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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-12-27

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.249/06 23-24-25-26-27.12.06

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Port of Famagusta: Open for imports but locked out of exporting.
  • [02] Prof. Ali Karaosmanoglu: Turkeys opening of its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes does not mean recognition of the Greek Cypriot side.
  • [03] Erdogan: The Additional Protocol must be approved by the TBMM in order to bind the Turkish government.
  • [04] Cem Ozdemir stated that the Turkish Cypriots must be given the observer status in the European Parliament.
  • [05] The leader of the Left Group in the European Parliament Wurtz criticized Turkeys refusal of opening its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes.
  • [06] Ercakica claimed that the Cyprus government is using the elections in Turkey trying to postpone the 8 July process.7.The citrus growers face serious problems and they are planning to take dynamic measures before the new year.
  • [08] Statements by Talat evaluating the past year.
  • [09] Under General Buyukanit control of defense procurement in military hands.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist discusses reasons behind army's continuing role in politics.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Port of Famagusta: Open for imports but locked out of exporting

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News newspaper (26.12.06) reports the following by Jale Ozgenturk:

    The EU is demanding that Turkey open up its ports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. Although the Greek Cypriot government has declared to the entire world that the port of Famagusta is closed, vessels from 33 countries, including Finland and Germany, are bringing in imports, but exports are restricted due to heavy taxes imposed by Europe. Goods valued at $1.2 billion were imported through this port in 2005, while exports were at only $60 million

    Containers bearing Hamburg Süd and M&S logos are stacked high, waiting to be unloaded. Two vessels, one with a Panama flag and another from Germany, are already being emptied. Expensive cars as well as cement and reinforced steel are among the cargo. This bustling port, which is closed according to both the Greek Cypriot administration and the EU, is Famagusta, a key pawn in recent negotiations between Turkey and the EU. The Greek Cypriot government has announced that they will open and operate the port under EU and U.N. auspices, but it is a fact that the Turkish Cypriots have been operating the port -- open to international shipping -- for 32 years. In 2005 alone, $1.2 billion of goods arrived in the port from 11 countries, among them Germany, Finland and France. Turkish Cypriots believe that Europe is employing double standards by allowing imports and discouraging exports, but Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat goes further and says that this is nothing but a case of multiple standards.

    (Turkish newspaper) Referans has been on the scene in Famagusta to observe the latest economic developments at the port, which has become a stake in negotiations with the EU.

    Opening Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot traffic is now a major problem between Turkey and the EU. Turkey made a surprise bid and declared that it will open one port and one airport in return for lifting a ban on Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport and the port of Famagusta in northern Cyprus, a bid that has not satisfied the other parties. How has this bid been received by the Turkish Cypriots? We are in northern Cyprus to follow the recent developments and their repercussions.

    In Turkish Cyprus, where since the referenda in 2004, per capita income has reached $11,000, with growth at around 10 percent annually; our first destination is Famagusta, the subject of recent controversy. We reach our destination after an hour-and-a-half drive from Girne (occupied Kyrenia), a town that has seen a boom in tourism over the last two years. As soon as we enter Famagusta we are surprised by the developments in what was a ghost town just three years ago. The history of the port, which sits on the grounds of an old Genovese fortress, dates back quite a long way. One of the major ports of the Mediterranean, it was operated by the Turkish Cypriots until the 1950s. In those days the Turkish Cypriots managed the majority of the shipping fleets as well. This situation had continued until a German embargo during World War II. Under British rule the Greek Cypriots increased their influence within the port authority. In 1953 there were 178 Turkish Cypriot and 102 Greek Cypriot officials; by the 1970s the numbers had changed to 83 and120. After the Turkish military intervention in 1974, the situation in the port turned in favor of the Turkish Cypriots and the port authority and management of all amenities was passed on to them.

    The port of Famagusta, which the Greek Cypriot side has announced to the media as closed has, in fact, been operational for 32 years; importing is possible. Up until now, the port has hosted traffic from 33 countries. The core of the problem lies with exports, also the reason behind Turkey's demand for the isolation of Turkish Cyprus to be ended. The EU applies a 14 percent tax on goods exported from Famagusta. This restriction has dealt a serious blow to potato and citrus fruit exports from the north of the island.

    Fahri Altunay is chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Port Workers Company. He has followed developments here since 1963 and states that this is the best port in the eastern Mediterranean. He recalls that, prior to 1974, this port was a gateway for exporting produce from the island, but since then exports have come to a standstill.

    He also points out that although Europe has prohibited exporting via Famagusta, it has no qualms about sending goods in to Turkish Cyprus via this port. He says the fact that vessels from 33 countries have brough imports to the port is a clear indication of Europe's double standards. As for deterrence on the part of the Greek side, he has the following to say: The Greeks want exports and imports from Famagusta to be shown as going through Larnaka or Limassol. And this is why we protested. They say the port is closed, but they are just playing with words. Any foreign captain who brings in his vessel to Famagusta is arrested if he goes to the Greek side. We want the EU to allow exports from our port. We want them to ease the 14 percent tax they have imposed. EU experts have agreed that our standards meet theirs.

    Subtitle: Joint protest at port:

    Huseyin Kayaalp is a partner in M.K. Nejati & Sons Ltd., which operates within the port. He says that just the other day in the supposedly locked-up port they unloaded power plant equipment arriving from Finland. He is furious when questioned about the current EU term president Finland's Cyprus proposals, which have been debated at length. Companies operating in the port have rallied together and have put in ads in U.K. newspapers with photographs of cargo from Finland being unloaded.

    The Famagusta Port Joint Power Platform has issued a statement: The Greek side entered the EU on false grounds and takes every opportunity to undermine the Turkish Cypriots. That they will open up Famagusta under joint EU and U.N. observation is nothing but a ploy on the part of the Papadopoulos regime. The port of Famagusta has been operational for 32 years open to all ships from all nations. The EU and Finland need to announce when direct flights will be allowed to and from Ercan and when our products will be allowed to be directly exported from Famagusta. There are misconceptions about Famagusta. The one thing the companies here want is a comprehensive solution to the problem.

    When Referans asked President Mehmet Ali Talat about the subject, he replied: The EU doesn't have double standards, it has multiple standards. The solution must be comprehensive. The EU foreign ministers' announcement to ease the sanctions in light of the April 26 decisions seems to be a promising step. But the Greeks will continue to provide obstacles.

    [02] Prof. Ali Karaosmanoglu: Turkeys opening of its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes does not mean recognition of the Greek Cypriot side

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the chairman on the Foreign Policy Institute and Bilkent International Relations Department Prof. Ali Karaosmanoglu, in a statement to Turkeys Anatolia Agency (AA) said that Turkeys opening of its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes does not mean whatsoever recognition of the Greek Cypriot side. he went on and said that one should not worry about this issue. Recognition is one sided will, therefore, the will of the state which will recognize, that is Turkeys will is very important. He said that as regards the proposal for the opening of the ports the issue is partial economic relation.

    (MHY)

    [03] Erdogan: The Additional Protocol must be approved by the TBMM in order to bind the Turkish government

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that unless the additional protocol is approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) it will not be binding on them. Please tell us what has been given as regards Cyprus? Erdogan asked. Erdogan went on and said that the Cyprus problem will be solved under the UN umbrella and on this issue they will never make concession.

    In addition, Illegal BAYRAK television (22.12.06) reports the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly rejected the claims that Ankara has given concessions on the Cyprus issue with its latest proposal.

    Mr Erdogan said that Ankara has been working on ways of ending the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People.

    Speaking at a television program, the Turkish Premier said that the Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul had announced a 10-point package of proposals which offers the opening of a port and an airport to the Greek Cypriot Side in return for the opening of Ercan and Gazimagusa ports to international traffic.

    Mr Erdogan added that the proposals had not been presented in writing and that they were not unlimited and would not be on the table for ever.

    He said the Greek Cypriot Side was shocked with the Turkish proposal as a result of which the European Commission recommended the opening of 24 areas out of 35 for negotiations between Ankara and Brussels.

    He said Ankara wanted the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people lifted and rejected criticisms against his government that concessions were being given on the Cyprus issue.

    `The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is much stronger now and any concession on the Cyprus issue is out of question` he said.

    [04] Cem Ozdemir stated that the Turkish Cypriots must be given the observer status in the European Parliament

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the member of the European Greens Party in the European Parliament (EP) Cem Ozdemir, declared that the High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots, established one and a half year ago, can never be considered Turkish Cypriots representation in the European Parliament. He demanded that as soon as possible Turkish Cypriots be given the observer status in the European Parliament, which will be a provisional solution. The permanent solution, he said, will be Turkish Cypriots full representation in the EP. Ozdemir said that the Contact Group will prepare a report in 2007 in which if there will be reference to economic, education and sports embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots then this means that the Contact Groups efforts were not in vain.

    (MHY)

    [05] The leader of the Left Group in the European Parliament Wurtz criticized Turkeys refusal of opening its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the leader of the Left Group in the European Parliament Francis Wurtz has criticized Turkeys refusal of opening its ports and airports to the Cyprus registered ships and airplanes and declared that this is an unacceptable approach. He said : I consider unacceptable not landing of the Cyprus registered airplanes to the Turkish airports or the Cyprus registered ships of not docking to the Turkish ports. Also we do not look favourably to the fact that on the one part of the island there are occupation troops. The Cyprus problem should be solved under the international law. There is a dialogue going on between the two communities in the island. They have to find a solution. This is the Cyprus problem. The other issue is the occupation of north Cyprus by the Turkish troops, and this is a Turkish problem. Turkey has to accept to withdraw its troops. Implementation of the Ankara Protocol means recognition of the rights of the member state. These will not be negotiated. They should only be implemented.

    (MHY)

    [06] Ercakica claimed that the Cyprus government is using the elections in Turkey trying to postpone the 8 July process

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the so-called presidential spokesman of the self-styled regime in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus Hasan Ercakica has claimed that the Cyprus government, using the elections in Turkey, is trying to postpone the 8 July process or even to make it to be forgotten totally. He made this statement yesterday during his regular press briefing.

    In addition Illegal Bayrak television (24.12.06) broadcast the following on the same issue:

    The Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica has said that an increase in flights to and from Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport contrary to belief will not render the ongoing division on the island permanent, but will guarantee the reunification of the island.

    Accusing the Greek Cypriot Administration of intransigence on the Cyprus Problem, Mr. Ercakica said the problem remained unresolved because of the Greek Cypriot Administrations rejection of the Annan Plan.

    In a written statement, the Presidential spokesman said that the launching of direct flights to and from Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport will encourage and motivate the Greek Cypriot Administration to work towards a solution.

    He added that such a move will also contribute to strengthening the Turkish Cypriot Sides commitment towards finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem.

    Mr Ercakica explained that the Greek Cypriot Administration tried to prevent the removal of the international isolation of north Cyprus on claims that such an easing will only present the Turkish Cypriot Side with political gains which in effect will render the ongoing division of the island permanent.

    Pointing out that the real reason for the non-solution of the island was the Greek Cypriot Administrations intransigent and uncompromising attitude on the Cyprus Problem, the Presidential Spokesman said that this was clearly demonstrated during the April 2004 referenda during which the Greek Cypriot Side had rejected the Annan Plan.

    He said that removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people was the only means available that could motivate the Greek Cypriot Administration to return to the negotiating table.

    The Presidential Spokesman said that having the international isolation removed was sufficient for the Turkish Cypriot people who he added wanted to take its place as a political equal in a federal Cyprus.

    [07] The citrus growers face serious problems and they are planning to take dynamic measures before the new year

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.12.06) reports that the citrus growers in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus face serious problems and they are planning to take dynamic measures before the New Year. The chairman of the Union of the Turkish Cypriot Citrus Growers, Abdullah Cangil in a statement accused the self- styled government of lacking a proper citrus policy. He said that the growers no more believe or trust nor have they any hope in the Government. He said that they are planning to take dynamic measures before the new year.

    (MHY)

    [08] Statements by Talat evaluating the past year

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.12.06) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the European Union does not have the ability and knowledge to bring about a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to the BRT English Newsroom, President Talat said that although the EU has become a party concerned in the Cyprus issue after the EU members of the Greek Cypriot Administration under the name of the `Republic of Cyprus`, this does not mean that the Union will provide a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The President emphasized that a solution to the Cyprus problem can only be brought under the aegis of the United Nations.

    Making an evaluation of the year past, President Talat stated that there was an ongoing process started on the Cyprus issue with the UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambaris visit to the island in July, in line with the set of ideas agreed by him and the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos.

    Referring to the talks between the Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev and Tasos Tzionis- an aide to the Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos, he said that these discussions were taking place as part of the preparatory work as part of the procedure of the process started.

    He said that the Turkish Cypriot Side wanted to finalize the preparatory work as soon as possible and launch negotiations aimed at providing a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, adding that the Turkish Cypriot Side has been trying to convince the Greek Cypriot Side to share the same view.

    The President expressed the belief that talks on technical issues would end with a positive outcome but added that the most important thing was to reach an agreement on substantial issues of the Cyprus problem.

    He also stressed that the Turkish Cypriot Side would be in touch with the new UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon who will take over the post on the 1st of January.

    Mr Talat said that Mr Ban was expected to launch new initiatives on the Cyprus issue and to keep on with the ongoing process launched by Mr Gambari.

    Asked to comment on the statements made earlier by the German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier that the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation would be one of the priorities for his country when it takes over the EU Term-Presidency in January, Mr Talat said the implementation of the Regulation will be possible if the German Presidency succeeds in removing the obstacles being created by the Greek Cypriot Administration.

    Pointing out that the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation was a political will not only expressed by Germany but also by the EU Council, he expressed the hope that the issue would be negotiated during the first months of 2007.

    Reminding that the Turkish Cypriot Side applied to the British Aviation Department to establish direct flights to-and-from Ercan (occupied Tymbou) Airport, the President expressed the hope that such a step will be taken as it will not be in breach of international law.

    Responding to a question on the property issue, President Mehmet Ali Talat referred to the European Court of Human Rights judgment on the Arestis case and the British High Courts ruling on the Orams and stated that the cases do not intend to solve the property issue as a whole.

    Reiterating that the property issue could only be solved as part of a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, the President said an internal legal system was established in the north as a local remedy in order to deal with urgent property issues which cannot wait for a comprehensive settlement.

    In conclusion, President Talat called on the Turkish Cypriot People and foreigners living in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus not to lose their hope for a solution and reiterated the Turkish Cypriot Sides willingness for a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal solution based on the political equality of the two sides in Cyprus.

    [09] Under General Buyukanit control of defense procurement in military hands

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (25.12.06) publishes the following report

    by Umit Enginsoy under the title: "Military takes control of defense procurement":

    Turkey's military command has taken the nation's defense acquisition process into its hands after Gen. Yasar Buyukanit took over as chief of general staff in August, overriding positions of the civilian government and the procurement agency on two top programs, officials and Turkish and U.S. analysts said.

    The outcome is a change in priorities from an extensive emphasis on technology transfer and local work contribution in joint programs with foreign partners toward swift availability of weapons systems.

    At a time of worsening ties between Ankara and the European Union, the military's approach generally means a preference for U.S. systems over European solutions.

    "The Turkish military visibly has had a more assertive policy on defense procurement recently," said one U.S. industry source familiar with Turkish programs.

    Some in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and many at the Undersecretariat for the Defense Industry (SSM) may not be happy with the military's growing role in procurement policies, but Erdogan is apparently seeking to avoid confrontation with the commanders on this matter at a time when Turkey is gearing up for two key elections next year, analysts said.

    Parliament should elect a new president in the spring, and parliamentary elections are due in November. Erdogan has not announced whether he will stand as a presidential candidate, but the military -- which frequently accuses the government of undermining secularism -- is believed to be opposing his election as head of state.

    Retired Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, Buyukanit's predecessor, clearly had a more hands-off position on defense procurement matters during his tenure between August 2002 and last August.

    He would voice his and the military's views on acquisition matters with top government and civilian procurement officials but would not take a decisive position, analysts said.

    But in the last few months, Buyukanit made it clear that his leadership would be different.

    There were two critical examples.

    First, the military command in October fully backed a key move by the Air Force to opt for the U.S.-led F-35 JSF over the European Eurofighter Typhoon as the nation's new-generation fighter aircraft, rejecting a suggestion by SSM on behalf of the civilian side that a combination of F-35s and Eurofighters -- some 80 JSFs and 20 Typhoons -- be purchased, defense officials and analysts said.

    The new-generation fighter aircraft program, worth more than $10 billion over the next 20 years, is the largest and most strategic defense project in Turkey's history.

    At a time before the EU earlier this months moved to freeze membership talks with Turkey on eight of 35 policy chapters because of a Cyprus dispute, the civilian wing believed that diversification of Turkey's fighter fleet could bring strategic advantages, including reducing dependency on the United States and boosting defense ties with the EU.

    But the Air Force's present fighters are all U.S.-designed aircraft, and the military preferred to continue the tradition. Also, diversification of fighters is an extremely costly business.

    The military's position has prevailed, and the Defense Industry Executive Committee, Turkey's top decision-making body on defense procurement, announced after a December 12 meeting that the Air Force would buy 100 F-35s.

    The committee's members include Erdogan, Buyukanit, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and SSM chief Murad Bayar.

    Second, at the same committee meeting the military blocked a move by the government and SSM to choose one of the two official bidders for the army's multibillion-dollar program to jointly produce at least 30 attack helicopters.

    "There was a decision on the attack helicopter program. This decision ... had to be changed because of some hesitations," Gonul said after the meeting. He admitted the hesitations came from the military.

    "It's apparent that the civilian government wanted to endorse either [the Italian-British] AgustaWestland's option or [the South African] Denel's alternative, but the military objected to both solutions," one defense analyst in Ankara said. "As a result, no final decision emerged from the committee meeting, and I believe that the chances of both options have greatly diminished after the military's opposition."

    The attack helicopter issue was dropped out of the meeting's agenda after Buyukanit voiced the military's opposition to both AgustaWestland's A-129 Mangusta International and Denel Aviation's Rooivalk CSH-2 platforms, defense officials confirmed.

    Analysts and industry sources said the U.S. Boeing Co. -- maker of the AH-64D Apache Longbow -- which is outside the official competition but has an alternative offer to sell its gunship through a Foreign Military Sales deal, may benefit from the failure of the Italian-British and South African solutions.

    "There are a few reasons behind the military's increasing assertiveness," said one Ankara-based industry source. "One explanation could be that under Buyukanit the military may be seeking to recapture the decisive say it lost during Ozkok's tenure. Also, the military is apparently fed up with the SSM's policies for maximization of high technology transfer and local work contribution rates, which it believes is leading to huge delays in key programs, such as the attack helicopter project."

    SSM's strict specifications on technology transfer and maximum Turkish industry input have prompted some companies from the United States -- known for its notorious reluctance on technology transfer matters -- to decline to formally bid for some Turkish programs.

    While SSM says it wants to serve better Turkey's developing defense industry sector, some in the military believe that what they view as the procurement agency's extreme emphasis on Turkish share in joint programs sometimes reaches a degree of "reinventing the wheel" and causes unacceptable delays.

    "For the military, the availability of weapons systems within a reasonable time is of critical importance. So this approach effectively means less emphasis on Turkish solutions in joint programs," said the Ankara-based analyst. "This also means a larger chance for U.S. manufacturers."


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist discusses reasons behind army's continuing role in politics

    Istanbul ZAMAN newspaper (23.12.06) publishes the following commentary by Sahin Alpay under the title: "Why does the soldiers' role in politics diminish?":

    In an interview he gave to Nese Duzel a short while ago, Mithat Sancar, public law professor at the Ankara University, said the following: With the EU reforms the legal basis of the army's political role has been eliminated to a considerable degree, but in practice this role has not diminished.

    The strategy currently pursued by the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] is based on openly expressing before the public the unease felt from the government. The generals speak as if they are giving out instructions. In addition to warning the government they also warn the relevant institutions. The army has such a strong place in Turkey that the chief of staff is able to say the following: "I am autonomous. I safeguard the republic and I protect it. As an independent state force, I determine the policies that will be pursued and I impose them." (RADIKAL, 18 December)

    Why does the army's political role not diminish? This is one of the questions that are frequently posed during my conversations with foreign academics and journalists. There is no doubt that there are many factors that explain this situation. Nevertheless the officers' political culture -- in other words, the political values that are widely adopted by the officers -- is the most important of these factors. There is no doubt that the education given in the military schools encourages the officers to see themselves as the owner of the state and as the guards of the regime. It is possible to say that the great majority of the officers interpret Kemalism in a very rigid manner. In other words they adopt the understanding of "a centralist administration, a single-culture society, and authoritarian secularity." It is also possible to say that they have difficulty in reconciling this understanding with pluralistic democratic principles that are in favor of freedoms. It is seen that the soldiers adopt a militarist "security" understanding that envisages safeguarding the integrity of the country from international threats and the established regime from domestic threats with the use of bans, pressure, and arms. It is also seen that efforts are being made to spread this understanding among the civilian society via the universities and the research institutions. This understanding is not compatible with the modern security concept that is based on the welfare and the freedom of the citizens.

    To safeguard the privileges that they enjoy may be one of the important reasons behind the soldiers' determination to play a role in politics. The soldiers may be reacting against the idea of civilian democratic supervision and surveillance for the same reason. Nevertheless a considerable part of the society expects the soldiers to continue to play a role in politics. We cannot disregard the share of these expectations in the fact that the military continues to assume such a role. Sectors that believe that the rule of a political party that has Islamic roots has threatened or will threaten their "lifestyles" believe that it is necessary to balance and to supervise the rule of the elected with the authorities of the appointed.

    We have to admit that a sort of Kemalism that rises from the bottom to the top and that, in addition to its authoritarian qualities, also has civilian qualities has also been unusually felt during the past several years. It is possible to see Esra Ozyurek's book entitled "Nostalgia for the Modern [name of the book in English]" (Duke University Press, 2006) for this rise. It is seen that the CHP [Republican People's Party] has pinned its hopes regarding the elections on this rise to a considerable degree. It is possible to say that the rivalry between the civilian politicians prevent them from reaching the agreement that is required for putting an end to the soldiers' political role (with which they are actually very disturbed).

    There is no doubt that the PKK threat as well as various unstable developments in the Middle East assist the army to maintain its political role. Despite the fact that the EU process has contributed to limiting this role, influences to the contrary from the outside, from the West have contributed to the preservation of this role. Western circles, which believe that otherwise Turkey will lose its secular characteristic and it will move away from the Western world, extend support to the army's political role in Turkey. Certain conservative circles in France and Germany warn the EU that the accession process may drive Turkey away from the West. It is seen that the support that is extended by the neo-con circles in the United States to the soldiers' political role with the aim of preventing Turkey from moving away from the United States and Israel goes as far as provocations for military interventions.

    All this does not change the fact that the soldiers are also a part of the Turkish society and that as the idea of human rights, freedoms, and democracy spreads and as this idea is adopted by more people, the number of the soldiers who adopt these values also increases and this tendency gradually becomes stronger.

    /SK


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