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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-17
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 53/08 15-17.03.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat addressed the OIC summitAnkara Anatolia news agency (14.03.08) reports from Dakar that Mehmet Ali Talat, Friday called on the new President of the Republic of Cyprus to resume negotiations.
"I am calling on the new Greek Cypriot leader (Demitris Christofias) to re-launch negotiations within the plan prepared by the United Nations (UN). I hope that we can find a solution by the end of 2008," Talat told participants of the 11th Session of Islamic Summit Conference of Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Senegal's capital of Dakar.
Thanking the OIC for its support of the TRNC, Talat said his country made a call to the new President of the Republic of Cyprus to begin negotiations in order to establish two equal states based on two communities in Cyprus.
"We pay high attention to opening commercial, touristic, cultural and educational offices in OIC member states as the TRNC. So far, we opened offices in 10 OIC member states and want to increase this number," Talat said. "We request from the OIC to make the TRNC a full member of the OIC and end its status as an observer," Talat also said.
 OICs final communiqué reaffirms support to TRNCAnkara Anatolia news agency (14.03.08) reports the following:
A final communiqué, issued following the 11th Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) held in Senegal's capital Dakar, reaffirmed support to Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).
The final communiqué referred to the previous decisions of OIC related to TRNC and reiterated the call to put an end to the isolations imposed on Turkish Cypriots. The communiqué asked for a strong support from the international community to remove the sanctions as the first step. The final statement indicated that the two parties on the island should have equal rights, underlining that Greek Cypriot side should act towards the solution in line with the U.N. plan.
The communiqué also put emphasis to boosting relations between the OIC member countries and Northern Cyprus by paying high-level visits, sending businessmen delegation and on areas of culture and sports.
The communiqué said it was not possible to deal with terrorism without international solidarity and cooperation, and urged the international community to assume a mutual stance to define, condemn and punish terrorists and their supporters.
 Talat: Negotiations would begin at the end of April. He assessed the OIC summitIllegal Bayrak television (15.03.08) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has expressed the hope that the negotiations on solving the Cyprus issue will begin at the end of April.
Mr Talat was speaking at a press conference at the end of the 11th OIC Summit in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
At the press conference, the President reiterated that he had an impression that the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is ready to take initiative on the Cyprus issue.
Expressing his satisfaction over the decisions taken by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, Mr Talat said he asked for the full membership of the TRNC to the OIC.
He also added that the application to the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation was accepted.
Stating that the summit was quite useful, Mr Talat said he had an opportunity to stress the injustice of the isolations on the Turkish Cypriot People in every bilateral discussion he had.
 Gul says Mr Talat attended the OIC summit as President of the Cyprus Turkish StateIllegal Bayrak television (15.03.08) broadcast the following:
Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat attended the OIC Summit under the name of the President of the Cyprus Turkish State saying this was an important point for Turkey.
President Gul was speaking to the Turkish media in the Senegalese capital Dakar at the end of the 11th Summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
Noting that he had meetings with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the President of the Arab League Amr Musa and the President of the African Union, President Gul said a compromised deal has been reached on the final communiqué of the summit.
He also said that especially Cyprus and other issues important for Turkey were included in the final communiqué.
 Ihsanoglu was reelected as OIC Secretary-GeneralAnkara Anatolia news agency (14.03.08) reports the following:
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), will remain in term office for a second term. Representatives of Saudi Arabia and several other countries submitted a proposal during the ongoing OIC summit in Dakar asking Ihsanoglu to act as the SG again for a second term.
Leaders of the participating countries voted in favor of the proposal.
 Talat on the Constitutional Convention for CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.08), under the title A Brussels tale, reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat told the paper that the meetings in Brussels regarding a constitution of Cyprus are a tale and wondered why he should have anything to do about them. He said that these meetings started two years ago by the Hellenic Institute established in Greece, but the decisions taken at these meetings have no validity.
Asked whether he knew about the recent meeting that took place in Brussels, Mr Talat said: I knew that the meeting would be held, because it was not a secret. I do not know why they say this, but it is not possible for a meeting in which so many people have participated to be secret. This is a tale that started with the submission in writing of the Constitutional Convention proposal by the Hellenic Institute both to me and Papadopoulos.
Noting that officials from the Hellenic Institute visited him and submitted to him the above-mentioned convention, Mr Talat said that he thanked them and told them that he would examine the issue.
He added: After two days, when I was asked how I found it, I said that this is a text which could not even be taken into consideration and that it tries to carry the Cyprus problem to a very different course. I explained that its target was to solve the problem with amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Cyprus (amendments which were against us), that this was completely outside the usual methods used until today and that it should not even be taken into consideration.
He said that a university in Switzerland supported this initiative and turned it into an academic study. The team invited Turkish Cypriots and people from Turkey and other countries and carried out a study, said Talat alleging that the presidency of the TRNC has nothing to do with it, but he does not see anything wrong for people who have contacts with the presidency to participate in these efforts as individuals.
In the end, this study has absolutely no chance and reason, either it is regarded as academic or there is the allegation that it is academic. It is a study in vain, he concluded.
 The prices of the real estate have fallen by 40 % in the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.08), under the title Blow by the banks to the investments, reports that the great majority of the banks operating in the occupied areas of Cyprus do not accept as mortgage the properties with equivalent title deed provided by the breakaway regime. Invoking business circles, the paper notes that the non-acceptance by the banks of official documents issued by the state is something unique happening only in the occupied areas of Cyprus.
The chairman of the Banks Union, Mr Berkay, has said that the banks put many conditions for giving credits and added that it could not be said that they do not do this in return of equivalent property. The chairman of the Contractors Union, Cafer Gurcafer has said that the issue should be solved at the political level and accused the banks of not making any step on this issue.
Meanwhile, the paper notes that the price of the real estate has been reduced by 40 % in the occupied areas. Star Kibris adds: The construction boom stopped. The prices of houses and real estate in Girne [occupied Keryneia] have fallen by up to 40 %. While some experts say that the reason for these is the decrees and the lack of trust in the sector, it is noted that this picture is experienced because of excess supply.
 Ozan Ceyhun stated that many more visitors will enter the occupied areas through the illegal Tymvou airport in the coming weeksTurkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.03.08) reports that the co-chairperson of the German Greens Party, Mrs Claudia Roth, is expected to arrive tonight in the occupied areas of Cyprus through the illegal Tymvou airport at the initiation of the so-called speaker of the assembly, Mrs Fatma Ekenoglu. Ozan Ceyhun, former German MP of Turkish origin, comments on the issue in his column in the paper under the title Intensive visitors traffic.
He argues that even if there are some persons in the south part of the island who are upset about it, a new period has already started and no one has the possibility of preventing this. He alleges that within the coming weeks we are going to see many visitors who will enter the occupied areas of the island through the illegal Tymvou airport.
Mr Ceyhun writes also that two journalists will accompany Mrs Roth in her visit. One of them is a German journalist and the other Zeynel Lule from Brussels, correspondent of Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper
 The breakaway regime to sign another agreement with VodafoneTurkish Cypriot daily Cyprus Times newspaper (17.03.08), under the title Turkish Cypriots to get 3rd generation GSM services, reports the following:
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Telecommunication Authority and GSM operator Turkcell signed Friday a license agreement that will allow third generation GSM services in the TRNC. Turkish Cypriot mobile phone subscribers will be able to use the new system that enables video data transfer and faster internet access in autumn, the latest, Salih Usar, TRNC Transportation Minister, told reporters at the ceremony. Usar also said they will soon sign another license agreement with Vodafone to create healthy competition conditions in the market.
 Babacan said Turkey to speed up reforms with its own timetable in spite of the frozen chapters because of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.03.08) reports that Ali Babacan, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, has said that after the eight chapters in the accession negotiations of Turkey with the EU have been frozen because of Cyprus, his country decided to tie the reforms on its own timetable and continue its way rapidly. Responding to questions of Kanal 7 television, Mr Babacan noted that the two most important reforms are the Vakiflar (Foundations) Law and the amendment of article 301 of the penal code. He said this article will soon be discussed at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA).
Therefore, perhaps the issue of when it will be discussed should be questioned rather than whether it will be discussed, he noted.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 Columnist: Pressure period in the offing in foreign policyColumnist Ferai Tinc writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (17.03.08) says that in the foreign policy area a pressure period is in the offing for Turkey.
Referring to the decision of the Chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya´s decision in Turkey to file a case for the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ferai Tinc says that the closure case coincides with a period where Turkey in the foreign policy areas will face very serious issues.
She then refers to the Cyprus problem and says that the Cyprus problem is on the way of coming out of the stagnation period.
On 21 March, the Christofias Talat meeting will take place. It is expected that this meeting which happens after the elections in the Greek Cypriot side, will start a new process aiming at the solution of the Cyprus problem
The negotiation process needs to be flexible and creative and be very well prepared.
The most important obstacle before Turkey´s EU membership is Cyprus. One should have no doubt that this question as well will be related to the negotiation process.
What does this mean? This means the following: In the coming period, Turkey will face the pressure of all the actors in the Cyprus problem, the USA the UN and the EU.
Unfortunately, this process coincides with a period where political crisis winds blew not only in Turkey but in the TRNC where the situation is not so bright too, Ferai Tinc concludes.
 From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 March 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 14, 15 and 16 March:
a) Leading PKK Figures Arrested in Europe: A report entitled "Her fingerprint gave Ayfer Kaya away" in Milliyet (14.03.08) says that Ayfer Kaya, alleged girlfriend of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, who has been arrested by German authorities at a border crossing point, is expected to be extradited to Turkey after her fingerprints sent by the Turkish police matched.
According to a report entitled "Seven, PKK's Trustee, apprehended in Rome" in Milliyet, (14.03.08), Nedim Seven who is believed to be in charge of the PKK's funds and a close aide of Ocalan was captured in Italy two days ago, five months after he had disappeared in September 2007 following his flight to northern Iraq. The report says that the Turkish Ministry of Interior and the National Police Department have contacted Italian authorities in order to obtain information about Seven's apprehension.
b) Lawsuit calling for closure of Justice and Development Party: On 15 March 2008, the Turkish newspapers report that the Supreme Court chief prosecutor filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court calling for the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on grounds that its activities conflict with secularism in banner headlines on their front pages, as follows:
Ercan Babahan in Istanbul Sabah reacts to the lawsuit by saying that Turkey has become the cemetery of political parties that have been closed down. In a column entitled "The Same Criteria Again," he recalls that the changes that have been effected in the Constitution require a three-fifths majority vote in the Constitutional Court for a decision to close down a political party and asserts: Nevertheless, we believe that politics in Turkey should be determined by the people, not through decisions that are made by the courts. Stressing that the AKP parliamentary group will maintain its direction even if interventions are made in politics in an unnatural manner, Babahan warns that Turkey might be confronted with a very different situation when the next elections are held.
Writing in the same newspaper, Nazli Ilicak criticizes the initiative that has been made to close down the AKP. In a column entitled "Lawsuit for closure," she recalls the court decision to close down the religious Welfare Party in the past and warns that the AKP has the majority it needs in the parliament to hold a referendum to either change Article 69 of the Constitution, which concerns the closure of political parties, or the method that is applied to elect the members of the Constitutional Court.
In Vatan Gungor Mengi believes that the failure of the AKP to heed the warning of the Supreme Court against activities that conflict with secularism on 17 January, forced the chief prosecutor to file a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court for the closure of the ruling party. Stressing that Prime Minister Erdogan and his colleagues must realize that they have been put to a test, Mengi urges them to remain calm and adopt a logical approach. He notes: Turkey has appeared as a country in which political parties are closed down. But, the chief prosecutor's initiative must be considered with an understanding approach. Recalling the statement President Gul made in his reaction to the lawsuit, "Everyone should consider what Turkey might lose or gain," Mengi says: "That is a message that carries a threat. President Gul must try to persuade the ruling party to change its mentality and approach. That will save it from being closed down.
A report in Istanbul Cumhuriyet cites lawyers commenting on the lawsuit against the AKP. Former Minister of Justice Hikmet Sami Turk, Honorary Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Vural Savas, the Chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association Kazim Kolcuoglu, and Prof Dr Necmi Yuzbasioglu, lecturer at the Galatasaray University Law Faculty, are quoted as saying: A party that has been closed down cannot be established under a different name. AKP officials disregarded Constitutional Court's rulings since they came to power. The Supreme Court has filed a lawsuit on the basis of the evidence it compiled, and the accusations against the government and the prime minister have created a regrettable situation in the country.
According to Mustafa Balbay in Istanbul Cumhuriyet, a difficult situation is emerging in Turkey because of the activities of the ruling AKP and the lawsuit that has been filed in the Constitutional Court against it. In a column entitled "A difficult situation is emerging," he criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan and the AKP for their activities that conflicted with secularism and argues that the reactions of the party officials to the lawsuit are not valid. Stressing that the AKP will hide behind the concepts of democracy and freedom to pose as an oppressed organization to win the sympathy of the people, he asserts: The party poses as an oppressed organization when it believes that it stands to gain from such an approach. It might claim to be an oppressed organization but it is an aggressive party.
A political party should not be closed in a democratic country unless it clearly calls for violence or resorts to violent activities, says Ismet Berkan in Istanbul Radikal. In a column entitled "Is closure a solution?," he notes that at least seven members of the Constitutional Court must decide to have the AKP closed down and asserts: It will be useful to recall that the majority of the Constitutional Court members were appointed by former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Allow me to say something else: We are in the 21st century. For God's sake, let us have democracy in the country.
Writing also in Radikal, Murat Yetkin wonders how closing down a political party will solve the existing problems. In a column entitled "Closing down political parties to solve problems," he recalls the amendments of laws in accordance with the EU norms and notes that the conditions that exist at the present time are different from those that existed when the Welfare Party was closed down. Stressing that the AKP has already started to defend itself by saying that it will hold the chief prosecutor responsible for the economic and political damages his initiative will cause, Yetkin says: An effort is made to close down a political party in power, which is widely supported by the people. What will that effort achieve and to what extent? The Constitutional Court has shouldered responsibility for democracy in Turkey. It seems that a difficult situation has emerged in the country.
In an article entitled "A shameful case against Democracy", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu criticizes the closure case against the AKP as a development that suggests "regression to the Kemalism of the 1930s and 1940s." He argues that since the AKP enjoys the support of "one out of every two people" in this country, the Chief Public Prosecutor has actually filed an appeal against democracy itself.
Under the banner headline, "They lose their senses completely," Vakit publishes a front-page report which refers to the closure case filed against the AKP as "a first in the history of world democracy." According to the report, the launch of closure proceedings against the AKP has demonstrated how "confused" "the powers that be" are.
In an article entitled "AKP: 70 Percent", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven asserts that the closure case against the AKP is a "great blessing" for this party at a time when Prime Minister Erdogan's political clout has started to decrease. He claims that the closure case will serve to increase public support for the AKP to 70 percent in the forthcoming local elections.
In an article entitled "A judicial memorandum", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone warns that if the closure case against the AKP means that Turkey's "bureaucratic power" is "showing muscle," then the "rivalry" between the judiciary and the political authority that this situation entails will "cost Turkey dearly." He also argues that the Chief Public Prosecutor's indictment targets not merely the AKP but the entire Parliament because some of the accusations listed in the indictment are applicable to the CHP as well as to the Nationalist Action Party, MHP.
In a commentary entitled "Research on Islamophobia in Turkey", Today's Zaman writer Mumtazer Turkone analyzes the results of a recent survey entitled "Society's perception of religion." He claims that the survey has proven that any "religion-based polarization" in Turkey would be caused not by observant Muslims but by people who dissociate themselves from religion and oppose it.
On the indictment issue Hurriyet (16.03.08) notes under banner headlines that the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, filed his closure case against the AKP [Justice and Development Party] on 14 March, the very day in 2003 when Recep Tayyip Erdogan formed the 59th government after release from prison. The report further notes that Erdogan formed the 60th government after winning 47 percent of votes in 2007. Another Hurriyet report on 16 March points out that Erdogan responded to the prosecutor's move against his party by quoting the Koranic verse "they have ears but they cannot hear, they have eyes but they cannot see, they have tongues but they cannot tell the truth" [in a separate box Hurriyet carries the full text of the al-A'raf verse 179, which says, "Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell: They have hearts wherewith they understand not, eyes wherewith they see not, and ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle,- nay more misguided: for they are heedless (of warning)."] when his party followers in Siirt egged him on to be more vociferous in putting his message through to the forces arrayed against the AKP.
Radikal (16.03.08) carries the full text of the indictment, which on page 160-161 list the names of politicians who should be barred from politics. The list is headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Bulent Arinc, Abdullah Gul, and Huseyin Celik, and also includes such names as Egemen Bagis, Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, Recep Akdag, Ayse Bohurler, and Hasan Cuneyt Zapsu.
A Vatan report (16.03.08) says that 39 of the 71 people, for which the prosecutor seeks political ban, are deputies and even if they are eventually barred from politics the AKP will still command 310 seats in the parliament and form a government of its own again.
A Milliyet report (16.03.08) says that given that under the constitutional amendments on 3 October 2001 it has become difficult to ban parties -- now at least seven of the 11 members of the Constitutional Court have to support the ban for it to be adopted --, the Constitutional Court, after due procedure, might instead opt to terminate partially or wholly the Treasury assistance to the AKP. If the court chooses neither of these two options, the case will be dropped.
While Metin Munir in his column for Milliyet (16.03.08) supports the view that the attempt to ban the AKP would simply increase its votes, Turker Alkan in his column in Radikal (16.03.08) rejects that idea, arguing that if banned the AKP would fall into pieces.
On his part Mehmet Barlas in his column in Sabah (16.03.08) argues that though the indictment may look ridiculous, given that eight of the 11 members of the Constitution Court were appointed by former president Sezer, there is the likelihood of this court banning the AKP. Barlas warns that such a decision would cause serious crisis in Turkey. Barlas also says that Erdogan must have now realized the real nature of the Ankara criteria that he so often juxtaposes against the Copenhagen criteria when angry with Europeans, pointing out that under the Ankara criteria the "deep Ankara" will never be willing to share power with the elected.
In Aksam (16.03.08) Ali Saydam writes that Erdogan and the AKP people must thank profusely the CHP and the "archaic state bureaucracy" for victimizing them, adding that if Erdogan remains "cool" like he did yesterday in Siirt, the AKP will score a new and far more devastating goal against the opposition in the next elections.
Ilhan Selcuk in his column for Cumhuriyet (16.03.08) examines the present situation resulting from the political dichotomy that has developed in Turkey. He says the AKP is de facto in power in Turkey with US support, yet the constitution envisages a secular state, and unless the AKP manages to Islamize the constitution the prosecutors will continue acting as the present constitution requires.
According to a report in Istanbul Ulkede Ozgur Gundem (16.03.08), the DTP has issued a written statement in connection with the closure case filed against the AKP. The statement describes the case as a "disgrace of democracy" and suggests that it is aimed at concealing the country's "real agenda."
In an article entitled "The indictment must be returned," in Vakit (16.03.08) columnist Ihsan Karahasanoglu argues that the indictment prepared by Yalcinkaya is based on implausible accusations. He says: "This indictment must be returned immediately and the Chief Public Prosecutor must be subsequently dismissed by the President."
In an article entitled "Chaos is good," in Vakit (16.03.08) by columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the request for the closure of the ruling party is aimed at removing Gul from office and bringing the government down which, he cautions, would be tantamount to a coup staged by using the judiciary as a tool. Dilipak says that charges brought against the AKP have actually guaranteed its landslide victory in the upcoming local elections and adds: "Although the indictment of the Chief Public prosecutor seems to be a very troublesome initiative, it actually provided great moral support for Erdogan and his AKP on the eve of the election."