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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-02-26

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. 40/08 26.02.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The first statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the election of President Christofias
  • [02] The reactions of the Turkish Cypriot political parties for the election of President Christofias continue
  • [03] How the press in Turkey covered the result of the presidential elections
  • [04] Turkish diplomatic sources on the elections in Cyprus
  • [05] The US Ambassador in Turkey met with Erdogans adviser
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot Platform sends a letter to Erdogan and stresses that the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus is estimated to be 500 thousands
  • [07] Turkish Cypriot academician proposes the opening of closed Varosha before the solution and the use of the original names of the occupied villages
  • [08] Oya Talat met with Joan Ryan and Cherry Blair
  • [09] The Arab Gas Pipeline in ready for operation
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] Turkish columnist assesses US role in Turkeys cross-border operation in northern Iraq
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The first statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader after the election of President Christofias

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.02.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat has said that with the completion of the presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus they are expecting a negotiations process to start and a solution to be achieved until the end of 2008.

    In statements during a press conference he organized yesterday in the occupied part of Nicosia, Mr Talat noted that the Turkish Cypriot side is ready to start negotiations. Mr Talat claimed that the Turkish Cypriot side will exert every effort during the new period and noted that the political equality of the two peoples and the equal status of the founding states will be the fundamental parameters of the solution during the new process.

    It is a new environment, a new period, we are hopeful, said Mr Talat who congratulated the newly elected President of the Republic, Mr Demitris Christofias and called for cooperation.

    Noting that we should not face once again the situation we faced during the 2004 referendum, Mr Talat said that if the sides hide their real target and wait until the last moment to determine their attitude, catastrophic results may occur and this will be tantamount to the division of Cyprus.

    He noted, though, that he is very hopeful on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem and added that the reason for this is the fact that a leader who says I will negotiate, I want to solve the problem with the Turkish Cypriots was elected at the leadership of the Greek Cypriot community.

    Mr Talat said that a difficult period is in front of them, that they should reach an agreement which will be accepted by both peoples and that the work of President Christofias and himself will be very difficult.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (26.02.08) refers to Mr Talats statements and reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader called on President Christofias to avoid playing image games. The paper points out the following: Talat who before was saying that our time is the time of image now is saying the opposite. The paper notes that Mr Talat said that reaching a solution by the end of the year will not be a surprise.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] The reactions of the Turkish Cypriot political parties for the election of President Christofias continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (26.02.08) reports that Omer Kalyoncu, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), has called on the Greek Cypriot side to abandon its old views and show more will for a bi-zonal, bi-communal solution based on the political equality. In statements to illegal TAK news agency, Mr Kalyoncu wished the period of Papadopoulos in south Cyprus to really end and the hand of the Turkish side for peace to meet the hand of the Greek Cypriot leader.

    Mr Kalyoncu pointed out that President Christofias was elected with the support of DIKO and that this party will be given the important Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Mr Kalyonncu asked for the implementation of the Financial Aid Regulation of the EU for the Turkish Cypriots, the opening of the Ledra Street barricade and the withdrawal of the lawsuits at the European Court of Justice.

    Halkin Sesi reports also that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), issued a statement yesterday noting that he has congratulated the newly elected President Christofias and noted that they are proud because their comrade won. He asked from President Christofias to undertake an initiative for a solution at the UN and expressed the hope of finding an overall solution which will be taking into consideration the interests of all Cypriots.

    The paper further writes that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democrat Party (TDP) wished for the victory of President Christofias to be a positive step towards a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on the political equality.

    Furthemore, Halkin Sesi reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer issued a written statement yesterday noting that the Cyprus problem should be solved as soon as possible and that the last chance for a solution should be evaluated in 2008.

    Mr Soyer said that all the elements of the Cyprus problem have been negotiated until now and added: If there is a will to solve the problem, we will sit at the table, decide and submit this decision to the approval of the people. Referring to the election of President Christofias, Mr Soyer said: It is a difficult duty for Christofias. He found a time bomb in his hand and he has to destroy it. He must do this in order for the relations between the two sides to be improved.

    Meanwhile, Halkin Sesi reports that Rasit Pertev, chairman of the Peoples Party (HP), described the newly elected President Christofias as a new packaged version of the outgoing President Papadopoulos. In statements during his weekly press conference at the headquarters of his party, Mr Pertev alleged that Mr Christofias has to prove himself on many issues and claimed that it is not clear how sincere he is when he refers to the solution and what he understands when he refers to a solution.

    Referring to the responsibilities of the Turkish side after the election of President Christofias, Mr Pertev argued that they should not present Mr Christofias as a new hope, they should not create hopes and they should act in a self-possessed manner. He argued that they should not accept any negotiations process which will not have as its basis the UN parameters in which the treaties of guarantee are also included. Furthermore, the government should not ignore and neglect now the example of Kosovo which is in front of us as a serious option, he added alleging that with the so-called independence of Kosovo the old parameters have been shaken and a blow has been dealt to the old systems. New precedents, understandings and horizons have been created, he argued.

    The same paper notes that the National Unity Party (UBP) issued a statement yesterday on the occasion of the election of the President Demitris Christofias and expressed its respect to the will of the Greek Cypriots. The party reiterated its support to a new partnership based on the sovereign equality of the two peoples, the bi-zonality, the two states and the active guarantees of Turkey and Greece. The UBP noted also that the TRNC will continue to constitute for them an indispensable basis in any possibility.

    Furthermore, Halkin Sesi reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), stated that the three-party coalition formed after the elections in the Republic of Cyprus shows that the old policies of the Greek Cypriots will continue by using new wording.

    Mr Denktas criticized the fact that statements are made by the Turkish side saying that they are ready for negotiations before even the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader puts forward something concrete. He argued that these statements are useful to nothing else but appearing nice.

    Finally, Halkin Sesi writes that the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) issued a written statement yesterday wishing for a change in the policy of the Greek Cypriot side to take place together with the change in the leadership.

    The statement notes that they want to evaluate the change in the Greek Cypriot leadership as a step towards a comprehensive, permanent and just solution in which the political equality of the Turkish Cypriot people will be included. ORP expressed its concern over the fact that DIKO and EDEK will be participating in the new Cyprus government.

    [03] How the press in Turkey covered the result of the presidential elections

    Main issue in the world news pages of the Turkish newspapers today (26.02.08) is the press conference of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, yesterday in occupied Lefkosia, regarding the outcome of the Presidential elections in the Republic of Cyprus that took place on Sunday 24.02.2008. The Turkish press covered the issue as follows:

    Milliyet newspaper under the title, Urgent negotiation pressure to Christofias, reports on the outcome of the Presidential elections in Cyprus and that the new President is Mr Demitris Christofias. The paper reports from Brussels that the EU Commission President, Mr Jose Manuel Barroso, in a written statement said that this is a new opportunity for a settlement and he made a call in order to begin the negotiation process under the aegis of the UN as soon as possible. Mr Barroso stated that as the President of the Commission he will support very strongly the common efforts of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish side, the paper writes.

    Under the subtitle, Brussels are hopeful, the paper reports that Brussels are very hopeful with Christofias and writes that Mr Barroso, as it is known, was very satisfied with the position of Mr Christofias, regarding the Cyprus problem, at their meeting on the 5th of December.

    The paper reports that Mr Christofias in his victory speech at the Eleftheria Stadium in Nicosia thanked the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat and Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer for their congratulations and said: I extend a hand of friendship to the Turkish people and its administration.

    Under the subtitle, A great opportunity for Turkey also, the paper reports that after the commitment of Mr Christofias to Mr Barroso at their meeting that he will struggle for a solution, it seems that the Turkish-EU relations gain a new impetus.

    Under the title Talat: solution is possible in 2008, the paper reports from occupied Lefkosia on the statements of Mr Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday at the press conference on the election of Mr Demitris Christofias. Mr Talat evaluated the outcome of the elections and stated that the Greek Cypriot people voted in favor of change and the change is indisputable. Mr Talat stressed that if the period ahead will be a period for image making the division of Cyprus will be cemented. Mr Talat said that the Cyprus problem could be solved in the period ahead within the framework of the UN parameters. If we do not reach success this time, the unification of Cyprus will be very diffcult, Mr Talat stated.

    Sabah newspaper reports on the outcome of the Presidential election in Cyprus under the title, Hopes got green. The paper writes that after the victory of Mr Christofias the place got full with red flags and in contrast to other elections, this time there were no Greek flags, but only flags of Cyprus and AKEL party. People were celebrating until the morning hours either with their luxury cars or with trucks for the victory of Christofias. One of the main reasons of this joy is the promise of the new leader to focus on the Cyprus problem. This view is not only in the Greek Cypriot side, it is also dominant in the Turkish side, the paper writes.

    The paper also reports from Brussels the call of the EU Commission President, Mr Manuel Barroso under the title, The EU President made a call to the new leader.

    The press conference of Mr Talat, which took place yesterday in occupied Lefkosia, is reported under the title, Talat: A new state will be born.

    Radikal newspaper under the front-page title, New Period in Cyprus: Settlement pressure on Christofias, reports that the new leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration, Mr Demitris Christofias, the first day came face to face with the calls of the EU and the USA to start the negotiations. In its inside pages the paper reports that Mr Christofias after his visit to Athens and Brussels will meet with Talat.

    Under the subtitle, Talat hopeful, Ankara cautious, the paper reports that the election of Mr Christofias raised hopes to the TRNC and a wait-see position to Ankara. The paper reports on the press briefing of Mr Talat in occupied Lefkosia, where he stated that until the end of 2008 a solution is possible. Mr Talat said that there is no reason to be hopeless and stressed that a leader who wants solution has been elected. Stressing that the period ahead will not be a period for image making, he said: It will not be a right manner first to say that we are ready to accept but then to reject with a no campaign, warning that such a move will cement the division of the island.

    Bugun newspaper under the front-page title, Warning from Talat to the new Greek Cypriot leader, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, congratulated the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader, Mr Demitris Christofias, through telephone and reminded him that the last minute the position of the Greek Cypriot people regarding the Annan Plan changed.

    In its inside pages under the title There is no solution with secret intentions, the paper reports on the press conference of Mr Talat where he stated that the sides must be sincere for a solution in Cyprus. As the paper reports, Mr Talat stated that by hiding our true aims and by determining our attitude at the last moment can bring very destructive results.

    (I/Ts - EA)

    [04] Turkish diplomatic sources on the elections in Cyprus

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (26.02.08) under the title, We did not forget that AKEL supported Papadopoulos, reports that Ankara did not forget that the last night before the referendum in 2004, AKEL party supported the former Greek Cypriot leader Papadopoulos. Diplomatic sources stated that they will follow closely whether AKEL remains committed to the UN parameters, whether AKEL wants a bi-communal solution and a solution based on political equality and the sincerity of AKEL regarding the new equal partnership.

    (EA)

    [05] The US Ambassador in Turkey met with Erdogans adviser

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.02.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson had a meeting with Ahmet Davutoglu, the foreign policy adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Monday.

    The 45-minute meeting was behind closed doors at the Prime Ministry building in Ankara.

    Sources said Wilson exchanged views with Davutoglu about matters concerning the two countries.

    [06] Turkish Cypriot Platform sends a letter to Erdogan and stresses that the population in the occupied areas of Cyprus is estimated to be 500 thousands

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (26.02.08) reports that the Cyprus Peace Platform visited yesterday the so-called embassy of Turkey in the occupied part of Nicosia in order to hand over a letter to the ambassador addressed to the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, but the representatives of the Platform were not allowed to enter into the building of the embassy.

    Under the title Ambassador: Give it to the doorkeeper, the paper reports that the ambassador did not accept to meet with the members of the Platform invoking as pretext his heavy schedule. In statements on behalf of the Platform, Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), said that it is not possible for us to accept a reply in such a manner to a demand for a meeting we submitted as a matter of courtesy to an ambassador who is a guest in our country.

    The paper writes that the letter which is addressed to Mr Erdogan, refers to the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and reminds that the occupied areas of Cyprus is a subordinate administration of Turkey. It is also noted that the demographic structure of the Turkish Cypriots has been damaged, that the community is being annihilated and that if things continue in the same manner in the future it will not be possible for us to talk about a Turkish Cypriot community.

    The Platform stresses also that when the population is estimated to be 500 thousands, the statement that per capita income reached ten thousand dollars is left unjustified and does not correspond to the truth. The Platform accused Turkey of not exerting enough effort for a solution in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Turkish Cypriot academician proposes the opening of closed Varosha before the solution and the use of the original names of the occupied villages

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (26.02.08) reports that the expert on international relations, Dr. Mehmet Hasguler, who is a member of the teaching staff of the 18 March University of Canakkale in Turkey and the illegal Near East University in the occupied areas of Cyprus, has made two proposals after the election of President Christofias.

    In statements to the paper he said that the issue of the opening of the occupied closed city of Varosha until the solution could be discussed under the auspices of the UN. The second proposal of Dr. Hasguler is the use of the original names of the occupied villages, i.e. the names used during the Ottoman rule with the addition of the word ancient.

    He gave some examples on this issue and said that occupied Galatia and Livadia villages or Mehmetcik and Sazlikoy as the Turks named them after the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, may be called Ancient Galatia and Ancient Livadia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Oya Talat met with Joan Ryan and Cherry Blair

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (26.02.08) reports that the chairman of the Patriotic Womens Union, Oya Talat, spouse of the Turkish Cypriot leader, completed her contacts in London and returned last night to the island. During her contacts in London, Mrs Talat met with Turkish Cypriot members of municipal councils and Mrs Joan Ryan, Britains representative for Cyprus.

    During the meeting they discussed the recent developments on the Cyprus problem and the existing difficulties. Mrs Talat asked from Mrs Ryan for Britain to undertake a more active role and contribute positively to the solution and peace process. Mrs Talat met also with Mrs Cherry Blair, spouse of the former British Premier.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The Arab Gas Pipeline is ready for operation

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (25.02.08) reported the following:

    Ministers of Oil and Energy of states participating in the Arab Gas Pipeline (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey) reviewed in a meeting the finishing touches for operating the pipeline and mechanisms for following-up the implementation of the project.

    Syria's Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Sufian Allaw, in a press conference said that Syria has agreed with Egypt to supply gas across the Arab gas pipeline by preferential prices as from March 21st, after completion the required tests for making use of it in the Syrian gas network, especially in operating Dier Ali station to generate electricity with a full capacity.

    The Minister added: "Syria has completed the portion of the Arab gas pipeline dedicated to transport the Egyptian gas to Lebanon except of some simple technical works, which will be completed when the agreement between Lebanon and Egypt to provide Lebanon with the Egyptian gas, would be implemented, in the middle of this year."

    The Arab Gas Pipeline is one of the great and important projects linking Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon and contributing in transporting and marketing of gas from these states and across Turkey to Europe, with a length of 1200 km from al-Arish in Egypt --via Jordan and Syria-- to the Turkish border. It costs about $ 1,200 million. The meeting was attended by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Hilmi Guler and Acting Lebanese Minister of Energy and Water Mohammed al-Safadi.

    Earlier, Premier Mohammad Naji Otri discussed with Ministers of Oil and Energy in Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey the reality of the work in the Arab Gas Pipeline, stages of its implementation and its importance to meet the growing need for energy.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Turkish columnist assesses US role in Turkeys cross-border operation in northern Iraq

    Under the title What is the agreement, Istanbul Sabah (25.02.08) publishes the following commentary by Umur Talu:

    Had there been a real opposition party in this country, instead of incessantly telling the government and the General Staff how to conduct the cross-border operation with the airs of a commander-in-chief, it would have been curious to know how things got to where they are today. It would have asked the following questions:

    1. On the eve of the first presidential elections, why did the PKK attacks, the infiltrations from north Iraq, and the road mine incidents escalate, how, and thanks to whom?

    2. At about the same time, why did certain influential circles in the US Administration (almost) urged for a coup in Turkey?

    3. Why did the military memorandum coincide with that period?

    4. What kind of an agreement was reached between the prime minister and the chief of the General Staff at Dolmabahce Palace?

    5. After the elections, what happened that was in line with (and out of line with) the agreement?

    6. How did the Bush administration reach an agreement on the cross-border operation that also covered the Dolmabahce agreement?

    7. Why did Washington -- which used the PKK against Turkey and the government (and, under the name of PJAK [Free Life Party of Kurdistan], against Iran) -- give Turkey the permission to hit the PKK?

    8. Does the "Washington Agreement" concern only Turkey's military needs or was it dictated by US military intentions?

    9. What are they?

    10. The Turkish Assembly that authorized the military to go across the border should ask these questions. The media should ask these questions. On behalf of the Turkish nation, we should ask these questions and get answers.

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 25 February 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 25 February:

    a) Invasion in Iraq:

    In an article in Hurriyet Fatih Cekirge quotes two Turkish commanders who indicate that the Turkish army will remain in northern Iraq for a long time. Cekirge also reports on a US message conveyed to the Kurdish leadership in northern Iraq saying that the PKK must politicize or else.

    Ecevit Kilic, a Sabah columnist, interviews Ercan Citlioglu, an expert on terrorism, on the timing, possible duration, targets, and military aspects of the operation. In the interview, Citlioglu predicts that the Turkish troops will remain in north Iraq till the end of April.

    Can Atakli in Vatan writes: "We are naturally excited by the ground operation in northern Iraq. As I have said before, however, I cannot figure out the meaning of a military operation conducted in line with intelligence from another country and within the restraints set by that country. Furthermore, we do not know what we will give in return for this 'permission' granted by the United States. Therefore, I am trying to be cautious about this issue."

    An editorial in Cumhuriyet lauds the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for carrying out "Operation Sun" in a bid to fighting separatism. The editorial maintains that the operation is legitimate in the eyes of the United States, Iraq, and the EU, and that the US support for the PKK seems to have come to an end. This is thanks to the TSK, the editorial says, and the TSK has shown once again that it is determined to protect the "red lines" of the Turkish Republic; namely, "secularism and indivisibility."

    Under the banner headline, "Paratroopers After Bayik," Yeni Safak carries a front-page report which asserts that the Turkish Armed Forces have destroyed the PKK's four most important outposts in the ongoing ground offensive into northern Iraq.

    In an article under the title: "Will the Cross-Border Operation Solve the Problem?" Yeni Safak Editor-in-Chief Yusuf Ziya Comert argues that it is misleading to ask whether Turkey's latest ground campaign into northern Iraq will "solve the problem" inasmuch as the operation is irrelevant to certain aspects of the broader issue of whether the Kurds in Turkey can be made to sufficiently feel that they belong to this "nation" and whether there are problems related to basic rights and freedoms that prevent them from feeling themselves to be part of the larger population.

    In an article entitled of what use will the 25th operation be?" Yeni Safak columnist Koray Duzgoren asserts that the area where the Turkish military is conducting its ground offensive in northern Iraq is at least 80-90 km away from the PKK's main camps and that the size of the Turkish deployments to the region is not sufficient to deal a "deadly" blow to the PKK. Duzgoren claims that under the circumstances the operation is intended more to give a warning to northern Iraqi Kurdish leader Mas'ud Barzani than to neutralize the PKK.

    A report entitled "Operation could be prolonged" quotes "experts" like Professor Huseyin Bagci and Professor Deniz Ulke Aribogan as saying that the ongoing ground campaign into northern Iraq could last longer than expected and that Turkey is intending to establish a broad security network in the region. The report also highlights the views of Ali Nihat Ozcan, a member of the Turkish Economic Research Institution, who asserts that "the fact that the operation is being conducted with the knowledge and support of the United States is putting a brake on [Mas'ud] Barzani."

    Under the headline, "Diplomatic Support for Ground Campaign," Zaman publishes a front-page report which asserts that Ankara has started a diplomatic initiative linked to the cross-border operation against the PKK. According to the report, Turkish ambassadors will be explaining the scope and purposes of the offensive to foreign governments and making representations with the UN.

    In an article under the title: "The United States' unwilling Support", Today's Zaman Washington correspondent Ali H. Aslan argues that Washington is giving reluctant support to the Turkish military's ground offensive against the PKK and that it has not abandoned its "balance policy" vis--vis Ankara, Baghdad, and Arbil. He also claims that Ankara would not have undertaken the latest military campaign were it not for Washington's "technical and diplomatic support."

    In an article entitled "The dynamic behind the ground operation", Today' Zaman columnist Omer Taspinar expresses the "hope that ... [the AKP] has a plan to start the democratization process on the Kurdish front" following the ground offensive into northern Iraq.

    b) Headscarf Issue:

    In an editorial in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli faults President Gul for stealthily approving a set of constitutional amendments designed to lift the headscarf ban in universities while the nation is focused on the incursion into north Iraq. Kanli states: "Meanwhile a group of deputies in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) were trying to make best use of the opportunity and inserting a sentence in the draft Social Security Law to increase their salaries to 12,000 YTL (that is around $10,000)..."

    Under the banner headline, "YOK Ends the Controversy," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that Higher Education Council, YOK, Chairman Yusuf Ziya Ozcan has sent a "written instruction" to university rectors, asking them to let female university students who wear headscarves enter classes in line with the amendments to Article 10 and 42 of the Constitution passed by Parliament.

    In his article in Vatan, Can Atakli says: "In the operation to have the Islamic headdress dominate, Commander-in-Chief Gul approved the relevant amendments... Announcing his approval of constitutional amendments that will supposedly lift the ban on the headdress just when the ground operation into north Iraq began was not very nice." The columnist goes on: Gul felt the need to write a reason for why he approved the amendments. "Obviously, he is not at peace with himself."

    In a commentary in Cumhuriyet, Mustafa Balbay censures President Gul for his timing in connection with the approval of the amendments to lift the headscarf ban. The columnist argues that with his decision, the president triggered great turmoil in the Turkish society, and "proved that he is the president of the AKP," and not of the nation.

    In an article entitled "Let nobody hear about It", Yeni Safak columnist Tamer Korkmaz takes issue with certain mainstream columnists over their "absurd" argument that President Gul's timing of his approval of the bill that lifts the headscarf ban was calculated to take advantage of the publicity surrounding the ground offensive against the PKK to render his ratification of the bill inconspicuous. Korkmaz argues that the removal of the headscarf ban is aimed at bringing about a "state-nation rapprochement" and that it is because the "secularist front" is opposed to this reconciliation project that it wants the ban to be retained.

    In an article entitled "Moles, landmines, headscarves, media cartel", Vakit Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya accuses the "media cartel" of being preoccupied with the headscarf issue in labeling President Gul's timing of his ratification of the headscarf bill as opportunistic yet not paying any attention to the "espionage scandal" within the armed forces involving the release of a video on YouTube disclosing the military's preparations to stage a ground offensive some 48 hours before it was launched. He claims that the broadcast of the said video allowed the PKK to gain enough time to abandon its camps and mine the routes used by the Turkish army.

    In an article entitled "We are a Classless Society, Aren't We?", Today's Zaman columnist Fehmi Koru asserts that university rectors will most likely not allow female students wearing Islamic headgear to enter campuses despite the constitutional amendments passed by Parliament and that it is because they want the Constitutional Court to "have the last word" on the headscarf issue that they demand an additional change to Article 17 of the Higher Education Law.

    c) Cyprus Elections:

    Ankara may not be too happy with Papadopoulos's departure from the Greek Cypriot political scene, Milliyet's Semih Idiz writes in a commentary. According to the columnist, during the past five years, north Cyprus became more of an extension of Turkey. Immigrants from Anatolia now make up the majority of the population of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, (TRNC). The hawks in Ankara were pleased with the status quo because "it would have led to official partitioning of the island and paved the way for the TRNC to advance along Kosovo's path, toward a vision of eventual independence." Idiz concludes: The election results have upset Ankara because the option of a "united Cyprus" is being placed on the agenda to replace that of a "divided Cyprus."

    In a commentary in Hurriyet, Ferai Tinc says that Christofias was elected because the Greek Cypriot people realized that a lack of solution to the Cyprus problem would have led to the recognition of the TRNCs independence. "The new Greek Cypriot leader will try to reach a solution and the ball is now in the Turkish Cypriot court -- that is what the international community believes," Tinc asserts.

    d) Foundations Law Patriarchate:

    A report in Milli Gazete entitled "Unlimited Power for the Patriarch" claims that the passage of the Foundations Bill will enable the Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul to turn into another Vatican politically and economically. The report quotes Felicity Party Deputy Chairman Oya Akgonenc as saying that the Government exploited the "smokescreen" created by the headscarf debate to pass the said bill without sparking protests.

    /AC


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