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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-03-27
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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.60/07 27.03.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Ercakica repeats that the Turkish side is still evaluating the situation in order to determine its stance on the 8 July processTurkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (27.03.07) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, has said that they are looking for a method in order to make the process, which went astray, go smoothly. In statements yesterday to illegal Bayrak television, Mr Ercakica said that the evaluation made by the Turkish side for its stance regarding the 8 July process continues and that they might submit a proposal on the table.
He noted that they are holding contacts on the issue with the government, the opposition, Ankara and foreign ambassadors and diplomats. He pointed out to the importance of the 8 July process not being an open-ended procedure and added: If this process will be turned into an obstacle to the solution of the Cyprus problem, if it is a detainment, we do not need it.
Noting that after their evaluation, they might put a new proposal on the negotiating table, Ercakica said: We might bring to the table something with a comprehensive approach.
Mr Talats spokesman alleged that the manipulative attack of President Papadopoulos to prevent the Direct Trade Regulation of the EU will not have a result and added that Germany continues its works on the issue with fastidiousness.
Referring to the opening of the Ledra Street crossing point, Mr Ercakica said that the negotiations between the Turkish occupation army and the National Guard of the Republic of Cyprus continue and that nothing negative regarding the negotiations has been conveyed to them until now. He noted that the debates at the negotiations concern the issue of who will repair the buildings in the buffer zone and not the withdrawal of the military positions.
 Ertugruloglu: The 8 July process was turned into a mechanism working against the TRNCTurkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (27.03.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with a delegation from the National Unity Party (UBP) under the partys chairman, Tahsin Ertugruloglu.
After the meeting, which lasted 1.5 hours, Mr Ertugruloglu said that they do not believe that the Gambari process is in favour of the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC. He noted that they do not see any benefits from the continuation of this process, the negative aspects of which are more than its positive ones.
Mr Ertugruloglu said that the meeting yesterday took place upon a demand by Mr Talat and that they discussed the Gambari process. He noted that during the meeting they expressed the views of their party regarding this process.
Mr Ertugruloglu argued that Mr Talat entered into this process without conducting any consultations and that this process has been turned into a mechanism which the Greek Cypriot side manipulates against the TRNC and the Turkish Cypriots. I evaluate as positive step the fact that from the moment he saw this problem he felt the need to consult the opposition parties and especially with the main opposition party, added Ertugruloglu.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.03.07) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP), stated that in case the MPs of UBP resigned from the assembly by-elections would be carried out and not early elections.
In statements yesterday in the occupied part of Nicosia, Mr Ertugruloglu said that in this case they would not present candidates. If with the resignation the government fell, we would resign from the very beginning, he added. Within the framework of their protest acts against the self-styled government of the breakaway regime, the MPs toured yesterday the area within the walls in the occupied part of Nicosia and distributed brochures to the people under the title You are not without a choice for clean society, clean politics. You are the choice. Ertugruloglu joined the MPs of his party in the tour after his meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat.
 Avci has begun his contacts in the USATurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.03.07) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus, began yesterday his contacts in Washington.
Mr Avci visited Washington in order to participate in the 26th Annual Conference of Americas Turkish Council - Turkish-American Business Council. According to information acquired from the ministry of foreign affairs, Avci participated in a reception organized at the Turkish embassy in Washington in honour of the guests who visited the USA to take part in the conference. General Ergin Saygun, second in command of the Turkish Armed Forces, Ali Babacan, Turkeys chief negotiator with the EU and Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of Turkeys Chambers and Stock Exchanges Union (TOBB) were among the guest at the reception.
Furthermore, according to Anatolia news agency, Mr Avci stated that the USA and the EU should keep their promises and lift the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots. He said that he would meet with some officials of the US State Department and members of the Congress. We will ask from them to behave equally to the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, he noted.
 Reference to Cyprus by Turkish general while addressing the Turkish-American CouncilANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (26.03.07) reported from Washington D.C. that Turkish Deputy Chief of Turkish General Staff Ergin Saygun addressed the 26th annual conference of the Turkish American Council (ATC).
Referring to Cyprus, general Saygun, stating that recently the Greek Cypriot administration accused Turkey of invading the territory of Cyprus, he reminded that it was not Turkey who ended "the republic of Cyprus" where the two communities lived together, but it was ended by a military coup that was supported by Greece.
Showing pictures exposing the alleged violence committed against the Turkish population in the island, Saygun said Turkey would not withdraw its forces from the island until a just solution to the problem was found.
Saygun alleged that the military expenditures of the Republic of Cyprus had increased recently especially after its membership to the EU. Saygun also said that it was striking that the Greek Cypriot administration deployed American-made weapons in the island since 1988.
 Nationalist organizations react against bi-communal activities; AFRIKA sees relation between the annulment of a protest act tonight and the softening of the Soyer-Kivrikoglu crisisTurkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (27.03.07) argues that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, felt more uncomfortable than anybody else from the reactions against the commander of the Turkish occupation forces, General Hayri Kivrikoglu and exerted efforts to soften the climate by giving moderate messages.
The paper reports that it is not yet known how the General reacted to the hand of peace extended by Soyer with his statement that he is not sullen, but some nationalist organizations which participate in the Cyprus Turkish Platform have decided to annul the protest which they had planned for today in front of Saray Hotel against a bi-communal meeting which will take place in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. The paper alleges that this development occurred after a warning by the General.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.03.07) reports that in a written statement signed by the spokesman of the above-mentioned platform, Esen Omurlu, it is noted that they annulled the protest tonight when they found out that the bi-communal activity will take place in the free areas of the island. He alleged that those who visit the occupied areas should learn to tolerate and respect their flag and symbols.
Furthermore, according to Turkish Cypriot daily VOLKAN newspaper (27.03.07), the above-mentioned organizations (totally 18 nationalist organizations) held yesterday a press conference and alleged that the Turkish Cypriots are being deceived today by foreign powers and their collaborators who are within the Turkish Cypriot community. The platform of the 18 organizations called on the government to return to the right road and defend the existence of the TRNC.
 Turkish Cypriots want the recommencement of the ferry journeys between the occupied port of Famagusta and SyriaTurkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (27.03.07) reports that Salih Tunar, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, has said that they asked from the Syrian businessmen, who visited recently the occupied areas of the island, the recommencement of the sea journeys between the occupied port of Famagusta and Latakia which had been conducted in the past.
In statements to YENIDUZEN, Mr Tunar noted that the commercial relations between Syria and the breakaway regime in the occupied part of Cyprus will increase in case such journeys begin. Mr Tunar said that the contacts of the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) and the Syrian businessmen were held in the occupied areas within the framework of ICOs decision to increase its relations with the northern part of Cyprus.
Tunar noted that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry has been invited to the general assembly of the Islamic Unions Industry and Commerce Chambers and the working meeting of the Islamic Centre of Development of Trade, the headquarters of which are in Morocco. The meeting will be held in April.
Mr Tunar said that during their meetings with the Syrian businessmen they saw that the Turkish Cypriots may invest in the field of milk industry in Syria and the halloumi cheese which will be produced there could be marketed in other Arab countries. He said that in May Turkish Cypriot businessmen will visit Syria.
 Two thousand seasonal workers from Turkey and their families are living in unhealthy conditions in MorfouTurkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (27.03.07) reports that the seasonal workers who have come from Turkey to the occupied Morfou area for the citrus fruits sector are living in unhealthy conditions with their families. The paper notes that the number of the workers reaches 2.000. The houses they live in could not be described even as coop, according to the paper.
 A golf field will be inaugurated by Talat at Ayios AmvrosiosTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (27.03.07) reports that on Saturday 7 April, the first international golf club under the name The Korineum Golf Club will be opened in the area of the occupied Agios Amvrosios village in Keryneia. The opening ceremony of the 6.232 -square meter golf field will be conducted by the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat.
 The speaker of the Turkish parliament met with the Commanders of the Turkish armyANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (26.03.07) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc stated that the visit paid today by Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug and Gendarmerie Forces Commander Gen. Isik Kosaner "took place in a beneficial, positive and sincere atmosphere".
According to a written statement from the parliament, the commanders visited Arinc so as to return his call, as the parliament speaker previously paid visits to their offices on the occasion of their first appointment.
Arinc and the Force Commanders exchanged views on issues such as security, regional developments and activities of the parliament during the talk, the statement added.
 Prosecutors examine PM over Mr Öcalan claimsUnder the above title ZAMAN newspaper (27.03.07) reports the following:
A prosecutor on Monday launched a preliminary investigation into whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan broke the law by allegedly referring to Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as "Say1n Öcalan," a Turkish term of address that translates as "Mr" or "esteemed," in an interview with an Australian radio station in 2000.
Such a choice of words while referring to Öcalan has led courts to charge or convict dozens of Kurdish politicians for illegally praising "crime or criminals." Those convicted include Ahmet Türk, the leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) who received a six-month jail sentence.
The Ankara Chief Prosecutors Office opened an initial investigation and will listen to recordings of the interview with Australias SBS Network, which was conducted in Turkish. The prime minister and other members of Parliament have immunity that protects them from prosecution, and Parliament would need to approve any further legal steps against Erdoan. Erdoan commands a strong majority in the 550-seat Parliament and is likely to easily thwart any effort to prosecute him. The opposition, center-left Republican People s Party (CHP) insists that Erdoan has committed a political act that should disqualify him from running in presidential elections next month. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül earlier denied claims that Erdoan had referred to Öcalan as Say1n Öcalan.
Troubles and achievement on jail anniversary
The investigation by prosecutors comes on the eighth anniversary of Erdoan s going to prison for having recited a poem that was deemed Islamic at a public rally in the province of Siirt in southeastern Anatolia. The move indicates that Erdoan is still facing legal troubles eight years after going to jail, but the prime minister has also come a long way since, standing as the strongest candidate for the presidency in the upcoming elections in May.
In 1999 Erdoan served four months in jail after he was convicted of Islamist sedition for reading the poem at a political rally in Siirt. In 2002 he was barred from standing in the elections because of this conviction. However, the tables have turned and now, on the anniversary of the start of his jail sentence on March 26, 1999, the same man who many said would never hold any administrative post now stands as the strongest candidate for the upcoming presidential elections. This was made possible when in that same year, the AK Party pushed through a constitutional amendment that allowed Erdoan to win a freshly vacant seat in Siirt in a by-election, after which he was appointed as prime minister by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
Erdoan, who has been serving as prime minister for four consecutive years, would almost certainly win the presidential election in 20 days if he announces plans to run. His AK Party has yet not nominated any presidential candidate, but the prime minister has not ruled out his own possible candidacy.
Application to close down AK Party
Meanwhile, the neo-nationalist Workers Party (0P), which has roots in Marxism, on Monday applied to the Chief Prosecutor s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals seeking the closure of the AK Party. A spokesperson for the 0P, in a brief statement before filing the application, said the prime minister was not fit for the presidency. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan s place is not the presidential palace, but the [Constitutional Court s] Impeachment Tribunal, he told reporters in front of the prosecutor s office. Party members submitted their application shortly after the press statement.
 The Chairman of the Russian Federation Council is holding contacts in TurkeyANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (26.03.07) reported from Ankara that the
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan received Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mikhailovich Mironov, who is currently paying a state visit to Turkey.No statement was released after the meeting.
Mironov earlier had a meeting with Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc, and was received by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Later, the Turkish Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc hosted a banquet in honor of Russian Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mikhailovich Mironov.
During the dinner, Arinc underlined the good relations between the two countries, and said: "Russia is one of our leading economic and trade partners. Our bilateral trade volume reached almost 21 billion USD at the end of 2006. Energy and construction are two important areas in which we cooperate."
Arinc noted that 2007 is marked as the "Russian Culture Year" in Turkey, and 2008 will be celebrated as "Turkish Culture Year" in Russia. "This will not only improve our relations, but also bring our people closer to each other," he emphasized.
Turkey aims to contribute to efforts aiming to ensure rule of law, democracy, human rights and stability in the region, Arinc said.
Arinc noted that Turkey also aims to pursue a multi-lateral and pacifist foreign policy with regional countries, and enhance its relations with them.
"Therefore, we think that a constructive cooperation between our countries will contribute to regional and international peace," he added.
On Mr Mironov´s visit, TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (27.03.07) publishes the following report under the title:
Russia, Turkey may hit $25 bln in trade by 2010:
Turkey and Russia may reach $25 billion in trade volume by 2010 by establishing interregional relations between the two countries, according to Sergey Mironov, chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
Sergey Mironov (L), chairman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, PM Recep Tayyip Erdoan (R) and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül (second R) had talks in Ankara.
Mironov was speaking Monday at the Turkish Parliament where he visited Parliament Speaker Bülent Ar1nç.
Mironov said, "I believe that commercial relations will improve through regions." The Russian Federation consists of regions and is being represented at regional level.
Bilateral relations between the two countries received a major boost in December 2004 when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Turkish capital and said the two countries had laid to rest tensions that often arose from mutual accusations of harboring each other's dissidents. Ar1nç said that Turkey, both with its government and Parliament, has the will to turn bilateral relations into cooperation. Bringing to mind that this year has been declared Russian Culture Year in Turkey, Ar1nç also said 2008 would be declared the Turkish Culture Year in Russia.
Earlier in the day, Mironov met with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Ahead of his visit to Ankara, he was quoted as saying in Moscow over the weekend that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriots by the international community was "unacceptable." A report drawn up by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the time for the lifting of economic sanctions imposed on the Turkish Cypriots was vetoed in May 2004 by permanent UN Security Council member Russia upon pressure from Greece and Greek Cyprus. The efforts of Turkey, Britain and the US to bring the document once again onto the agenda of the Security Council have so far failed.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 Columnist in Today´s Zaman argues that Turkey´s frustration with the US is set to create Turkish-Russian repprochementIstanbul TODAY´S ZAMAN (26.03.07) publishes the following column by Omer Taspinar under the title: Turkish-Russian Rapprochement: Reality or Fiction? :
Is Turkey's honeymoon with Russia over? The short answer is "not yet." This question rightly assumes that there was indeed a major rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow. Understandably, many Western analysts fail to see the logic behind a Turco-Russian coupling. After all, Turkey and Russia are old rivals, with long histories of war, animosity and strategic divergence. But historic rivalry is not eternal destiny. In addition to growing energy deals, trade volume and mass tourism, the last few year, witnessed the most crucial factor creating a common ground between Ankara and Moscow: frustration with Washington.
Ankara's troubles with Washington are well known but worth repeating since they give Russia a positive image. Turkey's most pressing concern is the Kurdish question in Iraq. The fact that the Kurds are now America's best friends, and more importantly, the fact that the PKK has found a safe haven in northern Iraq is proving too much to digest for even the most pro-Western circles in Turkey. Washington's inaction exacerbates Turkey's conspiracy-prone political environment. As a result, everyone in Turkey believes a Kurdish state in northern Iraq is around the corner -- courtesy of the American invasion.
In addition to the Kurdish issue, Turkey's anti-Americanism is compounded by another identity problem: radical secularism. America's clumsy attempts to promote Turkey as a "model" or more recently as a "source of inspiration" in the Islamic world have disastrously backfired. The perception that America is supporting "moderate Islam" in Turkey deeply alienates the staunchly secularist Kemalist elite. Already alarmed about AK party's so-called "hidden agenda" of Islamicization, the Kemalists have become the most anti-American circle in Turkey, closely followed by anti-Kurdish nationalists. The implications for Washington are bleak. By alienating the Kemalists and Turkish nationalists at the same time, America has basically "lost" most of Turkey.
But why should such Turkish frustration create a Turkish-Russian rapprochement? Mainly because Russia is now equally frustrated with America. Moscow has its own axe to grind with Washington because of its loss of influence in its' "near abroad." In that sense, Turkey's troubles with Washington coincide with longer-term Russian disgruntlement over American encroachment in Eastern Europe, the Caucuses and Central Asia. Turkey and Russia's concerns about Iran, Iraq and Syria also seem to converge. Both countries see in Iraq a chaos that has damaged their national interests -- Turkey more profoundly, but Russia as well, given its Iraqi oil contracts. In Iran, Turkey's interests in heading off the PKK and the potential emergence of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq complement Russia's interests in investing in the Iranian civilian nuclear power and nurturing an anti-American ally. In Syria, Turkey sees a platform against a potential Kurdish state, while Russia is looking to rebuild relations with an old Soviet-era friend.
More important than their common interests in the Middle East, is Ankara and Moscow's new agreement about their respective minority problems. Unlike during the 1990s, Turkey and Russia now support each other's positions on Chechnya and the Kurds -- expressing similar fears of terrorism and separatism. This is hardly surprising. Russia and Turkey are both status-quo oriented powers. They put a high premium on stability in their neighborhood. They share an aversion towards potentially chaotic regime change and see the Bush Administration's "freedom and democracy" agenda as a hegemonic and destabilizing policy that will damage their national interests on their southern tiers. Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that Putin's Munich speech denouncing American unilateralism was put on the Turkish General Staff's official website.
Despite all these factors, it is still extremely premature to speak of a "strategic convergence" between Turkey and Russia. What we have is tactical flirtations born out of frustration with America. This is hardly a regional strategic realignment. After all, Moscow has done absolutely nothing to help Turkey vis-à-vis Cyprus, Armenia, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. And Moscow's recent decision to go ahead with the Burgaz-Alexandroupolis bypass oil pipeline -- a project that favors Bulgaria and Greece at the expense of the Samsun-Ceyhan option -- clearly illustrates the realistic limits to Turkish-Russian relations, even in the field of energy. History may not be destiny. But it still matters in shaping national interests.