interventions, memoranda, and coups. That argument makes everything done by the army to appear as if it was act performed by the nation, and consequently legitimizes everything. That implies that everything done by the army was done by the nation. When a group acts on behalf of the nation the need to comply with laws vanishes. For example the preamble of the 1961 Constitution begins with the phrase: "The 27 May [revolution] that the Turkish nation staged against a government that had lost its legitimacy."

    Question: What does that mean?

    Answer: It means that 27 May was staged not by the TAF but the nation. The same applies to 12 September. The truth is that the army is a part of the state, not the nation. If the army stages its intervention against the political administration as an instrument of the state then this would be called a coup. The issue of being "an inseparable part of the nation" is the most fundamental problem in the definition and status of the army and military-civilian relations in Turkey. The police has also tried to use this ideological definition occasionally but it has not worked. They also put up posters saying that they too are an "inseparable part of the nation" but those have not had much effect. Because everyone has a certain idea about the police, they are told: "No, you are an institution of the state; therefore you must comply with the laws."

    Question: The TAF is said to have a different and special status compared to other armies. Do you agree with that view?

    Answer: No. The army played an important role and had a special status in the founding of the republic but now the republic is more than 80 years old. Eighty years is a long time for a republic to mature. Moreover a different society evolved over those 80 years. In any event Turkey must use the concept of "society" rather than "nation." The concepts of "nation, citizen, national" are historically the concepts of the turbulent periods when republics and nation-states were formed. During the French Revolution era the words "madame" and "monsieur" were banned. Everyone addressed each other as "Citizen Pierre" or "Citizen Pascal." The concepts of "nation, citizen, and national" contain within them national emotions and military and political overtones. The concept of nation immediately implies a homogeneous union and a national will. "Society," on the other hand, is a civilian concept and is comprised of many individuals. You cannot do anything that is on behalf of the society's will. In contrast many things can be done and legitimized "on behalf of the nation" or by saying "I am a part of the nation."

    Question: Our army feels itself responsible for the republic and the country because of its role in its founding. It is also not very willing to transfer this responsibility to the civilians. What is the role of the civilian administrators when the army is responsible for the country?

    Answer: The result is the history of the Turkish Republic thus far. Politics becomes insincere and devoid of seriousness, and a faulse way of life takes form. Nobody can speak what he really thinks. The politicians cannot bow fully [to the army's wishes] because they have their constituencies but they also try not to confront the soldiers. That relationship turns the politician into a spin artist. Even he does not believe half of what he is saying. Political thought cannot develop in a country like this.

    Question: The army is an institution that attaches importance to defense by its very nature. It is very natural that this institution should view all issues from a perspective of defense. What type of social structure is created when every problem is viewed from a perspective of defense?

    Answer: Ultimately this creates a country that cannot solve its problems, that cannot generate any ideas to solve its problems, and that cannot develop in secularism and democracy.

    Question: All armies in the world have to divide people as friends and foes by virtue of their responsibilities. In our country the army has assumed a political responsibility. Does this not lead to the use of concepts of "friend" and "foe" in domestic politics?

    Answer: Of course it does.

    Question: In such circumstances is it not likely that those who disagree with the army would be described as "internal enemies"?

    Answer: It is. They are already saying that some people are internal enemies. Former 1st Army Commander Hursit Tolon gave such a speech on his retirement and said that he is leaving an army that is full of hatred against some intellectuals. It is time for this military language, this ideological message, and this terminology to come to an end in Turkey. People must know what institution should stand where in democracies and Turkey's intellectual life must be translated into a civilian language. As of now this country does not have a civilian language; it has a military language. There is a republic and citizen as defined by the army. Anyone who fits their definition is described as a "good citizen," anyone who does not is described as a "bad or harmful citizen." What they call "national will" is actually the will of the "good citizens."

    Question: Can there be such a thing as an "internal enemy"?

    Answer: This is entirely the language of totalitarian systems. In democracies those who criticize the existing system are called "dissidents." In authoritarian and totalitarian countries dissidents are labelled "enemies of the regime" or "internal enemies." The best example of this was the Soviet Union. People who did not agree with the dominant ideology there were labelled "enemies of the regime." The terminology used in Turkey is similar. Anyone who does not agree with the dominant ideology is labelled an "internal enemy." For example, today liberals are considered "internal enemies" in this country. Countries where such terminologies exist and where such concepts are used are authoritarian or totalitarian. There can be no "enemies of the regime" or "internal enemies" in democracies. There can only be "dissidents" in democracies.

    Question: We know that several civilian parties support the special status of the army and that they want the status quo to remain. From a standpoint of political science how do you explain the desire of a civilian politician to turn over his responsibility to the army with his own will?

    Answer: First, this is not politics; it is the suicide of politics. Beyond the politicians, Turkey needs to undergo some extensive therapy as a whole. Dominant ideological concepts such as "the place of the army" and "national issues" must be debated extensively.

    Question: What do you think about relations between the media and the army?

    Answer: The media must stop being interested in the army. The [Turkish] media's interest in the army is a very pathological interest. If we look at newspaper archives, and if we look only at their 30 August issues, we can put together an anthology of arbor events. You can find in all of them stories about who came to the arbor, who came out of it, who sat how far away, and so forth. The media also have a habit of engaging in provocation by obtaining unnecessary statements from military officers and placing them in headlines in reports related to the army. This suggests that the media do not have a mature attitude in their relationship with the army. Turkey's media are unable to view military issues from a distance; they view them very emotionally. Reporters are too excited about meeting with commanders and interviewing them. Moreover the media are not too offended by the influence of the military on politics. They are not perturbed by the role of the soldiers in politics. It is from this standpoint that society needs to undergo some therapy.

    Question: How will this happen?

    Answer: It is time to have an in-depth discussion about the army's ties and relationship with politics and civilians and its responsibilities. Turkey has a highly militarist state of mind and, as a consequence, the army is assigned a role that goes beyond defending the country. The truth is that we have to view the army with a cool head as an instrument that every country needs. The military must be brought out from its mystical status. Our civilians, in their turn, must not have their hearts in the barracks by saying: "We wish that there was no need for the army but every country has one. We will go and do what is incumbent on us when necessary." People must place their hearts in civilian life and values and must see the army as the institution that defends the country.

    Question: How would other EU members react to our membership in the Union if we continue to accept the special status of the army as a political reality?

    Answer: That is a somewhat complicated issue. Some formal improvements may be sufficient for the EU because the EU finds issues such as secularism very beneficial. It believes that the Kemalist ideology which has infiltrated all Turkish institutions is a guarantee of secularism. After all what is our army saying? It is saying that it is "the guardian of secularism." Europe is saying that "secularism is very good for Turkey." The EU obviously wants the army to be subject to the Ministry of National Defense and to stop issuing political statements. These would be enough for the West. However if these goals are realized it would not mean the army's influence in Turkey's politics would have come to an end.

    Question: Opinion polls suggest that our people see the army as one of the most trustworthy institutions in the country. Could this be viewed as a factor that legitimizes the army's special status?

    Answer: It could. The soldiers are also saying that "look, the people trust the army most." The truth is that such questions cannot be asked in democracies. You ask the people: "Whom do you trust most?" Then you list the army as one of the five possible answers. A country where such questions are asked is not in good shape from a standpoint of democracy.

    Question: Recently [Hurriyet columnist and former foreign minister] Ilter Turkmen wrote an article that enumerated the military mistakes that led to the Treaty of Sevres [of 1918]. In a society that hates Sevres so much and that is so afraid of it military mistakes that led to it are not frequently discussed. To what do you attribute this?

    Answer: This is the consequence of the perception that the army never makes mistakes. There is a concern that eroding the reputation of the army may lead to distrust. Indeed the military never makes mistakes in Turkey; it is only the administrators, the politicians, and the civilians who make mistakes. This is the image that has been projected in our recent past. It is always the civilians who are short-sighted in this country. In truth armies also make mistakes and are defeated but this never happens here; mistakes are never discussed. For example, our society remembers even Enver Pasha's Sarikamis disaster by marking its anniversary with a military ceremony as if it was the celebration of a military operation.

    Question: It is evident that Sevres was the consequence of the mistakes of members of the Union and Progress Party. Do you think that our society has criticized the Union and Progress Party sufficiently?

    Answer: No, it has not because this is an unknown history. Turkey is one of the least knowledgeable countries about its recent past. Our society knows its war of liberation only in the way it is taught. It does not know about the years of the Second Constitution [ 1908-1918] and what was said at that time. I do not know of any other people on earth whose collective memory has been disrupted like ours. It is this lack of memory that is the root cause of the failure of society to develop and to mature--it is the reason why our society has remained childish. The truth is that a person grows and matures with memory. The alphabet reform has played a great role in this. We cannot read the newspapers of the Second Constitution period. This is one of the greatest evils that could be perpetrated on a society.

    Question: Is it not odd and contradictory to be afraid of Sevres but not to discuss the mistakes of the Union and Progress Party that led to Sevres?

    Answer: It is not because Sevres is being used as an ideological tool. Sevres is a historical event that developed and ended in its own circumstances. It has nothing to do with today's Turkey; it is not comparable to anything in today's Turkey. However one can easily turn Sevres into something that causes fear. If you do not explain it Sevres can become something to fear. Society fears what it does not know; it does not fear what it understands. You recall how people were swept with fear when the Armenian issue began to be discussed a little in the media. You know, they keep telling us that they "created a brand new society" .

    Question: Yes?

    Answer: Creating a brand new society is not such a good thing. It is actually harmful because a brand new society is a society without memory. Creating a brand new nation is a totalitarian concept. A new set of furniture or a new refrigerator are nice, but a new society is not. This is a country that was left over from an empire. Its intellectual life and language should have advanced much more, but this is how far we could go because the republic has portrayed it as having been created from scratch. However, society now realizes that the official ideology does not meet its needs and that this ideology is a bland and shallow repetitive cliché. As a result of the emerging democracy and freedoms in the current EU process, society has begun to ask fundamental questions about its own identity, values, and past.

    EG/


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