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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-06-14

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.112/06 14.06.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Common Position paper issued after the Turkey-EU Partnership Council.
  • [02] Statements by Gul to Turkish journalists to the effect that the EU should opt for Turkey and abandon Cyprus.
  • [03] Statements by Gul after returning to Ankara from the EU-Turkey meeting in Luxembourg.
  • [04] Opposition parties on the government´ to stance in EU talks.
  • [05] Mr Ercakica evaluated the latest developments on his weekly press briefing.
  • [06] Soyer evaluated the results of the Turkey-EU Association Council Meeting.
  • [07] The Turkish Prime Minister wants no political criteria along Turkey´s accession course.
  • [08] Halide Ali is getting back her house in Larnaca after courts decision.
  • [09] Turkish General briefed the press on the illegal search and rescue exercise in the occupied territorial waters of Cyprus.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist in the New Anatolian on the leakages to the press which created an internal crisis before the Turkey-EU Partnership Council.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Common Position paper issued after the Turkey-EU Partnership Council

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.06.06) reported the following from Luxembourg:

    "The pace of change has slowed in Turkey in the last year. Significant further efforts are needed in particular regarding the implementation of the reforms," said the common position paper which was issued after Turkey-EU Partnership Council meeting.

    The paper indicated that, "although human rights violations are diminishing, they continue to occur and there is an urgent need to both implement legislation already in force and, with respect to certain areas, to take further legislative initiatives."

    "The Union therefore calls on Turkey to vigorously pursue its reform process and implementation in view of ensuring respect of the Copenhagen political criteria. As a negotiating country, Turkey is expected to intensify efforts towards meeting the Copenhagen accession criteria. This requires in particular ensuring steady and tangible progress throughout the different areas arising under the political criteria," the paper noted.

    The paper said: "On civil-military relations, while some changes have been introduced over the last year, further efforts are needed to ensure full civilian control over the military, in line with practice in EU Member States. It is essential that Turkey consolidates reforms adopted in previous years and remains committed to further reforms in this area. Turkey should work towards greater accountability and transparency in the conduct of security affairs in line with Member States' practice. In particular, public statements by the military should only concern military matters and should only be made under the authority of the government."

    "As regards the judiciary, the system has been further strengthened via the adoption of structural reforms. Judges and prosecutors have a considerable role to play in the implementation of reforms. It is therefore of crucial importance that sustained efforts continue with respect to the training of judges, prosecutors and lawyers in particular as regards their duties and obligations to respect International and European Conventions in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as required under Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution," it said.

    The paper noted: "As regards observance of international human rights law, the Union reiterates the need for Turkey to comply with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including full and timely execution of all judgments of the European Court of Human Rights."

    "There has been progress in the fight against torture and ill-treatment, and incidence is diminishing. Reforms adopted in Turkey over the last years have contributed to establish a legislative and regulatory framework capable of combating effectively torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Turkey should pursue vigorously its efforts to ensure full implementation of existing legislation and to reinforce the fight against impunity," the paper indicated.

    "As regards freedom of expression, serious concerns remain. Despite recent positive developments where prosecuted individuals were acquitted, there are still a number of cases pending against individual persons for non-violent expression of opinion on the basis of Article 301 of the new Penal Code as well as other articles," added the paper.

    "In the area of freedom of religion no progress has been observed over the last year in terms of addressing the difficulties faced by non-Muslim religious minorities. These minorities continue to experience difficulties connected with access to legal personality, property rights, training, residence rights and work permits of Turkish and non-Turkish clergy, schools and internal management. The Union urges Turkey to promptly adopt legislation addressing all these difficulties in a comprehensive manner and in full compliance with European standards. The EU urges Turkey to re-open the Heybeliada (Halki) Greek Orthodox Seminary. The Union also calls on Turkey to address the situation of the Alevi community which continues to experience difficulties in terms of recognition of places of worship, representation in relevant state bodies as well as in relation to compulsory religious education," the paper remarked.

    "As regards minority rights, cultural rights and the protection of minorities, the Union welcomes the progress made as regards local private radio/TV broadcasting in Kurdish which started operating in some cities in the Southeast," the paper said and added that, "the Union remains concerned by the high incidence of domestic violence and in particular by 'honor killings', which continue to occur in spite of the heavy penalties provided for by the new Penal Code. The Union welcomes the investigation on honor killings conducted by a parliamentary commission, and looks forward to the adoption of the relevant report. There are other sources of concern in particular the low participation in the labor market and in political life and the relatively low rate of enrolment in education especially in some regions of the country."

    "There is no tangible progress concerning trade union rights. The Union calls upon Turkey to make the necessary amendments to the laws regulating trade union rights, namely the trade unions law and the collective bargaining, strike and lockout law, in order to achieve trade union rights in line with EU standards and the relevant ILO conventions," it said.

    PKK VIOLENCE: "The EU is concerned about the increasing tension in the Southeast. The situation in the Southeast has deteriorated since the resumption of violence by the PKK, which is on the EU list of terrorist organizations. The EU unequivocally condemns the action of the PKK and calls upon it to cease all provocations and violence immediately" the paper said and noted that, "the system of village guards should be abolished and steps taken to clear the area of landmines."

    GREECE AND CYPRUS: "The Union calls on Turkey to commit itself to good neighborly relations. In this context, Turkey should address any sources of friction with its neighbors and refrain from any threat or action which could negatively affect good neighborly relations and the process of peaceful settlement of border disputes. In this context, the Union encourages Turkey to intensify efforts towards the resolution of outstanding border disputes with all its neighbors in conformity with the principle of peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the UN Charter, including, if necessary, jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

    On Cyprus, Turkey's support for efforts for a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework and in line with the principles on which the Union is founded will continue to be essential, whilst contributing to a better climate for a comprehensive settlement.

    Furthermore, the Union calls on Turkey to take concrete steps for the normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and all EU Member States, including the Republic of Cyprus as soon as possible. In this context, the Union recalls its declaration of 21 September 2005.

    "The Framework for accession negotiations was agreed by the Council of Ministers on 3 October 2005. In line with the December 2004 European Council conclusions this Framework sets out the method and the guiding principles of the negotiations. Additionally, the Framework underlined that the advancement of the negotiations will be guided by Turkey's progress in preparing for accession, and that this progress will be measured against the Copenhagen criteria for accession and the other requirements set out in paragraph 6 of the document, including the obligation to extend the Association Agreement to all new Member States. The Union is concerned that this obligation remains as yet to be fulfilled. In this respect, the Union recalls the Declaration of the EC and its Member States of 21 September 2005," the paper added.

    [02] Statements by Gul to Turkish journalists to the effect that the EU should opt for Turkey and abandon Cyprus

    Istanbul NTV television (13.06.06) broadcast the following:

    Turkey has officially begun the actual negotiations with the EU. The heading on Science and Research was launched and concluded at the EU-Turkey Partnership Council meeting in Luxembourg. The news conference that was staged after the meeting once again focused on the Cyprus problem. The EU asked Turkey to fulfill its commitments stemming from the Additional Protocol. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, in turn, stressed that the relations should not be poisoned unnecessarily, adding that if a train accident should occur, Turkey will not be the only party to be harmed by this.

    Gul, State Minister Ali Babacan, Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, and EU Commissioner in charge of enlargement Olli Rehn held a joint news conference following the EU-Turkey Partnership Council meeting. Cyprus was the main issue at the news conference, while Turkey was warned in terms of fulfilling its commitments deriving from the Customs Union Additional Protocol.

    Plassnik said: The delay was not a surprise. It was both a driving force and a warning. We should read the message carefully. There is disappointment in the EU. It would not be a prophecy to say that big problems would arise if the Customs Union is not applied to one of the countries.

    Rehn also supported Plassnik: It is essential that Turkey fulfill its commitments. Turkey must open its ports to all member countries.

    Gul, in turn, argued that the Cyprus problem should not poison the relations unnecessarily. Gul also referred to Rehn's remarks made some time ago that a train accident could occur at the end of the year.

    He said: This issue should not poison or undermine the relations between Turkey and the EU. This would not benefit anyone. In addition to the advantages brought by the globalizing world, we are also encountering many risks. We cannot estimate the scale of the cooperation and solidarity we may need then. As you said, if a train accident should occur, this accident would not involve only one side. Therefore, the responsibility would also not belong to Turkey alone.

    Rehn and Plassnik spoke again after these remarks by Gul. Rehn said: We should look at the future, not the past. I call on all parties to produce solutions. Plassnik said: Turkey must recognize all member countries.

    In a statement to Turkish reporters following the news conference, Gul spoke more clearly.

    He said: If the Greek Cypriots provide greater security and greater economic and political strength than Turkey to the EU, then the EU will choose the Greek Cypriots, and we would take a different direction. What I mean by a different direction is that the process will fail.

    [03] Statements by Gul after returning to Ankara from the EU-Turkey meeting in Luxembourg

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.06.06) reported the following from Ankara:

    "Turkey-EU accession process should not turn into Cyprus negotiation process," said Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul on Tuesday.

    Gul returned to Turkey after attending Turkey-EU Partnership Council meeting and the Inter-governmental Conference in Luxembourg.

    Holding a news conference at Ankara's Esenboga Airport, Gul said: "We attached importance to Turkey-EU Partnership Council meeting since it was the first meeting after opening of accession negotiations. During the meeting, we exchanged views on the accession process and the Customs Union."

    "I informed EU officials on the progress that Turkey has recorded in its reform process in 2006. I stressed that the Turkish government was determined to maintain the reform process and put those reforms into force," he said. "However, there are some problems regarding the Customs Union. We have been working to overcome those problems. There are also some problems stemming from the EU. We exchanged views over them. For instance, we talked about the difficulties that Turkish businessmen face while getting visa from European countries," he noted.

    Noting that the Cyprus issue had nothing to do with Turkey-EU relations and especially the chapter heading of "Science and Research", Gul said: "Any impact of the Cyprus issue on Turkey's accession process is unacceptable. Turkey-EU accession process should not turn into Cyprus negotiation process."

    Gul thanked Austria, the current EU president, for its objective attitude.

    Upon a question, Gul said: "Both Turkey and the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (`TRNC´) have put forward quite productive proposals. However, a problem cannot be resolved with unilateral efforts of only one side. We can reach a comprehensive solution only through compromising attitudes of the parties. We will continue fulfilling our responsibilities for a lasting solution on the island."

    When he was recalled that the EU reminded Turkey of its commitments stemming from the additional protocol to the Customs Union, Gul said: "Turkey always fulfils its commitments. However, such a fulfillment is not enough on its own. Also the other parties should fulfil their promises. All steps should be mutual."

    [04] Opposition parties on the government´ to stance in EU talks

    Ankara TRT 2 Television (13.06.06) broadcast the following:

    The EU negotiation process was on the agenda of the opposition parties too today.

    Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal charged that Turkey now agrees that recognizing south Cyprus is an integral part of its ties with the EU.

    Mr Baykal said: We see no credible sign that the relations between Turkey and the EU will lead to our full membership. Nevertheless, we are being asked to accept conditions with permanent consequences in order to keep the process going.

    Motherland Party leader Erkan Mumcu described the latest developments as well-known diplomatic games.

    Mr Mumcu said: It is not suitable to turn this into a farce. The government members issue threats that they will not go to the meeting and so on, but it is embarrassing; it was obvious in the morning, or three days ago, in fact a month ago, that the plane was going to take off.

    Saffet Arikan Beduk, deputy leader of the True Path Party, stressed that the government was able to go to Luxembourg in a surrendering mode. He added: The government will be to blame for all the material and moral losses Turkey will incur.

    [05] Mr Ercakica evaluated the latest developments on his weekly press briefing

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (14.06.06), under the title The technical committees must start their duties before Gambaris visit, reported that the self-styled Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica, during his weekly press briefing evaluated Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talats visit to Germany, the expectations regarding the technical committees, the beginning of Turkeys EU membership accession, and he replied to reporters questions.

    Mr Ercakica noted that UN Assistant Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari's expected visit to the region would take place in the first week of July. He announced that preparations for Gambari's visit had begun and that they had requested an audience with him. He also added that Gambari would be visiting both Athens and Ankara.

    Noting that they wanted the technical committees to start work in earnest ahead of Gambari's visit, Mr Ercakica said that they expected the work on the formation of the committees to be concluded positively this week.

    Mr Ercakica said the latest prison break with the criminals fleeing to the free areas of Cyprus showed once again how necessary these technical committees were. He stated that they expected the Greek Cypriots to decide where they stood on the technical committees issue and to inform them.

    Commenting on yesterdays developments in Turkeys EU membership negotiations, Mr Ercakica said that the real issue that should be addressed in yesterday's developments in Turkey-EU relations was that the Greek Cypriots were exploiting their EU membership, which they were wrong to get, to use against Turkey and against the Turkish Cypriots via Turkey.

    Mr Ercakica noted that it was gratifying that the EU negotiations process had started in earnest, and announced that they would not ignore the negative role being played in this process by the Greek Cypriots. Ercakica continued:

    "This is the point that really has to be dealt with. The Greek Cypriot side is using its wrongly gained EU membership to blackmail Turkey and is demanding that Turkey stops supporting the Turkish Cypriots. Today we can say that the problem has been put off until the fall. It has been seen once again that the Greek Cypriot side is going to use this method at every stage of Turkey's EU negotiations. The EU members must take measures that will stop the Cyprus problem being used for blackmailing Turkey. The Greek Cypriot side must not use its wrongly gained EU membership against Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots."

    Commenting on Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat's visit to Germany, Mr Ercakica said that it was very fruitful and noted that Talat, who had spoken with Germany's Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, had found the opportunity to explain directly the Turkish Cypriots' position regarding the Cyprus problem.

    Noting that it had been observed that the German press and world public opinion were showing an increased interest in the Cyprus problem, Mr Ercakica said they wanted to diversify and continue their relations with Germany.

    Mr Ercakica also said that during Mr Talats visit to Germany, he also stressed that they want and expect a positive result of their efforts within this week for the technical committees to start work.

    Replying to reporters question, Mr Ercakica, on the technical committees issue, said that they are in contact with the Greek Cypriot side with the mediation of the UN, but still there is no positive reply, adding there is nothing behind the scenes.

    Replying to a question about the Cabinet reshuffle in the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Ercakica said that the appointment of Mr Lilikas in the position of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Iacovou, did not necessarily mean a change in Greek Cypriot policy and added: Maybe Mr Papadopoulos policy can become more aggressive. Because he will direct the daily political life of a politician who is much younger and aims to be more active for his career than an old politician

    Replying to a question: "How much longer are the good relations in the region going to be victims of the Greek Cypriots' bad attitude?" , Mr Ercakica said that the EU members would decide this and added: "We think that this problem can be solved. If the Council of Europe ruling of 26 April 2004 to lift the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is applied in full this will first enable the Greek Cypriots to come to the table and then enable the Cyprus problem to be solved."

    [06] Soyer evaluated the results of the Turkey-EU Association Council Meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (14.06.06) reports that the self-styled prime minister in the TRNC (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus) Mr Ferdi Sabit Soyer evaluated the results of the Turkey-EU Partnership Council Meeting which took place in Luxemburg.

    Mr Soyer stated that the fact that Turkey has started the negotiations for acceding to the EU is a very positive development as regards Cyprus solution road and he added that the Turkish Cypriots played a very big role in this procedure.

    The self-styled minister said that the Turkish Cypriots created an opening to the world for themselves, they created the changing of the status quo and they created the position of keeping open the doors for the solution. At the same time by deciphering the real face of the sovereign understanding in the south they kept open the way of Turkeys EU accession course, he said.

    He also stated that the development which took place is a new and historical event, not only for the Turkish people, but for Cyprus, Greece and all the people of the region.

    Mr Soyer added that if the Turkish Cypriots have not wanted a solution, Turkeys EU procedure would have been stopped. He also stated that the stature of the Greek Cypriot side is not enough to stop the just and lawful struggle of the European Union for the Turks and the Turkish Cypriots.

    In addition, as illegal BAYRAK television broadcast (13.06.06), Mr Soyer reacted to the comments made by the Greek Foreign Minister Mrs Dora Bakoyanni that the European Union had given five months to Turkey to fulfill its obligations towards the Union.

    The five month deadline is for Greece and the Greek Cypriot Side which insists on ignoring the Turkish Cypriot peoples political will for a solution to the Cyprus problem`, he said.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriots want a solution to the problem, Mr Soyer said that the 5 month deadline is for Greece and the Greek Cypriot Side to review their positions. Expressing the Turkish Cypriot Sides continued support for a settlement based on the Annan Plan, he said the Turkish Cypriots continue to support a solution based on the political equality of the two sides. He said the Turkish Cypriot side wants the immediate resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process.

    (C/S)

    [07] The Turkish Prime Minister wants no political criteria along Turkey´s accession course

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.06.06) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned against linking the countrys EU membership process to political issues.

    Asked to comment on media reports that the `Greek Cypriot Administraiton´ (Republic of Cyprus) was not only asking for the opening of the Turkish ports for its use, but also for diplomatic recognition, Mr Erdogan said such demands could be raised by the `Greek Cypriot Administration´ but stressed that it would not be right to politicize technical issues concerning Turkeys EU membership process.

    [08] Halide Ali is getting back her house in Larnaca after courts decision

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (14.06.06) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Halide Ali will get her fathers house back after the decision taken by the Republics court.

    Based on the court decision, Mrs Ali, who has the houses title deed, will get her property back after the house is repaired.

    According to the paper, Mrs Halide said that during the last months, the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus have increased their interest towards the Turkish Cypriots and they will start renovating their house. She also added that the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus are treating well the Turkish Cypriots who are living in Larnaca.

    Halide Ali, moved to Larnaca from occupied Cyprus four years ago, having as an excuse her inability of self-supporting in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    (M/L)

    [09] Turkish General briefed the press on the illegal search and rescue exercise in the occupied territorial waters of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.06.06) reported the following from occupied Kyrenia: The Segit Tegmen [Martyr Lieutenant] Caner Gonyeli-2006 Search and Rescue Exercise will be held tomorrow in the international waters of the eastern Mediterranean and the territorial waters of the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ [`TRNC´].

    `TRNC´ Security Forces Commander Maj Gen Tevfik Ozkilic briefed journalists about the exercise in the reception hall of the command headquarters.

    Ozkilic recalled that Turkey and the `TRNC´ signed and implemented the Search and Rescue at Sea Agreement in 1996, the Cooperation Protocol for the Development of Maritime Activities in 2000, and the Cooperation Agreements on Coastal Security and Airborne Search and Rescue Activities in 2002 with the purpose of advancing cooperation and ensuring coordination in search and rescue operations in north Cyprus.

    Ozkilic said: "The `TRNC´ has authority for search and rescue operations in the air space and territorial waters of the `TRNC´, and Turkey has responsibility for such missions in the international waters and air space north of Cyprus."

    Ozkilic noted that Segit Tegmen Caner Gonyeli Search and Rescue Exercises were conducted on 1-2 May 2002, 16-18 June 2003, and 21-23 June 2005 with the participation of civilian and military personnel from Turkey and the `TRNC´ to test in practice the capabilities the `TRNC´ acquired recently in the area of search and rescue operations for humanitarian purposes and to underscore the authority of the `TRNC´ in such missions in the eastern Mediterranean. He added that the applied portion of this year's exercise will be held tomorrow.

    Ozkilic noted that the `TRNC´ started a regional search and rescue center in Ercan [ occupied Tymbou] on 26 March 2003 within the scope of the operations conducted by coalition forces in Iraq and that the `TRNC´ has attained the capability to conduct, in cooperation with the Turkish Republic, any type of search and rescue mission within its area of sovereignty and the eastern Mediterranean.

    Ozkilic recalled that most recently a South Korean vessel was rescued on 20 January 2006 after it was stranded in the Karpass Peninsula area.

    Purpose, objectives of exercise

    Ozkilic said that the Segit Tegmen Caner Gonyeli-2006 Search and Rescue Exercise will be conducted in the Bayrak I Zone, 15 miles to the north of Esentepe in northern `TRNC´, and the Bayrak II Zone, 3 miles to the north Kyrenia. Ozkilic continued:

    "The purpose of the exercise is to improve shipping safety in the eastern Mediterranean, to demonstrate the adequacy of the search and rescue means and capabilities of the `TRNC´, and to underscore the common interests of the Turkish Republic and the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´. The objectives of the exercise are to develop cooperation in the area of search and rescue operations between the Turkish Republic and the `Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´, in accordance with the terms of the protocols signed on 3 October 1996 and 16 June 2000; to test the compatibility of the two sides in conducting such work; and to demonstrate the means and capabilities of the `TRNC´ in search and rescue operations."

    'Greek Cypriots complain about many things'

    One reporter at the briefing asked Ozkilic: "Last year the Greek Cypriot administration declared that it will complain about this exercise to the EU." Ozkilic replied:

    "We planned this exercise and we will carry it out. The Greek Cypriots' complaint to the EU is their own concern. Thus far we have not heard about any changes that would affect the scenario of the exercise. We will conduct the exercise tomorrow. The Greek Cypriots complain about many things. Both the `TRNC´ and Turkey are accustomed to such issues. The necessary answers are being given at the necessary times and in the necessary forums."

    During the briefing Ozkilic awarded a `TRNC´ Security Forces Command Shield to Kezban Gonyeli, the mother of Martyr Lieutenant Caner Gonyeli, and another shield to Staff Cpt Tayfun Atilir, commander of the frigate Zafer and commodore of 2nd Destroyer Flotilla.

    The exercise will be carried out in two phases and three stages tomorrow. Beside the Turkish Armed Forces, personnel from the Undersecretariat of Maritime Affairs and the Ministries of Transportation and Health, the `TRNC´ Security Forces Command, the `TRNC´ Ministries of Public Works, Transportation, and Health, the Directorate of Civil Defense Organization, and the Turkish Cypriot Coastal Security and Ship Rescue Limited Company will be participating in the exercise

    (Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the illegal regime set up by the Turkish Republic in the occupied by Turkish troops northern part of Cyprus)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist in the New Anatolian on the leakages to the press which created an internal crisis before the Turkey-EU Partnership Council

    Under the title: Who leaked false reports to the press?, The New Anatolian newspaper (13.06.06) publishes the following commentary by Mete Belovacikli:

    The indictment prepared by the Van public prosecutor following last November's bombings in Hakkari's Semdinli district and the debate it sparked ...

    Following that, a police operation in Eryaman, Ankara and a gang that is claimed to be caught A gang caught with plans to assassinate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

    Then, a civilian who provides these assassination plans to journalists in front of the General Staff building ...

    Pieces of information that are leaked to the press every day in the meantime

    These pieces of information are claimed to have originated from the police

    After all this, Justice Minister and government spokesperson Cemil Cicek made a statement on Sunday.

    Speaking at the congress of the Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC), Cicek said that freedom of the press has always been a controversial issue in Turkey. Underlining that freedoms always should be exercised with responsibility, Cicek said that unnecessary debates are taking place in Turkey as this balance can't be maintained.

    Touching upon press reports on the attack against the Council of State and the operation in Eryaman, Cicek said that a significant portion of the reporting on the subject is untrue. "We should be careful in our stories and comments until the related institutions clear the information and give out accurate information," said Cicek.

    At first sight, the justice minister's remarks might seem true.

    He had a similar approach in his first statements in the immediate aftermath of the incidents. He also criticized in those statements the Interior Ministry and the police headquarters, without referring to them by name.

    But the problem doesn't end with the justice minister's complaining about disinformation. Warning journalists about disinformation and telling them to disregard it don't solve the problem.

    This is because the sources of those pieces of information are the very organs running the investigations, as I indicated at the beginning of the article. And those organs are under the police headquarters, the Interior Ministry and the government.

    The government can't get away with this by saying that the reports are untrue, while somehow being unable to prevent the organs under its authority from leaking disinformation.

    That may be the reason why the military, accused over those false reports, is quite uncomfortable regarding the developments. The issue was also covered in the recent meeting between the prime minister and the chief of General Staff. Although the authorities tried to convey an image out of the meeting that everything is all right, the situation doesn't look rosy. It doesn't seem possible that the members of the government can get away with this by acting as though nothing happened despite all the debates or by urging people to disregard disinformation that sparks those debates. Even worse, the attempts to get away with such a tactic only deepen the ongoing debates. With this tactic the AK Party is sitting on top of a powder keg, whether consciously or unconsciously. Obviously, this won't help anyone. Therefore, all government members, and particularly the government spokesperson, should find these sources of disinformation and punish them.

    /SK


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