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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-12-29
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.251/06 29.12.06
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 The Turkish National Security Council held its last meeting of the yearThe Turkish newspapers report today (29.12.06), on the last meeting of the National Security Council for the year 2006.
CUMHURIYET reports that the National Security Council convened yesterday for the last time in 2006 and took up the issues of the internal security and the latest developments in the EU procedure. The activities of radical religious groups as well as those of the Kurds were also on the agenda of the meeting. The Turkish President Ahmet Sezer chaired the meeting. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, the Chief of the General Staff Yasar Buyukanit, various Turkish Ministers and the commanding officers of the army also participated in the meeting.
MILLIYET covers yesterdays meeting of the National Security Council (MGK) under the title: First MGK meeting under the shade of Cyprus. MILLIYET writes inter alia, the following: The National Security Council put on the table the issues of EU, Cyprus and the struggle against terrorism. The meeting also assessed the developments which might follow after the President of Turkmenistan Turkmenbasis death and the balances in the region in the short-run. The last meeting of the year of the MGK took place yesterday at the Presidential palace under President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. The meeting was held under the shade of the crisis after the governments latest offer to the EU on Cyprus.
SABAH covers yesterdays National Security Council meeting under the title: MGK held its first meeting after the ports offer. On the agenda of the meeting SABAH writes that the situation was assessed after the tension between Georgia and Russia because of the issue of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
As regards Cyprus the paper writes the following: The main issues of the meeting were the new situation after the suspension because of Cyprus of eight chapters in the negotiations with the EU and the fight against terrorism. Erdogan and Gul supplied the Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit and the force commanders with detailed information regarding the ports offer. During the meeting it was examined how the suspension of the eight chapters of the accession negotiations will affect the road map in the relations with the EU.
Reference to the MGK meeting is also made in a commentary in SABAH under the title The dance of Caucasus, by Muharrem Sarikaya who assesses the crisis between Georgia and Russia. Under the subtitle: The decision taken at the National Security Council, Sarikaya writes the following: If we come to Turkey, the MGK, as in its past meeting, during yesterdays meeting put on the table developments in Georgia. Ankaras decision mainly on Abkhazia is to support Georgias territorial integrity. And to achieve this without breaking its relations with Russia. Russia, however, is determined on the issues of Abkhazia and Ossetia. And Ankaras reply to the approach Abkhazia is territory of Georgia, is clear. What difference is there between the TRNC and Abkhaiya? Abkhazia is taking Cyprus as an example.
In addition, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.12.06) reports that the National Security Council met yesterday and assessed the decisions taken at the EU Foreign Ministers Council on 11 December 2006. In a statement after the meeting the NSC stated that: Turkey continues to maintain its EU membership objective. It also said that Obstacles like Cyprus which have no relations with the negotiations process should not be placed before Turkey.
 Statements by the Turkish Cypriot side on the bridge at Ledra StreetIllegal Bayrak television (28.12.06) broadcast the following:
The Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has announced the Turkish Cypriot Sides decision to remove the footbridge at the Lokmaci Barricade in downtown Lefkosia.
The Presidential Spokesman said that the decision to remove the footbridge, claimed by the Greek Cypriot Side to be an obstacle in the way of opening a gate in the area, was taken with the aim of contributing to confidence building and cooperation between the two sides in Cyprus.
Mr Ercakica said that work to bring down the much debated footbridge will begin as soon as tomorrow.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the Presidential Spokesperson said that the Turkish Cypriot Side supported the idea of working towards enhancing cooperation among the two sides in Cyprus and expressed its belief that such moves will contribute to efforts aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus Problem.
Keeping in perspective that both sides on the island had welcomed the UN Secretary-Generals Undersecretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Gambaris proposal to resume the Cyprus negotiations process in the first quarter of 2007, Mr Ercakica said that in line with this view, the Turkish Cypriot Sides decision to remove the footbridge was an important step towards improving relations between the two sides.
The Presidential spokesman reminded that the Turkish Cypriot Side had been expressing its support for the opening of a crossing point in the area for a long time now and had repeatedly stated that the footbridge was in fact not an obstacle for opening of gate as claimed by the Greek Cypriot Administration.
He added that a proposal to open the Lokmaci crossing point had been included in the package of confidence building measures presented to the UN Secretary- General on the 6th of July 2006.
Mr Ercakica said that a letter explaining the Turkish Cypriot Sides decision and stance was also handed to the United Nations today.
In addition all the local papers report today (29.12.06) under banner headlines on the decision to demolish the bridge at the end of Ledra Street, as follows:
AFRIKA: At last the bridge is going to be brought down the Turkish side had conveyed by a letter yesterday its decision to bring down the bridge to the UNFINCYP.
KIBRIS: The bridge is to be removed.
YENIDUZEN: And the bridge is being removed.
KIBRISLI: Bring down the Bridge.
HALKIN SESI: The overhead bridge at the Lokmaci is to be removed.
VOLKAN: Talat is to bring down the bridge. Shame on them they continue one-sided concessions. Talat is doing one-man show as though no state exists. Talat alone took the decisionThey chewed their words again the idea is to make Papadopoulos and Christofias happy.
ORTAM: So-called swaggering came to an end the order Pull it down came.
VATAN: Talat is to remove the overhead bridge.
According to KIBRIS, the UNFINCYP spokesman Brian Kelly has welcomed the decision by Mr Talat to pull down the overhead bridge at the end of the Ledra Street. In a written statement Mr Kelly said that Mr Talat has informed UNFINCYP about the demolition of the overhead bridge with a letter.
 Nazim Cavusoglu the new general secretary of UBPTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.12.06) reports that Nazim Cavusoglu has been elected unanimously as the new general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP). The paper reports that yesterday the 11-member general administrative council as well was elected.
 Clarification on the Modernization of F-16's by USAnkara Anatolia (28.12.06) reports the following from Ankara:
"There is not a direct agreement between Lockheed Martin firm and Turkish National Defense Ministry regarding modernization of 216 F-16 war jets," said a statement of the Ministry.
Releasing a statement, the Ministry referred to some press reports that the modernization contract was awarded to a company that retired general Joseph W. Ralston- the U.S. Special Representative for countering terrorism - is managing.
"The mentioned project is being carried out with the U.S. government within the scope of foreign military sales, and the related agreement was signed by the U.S. government and the Turkish government on April 26th, 2005. This agreement was signed by National Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and then U.S. ambassador Eric Edelman," it said.
"The agreement mentioned in the media was between the U.S. government and Lockheed Martin firm, and related with the modernization of jets. So, there is not any direct agreement between Lockheed Martin firm and Turkish National Defense Ministry. The U.S. government signed a contract with Lockheed Martin, the only producer of F-16 planes and the only place for their modernization.
Therefore, it is not right to associate the mentioned project with retired general Ralston, who is a member of the Executive Board of this company. The intergovernmental agreement was signed 16 months before Ralston was assigned to this position (August 28th, 2006)," the statement pointed out.
The statement noted that Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is also a sub-contractor of the project.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist in YENI SAFAK argues that regional conflicts serve US-Russia-China energy goalsIstanbul YENI SAFAK newspaper (27.12.06) publishes the following commentary by Ibrahim Karagul under the title: "Was Turkmenbasi murdered?":
Was the leader of Turkmenistan Saparmurad Niyazov murdered? Was Turkmenbasi, who died of a heart attack, really the victim of the energy war in Eurasia? What kind of role might the United States have played in the death of the Turkmenistan leader who was the latest victim of the energy oligarchy in Washington and smack in the middle of the "Grand Game," the "Eurasian Chessboard," US-Russia-Central Asia rivalry, the US-Iran crisis and the fight for sharing the Caspian Sea?
Did they whack Turkmenbasi because he could not be toppled by the velvet revolutions financed to the tune of billions of dollars by George Soros and American NGOs seeing as he had eliminated all opposition? Unable to check or prevent the natural gas agreements between Turkmenistan and China, Russia and Iran, might not the United States, which is gradually losing power in Central Asia despite the velvet revolutions, find itself within a conspiracy to take out Turkmenbasi? All the reasons for doing this are there to be seen. What kind of ploy are the most critical country and people around the Caspian Sea up against?
A country that sits on 22.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas and that meets Asia's second largest gas requirements, and a leader who single-handedly controls this massive resource. Moreover, a country that markets this gas to the world via Russia's Gazprom giant (the gas supplied via Gazprom to Ukraine and Europe comes from Turkmenistan). A country that is the world's leading producer of natural gas and second largest producer of oil, that governs 153,800 kilometers of pipeline, and that is one of the key pieces in the "Eurasia chess game" conducted by Vladimir Putin, the Energy Czar of Russia, which meets Europe's energy needs and is gradually becoming the world's monopoly. A country that did not bow to the hegemony that America is trying to establish in Central Asia via its oil companies; a country with a high probability of becoming a new nightmare for the United States after the Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan fiascos.
A leader who put his signature to the pipeline that will be laid between China and Kazakhstan over Uzbekistan, who pledged to provide this country with 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas starting in January 2009, and who has made an agreement again with China to process 7 trillion cubic meters of natural gas (more than Saudi Arabia's total reserves). Also a leader who markets some of his natural gas to the world via Iran!
A country that as far as the United States is concerned is preparing to send its natural gas to the Mediterranean Sea going under the Caspian than over Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey (in parallel with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline), or into the Indian Ocean via Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Russia, China and Iran are the bad guys in the US war for domination of the Middle East-Caspian-Central Asia belt, and Turkmenbasi has signed decades-long agreements with these countries. There is still no development in either of the US plans for the pipeline to be laid under the Caspian or the one to pass through Afghanistan. Which way might Turkmenbasi have leaned? Who can guarantee that he will not be a new Ahmedinejad or Hugo Chavez for the United States?
Afghanistan was invaded and occupied for the Unocal pipeline project. It was these oil companies which put the Taliban in power and financed them. It was also these companies which enabled the invasion and occupation of this country on the pretext of Al-Qa'ida and Taliban! This was one of the most important reasons for the invasion and occupation of Iraq! They did that without feeling the need for any grounds whatsoever. Who can say what about the connection between the Albanian resistance in Kosovo and the NATO support given to Kosovo and the Trans-Balkan Pipeline? When the resistance fighters took control in Somalia was it not the United States who sicked Ethiopia on this country? Does the genocide literature in Darfur have nothing at all to do with Sudanese oil or the Central Africa pipelines? Why is the war on terrorism taking place on top of these energy sources and along the pipeline routes? Why are velvet revolutions taking place in these regions? Why are changes in regime being attempted in these same regions? Does the pipeline that is going to extend to Israel have nothing to do with the tension inside Lebanon?
What kind of conclusion can we derive if we take another look in this light at the connection between Al-Qa'ida Afghanistan, Al-Qa'ida Somalia, Al-Qa'ida Central Asia and the military bases being set up by the United States here? There is a world war going on between the East and the West over energy resources and global domination. Al-Qa'ida, terrorism, regime changes and sectarian conflicts are all part and parcel of this war. Do we get it now?
The value of a Turkmenistan in US hands is so high. A Caspian country between Russia and Iran atop the world's richest resources, military corridors and pipeline routes; the last castle to completely encircle Iran; the sweetest thing to break the Russian-Iranian axis and sit astride 2 trillion barrels of Caspian oil. And of course to break Russia and Gazprom's monopoly, and control Europe's energy needs. Thus, NATO, which is being kept alive for the United States energy war, will move into the region in full. If this should happen, if the United States sits atop this country, this means that the Caspian War is upon us and nobody can stop it.
What is going to happen to Turkmenistan? Will it become a country devastated by an East-West war? Might pro-US cadres take charge of the country? Or will the Western media start an NGO-backed democracy movement while we just watch and applause?
The Middle East (Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Saudi Arabia), Central Asia (Afghanistan and now Turkmenistan) the chaos caused by the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq, the freshly erupting conflicts in Central and East Africa. How many countries are being sacrificed on the Grand Chessboard, can you see? Sacrificed to what? Now, one of the key players has been taken out of play. In how many more regions are we going to see US-Russian and US-Chinese rivalry? How many more countries are going to be ruined? Those engaged in sectarian conflicts and ethnic conflicts, those thriving on the bullshit of democracy. Do you still not get what this war is about? You will never get it because what are you but tiny pawns being used for a slice of a trillion-dollar cake! Such a shame!
 Turkish Jurists divided over regulation for presidential electionsIstanbul MILLIYET newspaper (27.12.06) publishes a report by Gokcer Tahincioglu and Saliha Colak under the title: "Former Chief Prosecutor Kanadoglu's Criteria for the Presidential Elections Have Divided the Jurists; The Debates on '367' for Cankaya".
The report goes as follows: Kanadoglu has noted that at least 367 deputies should be present at the National Assembly for being able to hold the first round of the presidential elections. The AKP [Justice and Development Party] has 354 deputies. Two lawyers have agreed with Kanadoglu, while Prof Uskul and the politicians have expressed different views.
The statement issued by Sabih Kanadoglu, former chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, to the effect that "367 deputies should be present at the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly] for being able to hold the first round of the presidential elections" has led to controversy. Two lawyers have agreed with Kanadoglu, while Prof Zafer Uskul and the politicians have reacted differently. Recalling that a majority of at least 367 deputies is required for the first round of the presidential elections, Kanadoglu claimed that therefore these 367 deputies should be present at the TBMM for enabling the commencement of the presidential elections.
Kanadoglu noted that if at least 367 deputies are not present at the TBMM General Assembly in the first round of the presidential elections, it will be impossible to proceed to the next round. Kanadoglu added that according to the Constitution early elections will be inevitable under these circumstances.
It has been claimed that the AKP which has 354 deputies cannot convene the TBMM General Assembly without the support to the opposition. This statement has led to controversy. Prof Dr Necmi Yuzbasioglu and Prof Dr Ibrahim Kaboglu have supported that view that will force the AKP to hold general elections. The jurists assessed Kanadoglu's views as follows:
Prof Dr Zafer Uskul: The Constitution is very clear about the majority that is required for the convention of the TBMM. This is the first time that I have heard that "the necessary number of votes that is required for adopting a decision is also required for the convention of the TBMM" and I do not agree with this view. Two thirds of the deputies do not have to be present just because a two-third majority is needed for adopting a decision.
Prof Dr Necmi Yuzbasioglu: The Constitution says that the president shall be elected with a two-third majority and by means of secret ballot. This two-third majority is also the "quorum." It is stipulated that a two third majority will be present at the TBMM during the entire four rounds. The AKP believes that it will have absolute majority in the third or the fourth rounds and it will be able to elect the president. If a quorum does not exist, it is impossible to hold the elections. There is no need for the bosom of the nation. The opposition can take Turkey to early elections by avoiding coming to the TBMM.
Prof Dr Ibrahim Kaboglu: If a two-third majority is not reached in the first round, it is impossible to proceed to the next round. This will mean violating the Constitution. The Constitution sees the election rounds as the extension of each other.
In his article published in Cumhuriyet on 26.12.06, Kanadoglu claimed the following: According to the Constitution, one third (184) of the total number of the members (550) should be present for the convention of the TBMM. However it is impossible to apply this rule in the presidential elections due to the fact that there is an exceptional provision.
According to Article 102 of the Constitution, a two-third majority of all the members of the TBMM, which is equivalent to 367 deputies, is required for electing the president. This provision also points to the required "quorum" for holding the presidential elections.
If 367 votes are not cast in the first round of the elections, this means that the necessary quorum is not present. Under such circumstances the first round of the elections will be cancelled.
The failure to hold the first round means that it will be impossible to hold the second round, during which 367 deputies should be present; the third round, during which the votes of the absolute majority (276) will be considered adequate; or the fourth round, during which the two candidates who have received the highest number of votes will compete against each other.
Accordingly, the AKP which has 354 deputies will not be able to convene 367 deputies -- the required quorum -- without the support of the opposition.
According to the Constitution if the president is not elected within 20 days (after the nominations), it is necessary to hold general elections. This means that under such circumstances it will be necessary to hold general elections.
TBMM decisions are outside the supervision of the Constitutional Court. However if the AKP elects a president during the third and fourth rounds of the election in spite of the fact that it has not reached 367 votes [in the first round], this will mean "introducing a new bylaw." Under such circumstances the matter will appear on the agenda of the Constitutional Court.
It will be imperative to cancel such elections that have been held in violation of the Constitution. The Constitutional Court had considered the confidence vote given by TBMM General Assembly to Mesut Yilmaz's government "introducing a new bylaw" and it had canceled the decision.
Subtitle: The situation in the TBMM
The most recent distribution of the seats in the TBMM:
PartiesNumber of DeputiesJustice and Development Party AKP 354Republican People's Party [CHP] 154Motherland Party [ANAP] 21IndependentNineTrue Path Party FourSocial Democratic People's Party OnePeople's Rising Party OneYoung Party OneEmptyFive
Subtitle: Political reactions
The politicians' views in this regard are as follows:
Yilmaz Kaya, CHP Izmir deputy and member of the Constitutional Committee: There are no rules about the number of the deputies that should convene. If 184 deputies are present, this is adequate for the adoption of a decision in the TBMM. Some 367 votes are required for being elected, and not for convention.
ANAP Group Acting Chairman Suleyman Saribas: Some 367 votes are required in the first two rounds and 276 votes are required in the third round for finalizing the elections. Even if this is not in line with political ethics, the AKP will be able to have its candidate elected in the third round.
Burhan Kuzu, AKP Istanbul deputy and chairman of the TBMM Constitutional Committee claimed that 367 is the number required for the adoption of a decision, rather than for the convention. Kuzu said: "This is the first time that I have heard something like this."
In addition, Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (28.12.06) reports the following on the issue: Justice Minister and spokesman for the government Cemil Cicek has responded publicly to claims by former prosecutor Sabih Kanadoglu of the Turkish Supreme Court that the number of ruling AKP seats in the parliament will not be enough to choose a president. Cicek yesterday called Kanadoglu's claims "postmodern and ideological."
He went on: "We respect all views, but his opinion does not fit either with the Constitution or the Parliamentary Regulations. His is a postmodern and ideological opinion, not a legal one." Speaker of the Turkish Parliament, Bulent Arinc, backed Cicek's statements by saying he didn't see the former top level prosecutor's views as being worthy of "taking seriously."
Moreover, Turkish daily ZAMAN newspaper (27.12.06) reports that Turkey's main opposition, the Republican People's Party (CHP), might boycott the next presidential elections if Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan runs for the post. Deniz Baykal, the chairman of the CHP, made the threat Wednesday.
The presidential vote in the parliament is set for April 2007, a month before the current president's term expires.
Sabih Kanadoglu, a former chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, suggested Tuesday that quorum for the presidential vote is two-thirds of the 550-seat parliament, which is 367.
As Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) currently holds 354 seats, it might not be enough to elect the next president, the Turkish press has speculated for the last two days. If all opposition parties boycott presidential vote, then the AKP will not be able to establish quorum, 184 seats, to hold the presidential vote.
There is at least one precedent: in 1989 former president Turgut Ozal was elected without two-thirds of deputies. Analysts believe the quorum debate is unlikely to amount to a real blow for the ruling AKP.