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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-10-04
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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.191/07 04.10.07
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 President Gul ąddressed PACE and replied to members' questionsAnkara Anatolia news agency (03.10.07) reports the following from Strasbourg:
The reforms on human rights in Turkey are highly appreciated by the international community and by many countries ranging from Europe to Middle East, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul, addressing the General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) on Wednesday.
Recalling that he had briefed participants on the assertive reform agenda of Turkey during his speech at PACE in 2003, Gul stressed that Turkey successfully fulfilled the promises it made then and met the expectations.
Stressing that one of the major commitments of Turkey was on the human rights policy, Gul said the country adhered to 7 UN conventions on human rights, as well as many conventions and protocols adopted by the Council of Europe.
Gul, who indicated that Turkey has implemented many legal reforms on laws related to political parties, fight against terrorism, associations, as well as civil and penal codes, also said that legal amendments were approved in areas such as gender equality, restriction of discrimination, freedom of expression, cultural and religious rights and torture and maltreatment.
Gul said that unifying effect of democratic reforms has made Turkey a more pluralist, embracing and tolerant country.
He noted that nearly 85 percent of Turkish people participated in general elections which were held in Turkey this summer and this confirmed loyalty of Turkish people to democratic values.
He added that reform process in Turkey will go on unabated.
Regarding the activities to prepare a draft constitution in Turkey, Gul said: Talks (on draft constitution) will continue among political parties, NGOs, business community, think-tank organizations, intellectuals, press organs and citizens. I believe these talks will be concluded in line with constitutional norms and requirements of 21st century.
Gul also said that Turkey, together with Spain, has assumed co-chairmanship of the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative under UN roof to encourage dialogue and cooperation between cultures and religions.
He noted that Turkey, which has hosted many civilizations and has connections with a large geographical area, knows very well, that dialogue between different cultures is necessary, beneficial and enriching. He added that Turkey's experience is the strongest evidence that secular democracy can develop within a society that is populated mostly by Muslims.
Turkish Cypriot party continues to support a political solution that will make possible the union of Cyprus, on the basis of parameters established by the UN; and within the framework of 'goodwill mission' of UN SG, said Turkish President Abdullah Gul, addressing General Assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) on Wednesday.
Underscoring that Cyprus issue was the oldest unsettled conflict in Europe, Gul said, This issue could have been solved with the concurrent referenda held in 2004 within a UN plan, however, this chance was missed as Greek Cypriots rejected the plan.
Gul also indicated that a solution in Cyprus could have turned the East Mediterranean into a region of cooperation between Turkey, Greece and the island country.
Stressing that the South Caucasus was also a critical region because of unsolved conflicts, President Gul said the frozen disputes constituted a severe threat for the peace and stability of the region.
He emphasized that the solution of problems in the South Caucasus was a primary and urgent issue for the neighbouring countries.
Commenting on the latest situation in South-eastern Europe as well, Gul noted that Turkey acted together with the international community to determine Kosovo's final status.
Gul said the problem the region was facing today necessitates multilateral cooperation between Balkan states.
Noting that there was a growing interest towards the Black Sea region due to the energy corridors and strategically transport and trade routes located in the area, Gul said boosting economic cooperation might contribute to the solution of political problems in the region.
President Gul strongly rejected any proposal aiming to fragment Iraq in a bid to find a solution for the country's political instability, saying that such a move would further complicate the situation.
Current state of affairs in Iraq may seem bleak but no one should make a mistake in considering fragmenting Iraq as a solution to the country's problems. That would be the worst scenario both for Iraqi people and the wider region. Territorial integrity, political unity and stability of Iraq are of crucial importance for the country's neighbours, Gul said.
The situation in Iraq closely affects Turkey's security due to the problems encountered in the fight against terrorism. The terrorist organization PKK is still using the north of Iraq as a shelter and safe haven as well as a staging area for its attacks inside Turkey, Gul stated.
 Talat met with Britains Special Representative Joan Ryan for CyprusIllegal Bayrak television (03.10.07) broadcast the following:
Britains Special Representative for Cyprus Joan Ryan was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat this morning. The British High Commissioner Peter Millet was also present at the meeting.
Speaking at a press conference at the British High Commission in Lefkosia later, Ms Ryan stressed that Britain is taking its responsibilities as one of the guarantor powers in Cyprus to encourage both communities to find a settlement.
She added that fully-fledged negotiations must be restarted soon within the framework set by the Gambari process, which she described as a flexible framework, in order to reach a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem.
Britains Special Representative for Cyprus Joan Ryan arrived in Cyprus yesterday for talks on both sides of the island.
The aim of the visit, which is the first by Ms Ryan after being appointed as Britains Special Representative to Cyprus, is to learn more about the Cyprus issue at first hand.
This morning, she was received by President Mehmet Ali Talat at the Presidential Palace.
No statement was issued before and after the meeting.
This afternoon, Mrs Ryan held a press conference at the British High Commission in Lefkosia.
During the press conference, she underlined the need for encouraging progress towards the reunification of the island.
Making an evaluation of her contacts in the North, Mrs Ryan said she was pleased with the positive attitude of the Turkish Cypriot officials towards pushing forward for a settlement.
Touching upon her visit to the EU Program Support Office today, she said she was impressed with the work being carried out there on EU-funded projects.
These projects will make a good difference for people, she added.
Adding that there is an ongoing work aimed at increasing bi-communal activities between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots living in UK, the British Representative stated that the increase in bi-communal activities will support the peace process in Cyprus.
Pointing to the growing pessimism in Cyprus as a result of lack of progress towards reaching a settlement, she said the political will of all sides will pave the way for further efforts aimed at finding a solution.
 Avci expects openings from Italy, UK and SwedenTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.10.07) reports in its first page that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci stated that there will be no developments as regards the Cyprus problem until February, because of the Greek Cypriot elections. However, the UN may launch a new initiative after February, he said.
Mr Avci was speaking at a press conference prior to his return to occupied Cyprus where he evaluated the contacts he had in Italy, UK and New York.
Mr Avci referred to the ferry services between the occupied Famagusta port and the Syrian port of Latakia and stated that the services will take place twice a week.
Referring to his trip to Italy, Mr Avci described as positive the contacts he had with Italian officials, especially with the officials of the Radical Party. Upon a question he said that they expect openings from Italy, UK and Sweden. However he said that he does not want to comment further on these openings because the Greek Cypriots try to put obstacles before and after the openings.
Mr Avci said that the TRNC wants to improve its relations with every country and added that the relations with the country members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference have improved lately. He reminded that the Youth Forum meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference will take place soon in Keryneia.
Referring to the forthcoming meeting between Talat and the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the 16th of October, Mr Avci said that they will discuss the 5th of September meeting and the 8th of July process.
 President Abdullah Gul meets ECHR President Jean Paul CostaAnkara Anatolia news agency (03.10.07) reports the following from Strasbourg:
President Abdullah Gul met European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) President Jean Paul Costa in Strasbourg on Monday.
President Gul and Costa discussed reform process at the ECHR, applications to ECHR from Turkey, as well as human rights and democratic reforms in Turkey, sources said.
The meeting was also attended by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek, Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Turkey's permanent representative to Council of Europe Ambassador Daryal Batibay and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Undersecretary Ahmet Acet.
 Two hundred fifty seven applications to the Property CommissionTurkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspapers (04.10.07) writes in its first page that the number of applications by Greek Cypriots to the Property Commission, which has been operating for two years now, has reached 257. At the same time, the European Court of Human Rights is expected to deliver its verdict in the case filed by Greek Cypriot Mike Tymvios in the coming days.
As the paper writes, decision was made for 21 cases. Commission officials stated that the works for the other applications are continuing. Regarding the 21 cases, a decision was taken for returning the property in three cases, a decision for exchange of properties was taken for two cases and as regards the rest of the cases a decision for compensations was taken. The officials did not give information regarding the amount of the compensations. As regards the cases of the return of property, in two of the cases the property is in Akanthou and in one case in Leonarisso. The two cases in which the exchange of property was decided concern Mike Tymvios.
Commenting on the issue, VOLKAN writes in its first page that both property and money are given to the Greek Cypriots and notes that the amount of compensations was not announced.
In addition, illegal Bayrak television (03.10.07) broadcast the following on the same issue:
The number of Greek Cypriots who have applied to the TRNC Immovable Property Commission has reached 257. Meanwhile, the European Court of Human Rights is expected to deliver its verdict in the case filed by Greek Cypriot Mike Timvios in the coming days.
Mike Timvios had accepted an offer made by the Commission to exchange his property in the North with a Turkish Cypriot who had left property of a similar value in the South.
If accepted by the ECHR, the deal reached between Mr Timvios and the TRNC Immovable Property Commission will strengthen the credibility of the Commission as an adequate domestic remedy for property disputes as well as set a precedent for future cases.
Meanwhile, the number of Greek Cypriot applications at the TRNC Immovable Property Commission has risen to 257. The Commission has so far settled 21 of the 257 outstanding applications.
Legal experts say the recognition of the Commission as a `local remedy` will open the way for 1,400 outstanding applications at the ECHR to be passed to the Commission.
 The occupation regime distributes plots of landTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.10.07) writes that the self-styled minister of interior Ozkan Murat has stated that as of Friday the plots of lands for building residence will begin to be distributed to the right owners according to the so-called law for acquiring residence.
Murat said yesterday that the plots of land will be distributed in 30 villages starting from Eptakomi and that the aim was to overcome the needs and the problems of the citizens and especially to give plots of land so that the young families may be able to acquire a residence in their own region.
 Afrika writes that UBP officials went to Ankara for directionsUnder the title Ertugruloglu is following directions Turkish Cypriot daily newspaper (04.10.07) reports in its first page reports that officials from the National Unity Party (UBP) who do not seem to be able to succeed in applying the boycott of the assemblys sessions, started some time ago, they went again to Ankara yesterday and met with Egemen Bagis, who is the member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Responsible of Foreign Relations. Ertugruloglu and UBPs general secretary Nazim Cavusoglu will make statements about their contacts in Ankara after their return to occupied Cyprus.
AFRIKA writes that this is the most difficult time in its history for UBP which is suffering loses. The paper writes that the split within the party is growing bigger.
 European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee adopts resolution on TurkeyAnkara Anatolia news agency (03.10.07) reports the following from Brussels:
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (EP) adopted on Wednesday a resolution on Turkey, prepared by Dutch Christian Democrat MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten, by 48 votes against 4 abstained votes.
The Armenian lobby, which tried to include the allegations regarding the incidents of 1915 into the text, could not be successful, while the motions concerning changes in favour of Turkey were adopted.
Full membership target was emphasized in the motions for a resolution regarding Turkey, said German Socialist MEP Vural Oger after the voting.
It could be better, but I think that this is fairly a good result. Pontus claims and Armenian allegations were rejected. Changes in favour of two parties in Cyprus were made. The reform process in Turkey was supported. Most importantly, the expression 'full membership' was included in the text, Oger stated.
On the other hand, rapporteur Oomen-Ruijten said that the EU should keep open its dialogue with Turkey as long as Turkey has a stable democracy.
Oomen-Ruijten noted that the resolution will be voted at the EP plenary session on October 24th, and expected a good outcome from that session.
The motions adopted in the meeting welcome Turkish governments commitment to the reform process and encourage the government's initiative to prepare a new constitution.
The text calls on EU member states to open negotiations with Turkey in energy as soon as technical preparations are completed, and underscore Turkey's importance as a transit country in diversifying natural gas supplies for the EU.
The resolution regrets women rights violations, and expresses concern over honour killings.
The resolution also asks Turkish government and all political groups in Iraq to fight against terrorism and to boost cooperation in combating terrorism.
It calls on the parties in Cyprus to approach constructively to the UN settlement process.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 The Turkish Press of 3 October 2007Following are highlights from the Turkish press of October 3 on issues of the current political agenda, as follows:
With reference to "a strange referendum," an editorial in Milliyet points out that the majority of the population is not aware of the content of the referendum, let alone that a referendum is going to be held. According to the editorial, the outcome of the referendum on the constitutional amendments will determine whether the president is elected by the public; whether the presidential term of office will be reduced from seven to five years; whether a president can be elected for two consecutive terms; whether general elections are held every four, and not five, years; and whether Assembly sessions can begin with the participation of 184 deputies. Another strange aspect of the referendum, the editorial says, is that these amendments are being incorporated in the new draft constitution, anyway. So why spend 100 million New Turkish Lira from the taxpayer's money for the referendum? Most importantly, what will happen to President Gul's status? The government is embarrassed by the situation, according to the editorial, and was therefore keeping silent, until yesterday when Prime Minister Erdogan issued a statement calling on all to vote on 21 October. The decision to hold the referendum was made on the spur of the moment, to retaliate for a Constitutional Court decision last May, the editorial recalls, and it is now "deadlocking Turkey's agenda unnecessarily."
In an article entitled "What does Buyukanit mean?" Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu analyses Chief of Staff General Buyukanit's recent Military Academy address. Bayramoglu finds indications in the speech of what he claims to be the military's preparations to establish control over the political decision-making mechanism in connection with basically two issues, namely the Kurdish question and the draft constitution. He argues that the Chief of Staff's criticisms of a "legitimate" political party like the Democratic Society Party, DTP, amount to disparagement of the entire parliament. He also interprets Buyukanit's remarks emphasizing the "indispensability" of the unitary and secular structure of the state as meaning that the General Staff wants the current "military tutelage" model to be maintained.
In an article entitled "Style is more important than content", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru calls on critics of the draft constitution to clarify whether they do not want the 1982 constitution altered at all or whether they are objecting only to certain articles being changed and whether they are opposed to the draft constitution simply because it has been prepared at the AKP's urging or whether they do not deem politicians in general to be competent enough to make a new constitution.
In an article entitled "A Constitution for the State or a State for the Constitution?" Vakit columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil cites General Buyukanit's remarks in his Military Academy speech criticizing the Government for curtailing the state authority in the name of enhancing individual freedoms as a manifestation of the military establishment's concern that the new constitution will transform the state from a powerful domination mechanism in the hands of certain groups into a public service mechanism answering to the people.
In an article entitled "A Spurious agenda" Today's Zaman columnist Dogu Ergil calls for "a comprehensive constitution that will succeed in making minorities feel like part of the whole and [provide] individual citizens with rights and freedoms that will deliver them from the yoke of both [religious] communities and the state proper."
In a commentary in Referans, Cengiz Candar argues that the recent meeting held in Diyarbakir on the Kurdish problem was of crucial importance, but that Chief of the General Staff Buyukanit called on the government "to take measures" in connection with the meeting, and that subsequently the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor launched an investigation. "All this," Candar says, "shows that as long as the Tayyip Erdogan government continues to neglect 'democratization' and 'civilianization' -- and even though it claims to the contrary, the government is in essence neglecting all that -- Turkey will continue to remain under 'military tutelage,' the road to the EU will remain blocked, and the freedom of expression -- and of course the freedom of religion and of conscience -- will be limited." Candar maintains that this will sever the link between the Justice and Development Party, AKP, and the "liberals." In fact, he says, the AKP government's faulty stand on Article 301 and on the Hrant Dink case is bound to end its "political cooperation" with the "liberals," and he stresses that the latest hearing in the Dink case eliminated all hope that justice will prevail.
In an article in Sabah, Umur Talu strongly criticizes the government for not doing anything about "its own directors, police officers, soldiers and other officials" who create, support, escort, and encourage young men to become "bombers and terrorist murderers" especially in ethnic nationalist cases. Implying the Hrant Dink case and other similar incidents, Talu says the prime minister should be accountable for all the state personnel who were involved in terrorism in one way or another.
Mehmet Yilmaz, in Hrriyet, criticizes the existence of ultranationalist elements within the state mechanism who side with the murder suspect of Hrant Dink. The basic problem, Yilmaz argues in a commentary, is the Turkish society's intolerance for ideas different from its own. That is why Hrant Dink was murdered, Yilmaz contends, and that is why Prime Minister Erdogan told journalist Bekir Coskun who was opposed to Gul: 'If you don't like the president, you can leave the country."
After having read the text of the speeches by Ground Forces Commander Basbug and Chief of the General Staff Buyukanit in their Internet sites, Sabah's Emre Akoz affirms that the two "refer to new concepts that are being debated in the world and challenge those concepts they do not like." In a commentary, Akoz points out that Basbug quoted from German political philosopher Habermas and from Karl Popper, Francis Fukuyama and Robert Antonio; while Buyukanit quoted from "US management guru Peter Drucker." The columnist says he was pleased to see the intellectual aspect of the generals, but urges them: "While discussing postmodernism and identity politics, please do not forget the concept of 'multiculturalism.'"
Writing in Hurriyet, Tufan Turenc says he is going crazy hearing the same thing over and over again over many years, namely, "these are the terrorists' last flickers." In an article, Turenc says Turkey has been fighting the PKK for the past 25 years and that terrorism has been on the rise ever since the AKP came to power. The government is unable to tackle this problem, the columnist says, because as the military has been saying repeatedly: "terrorism cannot be prevented by armed struggle only; political and economic measures are essential."
In an article entitled "Two options ahead of us" Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal warns that unless DTP representatives clearly dissociate themselves from the terrorist PKK, "unpleasant developments" will come to pass as already indicated by the military's "very harsh messages promising punitive measures" against this party. He asserts that any extended debate over the DTP's stance on the PKK could affect Parliament's performance negatively. He also claims that the National Assembly faces two options: "enhancing Turkey's prospects by nourishing hopes of freedom and democracy or submitting to certain fears, in this way opening the door to developments that would force Turkey to turn in on itself."
In an article entitled "Society-Religion Relationship" Zaman columnist Ali Bulac comments on the results of a GENAR survey indicating that some 96,1 percent of the people believe in a religion, that some 68,2 percent treat the question of whether a political party respects religious faith as a criterion for deciding whether to vote for that party, and that some 65,2 percent do not regard the CHP as a party that respects religious beliefs. Bulac asserts that the findings of the survey mean that "religion is the most important reality for this society" before he proceeds to argue that "the laicism borrowed from France" is undermining efficiency in virtually all fields from domestic administration to foreign policy.
Under the banner headline, "It was Sirnak yesterday, it is Izmir today," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which describes yesterday's bomb attacks in Izmir as the sign of a "change of tactic" on the part of the PKK whereby the "foreign-controlled" terrorist group has started to target civilians.
In an article entitled "Sirnak Incidents" Milli Gazete columnist Afet Ilgaz slams Diyarbakir independent deputy Akin Birdal for asserting that the recent attack on a minibus in Beytussebab may have been carried out by security forces. Ilgaz expresses regret for an "emotional" article she penned as a former Yeni Safak columnist in response to the attempted assassination of Akin Birdal in 1998. She also highlights General Buyukanit's remark that no military in the world has ever been as unfairly criticized by the people of their own country as the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, and asserts that the TSK is the only power that could defend the Islamic world against the West.
 Column in Hurriyet newspaper analyzes Turkey-Iran relationsTurkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (02.10.07) publishes the following commentary by Enis Berberoglu in the column The Istanbul-Tehran High-Speed Train Line:
Despite the United States' clear warning that "this is not the time to do business with Iran," Turkey is looking positively at the high-speed train project that would extend from Istanbul to Tehran.
The high-speed train issue came onto the agenda again last week in New York. In Prime Minister (Recep) Tayyip Erdogan's brief meeting with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinezhad, three topics were taken up:
1) Natural gas agreement: The Iranian side asked whether or not there is hesitation in Ankara due to the pressure from the United States, and hinted If you are out of it, should we speak directly with Europe? The Turkish side, feeling a need for Iranian gas for the Nabucco project that will transport Azerbaijani, Turkmen, and perhaps even Kazakh energy resources to Europe, confirmed once again its resolve to Go all the way.
2) High-speed train project: Ahmadinezhad raised the Tehran-Istanbul high-speed train project. With this project that the Transportation Ministry has taken on, construction of the rapid rail line between Istanbul and Ankara by Turkey is provided for. A Turkish-Iranian joint company will build the remainder of the line. It is aimed, with this project, at Iranian tourists and businessmen's reaching Turkey with no difficulties.
3) Defence cooperation: The Iranian side spoke more on this issue. The most recent information was provided about operations against the PKK, and particularly Qandil Mountain, and about shelling the camps with artillery.
Following the meeting in New York, I asked an important source about the atmospherics.
He responded that The Iranian President is happy with life. What appears is that, at least in terms of relations with Turkey, Ahmadinezhad has every reason to be pleased.