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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-12

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. 50/08 12.03.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Soyer attacks President Christofias for his statements in Athens
  • [02] Yeni Duzen: Meeting Time
  • [03] The Chief of the Turkish General Staff will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus next month
  • [04] Contradictory statements on the opening of a representation office of the breakaway regime in Tel Aviv
  • [05] Talat will participate in the summit of the Islamic Conference Organization
  • [06] The breakaway regime is promoted in Germany
  • [07] BKP calls on Talat to honor his signature of the 8 July agreement
  • [08] Yonluer will visit Kosovo after holding high level contacts in Istanbul
  • [09] A Turkish settler is appointed as self-styled minister of environment
  • [10] Delegations from the self-styled assembly are visiting Paris and London
  • [11] Jean-Paul Costa: Turkey had implemented all the ECHR decisions
  • [12] The Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals on DTP´s closure
  • [13] Turgut Ozals son candidate for the leadership of the Motherland Party
  • [14] Pakistani Embassy seeking clarification of Buyukanits nuclear remarks
  • [15] TUSIAD wants to see Russia as an UBCCE member
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [16] Reunifying Cyprus -- big challenges lie ahead
  • [17] The story of Cyprus' - 'virgin birth'
  • [18] From the Turkish Press of 11 March 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Soyer attacks President Christofias for his statements in Athens

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, has alleged that the Greek Cypriot politicians are creating a method in order to hide their own non-solution lines.

    In statements to the paper Mr Soyer claimed that this method is creating a conflict before the negotiations and thus when they sit at the table they take under their influence the negotiations within this conflict and thick cloud of dust and strengthen their non-solution lines.

    He alleged that the statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Markos Kyprianou are within the framework of this tactic before the negotiations. He argued:

    We have many answers to give them, but we prefer to talk after the negotiating table is set up, because the Turkish Cypriot people have enough experience so as not to play this tactic and this game they are using. The Turkish Cypriot people know that the aim of esteemed Christofias and the other Greek Cypriot politicians is creating a smoke screen for their non-solution policy by influencing the Greek Cypriot and the world public opinion. We will not play this game.

    Commenting on President Christofias statement that the Turkish Cypriot leader should cut his ties with Turkey, Mr Soyer alleged the following: They are playing a comic game, because even the fact that these words have been said in Athens is an expression of how comic they are. We have no complex against Turkey and Greece. The whole of the Greek Cypriot political parties, however, have come to the present days by being formed with their Enosis cause...

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Yeni Duzen: Meeting Time

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, Spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, has stated that it is finalized that the meeting between the leaders of the communities will be held next week.

    In statements during his weekly briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica said that the Turkish side has not prepared a solution plan and argued that the Greek Cypriot press publishes speculative and contradictory news on this issue. He argued that the majority of this news is groundless.

    He said that the form which the Cyprus problem will take is expected to come to the surface at the Talat-Christofias meeting and added that they have very high expectations from this meeting.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (12.03.08) refers to the statements by Mr Ercakica under the title Meeting time. The paper reports that a delegation of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) headed by Omer Kalyoncu will hold a meeting today with a delegation of AKEL.

    Yeni Duzen notes also that today the meeting between Ozdil Nami, Turkish Cypriot leader Talat´s special envoy, and George Iacovou, Presidential Commissioner, is expected to take place.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The Chief of the Turkish General Staff will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus next month

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (12.03.08) reports that the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit has said that he will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus next month. According to Anatolia news agency, General Buyukanit gave a reception last night in Ankara on the occasion of the Global Terrorism and International Cooperation Symposium 2. General Buyukanit responded to questions of journalists during the reception regarding the operation of the Turkish Armed Forces in northern Iraq. Replying to a question he said that he will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus next month.

    Meanwhile, under the title New fashion in Bellapais, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (12.03.08) reports that a new practice is implemented in the military unit which is at the ridge of Bellapais.

    According to the paper, the Turkish National Anthem is played through loudspeakers so that the inhabitants of the village listen to it. The paper wonders whether this new practice is a preparation for general Buyukanits visit. The paper notes that the composition of the cover of the magazine published by the so-called Civil Defense Organization has also caused reactions. Afrika publishes a picture of this cover where Cyprus is seen tied to Turkey with a padlock.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Contradictory statements on the opening of a representation office of the breakaway regime in Tel Aviv

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (12.03.08) reports the following:

    The Greek Cypriot Embassy in Tel Aviv has asked Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann to prevent the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) from opening a trade office in Israel, a leading Israeli daily reported yesterday.

    The Israeli daily Haaretz had already reported on Monday that the KKTC will open a trade office in Israel in the coming weeks with the assistance of the law office of Dov Weissglas, the former bureau chief of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, noting that the office will have no diplomatic status and that it aims to further economic dealings between Israel and northern Cyprus.

    Greek Cyprus Ambassador to Israel George Zodiates on Monday met with senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry and expressed his countrys opposition to this development. How would you respond if Hamas went to another country and asked to open a representative office there? he was quoted as telling the Israeli officials by Haaretz. I am not saying the Turks are terrorists, but this is an illegal entity that is trying to use Israeli laws in order to further its policy.

    In a letter to Friedmann last week, sent through the law office of Gideon Fischer, Zodiates noted that his government would see the establishment of a Turkish Cypriot trade office in Israel as a blow to its sovereignty.

    Zodiates said, The position that the government of Israel is not able to do anything is unacceptable because the law can block the opening of such an office. Israels stance is that the office will be a private business and will enjoy no official recognition, the daily said.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that Israel has given a negative response to the demand of the breakaway regime for opening a representation office in Tel Aviv. According to the paper, as soon as Israeli Haaretz newspaper published the news regarding the opening of TRNCs trade office in Tel Aviv, the Greek Cypriots started exerting pressures.

    [05] Talat will participate in the summit of the Islamic Conference Organization

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat departed this morning for Senegals capital, Dakar through Istanbul in order to participate in the summit of the Islamic Conference Organization. Talat is expected to address the summit. He will be accompanied by his spouse, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci and the director of his office, Asim Akansoy.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (12.03.08) reports that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Turkish President Gul will be also attending the summit.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The breakaway regime is promoted in Germany

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that Turgay Hilmi, honorary cultural attaché of the breakaway regime in Germany gave a lecture the night before yesterday on the Cyprus problem after an invitation by the Nurnberger Land Rotary Club. He referred to the isolations and the embargo applied in the Turkish Cypriots.

    The term president of the Club, Ulrich Bollmann thanked Mr Hilmi for the briefing and said that their views on Cyprus will not be one-sided from now on. After the lecture a draw was conducted where Rotarian Dr. Joseph Steinfels won a weeks stay for two persons at Bellapais Gardens Hotel in the occupied part of Cyprus. Mr Hilmi thanked the owner of the occupied hotel, Sabri Abit for his contribution to the promotion of the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] BKP calls on Talat to honor his signature of the 8 July agreement

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that the member of the executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), Abdullah Korkmazhan, issued a statement yesterday noting that making a step for the implementation of the 8 July agreement would be a good beginning towards the solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Korkmazhan called on the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat to honor his signature.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Yonluer will visit Kosovo after holding high level contacts in Istanbul

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that the chairman of the Politics for the People Party (HIS), Ahmet Yonluer announced yesterday that a delegation from the party will soon visit Kosovo and hold high-level meetings. In a statement issued by HIS, Mr Yonluer said that they will have some high level contacts today in Istanbul regarding the above-mentioned visit. He noted that he does not think that the necessary ground for a solution will be created in Cyprus in 2008 and argued that the government does not produce a real policy for the recognition and the development of the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] A Turkish settler is appointed as self-styled minister of environment

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that Mustafa Gokmen has been appointed to the post of the self-styled minister of environment and natural resources. Mr Gokmen will take over today the ministry from Asim Vehbi who had submitted his resignation last week after being at this post for 18 months.

    Mr Gokmen, who is a settler from Turkey, was born in 1957 in Trabzon, Turkey. He came to the occupied part of Cyprus in 1975 and graduated from the Turkish Cypriot Teachers College. He was elected MP with the Democratic Party (DP) in 1993 in the occupied Famagusta area. He was appointed to the post of the self-styled minister of youth, sports and environment in the period between 18 January 1995 and 16 August 1996.

    He was re-elected MP with the DP on 14 December 2003 and 20 February 2005 in the area of occupied Trikomo. On 7 September 2006 he resigned from the DP and on 15 September he became one of the founding members of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP). He is the vice-president of the ORP.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Delegations from the self-styled assembly are visiting Paris and London

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (12.03.08) reports that a delegation from the self-styled assembly departed for Paris yesterday in order to participate in the meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), while the parliamentary committee on legal and political affairs of the breakaway regime went to London in order to carry out examinations on the issue of creating a national park.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Jean-Paul Costa: Turkey had implemented all the ECHR decisions

    In an exclusive interview given to the Turkish daily Milliyet newspapers Paris correspondent Sabetay Varol on March 10, 2008, the chairman of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Jean-Paul Costa, when asked whether the ECHR after passing a verdict against a state follows up if this verdict is implemented or not, said that it is the responsibility of the Council of Europe´s Ministerial Council to follow up the implementation. However, he said, whatever verdict the ECHR had passed Turkey had implemented it, for example he said, the Loizidou case regarding Cyprus.

    (MHY)

    [12] The Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals on DTP´s closure

    Turkish Todays Zaman newspaper (12.03.08) reports the following:

    The Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday presented its view on the Democratic Society Party (DTP) closure case to the Constitutional Court following the DTP's preliminary defense.

    Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya Buna had filed charges against the DTP for being "against the indivisible integrity of the state and the nation" and had called for the party's "permanent closure" last year. The top court had previously appealed for the imprisonment of 221 DTP supporters, including eight deputies, for five years.

    Now the view on the DTP closure case from the Chief Prosecutor's Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals will be sent to the DTP. The prosecutor's office will have the right to make an oral explanation while the DTP will be able to provide a verbal defense. Following these procedures, a rapporteur on the case will merge all information and documentation relating to the case and then present his report to the Constitutional Court's panel of 11 judges. Both the prosecutor's office and the DTP will have the right to submit additional evidence or defense statements during this time. After the report is distributed to the panel of judges, Hasim Kilic, the head of the Constitutional Court, will decide on a date to review the prosecutor's demand for DTP's closure. The panel of judges will make the final ruling on the closure. In the event that one of the full members is absent or retires, four of the senior associate members will be placed on the panel. At least seven of the judges must be in favor of the DTP's closure for a closure ruling.

    [13] Turgut Ozals son candidate for the leadership of the Motherland Party

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (11.03.08) reported that Mr. Ahmet Ozal, the son of former President Turgut Ozal, has announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Motherland Party (ANAP).

    The paper also reports that Mr. Ozal, who was detained for fraud and who was released after his interrogation at the Edirne Public Prosecutor's office, maintains that the charges brought against him are part of a plot to prevent him from engaging in politics.

    [14] Pakistani Embassy seeking clarification of Buyukanits nuclear remarks

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (12.03.08) reports the following:

    Stressing that it is a responsible nuclear state, Pakistan has urged the Turkish government to clarify recent remarks made by a top Turkish army official who warned of the danger that Pakistans political turmoil posed, suggesting that violence by Islamic extremists could open the way for the Taliban to seize control of the country and its nuclear weapons.

    Speaking at an international terrorism conference held in Ankara, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said on Monday that Pakistans leaders should be given strong support to guard against such an outcome. In particular, Buyukanit spoke of concern that if President Pervez Musharraf lost his grip on the country, Pakistan could fall into the hands of a resurgent Taliban.

    Turkey is a brotherly country of Pakistan, and we are seeking clarification from the Turkish government about the veracity and intent of the reported remarks by Buyukanit, the Pakistan Embassy in Ankara said in a written statement sent to Todays Zaman on Tuesday.

    We reiterate that Pakistan is a responsible nuclear state. Pakistan has a deliberate and multi-layered command and control structure for effectively safeguarding its nuclear assets. Pakistans nuclear weapons are as secure as those of any other nuclear weapons state. We, therefore, believe statements expressing concern about their safety and security is unwarranted and irresponsible. They either stem from ignorance or from animus against Pakistan, the statement said.

    [15] TUSIAD wants to see Russia as an UBCCE member

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.03.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish Industrialists' & Businessmen's Association's (TUSIAD) Executive Board President and Chairperson of the Union of Black Sea and Caspian Federation of Enterprises (UBCCE), Mrs Arzuhan Yalcindag Dogan said on Tuesday that TUSIAD was eager to see Russia as a member of UBCCE. Speaking after the 1st General Assembly meeting of UBCCE, Yalcindag said activities carried out in 2007, activity program of 2008, and budget were debated. Yalcindag said membership of Austria, Bavaria state of Germany and Ukraine to UBCCE were confirmed at the meeting.

    The foundation of UBCCE was laid in November, 2006, under the leadership of TUSIAD.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [16] Reunifying Cyprus -- big challenges lie ahead

    Under the above title Today´s Zaman (12.03.08) publishes the following commentary by Amanda Akcakoca:

    For the first time since division in 1974 both Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities have moderate, pro-solution leaders, and a new window of opportunity has opened to bring the decades-old problem to an end.

    The task ahead should not be underestimated -- as 44 years of UN-talks have proven, solving the Cyprus problem will never be any easy job. To reach an agreement both sides will have to demonstrate levels of political will hitherto unseen. They will have to abstain from slipping back into playing the "blame game" and refrain from showmanship and the "keeping one step ahead" nonsense. This will not be an easy task for two peoples so suspicious of each other. New Greek Cypriot president, Demitris Christofias, has recently been on a charm offensive, keen to demonstrate how different his approach will be to that of ousted President Tassos Papadopoulos. He seems to have already won over the international community but, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

    New negotiations are not expected to start until May, but once they begin there are going to be a number of very problematic issues on the table including security, guarantor status, property, refugee return and settlers. On a number of these Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat will have to defer to Ankara, meaning that Turkey will have the power to make or break a solution. However, even if the government is ready to do whatever it takes to get a solution, it will not be a pleasant walk in the park, as they will certainly face fierce opposition from both the Turkish Army and nationalists, particularly on security-related issues.

    The Greek Cypriots will insist on the removal of all Turkish troops (as well as mainland Greek soldiers) from the island immediately unless a solution comes into force given that most Greek Cypriots view the around 35,000 troops as evidence of a large aggressive neighbor of whom they are mistrustful. On the other hand Turkish Cypriots have always seen the Turkish Army as the ultimate guarantor of their safety. The best option could be to have either an EU or UN mission present for a short time. After all, a united Cyprus will be part of the EU family and should have its security guaranteed in that arena. The status of the British military bases should also be reviewed.

    There is also the problem of the guarantor status currently held by the UK, Turkey and Greece through the Treaty of Guarantee, which gives the three countries the legal right to intervene in the islands affairs. This will be a tricky as Turkish Cypriots continue to see Turkey's guarantor status as crucially important to their safety, whereas for the Greek Cypriots continuing with colonial-type guarantors is totally unacceptable.

    Greek Cypriots are also unhappy about the tens of thousands of Turkish settlers who have arrived on the island since division. The Annan plan foresaw 40,000 to return to Turkey, which many Greek Cypriots considered too few. However, it is not just a case of shipping people "back home" given that after decades on the island there are now many second and third generation Turkish-Turkish Cypriots who see the island as their only home, which means there is a large humanitarian factor to be considered. Greek Cypriots need to take a rather pragmatic approach to this issue.

    Another difficult issue is that of property and the rights of refugees to return to their homes. The Annan plan envisaged a considerable chunk of territory, currently under Turkish control, being returned to the Greek Cypriots, thereby allowing many Greek Cypriots to return to their old properties -- indeed many Turkish Cypriots would have had to leave their homes, which at that time they were willing to do. Others would have received some of their land back plus financial compensation. Four years ago this could have worked quite well, but since then there has been a considerable construction boom in the north and the situation will be far more difficult to resolve. In 2004 the Greek Cypriots were also disgruntled that a limit was placed on the number of Greek Cypriots who would be able to move back to the north. This was seen as unacceptable given that freedom of movement is a fundamental right. However in reality the majority of Greek Cypriots will be happy to stay put so this point should not be over exaggerated.

    The final outcome must be a united Cyprus based on political equality and respect. Success will bring much overdue peace and stability to the region. Years of antagonism will be ended and nations with so much in common can become friends. The alternative is almost certainly permanent division, which will carry a high price tag for all.

    [17] The story of Cyprus' - 'virgin birth'

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (12.03.08) publishes the following commentary by Yusuf Kanli:

    While the so-called Annan Plan the last U.N.-sponsored peace plan rejected by Greek Cypriots and accepted by Turkish Cypriots in simultaneous referenda on April 24 and which was named after the then U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan was still being drafted and senior U.N., U.S. as well as British diplomats were busy trying to feel the pulse of the two sides on the island, as well as Greece and Turkey, and trying to make sure that the peace plan would not be rejected by either of the sides, it had become clear that the deepest rift between the two sides on the island was regarding how the new state to be established should be defined.

    According to the Greek Cypriot side, there was already a Cyprus Republic on the island and under international law the new state to be established must be its successor. That is, Greek Cypriots were stressing that the new state should just be a rehashed new version of the republic that the two peoples, Britain, Turkey and Greece established on the island with the 1959-1960 treaties.

    The Turkish Cypriot side, on the other hand, was stressing that although the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as well as the preceding Turkish Cypriot autonomous administration and the federated state was unrecognized since it was declared, the Turkish Cypriot Parliament adopted many resolutions, government has taken many decisions, courts have passed many verdicts, there have been marriages and divorces. Thus, if the new state was not considered a successor of the Turkish Cypriot state and before the creation of the new state even for one second the Turkish Cypriot state was recognized, there would be a serious legal vacuum.

    Subtitle: Clerides steps in

    Though Turkish Cypriots and U.N. officials might not even think about such a development in their wildest dreams, the solution to that key issue came all of a sudden from former Greek Cypriot leader Glafcos Clerides who on May 13, 2002 presented a non-paper titled, This non-paper does not represent a proposal of the G/C (Greek Cypriot) side but to overcome the debate on visions and begin at last negotiations on core issues.

    It was in that non-paper that Clerides suggested for the first time the abrogation of the Cyprus Republic as well as the 1960 Constitution that he described as falling short of reflecting the new arrangements on the island and that the new state would be a virgin birth or parthenogenesis, that is, it will not be a successor of either of the existing two states on the island.

    Now, Greek Cypriot opponents of a virgin birth or creation of a new common state on the island through parthenogenesis are complaining that the Turkish Cypriot side was making unacceptable demands and that the new state must definitely be a continuation of the Republic of Cyprus. They charge that accepting virgin birth would mean providing legality to the 1974 Turkish intervention and the results it produced on the island.

    What is worse is the fact that those Greek Cypriots objecting to virgin birth include those people who had supported the Annan Plan process or were somehow involved in the preparation of the Annan Plan and who indeed are very much aware of the May 13, 2002 proposal of Clerides which besides virgin birth included elaborated ideas regarding description of political equality, powers and functions of the component states, security arrangements and measures to boost the economic level of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    What Clerides offered, and which was accepted by both Turkish Cypriots who were involved in the Annan Plan negotiations, as well as the U.N., U.S. and British contributors was a revolutionary way out, providing a new description to the succession problem, and indeed stressing that the new common state would acquire its sovereignty from its own existence, while the two founding entities would be considered successor of the two-state pre-settlement reality. Thus, there will no longer be a succession problem.

    The Greek Cypriot side is now having some allergy in accepting the Annan Plan as a reference document for fresh talks. However, they have to bear in mind that the Annan Plan is nothing less than an accumulation of decades of negotiations and whatever name one may attribute to it has to constitute the backbone of any new talks.

    [18] From the Turkish Press of 11 March 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 11 March:

    a) Aftermath of the Cross-Border Operation: Relating a conversation he held with Chief of Staff General Buyukanit during the counter-terror symposium held on 10 March, Milliyet's Fikret Bila explains the general's views on the recent tension between the Chief of Staff and the opposition parties. In his column, Bila recounts that Gen. Buyukanit was most hurt by the criticism that the army withdrew because of US pressure and because the criticisms did not stop even when he said he would take off his uniform if the opposition brought proof of its claims.

    Referring to the tension between the army and the opposition in the first part of his column in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal argues that Gen Buyukanit has no intention of putting a stop to these harsh exchanges. Suspecting that Buyukanit's reactions are not impulsive but calculated, Cemal maintains that the general has opened a psychological warfare against the opposition.

    Noting that it has been the tradition of the army to "teach lessons" to governments, Cemal asks whether the army has now shouldered the responsibility of doing the same thing with the opposition. Underlining that in democracies it is neither the duty nor the responsibility of the army to teach lessons to either the government or the opposition, the writer adds: "The army cannot be a 'state within a state' and cannot act as though it were a 'political party.'"

    Denying any clash with the Turkish Armed Forces in a column in Ortadogu, Orhan Karatas stresses that those who want to create a clash between the Nationalist Action Party and the military and to portray the MHP as a party opposed to the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK), will not achieve their goals. Finding it alarming that defending the TSK has been left to the AKP and Erdogan, Karatas accuses the prime minister of remaining silent in the face of the insults the DTP - a party which the writer describes as the extension of the PKK -- has been voicing against the TSK. The writer concludes by stating that, however, "Turkish nationalists and the MHP are not the civilian extension or the militia forces of the TSK. The MHP is a political institution and will express its views within the democratic framework."

    Relating his impressions from the Second Global Terrorism and International Cooperation Symposium that began at Bilkent Hotel yesterday, Murat Yetkin says that the polemic caused by the withdrawal of troops from northern Iraq has caused a trauma within the military. In the first part of his article in Radikal, the writer notes that even General Buyukanit's colleagues who do not see eye to eye with the Chief of Staff on certain issues have reacted to the opposition leaders who implied that the decision to withdraw the troops was the result of US pressure. Recalling former Chief of Staff Ozkok's full support for Buyukanit, Yetkin writes: "The soldiers believe that this discussion has cast a shadow over the operations and its success." The writer concludes by questioning whether the government circles will not seize this opportunity to link the Chief of the General Staff to the National Defense Ministry.

    In an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand assesses the winners and the losers of the cross-border operation. Pointing out that Buyukanit won in the field and lost in domestic politics, Birand views Barzani as losing in the field and winning in domestic politics. As for the prime minister, Birand says that he improved his relations with the military.

    Democratic Society Party, (DTP), deputy Sebahat Tuncel, addressing a party meeting in Malatya, is reported to have said that the ground operation into northern Iraq was unsuccessful. According to the report by Mikhail Pelit in Milliyet, Tuncel is reported to have said: "In this society Turks will not be freed until Kurds are free." Tuncel then adds: "They can throw us out of the parliament; they can close down our party. They cannot, however, deny the existence of this problem in the country. The PKK is not the reason of the Kurdish problem, it is the result. We have to solve this problem as a country, because the Kurdish problem is not the problem of Diyarbakir or the southeast but the problem of the entire country."

    Speculating on whether the government will launch a civilian operation in the aftermath of the military one in an article in Vatan, Mehmet Tezkan predicts that the AKP, being a pragmatic party, and having equated the Kurdish problem with the local elections, will launch an election campaign using all its financial resources in order to win the municipal elections in the region. The writer further predicts that if the AKP wins the local elections in the southeast, then it will allocate large sums to the regions under its control thus trying to win the loyalty of the poor sectors. The AKP thus aims to solve the Kurdish problem and rendering the conservative local population more religious, the writer notes.

    Under the headline, "General picture: Chaos once again," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that the debate between the Turkish military and the Republican People's Party, CHP, over the withdrawal of the troops operating in northern Iraq was rekindled yesterday when Chief of Staff General Buyukanit referred to some of the statements issued by CHP officials as an insult against the armed forces.

    In an article entitled "A patriarchal command mentality", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu criticizes General Buyukanit's "pre-modern" and "authoritarian" mindset indicated by the way in which he accused two political parties yesterday of "insulting" the military in maintaining that the recent cross-border offensive against the PKK was terminated under pressure from the United States. Bayramoglu also censures Buyukanit for "encroaching on the political domain and replacing the principles of equality and freedom that belong to this domain with the concepts of hierarchy and obedience that characterize his own world."

    In an article entitled "It is a good thing you came" , Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay asserts that by coming to Ankara a week after the Turkish Armed Forces' cross-border offensive against the PKK bases in northern Iraq, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani showed how much importance Iraqi Kurdish leaders attach to developing friendship with Turkey. Alpay goes on to assert that taken in conjunction with recent statements by US officials, some of Talabani's messages in Ankara indicated that "Washington, Baghdad and Arbil" will cooperate in trying to "force the PKK to silence its guns, if not to lay them down." He also expresses his belief that "dialog with the legitimate parliamentary representatives of the Kurds in Turkey will provide the ruling AKP with the best guidance" it needs to be able to successfully implement a package including "political, social and economic" measures to address the "Kurdish issue."

    In an article entitled "Discriminatory Military practice runs contrary to Democracy", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu asserts that the debate between the Turkish military and the Opposition has revealed the former's "failure" to "adapt itself to the modern world's methods of communication in dealing with the media."

    b) Headscarf Issue: According to a report in Milliyet, the Higher Education Council, (YOK), will meet on 13 March and decide whether students will be allowed to take the university entrance exams wearing headdresses. While some YOK members believe that the phrase "one has to attend the exams with an uncovered head" can be amended in line with the amendment of Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution, others members are of the opinion that one has to wait for the Constitutional Court decision on the issue.

    Referring to the complaint of some of his readers that he is frequently dwelling on the issue of secularism in his articles, Hurriyet's Oktay Eksi says that they might have a point. Noting that he is not pleased with the fact that he has not referred to either the Social Security Law or to Talabani's visit in his recent articles, Eksi justifies his insistence on the issue of secularism by saying: "In the future, none of us can pay the price of neglecting the issue of secularism today." Pointing out that even former President Suleyman Demirel has acknowledged that "the headdress is an instrument used by Islamist movements that are seeking to establish a sharia state," Eksi goes on to quote Demirel as having said that "the headdress is actually not as innocent as it seems." The writer argues that Islam will not settle for managing the faith of its believers but will also want to administer the state, adding that "one should know that those who speak on behalf of Islam will try 'to destroy the secular system.'"

    Criticizing the Greek Foreign Minister Mrs Bakoyiannis for her remarks on the headdress issue in a column in Hurriyet, Yalcin Bayer argues that her remarks that "the headdress is not a symbol against secularism" is actually an interference in the domestic affairs of a foreign country. Pointing out that the Greek foreign minister's remarks violate Article 277 of the Turkish Penal Code that deals with trying to influence a judicial official, the writer maintains that she has also violated Article 138 of the Constitution that says "no one can try to influence or give advice to the judicial organs."

    Referring to what he describes as a "shocking incident" at Fatih Mosque in his article in Vatan, Can Atakli focuses on the symbolism of the headdress issue. Pointing out that the congregation of Fatih Mosque demanded that women attending a funeral at the mosque be removed out of their way upon their arrival for prayers, the writer concurs with the views expressed by a fellow journalist who attended the funeral: "Actually, I am pleased with what has taken place here today, because those who view the headdress as a simple problem of freedom and democracy and show tolerance to this sector must have seen the unrelenting stand adopted by this same sector in the name of democracy. I hope that at least those who were present here today will be willing to understand the reality."

    EG/


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