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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-10-26

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.207/07 26.10.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statements of Talat to Star Kibris newspaper
  • [02] Reports about Greek Cypriot co-operation with PKK
  • [03] The Turkish National Security Council said to have discussed secret intelligence report on PKK plan
  • [04] The Turkish Cypriot Journalists Union and Turkish Cypriot political parties condemned the attacks against AFRIKA
  • [05] The illegal Ercan airport offered services to 175,000 passengers in September
  • [06] The Alevis to inform Europe about the realities in northern Cyprus
  • [07] US House approves frigate sale to Turkey
  • [08] Details of the trade ties of Turkey with Iraq ahead of possible economic sanctions
  • [09] Statements by the Turkish Prime Minister and his Romanian Counterpart
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] From the Turkish Press of 25 October 2007
  • [11] Columnist in Turkish Daily News criticizes the Turkish government for imposing broadcast ban

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statements of Talat to Star Kibris newspaper

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (26.10.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, speaking to the papers journalist Abdullah Azizoglu, stated that the Greek Cypriot side wants to discuss the 8th of July process without time-limits and that the Turkish Cypriots do not support this approach. Mr Talat said that the 8th of July process cannot do away with the Annan Plan. Any transitional agreement cannot do away with the biggest plan in history. The 8th of July process is not as comprehensive as the Annan Plan, it is a preparatory process for overall negotiations, he stated.

    Referring to the ferry services between occupied Famagusta and Latakia, Mr Talat commented on the statements of Mr Vasos Lyssarides who, after visiting Damascus, reportedly said that the Republic of Cyprus received guarantees from Syria that the ferry services will stop and Syria will not accept the TRNC passports. Mr Talat said that the Greek Cypriots are hallucinating. The ferry services will continue. I do not think that Syria will behave in this manner, he stated.

    On the Strategic Partnership Document between Turkey and Great Britain, Mr Talat stated that the Greek Cypriot side feels uneasy regarding the agreement because it shows that Britain will have high level contacts with the Turkish Cypriots, and because London and Ankara will work together to lift the unjust isolation. Because of all these of course they feel uneasy, he said and added that the Greek Cypriot side is an EU country-member which says that it wants to live together with the Turkish Cypriots, but it isolates a people and prevents it from breathing. He went on and said that the policy pursued by the Greek Cypriots is not in line with the EU aims of establishment. As he stated, the EU wants to solve the problems using dialogue, while the Greek Cypriots choose to insult and to attack.

    Raising the alleged cooperation between the Greek Cypriot side and the PKK, Mr Talat stated: I remind you that the Greek Cypriots were involved in many events with PKK in the past and added that the UN Secretary-General was informed with a letter on this issue in the past. He went on and said that Greek Cypriot politicians participated in demonstrations organised in south Cyprus by members of the PKK and said that this happened in the past as well. Mr Talat said that if the attacks and the enmities against the Turks and the Turkish Cypriots are a reason of joy for the Greek Cypriots, it is a lie that they want Turkey to become member of the EU.

    He also said the Greek Cypriots are happy with every bad thing that happens to Turkey and added that if they cannot tolerate the ferry services between Turkish Cypriots and Syria, how can there be a solution? We are not against living together, but when we see the Greek Cypriots´ behaviour, we are not sure if they want this, he stated.

    (CS)

    [02] Reports about Greek Cypriot co-operation with PKK

    Under the title Greek Cypriot-PKK cooperation at its peak, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (26.10.07) reports in its first page that PKK militants who are connected with the Cyprus - Kurd Friendship Association, which is being protected and supported by the Greek Cypriot administration, organized a demonstration yesterday at 18.00 at the Eleftheria Square in Lefkosia.

    At the demonstration in which many Greek Cypriots participated, the demonstrators attacked in a bad manner Turkey and the Turkish army, alleged Volkan. The paper also writes that the PKK terrorist militants also organized a demonstration in Pafos. The demonstration started in front of the Pafos Municipality building and ended in Kato Pafos. In this ugly demonstration many ugly attacks took place against Turkey and the Turkish army as well, writes Volkan who adds that the PKK terrorists will organize another demonstration tomorrow in Larnaka.

    Under the title The Greek Cypriots still hope for help from PKK, Vatan reports in its first page that PKK militants, who continue their activities under the protection of the Greek Cypriot administration, and their sympathizers, organized a demonstration yesterday at Eleftheria Square in Lefkosia. The paper writes that the demonstrators chanted the following slogans: Terrorist Talat, Terrorist Denktas, Down with Turkey, Long live Apo.

    The paper also reminds its readers that when Abdullah Ocalan was arrested in Kenya he had with him the passport of a Greek Cypriot journalist but this event was faced as normal by the Greek Cypriot administration.

    (CS)

    [03] The Turkish National Security Council said to have discussed secret intelligence report on PKK plan

    Hurriyet newspaper (25.10.07) publishes the following report under the title: Secret report disclosed at MGK meeting:

    According to an intelligence report submitted to the National Security Council (MGK), PKK has started to withdraw to the areas where civilians are living. The organization plans to create a confrontation between the Turkish troops and the civilians in northern Iraq in the event of an attack.

    The intelligence report says that the terrorists started to retreat into the villages in the area when the F-16s crossed the border 50km into Iraq and destroyed the camps in Zap, Hakurki, Hinere, Lolan, and Metina. It has been ascertained that the PKK is trying to implement a hideous trap by using the civilians in northern Iraq as a shield. The MGK evaluated the plan to create a confrontation between the Turkish soldiers and the civilians in northern Iraq. The Council decided to block the channels providing logistics support for the terrorists.

    [04] The Turkish Cypriot Journalists Union and Turkish Cypriot political parties condemned the attacks against AFRIKA

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (26.10.07) reports in its first page that the Turkish Cypriot Journalists Union, along with various Turkish Cypriot political parties, condemned with statements the attacks against Afrika during the demonstrations held last Wednesday in occupied Lefkosia to condemn the PKK attacks against Turkish soldiers.

    (CS)

    [05] The illegal Ercan airport offered services to 175,000 passengers in September

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu (26.10.07) reports in its first page that the illegal Ercan (Tympou) airport offered services to 175,000 passengers in September.

    According to information given by the self-styled ministry of public works and transportation, on the activities of the illegal airport for the month of September, 689 planes landed and 687 planes departed from the illegal Tympou airport in September. The airport offered services to 1376 planes, writes the paper which adds that 93,524 persons came to occupied Cyprus from Tympou and 81,729 persons departed from the island, a total of 175,253 persons.

    The paper also writes that the busiest day for the illegal airport was the 2nd of September. On that day 9,627 persons arrived to occupied Cyprus from the Tympou airport. In addition the illegal airport offered services to 10,554 planes flying in the TRNC airspace.

    (CS)

    [06] The Alevis to inform Europe about the realities in northern Cyprus

    Under the title European Alevis are coming to the TRNC, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (26.10.07) reports that the Chairmen of the Alevi Associations, which are organised in Europe, will visit occupied Cyprus on the 10-11 of November.

    According to statements made to the paper by the representatives of the Europe Alevi Union Confederation in the German city of Koln, the chairmen of the Federation of the confederations, which are organised in European countries, will come together in occupied Lefkosia on 10th and 11th of November and will support the Alevi Cyprus Cultural Centre the foundation stone of which will be laid on the 11th of September.

    The paper writes that the confederation representatives stated that they will support until the end the initiatives undertaken lately by the TRNC government towards Germany and added that they are ready to do anything they can in order to explain to all the European public the realities of north Cyprus. The contemporary north Cypriot person does not deserve the conditions of the embargo, they stated.

    The paper also writes that chairmen of Alevi federations from European countries like France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria and Britain, will arrive in occupied Cyprus on the 10th of November in order to participate in a conference so as to be informed first hand about the realities of north Cyprus. The following day, on the 11th of November, they will participate in the opening of the Alevi Cyprus Cultural Centre.

    (CS)

    [07] US House approves frigate sale to Turkey

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (25.10.07) reports the following from Washington:

    The Foreign Affairs Committee of the United States House of Representatives late Tuesday approved a bill to grant three decommissioned U.S. military ships to Turkey and to sell a fourth at a large discount.

    The panel passed the bill in a voice vote.

    Under the arrangement, the United States should transfer to Turkey two Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigates and an Osprey-class coastal mine hunter. Another coastal mine hunter was offered to Turkey at a sale price of nearly $28 million.

    The two Perry-class frigates, recently decommissioned by the U.S. Navy, are valued at around $125 million, and the Osprey class mine hunters are worth about $130 million.

    To take effect, the bill must now be approved in a House floor vote and by the Senate before being signed by President George W. Bush.

    Under the same bill, the United States also is planning to grant two other Osprey-class mine hunters to Lithuania and sell another two Ospreys to Taiwan.

    The Foreign Affairs Committee's Chairman Tom Lantos, a Democrat from California, sponsored the bill.

    On the Senate side, the same bill is sponsored by Sen. Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

    Helicopters on frigates

    Turkey's Navy already has been operating eight other Perry-class frigates granted earlier by the United States.

    These frigates are specialized in surface combat, and to bolster the vessels' antisubmarine capabilities, Turkey deploys S-70 B Seahawk naval warfare helicopters, purchased from Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., Stratford, Conn.

    These would be the first Osprey-class coastal mine hunters the Turkish Navy will operate.

    Turkey's Navy mostly is based on German technology, and the United States, in an effort to boost its presence there, over the past decade has been granting frigates, a move that also encourages the sale of Seahawks.

    Under the deal, Turkey's gain should exceed $480 million. But Turkey should pay for the expenses from repairs and refurbishments needed for the vessels before their formal delivery.

    Such repairs and refurbishments should take place in U.S. shipyards.

    [08] Details of the trade ties of Turkey with Iraq ahead of possible economic sanctions

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.10.07) reported the following from Ankara: While embargo is being discussed as the most probable option as an economic weapon against north of Iraq, within the scope of fight against terrorism, Turkey's exports to Iraq reached 1.8 billion USD in the first 8 months of this year.

    Share of trade with Iraq is only 1 percent in Turkey's overall foreign trade volume, which is expected to exceed 270 billion USD in 2007, says Turkish State Minister Kursad Tuzmen.

    Turkey mostly sells electrical machinery, construction materials, motor vehicles and foodstuff to Iraq. Turkey imports fuel oil and crude oil through pipeline which amounts to 360 million USD annually.

    Iraq is one of the leading trade partners of Turkey and Turkey, among its other neighbors, makes largest foreign trade surplus thanks to its trade with this country.Turkish-Iraqi Business Council Chairman Ercument Aksoy says the option of embargo must be considered carefully.

    "Businessmen have to pay an entry fee (while crossing the Iraqi border at Habur) since 1992. It makes a total of 250 million USD a year and this money goes to Barzani," Aksoy told the A.A.

    "If we agree with the National Security Council (MGK) recommendation (to take economic measures against the north of Iraq) in this context, we won't use Habur gate," he said. "I do not think that Turkey has an intention to punish Iraqi people. 95 percent of those people have sympathy and respect towards us. We should not lose them."

    However, Aksoy added, economic figures have no meaning when you talk about a national case.

    [09] Statements by the Turkish Prime Minister and his Romanian Counterpart

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.10.07) reported the following from Bucharest:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, "the United States could prefer that we don't launch a cross-border operation (into northern Iraq), but we make our own decisions."

    Prime Minister Erdogan, who is currently paying a formal visit to Romania, met his Romanian counterpart Calin Popescu Tariceanu.

    He replied a question about recent statement of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who asked Turkey not to enter into northern Iraq since the United States has been fulfilling its commitments, and said: "We make our own decisions. Why did the United States come to Iraq from tens of thousands of kilometers? The United States should act together with us as a strategic partner. We acted together with them in Afghanistan."

    "Both President Abdullah Gul and I told President George Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Rice that we have to take necessary measures to counter terrorism and we are going to do so," Erdogan added.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday he hoped Turkish-Romanian cooperation would contribute to global peace. "We can launch new seaway, railway and highway projects," Erdogan told a joint press conference with his Romanian counterpart Calin Popescu Tariceanu in Bucharest. Erdogan said Turkey and Romania aimed to raise their bilateral trade volume to 10 billion USD which was actually 6.5 billion USD.

    According to Erdogan, Turkish businessmen have investments worth 2 billion USD in this country. "I hope one of the most important investments between Turkey and Romania will be in area of energy. NABUCCO is one of these projects in Europe," Erdogan told reporters.

    NABUCCO pipeline is a proposed natural gas pipeline that is planned to transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

    Erdogan said Turkish and Romanian energy ministries would launch initiatives for construction of an underwater power line between Istanbul and Constanta.

    On the other hand, Tariceanu said one of the important issues the EU was dealing with diversifying energy resources.

    "Turkey can play an important role (in these efforts)," he told reporters. Tariceanu said he believed two countries could contribute to confidence and stability particularly in their region by maintaining their good relations.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday PKK-KONGRA GEL organization controls illicit drugs market in Europe.

    Erdogan told a joint press conference with Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu that PKK-KONGRA GEL operates in European countries under different names. "We tell this reality to each European country.

    "Turkey has no more patience left on the issue of PKK terrorism," Erdogan said in reference to the terrorist acts of PKK against Turkish soldiers and citizens. "We hope that the Baghdad government will no longer tolerate the presence and activities of terrorist PKK in north of Iraq," said Erdogan.

    The acts of terrorist PKK against Turkish civilians and soldiers necessitate us to use our rights arising from international agreements, Erdogan said.

    Meanwhile, Tariceanu said Romania supported the right of every country, including Turkey, to defend itself. Tariceanu said all countries had the right to protect themselves.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [10] From the Turkish Press of 25 October 2007

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish Press on the possible Turkish military incursion in Northern Iraq and the censorship imposed on news regarding the attack on the Turkish army in Southeastern Turkey:

    A report in Milliyet says that Iraqi President Talabani made inconsistent statements in connection with the extradition of the leading PKK militants to Turkey. It says that Turkish Foreign Ministry sources announced in the morning that Talabani does not rule out the option of extraditing the PKK leaders. However, a statement made by Talabani's office in the afternoon noted that "it is impossible to extradite the PKK members who are located in the mountains." Recalling that an Iraqi delegation will visit Ankara today, the report quotes "sources" as saying: "This visit will be the last chance for Iraq."

    A report by Muharrem Kontaz and Turan Gultekin of Milliyet says that Turkish F-16 warplanes are hitting the PKK camps in northern Iraq. According to the report, the Turkish military have placed all the entries and exits to the settlements in the border area under control. The report says that the present peaceful situation in Hakkari's Yuksekova, Semdinli, and Cukurca districts, which are located near the Iraqi border, can be viewed as the "silence before the storm."

    A report by Arda Akin of Hurriyet says that the General Directorate of Security has dispatched 3,000 special operation officers to eastern Turkey. The report notes that the 1,200 police officers started to join the operations conducted by the gendarmerie and special military forces in Hakkari and Sirnak.

    According to a report also in Hurriyet, the National Security Council [MGK] evaluated a secret intelligence report during its meeting on 24 October. The report is said to have disclosed a PKK plan to create confrontation between the Turkish soldiers and the civilians in northern Iraq in the event of an attack.

    In a column entitled "Is Mas'ud Barzani a Target?" Fikret Bila of Milliyet views Chief of the General Staff Gen Buyukanit's approach toward Barzani by recalling his remarks that the military establishing a contact with the supporters of the PKK is "out of the question." Stressing that the recent terrorist attack in Daglica showed that Barzani prefers to side with the PKK, Bila warns that Turkey will not change its attitude toward the Kurdish leader unless he stops backing the terrorist organization. Meanwhile, the columnist quotes Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek as saying: "The authorization bill has been drawn up in accordance with the requirements and contributions of the General Staff. That is an unquestionable issue. We have made all the decisions together. The authorization bill does not have to indicate the targets one by one. I believe that whoever sides with the terrorists, he will be seen as part of the crime."

    In an article entitled "Bush does not have much time!" Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal wonders whether the Kurdish leaders in Iraq are capable of taking the steps expected by Turkey. Noting that the United States is the only power that can respond to Turkey's demands in connection with the struggle against the PKK, the columnist says: "As I stressed in my column yesterday, the United States has ignored Turkey's sensitivity over the fight with the PKK for a long time, especially after the Iraq War. This ignorance, which caused an increasing reaction in Ankara, has become one of the sources of disappointment that strengthened the anti-American sentiments in Turkey." He concludes by warning that the US Congress should adopt the Armenian resolution and the Bush Administration should continue to ignore Turkey's expectations regarding the PKK if Washington wants to "weaken the present Turkish Government and obstruct Turkey's efforts to become a modern country."

    In his article entitled "Civilian Generals," Sabah columnist Ergun Babahan warns the people against overreacting to the recent incidents. Noting that a government cannot act in an emotional way in establishing its policies, he says: "Turkey has started a comprehensive diplomatic initiative after the adoption of the authorization bill in the parliament. While doing that, it clearly announced that it targets only the terrorist organization and its bases in northern Iraq." The columnist warns against provocations and urges the "civilian generals" to avoid using a harsh language.

    In a column in the Turkish Daily News, Cengiz Candar comments on his conversation with Prime Minister Erdogan on his way to London. Stressing that 90 percent of their conversation was "off the record," the columnist asserts that he got the impression that the start of a cross-border operation is unlikely before Erdogan meets with President Bush in Washington on 5 November.

    In his column in Referans, Cengiz Candar views Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Britain as a very important initiative for the preparation of the necessary "political and diplomatic infrastructure" for a military operation against the "PKK targets" in Iraq. He welcomes the political strategy being pursued by the prime minister, saying that Erdogan acts with common sense and takes rational steps in Turkey's fight against the PKK. Candar asserts that regardless of the fact that the prime minister is angry with the Iraqi Kurdish leaders, Talabani and Barzani, he refrains from making exaggerated statements against them and frequently stresses that the PKK is the only target Turkey plans to hit in northern Iraq.

    Government Censorship on Hakkari Attack: A report in the Turkish Daily News says that Turkish television channels and journalist organizations "harshly criticized" a broadcasting ban implemented by the Radio and Television Supreme Council [RTUK] on stories about the recent attacks by the PKK in Hakkari. The report notes that the ban was imposed in accordance with an appeal made by Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek to RTUK.

    In a column also in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand criticizes the government's broadcast ban, saying: "The government wanted to appease the public and reduce the anxiety. When official statements didn't work, the government tried to achieve it through RTUK. However, the general picture is one of complete censorship." (For full text of the column see B. Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis, Item 2)

    Orhan Karatas of Ortadogu accuses the AKP Government of trying to cover up its failure and submissive policies by imposing a broadcast ban on reports related to the PKK attacks in Hakkari. In his column, Karatas argues that the ruling party needed to resort to censorship because it realized the people's growing anger at the recent developments in the country. Criticizing Education Minister Huseyin Celik for preventing students from attending the martyrs' funerals, the columnist laments that the minister, who has failed to take action against the PKK activities thus far, does not refrain from adopting a harsh policy when it comes to martyrs and their families.

    In an article entitled "Let us see who will step in", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan discusses what purposes the PKK's kidnapping of some eight Turkish soldiers might be intended to serve. He asserts that the terrorist organization might want to use the soldiers as a trump card against the possibility of a cross-border operation, adding that the Democratic Society Party, DTP, or northern Iraqi Kurdish groups could possibly treat the capture of the soldiers as an opportunity to get Ankara to recognize them as counterparts by offering to mediate for the release of the soldiers. He also claims that the United States might also work for the release of the captured soldiers to turn the tide of anti-Americanism in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Has the last part of the Hudson Scenario come true, too?", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu links Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit's cancellation of his visit to Israel to what he claims might be the discovery of Mosad involvement in the PKK attacks as envisaged in the "Hudson scenario" about the possible course of developments in Turkey reported by Milliyet Washington correspondent Yasemin Congar some time ago.

    In an article entitled "The US should hand over the hostages", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak accuses the United States of "openly cooperating" with the terrorist PKK in refraining from sharing intelligence based on its "patrol flights" along the Turkish-Iraqi border about the latest terrorist infiltrations into Turkey. Dilipak claims that under the circumstances, Ankara can address its demands for the handover of the captured soldiers to Washington rather than to the PKK or Jalal Talabani or Mas'ud Barzani.

    In an article entitled "For whom is the PKK acting as a guide?", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone asks whether those citing a cross-border operation into Iraq as the only remedy against PKK terrorism are aware that they want the same thing as the PKK, whether those who are singling out Barzani as a target know that it would please the PKK most for Turkey to hit Barzani's military bases, and whether those calling for economic measures against northern Iraq, like closing the Habur Border Gate, know how much such moves would contribute to the PKK's regional power. He also claims that the PKK is trying to set Turkey and the United States against one another and advises Ankara to maintain "diplomatic contact" with Britain and the United States.

    In an article entitled "Kurdish Cats and Ticking Clocks", Today's Zaman columnist Suat Kiniklioglu slams Iraqi President Jalal Talabani for "offer[ing] cheeky sarcasm with his statement about not even delivering a Kurdish cat to Turkey" and claims that Talabani will soon "realize that the Turkish clock is ticking and that his policy of utilizing the PKK for establishing a Kurdish state in the region was a serious miscalculation."

    In an article entitled "Anger Management", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru praises the Erdogan government's handling of the problem posed by the recent PKK attacks as "the right approach to a multi-layered problem concerning more than one country."

    In an article entitled "Big lies", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal accuses press commentators objecting to a cross-border operation into Iraq on the grounds that past military incursions have failed to achieve their purposes, and that northern Iraq has the potential to turn into a quagmire for the Turkish military, of conducting a disinformation campaign intended to block cross-border action and allow Kurdish leader Barzani to press ahead with his efforts to establish a "puppet state" in northern Iraq.

    In an article entitled "A childish proposal", Milli Gazete columnist Suleyman Arif Emre asserts that the United States is strictly following a Carnegie Foundation plan entailing the partition of Turkey and finds it "incredible" that Prime Minister Erdogan should offer to conduct a joint operation against the PKK with the United States.

    [11] Columnist in Turkish Daily News criticizes the Turkish government for imposing broadcast ban

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (25.10.07) publishes the following commentary by Mehmet Ali Birand under the title: No information but plenty of stick:

    The government provides no information or guidance. Consequently journalists write what they see and hear. When the authorities don't like it, they get out their sticks and accuse journalists of provoking the public. We don't know what to do. In Europe and America, crisis management is very different. The state provides a lot of information and provides guidance. They have no need for sticks.

    The government has established an extremely faulty communication system that also involves the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) and TV channels. You'll soon see it fail completely. What's more, it's going to give the impression that Turkey is applying censorship. There's so much difference between what was meant to happen and what actually happens now. Let's first read the text that RTUK sent to us: "Re the terrorist attacks that took place at Daglica/Hakkari' on 21/10/2007: In accordance with article 25 of Law number 3984 on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and Their Broadcasts; and with respect to social responsibility and sensitivity in broadcast, in order to raise the morale of security forces, in order to avoid disturbing the psychological state of the public, and to protect the mental health of children; a decision has been made to stop the broadcast of radio and TV programs that exercise negative effects on public order and morale, weaken the powerful image of security forces, and disturb the psychological state of society." The reasons behind this attitude can be summarized in the following way: - To prevent some channels from exploiting public sentiment by showing exaggerated scenes of heartbreaking grief at funerals. (Exaggerated reporting was beginning to start dangerous trends. Some Kurdish neighborhoods were attacked. Even slight differences in opinion were motivating lynching attempts. The exaggeration had to be stopped.)

    - Another reason was to stop some channels from broadcasting the opinions of people with no expertise whatsoever; individuals and some retired officers, were running from one channel to the other, pretending to be experts and passing judgment on what to do by pronouncing the most outrageous views. They disseminated false information and impressions in and outside Turkey. In short, the reason was to prevent information pollution.

    - To prevent the written and visual press from depicting objectionable pictures and providing false information by grossly exaggerating military activities within the related regions.

    - To reduce the tension created by the questions, criticism and commentaries concerning the attitude and tactics of the Turkish Armed Forces and about the eight kidnapped soldiers. The government wanted to appease the public and reduce the anxiety. When official statements didn't work, the government tried to achieve it through RTUK. However, the general picture is one of complete censorship.

    Now, I want to ask you a question: Is there any relationship between the RTUK statement and what the government was trying to do? The statement is very abstract and open to individual interpretation. Especially the part about "protecting the mental health of children." What on earth does that mean? What news does not conform to article 25? Are we to use no funeral scenes or casualty information? When we do use them, what are the reference points? These are my objections. If it's indeed necessary to block some exceptionable broadcasts, article 25 is not the answer. The answer is to do what civilized countries do. In other words, officials establish communication with the channels, tell them exactly what they want, give concrete examples and solve the problem. You can be sure that the media will fall in with this method. It is wrong to restrain all channels because of a few marginal channels that exaggerate in the name of opposition. Neither the related ministries nor the military organized a proper information campaign during the crisis. Afterwards, they said, "you are ruining the country, pal." In civilized countries, however, the media receive constant information in similar situations. In this way, they are also warned and guided. What can the media do in the absence of information but write and broadcast what they see and hear? As usual, the state took the easy way out. It preferred sticks to communication (information and guidance).

    'Neighborhood pressure' on media increases... Everybody holds the media responsible. The government and even the military accuse and criticize us constantly: "Why do you exaggerate the news of casualties and funerals so much? Why do you exploit public sentiment? Look, your broadcasts arouse the public. You invite Turkish-Kurdish strife." You hear what they are saying and find that they are not entirely wrong. You fine-tune your article accordingly. This time, however, it is the people, the families of the soldiers killed in action, some political parties and associations that accuse and criticize you: "Shameless media...Sold-out media...Our brave soldiers lose their lives and get only two lines from you..." You bear these reactions and resist the pressure to avoid provoking Turk-Kurd conflict. This time it's your colleagues who hit below the belt. "To us, there's no difference between five and fifty-five soldiers killed in action. We are hurt just as badly. The pro-censorship media is trying to silence us, hand-in-hand with RTUK." So you're cornered by the neighborhood pressure that exists even at home and in your street and don't know what to do. I am against the limits set by RTUK. However, when I feel the neighborhood pressures, hear the comments and the provocation on some marginal channels, see the news on soldiers killed in action and the funerals and witness the exploitation, I also give reason to the state. Still, I firmly believe that this is not the right method, and that dialogue and information is.

    EG/


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