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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-05-05
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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.85/06 05.05.06
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 The hearing of the case of the TKP against the Property Law has been postponed for an indefinite period of timeTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (05.05.06) reports that the so-called Constitutional Court of the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus) began yesterday the discussion of the case filed by the Communal Liberation Party (TKP) against the so-called Property Law with the allegation that it is contrary to the article 159 of the constitution.
The court, without entering into the substance of the case, postponed the hearing on taking a decision for an indefinite period of time, after listening to the objection of the defendant who supported that the TKP is not legally competent for filing charges against the law.
The lawyer of the defendant, Mrs Emine Erk expressed the opinion that the TKP had no right to file charges against the above-mentioned law because it is not a party represented in the assembly. The expression in the constitution is clear in this direction, she said and asked for the rejection of the discussion of the case.
The same opinion was expressed by the deputy attorney general, Mujgan Irkad, who attended the hearing Amicus curiae and said that according to the article 147 of the constitution, the TKP is not legally competent for filing charges against the law.
The lawyer of the TKP, Mr Fuat Veziroglu said that they do not claim that the party is represented in the assembly, that the TKP believes that the law is contrary to the constitution, that it had filed charges against it in order to raise its voice against this situation and that it has succeeded in doing this.
The paper reminds that the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) has also filed charges against the Property Law, but the date of the hearing of this case has not been fixed yet.
 The Karetta Travel agency offers tours to the Republic of Cyprus for Turkish citizens- How the Turkish Cypriot press covers the newsMost Turkish Cypriot newspapers report on their first pages today (05.05.06) that the Karetta Travel agent will organise tours for Turkish citizens to the Republic of Cyprus, starting from the 19th of May, 2006.
Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA, under the title Landing to Ayia Napa from Turkey writes that while the Turkish Cypriots are contemplating whatever they will export from the Limassol Port, Turkey is sending tourists to south Cyprus. The paper also writes that the company Karetta Travel organised a tour to north Cyprus for the first time after 1974. It also writes that during the organised tour the Turkish tourists will visit holy places and places of entertainment, among them Ayia Napa, the Hala Sultan Tekke, Limassol and the occupied areas of Cyprus. The General Manager of Karetta Travel, Turkish Cypriot Ibrahim Habes, stated that the first tour will start on the 19th of May and added that after this a tour will be organised every Thursday.
HALKIN SESI writes, under the title Tourist voyages are starting by the Turkish Republic to South Cyprus, that the tour, which is going to take place via Athens, will offer a tour to Limassol, which is the town of wine and entrainment and adds that the prices for the trip start from 490 EURO for 4-7 nights.
Under the title Tourist tour to south Cyprus from Turkey, YENI DUZEN writes that another issue is added to the novelties which appeared after the referendum and reports that Turkish tourists will visit south Cyprus in a programme that includes a visit to the Hala Sultan Tekke.
VATAN under the title The first tourist tour to south Cyprus from Turkey! writes that the General Manager of Karetta Travel, Ibrahim Habes, stated that there is a great interest in the tour and that Turkish people are very interested in Cyprus.
All the other papers refer to the news in their inner pages.
ORTAM writes that The first tourist tour is organised from Turkey to south Cyprus for the first time since 1974. CUMHURIYET refers to the issue using the same title. On its part VOLKAN writes about the issue noting that the Greek Cypriots will not give Visa to the Turkish citizens who own a passport that there is a TRNC seal on it.
It is worth noting that the papers of Turkey do not cover the issue.
 Statements by Erdogan in Thessaloniki. He met premier KaramanlisAnkara Anatolia news agency (04.05.06) reported from Thessaloniki that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis in the Greek city of Thessaloniki on Thursday.
The meeting lasted about an hour.
Erdogan is in Thessaloniki to participate in the 9th Heads of State and Government Summit of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).
Delivering a keynote speech at the 9th Heads of State and Government Summit of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Thessaloniki, Erdogan said the Balkans is not only a political geography, but at the same time a region where close history, culture and humanitarian ties exist and where friendly communities live together.
"First of all, I would like to underscore the importance that Turkey attaches to security, stability and peace of the Balkans," Erdogan said, noting that, "to this end, Turkey gives high priority to both bilateral and multilateral cooperation."
"Balkan countries have achieved a noteworthy level of cooperation and reached a significant stability even if the region is still fragile. Even imagining this at the first meeting of SEECP in Crete nine years ago was impossible. The sorrows caused by wars, clashes and disputes were still fresh at that period," Erdogan said.
"The period when the Balkans was remembered with instability, tension and clashes is history now. The level of cooperation that has been reached in our region, which was once described as 'gunpowder barrel', can be an example to other regions of the world now," Erdogan remarked.
Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.05.06) reported the following also from Thessaloniki: "We have permitted the restoration of Orthodox churches in Turkey. We wish to see identical behavior for the two historical mosques in Athens. We can help in the restorations of these mosques," said Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan today.
Erdogan visited the Thessaloniki house in which Ataturk was born in 1881.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that the Greek government is ready to do whatever is needed on the Cyprus issue. We have told our Greek friends that Turkey is also ready to do whatever is required, said Erdogan.
Erdogan noted that his administration has begun a process of friendship between Turkey and Greece. "We are determined to preserve this process and continue our friendship with the Greeks," expressed Erdogan.
Asked by a foreign journalist on what he has to say on allegations that the European Union is a Christian club, Erdogan reiterated that Turkey's membership in the EU will help the EU not to become a club of a single religion.
Prime Minister Erdogan has left Thessaloniki this afternoon for Baku, Azerbaijan.
On Mr Erdogan´s meeting with Prime Minister Karamanlis, Ankara Anatolia later reported the following from Thessaloniki: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis have qualified Turkish-Greek cooperation in economy and energy as "strategic partnership".
Meeting each other in Greek city of Thessaloniki on the margin of 9th Heads of State and Government Summit of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP), the two prime ministers also agreed to enhance this partnership.
According to sources, Erdogan and Karamanlis stressed that dialogue between Turkey and Greece has improved significantly in recent years.
Referring to the substantial progress in commercial and economic relations, the two prime ministers said that they aim to raise the bilateral trade volume to 5 billion USD in coming years. The trade volume was 1.1 billion USD in 2005.
According to Erdogan and Karamanlis, private sectors (in both country) should be encouraged, and businessmen should pay mutual visits.
In their meeting, the two prime ministers said that the Karacabey-Komotini natural gas pipeline project is an important opportunity for Turkey and Greece to show the key roles they can play in diversification of energy resources in Europe.
On the other hand, Erdogan and Karamanlis depicted Turkish minority in Western Thrace and the Greek Orthodox minority in Istanbul as "a historical tie of friendship".
Erdogan briefed Karamanlis on initiatives launched to eliminate problems of Non-Muslims in Turkey, while he expressed Turkey's expectations from Greece about the settlement of problems that Turkish minority in Western Thrace is facing.
During their meeting, Karamanlis confirmed Greece's support for Turkey's EU membership bid.
 The works of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary committee meeting is going on in Ankara. Statments by Camiel Eurlings and Onur OymenAnkara Anatolia news agency (04.05.06) reported the following from Ankara:
"No progress has been recorded in religious freedom in Turkey", said European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Camiel Eurlings.
Participants discussed EU and its virtues, freedom of expression as well as respect towards religious and cultural values during the first session of the 56th meeting of Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission (JPC) at the Turkish Parliament on Thursday.
Rapporteur Eurlings claimed that there is a slowing down in reforms on freedom of expression and religion in Turkey. Stressing the importance of these freedoms, Eurlings said that Turkey should attain better standards in freedom of expression and religion to become a full member of the EU.
There are "acute problems in religious freedoms in Turkey", he said. Eurlings added that "Turkey has not recorded any progress in religious freedom but quite the contrary..."
Noting that complaints continue about procurement of property by minorities, as well as (in the opening of) Heybeliada Seminary and minority foundations, Eurlings said that officials continue to seize and sell properties. He informed that the number of properties which have been seized increased to 30. He gave orphanage in Buyukada (Istanbul) as an example.
Eurlings said that they welcome alliance of civilizations initiative which was launched jointly by Turkish and Spanish prime ministers, adding that they are ready to support this project.
Noting that there are some debates about Turkey within the EU, Eurlings said that if Turkey opens Heybeliada Seminary and restitutes churches, it will get an impressive support especially from France and Germany.
Eurlings stated that there are some doubts about articles No. 301, 305, 177, 188 and 206 of new Turkish Penal Code (TCK). He said that cases against Orhan Pamuk and Hirant Dink affected Turkey's image negatively.
Regarding Anti-Terrorism draft law, Eurlings said that fight against terrorism should not limit freedom of expression.
On the other hand, Turkey-EU JPC member and Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP) parliamentarian Onur Oymen said, "PKK terrorist organization staged an attack on a bus yesterday and injured children. You are wrong if you just think that PKK launches such attacks to extend period of broadcasts in Kurdish (from 1.5 hours to 24 hours). Nothing can be a reason to kill innocent people. Condemning PKK is not enough."
"European parliamentarians do not talk about how 12,000 people kidnapped (by Kurdish terrorists) and detained actually in Mahmur Camp were not allowed to return to their homeland, but they are talking about Heybeliada Seminary," lamented Oymen.
Recalling that screening process on 17 chapter headings has been completed between Turkey and the EU, Oymen also asked why negotiations have not started yet.
Touching on Cyprus issue and additional protocol, Oymen said, "you cannot be successful by forcing Turkey. Don't expect that any Turkish government will make concessions in Cyprus if you do not lift isolations over `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´). Turkey is not responsible for the deadlock."
Oymen said that European parliamentarians never talk about violation of human rights and pressure on Turkish minority in Western Thrace when talking about the seminary (in Heybeliada). "If you don't behave fairly, the Turkish public will loose its trust to the EU. Earlier, 75 percent of (Turkish) people were for EU membership, but this ratio has fallen to 59 percent nowadays", he added.
Noting that the (Fener Greek Orthodox) Patriarchate wants to open the seminary under its own authority, Oymen indicated, "if we allow this, fundamentalist groups will also ask for authorization to open private Muslim schools on their own."
Meanwhile, MEP Geoffrey Van Orden said that the EU should be against terrorist organizations and extremist groups, and react against them. "EU is behaving unfairly to Turkey. Kurdish extremists are exploiting human rights for their own purposes," he noted.
Orden stated that people should refrain from discourses which may back fundamentalism when they are defending freedom of religion.
"I argue that Turkey should not allow fundamentalism in state institutions and universities. Freedom of religion should not be used to disseminate fundamentalism," he added.
 Turkey takes advantage of the Islamic Development Bank to boost its trade with AfricaAnkara Anatolia news agency (04.05.06) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkey's Foreign Trade Undersecretary Tuncer Kayalar said on Thursday that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on development of Turkey-Africa trade and improvement of investment relations was signed on Wednesday with Islamic Development Bank President Ahmad Mohammad Ali.
In a written statement, Kayalar said Turkey has very close relations with the Islamic Development Bank, and stated that Turkey has actually been the third country taking advantage of the sources of the bank. He said since the foundation of the bank in 1976, the amount of the loans approved by the bank for the projects in Turkey reached 3.7 billion USD.
"However, the amount of loans was limited with 178 million USD within the framework of the program formed in the bank in 1987," Kayalar said: "With the memorandum of understanding, Turkey will be able to take advantage of the current programs of the bank more, and at the same time joint studies can be carried out with the bank."
Kayalar emphasized that the memorandum of understanding in question would boost commercial and economic relations with the African countries.
 Turkey ignores EU requests in public tender lawTurkish Daily News (04.05.06) reported the following:
While the EU is seeking more liberal and all-embracing tender legislation for Turkey, the government is preparing for the exact opposite.
Opened for signature at Cabinet level, draft legislation for a new public tender law increases the amount of exemptions and puts purchases of State Economic Enterprises beyond the reach of law. The bill brings back the contractors' report system and projects no changes in the threshold values that the EU requests are removed.
Subtitle: Is it an election ploy?:
The draft legislation does not appear to meet the EU's demands. Recently, in a report prepared by the EU concerning public purchases, Turkey was asked to end opaque and discriminatory public tender practices, expand the area of implementation and remove the exemptions and threshold values that led to discrimination between Turkish and foreign companies. In this situation, if the offer of the local firm is 15 percent above that of a foreign one, then tender is won by the former. However, the draft opened to signature at Cabinet level meets none of the EU's requirements. The government is acting with the possibility of an early election in mind, sources say.
In the past, the EU had repeatedly asked the Turkish government to harmonize its public tender procedures to be in line with those of the bloc. The government's failure to do so is said to stem from difficulties in changing inflexible bureaucratic practices.
 Turkish professor warns Turkey over its nuclear programmeThe New Anatolian newspaper (04.05.06) reports that amid the ongoing nuclear power plant debate, Marmara University has warned that Turkey could turn into a nuclear waste dump if nuclear power plants are built there.
The nuclear power plant lobby is misleading the public with erroneous information, asserted Marmara University's Faculty of Energy Engineering Department head Assistant Professor Tanay Sitki Uyar earlier this week.
Saying that in the '70s there were plans to build some 5,000 nuclear power plants worldwide, Uyar explained that they couldn't be built. He underlined that the U.S. has the highest number of nuclear plants, but that there haven't been any new plants built there since 1978. He added that there's a program in Germany to close some of their nuclear plants.
Uyar said that many nuclear power plants have recently been shut down by nuclear inspection institutions.
"While industrialized countries are shutting down their plants, they're trying to market nuclear plants to other countries in order to cover their costs. There are currently many nuclear engineers unemployed in industrialized countries. They're resorting to this option to create jobs for those engineers," he charged.
Saying that claims of "cheap electricity can be generated with nuclear power" are a total lie, Uyar continued, "Nuclear power plants are the most expensive way to produce energy in the world when costs such as security, licensing, operation and waste disposal are considered. The generation of electricity through nuclear plants, which also enable the development of bombs, is an issue that should be ethically rejected."
Uyar noted that the storage of nuclear waste is a separate problem and a danger. "The building of a nuclear waste storage plant in line with global standards, which would be inspected by the related public institutions, has been delayed in the U.S. for various reasons. The gravest danger for us is such a plant being built in Turkey. The head of the Turkish Atomic Energy Corporation [TAEK] said that this waste is very valuable, and that they may set up a nuclear waste storage plant if many nuclear plants are built in Turkey. Thus, a public official, whose job is to protect our country against the nuclear threat, has sent an invitation to industrialized countries which cannot find anywhere to store their nuclear waste," he added.
He said that the representative of a company who came to Turkey in the '90s to discuss the construction of a nuclear plant was told that nuclear waste could be stored in the southern Toros Mountain range.
Uyar suggested that renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydro energy, are an alternative to nuclear energy.
 Turkey fails to attend Black Sea leaders summit on democracyTurkish Daily News (04.05.06) reported the following by Umit Enginsoy from Washington:
Top officials from more than 20 mainly former communist eastern European nations and the United States, NATO and the European Union will gather in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius today to discuss democracy in an area ranging from the Black Sea to the Baltic, but Turkey's leaders will not be attending the summit.
Representing the United States at the meeting, Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to rebuke Russia in a major speech there. On Eurasian matters Washington accuses Moscow of stepping back from democracy, threatening its former Soviet neighbors and blackmailing Europe on energy issues. Russia denies the charges.
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül has received an invitation from his Lithuanian counterpart but will be unable to attend the Vilnius summit because of an illness preventing him from flying, Turkish sources said. Instead, Turkey will be represented at a low level by its embassy officials in Vilnius.
Sources close to the U.S. administration criticized Turkey for failing to show interest in this "important democracy event" and "siding with Russia instead."
"The Vilnius meeting has been planned for nearly a year now, and the organizers wanted to invite Turkey as a partner or an observer, but Turkey did not want it," said a Washington analyst close to U.S. President George W. Bush's administration. "Unfortunately, Turkey is far from the Western spirit of democracy. On matters involving Russia, Turkey is following a path opposite to that of the United States and the new democracies in Europe. Turkey is kind of siding with Russia."
Turkish diplomatic sources denied the charge, with one official saying, "We have no problems with the new democracies in the region whatsoever." However, "Ankara only has concerns over a proliferation of groupings in the region that are open to discrimination," the official said.
"The United States and the EU will give a strong message to Russia, asking it to change its course as the G8 summit approaches," said the Washington-based analyst. The Group of Eight, the world's top seven industrialized nations plus Russia, are scheduled to hold their annual summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, in early July.
"The aim of the Vilnius conference is to discuss a long-term vision for EU and NATO policy in the east and to find new forms for dialogue between NATO, the EU, Russia and countries of the region from the Baltic to the Black Sea," said Valteris Baliukonis, foreign policy adviser to Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus.
The presidents of the Black Sea countries of Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania and Ukraine, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, plus Moldova and Poland will attend the summit, officially titled, Common Vision for Common Neighborhood: Vilnius Conference 2006."
Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Britain, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Spain and Sweden will be represented at a ministerial level or by other high-level officials.
Javier Solana, the EU's high representative for common foreign and security policy, NATO's Deputy Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto-Rizzo and Elmar Brok, the European Parliament's foreign relations committee chairman, will also attend the conference.
Russia will not be represented formally in Vilnius, but some private prominent Russians are expected to be present there.
In early December, leaders of nine former communist nations from the Balkan, Baltic and Black Sea regions met in Ukraine's capital of Kiev to launch a Community of Democratic Choice mechanism that heralded the Vilnius conference.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko at the time told the forum that the Community of Democratic Choice would focus on three main objectives -- the promotion of democratic values, regional stability and economic prosperity.
However, some political commentators -- especially in Russia -- believed the Community of Democratic Choice aimed primarily at weakening Moscow's influence in the Black Sea region.
One such analyst, former Kremlin advisor Gleb Pavlovskii, viewed the new grouping as overtly pro-American and anti-Russian. Pavlovskii said in December that he believed the Community of Democratic Choice would "serve as an antechamber for Ukraine to join NATO," according to the U.S.-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Web site.
Some U.S. analysts had earlier said that Turkey and Russia were both opposing an unofficial U.S. proposal to expand the area of responsibility of NATO's Operation Active Endeavor, an anti-terror and anti-crime naval force in the Mediterranean, into the Black Sea.
Cheney's one-week trip will also take him to Kazakhstan and Croatia after Lithuania. White House officials said Cheney's visits would not only seek to advance Bush's second-term "freedom agenda" but also tackle key energy issues and Iran's nuclear program.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in YENI SAFAK argues that the ruling Islamic party is keeping a balanced relationship between the US and the EUIstanbul YENI SAFAK newspaper (03.05.06) publishes the following commentary by Fehmi Koru under the title: "Rights and wrongs":
Given its geographic position, Turkey is located in the most dangerous region in the world. It is surrounded by serious historical and religious conflicts. We are located at the intersection point of rich energy resources, whose worth we once again recall every single day due to the increasing prices of oil and natural gas. If the Jews who were looking for a "homeland" had not settled here, this might have been a calmer region, but we are also affected by the rooted Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Therefore, unlike Switzerland, Turkey does not have the luxury of "constantly being a neutral country." And unlike Malaysia, it cannot adopt a stand that is based on the understanding of "I will do whatever I please." Those who come to power in Turkey cannot base their calculations on the internal balances only. They are obliged to take into consideration the conditions that surround the country and they should carefully assess the intentions of the foreign dynamics regarding the region.
Today the calculations have two international axes: The EU and the United States. Turkey is a country that wants to access the EU. Furthermore it has established alliances with the United States in various institutions. The EU perspective strengthens Turkey's economic reliability in the eyes of those who look at the country from the outside. At home, the EU perspective is important due to the fact that it widens the democratic channels. The fact that Turkey stands close to the United States enables Turkey to stand away from the political instability that would have threatened it if it had not stood close to the United States.
Obviously the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government is determined to avoid offending these two international dynamics. The distance taken en route to the EU and the efforts made for avoiding cutting off the ties with the United States immediately draw our attention. Neither is easy. The relations with both the United States and the EU are very delicate and despite the problems that have been experienced, Turkey has been able to preserve its ties with the EU and the United States during the term of this government.
I am aware of the fact that the things that I have written so far run counter to the media's general approach. You should pay attention to facts whose accurateness has been proven. I am in a position to receive first-hand information regarding the government's determination "to conduct high-level relations" with the EU and the United States. My observations and my reading materials show me that the EU and the United States understand the importance of the AKP government. There were ups and downs in all bilateral relations. There are problems. Is this not true even for marriages?
I have visited Brussels several times during the past several months. I had the opportunity to meet the officials who conduct the negotiations with Turkey. They said: "Other countries send here youths who speak foreign languages fluently. They are not able to answer any of our questions. Those who come from Turkey are bureaucrats who are well informed about their files. The work is being conducted in a very good manner." No one other than me reported these impressions. (The only exception is Erdal Guven's article entitled "The Turkish Delegation Is Very, But Very Professional" that was published by RADIKAL the day before yesterday.)
The relations with the United States are also being conducted in a similar manner. What did you read in our media regarding these relations until US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice came to Ankara and made one goodwill gesture after the other? Try to remember. Is it not true that you read reports to the effect that Washington has already sacrificed Turkey and that it has drawn a line over the AKP government and over Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan? These erroneous analyses have even whetted the appetite of certain people in the area of domestic politics.
Let me once again write the truth: In today's world it is important for Turkey to remain in the EU perspective and to conduct high-level relations with the United States. So far Turkey and the AKP have been able to continue with the existing relations both with the EU and the United States without taking any steps that will harm Turkey's interests. This has also enabled the United States and the EU to learn about Turkey as well as about the new period that has begun with the establishment of the AKP government. The foreigners know better than certain people in Turkey that a political government that has the people's support is "superiority" in terms of Turkey.
The truth is that we know why different assessments are being made. Certain people are using their pens for "entirely emotional reasons." Others are doing so because they are blinded with their power. And even others do this due to the fact that they are not able to understand Turkey's power. The media resemble a political party today. They are pursuing policies that put emphasis on its interests. However these policies may not always be in line with the country's interests.