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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-03-08

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.46/06 08.03.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements by Gul before leaving for Austria.
  • [02] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Action Plan.
  • [03] The EP Contact Group gave a press conference.
  • [04] Euro MP of Turkish origin on the report the EU Contact Group will submit to the EP presidency.
  • [05] Ozbalikci: I am ready to return the Greek Cypriot property I am using in Yalousa now.
  • [06] Statements by the Turkish Defense Minister after a meeting in Austria.
  • [07] Aydan Karahan visits the occupied area of Morfou.
  • [08] Illegal emigrants from Syria were arrested in the occupied part of Cyprus.
  • [09] Turkish Court accepts Van prosecutorīs indictment.
  • [10] Murder of Diyarbakir Security Director and others was committed by the army and blamed on Hizbullah.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [11] Columnist assesses the reasons behind the recent tension between AKP and the Turkish army.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements by Gul before leaving for Austria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.03.06) reported from Ankara that before his departure to Austria to attend the foreign ministers meeting of Turkey-EU Troika, the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mr Abdullah Gul, held a news conference at Ankara's Esenboga Airport on Tuesday.

    Upon a question regarding claims about Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Gul said: "I, as the chairman of Higher Board of Anti-Terrorism, can say that it is our duty to be in solidarity with all security forces, Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and security department in the fight against terrorism."

    Upon another question, Gul said that he will have a meeting with Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyianni during his visit to Austria.

    When asked about his meeting with Kemal Dervis, the Director of the United Nations Development Program, today, Gul said: "Dervis is one of the most important representatives of Turkey abroad. We had a beneficial meeting. We discussed economic and political matters as well as Turkey's assistance abroad and Turkey's candidacy for UN Security Council."

    Stating that studies that would be conducted by Turkey within the scope of the country's EU accession process would be discussed with EU authorities in detail during the foreign ministers meeting of Turkey-EU Troika, Gul noted that the course of negotiation process would be reviewed and regional and international matters would be taken up in the meeting.

    He underlined that the EU wanted to boost dialogue and cooperation with Turkey due to some developments that have occurred in the international platform recently, stating that the EU always mentioned about the role that Turkey could play in regional matters and global issues.

    Gul also said noted that he would have a bilateral meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn, indicating that he would also meet Austrian Parliament Speaker Andreas Kohl, Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and Foreign Minister Plassnik during his visit to Vienna.

    [02] The Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on the Action Plan

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.03.06) reported from Ankara that the Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Namik Tan on Tuesday, during the weekly news conference, said regarding developments about the Cyprus process: "EU leaders and the European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn had released supportive statements on this issue. In recent few years, Turkey made more than 20 proposals to find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus question on the UN platform. The Greek Cypriot administration did not respond to these proposals and tried to carry the Cyprus issue onto different platforms."

    "We pursue our meetings with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for solution of the Cyprus issue. We have full support to Annan. The solution place for Cyprus issue is the UN," he added.

    Upon a question, Tan said: "The action plan will also be discussed during Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's visit to Austria. Since the day we have announced the plan, we presented all the details about the plan and we expected support and also stressed that the plan will be a very important step for a comprehensive solution."

    "Many officials stated that the plan is a beneficial initiative on the path to a solution. We will continue our calls on implementation of this plan. We will continue to support Annan's efforts for a comprehensive solution," said Tan.

    [03] The EP Contact Group gave a press conference

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.03.06) reported from occupied Lefkosia that the European Parliament's (EP) High-level Contact Group Coordinator French parliamentarian Francoise Grossetete said that the activities of the group is based on supremacy of law as well as the decisions of the UN, the EU and the EP about the Cyprus issue so far.

    Holding a news conference at Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone on Tuesday, Grossetete assessed the meetings of EP's High-level Contact Group in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

    Grossetete said that the legal situation in Cyprus is concerning, but from now on it is necessary to work in a more realistic way.

    Grossetete said that they met political leaders in the north yesterday and exchanged views. He added that they discussed Green Line Regulation and Direct Trade Regulation.

    Stating that they will exert efforts to apply EU acquis in Cyprus on the best way, Grossetete said that thus, it is necessary to provide best usage of 139 million Euro which was given to northern Cyprus for 2006.

    When asked her views about the protests which were held during their meetings in TRNC yesterday, Grossetete said that they are not against freedom of thought, adding that protests did not prevent their meetings.

    (Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is an illegal occupation regime set up by the Turkish Republic in the towns and villages of Greek Cypriots forced to abandon them at gun point by 40,000 Turkish troops).

    [04] Euro MP of Turkish origin on the report the EU Contact Group will submit to the EP presidency

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.03.06) reports that Mr Cem Ozdemir, a German Euro MP of the Green Group of Turkish origin, stated that the contacts that the European Parliament's (EP) High-level Contact Group held in Cyprus were very productive.

    Mr Ozdemir made these statements at KIBRIS TV where he evaluated the visit of the European Parliamentarians in the island.

    Saying that they will visit Cyprus again on the 1st of June, Mr Ozdemir said that starting from the 2nd of June they will have more contacts again in Cyprus under a wider schedule.

    He said that they will submit a report to the President of the European Parliament as regards their contacts in Cyprus and noted that he will try so that three basic elements to be included in it: The Turkish Cypriots to be represented in the EU, the Turkish Cypriots to establish direct contacts with the EU and the Turkish language to be accepted as an official language of the EU. In this framework, Mr Ozdemir stated that the Turkish Cypriots should not have to pass the borders or to go to another country in order to have contacts with the EU. He said that it should not be expected that the six Greek Cypriots at the European Parliament represent the Turkish Cypriots and added that at this time Romania and Bulgaria have representatives in the EP and he wondered why this cannot apply for North Cyprus as well.

    Mr Ozdemir has also criticised the persons who demonstrated against the visit of the EP High-level Contact Group in Cyprus.

    Speaking about the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Ozdemir said that Mr Tassos Papadopoulos has lost his persuasiveness in the EU because he continuously supports that the source of the Cyprus problem is the Turkish side.

    He said that it is a good thing that Mr Talat became the president because, as he said: The bad image that Denktas had created was left for Papadopoulos.

    [05] Ozbalikci: I am ready to return the Greek Cypriot property I am using in Yalousa now

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08/03/06) reports that Turkish Cypriot Erdogan Hikmet Ozbalikci now living in the occupied Yalousa village where he is settled and operating a hotel and restaurant belonging to a Greek Cypriot who was forced to leave his property during the Turkish invasion and occupation in 1974, yesterday submitted a written application to the Republics competent authorities for being a candidate during the forthcoming parliamentary elections in May as Turkish Cypriot deputy.

    In his letter addressed to the Minister of Interior of the Republic of Cyprus, Andreas Christou, Mr. Ozbalikci expresses his desire to be candidate for the May elections for the Turkish Cypriots as stipulated in the 1960 Constitution. He claims that he is a displaced person from Mansoura village, Kokkina area.

    Ozbalikci, now living in the Turkish occupied Yalousa village in the Karpass peninsula in a house belonging to a Greek Cypriot and operating a restaurant and hotel again belonging to a Greek Cypriot displaced person, said that he is aware of the fact that both the house in which he and his family are living and the hotel and the restaurant they are operating belong to a Greek Cypriot and that he is ready either through a settlement or another formula to return the said property to their lawful owners.

    Ozbalikci claims that if his denied taking part in the May elections as the citizen of the Republic then he will recourse to the European Court of Human Rights.

    (Tr. Note: Mansoura is now used by the occupation army as forward military enclave where its civilian Turkish Cypriot inhabitants were forced by the occupation army to be moved to occupied Karpass peninsula).

    [06] Statements by the Turkish Defense Minister after a meeting in Austria

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.03.06) reported from Innsbruck that the Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul attended the session on "EU Troika and candidate countries" during the informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Austria.

    Speaking to A.A following the meeting on Tuesday, Gonul said: "Attendees were pleased that Turkish Peace Forces and Gendarmery Forces will continue their mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Turkey has always supported the European defense concept."

    Following the meeting, Gonul also replied to questions of Austrian state television ORF and Kurier newspaper regarding Turkey's EU membership and the Cyprus question.

    Gonul said regarding the EU issue that Turkey successfully pursued the reform process.

    Gonul noted that the EU acted incorrectly about the Cyprus issue, adding: "There are two separate communities in Cyprus. It is unfair to accept only Greek Cypriot side's accession to the EU (as the single owner of the island) by ignoring the Turkish Cypriot community."

    Upon a question about the visit of Hamas to Turkey, Gonul said: "Turkey is a secular country which is mainly populated by Muslims.

    However, religion is not the basis of our foreign policy. In deed Hamas visited Turkey with the identity of a political party. It was not a formal visit."

    [07] Aydan Karahan visits the occupied area of Morfou

    Turkish Cypriot daily CUMHURIYET newspaper (08.03.06) reports that the self-styled ambassador of Turkey in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Aydan Karahan, visited yesterday the occupied area of Morfou and exchanged views with the District Officer of Morfou, Mr Cemal Turkler, the so-called mayor, Mr Mahmut Ozcinar and the chairman of the Development Association of the area, Mr Hakan Kunday.

    Mr Karahan alleged that Turkey continues to contribute to the improvement of the infrastructure in Cyprus since 1974 and added that the aim of their visit was to study on the spot the work conducted until today and to have some contacts.

    He noted that they know the problems of Morfou area and that there is no problem which cannot be solved. He also expressed his satisfaction because an activity has begun in the field of constructions in the area.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Illegal emigrants from Syria were arrested in the occupied part of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (08.03.06) reports that the so-called police of the breakaway regime in the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus have arrested 21 persons from Syria for entering illegally in Cyprus from the coastal area of occupied Akanthou village.

    According to a statement issued by the police, the illegal immigrants entered the occupied part of the island the night before. Inquiries on the issue are continuing.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkish Court accepts Van prosecutorīs indictment

    Istanbul NTV television (07.03.06) broadcast that after meeting with Prime Minister Erdogan to discuss the indictment of General Buyukanit in connection with Semdinli bombing, Chief of the General Staff General Ozkok is to have an unscheduled meeting with President Sezer to voice his objections.

    Meanwhile a Turkish court has accepted unaltered an indictment lodged by a senior prosecutor on the bombing of a bookstore in the south east of the country last year alleging the attack was carried out by members of the armed forces.

    The court did not give a date for the first hearing of the case but did not return the indictment as was expected without alteration. The indictment includes charges laid against the commander of Turkey's Land Forces, General Yasar Buyukanit.

    The 100-page long indictment asked for a life sentence to be given to two non-commissioned officers and a former member of the terrorist group the PKK serving as a military informer for their alleged part in the bombing of the bookstore in Semdinli on November 9. One person was killed in the blast and a dozen wounded.

    Another person was killed when one of the accused NCO's allegedly drew a gun and fired on an angry crowd outside the bookstore that was trying to stop him fleeing the scene of the attack.

    The defendants were accused of staging activities to destroy the unity and integrity of the country, using a bomb to intentionally commit murder and attempt to commit murder.

    However, the Interior Minister refused a request of the prosecution to investigate the provincial governor, the district governor and provincial head of the gendarme at the time of the attack.

    General Buyukanit was named in the indictment due to allegations that he attempted to pervert the course of justice by praising one of the accused NCOs as being a fine soldier and "a good boy".

    The so-called Semdinli incident was raised at a meeting of parliamentary deputies of the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP). Addressing the deputies, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to comments made by Deniz Baykal, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, who said Monday that there was an attempt to stage a coup against the army. Erdogan said that trying to bring the army and the judiciary into conflict would benefit no one. However, Erdogan said that the Turkish Armed Forces had the power to refute such attacks.

    "I condemn efforts to set the Turkish Armed Forces and the government against each other," he said.

    He also targeted the press, saying that the cabinet knew who and when to appoint in the army and that they would not look at columnists views in the media when doing so.

    [10] Murder of Diyarbakir Security Director and others was committed by the army and blamed on Hizbullah

    Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper (07.03.06) publishes the following report by Gokcer Tahincioglu under the title: Military killed Okkan:

    A statement to the effect that Security Director [Gaffar], who was ambushed in Diyarbakir, was killed by the military is included in the indictment on the Semdinli incidents. It is noteworthy that the accusations rest on testimony rather than evidence.

    The controversy created by the indictment in the bombing attack conducted on 9 November against the Umut Bookstore in Semdinli continues due to its contents, which are unprecedented in the history of the Republic.

    Accusing Ground Forces Commander General Yasar Buyukanit of "establishing an [illegal] organization, seeking to influence the judiciary, producing false documents, and abuse of office", Van Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya included in the same indictment surprising comments like "An unseen face of [counter-]terrorist operations consists of 'social engineering'", "There is tension between the state and the government", "Those coming from the periphery seeking to seize control of the center have upset the military and civilian elite", and "It should not be a surprise that a stance against the political administration has been taken by means of local operations."

    In the 100-page indictment, it is noteworthy that the accusations creating the controversy are based not on evidence but rather on statements. It is stated in the indictment, which asks for life imprisonment for arrested non-commissioned officers Ali Kaya and Ozcan Ildeniz, that they had targeted Seferi Yilmaz, a previously convicted PKK member and the owner of the bookstore that was bombed, because he still had connections with the terrorist organization.

    Subtitle: JITEM as a criminal gang

    The indictment, which provides a history of JITEM [alleged intelligence unit within the Gendarmerie] with expressions taken from the book of the slain Major Cem Ersever, who is also shown as the founder of the organization, states that security personnel affiliated with JITEM, along with [PKK] repentants, formed criminal gangs and engaged in joint operations, and includes interviews made with the repentant Abdulkadir Aygan.

    Subtitle: Secret information

    Included in the indictment as the source of the accusations against Buyukanit is an allegation regarding the non-commissioned officer Kaya by Diyarbakir businessman Mehmet Ali Altindag that "They tried to utilize the Diyarbakir Security Director and were unable to succeed. They killed Okkan because of the secret information he possessed, and blamed it on Hizbullah." The indictment, which notes that no explosions took place in Hakkari after the non-commissioned officers had been arrested, also accuses Hakkari Provincial Gendarmerie Commander with the claim that "The increase in explosions after he arrived in the district was noteworthy." It is also noted in the indictment that, in accord with the chain of command in the region, the responsibility for both the positive and the negative results of operations extends to the Ground Forces Command.

    Subtitle: Quotation from EU representative

    Including in his indictment a report from the French newspaper Liberation that following up the Semdinli investigation to the end will be a turning point for Turkey, as well as a quotation from EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-Chairman Joost Lagendijk that "The TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] like the environment of ongoing terrorism, violence, and conflict with the PKK", Prosecutor Sarikaya also includes the following surprising observations:

    "If those who seek to derive personal gain from blood and tears attain high official positions, there arises danger in terms of the survival of the state. When this group, which are much heard from, are due to the influence of the media declared to be 'heroes' as well, their triggermen think that they are serving the state. Even if someone from the lower group should be exposed, the real players are not seen. Circles far removed from the mechanisms of control, utilizing bureaucratic mechanisms thanks to extraordinary security precautions, are able to circulate within the very capillaries of the state. The unseen face of the operations aimed against terrorist organizations is oriented toward social design. The operation itself has the goal of social engineering. Everything necessary was done in order for a social explosion to take place in Semdinli.

    Subtitle: Military elites

    "The tension existing between the bureaucratic mechanism and the governments can from time to time turn into covert or overt conflict. In the event of infiltration, the bureaucracy itself can come to the point of threatening the survival of the state. Elements coming from the periphery that seek to take control of the center are disturbing the civilian and military bureaucratic elite, who own the modernism project. Operations after this can only be opposed by a society that has become politically conscious."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [11] Columnist assesses the reasons behind the recent tension between AKP and the Turkish army

    Ankara The New Anatolian newspaper (07.03.06) publishes the following article under the title: "Swords poised in Ankara":

    Ankara is abuzz over the complaint filed by the Van Public Prosecutor's office against Land Forces Commander Gen. Yasar Buyukanit concerning his statements on the Semdinli incidents last fall.

    Tension between the government and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has been escalating for some time already. There have been debates going on behind closed doors that have been kept from the public. Speculations saying that the government doesn't think that Land Forces Commander Buyukanit is the appropriate person to succeed Gen. Hilmi Ozkok as Chief of General Staff, who is going to retire on August 30, are making the rounds. Some ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party deputies seemed very confident about the issue.

    The reasons for the tension between the government and the military, which are now rising over Gen. Buyukanit, are briefly as follows:

    Erdogan's presidential bid: Some circles claim that the AK Party leader wants to become president through majority support in Parliament in 2007. But people close to the AK Party indicate that Gen. Buyukanit, who is set to become chief of General Staff this August, is the biggest obstacle to Erdogan's presidential aspirations. That's the reason for rumors about Gen. Buyukanit sparked before he became Land Forces Commander and that some circles argued that the AK Party didn't want to see Buyukanit helm the land forces

    Uneasy AK Party members: The AK Party deputies see the presence of Buyukanit -- who often inveighs against fundamentalist movements, uses Kemalist undertones in his statements, makes statements contradicting the AK Party's policies on many issues ranging from Cyprus to northern Iraq, and terrorism to religious vocational Imam Hatip high schools -- as a direct threat to their rule. Some AK Party deputies don't want Buyukanit to assume the post to show the AK Party's power to everyone. It's striking that some AK Party deputies say, "He did what we couldn't do," referring to the prosecutor that prepared the indictment.

    Ozkok's statement: A statement made by Korkut Ozal, a former politician and reportedly a personal advisor to Prime Minister Erdogan, saying, "Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok's term should be extended," has been significant in this regard. In such a case, Gen. Buyukanit will be retired automatically. But as Gen. Ozkok said that he doesn't want his term to be extended, the AK Party began to look for other solutions.

    Websites: Some websites started to post various claims about Gen. Buyukanit, ranging from ones that he is a Sabbatean (a descendant of converted Jews in Turkey, a group looming large in some conspiracy theories), to him planning to stage a coup. These claims have made Buyukanit a center of speculation and theories. The General Staff criticized these websites without referring to them by name, and announced that it will file complaints about these sites.

    Semdinli incidents: It was right at that time - last November - that the Semdinli incidents occurred. In a statement following the incidents, Gen. Buyukanit was criticized by the AK Party for a single sentence of his statement. Asked his view of the incident, Buyukanit said, "I know the noncommissioned officer who was alleged to be involved, he's a good man. But if he's guilty, he'll be punished. We should wait for the probe's results." But the AK Party members considered only the part, "I know him, he's a good man," of the whole speech.

    Parliament commission: A commission set up in Parliament to probe the incidents in Semdinli escalated the debate further. Because some members of the ruling Party insisted on drawing links between the incidents and Buyukanit. Speculations arose claiming that some security officials gave secret briefings to commission members accusing Buyukanit. In testimony to the commission, Police Headquarters Intelligence Department Chief Sabri Uzun said, "The thief is in the house." This statement increased the glare of the spotlight on the military.

    Unakitan factor: While these debates were ongoing, the AK Party administration started to have a tough time due to allegations of corruption against Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan. While almost all circles in Ankara called on Prime Minister Erdogan to remove Unakitan from office, some claims were leveled against Gen. Buyukanit in almost "an-eye-for-an-eye" fashion, by a prosecutor who was known for the rulings he made about Van Yuzuncu Yil University (YYU) Rector Yucel Askin. The same prosecutor was accused of "politicizing the judiciary" and "running probes with certain purposes and aims."

    Debates in the AK Party: The AK party group in Parliament was seriously troubled due to the government's policies and the allegations of corruption against Finance Minister Unakitan. The efforts of the prime minister and his deputy to avoid criticisms through accusing the media weren't enough to remove the trouble in the party. The debate, which was sparked as a way to silence some AK Party deputies uncomfortable with some policies, brought some relief for the AK Party administration.

    Kurdish problem and fight against terrorism: Some circles in Ankara underline the fact that the government is delaying passing an amendment to the Anti-Terrorism Law, although it has promised to pass it. Stating that the military is very sensitive about the fight against terrorism, these circles claim that there has been a secret struggle ongoing between AK Party deputies of Kurdish origin and the military for a while. According to these circles, Gen. Buyukanit is very sensitive about the fight against terrorism and is the biggest obstacle to the government's Kurdish policies.

    Deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq: Another argument is based on the assumption that Turkey may change its policies regarding Iran and Iraq soon. The speculations that Turkey will deploy troops in Iraq after the U.S. withdrawal from the country have been rife recently. Rumors saying that Gen. Buyukanit agreed with his counterparts on the matter during his last visit to the U.S. increased the trouble felt by circles close to the AK Party.

    Ankara rumors: For all these reasons, one of the most hotly debated issues in Ankara lately is the tension between Gen. Buyukanit and the government. According to speculations, the AK Party administration has prepared three files compiling allegations against Gen. Buyukanit, ranging from corruption to setting up an illegal group.

    According to other speculations, Gen. Buyukanit and Prime Minister Erdogan had a private meeting during recent military maneuvers and agreed on each other's assuming the posts of chief of General Staff and presidency. But the latest developments showed that these speculations are unfounded.

    Traffic between institutions: Lastly, as the indictment was disclosed to the public, Gen. Buyukanit said that he wants to be tried as he will have the chance to make statements about the claims and allegations against him on the stand. The decision on that will be made by the chief of General Staff. But there was an interesting exchange of statements in Ankara yesterday. As the chief of General Staff said that he will meet the prime minister following a meeting with some commanders, statements from various bodies followed. The prime ministry underlined that events are not related to the prime minister and the government and that the developments are followed from newspapers. Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that neither he nor the government has any relation with the prosecutor's indictment. The fact that the speculations saying the chief of General Staff will tell the prime minister to clean the matter up spread very quickly in the back corridors of Ankara was an indication of the tense mood in the Prime Ministry. Because the decision of the chief of general staff to visit the prime minister meant that the military wanted to convey the message, "You are related to all this," to the prime minister. Responding to that, the prime ministry tried to say that they are not related with the statement they made.

    Therefore the prime ministry was trying to avoid becoming a party to the debate and thus instead make the issue a problem between the military and the judiciary.

    Lastly, some people were claiming yesterday in the back corridors of Ankara that these debates were boosting Buyukanit's power instead of wearing him out.

    /SK


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