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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-10-24

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.205/07 24.10.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey signed Strategic Partnership Agreement with the UK
  • [02] Letter from the Turkish Cypriot Association in England to the British Prime Minister
  • [03] Ercakica: The letter sent to SG Ban Ki-moon has been forwarded to the Turkish Cypriots
  • [04] A delegation of Russian businessmen and journalists are visiting occupied Cyprus upon an invitation of the foreign minister Turgay Avci
  • [05] German MPs are visiting occupied Cyprus
  • [06] CTP to participate in the German Social Democrats congress in Hamburg
  • [07] Protests in occupied Cyprus to condemn the PKK attacks against Turkish soldiers
  • [08] Excavations continue throughout Cyprus for missing persons
  • [09] The High Level Contact Group of the European Parliament will pay a visit to the TRNC between 7-9 November
  • [10] Cooperation on energy projects between Turkey and Israel
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 October 2007

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey signed Strategic Partnership Agreement with the UK

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.10.07) reported the following from London:

    The Strategic Partnership Document signed between Turkey and the UK deals with Turkey's membership process to the EU, joint cooperation against terrorist organizations PKK and Al Qaida, development of regional stability, defence, commerce and energy.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his British counterpart James Gordon Brown signed the document following their tête-à-tête meeting in London on Tuesday.

    The document stressed that relations between Turkey and the UK are progressing rapidly.

    It also noted that Turkey and Britain share the same vision on many international issues and global threats. According to the document, Turkey and Britain will hold meetings every six months to discuss issues listed on the document.

    The Strategic Partnership Document listed the following:

    Support for Turkeys EU membership:

    -Supporting Turkish entry negotiations with the European Union (EU).

    -Advising Turkey on entry negotiations.

    -Helping Turkey by promoting it in Europe.

    -Helping end the international isolations imposed on Turkish Cypriots.

    -Helping to dismantle problems encountered in negotiations (with the EU) on certain topics. Restarting dialogue on human rights.

    -Underlining that Turkey's membership is strategically important as far as governments, public opinion and media in Europe are concerned. Showing that Turkey is bold enough to conduct further reforms.

    -Developing more bilateral projects with the EU so that Turkey can meet its priority targets under accession rules.

    -Working in the United Nations and EU to promote direct trade between Britain, EU and Turkish Cypriots.

    -Continuing to hold high level meetings with government executives of Turkish Cypriots.

    -Deepening relations between Turkey and the United Kingdom on security matters, including NATO and European Security & Defence Policy.

    Terrorism and fight against organized crime:

    -Preventing proliferation of weapons. Boosting cooperation on issues such as air transport security, illicit drugs, illegal migration and organized crimes.

    -Being more active in the fight against terror. Sharing intelligence. Developing cooperation against PKK/Kongra-Gel, as directed by the UN Security Council resolutions 1373, 1624, 1566 and cutting off financial assistance stemming from EU countries. Developing cooperation against Al Qaida and related organizations.

    -Developing mutual understanding between Turkey and Britain on the damages inflicted by crime and terror to both countries. To review on a frequent basis threats emanating from terror, illicit drugs and organized crime. Developing methods to deal with radical elements. Developing better strategy against illicit drug trafficking and money laundering. Cooperation in protecting the identities of personnel dealing with secret missions and protecting eye witnesses.

    -Implementing the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation against organized crimes.

    Iraq and Middle East:

    -Conducting joint dialogue to protect Iraq's territorial integrity and political union and to help Iraq to become more stable, wealthy and democratic.

    -Encouraging reforms in the Middle East by holding talks between foreign ministries and cooperating in international fora.

    -Supporting the UN Security Council stance on Iran. Pursuing efforts to convince Iran to end its regional expansion.

    -Continuing high level dialogue between Turkey and Britain on defence related matters.

    -Developing mutual understanding on crisis management and strategic problems. Developing cooperation between the armed forces of Turkey and Britain. Conducting joint military exercises. Training Turkish military personnel with English skills.

    -Supporting Turkey's participation in activities related to European Security and Defence Policy.

    -Providing support to Turkey's centre for excellence in the fight against Terror.

    British University in Turkey:

    -Establishing strong economic ties at the 2007 Turkish- British Businessmen Council. Making more investments in Turkey and Britain.

    -Cooperating in energy, education, environment, financial and legal matters.

    -Establishing a British university in Turkey. Encouraging cooperation among Turkish and British universities.

    -Supporting Istanbul as EU Cultural City of 2010.

    -Increasing mutual investments. Supporting Turkey's growing economy.

    -Supporting economic reforms and cooperating in research and development.

    -Making joint efforts to make Turkey a global energy centre.

    Energy:

    -Sharing knowledge to liberalize energy markets. Facilitating Britain's participation in regional bodies in the Middle East, Black Sea and Caspian Sea.

    -Working jointly in energy and environment chapters.

    -Conducting cooperation with British firms in energy and climate change projects.

    The document also included articles on the development of cooperation in the fields of education, culture, science, health and agriculture.

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.10.07) reported also from London that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown held a joint news conference in London on Tuesday.

    On Turkey EU relations Mr Erdogan said: Turkey has given priority to maintain its negotiation process with the EU without any restriction and obstruction. Turkey is determined in this process and will continue to act resolutely till the end. Britain has always extended clear and sound support to Turkey's EU bid. We are thankful to Britain to this end.

    On the Cyprus issue the Turkish Prime Minister said: Turkey expended great efforts to find a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue. We consider the Cyprus issue under the UN parameters. No one should expect us to launch an initiative. Now, it is the UN Security Council's turn to launch the necessary initiative.

    On his part the British Prime Minister said he absolutely and unequivocally condemned the actions of the PKK on Sunday that left 12 soldiers dead.

    Brown said he could appreciate the anger in Turkey over the latest killings and that Britain would do it all it could to help investigate and root out terrorist elements operating in the border region between Turkey and Iraq.

    He added Turkey and Britain have agreed to build closer ties on security issues to deal with both the PKK and wider terrorist threats.

    Brown revealed that the PKK had now been proscribed by Britain as a terrorist organization.

    Referring to Turkey's EU bid, Prime Minister Brown said he hoped talks on Turkey joining the EU would move forward at the next EU Council summit scheduled for December.

    Prime Minister Brown said Turkey-Britain strategic partnership will boost trade, security, economic and cultural cooperation between the two countries.

    He added that the partnership would include closer security ties aimed at combating the threat of terrorism and other measures include the building of a British university in Turkey and the joint construction of industrial zones in the southern Iraqi port of Basra.

    The Turkish Cypriot press today (24.10.07) covers as follows the meeting between the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his British counterpart Gordon Brown:

    In a front page report Kibris writes that in the Strategic Partnership Document between Turkey and Great Britain which was signed by the two Prime Ministers, there are articles regarding the Cyprus problem. In addition, the issue of the lifting of the isolation is stressed. The paper writes that the paragraphs on Cyprus are as follows: To help towards the lifting of the isolation, to work within the EU and the UN and at bilateral level for encouraging the direct trade between the UK, the EU and the Turkish Cypriots, to continue the contacts with high ranking Turkish Cypriot officials.

    Vatan also refers to the Strategic Partnership Document between Turkey and Great Britain signed between Turkey and the UK and notes that the TRNC is referred to the documents as Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Referring to the same issue Star Kibris reports that Erdogan and Brown called on the UN to take an initiative for the solution of the Cyprus problem. The paper writes that the Turkish Prime Minister stated that Turkey will not take a new initiative for the problem.

    Yeni Duzen refers to issue in its first page quoting Erdogans statements that an initiative regarding Cyprus must come from the UN Security Council.

    Ortam reports that at the press conference held after the meeting, Mr Erdogan stated that they are in favour of a comprehensive and just solution for the Cyprus problem.

    [02] Letter from the Turkish Cypriot Association in England to the British Prime Minister

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.10.07) writes that the Turkish Cypriot Association in England has sent a letter to the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, asking UKs help to alleviate the unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    The President of the Executive Council Mustafa Gencsoy and the honorary President Prof. Dr. Salahi R. Sonyel, who signed the letter dated 22nd October, noted that because of the fact that the Turkish Cypriots are not treated equally as the Greek Cypriots in Cyprus, the around 300 thousand Turkish Cypriots living in England find it more difficult everyday to maintain relations with their relatives in Cyprus.

    In their letter they argue that this situation is a result of the wrong and unwise policies of the previous British administrations against the Turkish Cypriots.

    They alleged in the letter that the Turkish Cypriots are not responsible for the situation on the island and that they were obliged to fight against the Greek Cypriots desire of cleansing the island from the Turks and as a result the TRNC was created.

    In the letter it is also stated that Britain did not recognise the TRNC so that the Greek Cypriots are not offended and a problem be created with the British bases it preserves in the South Cyprus.

    In the letter they pointed out to the fact that the Turkish Cypriots of the island are not treated as one of the two equal peoples and reiterated the allegation that the Turkish Cypriots are isolated in the fields of trade, social, travel, education and health.

    (EA)

    [03] Ercakica: The letter sent to SG Ban Ki-moon has been forwarded to the Turkish Cypriots

    Illegal Bayrak television (23.10.07) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Spokesperson, Hasan Ercakica, has announced that the letter sent to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by the Greek Cypriot Leader Tassos Papadopoulos, has been forwarded to the Turkish Cypriot side.

    Mr. Ercakica said that a rough evaluation of the 8-point proposal showed that Mr. Papadopoulos had done his best to further complicate the 8th July process and work on introducing confidence building measures.

    Speaking at his weekly press briefing, the Presidential Spokesperson said the letter sent to the UN Chief by the Greek Cypriot Leader Papadopoulos was roughly evaluated and that it contains complicated proposals, which would raise difficulties in the 8th July process.

    But, he added that a thorough evaluation of the letter would be made in the coming days to see whether it contains any positive elements that could help restart the comprehensive negotiations on the Cyprus issue.

    If so, we will examine the ways of making use of them, he added.

    Mr. Ercakica also noted that President Mehmet Ali Talat will brief coalition partners, the Republican Turkish Party-United Forces and the Freedom and Reform Party today, and the National Unity Party, Democrat Party and Communal Democracy Party tomorrow about the details of the meeting he held with Mr. Ban and the Greek Cypriot proposals.

    [04] A delegation of Russian businessmen and journalists are visiting occupied Cyprus upon an invitation of the foreign minister Turgay Avci

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.10.07) writes that a delegation of Russian businessmen and journalists who went to the TRNC the previous day, upon an invitation of the self-styled minister of foreign affairs Turgay Avci, met with the deputy speaker of the assembly Gulboy Baydagli. No statements were made after the meeting.

    KIBRIS also writes that the Russian delegation also met with the self-styled minister of tourism and economy Erdogan Sanlidag.

    (CS)

    [05] German MPs are visiting occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.10.07) reports that the mayor of occupied Kioneli, Ahmet Benli, met with German MPs who came to the island for a short period. The German MPs are Lothan Klem, parliamentarian in the province of Heesen of the German Social Democrat Party (SDP), and former Minister of Public Works and Transportation and Ozan Ceyhun, former MP of the European Parliament and member of SDP.

    The German MPs along with businessmen accompanying them, had lunch with Mr Benli. In the lunch, in which also participated the self-styled Lefkosia MP Mustafa Yektaoglu, issues regarding Kionelis problems, issues of cooperation and future plans were taken up.

    Mr Klem stated after the meeting that he has meetings with persons holding various duties in Cyprus and that the future plans regarding Kioneli, are exciting. He also stated that the concept of twinned municipalities can be developed between Kioneli, and the Heesen province.

    (CS)

    [06] CTP to participate in the German Social Democrats congress in Hamburg

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.10.07) writes that a delegation of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), which is member of the Socialist International, will participate in the German Social Democrats congress which will take place between 26-28 of October in Hamburg, Germany.

    During its visit to Germany, the CTP delegation will also participate in the Compass 2020: Germany at the International Relations seminar, which will take place on the 25th of October.

    (CS)

    [07] Protests in occupied Cyprus to condemn the PKK attacks against Turkish soldiers

    The Turkish Cypriot press reports today (24.10.07) about the protests in occupied Cyprus to condemn the PKK attacks against Turkish soldiers.

    Vatan reports in its first page that thousands of students and TRNC citizens participated in the protest which took place yesterday in occupied Famagusta,

    Volkan reports on the issue, in its first page as well, and writes that ten thousands participated in the protest for condemning the PKK attacks and notes that the persons who participated in it chanted slogans against PKKs supporter USA. One of the slogans during the demonstration was Down with PKK and its collaborator USA.

    Gunes reports, in its first page, that the biggest protest for condemning PKKs attacks will take place today starting from the Keryneia Gate in occupied Lefkosia, at 15.00. The paper calls on the TRNC citizens to participate in it bringing with them Turkish flags.

    Kibris writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat sent letters to the Turkish President Abdullah Gul and the chief of the Turkish Armed Forces General Yasar Buyukanit, condemning the PKK attacks.

    (CS)

    [08] Excavations continue throughout Cyprus for missing persons

    Illegal Bayrak television (23.10.07) broadcast the following:

    The Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons, Gulden Plumer Kucuk, has announced that almost half of the remains of 42 Turkish Cypriot martyrs from the village of Taskent (occupied Vouno) have been found.

    Mrs. Kucuk said the remains of the martyrs were found in the Yerasa region in the South. There has been ongoing work in the area to find 42 Turkish Cypriots who fell during the Taskent resistance.

    The Committee on Missing Persons is uninterruptedly continuing its work on both sides of the island to find, excavate and identify the remains of the missing persons.

    Earlier, remains of 6 missing persons were found in a well in the Strovolos region in the South. The Committee is currently continuing excavation work in another well in the same area.

    In the northern part of the island, the excavation work is being carried out in several points in Guzelyurt (occupied Morfou) and the Yenisehir (occupied Neapoli) area in the capital Lefkosia.

    Remains of 3 missing persons have also been taken out from a well detected in the St. Hillarion area.

    The Committee on Missing Persons has so far unearthed the remains of 350 missing persons in total. Fifty seven of those found (19 belonging to Turkish Cypriots) have been identified and returned to their relatives.

    The remains of the remaining 293 missing persons will be handed over to their families following an identification process at the anthropology laboratory.

    [09] The High Level Contact Group of the European Parliament will pay a visit to the TRNC between 7-9 November

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.10.07) writes that while the excavations for remains of missing persons in both sides of the island continue, the High Level Contact Group of the European Parliament will pay a visit to the TRNC between 7-9 November in order to have official contacts.

    The Group will meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, with various civil society organisations and with the Committee on the Missing Persons.

    Kibris also writes that Rene van der Linden, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, will have a meeting on 25th of October with the members of the Cyprus contact group of the European Parliament.

    (CS)

    [10] Cooperation on energy projects between Turkey and Israel

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.10.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler said Tuesday preliminary works to lay out multiple pipelines (gas, oil, water) between Turkey and Israel have been completed and steps have been taken to calculate the project's management and costs of investment.

    Israeli National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer met Guler in Ankara on Tuesday.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting Guler indicated that Eliezer and he discussed energy projects between Turkey and Israel.

    There is a good possibility to construct multiple pipelines between Turkey and Israel to carry oil, natural gas, electric and water. Fiber optic lines may be established between Turkey and Israel, told Guler.

    Meanwhile, Eliezer underlined that the pipelines will not only be useful to Turkey and Israel but to the whole region.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 October 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 23/10/07 on issues of the current political agenda:

    Possible Military incursion in N. Iraq: A report entitled "PKK Hideouts Pounded by Artillery" in Milliyet says that military activities intensified in Hakkari in the wake of a PKK ambush which left 12 soldiers dead while a military convoy consisting of 50 vehicles carrying ammunition traveled to an area near the common border with Iraq early yesterday. According to the report, areas where around 300 PKK guerillas who carried out the attack are heavily pounded as helicopters and fighter planes patrol the area. The report says that an area called Oramar which is used by PKK guerillas as an escape route was also sealed off.

    A report entitled "Sanctions put before the MGK" in Hurriyet says that economic sanctions that the Turkish Government intends to impose on the Barzani Administration due to its overt support for the PKK will be discussed in a meeting of the National Security Council to be held tomorrow (today). According to the report, possible sanctions include stopping sale of electricity to northern Iraq, closure of the Habur border crossing point or decreasing the number of vehicles passing through Habur, restricting exportation of foodstuff to Iraq, and limiting logistic support needed by the United States.

    A report entitled "The United States proposes to do it together" in Hurriyet quotes Erdogan as saying to reporters during a flight to London that Turkey and the United States could launch a joint military operation against the PKK in northern Iraq, adding that President Gul will call US President George W. Bush soon in order to discuss the matter. He says: "I will also discuss it with Bush. A clear decision needs to be made about this issue."

    In an article entitled "If Rice does not keep her promise," Hurriyet columnist Enis Berberoglu says that Turkey may launch a cross-border incursion into northern Iraq if the United States declines to take any action against the PKK. Pointing out that the upcoming operation will not be similar to those conducted in the past because no buffer zone will be established and the operation will be limited to surgical strikes, Berberoglu comments: "The main objective is to let PKK militants to know that they could face Turkish soldiers anytime and to tarnish the charisma of Barzani and Talabani who are making nonsense statements banking on US support."

    In an article entitled "Several days more," Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen analyzes possible reasons which might have prompted US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to ask Turkey to wait several days before a possible cross-border operation. Pointing out that there are indications showing that the United States and the Iraqi Kurdish leaders will try to convince the PKK to declare ceasefire, he comments: "We do not know whether or not the United States will take other concrete steps in order to put an end to the PKK's presence in northern Iraq in the next couple of days. But, it is highly unlikely that a (conditional) ceasefire will be accepted in Ankara." Kohen concludes by saying that Turkey seems to have no option other than carrying out a military operation which, he emphasizes, should be conducted without being bogged down in the quagmire in Iraq.

    In an article entitled "PKK's Trap," Milliyet columnist Derya Sazak predicts that Turkey may launch a limited military operation targeting PKK camps in Mount Qandil in Iraq ahead of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's upcoming visit to the United States on 5 November. He says: "Latest reports coming from Ankara indicate that a 'political directive' needed for a military operation has been given. It would not be misleading to say that preparations are being made about the timing, scope and targets of a possible military operation amid ongoing diplomatic efforts."

    In an article entitled "What will historians write about Turkey and Northern Iraq in the future?" Referans columnist Cengiz Candar says that the current climate which provides "oxygen" for the PKK would change if opinion leaders in Turkey stop using an offensive language against Barzani and Talabani. He also says that Turkey should also change old methods used in the past despite the fact that a military operation in northern Iraq seems to be unavoidable.

    A report entitled "Barzani Allegedly Owns Companies in Mersin, Milliyet quotes Kadri Saman, president of the Mersin Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as saying that they have intensified controls in response to unconfirmed reports that Masud Barzani, President of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, owns companies in the southern city of Mersin. According to reports, an examination of the Chamber's records led to some findings that some companies exporting basic commodities to Iraq had links with the Barzani family, but were not involved in any illegal activity.

    In an article entitled "A New PKK and a New Philosophy?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru advises the Government to make an extensive analysis of the latest PKK strikes rather than rushing into ordering a cross-border military campaign. He argues that the attacks appear to have been staged by a foreign group within the terrorist organization that has taken the helm recently and that this would require a reassessment of the PKK and the forces behind it.

    Under the headline, "Intelligence Lapses," Vakit carries a front-page report which highlights remarks by commentators who hold "intelligence flaws" responsible for the latest terrorist attack in Hakkari where "some 150" PKK militants "crossed the border six kilometers into Turkey carrying heavy weapons on mountainous terrain."

    In an article entitled "Turkey's Choice and Its Response to Terrorist Acts" Vakit columnist Siddik Arslan warns that if Turkey undertakes a military incursion into Iraq, the United States will push it into a major war with peshmerga and Iraqi forces equipped with high-tech US weapons and pretend to be uninvolved in this conflict itself and try to talk Turkey into taking a course of action that will lead to its partition. Arslan claims that under the circumstances Turkey should refrain from staging hot-pursuit operations and instead make "secret" agreements with Iran and Syria to set up "anti-terror" units to be used against the PKK, the Barzani administration, and the "axis" powers in Iraq.

    In an article entitled "We were not able to talk about the Referendum. Let us talk about terrorism at least", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asks whether in carrying out its latest ambush in Hakkari, the PKK might have received intelligence from the CIA or Mosad about the movement of a Turkish military contingent over Avasin River and whether the Turkish army is without the counter intelligence assets necessary to anticipate the PKK's moves.

    In an article entitled "Do something?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that "we need to see who is behind the latest attacks" before taking any action and poses such questions as "which PKK" is carrying out these terrorist assaults "if" the strikes are being staged by this group, what Ankara is supposed to do if the PKK declares a "ceasefire" but the attacks continue, and how "intelligence organizations" disguised as the PKK are to be prevented from attacking Turkey. He also warns that the ongoing "crisis" might erupt into Turkish-Kurdish clashes in big cities.

    Under the headline, "US asks for coordinated action, we could carry out a joint operation," Zaman runs a front-page report which provides highlights from Prime Minister Erdogan's latest "important" statements disclosing that the groundwork is being laid for a Turkish-US joint military operation in northern Iraq, that the fight on terror will be conducted by anti-terror teams, and that "we are not going to act emotionally just because the people and the opposition expect us to."

    In an article entitled "To turn the crisis into an opportunity", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay argues that there is nothing logical about Ankara's "insistent" refusal to hold talks with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders "with whom we used to maintain close cooperation" before, adding that Turkey could no longer turn a blind eye to "the fact that Iraq could survive only as a federal structure where the Kurds enjoy extensive autonomy. The policy of threatening and scorning the Iraqi Kurdish leadership and not treating it as a counterpart has been proven useless."

    A front-page report entitled "US taking steps to avoid friendly fire in N. Iraq" quotes a "Turkish official ... who wished to remain anonymous" as saying that US Secretary of State Rice "has requested three days from ... Prime Minister ... Erdogan to allow the withdrawal of US troops from northern Iraq to prevent a possible confrontation of Turkish and US troops in the event Turkey starts an incursion into northern Iraq ..."

    Finally, under the title: "PKK Switches to US Model" Bugun reports that the Turkish military is on alert against steps by the terrorist PKK to use the "DTMF" system in detonating remote-controlled bombs in order to render the jammer devices used against such bombs ineffective.

    Referendum: In a report under the title: "Referendum yields chaos about Gul" Hurriyet newspaper reports that there is a divergence of opinion among legal scholars about whether or not Article 11 of the Constitution, which reduces the term of presidents from seven to five years after its endorsement on Sunday's referendum, will also effect President Gul's term.

    In an article entitled "A country where 53.5 percent is smaller than 46.5 percent", Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz points out that 46.5 percent of the registered voters said "yes" to the constitutional amendments in the referendum although official figures indicate that the majority of the voters endorsed the amendments. He says: "The coup that they attempted to carry out against the regime through the referendum also faces a very serious legitimacy problem because a considerable part of people declined to go to the polls in the referendum in order to protest against this meaningless referendum, not because they did not bother to cast their votes."

    EG/


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