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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-03-20
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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. 56/08 20.03.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 How the Turkish Cypriot press covers the press conference given yesterday by President Demetris ChristofiasThe Turkish Cypriot press (20.03.08) refers extensively to the press conference given yesterday by President Demetris Christofias.
Kibris covers the issue under the title Christofias: Our starting point is 8 July. The paper notes that the press conference took place in a positive atmosphere, contrary to the previous years at the presidential palace. The paper writes that assistance was provided to the Turkish journalists from the entrance of the presidential palace and simultaneous interpretation was available at the press conference into the Turkish and English languages, something which did not happen before.
Afrika refers to the issue under the title I will not turn my back to Turkey and notes: Here is the difference of Christofias. He did what Papadopoulos never did. He opened the doors to the Turkish Cypriot journalists for a press conference and said welcome in the Turkish language.
The paper points out that responding to those who exerted pressure on him in order to criticize the Turkish Cypriot leader, President Christrofias said that he would not make any statements two days before his meeting with Talat for the fact that the Turkish Cypriot leader is behaving in a negative manner. This would be tantamount to masochism, he added.
Halkin Sesi refers to the issue under the banner front-page title Christrofias distributed hope and notes that the President of the Republic distributed hope on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem before the summit between the leaders which will take place tomorrow. The paper points out that President Christofias said that this time we must succeed because if we do not this would be a disaster for our people.
Writing in the same paper, Mr Ozcan Ozcanhan, one of the Turkish Cypriot journalists who attended the press conference, covers the issue under the title Full points to Christofias.
Furthermore, Mr Selim Sayari, Turkish NTV televisions correspondent in the occupied areas of Cyprus, told Halkin Sesi that President Christofias made a very successful show. He said that the President of the Republic chose carefully the sentences he used in his speech and tried not to accuse Mr Talat. On the other hand, he added, he kept at extremely low level the criticism against Turkey.
Mr Sayari underlined the fact that for the first time there was simultaneous interpretation into the Turkish language and that President Christofias shook hands with all the journalists before the press conference. He also noted that he used words in order to touch everyones heart when he was asked a question on the issue of the reunification of the island. And added: When we put all these together and add them up, the conclusion we reach is the following: We could say that with one and only meeting, Christofias created a climate which will reverse that intransigent Greek Cypriot image of the Papadopoulos period. When the number of such meetings becomes five, a situation which will corner the Turkish side could come to the surface.
Yeni Duzen refers to the issue under the title This time we must succeed.
Kibrisli covers the issue under the title Christofias defended the Greek Cypriot sovereignty! The paper argues: Christofias who did not move backwards even a millimetre from his positions for one single people, a single sovereignty, a single citizenship and a single international identity, continued to defend his chauvinistic nationalist views.
Star Kibris refers to the issue under the title Not succeeding would be a disaster.
Sozcu covers the issue under the title We want to return to Keryneia.
Gunes refers to the press conference under the title Insistence of Christofias on 8 July.
Under the title Unitary state, Volkan argues that Christofias spilled the beans.
Ortam refers to the issue under the title The basis should be the 8th of July.
Vatan notes that The insistence of the Greek Cypriots on the 8th of July continues.
 Ercakica: The 8 July process was not discussed more than it deserved in the meeting between Mr Talat and the ambassadors of the permanent members of the UN Security CouncilTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.03.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with the ambassadors of the five permanent members of the Security Council of the United Nations and afterwards with representatives of the Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the assembly, except the Democratic Party (DP).
Mr Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, made a short statement on the issues discussed during the meeting with the five ambassadors. He said that Mr Talat explained in details his stance regarding the Cyprus problem. Asked to comment on news published in the Greek Cypriot press which said that the five ambassadors would exert pressure on Mr Talat for the 8 July process, Mr Ercakica noted: Nothing happened. The 8 July process was not discussed more than it deserved in this meeting.
 Statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians after meeting with Mr TalatTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.03.08) reports that in statements after the meeting with Mr Talat, the chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici, noted that they put forward the points which should be emphasized at the meeting between the two leaders. He said that they got the impression that during the first meeting the vision for a solution will be discussed and expressed the view that the two sides are very far from each other at this moment. He argued that the Turkish Cypriot side wants to discuss on the basis of the Annan Plan, while the Greek Cypriot side wants to discuss on a basis aiming to promote the Republic of Cyprus.
He said that the sides should make mutual steps for a solution and argued that the Turkish Cypriots are not a minority like for example the Maronites. He said that they are politically equal partners of the 1960 Republic of Cyprus and that they should sit at the table with their equal capacity. He alleged that the communal rights acquired by the Turkish Cypriots in 1960, the bi-zonality acquired by the 1977-79 agreements and the Annan Plan were formed during the UN procedures.
In statements after the same meeting Nazim Cavusolgu, general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), alleged that in spite of the fact that the statements made by President Christofias are not giving hope, the meeting of Friday 21st of March is a part of the negotiating process and it is important from the point of view of deciphering the identities of each side.
Furthermore, Omer Kalyoncu, general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), said that there are signals that the meeting will be positive and added that the line drawn by Christofias shows that there will be such a result. He said also that Mr Talat stated that he would go to the meeting with the aim of reaching an early and just solution to the problem.
 An internationally known hotel chain will reportedly invest in the occupied areas of the Republic of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (20.03.08) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister, has said that the Turkish Cypriots come from the same history and cultural accumulation with Turkey and form the branches of the same culture.
Addressing the opening ceremony of a newly restored historical site, Istanbul's Akaretler Siraevleri, Mr Soyer noted that the main element that unites the two people is culture.
The editor-in-chief of Kibris, Basaran Duzgun, reports that he had the opportunity to meet and talk in Istanbul with the former chairman of Besiktas football club and businessman who built the Siraevler project, Mr Serdar Bilgili.
Mr Duzgun, who accompanies Mr Soyer in Istanbul, writes that the cost of the project was 75 million US dollars. He notes that during his discussion with Mr Bilgili he found out that the latter is preparing to invest in the occupied areas of Cyprus, by bringing to the island W Hotels, an internationally known hotel chain.
The initiative is, for the time being, kept secret so that it is not prevented by the Greek Cypriots, notes Mr Duzgun and adds: However, we have been excited with what we found out, because they plan to make in Cyprus an investment which exceeds 100 million US dollars. The investment will begin very soon and it is expected to change the appearance of north Cyprus .
 The occupation regime participated in the 15th Moscow 2008 international Travel and Tourism FairIllegal Bayrak television (19.03.08) reports the following:
The 15th Moscow 2008 International Travel and Tourism Fair has opened.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is also being represented at the fair which will remain open until Saturday, the 22nd of March.
Nearly 3 thousand participants from 120 countries are attending the Fair in the Russian capital.
 Yonluers statements to Al Jazeera televisionTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (20.03.08) reports that Ahmet Yonluer, chairman of the Politics for the People Party (HIS), participated last night in a program broadcast lively from the studios of Al Jazeera channel in Istanbul. Speaking in Arabic language, Mr Yonluer replied to questions on the Cyprus problem and the expectations of the Turkish Cypriots. He also explained the aim and the principles of HIS within this framework and answered questions of spectators.
Mr Yonluer argued that the TRNC has recently started to establish seriously close relations with countries members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and added that at this stage it is understood how important the support and the need of the Islamic countries for each other is. He alleged that the Turkish Cypriots should preserve their identity as a state, not as minority during a solution in Cyprus. Replying to another question, he said that they were late in asking the support of the Islamic world.
He noted: This is a very important point. If this cause was explained to the world and especially to the Muslim countries 40 years ago and if the recognition of the TRNC had been asked from these countries, we would have been at a much more powerful position today with the support of the Muslim countries. However, we have been late again for this. As it is known, the European countries do not attach the necessary value and importance today to the Muslim countries. If the Muslim countries want to help their brothers of the same religion here, they could launch direct flights by making a big gesture. The TRNC universities are very developed. They could send their students to north Cyprus, instead of the EU countries. ....
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 19 March 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 19 March:
Closure Case Against Ruling AKP : A report in Radikal says that the opposition Nationalist Action Party, (MHP), has "closed the door" to the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), which is said to be planning to amend the Constitution to prevent the closure of political parties easily. According to the report, MHP leader Devlet Bahceli "strongly criticized" the initiative, warning that "any intervention in the judiciary might lead to serious regime crises." He is quoted as saying that the AKP officials are trying to establish an irrelevant link between the closure case and the public support for the party. The report notes that the MHP has decided to form a committee to finalize the party proposal for the Constitutional amendments.
A report by Nazif Iflazoglu in the same newspaper says that the AKP will say "no" to the MHP proposal that obstructs party closures but calls for political ban on the individuals who are found guilty. The AKP officials are said to have warned that the MHP proposal is full of "serious traps" that might remove Erdogan and the founders of the party from political scene.
In his article in Radikal, columnist Murat Yetkin asserts that by opening a closure case against the AKP, the chief prosecutor used a right given to him by the laws and the Constitution. That is why, he says, the ongoing debate on the lawsuit should be seen as "political, not judicial." Stressing that Turkey will encounter similar problems in the future unless the parliament makes the necessary legal arrangements regarding the closure of a political party, Yetkin censures the AKP for creating polarization by using its "political strength" to lift the headscarf ban. Criticizing the government circles that try to view the closure case as an attempt to obstruct the Ergenekon operation, he asserts that it is the AKP administration's responsibility to insistently maintain the investigation and overcome obstacles to justice.
Hurriyet's Oktay Eksi opposes the MHP proposal that instead of closing down political parties, the party members carrying out anti-secular activities should be banned from politics. Eksi warns in his article that trying to solve the problems through Constitutional amendments might create unexpected problems in the future.
Sabah columnist Hasan Bulent Kahraman views the party closures as political initiatives and says that the prosecutor having the right to file a lawsuit to close down a political party does not prevent the start of a "historic debate" on it. In his article, he recalls that the closure of the Democratic Party and the execution of its leading officials are still being discussed in Turkey. Also criticizing the political parties' inconsistent stand on the matter, the columnist accuses the AKP and the MHP of creating a "democratic gap" by expressing support for the closure of the Democratic Society Party. Unfortunately, he notes, those democratic gaps are filled by the judiciary.
An article by Referans columnist Cengiz Candar argues that "the forces behind the indictment against the AKP cannot be unaware of the fact that the closure case will "undermine both the political stability and the economy" at a time when global economy is in such a fragile condition. Referring to an article in the daily Taraf on 18 March, Candar asserts that it is time for the AKP and the "democratic forces" to have a "road map," implement the EU reforms, and draw up a civilian constitution.
In an article entitled "An economic Armageddon and waiting for doomsday", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the "domestic political crisis" triggered by the filing of a closure case against the AKP is set to lead to "very dangerous consequences" as it has coincided with a "huge" international economic crisis. He claims that the "perfect timing" of the closure case will serve to land Turkey in the middle of the global "chaos." He also calls attention to claims that a "global titanic" is in the offing and that the worldwide economic recession is gradually taking the form of a universal political crisis that could spark off major military conflicts in the Middle East.
In an article entitled "For those looking for sins", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru expresses strong disagreement with claims that the AKP has committed enough "sins" to deserve having a closure case filed against it. He describes the evidence that forms the basis of the indictment against the AKP as a collection of statements by AKP officials painstakingly compiled from news reports and argues that it is always possible to put together evidence of this sort against a political party that has been in power for six years and whose "weight of numbers" translates into figures above 600, counting its former MPs.
In an article entitled "From 'Baby case' and 'Dog case' to 'Underwear case'", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the accusations leveled against the AKP in the indictment drawn up by the Chief Public Prosecutor have no more substance than did the allegations against former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. He claims that the public controversy started by the closure case is likely to end up enabling the AKP and Erdogan to establish single-party rule, as indicated by a Show-TV survey that suggested 70 percent public support for the AKP following the filing of the closure proceedings. He also asserts that Turkey's "Fascist junta has a problem with the faith, history, culture, and identity of the people and is in gross defiance of human rights, participatory democracy, and transparence." [The title includes references to the various tags attributed to the trial of Adnan Menderes and former President Celal Bayar, who were accused respectively of fathering a child out of wedlock and accepting a greyhound from the Afghan King as a gift.]
In an article entitled "What the AKP could have done", Zaman columnist Abdulhamit Bilici argues that the AKP could have avoided the closure case against it by taking advantage of the EU accession process to carry out an effective judicial reform. Bilici calls attention to statements in a recent EU Progress Report on Turkey criticizing the Erdogan government for not drawing up a "National Reform Strategy" for the judiciary and asserts that the latest developments have proven Prime Minister Erdogan wrong in saying that they could replace the Copenhagen Criteria with the Ankara criteria [if the EU does not admit Turkey to membership].
In an article entitled "Ergenekon revenging itself?", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal asserts that the closure case against the AKP has started what will prove a long period of tension, internal debates, and political rows that will take a heavy toll on the economy. Unal argues that the claims of "gang" involvement in the filing of closure proceedings against the AKP should be taken seriously, adding that he does not believe the Chief Public Prosecutor acted on his own initiative in preparing the indictment. He also asserts that the closure case might be part of a "larger scenario" and warns of possible assassination attempts against the AKP leadership.
In an article entitled "Overstepping the Mark", Milli Gazete columnist Ekrem Kiziltas argues that the closure case against the AKP is proof of how a political party will be perceived as stepping out of the line in this country by the secularist establishment if it starts talking about lifting the headscarf ban, righting the "injustices" caused by the weighting system that is applied in computing the results of the university entrance examination, and addressing the grievances of imam-hatip schools.
 Why has the military been quiet?Under the above title Today´s Zaman newspaper (20.03.08) publishes the following article by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:
Why has the military been quiet? asked Ahmet Gundel, a retired prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals -- in an interview on March 17 with the Haber X Web site -- speaking of a recent constitutional amendment by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to lift the headscarf ban at universities.
In this staunchly secular Turkey, with the majority of its population being Muslim, it has indeed been odd that the politically powerful Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which sees itself as the guardian of the secular republic, would have had been quiet on the constitutional amendment allowing headscarf-wearing girls to attend university. This amendment has yet to be enforced, due to some legal controversy.
The TSK, by the way, has intervened in politics five times in the history of the republic, using various means of coup, from direct to indirect, with the latest occurring on April 27, 2007, when the Turkish General Staff released a late night e-memorandum on its Web site.
The memo was issued against the government in an attempt to deter it from electing Abdullah Gul president of Turkey, on grounds he had an Islamic background and his wife wears an Islamic headscarf. However, the renewed Parliament elected Gul president following the July 22 general elections, despite the militarys warning.
Since then the TSK has appeared surprisingly quiet.
But a recent judiciary action taken against the ruling AK Party has prompted many of us to suspect that behind the judiciary move, marking a renewed period of political instability, might have been the frustrated TSK.
The lawsuit filed by the countrys top prosecutor on March 14 to shut down the ruling AK Party and to ban Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and 70 other AK Party politicians from holding political office for five years for allegedly undermining Turkeys secular regime has come as a surprise for many of us.
But in his interview, former Prosecutor Gundel linked the hawkish and usually outspoken militarys recent silence to the latest attempt by the judiciary to close down the AK Party. I see this [lawsuit for the closure of the AK Party] as linked to the military and the nationalist forces in Turkey. I believe that behind the lawsuit lies the militarys silence over recent events that would have normally irked the TSK. Like the public, I have been thinking of the reasons behind the militarys silence, he said.
With his remarks Gundel meant that the prosecutors action to file a lawsuit against the AK Party was made possible due to the TSKs implicit involvement.
As a matter of fact, Gundels assertion had already come to the minds of many in Turkey due to the militarys traditional policy of heavy involvement in politics and due to the fact that the military-led establishment includes all segments of the society, from members of the judiciary to those of the media and at universities.
Milliyet dailys Hasan Cemal made a similar case in his column published on Tuesday this week. Again, in Turkey, he said in reference to the law suit against the AK Party, the military and the judiciary have united. In this country in the name of law, there has continuously been the massacre of democracy, freedoms and human rights. Law has been used as a tool for politics; law has been used as a tool for military coups. Have you forgotten [the military coup of] May 27 ? Have you forgotten the death sentences [handed out to the prime minister and other senior political figures] that were born out of a joint action taken by the military and the judiciary? Cemal questioned bitterly.
He went on to say that none of the military interventions brought peace to the country, but on the contrary have become a source of the current polarization and the destabilization of the nation.
The Turkish anachronistic mentality that has made us witness a military intervention, even in the 21st century -- the e-memorandum -- has obviously proven that it will not take Turkey anywhere except into misery.
The only way out is for the political leadership, and the ruling AK Party in particular, to take swift measures to introduce democratic reform that will take Turkey to a better future.