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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 05-12-29
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.249/05 29.12.05
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEW ITEMS
 Under the guise of de-isolating the Turkish Cypriots, Turkey continues its strategy of legitimizing the crimes being committed by the Turkish army in Cyprus. Statements by GulIllegal Bayrak television (28.12.05) broadcast the following:
The Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdullah Gul, has said that he emphasizes the urgent need for the removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people during all his meetings with foreign dignitaries and leaders.
The Turkish Foreign Minister touched upon the Cyprus Problem during an interview on the Turkish News Channel NTV.
Speaking on NTV, the Turkish Foreign Minister said that he had asked his Iranian counterpart during an earlier visit to Tehran for Irans help in removing the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Replying to a question on whether or not the Iranian government has approached the Turkish or TRNC government (Tr. Note: Breakway regime in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus) on the issue, Mr Gul said that no official contact or attempt has been made but added that such a move in the future will be most welcomed.
The Turkish Foreign Minister also reminded that Turkey and the United Nations Secretary General has called on the international community to step up efforts to remove the unjust international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people.
On Mr Gulīs interview Ankara Anatolia news agency (28.12.05) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul has indicated today that he does not think that negotiations will be difficult during Austria's European Union (EU) presidency.
Appearing on Turkish news channel NTV, Gul remarked that preliminary screening has been completed in 8-9 chapters and that entry negotiations will begin in early 2006.
Gul noted that the EU Commission is presently working on a science and technology file. ''We expect the EU Commission to prepare a positive report on this topic,'' said Gul.
Gul stressed that there is a conception among political experts that Turkey's entry negotiations will be difficult during Austria's EU presidency. ''I do not agree with it. Term presidents are often objective. It is to everyone's benefit to continue the process,'' stated Gul.
In reference to Cyprus, Gul commented that the Customs Union has been extended to cover all EU member states. ''The Customs Union includes Greek Cypriots. Nonetheless, we may face some political problems. We have to be realistic. I do not believe that such problems will slow down our EU process,'' expressed Gul.
In response to criticisms about Turkish Penal Code's Article 301 on freedom of expression, Gul remarked that Turkey has fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria. ''There may be a few points that deserve further work. The important thing is a 'system of values'. Laws may get old and problems may arise while implementing them. Yet the standards are clear for democracy and human rights,'' indicated Gul.
When reminded of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk and editor-in-chief of Agos newspaper Hrant Dink cases, Gul said that his government is not in a position to give directives to courts or prosecutors.
''A healthy democracy needs an independent court system. We will watch closely the implementation of laws and the elaboration of courts in cases. There are international agreements and treaties which we have to abide by. I believe that the courts will make the right decision in the right direction based on our international obligations,'' reiterated Gul.
Upon a question about the political process in Iraq, Gul said: ''We wish that a broad-base government will be formed in Iraq.''
When asked whether the United States would make a concrete contribution to Turkey in its fight against terrorist organization PKK, Gul said: ''There are many ways of fighting against the terrorist organization. We believe that the Iraqi government would contribute to this process after ensuring the control over its territories. We have some expectations from the United States in this regard. The United States is aware of Turkey's concerns.''
When asked whether Iraqi Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani would visit Turkey, Gul said: ''Barzani and President Jalal Talabani of Iraq pay visits to Turkey frequently. It is quite natural. We, of course, will maintain our relations with them. I want to reiterate once again that we attach great importance to the preservation of Iraq's political and territorial integrity.''
Upon a question about visits of the Directors of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to Turkey, Gul said: ''Those were routine visits. Allegations that several issues such as Syria and Iran were discussed during their meetings, are totally baseless.''
Gul also denied news reports that Iran pledged to launch initiatives to lift isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
''During Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki's visit to Turkey, we conveyed our request about the TRNC to him. On the other hand, both Turkey and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on all countries to launch initiatives to lift isolation of Turkish Cypriot people,'' Gul said.
Replying to another question, Gul said that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was planning to visit Turkey in 2006 but a certain date had not been set yet.
 The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on information about Iranīs measures to lessen TRNC EmbargoAnkara Anatolia news agency (28.12.05) reported the following:
Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan said on Wednesday that Turkey has no information that Iran is planning to take concrete measures to lessen the embargo imposed on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC). (Tr. Note: Territories of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops).
When reminded of the news on a possible initiative by Iran to lessen the embargo imposed on the TRNC during a weekly news conference, Tan said that Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul has always brought onto agenda the issue in his meetings with foreign leaders and asked them to take initiatives in order the end the embargo.
Tan said that the issue was discussed with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Motaki in this context, adding that yet Turkey has not been informed about such concrete measures which Iran may plan to take. If such measures are in question, these are discussed by the TRNC and Iran, said Tan.
Tan added that Turkey will continue launching efforts at all levels in the international arena to end isolation of the TRNC.
 The Turkish National Security Council will discuss measures against the EU pressures on Turkey to open its ports and airports to the Republic of CyprusTurkish HURRIYET newspaper (29.12.05) reports that the Turkish National Security Council (NSC) will discuss today measures against the expected EU pressures on Turkey to open its ports and airports to the Republic of Cyprus.
The paper writes that a report prepared by the Councils military members regarding the subra-identity and sub-identity discussions in Turkey will be submitted to the NSC. Invoking information leaked from the backstage, HURRIYET notes that the report will be giving the message of annoyance regarding the above-mentioned discussions which began with Prime Minister Erdogans statements. It will also be stressing that everybody who has the citizenship of the Turkish State is Turk, as Article 66 of the Constitution specifies.
The NSC is also expected to be informed about the visit of General Yasar Buyukkanit to the USA and the meeting of MITs under-secretary, Emre Taner with the chief of CIA Porter Goss. It will also discuss various scenarios for all the possibilities regarding the new political procedure in Iraq.
Turkish MILLIYET newspaper (29.12.05) writes that the NSCs General Secretariat has also prepared a report on the situation in southeastern Turkey. The 40-page report warns that the situation there could get out of control in case new measures, which include elements that will stop the political support to the PKK, are not taken. In the plan, named Action Plan for the Southeast, the word Kurdish problem is not used, notes MILLIYET.
 The criminal cases against AVRUPA/AFRIKA newspaper were abatedTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (29.12.05) reports that all the criminal cases which were brought in court against the then AVRUPA and now AFRIKA newspaper, were abated.
As the paper writes, when yesterday a self-styled attorney general in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus asked for the postponement of the 131 legal cases against the paper, the self-styled judge Omer Guran has this time rejected the formal request and stated the following: I reject and cancel all these law suits.
In addition, the self-styled judge has decided to reject five criminal cases against the YENI DUZEN newspaper and the journalist Tema Irkad. The criminal cases against AVRUPA/AFRIKA were opened in 2005
The paper also writes that the journalist Hasan Hasturer has won the law suit he filed against VOLKAN newspaper which was sentenced to pay him 1000 New Turkish Lira.
 Turkish Cypriot politicians are pessimistic for the year 2006Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.12.05), under the title Politicians are pessimistic for 2006, reported that Turkish Cypriot politicians conveyed to the paper their wishes and expectations for the new year. Turkish Cypriot political leaders do not hope that there would be a settlement of the Cyprus problem in 2006.
The self-styled TRNC Assembly Speaker, Ms Fatma Ekenoglu said expectations for a Cyprus solution in 2005 were not fulfilled, adding that the Cyprus problem has been transformed into a legal battle between the two sides in the island. Ekenoglu said she hopes that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community would be lifted and that the tourism sector would be developed.
Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer, the self-styled Prime Minister, expressed the belief that there would be a new dynamic for a resumption of settlement talks following parliamentary elections in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. He expressed hope for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus problem in the second half of 2006. Mr Soyer noted that a solution would be beneficial for the Turkish Cypriots, the EU, Greek-Turkish relations as well as relations between Turkey and EU. He added that a solution can only be on the basis of the Annan plan, a UN solution plan.
On his part, Mr Serdar Denktas, the self-styled Minister of Foreign Affairs and deputy Prime Minister, said the year 2006 would be a difficult one for both the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey. He said he believes that the Papadopoulos government would try to corner the Turkish Cypriot side during Turkeys EU accession process in order to achieve a solution under Greek Cypriot conditions. For this reason, Mr Serdar called on the Turkish Cypriot community to be united and to bring the Greek Cypriot side back to the negotiation table. He concluded that he does not expect that the EU would take any steps to lift the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.
The self-styled deputy of main opposition National Unity Party (UBP), Mr Huseyin Ozgurgun, said that he hopes that the leaders of both sides would resume negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan and added that this can be done only if the negative stance of Mr Papadopoulos is changed.
The leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement (PDM), Mr Mustafa Akinci, said that there is no sign that there are suitable conditions for peaceful existence of the two communities on the island under a federal roof. He repeated that opportunities have been lost and losing time is not to the benefit of Cypriots. He also warned that in case there is no solution within 10-15 years, the alienation between the youth of the two communities would be increased.
 Prosecutors launch probe into Lagendijk. Details of his guilty statementsTurkish Daily News (28.12.05) reported the following:
Turkish prosecutors launched a probe on Tuesday to determine whether a senior European Union Parliament lawmaker should be prosecuted for insulting the Turkish military.
A group of nationalist lawyers last week called for the prosecution of Joost Lagendijk, the head of the EU Parliament's committee on Turkey, who reportedly told Turkish journalists at a press conference in Istanbul earlier this month that the Turkish military was provoking clashes with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Lagendijk, a fervent supporter of Turkey's bid to join the EU, said earlier this month that Turkey's Kurdish politicians should respond to calls for dialogue from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan in order not to let nationalist groups and the military succeed in achieving what they want. According to the Green parliamentarian, Turkey's Kurdish politicians are continuing their struggle by using old methods and did not properly heed a landmark speech that Erdoan delivered in Diyarbak1r recently, in which the premier vowed to resolve the Kurdish issue through more democracy. The military has started provocations in the region because the military wants clashes with the PKK. This makes the military powerful and important, Lagendijk was quoted as saying.
The nationalist lawyers from the Lawyers' Union demanded last week that Lagendijk be prosecuted under the same article, Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code that was used against Turkey's internationally acclaimed novelist Orhan Pamuk, which makes insulting the armed forces punishable by up to two years in prison.
Lagendijk was in Turkey to follow the first hearing in Pamuk's trial on December 16. Pamuk is being prosecuted for saying in a February interview that one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands but nobody but me dares to talk about it. Where does he find the audacity to consider himself above and immune from Turkish law and insult the Turkish army and the Turkish judiciary? the lawyers asked in their petition.
 Minimum wage in the occupied areas 780 New Turkish LiraIllegal Bayrak television (28.12.05) broadcast the following:
The Minimum Wage for the year 2006 has been announced as 780 New Turkish
Liras. (Tr. Note: One Euro is worth 1.6 New Turkish Lira).
The new minimum wage which was fixed by the Minimum Wage Commission - will be effective as from the 1st of January.
The commission is made up of representatives from the `Stateī, workers organizations and employers associations.
The current minimum wage is 720 New Turkish Liras
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in Turkish Daily News assesses as strange the fact that after Turkey got the green light for accession negotiations more people are convicted for expressing their thoughtsUnder the title: West ahoy! Turkish Daily News (28.12.05) publishes the following commentary by Burak Bekdil:
Has anyone noticed, really, that fewer people were convicted for expressing their thoughts before Turkey reformed its laws and fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria? Was Turkey a safer place to express an opinion before it democratized itself in line with its EU aspirations?
The same day Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul complained of organized efforts to defame Turkey as if there is no freedom of expression (in the country), one court in Istanbul convicted two journalists and one publisher under Article 301. But, of course, there is freedom of expression in Turkey -- only halfway between the better democracies of Europe and the despotic regimes of the Middle East. Ironically, free speech in Turkey seems to be proportionate with the country's geographic location.
On November 2 this column argued that: the deepest of all divisions in the land of the Crescent and Star lies in the magic word that is ideology.' Nothing has probably done more harm (to Turkey) than its people's pathetic attachment to ideology. Ideology also explains the many faces of Mr (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan vis-ā-vis freedom of expression. Mr Erdogan thinks that it is a violation of the right to free speech when he does not view the content' as an attack on his ideology'.
The new jewel of the Holy Book, that is, these days, the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), is an offense the book styles as attempting to influence the judiciary. According to Prime Minister Erdogan, this is a constitutional offense and, according to the TCK, an offense that may earn a careless person a prison sentence of a few years, if fully and unselectively applied. But apparently that is not the case.
For example, the prosecutors think Mr Erdogan did not attempt to influence the judiciary when he commented on a court ban on the famous Armenian conference, a ban an upper court immediately reversed after Mr. Erdogan said that the ban violated free speech. Or the prosecutors think it was not an attempt to influence the judiciary when Mr Gul told the Financial Times that he was "certain that the court would not convict Orhan Pamuk.
If Turkey's judges and prosecutors, whose postings and promotions are decided by a government-controlled body, cannot be influenced by the prime minister or the deputy prime minister, how can they be so easily influenced by journalists, writers and businessmen? But the prosecutors think they can.
How, otherwise, can the head of Turkey's top business club have been probed for saying that he disapproves of the trial-under-detention of the university rector in Van? Actually, there must be few Turks out of 72 million who have not expressed their opinions on these famous cases, including this columnist. Will there be tens of millions of fresh charges for attempting to influence the judiciary?
As always, there is a touch of parody, too. For example, publisher Hrant Dink was prosecuted for attempting to influence the judiciary a week after he was convicted for insulting Turkishness.
How can one attempt to influence the judiciary one week after the judiciary made a ruling? The prosecutor could have thought that Mr Dink attempted to influence a possible appeals process but, again, how could he have done so with the power of a written article when top government figures cannot influence with their very direct comments on ongoing trials and power to control the careers of judges and prosecutors?
If Mr Erdogan defends free speech only for his fellow ideologues, he should look eastwards and not westwards. How can one not remember bearded Celal (Sakalli Celal), a little-known philosopher who, half a century ago, wrote that Turkey is a ship heading for the East. Those onboard think they are heading for the West. In fact, they are just running westwards in a ship sailing eastwards.