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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-02-20
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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.35/07 17-20.02.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Buyukanit: Cyprus is very important part of the East Mediterranean seaTurkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (18.02.07) reports under the above title and says that the Turkish Chief of the General Staff General Yasar Buyukanit, during a press conference in Washington, answered questions put to him by journalists.
When a journalist asked the General to comment on the importance of Cyprus as regards the security in the East Mediterranean sea, General Buyukanit, quoted a journalist, who told him in the past that ´Cyprus has no strategic importance because of the extended range of weapons.´
General Buyukanit then said: Thinking the issue from weapons´ point of view is wrong. Cyprus is a very important part of the East Mediterranean sea. Which problem appeared? The Greek Cypriot administration is looking for oil exploration permit by signing agreement with Lebanon. The case should not be seen merely as a piece of land or military issue.
General Buyukanit went on and said that one should not look into such issues from the military point of view but from economic point of view as well. It has economic zone extending up to the middle of the East Mediterranean sea, it has oil. There are other things as well General Buyukanit concluded.
Moreover, Turkish mainland daily HURRIYET newspaper (18.02.07) reports under the title: To approach Cyprus from the economic point of view and quotes General Buyukanit as follows: One should not look into the Cyprus case merely as a piece of land or a military case. ´What is Megisti?´ I had asked the same journalist and he said: ´A piece of rock´. It too has an economic zone. It extends up to the Middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Because it is Greek territory. Cyprus as well has an economic zone extending up to Middle of the Mediterranean. In it there is oil. One has to evaluate Cyprus from the geopolitical point of view.
 Akinci reacted to the prohibition of carrying meat and dairy products from the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus to the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (20.02.07) reports that the prohibition of meat and dairy products from the free areas to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus was discussed yesterday in the self- styled Assembly. The prohibition was announced as a decision of the self-styled Finance Ministry.
Commenting on the prohibition, the leader of the Peace and Democracy Movement, Mustafa Akinci, said that this decision has put him in a lot of thoughts and added: I asked myself whether we protect the local producer with this way, but I was not convinced. Because we defend in this country the free trade, but after this we have the behaviour of a guard. We say EU standards, but later we produce such kind of decisions. There are serious contradictions here.
 The OIC Secretary General is visiting the occupied areasIllegal BAYRAK television (18.02.07) broadcast that the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu has arrived in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
Speaking on his arrival at occupied Tymbou Airport, Mr Ihsanoglu expressed the wish for the removal of the so-called international isolations on the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and for the improvement of the political, economic and cultural relations between the OIC and the TRNC.
He added that the Islamic countries have proved their political will on the TRNC.
Following his arrival, Mr. Ihsanoglu attended a lunch given in his honor by the self-styled Speaker of the Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu.
Speaking before the lunch, the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu reminded that during the meeting in Malaysia a decision had been taken on the issues of removing all the economic, cultural, social and sportive embargoes of the Turkish Cypriot people and starting direct flights to and from the TRNC.
She also added that the decision will be pursued by establishing good relations and cooperating with Islamic countries.
For his part the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu expressed his happiness that he had the chance to come together with the Turkish Cypriot people after the Malaysian meeting and noted that since its establishment the OIC as an international organization has been giving the greatest support to the struggle of Turkish Cypriots.
Mr. Ihsanoglu also pointed to the fact that the decision of the removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people and the starting of direct flights was taken by all the Islamic countries and stressed that he would do anything necessary to put the decision into practice.
Within the framework of his contacts, Mr. Ihsanoglu met with the self-styled President Mehmet Ali Talat and the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Tomorrow, the OIC Secretary General will deliver an opening speech at an international conference to be held at the Near East University on the protection of environment.
On 19.02.07 illegal Bayrak television broadcast that speaking during the visits, Mr Ihsanoglu stressed that the OIC will continue to support the rightful cause of the Turkish Cypriot people and its struggle to get the international isolation on it lifted.
For his part, Mr Talat pointed out that the OIC is one of the biggest international organizations supporting the just struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people.
First, the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu met with Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Welcoming the OIC Secretary General, Mr Soyer said that the Turkish Cypriot people is still suffering under an international embargo despite of its intense efforts towards bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem.
Reminding that the Turkish Cypriot people is being represented under the title of the `Cyprus Turkish State` at the Organization, he expressed the Turkish Cypriot peoples wish to exercise its right to establish direct contact with the whole international community.
Later, Mr Ihsanoglu met with Mr Mehmet Ali Talat who said that the OIC is one of the biggest international organizations supporting the just struggle of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Mr Talat said the Turkish Cypriot people have never given up its efforts towards bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem while continuing its struggle to end its international isolation.
For his part, Mr. 0hsanolu stressed that the OIC will continue to support the rightful cause of the Turkish Cypriot people and its struggle to get the international isolation on it lifted.
He said `what we want, is an agreement on the island which will make it possible for the Turkish Cypriot people to have equal political rights with the Greek Cypriot people`.
He also added that the OIC is also in support of the lifting of the international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot people.
Pointing out that a decision had been taken at the OIC Inter-parliamentary Union meeting on the establishment of direct flights to the occupied areas of Cyprus, he said that the TRNC government will strengthen cooperation with OIC member countries and get rid of the isolation.
 OIC Chief Attends Environment Conference in occupied CyprusAnkara Anatolia news agency (19.02.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia: A total of 91 abstracts on 11 major topics were submitted during the first day of the international conference entitled "Environment: Survival and Sustainability", organised by Near East University of TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] in Lefkosia.
The major topics of the abstracts submitted at the conference today, were "Environmental Science and Technology", "Conservation and Management of Biodiversity", "Cultural Heritage and Environmental Factors", "Environment and Health", "Business and Environment : Redefining Interests", "Economics, Development and Sustainability", "Environmental Organizations: Roles, Problems and Prospects", "Energy and Development: New and Renewable Energy", "Integrated Water Resources Management", "Seas, Ecological Balance, and Sustainable Environment" and "The Role of Media : Problems and Challenges".
Concerning the role of media in creating an environmental awareness, Gulbug Erol from Karadeniz Technical University (KTU) submitted an abstract on the effects of photography on the environment's survival and sustainability.
While Incilay Yurdakul from Hacettepe University pointed to the presentation of environment in advertisements in her study, another scholar Emel Tozlu Aslan from Near East University stressed the role of PR in creating an environmental consciousness.
Participating in the conference as an honorary guest, OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said that "creating an understanding against global warming, cooperation of world leaders and a joint movement could save the planet and the humanity".
Stressing that environmental problems caused an increase in poverty especially in the world's less developed countries, Ihsanoglu noted that everybody should be aware of the importance of environment in terms of development.
 Kyrkyz Culture Minister is holding contacts in the occupied areasIllegal BAYRAK television (19.02.07) broadcast the following:
The Kyrgyz Minister of Culture Sultan Raev is having contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as guest of the Minister of National Education and Culture Canan Oztoprak.
After discussions between the two ministers, the Kyrgyz Minister was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat, the Speaker of the Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.
Speaking during the visits, Mr Raev said that Kyrgyzstan will continue to strengthen ties with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in spite of the efforts being waged by some countries to prevent this.
The Kyrgyz Minister first visited the Minister of National Education and Culture Canan Oztoprak who told her counterpart that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus wants to improve relations between the two countries in all fields, especially in the fields of education and culture.
Later, Mr Raev was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat who pointed to existing solidarity between the two peoples having common roots.
The President said cooperation between the two countries will continue on the basis of friendship.
Mr Talat said that efforts - being waged by some countries to prevent Kyrgyzstan from establishing ties with the TRNC are being closely watched and praised Kyrgyzstan for its attitude towards the Turkish Cypriot people.
On the same issue Ankara Anatolia (19.02.07) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:
President of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat said that they have been watching closely the attempts of several countries and institutions aiming to interrupt the close fraternal ties and solidarity between TRNC and Kyrgyzstan; moreover, they appreciated Kyrgyzstan's stable, determined and proud stance against such endeavours.
Talat received Kyrgyzstan's Minister of Culture and Information Sultan Rayev, who has arrived in TRNC today upon the invitation of TRNC's Minister of National Education and Culture Canan Oztoprak.
Delivering a speech during the meeting, Rayev stated that a very strong bridge of cooperation was established between TRNC and Kyrgyzstan over the last 2 years.
Rayev indicated that the two countries continued to cooperate despite the huge reaction of several states against such collaboration.
On the other hand, Talat emphasized that they built up close and fraternal ties with Kyrgyzstan and initiated solidarity as two societies of the same origin.
Talat said that cultural relations between the two countries continued for long years within the framework of the activities of Turkic Culture and Arts Joint Management Association (TURKSOY).
"The activities will continue both in cultural aspect and in other areas," Talat stressed.
 Van der Linden is holding contacts in CyprusIllegal BAYRAK television (19.02.07) broadcast the following:
The President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe - Rene van der Linden arrives in Cyprus today for a four-day visit.
Mr Van der Linden will be received by President Mehmet Ali Talat on Wednesday.
Van Der Linden will start his contacts on the island tomorrow with a meeting with the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Tassos Papadopoulos.
He will come together with Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot parliamentarians at a working lunch.
On Wednesday, Mr Van der Linden will be received by President Mehmet Ali Talat at the Presidential Palace.
Speaking earlier, he underlined the need to establish serious and continuous dialogue between the two peoples of the island in order to bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem.
 Common Study Program Protocol between Turkey and the occupied areas of CyprusIllegal BAYRAK television (19.02.07) broadcast the following:
Turkish Minister of Environment and Forest Osman Pepe will arrive in the Republic tomorrow for the signing of a protocol between Turkey and the TRNC on the protection of environment.
The Common Study Program protocol will be signed on Wednesday as part of an agreement signed between the two countries in 2004.
 Erdogan and Cicek deny statements made by Babacan to Europeans about early electionsTODAYs ZAMAN newspaper (20.02.07) reports the following under the title:
Government denies early poll reports:
The government on Monday dismissed reports of early elections and insisted that they would be held as scheduled. "The elections will be held on Nov. 4 unless there is a decision to the contrary," government spokesman Cemil Çiçek said after a Cabinet meeting.
The issue of early elections became more complex after news reports said that State Minister Ali Babacan told European officials during a recent visit that the parliamentary elections would be held in September. Other reports also said that some members of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) have been asking for early elections. Some AK Party members are concerned that the election campaign would be run during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts Sept. 13, if the elections are held as planned on Nov. 4.
However, the government also has other concerns, such as the fate of changes to the election law, put into effect last October, decreasing the minimum age for potential members of Parliament from 30 to 25. Under the law, those changes to the election law made less than a year before the next elections are not applicable in those elections. Reports said the AK Party, willing to see changes to the election law applicable in the next elections, is considering making changes to the relevant constitutional article to lift the one-year waiting period for the law.
Çiçek insisted on Monday that the government wanted the changes to the election law to be applicable in the next elections. He said the Cabinet meeting did not discuss the issue of elections.
Speaking to reporters late on Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan said the government had no plans to call for early elections, calling the reports rumours. These are all rumours. I have not made a statement so far about early elections. The calendar for general elections has not been changed, he said.
Erdoan added that his government would watch developments in April and May, suggesting the time period when the presidential elections will be held. Let s get through April and May. Then we will see if there is a need so we can make a decision by consensus. But nothing has changed so far. We plan to hold the elections as scheduled.
Turkey s last general elections were held Nov. 3, 2002. The Turkish Parliament has 550 members, each elected for a five-year term.
 Erdoan to visit Saudi ArabiaTODAY s ZAMAN newspaper (20.02.07) reports the following:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan is headed to Saudi Arabia on Friday for an official visit. He will attend the 8th Jeddah Economic Forum, to be held Feb. 23 to 25.
Erdoan's visit follows Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's trip to the Arab nation. While in Riyadh on Saturday, Gül first met with his Saudi counterpart and then King Abdullah. In January Saudi FM Saud al-Faisal was in Ankara for talks on the future of the Middle East.
 Turkey supports the plan for the Middle EastTURKISH DAILY NEWS newspaper (19.02.07) reports the following by Duygu Guvenc:
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül conveyed Turkey's support over the weekend for a new peace initiative, established by seven Muslim states, between Israelis and the Palestinians, apparently assuming the role of convincing Israel to join the project.
Gül, on a trip to Saudi Arabia, was said by diplomatic sources to have forwarded a message from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. The message was that the Turkish government would support the plan originally drafted by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and is now supported by Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Egypt.
The new plan of seven is surfacing parallel to the so-called Quartet of Middle East negotiators, which consists of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations. The Quartet has set the condition of recognition of Israel by the Hamas-led government of Palestinians for the lifting of crippling international sanctions. That stand stiffened over the weekend as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Israeli prime minister repeated they would shun any peace deal that does not include a rejection of violence and acceptance of earlier peace agreements.
The new Turkish-supported plan envisions a comprehensive recognition of Israel by the seven nations in exchange for Israel's movement in coming to terms with the Palestinians. Currently, Turkey is the only nation among the seven that has full diplomatic relations with Israel.
The foreign ministers of the seven are expected to refine the new peace proposal later this month or early in March in Islamabad. This will set the stage for a full summit of heads of states regarding the proposal in March, according to Pakistani and Arab diplomats who spoke with the Turkish Daily News.
In Riyadh, Gül first met with his counterpart, Prince Saud Alfaisal, on Saturday and then proceeded with a two-hour meeting with King Abdullah. During the meeting, Naci Koru, the new Turkish Ambassador to Riyadh, was also present. The king was said to have responded positively to Erdoan and expressed the importance of Turkey convincing Israel to embrace the initiative.
Turkish diplomatic sources, commenting on Gül's surprise visit to Riyadh, indicated the new initiative is led by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Gül apparently made the decision to visit Saudi Arabia and offer support after a call on Friday night from King Abdullah seeking the meeting.
While the Arab and Pakistani diplomatic sources emphasized Turkey's support, Turkish diplomats approached the issue more cautiously. We are trying to understand what is going on between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan first, said one diplomat, speaking while Gül was still in Saudi Arabia.
In January, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal came to Ankara for talks on the future of the Middle East and his visit was followed earlier this month by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
After the official visit of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who was in Ankara last week, Erdoan announced that he wanted to invite the new Palestinian government to Turkey during the joint press conference. Erdoan phoned Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Friday and talked with King Abdullah on Saturday, just after the visit of Olmert. Erdoan will attend the Arab Economic Forum on Feb. 24 in Jidda and will meet one-on-one with Arab leaders including King Abdullah also, said sources from the Turkish Prime Ministry.
With the leadership of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan is in search of a Muslim bloc, said Arab sources. If the initiative continues, the goal is for the seven Muslim states to offer Israel a common proposal, announcing the conditions for the recognition of Palestine. In response, the reciprocal recognition of Israel could come before the heads of states summit in Saudi Arabia.
Ankara is trying to convince Israel:
Pakistani diplomatic sources noted the visits of U.S. Secretary of State Rice's visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories over the weekend, along with the visit of Syrian President Besar Esad to Iran, are not a coincidence. All regional parties, the diplomat said, are desperate to do something for peace in the Middle East.
According to Ankara, Saudi Arabia achieved a great success for establishment of dialogue between Hamas and the Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It will be up to Turkey to convince Israel to give support to the latest initiative.
On the other hand the United States and Israel have agreed ahead of three-way meeting with the Palestinians to shun any new Palestinian government that does not renounce violence, recognize Israel and accept existing peace agreements, Olmert said on Sunday.
Iraqi neighbours will meet in Cairo:
Gül and King Abdullah also discussed the Iraqi issue, said a Turkish diplomat who attended the meetings. During the talks, Gül and his counterpart, Al Faisal, agreed the need to hold the foreign ministers' meeting of Iraq's neighbouring countries. The first meeting of high level officials is expected to take place in Baghdad but the foreign ministers meeting most probably will take place in Cairo, said the same diplomat. TDN had reported at the beginning of February that Gül is not eager to go to Baghdad for the meeting.
Despite the announcement of Israel and the United States that they will not recognize the Palestine government if the new Palestinian government does not renounce violence, Turkey will continue attempts to convince Israel.
After the official visit of Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert, who was in Ankara last week, Erdoan phoned Palestinian President Mahmut Abbas on Friday and talked with King Abdullah on Saturday. Erdoan will attend an Arab Economic Forum on Feb. 24 in Jidda where he will meet one-on-one with Arab leaders as well as King Abdullah.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 Columnist in Milliyet assesses Buyukanit´s visit to WashingtonISTANBUL MILLIYET newspaper (19.02.07) publishes the following commentary by Yasemin Congar under the title: Being besieged and dynamic forces:
I am chatting with the editor of Newsweek International Fareed Zakaria. He is telling me about the breakfast meeting he had with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul when he came to Washington a couple of weeks back.
"I have met him many times. But this time Gul was very different. He looked besieged."
What gave rise to this "besieged" impression given by Gul was a combination of the likelihood of the Armenian Genocide Bill being passed by Congress, the expectation that the PKK would resume fighting in the spring plus concerns about Iraq and in particular about Kirkuk.
Add to this the way the approaching elections are driving the government to nationalist populism, the way the Battle for Cankaya [Presidential Mansion] is giving the military more opportunity to make its presence felt, the way that the breaks Turkey really needs right now are becoming impossible, and the way the reforms are losing momentum.
"Steve is not known for his silence. You can be sure that when he meets (Chief of Staff Gen Yasar) Buyukanit on the day after he turns 60 he is not simply going to shake his head," says one White House official. "Steve" is Bush's National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.
Buyukanit must have gotten the same impression because when chatting with a group of US soldiers he compared the different ways that Hadley and Vice President Dick Cheney treated him: "Cheney listens, Hadley is talkative."
Two weeks ago Hadley told Gul, "In order for us to help you, you must first help yourselves" and piled on the pressure to have Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code scrapped.
The White House is tight lipped over the message given to Buyukanit. But there is one observation they shared:
"The Turkish government is saying 'The military is holding us back' in many areas, and does not hide the fact that it is powerless. When we raise these same points with the military they tell us: 'We are soldiers and do not interfere; tell it to the government."
Hosting both Gul and Buyukanit served to remind Washington of the rift between the ruling AKP [Justice and Development Party] and the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] in Turkey.
"The difference between the two Ankaras" was more than apparent when it came to the plan to talk with Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani. Happy with the way Gul intended to meet Barzani in Istanbul and tell him in person what Turkey's demands were, the Americans have cautioned Barzani's circles so that the talks can be fruitful.
However, on his way to Washington and before the meeting plan had even been made public Buyukanit said he was against this and even named Nechirvan Barzani. On the final day of his visit Buyukanit, implying the United States, said, "Various circles are advising us to talk with the Kurdish groups in the north, but..."
I asked Buyukanit, "What harm is there in a political dialogue that puts the problems on the table?"
Implying the KDP [Kurdistan Democracy Party] and the PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] he said: "Both groups lend their full support to the PKK. I am not in a position to obstruct anybody's will. If any politicians want to meet them then let them." Is this message going to tie the government's hands? Continuing even after Buyukanit's statements with his line in support of meeting the Iraqi Kurdish leaders, did Gul send Barzani a message saying, "Do not come here"?
Buyukanit last met US Under Secretary of Defence Eric Edelman in December 2005, when he was still Commander Land Forces.
According to accounts Edelman was about to say at that point: "The PKK issue does not just have a military solution. It is at the same time a political issue."
Buyukanit was outraged: "What do you see on me? This is a military uniform. If the PKK issue is political do not talk with me about it. I am leaving."
The climate during last week's Edelman-Buyukanit meeting was reportedly better. However, Edelman and other officials in the Bush administration are all sticking to their opinion that the PKK cannot be ended through martial might but that the problem has a political aspect to it in addition to the terrorism aspect.
Buyukanit spoke of the effort in Washington "to politicize the PKK and reduce the issue into one of human rights and minorities" and said, "A very large play is about to begin."
One US diplomat I asked to comment was of the opinion that Buyukanit "was targeting everyone who was in favor of discussing the Kurdish problem with its political aspects, in particular the EU."
Buyukanit had planned well the messages he was going to send to Turkey during every stage of his visit to Washington.
His speech at the Turkish Embassy was part of this. Some people commented, "He gave a civil message saying 'Do not be afraid'," but I saw it differently.
Buyukanit's observation: Not since 1923 have we faced a threat of this magnitude" frightened me more than calm me down.
I could not overlook the "alert forces" ideology prevalent in the good news that we need not be afraid as long as "the dynamic forces" exist. As I spoke to Buyukanit I thought that the government was even more besieged.
Who are "the dynamic forces"? I will end this column with Buyukanit's reply to this question of mine:
"At that moment the word 'dynamic' and not 'alert' entered my mind. I was not talking about the deep state or whatever. The dynamic forces are the soldiers that keep this country alive, the police the civil servants, the university students and their tutors, too, are all dynamic forces. The dynamic forces comprise everybody who works to keep the Turkish Republic alive."