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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-11-22

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.226/07 22.11.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat: I have not said my final word yet
  • [02] Decisions by the council of ministers; Statement by Soyer on the economy
  • [03] Investors from Turkey are coming to the occupied areas
  • [04] Murat on the issues of unregistered workers and the citizenship
  • [05] The director of the police admits that the trips to Latakia caused problems regarding the illegal migrants from Syria and Iraq
  • [06] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry will participate in the Dubai Big 5 fair
  • [07] Electricity has been carried to the occupied Cape of Apostolos Andreas
  • [08] Smuggled meat has been found in Famagusta
  • [09] Talat says that art exhibitions is the best way of advertising the TRNC
  • [10] Babacan´s and Lagendijk´s statements at the Turkey-EU Parliamentary Commission meeting held in Ankara
  • [11] Joint press conference by the Turkish Prime Minister and his Slovenian counterpart after the latters official visit to Turkey
  • [12] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan met Chief of General Staff Buyukanit to discuss security issues
  • [13] Babacan will represent Turkey at Annapolis conference
  • [14] Erdogan phoned Lebanese Prime Minister and offered Turkey´s help on the issue of the presidential election deadlock in the Lebanon
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 21 November 2007
  • [16] Turkey starts learning the energy game

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat: I have not said my final word yet

    Under the title I have not said my final word yet, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) publishes statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to the Azeri Ictimai TV (ITV).

    Mr Talat alleged that he has always been supporting the solution of the Cyprus problem and that everybody knows his stance. He said that he is ready to meet with the Greek Cypriot administration under any conditions and added: I always say that I am ready for negotiations. But I have not yet said my final word, what kind of solution I want. I will say this if I find an interlocutor who seriously wants a solution at the negotiating table.

    Mr Talat accused the Greek Cypriot leaders of using delaying tactics and argued that the world should finally understand that the Greek Cypriots are acting having the non-solution in their mind and noted that some states have understood this.

    Talat added: We said let us meet and they refrained from doing this until now. Let us solve this problem with negotiations we said, but they rejected it and preferred the non-solution.

    Alleging that the Turkish side supports the negotiations and the solution, Talat claimed: I have only said: Let us meet and finish this job. They will find out what kind of solution I pursue only if they come to the table willing for a solution. This means that finding out what I want is not difficult.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Decisions by the council of ministers; Statement by Soyer on the economy

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the council of ministers of the breakaway regime has decided the reduction of the customs and price stabilization levy applied on the purchases from third countries. The tariffs applied for these countries will have the same rate as the taxes applied by the EU.

    During its meeting yesterday under self-styled the prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, the council decided that the levies applied to the foreign products, which are produced also in the occupied areas of the island, should not be reduced so that the local producers are protected. The decisions of the council were announced by its spokesman, self-styled minister of works and transports, Salih Usar.

    The body decided also to lower the VAT rate for the imported Irish cotton from 16 % to 1 %. This cotton is used in handicrafts and especially in the well-known Lefkara handicrafts.

    In statements before entering into the meeting of the council of ministers, Mr Soyer said that the price of electricity in the occupied areas of Cyprus is by 30-35 % lower than the price in the free areas of the Republic.

    Mr Soyer refuted the allegations that his so-called government increased the price of energy in order to cover its public expenses. He said that his target is to cover public expenses with the local revenues and argued that the greatest duty of patriotism is for the TRNC to reach to a point where it will be able to cover its expenses with its local revenue.

    Mr Soyer said that the Turkish Cypriots should get rid of the mentality which says: The state is ours, let it give to us. We are partners with South Cyprus, let it give as well. Let Turkey and the EU give also. Mr Soyer noted that the local revenues of the breakaway regime in 2003 had been 600 million New Turkish Liras (YTL) and pointed out that they estimate that this year the above-mentioned number will reach one billion 580 million YTL.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (22.11.07) refers to statements by Mr Soyer to a television program and reports that the self-styled prime minister said that the Turkish Cypriot people have advanced to the 59th position in the world ranking as regards the income and called on those who speak about the problems of the economy in the occupied areas to explain this development.

    He noted that the exports, which were 54 million US dollars in 2006, increased to 64 million dollars only in the first nine months of 2007. Mr Soyer added that the sales to the free areas of Cyprus in 2006 within the framework of the Green Line Regulation reached four million US dollars. This year this number is achieved during the first nine months, he added.

    Mr Soyer said that in 2003 the support given by Turkey to the current expenses in the budget of the breakaway regime was 30 % and that this year this support decreased to 8 %. He pointed out that their aim is for the Turkish Cypriots to come to a situation of being able to be self-administrated and to secure the infrastructure investments from the aid of Turkey. He referred to the issue of the fuels and said that the euro diesel is cheaper in the occupied areas of the island than in the free areas.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Investors from Turkey are coming to the occupied areas

    Under the title 20 investors are coming, Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag has met in Istanbul with the re-elected chairman of Turkeys Travel Agents Union (TURSAB), Basaran Ulusoy. According to a statement issued by the ministry, Mr Sanlidag congratulated Mr Ulusoy and the newly elected administrative council of TURSAB and noted that they expect their support.

    In his statements, Mr Ulusoy said that they want to hold the first meeting of their administrative council in the occupied areas of Cyprus. He noted that he will visit the occupied areas together with approximately 20 investors. Mr Ulusoy said that they want to cooperate so that the tourism of the breakaway regime is improved.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Murat on the issues of unregistered workers and the citizenship

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the self-styled minister of internal affairs, Ozkan Murat has said that one of the most important works of his ministry was the reform in the migration. In statements yesterday during the discussion of the budget of the ministry of internal affairs, the security forces, the civil defence and the police at the parliamentary committee for economy, finance, budget and planning, Mr Murat noted that while in the past only 4-5 thousand registered workers existed in the occupied areas, as of October 2007 more than 38 thousand persons are registered.

    He said that they expect this number to reach 45 thousands. Referring to the issue of the citizenship, Mr Murat said that they no longer distribute the citizenship to everybody like koliva (Tr. Note: boiled wheat, nuts and spices given at funerals and commemorative religious services). He noted that the precious governments have even distributed citizenship in order to acquire political advantage.

    He said that in September 2003 1,563 persons had been given the citizenship without submitting any application and without a justification and a proposal. Referring to the issue of those who work in the occupied areas for five years with a work permit, Mr Murat said that work is under way so that residence permit is given to these people and, after completing ten years of living in the occupied areas, to be able to submit application for citizenship.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The director of the police admits that the trips to Latakia caused problems regarding the illegal migrants from Syria and Iraq

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.11.07) reports that in statements before the parliamentary committee for economy, finance, budget and planning, the director of the police, Gunay Ozan said yesterday that they do not have direct relations with Europol, but they have relations with the police of some countries such as Britain, Holland and America.

    He said that the only country with which they have direct correspondence is Britain and described their relations with this country as being at very good level. Mr Ozan noted that with the other countries they have correspondence through Turkey.

    He said that they are working for the improvement of the crossing point at occupied Pergamos area and noted that cooperation with the British bases is needed for this. Mr Ozan said that the smuggling of people through the sea has decreased, but with the beginning of the trips to Latakia they experience a problem on the issue of the persons who come illegally from Syria and Iraq to the occupied areas of the island.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry will participate in the Dubai Big 5 fair

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry will participate in the fair for building and construction materials which will take place in Dubai under the name Dubai Big 5 between 25 and 29 November. The paper reports that five firms from the occupied areas of Cyprus will participate in this fair. A delegation of 30 persons under the chairman of the Chamber of Industry, Salih Tunar is departing for Dubai through Istanbul today in order to participate in the fair.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Electricity has been carried to the occupied Cape of Apostolos Andreas

    Under the title The switches went down in Rizokarpasso, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the process of carrying electricity from occupied Rizokarpasso village to the Cape of Apostolos Andreas has come to an end. After the drawing of the lines, the day before yesterday electricity was supplied to the area and the Cape of Apostolos Andreas is illuminated. Ten street lamps have been put at the Cape of Apostolos Andreas.

    Half of these lamps are already illuminating. The works for supplying the other five lamps with electricity are still continuing. The self-styled mayor of Rizokapasso, Mehmet Demirciler has said that they had prepared a project so that the tourist installations located on the route towards the Cape of Apostolos Andreas are able to take electricity.

    He noted that the adjustment of the environment should be made as soon as possible. Mr Demirciler said that they should improve the situation of the Cape of Apostolos Andreas road and added that the area of the monastery is also in a bad condition, which he described as the disgrace of the TRNC tourism.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Smuggled meat has been found in Famagusta

    Under the title 353 kilos of smuggled meat in Famagusta, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) reports that 353 kilos of smuggled veal have been found in a shop during the controls carried out by the health and municipal police units of the self-styled municipality of occupied Famagusta. The meat was destroyed by the municipal units and legal procedure was launched against the business where the smuggled meat was found.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Talat says that art exhibitions is the best way of advertising the TRNC

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (22.11.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat attended last night the opening ceremony of the art exhibition named New Roads which Intersect. Artists from Germany, Spain, the USA, Turkey, Latvia and the occupied areas of Cyprus participate in the exhibition organized on the occasion of the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).

    Addressing the opening ceremony, Mr Talat expressed his satisfaction for the fact that such an exhibition is organized for the first time on the occasion of the UDI and noted that this is the best, most peaceful and most modern way of advertising the Turkish Cypriot people and the TRNC to the world.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Babacan´s and Lagendijk´s statements at the Turkey-EU Parliamentary Commission meeting held in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Wednesday that Turkey will certainly meet the EU acquis and accomplish required reforms.

    Babacan added that the new (Turkish) Constitution will meet the Copenhagen political criteria, and it will make Turkey a first-class democracy.

    Speaking at the Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission meeting at the Turkish Parliament, Babacan said that they implement reforms for the sake of Turkish people, and not to satisfy EU public or receive appreciation from EU Commission.

    Noting that the EU process is not only a Turkey-EU issue, Babacan said that it has regional and global effects. He recalled that news about Turkey's starting negotiations with the EU had enormous repercussions in Middle East, Arabian and African countries.

    "This process gave a serious responsibility to EU and Turkish officials. It is related to peace, stability, prosperity and security," he noted.

    Babacan said that EU attaches importance to Turkey's contribution to peace as well as its stabilizing power in the region. Babacan said that Turkey is the only country which has good relations with both Israel and Arab countries in the region. He noted that Turkey hosted 900,000 Iranian tourists in 2006, and more than 500,000 Israeli tourists are expected to visit Turkey in 2007. "Turkey is the 6th biggest trade partner of the EU. Turkey will carry the burdens of the EU; it won't be a burden to it," he added.

    In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) also reports that Turkey-EU Joint Parliamentary Commission Co-chairman Joost Lagendijk said Wednesday that closure of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) does not contribute to solution, and that the presence of DTP at the parliament is an opportunity.

    Lagendijk said the DTP should put a much certain distance between itself and PKK terrorist organization.

    Speaking in Ankara, Lagendijk said it is important for Turkey to continue reforms, and there are two important issues, that are Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and closure case of DTP. Lagendijk said there is a demand within Turkey to amend Article 301, and issues such as incidents of 1915 and the Cyprus problem cannot be solved only by Turkey itself, and the EU can extend support to Turkey in these issues. He said however, amendment to Article 301 can be made by Turkey itself. On the other hand, Lagendijk noted that closure of political parties will not be a solution to terrorism.

    [11] Joint press conference by the Turkish Prime Minister and his Slovenian counterpart after the latters official visit to Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on Turkish and Slovenian businessmen to invest mutually. Erdogan and the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa held a joint press conference following their tęte-ŕ-tęte meeting in Ankara on Wednesday.

    Erdogan said Slovenia will take over the EU's rotating presidency in 2008 and stressed the importance of Jansa's visit to Turkey. He noted that they discussed EU process, NATO and commercial relations between the two countries. "Our bilateral trade volume is expected to reach 1 billion USD at the end of this year. We expect Turkish and Slovenian businessmen to invest mutually," he said.

    Erdogan also said Turkey expects Slovenia, as the next EU president, to take necessary steps regarding the Cyprus problem to settle it in line with United Nations' efforts.

    On the other hand, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa recalled that Turkey and Slovenia are allies in NATO, and thanked Turkey for its support to Slovenia's NATO and OECD memberships.

    The cooperation between Turkey and Slovenia is developing rapidly, there is a "big unused potential" between the two countries, while the cooperation in tourism, commerce, transportation and logistics areas should be further developed, Jansa said.

    Jansa said Erdogan and he discussed the EU presidency of Slovenia which will begin as of 2008, and that Slovenia extends full support to enlargement of EU, and the reform agreement, which will be signed in December is very important within that scope. Jansa stated that the recent Progress Report of EU about Turkey was objective, and they believe Turkey will rapidly fulfil adjustment efforts.

    Regarding Turkey's EU membership bid, Jansa promised support to Turkey while recalling that opening of chapter headings which have not been opened yet (in Turkey's accession talks) can only be possible with unanimity of EU members.

    Meanwhile, prior to the press conference, related ministers of Turkey and Slovenia signed five agreements on agriculture, health, communication technologies, cooperation with Akdeniz University and employment for families of personnel having diplomatic passport.

    In addition, A.A. also reports that Turkey-Slovenia Business Council convened in Ankara on Wednesday with participation of Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Slovenian PM Janez Jansa and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Chairman Rifat Hisarciklioglu.

    Hisarciklioglu said that trade volume between Turkey and Slovenia was nearly half billion Euro in 2006, adding that they want to further increase this figure.

    Hisarciklioglu said that Turkish economy is the 17th biggest economy of the world and 6th in the EU. Noting that Turkey has the most competitive and dynamic private sector in its region and can compete with powers in European and world markets, Hisarciklioglu said that also there is a developed foreign contractor services sector in Turkey.

    Hisarciklioglu noted that Turkey has undertaken construction projects worth 100 billion USD in 65 countries so far. He added that 22 Turkish companies took place among the world's biggest 225 international contractor companies in 2006.

    Moreover, A.A. also reports that the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa said Wednesday they will try to speed up dialogue between EU and Turkey during Slovenia's EU presidency. He added that Slovenia supports the process of Turkey's integration with the EU.

    Addressing the Turkey-Slovenia Business Forum in Ankara, Jansa said Turkey takes place between Asia and Europe and thus it has an important role in regional security.

    Slovenia will undertake EU presidency in 2008, Jansa said and added that Turkey's EU integration process began, and Slovenia extends full support to this process.

    [12] Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan met Chief of General Staff Buyukanit to discuss security issues

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit to discuss security issues on Wednesday.

    The meeting, which focused on security issues in the light of recent information, was held at Prime Ministry Office in Ankara and lasted about 1 hour and 15 minutes, sources said.

    [13] Babacan will represent Turkey at Annapolis conference

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) reports that the Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will represent Turkey at Middle East Conference which will take place in Annapolis, U.S., the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday.

    The Middle East Conference will take place in Annapolis near Washington D.C. between November 26th and 27th.

    The Turkish Foreign Ministry noted that Turkey will attend the conference with a delegation led by Babacan, and Turkey will continue to contribute to the search for peace and stability in the region as well as the efforts to build common future of the region.

    [14] Erdogan phoned Lebanese Prime Minister and offered Turkey´s help on the issue of the presidential election deadlock in the Lebanon

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (21.11.07) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora and parliamentary opposition leader Saad Hariri by the phone on Wednesday in regard to a resolution of a deadlock in the presidential election process that jeopardizes political stability of Lebanon.

    What Turkey can do in regard to overcoming of the deadlock was discussed during phone conversations. Siniora and Hariri informed Erdogan on why a consensus was not reached on the list of presidential candidates.

    Siniora and Hariri told Erdogan that they believed Turkey could contribute to resolution of the deadlock by making good use of its impact on regional countries and political parties in Lebanon.

    PM Erdogan said Turkey would keep exerting efforts for the stability of Lebanon.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 21 November 2007

    Following are summaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 21 November 2007:

    a) Northern Iraq and Kurdish Question: A report entitled "Surprising things will happen" in Hurriyet quotes Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan as saying during his flight to Baku that a rapid and surprising reform drive will follow parliamentary deliberations on the federal budget for 2008. The report says that Babacan declined to elaborate on the new reforms, but implied that they would be about the Kurdish question. Babacan also said that they do not trust the local government in northern Iraq because it has no intention of taking action against the PKK despite the fact that it is capable of doing so.

    In an editorial entitled "Spilling the beans," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi says: "Nobody would be able to understand why a possible military operation in northern Iraq is delayed or to discover certain facts about the recent meeting between US President George W. Bush and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan which have not been made public unless Erdogan spills the beans as [Republican People's Party leader] Deniz Baykal has rightfully pointed out." Eksi interprets Erdogan's recent remark that PKK guerrillas should opt for living in cities rather than in mountains as an indication that he intends to devise a new formula similar to the Rehabilitation Law which was enacted four years ago although it did not yield anticipated results. Eksi comments: "It would be appropriate to emphasize a specific point. Nobody could open the door for the involvement of people who have committed murders and crimes in politics and disregard those acts. If, however, PKK leadership makes a decision to lay down their arms - I am not speaking about a ceasefire - and takes convincing action, it could be followed by other steps. It is, however, true that the situation is not ripe enough yet."

    In an article entitled "What should Turkey do?," Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever argues that the Turkish Government should declare partial amnesty, act as the protector of Kurds in northern Iraq rather than treating them as enemies, and encourage economic cooperation with northern Iraq in order to weaken social support for the DTP. He also says that the Kurdish Government in northern Iraq should permit Turkish armed forces to establish a buffer zone on its soil in return.

    In an article entitled "Ambivalence would deepen the Kurdish question," Hurriyet columnist Tufan Turenc argues that it would be unrealistic to expect the DTP to condemn the PKK's murderous attacks and persuade it into laying down its arms. He says: "Turkey cannot provide a lasting solution to the Kurdish problem without first destroying its capabilities to carry out armed attacks."

    In an editorial entitled "Distinguishing the bad from the good," Sabah columnist Erdal Safak criticizes Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), leader Devlet Bahceli for making hawkish statements about the Kurdish problem which, he says, are getting more and more acerbic. Safak cautions that Bahceli's statements could prompt the PKK's disenchanted grass roots to unite again. He says: "Bahceli's accusation that Prime Minister Erdogan who is making efforts to sever ties between the PKK's terror campaign and the Kurdish question has ordered a mobilization aimed at paving the way for ethnic separatism cannot be reconciled with common sense." Pointing out that Turkey has never been so close to liquidating the PKK and resolve the Kurdish question based on national unity, Safak urges the MHP to contribute to the current process.

    In an article entitled "'Political wisdom' About PKK and DTP," Referans columnist Cengiz Candar points out that political and diplomatic efforts are yielding results as a more effective tool than violence, indicating that political wisdom is about to prevail. Emphasizing that the DTP should be forced to carry out political activities within the boundaries of "parliamentary legitimacy" as part of efforts to disarm and gradually liquidate the PKK, Candar says: "The DTP is, however, not willing to do that and it can be seen clearly. But, if you turn the DTP into a victimized semi-identical twin of the PKK by banning it rather than forcing the DTP to pursue such a policy by using political means, only the PKK would benefit from such a move."

    In an article entitled "Why an amnesty?" Vatan columnist Okay Gonensin argues that an amnesty for PKK guerillas should be declared only if the PKK announces that it has laid down its arms and disbanded itself, adding that the leaders of the organization and its members who have ordered or committed murders should not be eligible for amnesty. He says: "Speaking about an amnesty while crimes are being committed could even amount to encouraging those crimes."

    In an article entitled "Gen. Basbug is trying to tell us something," Turkish Daily News columnist Mehmet Ali Birand analyzes recent comments made by Chief of the Ground Forces General Ilker Basbug about the Kurdish issue which, he says, have shown that there are commanders in the military who have different opinions.

    In an editorial entitled "Turkey has to face its Kurdish reality," The New Anatolian columnist Ilnur Cevik says: "You can bomb the PKK camps in northern Iraq, you can launch cross border operations and you can even close down the DTP. However, none of these measures will end the PKK terrorism inside Turkey. The Kurdish issue has to be addressed in Turkey in a realistic manner while we also fight against the terrorists."

    In an article entitled "Ray of hope for a solution to the Kurdish issue", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu lauds Prime Minister Erdogan for his "historic" parliamentary group speech yesterday in which he expressed "our belief that everybody who is able to internalize democracy and act in accordance with the constitutional order should be kept within the democratic system. ... Democracy is a system that contains and tolerates all sorts of differences." Bayramoglu argues that it is the government approach expressed by these remarks that has "lowered the temperature of politics" after it increased in response to the launch of closure proceedings against the Democratic Society Party, DTP, adding that the ruling AKP's attachment to the principles of "legality," "politics," and "legitimacy" has enabled it to avoid the latest "trap" set by the PKK.

    In an article entitled "Will PKK leaders be Handed over to Turkey?", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul calls attention to developments suggesting that "political compromise" entailing the disbanding of the PKK might replace the option of a cross-border military operation against the PKK. He cites the recent disclosures of Cevat Ones, a National Intelligence Organization, MIT, official, as a possible indication that Kurdish groups will have to set up "a new representation mechanism" that does not include Abdullah Ocalan, that the current PKK chieftains in northern Iraq will be extradited to Turkey, and that the DTP have to dissociate itself from terrorism.

    Under the headline, "Three-way anti-terror summit in Ankara," Zaman publishes a front-page report which refers to yesterday's meeting at the General Staff that brought together US generals James Cartwright and David Petraeus with Deputy General Staff Chief Ergin Saygun as "the first concrete step" toward implementing the decision made at the Bush-Erdogan meeting to share intelligence against the PKK.

    In an article entitled "Turkey should be prepared for the Post-PKK era", Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes claims that "those who have been wracking their brains about likely solutions to the Kurdish problem should now make all their plans according to a post-PKK era" and calls on the Government to "employ the necessary social, economic and political measures right away" in addressing the "Kurdish problem."

    In an article entitled "The sooner, the better", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar argues that Prime Minister Erdogan is well-positioned now thanks to his high popular approval rating to press ahead with his plan coordinated with Washington to "tame anti-democratic elements" among the Kurds by "using the peaceful language of politics" and granting an amnesty.

    In an article entitled "The hostage in the DTP's hands", Bugun columnist Gulay Gokturk asserts that the argument, used by critics of the closure case against the DTP, that political parties cannot be closed down in democracies, is no more sound than the claim that "nobody can be sent to prison in free societies." She also accuses the DTP of trying, in "typical terrorist" fashion, to "legitimize violence in politics" and of "keeping democracy hostage" in attempting to "force us into a corner."

    b) Two Turkish Detainees Reportedly Escaped From Abu Ghraib: A report entitled "A 'big breakout' from Abu Ghraib" in Milliyet says that Sadettin Aktas and Burhan Kus who had fled to Iraq via Syria after two bomb attacks carried out by Al-Qa'ida in Istanbul in November 2003 and were later captured by coalition forces and sent to Abu Ghraib prison, escaped during a transfer within the prison in April 2007. The report says that Aktas and Kus are both named in a list of detainees who have disappeared during the transfer which was sent by US authorities in Iraq to the Turkish Federal Police Department.

    Interview with Israeli Ambassador: In an article entitled "We would not sacrifice Turkey for the Kurds," Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila highlights comments made by Gabby Levy, Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, about Turkish-Israeli relations, Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and the Kurdish question in an exclusive interview. Levy points out that Turkey has made a strategic decision to play a more active role in the Middle East. Denying allegations that Israel supports the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq, Levy says that preserving Iraq's territorial integrity is a prerequisite for ensuring stability in the country. He says: "Israel is not a country which could be so stupid to sacrifice its strategic relationship with Turkey for the sake of its ties with Kurds."

    c) New weapon system: A report in Hurriyet says that ASELSAN, a state-owned company manufacturing electronic systems for military purposes, has developed a new system called stabilized machine-gun platform which comprises a screen and a joystick and maximizes the accuracy of machine-guns and delivered the first batch to the Turkish Armed Forces.

    [16] Turkey starts learning the energy game

    Under the above title Today´s Zaman newspaper (22.11.07) publishes the following article by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    Driven by its scarcity of energy resources, Turkey has concentrated on securing its growing energy needs.

    Serving as an energy corridor for Caspian hydrocarbon resources reaching Europe still remains an important part of its strategy of benefiting from its geographic location provided that it can take some portion of gas and oil passing via its soil. But this policy faces certain snags.

    The latest report released by the State Planning Organization (DPT) on Turkey's energy policy projections for the five-year period between 2008 and 2012 has focused on Turkey's supply security, especially in electricity generation.

    As Turkey has been using 50 percent of the gas it has been importing mainly from Russia and Iran to generate electricity, utilization of renewable energy resources at a maximum level becomes highly important to reduce the burden on generating costly electricity.

    The DPT report stresses the importance of concentrating on renewable energy resources while taking measures to decrease dependence on imported energy resources such as oil and gas, improving electricity trade with neighbouring countries, increasing energy efficiency and fighting against the illegal use of electricity.

    All in all, the plan gives utmost importance to regulating the domestic market for an effective utilization of the country's already-scarce energy resources with an approach based on the assumption that Turkey's energy needs will soar in the future largely due to the high growth of production and population.

    Turkey's determination in going ahead with an energy deal with neighbouring Iran despite certain reservations raised by its close ally, the US, stems mainly from concerns of finding ways in which Ankara can reduce the already existing pressure of a gap between supply and demand.

    Ideally, the US, which is urging the international community and its allies not to forge business ties with Teheran -- moves that encourage Iran to pursue its alleged nuclear arms production plan, would not like Turkey to have business ties with Iran at all.

    But conscious of Turkey's growing energy needs and in particular in electricity, the US has appeared to have acknowledged to a certain extent Turkey's cooperation in electricity trade with Iran provided that it does not involve investment.

    Despite US reservations, anxious over meeting Turkey's energy supplies, Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler signed a $1.5 billion agreement in Ankara on Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart, Parviz Fattah, for the upgrade of existing power transmission lines and the construction of a new line between the two nations. This deal is expected to require an investment to be made by Turkey in Iran too.

    As a sign of Turkish determination to go ahead with forging energy ties with Iran, Guler said "We (Turkey) will continue to sign agreements with Iran, including ones for natural gas."

    "Most naturally, we are prepared; we know of these," Guler briefly responded, when reminded by reporters of the fact that deals between third countries and Iran are subject to US sanction.

    "At this point, our country's interests are above everything. These efforts should by no means be considered a reaction, this is an action," he noted.

    On the other hand, despite a determined policy of forging energy cooperation with Iran, Turkey at the same time is well aware of Teheran's policy of not living up to its commitments. Frequent cuts of Iranian gas supplies to Turkey mainly in winter are one of many examples of Turkish experiences in dealing with Iran.

    Many Turkish energy experts caution Ankara about energy cooperation with Iran, urging it to safeguard its energy supply security in dealings with this country.

    In the meantime, Ankara has been seeking to strengthen its position as an energy corridor of supplying Europe with alternative energy sources other than Russia, provided that it could take some of those hydrocarbon resources for its own use.

    In the beginning of my article, I talked about snags that Ankara has been facing in taking some of the oil and gas passing or planned to transit its soil.

    There has been an ongoing disagreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey over Ankara's demand for 15 percent of Azeri gas lately being pumped to Greece via Turkey.

    Azerbaijanis fear that Turkey may sell this portion of gas that it seeks to buy to third parties at a higher price, undermining the Azeri ability to control gas prices. But Turkey, for its part, is demanding 15 percent of the gas to meet its growing domestic energy needs rather than becoming a hub, at least in the short term, by storing the extra gas intended to be sold to third countries.

    That kind of intense energy negotiation tell us, among other things, how vital a concerned nation will play the energy game to safeguard its own national interest. Turkey appears to have learned some of the lessons from its past mistakes, in particular during the long process that culminated with construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

    EG/


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