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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-13

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. 51/08 13.03.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The meeting between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader will be held on 21 March
  • [02] Christofias miracle; They agreed
  • [03] Talat says that even former President Papadopoulos accepted that there is no escape from the Annan Plan
  • [04] The Union of Turkic Worlds Municipalities (TDBB) is opening a representation office in the occupied areas of Cyprus; Statements by Soyer
  • [05] Izcan hopeful about Christofias Talat meeting
  • [06] Erel notes that the 8 July Agreement is a precondition for the beginning of the new process in Cyprus
  • [07] Yonluer says that the statements of Mr. Talat on the Cyprus problem are inconsistent and urges him to demand the recognition of the breakaway regime
  • [08] The self-styled ministry of foreign affairs threatens the Greek Cypriots not be so careless as to believe that the Turkish Cypriots have no alternatives in the political arena
  • [09] EU calls on Turkey to uncover Ergenekons links in state
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] Columnist in Today´s Zaman wonders whether the illegal occupation regime in Cyprus is among the bargains between the West and Russia over the recognition of Kosovo
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 12 March 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The meeting between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader will be held on 21 March

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.03.08), under the title The meeting on 21 March, Lokmaci [Ledra Street] on the agenda, reports that President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat will meet on 21 March at 10.00 a.m. at the residence of Michael Moller, UN Secretary-Generals special representative in Cyprus.

    The decision regarding the date of the meeting between the leaders was taken yesterday at the meeting between Ozdil Nami, the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr. Talats special envoy, and George Iacovou, Presidential Commissioner.

    The agenda and the format of the Talat-Christofias meeting was also decided yesterday, notes Kibris adding that Hasan Ercakica, Mr. Talats Spokesperson, stated that the discussion between Iacovou and Nami on the issue of the opening of the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) area crossing point was held in a positive climate. Mr. Ercakica noted that they expect the issue of Ledra Street crossing point to be concluded at the meeting between the two leaders.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Christofias miracle; They agreed

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.03.08), under the title Christofias miracle; They agreed, reports that the Turkish side has finally accepted the Greek Cypriot conditions it had been rejecting for a long time and the climate changed.

    The paper also refers to the meeting held yesterday between the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and AKEL at the latters headquarters and notes that CTPs general secretary, Omer Kalyoncu, who has recently stated that the Annan Plan will be the basis for the new negotiating process, made no reference to this plan after the meeting with AKEL and said that they will proceed towards the solution with the 8 July agreement.

    Mr. Kalyoncu noted: We have agreed on the issue of the two leaders meeting within the framework of the 8 July agreement and to exert efforts for finding an early and just solution to the Cyprus problem. He further pointed out that Mr. Talat is a leader who has the mentality of being able to defend his own signature.

    In statements on behalf of AKEL, Mr. Andros Kyprianou, said that the target they have set is reaching a solution within a short period of time through the 8 July agreement. The paper writes that the Turkish side has accepted the Greek Cypriot conditions which it had been rejecting on the issue of Lokmaci [Ledra Street area crossing point].

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Talat says that even former President Papadopoulos accepted that there is no escape from the Annan Plan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (13.03.08) publishes exclusive statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat, who said that even former President Papadopoulos who had demonized the Annan Plan accepted that there is no escape from it and that he told him this personally.

    Mr. Talat said: Given that even Papadopoulos knew this, it is not possible for any other Greek Cypriot leader not to know it.

    The paper writes that Mr. Talat said he put no preconditions for the beginning of the negotiations and that he only pointed out that it would be more correct to start from the Annan Plan. Mr. Talat noted:

    When the 8 July procedure was still discussed, Papadopoulos himself had said to me: When we sit at the table you will bring the Annan Plan and we will evaluate it. Either we will oppose or we will try to change it.

    Replying to a question, Mr. Talat said that the decisions taken by the TRNC, its agreements and court decisions will be a legal basis for the new partnership state. He added that the same situation will be valid for the Greek Cypriot side.

    He noted: The new state to be established will not be the continuation of the TRNC or the Republic of Cyprus. However, this does not mean that this new state will not take anything from the TRNC and the Republic of Cyprus. If we need to say it in brief, it is not correct to say that the TRNC or the Republic of Cyprus will completely be abolished. The new state will not be the continuation of both of them. As a matter of fact, these had been accepted in the past. And the Annan Plan came to the surface because these had been accepted.

    When he was reminded that the Greek Cypriot side does not even want to hear about the Annan Plan and that it only insists on the 8th of July, Mr. Talat said:

    The 8th of July is not an agreement, it only constitutes a procedure. Could the 8th of July, a procedure where we talked how we will discuss, be the alternative for the others? It could not happen from now on as well. Especially if we see it from the point of view of the Turkish Cypriots, this could not happen at all. As a country which is unconditionally supported only by Turkey in the world, and it is supported in any case and under any conditions, if we cut our ties with Turkey, this would be tantamount to committing suicide. Turkey is our only support in the world. Therefore, the proposal of esteemed Christofias was inappropriate and it has not been taken into consideration.

    Noting that as Turkish side they say that if we are going to start from somewhere, the starting point is the Annan Plan, Mr. Talat said:

    Even if we do not put the plan onto the table and discuss it officially, the Annan Plan is a text that we could take as reference on every issue and this will come about by itself, it is inevitable. If, however, the Greek Cypriot side says let us put the Annan Plan onto the table and discuss it officially, the solution will be easier and faster. The Annan Plan is not very perfect and without deficiencies. It will be like this because it will be taken as reference.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The Union of Turkic Worlds Municipalities (TDBB) is opening a representation office in the occupied areas of Cyprus; Statements by Soyer

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.03.08) reports that the Union of Turkic Worlds Municipalities (TDBB) is opening a representation office in the occupied areas of Cyprus today. According to a statement issued by the self-styled Morfou municipality, a delegation by the TDBB arrived in the occupied areas yesterday and held various contacts. The delegation is headed by Huseyin Tanriverdi, vice-president of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and chairman of AKPs local administrations.

    The paper reports that TDBB has about 1100 members in nine countries such as Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, the TRNC, FYROM, Mongolia, Moldova, the Russian Federation, Dagestan and Turkey. TDBB has representations in Moldova and Kyrgyzstan. Sixteen municipalities from the occupied areas of Cyprus are its members.

    The delegation of TDBB met yesterday with the so-called ambassador of Turkey, Turkekul Kurtekin, the self-styled prime minister Soyer and the mayor of the occupied part of Nicosia, Cemal Bulutoglulari.

    During his meeting with the delegation, Mr. Soyer referred to the meeting to be held next week between president Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and said that the Turkish Cypriots will continue their determined policy in the direction of the common policy established with Turkey and in cooperation with the Republic of Turkey.

    We have no further tolerance, he said and argued that their main duties will be to stress the equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, to give the message that they are part of the solution and to advance the acquired advantages for the lifting of the isolations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Izcan hopeful about Christofias Talat meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.03.08) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), has expressed the belief that a positive Christofias Talat meeting will have a positive outcome. In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr. Izcan said that we should support every step towards the unification of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Erel notes that the 8 July Agreement is a precondition for the beginning of the new process in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.03.08), under the title The 8 July Agreement is a precondition, reports that Ali Erel, chairman of the Cyprus EU Association, issued a written statement yesterday noting that the sides should understand that the political will turned into concrete actions in the direction of the solution within the framework of the 8 July Agreement, is a precondition for the launching of a new negotiating process.

    He noted that the sides should honour their signatures under the above-mentioned agreement, show will and turn their signatures into action, which is a precondition by the UN for this to be realised.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Yonluer says that the statements of Mr. Talat on the Cyprus problem are inconsistent and urges him to demand the recognition of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (13.03.08) reports that the chairman of the Politics for the People Party (HIS), Ahmet Yonluer has alleged that in the Cyprus problem the Turkish side is faced with an intransigent Greek Cypriot leadership which has the mentality of EOKA.

    Mr. Yonluer argued that after his election to the Presidency, AKELs general secretary, Demetris Christofias started showing his intransigent face. He said that he hoped that Mr. Talat knows with whom he will meet and claimed that an EOKA mentality which will create difficulties with Christofias who does not want an agreement is in front of the Turkish side.

    Mr. Yonluer said that the statements of Mr. Talat on the Cyprus problem are inconsistent. Noting that Mr. Talat one day supports the Gambari process and the other the Annan Plan, Mr. Yonluer argued: Instead of supporting these, Talat must now make the recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as state policy.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The self-styled ministry of foreign affairs threatens the Greek Cypriots not be so careless as to believe that the Turkish Cypriots have no alternatives in the political arena

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.03.08) reports that the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs issued a written statement yesterday alleging that the newly elected Greek Cypriot leadership has the same views as the previous ones and claimed that the statements made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Markos Kyprianou confirmed this once more.

    The statement notes that the Turkish Cypriots still believe that reaching an agreement on the Island is the best alternative, but it will not wait for ever so that the negative stance of the Greek Cypriot side changes. The Greek Cypriot leadership should not be so careless as to believe that the Turkish Cypriots have no alternatives in the political arena, alleges the statement and claims that from the words of Minister Kyprianou it is understood that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept a solution to be reached by the end of 2008.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] EU calls on Turkey to uncover Ergenekons links in state

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.03.08) reports the following:

    The European Parliament, one of the European Union's strongest institutions, has called on Turkey to investigate the shadowy Ergenekon network to unearth its "deep connections" within the state.

    The Ergenekon gang, a neo-nationalist group accused of involvement in plans to stage a violent uprising against the government, was discovered at the end of an investigation that came upon the heels of a police raid in June of last year that uncovered an arms depot in a house in Istanbuls Umraniye district. The prosecutor in the Ergenekon case has said the gang worked to create disorder and chaos through divisive and violent acts so the public would be willing to accept a military intervention to restore order.

    Turkish authorities should resolutely pursue investigations into the Ergenekon affair, to fully uncover its networks reaching into the state structures and to bring those involved to justice, the draft report, prepared by Dutch Christian Democrat MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten, said.

    The group is suspected of involvement in the murder of three Christian missionaries in Malatya in 2007, the 2006 murder of a priest in the northern city of Trabzon, the murder of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007, a 2006 attack on the Council of State and a grenade attack on daily Cumhuriyet in 2006.

    The draft report also strongly called on the government to speed up its reform process and fulfill its promises on sensitive issues such as Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). The nine-page draft viewed by Today's Zaman is expected to be discussed at the Foreign Affairs Committee in April and to be approved by the parliament in May.

    The draft, which is expected to be amended several times before approval by the European Parliament, welcomes a declaration by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that 2008 would be the year of reforms. Another development that the report refers to with satisfaction is the civilian authorities' success in confronting the military interference in the political process back in April, when the government boldly rejected an intervention by the military in the process of presidential elections.

    Welcoming Parliament's passage of the Law on Foundations granting broader property rights for non-Muslim minorities, the draft calls for vigorous further steps for reforms. Calling the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) a terror organization, the draft says the PKK should declare an immediate and unconditional cease-fire. The draft also took note of Erdogan's statements on assimilation, which he made in Germany and which were widely criticized in EU capitals. Erdogan said in Germany last month that the government wanted the Turks to integrate better in the German society, but rejected assimilation, saying it was a "crime against humanity."

    In her draft report Oomen-Ruijten refrained from using the word genocide to describe events of World War I, which Armenians claim amounted to a genocide of their ancestors in eastern Anatolia by the Ottoman Empire. She instead called on Turkey and Armenia to work together to start a process of reconciliation. Oomen-Ruijten, in her previous resolution on Turkey last fall, came under enormous pressure from Armenian groups to refer to a genocide, but she refused to do so.

    Subtitle: Basic issues highlighted in report

    * Civilian-military relations: [The European Parliament] welcome[s] the fact that in 2007 democracy prevailed over attempts by the military to interfere in the political process; encourages the Turkish government to make further systematic efforts to ensure that the democratically elected political leadership bears full responsibility for formulation of domestic, foreign and security policy and that the armed forces respect this civilian responsibility.

    * 301: [The] Turkish government and the Parliament should carry out, as a priority, the repeatedly promised reform of Article 301 of the Penal Code; [the European Parliament] deplores the fact that no progress has been achieved regarding freedom of expression.

    * Law on Foundations: [The European Parliament] welcome[s] the recent adoption by the Turkish Parliament of the Law on Foundations; welcomes the commissions intention to examine the new text, and underlines that it should analyze whether the law addresses all shortcomings faced by non-Muslim religious communities with regard to property management and acquisition, including expropriated property sold to third parties.

    * PKK: [The European Parliament] strongly condemn[s] the violence perpetrated by the PKK ... reiterates its solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism; and once again calls on the PKK to declare and respect an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.

    * Northern Iraq: [The] Turkish government should not engage in any disproportionate military operations violating Iraqs territory; urges Turkey to respect Iraqs territorial integrity, human rights and the rule of law, and to ensure that civilian casualties are avoided; urges the government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq not to allow Iraqi territory to be used as base for terrorist acts against Turkey.

    * Kurdish Issue: [The] Turkish government should launch, as a matter of priority, a political initiative favoring a lasting settlement of the Kurdish issue, which can only be based on tangible improvements in the cultural, economic and social opportunities available to citizens of Kurdish origin, including real possibilities to learn Kurdish and to use it in broadcasting and in access to public services; calls upon the [Democratic Society Party] DTP, its members of parliament and mayors to engage constructively in the quest for a political solution to the Kurdish issue within the democratic Turkish state.

    * Armenia: [The] Turkish government should end the economic blockade and re-open its border with Armenia; calls once again on Turkish and the Armenian governments to start a process of reconciliation, in respect of the present and the past, allowing for a frank and open discussion of past events.

    * Hrant Dink murder: [The European Parliament] strongly urge[s] the Turkish authorities to carry out a full investigation into the murders of Hrant Dink and of the three Christians in Malatya, as well as all other cases of politically or religiously motivated violence, including full clarification of allegations of negligence on the part of the competent authorities, and to bring all responsible to justice.

    * Constitution: Takes note of the process under way to prepare a new, civilian constitution; regards it as a key opportunity to place the protection of human rights and freedoms at the core of the constitution.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [10] Columnist in Today´s Zaman wonders whether the illegal occupation regime in Cyprus is among the bargains between the West and Russia over the recognition of Kosovo

    Today´s Zaman (13.03.08) publishes the following commentary by Hasan Kanbolat:

    The Russian Federation insists on not recognizing Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia on February 17. However, this doesn't mean that the Kremlin doesn't get along well with the European-Atlantic world.

    I wonder if the European-Atlantic world and the Kremlin have made a deal to restructure Europe, separately recognizing de facto independent states like Kosovo, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Pridnistrovye and Nagorno-Karabakh as non-exemplary steps at different times. If Kosovo is the first step of such a deal, has the Kremlin's countermove begun with South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

    On March 3, the administration of South Ossetia, which declared its unilateral independence from Georgia in 1991, called on the Russian Federation, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the United Nations and the European Union to recognize its independence. In its legal argument for recognition, the South Ossetian Parliament stated that Kosovo is a persuasive example and asserts that the argument for the territorial integrity of sovereign states has lost its priority with the recognition of Kosovo. The foreign minister of the Russian Federation announced on March 6 that they lifted the economic embargo imposed by the CIS on Abkhazia since January 19, 1996, when the Abkhaz-Georgian war ended. Following South Ossetia, the Abkhaz Parliament made the same call on March 7 for recognition by the international community. With a separate statement, the Abkhaz Parliament demanded that the Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, and the Federation Council, the upper house, recognize Abkhazia. Pridnostrovye is expected to follow in the footsteps of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Duma is preparing to deliberate about the demands for recognition of all three states on March 13.

    The UN General Assembly can decide on the membership of a new state only upon the approval of the UN Security Council. Even if all UN member states recognize Kosovo, Russia and China will still be able to exercise their right to veto UN recognition. Under the current circumstances, the Kremlin will apparently demand the recognition of a state (or states) in return for recognizing Kosovo. In doing this, the new leader of the Kremlin, Dmitry Medvedev, may be seeking to make a powerful start at the new post he will take over in May. Washington may want to see the Kremlin's countermove against Kosovo's independence before the NATO summit in Bucharest, to be held between April 2 and 4.

    Ankara wants the Georgian embargo on Abkhazia in the fields of trade and air and land travel to be dropped to tolerable levels. It also wants commercial and cultural relations between Turkey and Abkhazia to rise to the current level of the relations between Turkey and Georgia. Abkhazia already receives 70 percent of its imports from Turkey and sends 30 percent of its exports there. But Georgia is maintaining its determined stance about settling the problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia with regard to its territorial integrity. Turkey is seeking ways to actively participate in talks that would be in search of a satisfying and peace-oriented solution. That is, Turkey is ready to play an intermediary role for the resolution of the problems between Abkhazia and Georgia. In order to achieve this, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and the leader of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, are anticipated to meet in the Turkish city of Trabzon this year. Bagapsh's planned visit to Turkey, which had been scheduled for April 21, 2007, was delayed until the fall because of his health problems. However, his expected visit, scheduled for October 17-24, 2007, had to be delayed for a second time upon the demand of Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli because of the escalating domestic disorder in his country due to the upcoming presidential elections.

    During the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's 68th Rose-Roth seminar, held in Baku between March 6 and 8, South Caucasus and Central Asia representative Robert Simmons stated that Kosovo was in no way an example for Nagorno-Karabakh. Despite this statement, Lov Lints, the chief advisor to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said the method for solution employed in Kosovo could be an example for Nagorno-Karabakh, which gives us reason to believe that the South Caucasus will have a pretty hot summer.

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 12 March 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 12 March:

    a) Aftermath of Cross-Border Operation: Commenting on the inaccurate reporting of Chief of Staff Gen Yasar Buyukanit's statements in an article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila tries to put the record straight by quoting the top general. Denying that the general ever referred to Republican People's Party leader Deniz Baykal specifically, Bila writes that the general never said: "We took Baykal's remarks as an insult. Those who insult the TSK, the Turkish Armed Forces, will have to face me." Expressing his distress over the inaccurate reporting of his colleagues, Bila then refers to General Buyukanit's warnings about the Taliban coming to power in Pakistan and terrorist organizations acquiring nuclear weapons. Bila writes that the general specifically denied that his warning was in anyway an expression of support for President Musharraf of Pakistan.

    In an article in Sabah, Mehmet Barlas refers to the relative interpretation of the concept of sovereignty on the part of the northern Iraqi leaders. Drawing attention to the criticisms Mas'ud Barzani and others leveled against Turkey regarding "the short-term and targeted military operation launched against the separatist terror organization in northern Iraq," the writer questions why these same individuals who talk about the violation of Iraq's sovereignty and independence refrain from mentioning the fact that Iraq is currently under US occupation.

    Likening Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Baykal and Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Bahceli to the co-chairmen of a single party in an article in Vatan, Rusen Cakir makes a list of the similar views expressed by the two leaders during their parliamentary faction meetings held on 11 March. According to Cakir ,both believe that the cross-border operation was launched and terminated with the knowledge of the United States, that the goal of the operation was not the total elimination of the PKK, that this is the reason why the operation was short, that the aim was to show that the problem cannot be solved through military measures alone, that high-ranking US commanders want Turkey to sit at the negotiating table with the PKK, that the government is consciously introducing formulas for a political solution to the country's agenda, that the operation aimed at preparing the ground for Talabani's visit, that Talabani gained a lot in exchange for very little, and that the next step will be contacts between the AKP government and Barzani. Cakir concludes by noting that there is nothing surprising in Bahceli's views which reflect the sensitivities of a certain sector within the community. As for Baykal, the writer asks whether a nationalist wave is influencing the CHP grassroots or whether the CHP leader is trying to drag along a confused crowd of people.

    Pro-Kurdish Gundem Online carries an article by Mustafa Karasu on Turkey's military operation and the upcoming Newroz festival. Karasu says that the Kurdish people will say "Edi Bes e" [no more] to Turkey's policy of annihilation and call for a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem during this year's Newroz festival. He draws attention to the Kurds' loyalty to Abdullah Ocalan and argues that it will be impossible to "weaken the Kurdish leader" by keeping him in prison. He goes on to note that the United States urged Turkey to stop the military operation in an effort to obstruct the unity among the Kurds. According to Karasu, Kurdish resistance and the failure of the Turkish military operations "prepared the political grounds for the democratic solution of the Kurdish question."

    Vatan reports an interview Prime Minister Erdogan granted to the New York Times saying that an investment of $11-12 billion is planned in the southeast region within the next five years. Declaring that a Kurdish TV channel that will also be broadcasting in Persian and Arabic will be launched, Erdogan describes these moves as "a significant step from the viewpoint of ensuring cultural rights in the region."

    According to a report in Milliyet, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, has completed his reasoned verdict on the closure case of the Democratic Society Party, DTP. Yalcinkaya, who believes that the DTP should be closed down urgently, did not include in his reasoned verdict any additional evidence that does not appear in the indictment in a bid to expedite the trial. The report adds that Yalcinkaya reiterated his request for imposing a political ban on 220 individuals including Deputies Ahmet Turk and, Aysel Tugluk, Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir, the imprisoned DTP leader Nurettin Demirtas, and former Democracy Party member Leyla Zana.

    Assessing the recent US moves toward Turkey as part of a plot toward a federal solution of the Kurdish problem, Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi writes that the government is seeking ways to make a U-turn in its policies as a result of US demands. Pointing out that opening north Iraqi airspace to Turkish fighter jets, the intelligence information supplied by the United States, the operation against the PKK, and Iraqi President's recent visit to Ankara were all part of this plan, the writer predicts that the time has come for talks with Barzani. Stressing the need to reject every formula that will distance us from the nation-state model, Eksi views US Vice President Cheney's forthcoming visit to Turkey as part of this federal scenario prepared by Washington.

    Referring to the recent meetings of DTP deputies with Assembly Speaker Toptan and President Gul in an article entitled "A new process is beginning in Ankara" in Sabah, Yavuz Donat predicts that we will be hearing the phrase "a political solution" frequently in the future. Noting that one should well interpret the doors, which were previously closed to the DTP in Ankara, that have recently been opened to this party, Donat predicts that, however, this new process will also introduce a lot of tension and advises the following: "1. The military should not be drawn into political arguments. 2. Measures should be implemented by seeking the support of the National Assembly. 3. The opposition should not be pushed around."

    In a column in Vatan, Gungor Mengi questions whether the recently uttered phrase that "the PKK problem cannot be solved through military measures alone' means that those who present the separatist demands as a political solution are getting closer to their goal. Responding to his own question in the negative, Mengi adds that, however, "if the basis provided by the soldiers is not enriched through social and cultural opportunities, this destiny might knock on our door." Viewing the sweeping of mines along the Syrian border as a golden opportunity that will provide 508,000 donums of agricultural land for organic farming and employment opportunities for the regional people, the writer criticizes the government plan to allow the companies that will be clearing the region from mines to make use of the cleared land and the infrastructure of the Southeast Anatolia Project for a period of 44 years. Drawing attention to the fact that there are a handful of companies that are experts in mine sweeping and organic farming, Mengi's guess is that the government has already made its choice on who will benefit from this deal.

    In an article entitled "PKK corpses, psychological warfare, and deriving pleasure from violence" , Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul slams the Hurriyet daily for launching a "psychological war campaign" in the form of reports on the recent Turkish ground offensive illustrated with photographs of the terrorists killed in the operation. Karagul claims that in publishing the said photographs, Hurriyet has responded to The Washington Post's "provocative" coverage of the results of the military campaign against the PKK intended to arouse public "sympathy" with the terrorist organization. He also asserts that "the best response" to such reporting would have been to remind the US news media of the "massacres" committed by US troops in Iraq.

    In an article entitled "Issuing statements on everything", Zaman columnist Mehmet Kamis looks at the debate between the military and the Opposition over the withdrawal of the Turkish troops in northern Iraq from the viewpoint of what it has revealed about the General Staff's tendency to "act like a political party" by assuming it has the right to make decisions on when to carry out operations into northern Iraq and when to withdraw from the region. He asserts that the TSK-Opposition row has demonstrated how the military will suffer blows to its public image when it tries to take on responsibilities that normally belong to the Government and Parliament.

    Finally, under the headline, "Turkey enters Northern Iraq once again," Bugun runs a front-page report which asserts that "hundreds" of Turkish troops have crossed the border into northern Iraq as part of "a new ground offensive" against the PKK. The report also claims that "panic" is spreading within the ranks of the PKK, that there are many wounded PKK terrorists in four major hospitals in Arbil, and that the medical staff in these hospitals includes US doctors.

    b) Discussion on Religious Issues: Referring to the recent statements made by Prime Minister Erdogan on large families, amnesty, and compulsory classes on religion in a column in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal argues that the prime minister's remarks on these issues justify the criticisms leveled against him. Censuring his statement urging women to have more children, Cemal argues that the prime minister has a wrong perspective on women's issues and that assessed from the viewpoint of the unemployment, health, and education, his advice to women to have more children is wrong. Bemoaning his words on amnesty for murderers, the writer charges that it does not abide by the principle of secularism. Furthermore, Cemal questions Erdogan's views on compulsory classes on religion, asking whether his sense of the freedom of belief is limited to the rights of headdressed women attending universities.

    Commenting on Erdogan's views on these same issues in an article in the same daily, Hasan Pulur declares that the prime minister had always been "in favor of sharia intervention in the secular system." The writer goes on to criticize Erdogan's advise to consult with theologians regarding the Council of State ruling on compulsory classes on religion by making a suggestion of his own, namely to appoint a theologian to every court and judge to observe whether the court sessions and the rulings are in line with sharia rule.

    According to a report in Hurriyet, women's organizations have reacted harshly to the views of the Religious Affairs Directorate equating feminism with moral turpitude. The report quotes the reactions of various women's organizations and personalities, adding that various NGO's are planning to file a suit against the Directorate.

    A report in Hurriyet details the reaction of the Alevis to the statement made by Religious Affairs Director Ali Bardakoglu on compulsory religion classes. Turan Eser, president of the Alevi Bektashi Federation, accuses Bardakoglu of considering the Alevis to be nonexistent. Bardakoglu, who believes that compulsory classes on religion should be in line with the "concept of Sunni Islam," is reported to have said earlier that "a mathematical equality" in such classes is impossible. Noting that Alevis and Bektashis comprise 33 percent of the country's population, Eser accused Bardakoglu of violating the principle of equality as stipulated in the Constitution.

    Criticizing what he calls the "alcohol terror" of the government in an article in Hurriyet, Ozdemir Ince complains about the high taxation imposed on alcoholic drinks and the obstacles placed on the path of restaurants and sports installations that wish to get a license to serve alcohol. Viewing these moves as part of the plan of the AKP government toward achieving its "secret goal," Ince concludes by reminding the reader that imposing bans--not backed by laws -- through directives, in addition to being legally flawed, is a violation of individual freedoms.

    In an article entitled "We are discussing it but how?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru criticizes what he presents as a misconception of secularism in Turkey as a principle intended to banish religion from social life and impose a particular life style on everybody. He argues that on the contrary, secularism aims to satisfy dissimilar social expectations and ensure that religion and the state do not impinge on one another.

    In an article entitled "This is where the law ends", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu contrasts previous State Council rulings that recognized the YOK's authority in 1982 to issue circulars related to the dress code applied at universities with this court's latest decision, which says that the YOK "is not authorized" to allow the use of Islamic headscarves at universities. He accuses the State Council of endorsing official decisions when they are made at the instigation of "putschists" but revoking them when they reflect the expectations of the people. He also urges the Government to overhaul the judicial system "from A to Z."

    In an article entitled "Not to be as innocent as one appears to be", Milli Gazete columnist Zeki Ceyhan slams Former President Suleyman Demirel for asserting that certain quarters are exploiting the Islamic headscarf as part of their efforts to establish a sharia state. He also claims that Demirel's remarks should serve as an eye-opener for those who have always represented him as a "savior" of Muslims and supported him in the name of opposing "political Islam."

    c) Troops to Afghanistan: In a column in Sabah, Umur Talu stresses that it is the right of the public to ask the president, the prime minister, and the chief of staff whether troops will be sent to Afghanistan to fight against Taliban forces. Speculating on what US Vice President Cheney's requests from Ankara will be during his forthcoming visit, Talu asks whether there is a Washington Agreement on troops to Afghanistan and whether an Ankara or Bucharest Agreement will be signed on the issue. The writer concludes by demanding what Turkey will get in exchange for these troops in the event Ankara is unable to refuse this request.

    EG/


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