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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-14

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. 52/08 14.03.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader meets the UN Secretary-General in Dakar
  • [02] Gul commented on the Cyprus problem during his flight to Senegal
  • [03] Turkey´s positions on Cyprus were accepted by the OIC
  • [04] The breakaway regime was represented at the OIC summit with flag and title
  • [05] Reactions by the Turkish Cypriot parties to the planned Christofias Talat meeting
  • [06] Kalyoncu: The approach that concessions should be made at the table in order to get the Greek Cypriot yes is not right
  • [07] Statements by Ekenoglu in Mersin
  • [08] The visit of the co-chairperson of the German Greens Party to the occupied areas of Cyprus has been finalized
  • [09] Citrus trees are murdered in the occupied areas
  • [10] Turkish and Israeli diplomatic sources on the office Ankara tries to open in Israel for its subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus. Diplomat to be appointed in the office
  • [11] Turkey continues its efforts to gain non-permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council to be in a better position regarding Cyprus
  • [12] "United States wants to include Turkey in 'Missile Shield'"
  • [13] The Turkey-FYROM joint Economic Committee met in Ankara
  • [14] AKP to host International meeting on the Middle East
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] Columnist argues that Turkey will never give up its sovereignty on Cyprus
  • [16] The gradual Islamization of our daily lives
  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 13 March 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot leader meets the UN Secretary-General in Dakar Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.03.08), under the title Undertake initiative, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mehmet Ali Talat, met yesterday in Senegals capital Dakar with the UN Secretary-General and conveyed to him the demand of the Turkish side regarding the UNs undertaking an initiative on the Cyprus problem. The paper reports that the meeting lasted forty minutes.

    In statements after the meeting Mr. Talat said: I got the impression that he will undertake an initiative. I was very very satisfied from the meeting.

    Mr. Talat noted that he pointed out to the UN Secretary General the urgency of the solution and told him that achieving a solution until the end of 2008 is an attainable target. He said that Mr. Ban Ki-moon told him that he will send to Cyprus Mr. Lynn Pascoe, UN Under-Secretary-General responsible for Political Affairs.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (14.03.08) refers to the Talat-Moon meeting under the title Hopeful meeting and reminds that Mr. Talat is visiting Dakar in order to participate in the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The paper notes that Mr. Talat met also with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (14.03.08) reports that the Talat-Gul meeting was held in haste and adds that Mr. Talat participated in the official lunch which the President of Senegal gave yesterday at the Presidential palace in honour of the guest Presidents.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Gul commented on the Cyprus problem during his flight to Senegal

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (14.03.08) reports that the Turkish President, Mr. Abdullah Gul, during a seven-hour flight to Senegal, with the presidential jet ANA, had a conversation with Ekrem Dumanli from Zaman, Erdal Safak from Sabah and Hasan Cemal from Milliyet newspapers. The Turkish President was going to Senegal, in order to participate in the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Mr. Gul stated, inter alia, that from the point of view of the Turkish-EU relations, the years of the decade of 1990 were lost years, but, as he said: Turkey managed to jump into the train. From this angle, he stressed the importance of the referendum in north Cyprus and the fact that 65% said yes to the referendum. Thanks to this, a big obstacle was lifted in front of Turkeys EU road, he said.

    The paper writes that when asked if the fact that Christofias was elected President in the place of Papadopoulos is an optimistic development for the future of Cyprus, Gul did not want to talk a lot about this issue. However, my impression was that one cannot say that optimism is on the agenda, writes Hasan Cemal. The journalist goes on and writes that what can be said is that Turkey does not want to be the side that spoils the game as regards the Cyprus problem and notes that this is the outline of the discussion they had with Gul.

    In addition, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.03.08) reports that Mr. Gul commented on the Cyprus issue, complaining about partisanship in the handling of this issue as well, saying: In some arguments, sides feel obliged to say just the opposite of what the others say. The Cyprus issue too has turned into that. We need to look at this in the long-term. If there are 100 items regarding Cyprus, each of them should be reviewed individually.

    (CS)

    [03] Turkey´s positions on Cyprus were accepted by the OIC

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.03.08) reported the following from Dakar:

    All proposals made by Turkey were approved at the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Senegal's capital, Dakar. The summit progresses successfully for Turkey.

    Turkey's thesis on Western Thrace and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) were accepted by OIC member states.

    TRNC is being represented by its president at an OIC Summit for the first time. OIC is referring to the TRNC as the "Cypriot State".

    [04] The breakaway regime was represented at the OIC summit with flag and title

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.03.08) reported the following from Dakar:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Thursday he was highly pleased with the representation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) by its flag and title at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

    Observer country KKTC is represented at the 11th summit of the OIC at presidential level, Gul told reporters in Senegalese capital city Dakar which is hosting the event.

    KKTC is represented by its flag and title here. I am highly pleased with that, he said.

    On the other hand, KKTC President Mehmet Ali Talat, who is attending the OIC summit together with KKTC Deputy PM and FM Turgay Avci, is scheduled to participate in a dinner to be hosted in honor of guest presidents by Senegalese president later on Thursday.

    Talat is also expected to address the general assembly on Friday.

    [05] Reactions by the Turkish Cypriot parties to the planned Christofias Talat meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (14.03.08) publishes statements by representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political parties regarding their expectations from the forthcoming meeting between President Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Under the title hope on the left, wait and see on the right, the paper reports that the chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), Tahsin Ertugruloglu said that he expects nothing from the 21 March meeting. He described the beginning of the process on the basis of the 8 July agreement as very dangerous. No good will come out from discussions to be held on this ground, he alleged.

    The general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Mustafa Arabacioglu said that he expects nothing from the meeting and that it is not possible for an agreement to be reached with the Greek Cypriots on the basis of the equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, the bi-zonality and the effective guarantees of Turkey. A solution will be found only if we abandon some of our views and principles. And this will be the solution which the Greek Cypriots want, not the Turkish Cypriots. It is a disaster for us, he claimed.

    The responsible for foreign affairs of the Republican Turkish Party, Unal Findik said that there is no reason for being pessimistic. If there is good will the solution is easy. It is normal for the two leaders to consider the interests of their own peoples. I hope that they will take into consideration the interests of Cyprus as well, he noted.

    The general secretary of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Ahmet Atamer argued that if the new Greek Cypriot leader does not abandon the non-solution policy and does not accept the virgin birth solution, we have to be cautious.

    The chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said that he considers the meeting as a new window of opportunity, but in order for this window to be opened the sides should discover their common points for a solution as soon as possible.

    The chairman of the Nationalist Justice Party (MAP), Ata Tepe accused Mr. Talat and his team of acting in panic and in a clumsy manner.

    The foreign relations secretary of the New Cyprus Party (YKP), Alpay Durduran said that the meeting has been secured by accepting that the 8 July agreement is valid. He added: I am expecting a positive start for a solution. However, the statements made by the Turkish side before the decision for the meeting was taken, are not a sign for good. There is a contradiction between the Minister of Foreign Affairs with the CTP and the Prime Minister with his own party. Therefore, it is not clear whether this positive situation will bring a positive result.

    The member of the executive committee of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), Abdullah Kormazhan said that they are hopeful that positive developments will come out from the meeting. He noted that the mere fact that AKEL and CTP agreed on the 8 July agreement is positive.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (14.03.08), under the title Fiasco, reports that the general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Nazim Cavusoglu argued that seeing the 8 July agreement as the framework or the basis of possible negotiations is a great carelessness from the diplomatic point of view. He said that furthermore, this agreement is more related with the procedure and does not go further than repeating some general stereotype expressions regarding the substance.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.03.08) reports that the chairman of the Politics for the People Party (HIS), Ahmet Yonluer has alleged that the statements by the government that in the end of 2008 the process for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem will begin is a lie and a pretext in order to prevent the early elections.

    In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Yonluer accused the coalition partners of not saying the same things and that self-styled prime minister Soyer and the minister of foreign affairs Avci continuously make different statements. He also accused the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat of not knowing on what the basis of the solution process will be.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Kalyoncu: The approach that concessions should be made at the table in order to get the Greek Cypriot yes is not right

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (14.03.08) reports that a delegation from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) headed by Omer Kalyoncu, the CTPs general secretary, visited yesterday Kamu-Sen trade union within the framework of the visits which the party started with the aim of exchanging views with non-governmental organizations and convey the latest developments on the Cyprus problem.

    In statements after the meeting, Mr. Kalyoncu said that the approach that concessions should be made at the table in order to get the Greek Cypriot yes is not right.

    He said that after the leaders of the communities meet once or more times the UN Secretary-General will develop his initiative. He added that the Turkish Cypriots have a word to say on the Cyprus problem. Mr. Kalyoncu said that in spite of the fact that the Greek Cypriots voted no for the solution plan at the referendum in 2004, they are trying to show that they were right and noted that even some Turkish Cypriots say that the Greek Cypriot no should be taken into consideration. This is not a correct approach, he argued.

    He alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side is in a more just position than the Greek Cypriots because it voted yes and argued that the international community has also confirmed this. Therefore, an approach such as the one saying from now that the Turkish Cypriot side must give concessions on the table in order to get the yes of the Greek Cypriot side, is not a correct approach.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Statements by Ekenoglu in Mersin

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.03.08) reports that the so-called speaker of the assembly, Mrs. Fatma Ekenoglu, who is visiting Mersin in order to participate in the 1st Businesswomen International General Assembly, argued yesterday that if the isolations applied on the Turkish Cypriots end, the solution of the Cyprus problem will come closer because the Greek Cypriots will be directed more seriously towards the solution.

    She said that the TRNC faces difficulties in its economic relations with the world because a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem has not yet been found. She said that their efforts for the beginning of direct flights to the occupied areas continue and added that contrary to what the Greek Cypriots allege the EU has confirmed that the ports in the occupied part of Cyprus are open to international traffic.

    Mrs. Ekenoglu reminded that the Parliamentary Union of the Islamic Conference Organization called on all its member states to establish close relations with the TRNC and expressed the hope that soon positive developments will take place. Yesterday, Mrs. Ekenoglu held a meeting with the Turkish State Minister, Kursat Tuzmen.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The visit of the co-chairperson of the German Greens Party to the occupied areas of Cyprus has been finalized

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.03.08) reports that it has been finalized that the co-chairperson of the German Greens Party, Mrs. Claudia Roth, will visit the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport between 17 and 20 March after an invitation by the so-called speaker of the assembly, Mrs. Fatma Ekenoglu.

    According to a statement issued by the assembly, during her visit Mrs. Roth will be accompanied by the German of Turkish origin MPs of her party, Ozcan Mutlu and Bilkay Oney. During her stay on the island she will hold separate meetings with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Talat, the self-styled prime minister Soyer and Mrs. Ekenoglu. She will deliver a speech at the illegal Eastern Mediterranean University and visit the Ledra Street (Lokmaci) area and Pyla village.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Citrus trees are murdered in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (14.03.08) reports that the Foundation for the Protection of the Environment has announced that the citrus trees in the area of occupied Morfou have been murdered in order to become coal in the ovens. The chairman of the foundation, Kenan Atakol said that the huge firewood heaps which are seen in many places show the dimensions of the crime.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Turkish and Israeli diplomatic sources on the office Ankara tries to open in Israel for its subordinate regime in occupied Cyprus. Diplomat to be appointed in the office

    Under the title: N. Cyprus office in Israel only a beginning, Turkish Daily News (13.03.08) publishes the following report by Fulya Ozerkan:

    A low-profile Turkish Cypriot trade office set to open in Israel very soon is the first step on the way toward the high-level diplomatic representation of northern Cyprus in the Jewish state, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

    Our goal was to open a diplomatic office in Israel but we could only start from a low level, a Turkish diplomat told the Turkish Daily News. It is better than nothing.

    Turkey has been using every platform for the international recognition of northern Cyprus.

    We've been working for a year to prepare a positive ground for the opening of a Turkish Cypriot office in Israel through dialogue with influential Israeli officials, said the diplomat.

    In November, Ankara pressed visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres to allow the opening of a Turkish Cypriot office in Israel, a proposal that was not directly turned down but Tel Aviv had to bow to Greek Cypriot pressure and left Turkish requests unanswered.

    Israel has so far refrained from taking sides in the decades-old Cyprus dispute and always referred to the decisions of the United Nations for a settlement to the ongoing dispute. Tel Aviv does not recognize northern Cyprus as an independent state.

    It is going to only be a trade office of a private businessman, not something official, said an Israeli diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous.

    The trade office, registered as a private company, will most probably open in April in Tel Aviv immediately after the Turkish Cypriot Foreign Ministry appoints a diplomat, according to the Turkish official.

    He underlined that Israeli investors were already doing business in northern Cyprus especially in the real estate sector and the trade office would further contribute to tourism and trade ties between Israel and northern Cyprus.

    Israel is not banning the possibility of having a business relationship with northern Cyprus, said the Israeli diplomat. But he emphasized that there was no official Israeli involvement in the establishment of the trade office and that it would be like those opened in other countries.

    Early this week, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said the opening of the trade office would not mean Israel was recognizing northern Cyprus. He would not say if the Israeli government had officially approved the opening of the trade office, but said the government would find it difficult to bar such a facility since it was not tied to an enemy state.

    The opening of the Turkish Cypriot office in Israel comes on the heels of similar operations in Qatar and Italy. Northern Cyprus also has offices in Britain, Brussels, New York, Washington and Pakistan. But such initiatives to further promote the northern part of the island are not pressure-free and immediately retaliated against by Greek Cyprus.

    [11] Turkey continues its efforts to gain non-permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council to be in a better position regarding Cyprus

    Under the title: Turkey wins Caribbean support for its UN, EXPO bids, Turkish daily Today´s Zaman (14.03.08) reports the following:

    The visiting prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday voiced clear support for Turkeys bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council as well as for Izmirs bid to host the EXPO 2015 fair.

    As Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and the other Caribbean countries, we support Turkeys candidacy for temporary membership in the UN Security Council. We also support Izmirs candidacy for hosting the EXPO organization in 2015, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said at a joint press conference yesterday following his meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

    Gonsalves arrived in Ankara on Wednesday night for an official four-day visit at the invitation of the prime minister. He became the first prime minister from the Caribbean region to pay an official visit to Turkey. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea that has 389 square kilometers of territory.

    Yet this island nations support for Turkeys UN and EXPO bids is seen as significant because Gonsalves, also known as Comrade Ralph, is known to have a considerable influence with other Caribbean countries. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is now part of the Commonwealth of Nations and the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

    Ankara has been running for one of the non-permanent seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group on the UN Security Council for the 2009-2010 term. Turkey, which has undertaken many UN missions in the 62 years since it became a founding UN member, has already gained support from at least two-thirds of the UN General Assemblys members for the elections that will be held during the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly late in 2008.

    Ankara believes that becoming a temporary member of the UN Security Council will place Turkey in a better position to inform the international community regarding its stance on many controversial issues, particularly its position on the divided island of Cyprus.

    Meanwhile, the competition between Izmir and Milan to host EXPO 2015 is heating up as the date for selection of the host city approaches. Izmirs candidacy will be put to a vote at the end of March 2008 in Paris during the general assembly of the Bureau of International Exhibitions (BIE). Analysts say if Izmir hosts the EXPO in 2015, more than 50 million people may visit the city.

    The Turkish capital has been exerting frenzied diplomatic efforts for both the UN and EXPO bids, with President Abdullah Gul dedicating a considerable amount of time to both issues. In line with these efforts, Ankara has recently met with visiting leaders of countries that were not previously very well known by the public. Turkeys plans for deepening its relations with African countries via almost two dozen new diplomatic missions in Africa are also expected to increase its chances for gaining a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.

    When asked whether there was general support from Caribbean countries for Izmirs EXPO bid, Gonsalves said his country had declared its support in a written statement and reiterated that there were other countries in the Caribbean region that support Izmirs bid.

    There is no need to say a negative thing for the other candidate, Milan, Gonsalves noted and added that he believed Izmir was a better candidate since it had never hosted EXPO before, while Milan had hosted the same fair a few times in the past.

    Praising Gonsalves leadership skills, Erdogan expressed hope that his visit would serve as an opportunity for improving friendly relations between Turkey and the Caribbean countries.

    Pointing out that Turkey had declared 2006 as the Year of Latin America and the Caribbean, Erdogan stressed Ankaras hopes for diversifying relations with the region via cooperation in many fields. He also said Ankara wanted to establish a cooperative forum between Turkey and the Caribbean region.

    Aiming at enhancing and diversifying Turkeys relations with Latin American and the Caribbean countries, an Action Plan for Latin America and the Caribbean was prepared and put into effect in 1998. The plan, which has been reviewed continuously since then, addresses various aspects of Turkish-Latin American and Caribbean relations and contains projects to strengthen Turkeys relations with regional countries in all fields. Declaration of 2006 as the Year of Latin America and the Caribbean in Turkey gave further impetus to the action plan. In June 2006, ministers of foreign affairs, industry, trade and economy, representatives of business organizations and academics from the region as well as Turkeys honorary consuls in the region were invited to a series of events during Latin American and Caribbean Week held in Istanbul and Ankara.

    [12] "United States wants to include Turkey in 'Missile Shield'"

    Under the above title Turkish Milliyet newspaper (13.03.08) publishes an article by Semih Idiz who writes, inter alia that the US Vice President Dick Cheney is expected to discuss the United States' missile shield project during his forthcoming visit to Turkey amid other developments indicating that Turkey is one of the likely candidates.

    He says: "In brief, Washington does not hide that it wishes Turkey to be a part of that project. The issue has already been placed on the agenda of official talks. The question is whether or not Turkey could agree because Iran, one of its neighbors, will be affected. The answer should be sought both in Washington and Ankara as well as Teheran because statements issued by the Turkish Armed Forces which said that Iran would also pose a threat to Turkey if it acquired nuclear weapons should also be taken into consideration."

    [13] The Turkey-FYROM Joint Economic Committee met in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.03.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish State Minister, Mr. Nimet Cubukcu, said Thursday that Turkish and Macedonian [FYROM] economies complete each other and both countries should make good use of such an advantage.

    The 5th term meeting of Turkish-Macedonian Joint Economic Committee (JEC) took place in Ankara.

    Cubukcu and Macedonian Minister Adnan Kahil attended the meeting.

    Taking the floor in the meeting, Cubukcu said the trade volume between the two countries amounted to 327 million USD in 2007 and the figure is expected to reach 1 billion USD within the next three years.

    Turkish investments in this country would amount to 130 million USD, she stated. Projects in the areas of telecommunication, energy and natural gas in Macedonia are important opportunities for Turkish companies, Cubukcu said.

    On the other hand, Kahil invited Turkish businessmen to his country and said Turkish and Macedonian companies could cooperate in several areas such as energy and organic agriculture.

    [14] AKP to host International meeting on the Middle East

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.03.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Justice and Development (AK) Party will organize an international meeting on the Middle East in the Mediterranean province of Antalya between March 15th and 17th.

    Political, military, economic and diplomatic aspects of the clashes in the Middle East will be discussed at the meeting, which will be organized with the support of Indian think-tank "Strategic Foresight Group" and the Swiss Foreign Ministry.

    Numerous participants from Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and India, as well as representatives of the Arab League, the European Parliament and leading international think-tanks will attend the meeting.

    Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin, who is the coordinator of the activities carried out within the framework of "Alliance of Civilizations" initiative, will deliver the opening speech of the meeting.

    Apart from AK Party MPs, officials from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and academicians will also attend the meeting.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] Columnist argues that Turkey will never give up its sovereignty on Cyprus

    Mehmet Levent in his column The voice of the silence in Afrika (14.03.08) newspaper says that Turkey will never give up its sovereignty on Cyprus.

    Under the title Lokmaci (Ledra Street) is not even a sand grain, he writes about the possible opening of the Ledra Street for crossings. He says that the opening is not even a single sand grain in the huge Cyprus problem.

    He says that the opening of the crossings instead of bringing the re-unification of the island closer, render the re-unification impossible and push it further away.

    He then says that in the face of the election of Demetris Christofias to the post of the presidency the opening of the Ledra crossing was made possible. Otherwise, he said, if it was Papadopoulos, the Turkish side would never agree to the opening of the Lokmaci.

    He says that Ankara was unable to refuse the conditions put forward by Mr. Christofias, which were the same conditions put forward by Mr. Papadopoulos because of Christofias image in the world as favoring peace and solution, and goes on:

    Because Lokmaci is a small detail in the basic points of the problem. Thus Ankara will try to present itself as making concession on such a small detail. And when it comes to the crux of the problem, Ankara will say: We have made concession as regards Lokmaci now its your turn to make concessions. Turkey can not have a free ride in this arena, when it has Mr. Christofias before him, who has a positive image in the world.

    Of course this does not mean that Ankara will accept all the conditions put forward by Christofias.

    Even if the negotiations start, they will break down on the thorny questions which are the fundamental points of the problem such as occupation, settlers, Varosha, property and return of the Greek Cypriot displaced persons to their homes, because Turkey will never accept to make concessions on its demand of separate state, separate sovereignty, separate democracy.

    Since making concession on any of these points by Ankara will be tantamount to giving up its sovereignty here, one should not need to be an astrologist to say that Turkey will never accept this.

    What I would like to stress is this: By taking into consideration the Lokmaci case you should not get very excited regarding the solution.

    I wonder, whom would the international community and the big bosses accuse if the negotiations start and break once more?

    As you know there is no Papadopoulos any more, Mehmet Levent concludes.

    (MHY)

    [16] The gradual Islamization of our daily lives

    Under the above title Turkish Daily News (13.03.08) publishes the following editorial by Mehmet Ali Birand:

    Society is always influenced by the general approach, the language and the lifestyle of its rulers. This effect on our society is increased through the efforts of the hypocrites who slide their way into wealth or power by looking and speaking like the rulers. Today, I want to share with you some of my observations. I may be mistaken in my views. If I am, please send me an e-mail to tell me about it. If you share my views, also send me an e-mail to share your views with me. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government that really began to rule the country after the July 22 elections is having definite influence over our society I see a fast-spreading change in the attitude of the heads of government, cabinet ministers and the bureaucrats they appoint as well as the AKP municipalities and the circles that cling to this AKP core to suck everything they can out of this system. This transformation is slowly spreading across other sectors of society. A different approach and a new way of life are emerging from the ghost of the past. This is not happening through orders and directives from the top but through the social reverberations of the general behavior and the attitude adopted by AKP officials who range from the prime minister down to the simplest district head.

    THE LINGUISTIC CHANGE: Our Turkish is not what it used to be. It has become a heavy language filled with superfluous Arabic words and Koranic expressions. The prime minister's speeches are marked with the tones and the traces of the Koran recital lessons he had at the religious high school. The same is true of the orators within the AKP organization. The words they use, the expressions they copy and their general style of speech are different. A general aura of Islam is invading the language.

    BODY LANGUAGE: We used to shake hands more. During more recent years, kissing became more popular. Everybody began to kiss everybody they happened to meet, whether they knew them or not. Now, there is more distance. The latest way is to greet each other by placing your hand on your heart. The Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) adherents prefer to clink heads. Since it has become very risky to shake hands with women, they are usually greeted by a slight bow of the head.

    EATING AND DRINKING: Alcohol is gradually leaving the tables. It is being kept in nooks and corners as proof of tolerance. It is served if it is particularly asked for, but that is all. You also have to be brave or audacious to actually ask for it. It is becoming more usual to drink liquid yogurt, orange juice or other fruit juice with meals.

    CLOTHING: The black chador is on the decrease. On the other hand, an increasing number of women are wearing the turban and coats that come down to their heels. Most of them have no taste at all and make women look as if they are draped in curtains. Fashion houses are on the increase. They also advertise and practically advocate monolithic apparel. There is no noticeable change in men's wear. They stick to classic lines, except for those, who parade sectarian symbols.

    DAILY LIFE: It had never disappeared completely, but nowadays, the separation of men and women seems to have become more noticeable. I do not know whether this is due to our increased sensitivity or due to a genuine increase in this practice. There seems to be more and more women only pools and beaches and alcohol-free hotels. There is also a boom in the number of people, who go to the mosque on Fridays for midday prayers. The funny thing is people who never used to go are now meticulous about attending the Friday ritual. I am curious to see what will happen during Ramadan. Who knows what we will see then?

    MEDIA: There is a considerable increase in the number of newspapers and TV channels that promote religious values as well as Islam and the Islamic world. They appeal to a gradually growing sector in terms of numbers as well as circulation rate. Their publications and broadcasts that stress religious values have become noticeably more religious in content as well as language.

    CAPITAL: I observe the same sector create its own rich people. More religious corporations are founded each day. People who did not even rate a nod yesterday now take part in huge tenders and make enormous amounts of money. As they employ more and more workers, employee families also join the circle. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, this trend does not happen through the open or secret orders or directives of the AKP. A different lifestyle is automatically spreading from top to down. There are those who act like missionaries and blow up this lifestyle that originates from the ruling party. Another sector is made up of those who now dare to do what they could not before. And finally, there are those who join the ride to fill their pockets and to protect their own interests.

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 13 March 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries from the Turkish press of 13 March on economic issues:

    In an article entitled "National income adjusted, but problems still remain there," Milliyet columnist Gungor Uras says that the Turkish economy is still fragile in spite of the fact that Turkey's national income in 2006 increased around 30 percent as a result of a recent adjustment of related figures made by the government. Uras points out that national income is based on estimates while chronic problems facing the Turkish economy such as high government debts and current account deficit are based on actual figures.

    In an article entitled "Cortisone has been injected into markets," Milliyet columnist Hursit Gunes cautions that the Turkish economy continues to cope with serious problems despite signs of recovery in international markets as a result of recent measures taken by the Fed, including the injection of $200 billion into US markets. Predicting that Turkey's current account deficit which reached $38 billion in 2007 will go up to $45 billion and Turkey needs at least $55 billion in order to compensate for its current account deficit and a net outflow of $10 billion to be transferred abroad by foreign investors, Gunes concludes by saying: "In my view, this is impossible. In other words, prices of hard currencies and inflation will substantially rise and there will be an economic downturn."

    In an article entitled "We heard nothing new from the Ministers," Hurriyet columnist Erdal Saglam says that a joint news conference held by Deputy Prime Minister Nazim Ekren, Minister of Finance Kemal Unakitan, and State Minister Mehmet Simsek yesterday could not dispel prevailing anxieties in the financial markets. He comments: "It seems that the ministers held this news conference in a bid to manage expectations and to dispel anxieties in the markets. But, they forget that expectations can only be managed by telling the truth and thus being transparent and convincing."

    In an article entitled "Turkey should press for an increase in its rating," Sabah columnist Abdurrahman Yildirim notes that the news conference held by the three Turkish ministers was actually intended to give the message that Turkey's sovereign credit rating should be increased in light of the latest revision to its national income. Pointing out that credit rating institutions may be reluctant to change Turkey's rating due to fluctuations in global markets, Yildirim says that a decision to be made by the government about the future of relations with the IMF will be another factor that could ensure an improvement in its rating. He comments: "We have not observed any effect on the markets resulting from the news conference because no statement was made about the IMF. It is obvious that the effects of the revision to national income will be seen over time."

    In an article entitled "This state of affairs is not sustainable", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that the current state of the world does not reflect a fair distribution of wealth, with the United States controlling half of the world's income and the gross national product of Islamic countries amounting to only half of that of Germany. He emphasizes "the need for a new world order based on justice, peace, and freedom," adding that the new global system should not be the product of an "imperialist project" that seeks to promote US, EU, and Israeli interests.

    EG/


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