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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-03-09

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.48/07 09.03.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Republic of Cyprus demolishes the wall in the Ledra Street area; Statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians; How the press covers the issue
  • [02] Soyer meets with Geoff Hoon in London
  • [03] Talats statements on its way to Azerbaijan
  • [04] Avci, says that their foreign contacts will increase and announces that they will open representation offices in two more countries
  • [05] Efforts of the breakaway regime to establish cultural relations with Malta
  • [06] Polands ambassador says that they will work for cooperation between the Turkish municipality of Nicosia and the Polish municipalities
  • [07] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Bilman
  • [08] Turkey may make a diplomatic move to the United States over US Ambassador's statement on Cyprus' oils
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [09] New military media scandal exposed

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Republic of Cyprus demolishes the wall in the Ledra Street area; Statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians; How the press covers the issue

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07), under the title The last wall is demolished, reports that last night around midnight the Greek Cypriots began to demolish the wall at the Greek Cypriot side of the barricade in the Ledra Street area. The paper describes the development as surprising and refers to statements made by the Government Spokesman, Mr Pashardis who noted that the demolition of the wall is a good will gesture by the government of the Republic of Cyprus. He added that the Greek Cypriot side is ready for negotiations with the Turkish side for the beginning of the crossings in the area.

    In statements from London Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, described this development as positive and added that this wall could not stay there. Mr Soyer noted that in the process which will follow the necessary technical works for the opening of the crossing point will be carried out.

    Furthermore, Rasit Pertev, advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, stated that Mr Tasos Djonis, Chief of the Diplomatic Bureau of President Papadopoulos, called him and informed him that the Ledra Street area (Lokmaci) crossing point will be opened.

    Mr Pertev said that Mr Michael Moller, UN Secretary-Generals Special Representative in Cyprus, has also confirmed this. Mr Pertev argued that the removal of the bridge from the area (by the Turkish side) had been an important step and the results from this began to be seen.

    Meanwhile, the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari said that he had a meeting with Mr Moller and the Mayor of Nicosia, Mrs Eleni Mavrou, but they have discussed nothing on the issue of the opening of Ledra Street barricade. He alleged that Mrs Mavrou for the first time seemed excited and worried, whereas Mr Moller implied that some things should be made for the opening of Ledra Street. Mr Bulutoglulari said that he knew nothing on the issue of the opening of the crossing point and described the developments as surprising.

    Furthermore, Kutlay Erk, Republican Turkish Partys (CTP) Foreign Affairs Secretary, said that a right decision was taken, even if it is taken with delay. Mr Erk congratulated the Greek Cypriots for this decision. He argued that President Papadopoulos could not resist to the external pressure and alleged that in case these pressures continue President Papadopoulos will sit at the negotiating table. He expressed the hope that the pressures will lead to the commencement of an initiative towards a solution in Cyprus.

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (09.03.07) refers to the issue under the title They demolished the wall. The paper writes that the representatives of the media watched the procedure from top of high-rising buildings in the area and adds that the people who have gathered there were wondering whether or not the Turkish army will withdraw now from the area and the crossings will begin.

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (09.03.07) under the title Lokmaci has been demolished reports that the Greek Cypriot administration, which has been trying to freeze the issue, demolished the wall at the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) area last nigh upon pressure by the international community. The paper argues that with this step the most important obstacle for opening the crossing point is lifted.

    According to YENI DUZEN, with this development the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat was proved to be right when he insisted on the removal of the bridge, something which created the image that he was in conflict with the army. Now new diplomacy traffic begins, report the paper.

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (09.03.07) refers to the issue under the title The wall has been demolished and the subtitle An iron curtain is coming in its place.

    Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (09.03.07) covers the developments under the title And the Greek Cypriot Wall at Lokmaci has been demolished. The paper alleges that President Papadopoulos was not able to resist to the international pressure and was defeated to the conditions he had set forth.

    Turkish daily RADIKAL, SABAH and HURRIYET newspapers (09.03.07) do not report about the demolition of the wall at the Ledra Street. However, the internet version of HURRIYET (09.03.07) reports under the title LOKMACI Surprise and reports that with a sudden decision the Greek Cypriots who for months were dragging their feet about the opening of the Lokmaci barricade which will join the two sides of Lefkosia had carried out an operation last night and demolished the wall.

    The paper goes on and reports that Olli Rehns tough letter to the President Papadopoulos was effective in the Greek Cypriot decision to back down. It reports that Olli Rehn repeated his request of opening of the barricade during his meeting with the Cypriot Foreign Minister Yorgos Lillikas the other day.

    There is no obstacle now before the opening of the crossing HURRIYET reports.

    HURRIYET reports that in order the crossing to be opened to the pedestrian traffic it is necessary to clear the area from mines and establish Greek Cypriot and Turkish Control and Customs buildings. The demolishing of the wall means that this process will start, reports HURRIYET.

    Turkish Private TV Channel NTV in its Internet version and (09.03.07, 9:00 hours bulletin) reported that the Greek Cypriot side removed the wall on its side last night. The operation started around 23 hours and lasted around three hours.

    The NTV then refers to the Cyprus Governments spokesman Christodoulous Pashiardis statement to the TV Channel, in which he said that pulling down the wall is an indication of good will. The NTV further reports that Mr. Christodoulos Pashiardis said that they were assured by the EU as regards safe passage and clearing of the area from land mines.

    (I/Ts.- MHY)

    [02] Soyer meets with Geoff Hoon in London

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer met at the House of Commons in London with the British Minister of State responsible for European Affairs, Geoff Hoon. During the 45-minute meeting the steps which should be made for reaching a comprehensive solution were discussed.

    Mr Soyer told his interlocutor that the Turkish side has fulfilled its responsibilities regarding the Gambari procedure, that it is ready for the immediate beginning of the works of the committees and the working groups, that their struggle for including the illegal universities of the occupied areas into the Bologna Procedure will continue and that they are expecting Britain to support them.

    Mr Soyer will hold a press conference today at the TRNCs representation in London. Yesterday he gave an interview to the Guardian newspapers diplomatic editor, Julian Borger and participated in a program of Londons Turkish Radio. Today he will participate in a lunch which will be given in his honor by the Ambassador of Turkey to London, Akin Alptuna.

    The paper reports that Soyer said in statements during a program of Londons Turkish Radio that they will continue their visits abroad in order to tell the whole world that the Turkish Cypriots have the right to exist and that they will never abandon their rights.

    (ITs)

    [03] Talats statements on its way to Azerbaijan

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has stated that they received a document from the Greek Cypriot side which has no title and added that such documents are called non-paper in diplomacy. In statements yesterday in Istanbul, Mr Talat said that only when the leaders of the two sides sit and discuss face to face, the Cyprus problem could be solved.

    He alleged that the main problem in Cyprus is the fact that the Greek Cypriots do not regard the Turkish Cypriots to be equal with them and that they to dot share power equally with them. Mr Talat alleged again that the agreement between France and the Republic of Cyprus on defence issues is contrary to the international law and added that the Greek Cypriot side concluded this agreement by using its membership to the EU.

    Asked whether or not he is going to Azerbaijan with the capacity of president, Mr Talat replied: We received an invitation and we will go.

    (ITs)

    [04] Avci, says that their foreign contacts will increase and announces that they will open representation offices in two more countries

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, has said that within the next few days their foreign contacts will increase, that they will open more representations abroad and that during their contacts activities in the fields of sports, culture and trade will also be included.

    During a meeting yesterday, Mr Avci replied to a question and noted that recently they have very positive contacts with Arab countries. He said that they raised to their interlocutors the issue of the production of halloumi cheese at world standards and that within the coming period there will be some openings.

    Meanwhile, illegal Bayrak television (08.03.07), broadcast the following on Mr Avcis statements:

    Deputy Prime Minister-Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has announced that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will open representation offices in two more countries.

    He said that the names of these countries will be kept secret for the time being to avoid any intervention by the Greek Cypriot Side.

    Mr Avci added that the opening of the new offices will bring the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus closer to the international community.

    [05] Efforts of the breakaway regime to establish cultural relations with Malta

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07) reports that Turgay Himi, self-styled cultural attaché of the TRNC in Germany, will visit Malta for participating in an opera festival upon invitation by the chairman of the committee of the festival, Mr Tony Casar Darien.

    In statements yesterday, Mr Hilmi said that he will hold preliminary negotiations for cultural cooperation between the TRNC, breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, and Malta.

    (ITs)

    [06] Polands ambassador says that they will work for cooperation between the Turkish municipality of Nicosia and the Polish municipalities

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (09.03.07) reports that the self-styled mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari met yesterday at his office with the ambassador of Poland to Nicosia, Zbigniew Szymanski, who reportedly said that the Turkish municipality of Nicosia has a recognized personality and added that they want to be informed on the work of the municipality.

    He noted that the newly elected mayor of Warsaw wants to meet with Mr Bulutoglulari, but due to some problems which exist after the local elections in Poland the meeting will be held later.

    Mr Szymanski noted that they will work for cooperation between the Turkish municipality of Nicosia and the Polish municipalities especially in the field of cultural activities.

    (ITs)

    [07] Statements by the Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Bilman

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.03.07) publishes the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Levent Bilman stated that the Greek Cypriot administration did not have the authority to take legal decisions on behalf of Turkish Cypriots or the whole island.

    In his weekly press briefing, Bilman was reminded of the recent news claiming that European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) made plans of handing over the air traffic of Middle East and Southern Mediterranean to the Greek Cypriot administration.

    Bilman who underscored that such a thing could not be possible, said further explanations were requested from Euro-control concerning the issue.

    Upon a question on the military cooperation agreement between France and Greek Cypriots, Bilman noted: We believe that the Greek Cypriot party does not have the authority to make such international agreements on behalf of Turkish Cypriots or the island.

    Noting that they contacted France regarding the matter, Bilman said French officials did not give a satisfactory explanation yet.

    Moreover, Bilman commented on the recent remarks of the U.S. ambassador to southern Lefkosia Ronald Schlicher regarding the Greek Cypriots' oil exploration activities in eastern Mediterranean.

    Stressing that he read the ambassador's statements from the Greek Cypriot newspapers, Bilman said the Greek Cypriot press could sometimes distort the truth.

    If the statements are like that, the ambassador affirms that Greek Cypriots have the authority to make such agreements. The Greek Cypriot administration is not authorized to take such legal decisions in the name of Turkish Cypriots and the whole Cyprus, Bilman reiterated.

    Concerning FM and Deputy PM Abdullah Gul's visit to Greece, Bilman said there was not a definite date yet and diplomatic contacts continued on the issue.

    Replying to a question on Arestis case as well, Bilman said both Greek Cypriots and Turkey filed an appeal concerning the case and thus it would not be appropriate to go into details as the legal process still continued.

    [08] Turkey may make a diplomatic move to the United States over US Ambassador's statement on Cyprus' oils

    Turkish daily Turkish Daily News newspaper (08.03.07) reports the following:

    Turkey is concerned about a recent statement covered in the Greek press reporting that U.S. Ambassador to Greek Cyprus Ronald Schlicher said that it is the sovereign right of Greek Cypriots to make agreements on oil and petroleum exploration.

    Turkey will make a diplomatic move to the United States if the news reported by the Greek press is true, Turkish diplomatic sources told the Turkish Daily News. The same sources said Turkey's clarification would include these views: Turkish Cyprus also has rights and authority over the maritime areas around the Island of Cyprus. Moreover, the Greek Cypriots do not represent the Island as a whole. Consequently, neither the legislation adopted nor the bilateral agreements concluded by the Greek Cypriot authorities have any effect. In addition, it must also be kept in mind that Turkey has legitimate and legal rights and interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Parts of the maritime areas that are subject of bilateral agreements intended to be concluded by the Greek Cypriot authorities also concern Turkey's stated rights and interests


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [09] New military media scandal exposed

    Under the above title Turkish Todays ZAMAN newspaper (09.03.07) publishes the following article by Baris Altintas and Ercan Yavuz:

    A secret military document uncovered by weekly periodical NOKTA that divides journalists into two groups has sparked controversy.

    The document proves that the military decided to grant access to newspapers and journalists to its press events only if they don't criticize the military, bringing back memories of a previous scandal where some media organs had printed false news stories manufactured by the military. Meanwhile, the Office of the Chief of General Staff has launched an investigation into how the secret document was leaked, news agencies reported Thursday.

    In 1998, only one year after a memorandum issued by the military brought down the coalition government at the time, newspapers started printing peculiar news stories linking two journalists and the then-leader of the Human Rights Association (0HD) to a terrorist group. The two journalists lost their jobs and received death threats, while the leader of the 0HD survived a near-fatal shooting. The two stories were proven false rather quickly, but it was not until 2000 when journalist Nazl1 Il1cak found evidence that the stories were prepared on orders from the Turkish military. The case came to be called "and1ç," a Turkish word that was unknown to most, meaning "memorandum." Since the Turkish public's familiarization with the word when Il1cak revealed the truth about military-manufactured news stories in mass dailies, for most people the word now has the same meaning it has for the military tradition, which roughly signifies "monitoring of publications, press organs and their staff members."

    Seven years after the first and1ç case was revealed, Ahmet ^1k from the political weekly Nokta got hold of a classified document prepared for the Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun by an military unit founded in 1997 to monitor the press. The three-page document titled "A Review of Press Organs with Accreditation," refers to the 10-year practice of the military to allow reporters and journalists from "trustworthy" press agencies into Turkish Armed Forces' (TSK) briefings and event, while not giving access to members of "untrustworthy" newspapers or TV channels.

    The document only reconsiders whether to continue accreditation of those on the lists. Many newspapers that reach out to thousands of readers, such as Zaman, Yeni ^afak and Bugün and news channels such as STV or Kanal 7 are not even subject to review by the military. They are branded as "untrustworthy" from the start.

    The new and1ç explains that the main reason behind granting access to information about TSK activities according to the "trustworthy" and "untrustworthy" classification is to protect the TSK from "provocative and purposefully distorted reporting of publications that support separatist and destructive movements to mislead public opinion" and to prevent their members from entering military zones, units and facilities to "obtain intelligence and relay this information to separatist-destructive elements or harm the facilities, equipment or military personnel."

    According to the document, military accreditation of press organs is not a mere "pass" allowing access to military events organized for press members; rather it is an inspection of "reliability." The document explains that reporters from organizations deemed to be "untrustworthy" are not allowed in military buildings since they have the potential to function as "spies, assassins and even suicide bombers" working for "separatist" and "destructive" elements.

    The document, dated November 2006, briefly reviews the past 10 years of the accreditation practice.

    In addition to being potential assassins, suicide bombers and the like, journalists could also work to "damage the TSK's reputation for political or economic interests," the November 2006 and1ç argues. For the document, even if a publication or a journalist does not support a "separatist or destructive" movement, they might be blacklisted if they have at one point criticized the TSK.

    According to the report, not granting military accreditation to a newspaper or a journalist would damage the paper or the individual's reputation in the public eye. The white and blacklists were made up with the purpose of marring the reputation of the untrustworthy. The most important feature of the report is that it doesn't necessarily accept a journalist from a "trustworthy" organization to be on the white list. For example, the mass circulation daily Hürriyet" is approved as a "trustworthy" newspaper in the report, which is quick to add "[Hürriyet columnists] Cüneyt Ülsever and Hadi Uluengin are known to be against military operation." Although the report approves Hürriyet writer Emin Çölasan as a TSK-friendly columnist, a note reading "he did write critical article about the military during the term of the former Chief of General Staff R. Gen. Hilmi Özkök," is attached under his name.

    The Radikal daily is approved; however, its writers Hasan Celal Güzel, Murat Belge, Y1ld1r1m Türker and Nuray Mert are blacklisted and barred from TSK activities for the press. Other newspapers and TV stations that received accreditation but some of whose writers were excluded include Takvim, H.O Tercüman, SKY Türk TV station, Haber Türk TV channel and Jane's Defense Weekly, an international periodical reporting on military and corporate affairs. The decision as to whether accredit daily Star newspaper, TGRT news channel, which was recently bought by Murdoch's News Corporation, and Kanal Türk TV will be made after closer monitoring, since these organizations all had administrative and structural changes in the recent months.

    The report includes lengthy comments and analyses about many of the country's prominent journalists. Radikal's Ankara Office Representative Murat Yetkin is written about as a "successful and ambitious journalist who merits special attention." The report declared 32 journalists as being "against military intervention in politics and military campaigns." The same journalists are also "known for having written columns criticizing military takeovers."

    Meanwhile, 55 journalists, including Hürriyet's Editor in Chief Erturul Özkök are white listed as safe columnists who are "pro-TSK."

    What does the way the military views the Turkish media signify in terms of press freedom and democracy? "I don't think classifying journalists or preparing an and1ç is right, not for the Office of the Chief of General Staff or for any other institution," says Ahmet Abakay, head of the Contemporary Journalists' Association (ÇGD). "Making analyses that revolve around 'this person is against a military takeover' and 'this person is for one' would hurt the reputation of the institution that is the source of the analysis."

    There is also the problem that columnists change their minds or react differently in the face of different issues, something that renders the classification purely ridiculous according to Abakay. "And indeed, if there is a list of 'those against takeovers,' since when is that a crime? A military takeover is anti-democratic. Being against military takeovers is a constitutional obligation."

    The ÇGD says it cannot overstate its objection to the practice of and1ç or any other black lists. However, Cengiz Çandar, a journalist who was once the victim of manipulated news stories manufactured by the military, doesn't completely agree. "Most certainly, such discrimination is not favourable in terms of journalism rights to access to information. However, in Turkey, all institutions have the right to chose whom to invite to their press briefings. What we went through in the past [in 1998] was part of a psychological war, and was slander. It was a campaign of slander then. This document here sounds different, it is more like, and 'I don't like this one, so I won't invite them, that person is okay, they should come.' the Office of the Chief of General Staff, as a military institution does not have the obligation to function according to principles of journalism."

    What could be the purpose of forming such a list, or this list being uncovered now? Milliyet columnist Derya Sazak, who was listed as a columnist "against military interventions," has no idea. "I don't know what the purpose of the list could be, or what will happen now that it hit the press," he told Today's Zaman in a brief telephone interview.

    "I didn't know that they were currently working on such a list now. I was the editor in chief at the time of the earlier memorandum scandal. At that time, I was aware of some of the military's activities about the press, but we weren't harmed thanks to the uncompromising attitude of [Milliyet owner] Ayd1n Doan. During that process, journalists Cengiz Çandar and M. Ali Birand were sacked from their newspaper. However, I doubt such a process would repeat at this point."

    Radikal's Mehmet Ali K1lal1 does not think there is a hidden motive in appointments to list. "This tradition has been in place for a long time. I think the Office of the Chief of General Staff, just like all other institutions, should have a system to accredit whomever it chooses." However, "newspapers and columnists should be allowed to express their own opinions about the military. I think the main criterion for not granting accreditation should be the reporting of intentionally distorted facts about the TSK."

    ES/


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