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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-02
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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. 63/08 02.04.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Lynn Pascoe met Soyer and Avci in the occupied areasTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.04.08) reports that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe will continue and conclude his contacts in Cyprus with a press conference today at Ledra Palace hotel in the buffer zone. The paper also reports that the UN official held separate meetings yesterday with the self-styled Prime Minister, Mr. Ferdi Sabit Soyer and the self-styled Foreign Minister, Mr. Turgay Avci. In the report stress is made to the venue of the talks. That is, they were held at the so-called prime ministers office.
Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (02.04.08) referring to the same issue reports that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Lynn Pascoe, had a meeting yesterday with the NUP and DP leadership separately during which both parties gave to Mr. Lynn Pascoe letters to be submitted to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The paper reports that the letters describe the parties stance and views as regards the forthcoming negotiation process.
Moreover, Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (02.04.08) under the title, This visit will make the Greek Cypriots furious, reports on the visit of the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Mr Lynn Pascoe, to the self-styled Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and self-styled Foreign Minister Turgay Avci. As the paper reports, according to diplomatic sources with these visits the UN gives the message to the Greek Cypriots that the Turkish Cypriots will be taken into consideration at high level. The paper continues that Mr Pascoe was accompanied by the Cyprus Special Representative and interim Head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, Mrs Elizabeth Spehar. At both meetings no statements were made to the press. According to information obtained, Pascoe wanted to know the position of the Turkish side. Today the UN diplomat once again will meet Mr Mehmet Ali Talat and Mr Demetris Christofias and after a press conference, where he will make an evaluation of his contacts, he will depart from the island.
The paper continues with the issue of the Ledra Street barricade and writes that the works at the gate reached to the end. According to statements of the self-styled presidential spokesman, Mr Hasan Ercakica, the Ledra Street gate will be ready to open today or on Thursday. Mr Ercakica reminded the words of Gen. Buyukanit that the opening of Ledra Street barricade should not be perceived as a solution and stated: He [Mr Buyukanit] mentioned something right. We also do not perceive it to be so.
 Ercakica said that the Cyprus settlement is not contrary to Turkeys interestsTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (02.03.08) reports that the self-styled presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica, during his weekly press briefing yesterday said that the two leaders could start comprehensive negotiations in the second half of June this year. He went on and said that the working groups and the technical committees could start working next week. Ercakica added that presidential commissioner George Iacovou and Mr. Talats advisor Erdil Nami continue to work on the agenda of the working groups and the technical committees.
As regards the new negotiation process Ercakica said that they are working in harmony with Turkey, Our responsibility to find a solution entails the continuation of this harmony. If Mr. Christofias is after a solution which is contrary to Turkeys interests then it is Sisyphean task. Turkey is in a position to protect its interests.
Mr. Ercakica went on and said that a solution in Cyprus is not contrary to Turkeys interests and it is not possible to find a solution just by ostracizing Turkey.
HALKIN SESI reports that Mr. Ercakica, commenting on press reports that the Church of Cyprus will open an office in Brussels said: The Church of Cyprus becomes highly politicized during Archbishop Chrisostomos reign. He said that efforts to turn the Cyprus problem, which is a political problem into a religious one, is a very dangerous course. He also claimed that the Cyprus government instead of easing the so-called isolations is attempting to toughen them.
 The United Cyprus Party criticized General Buyukanits statements Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (01.04.08) reports that the United Cyprus Party (BKP) criticized the statements made by the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, during his visit to occupied Cyprus, and notes that they dynamite the positive climate which has been created.The Party, which issued a written statement, noted that Buyukanits statements are interference in the will of the Turkish Cypriots for a solution.
 New graves found in MesaoriaIllegal Bayrak television (01.04.08) broadcast the following:
Seven new graves have been discovered during excavation works being carried out in Mesaoria with the aim of determining the fate of missing persons.This was announced by the Turkish Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons Gulden Plumer Kucuk.
Mrs Kucuk said that remains of seven Greek Cypriots were unearthed in the area and were sent to the Anthropology Lab for identification.
 So-called MP Mehmet Caglar will attend international conferencesThe Republican Turkish Party MP Mehmet Caglar will attend the International Parliamentary Conference on Problems Faced in Immigration and the meeting of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Russias St. Petersburg on behalf of the TRNC Parliament on the 3rd and 4th April.
Mehmet Caglar is leaving the Republic for St. Petersburg tomorrow.
He will then move on to Azerbaijan on the 7th to attend another international conference on New Measures on the Protection of Political Rights in Azerbaijan which is organized by the Council of Political Prisoners Problems, a civil society organization coordinating with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.During his contacts in Russia and Azerbaijan, CTP MP Mehmet Caglar will hold a series of contacts with foreign parliamentarians.
Mr Caglar will return to the Republic on Wednesday the 9th.
 Turkish, British Officials Speak on EU AccessionAnkara Anatolia news agency (01.04.08) reports the following:
Both Turkey and EU have certain responsibilities concerning the country's membership process, a top Turkish official said on Tuesday.
EU was a union of common values and Turkey was ready to meet the requirements for EU membership, Oguz Demiralp, Turkey's secretary general for EU affairs, said during the "Wilton Park" Conference in Istanbul.
"There are some things that have to be carried out by Turkey; however, EU does have certain responsibilities as well. We mainly expect that the ongoing discussions in Europe on the results of negotiations would stop and the negotiations would not be overshadowed," Demiralp said.
He also said Turkey expected EU to open more chapters to negotiation in 2008. The stance of several EU countries' towards Turkey's membership negatively affected the Turkish public's support for the EU adhesion process, Demiralp also said.
Meanwhile, Jim Murphy, British Minister of State for Europe, said Turkey's membership was of great importance for EU, and no country could stay alone in the globalizing world.
He said new partnerships should be established for the future.
Murphy also said Turkey's EU membership would be a "win-win" situation.
Wilton Park is a conference centre established in 1946 as part of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Wilton Park is one of the world's leading centres for the discussion of international issues. It holds over 50 conferences each year.
 Universities to be created in nine Turkish citiesUnder the title, Universities in nine more cities, Turkish daily Bugun newspaper (02.04.08) reports that the Turkish government started the process for the establishment of universities in nine administrative provinces. According to the Turkish Government Spokesman, Mr Cemil Cicek, this came under consideration after the increase of the students who want to continue higher education in universities. Last year, as the spokesman said, two million youth, applied for the universities but only one out of four had the opportunity to enter. The new universities will be built in Ardahan, Bartin, Bayburt, Gumushane, Hakkari, Igdir, Sirnak, Tunceli and Yalova.
[B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis
 From the Turkish Press of 31 March and 1 April 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 31 March and 1 April:
a) Closure Case Against AKP: A "breaking news" in Hurriyet (31.03.08) says that the Constitutional Court decided to accept the indictment submitted by Chief Prosecutor Yalcinkaya for the closure of the Justice and Development Party, AKP. According to the report, Deputy Chairman of the Court Osman Paksut informed reporters that the decision was made unanimously.
A report by Ayse Sayin of Cumhuriyet (31.03.08) says that according to rumours in Ankara, the AKP is working on a new "formula" to avert the closing of the party. According to "Plan B" drawn up by the ruling party, the report notes, the structure of the Constitutional Court will be changed in an effort to terminate the current members' terms of office and increase the number of pro-AKP members. The AKP is said to be willing to add this amendment to the "draft civilian constitution."
According to a report in Milliyet (31/03/08), the closure case against the AKP was one of the topics taken up during the Erdogan-Cheney meeting in Ankara. The report cites "diplomatic sources" as saying that it was the prime minister who placed the issue on the agenda. Erdogan is said to have briefed Cheney on the lawsuit and noted the mention of the United States in the indictment.
In Milliyet (31/03/08) Semih Idiz asserts that EU Commission member Olli Rehn's remarks on the closure case against the ruling party in Turkey should be regarded as a "warning," rather than a "threat." In his article, Idiz recalls that responding to a question in an EU meeting in Slovenia, Rehn said that the lawsuit shows the presence of a "system error" that might require a Constitutional amendment in Turkey. Also recalling Rehn's remarks that the EU might have to reconsider the negotiation process with Turkey in the event of the violation of its political criteria, the columnist cautions that the ECHR might not endorse a possible ruling against the AKP because the EU norms allow the closure of a political party only if it advocates violence.
In an article entitled "It is Not We But They Who Should Refrain From Talking" in Vakit (31.03.08) columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu refers to Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya's remarks disclosing that the AKP could have avoided the closure lawsuit if it had not pushed ahead with its efforts to lift the headscarf ban at universities as a "confession" that he had political rather than purely judicial motives for launching closure proceedings against the AKP.
Under the headline, "Negotiations Will Be Suspended if the AKP is Closed Down," Zaman (31.03.08) publishes a front-page report which highlights EU Commissioner Olli Rehn's statement that the EU will discontinue membership talks with Turkey if the Constitutional Court shuts down the ruling AKP.
In an article entitled "Would the AKP's Votes Increase in the Event of Its Closure?" in Milli Gazete (31.03.08) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan argues that if the Constitutional Court shuts down the AKP, this will create some serious chaos within the party, possibly leading to desertions from the party as well as to the emergence of various leader candidates with the result that the AKP's closure will undermine its public popularity rather than increasing its share of the vote as certain AKP executives expect.
A report by Onder Yilmaz Abdullah Karakus in Milliyet (02.04.08) details the three alternatives the Justice and Development Party, AKP, can choose from now that the Constitutional Court has accepted the indictment for its closure. The AKP can go either ahead with the constitutional amendments taking the risk of submitting them to a referendum, or reach conciliation with the opposition parties on the amendments. The third choice is for the AKP to settle for just presenting its defence. According to the report, the AKP has already determined its strategy. The AKP Central Executive Council is expected to meet under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today to speed up the process concerning the constitutional amendments. The AKP, which will be holding meetings with the opposition, is planning to pass the amendments within 10 days the latest.
According to a report also in Milliyet (01.04.08) the markets have immediately reacted to the acceptance of the indictment with the exchange rate for the dollar exceeding the 1.34 line and the Euro reaching 2.1 to the Turkish Lira. The initial losses at the Istanbul Stock Exchange, IMKB, reached 3.13 percent yesterday, the lowest level so far this year. The trend was reversed later in the day with the markets closing with a loss of 1.23 percent.
Assessing the acceptance of the AKP indictment in an article in Milliyet, (01.04.08) Fikret Bila says that the acceptance of the case is no indication of how it will be concluded. Criticizing certain television channels for reporting the acceptance of the case as "the acceptance of the allegations," Bila stresses that what was accepted was the case and not the accusations. Whether the accusations are correct will be determined at the end of this judicial process.
Commenting on the acceptance of the case in his column in Milliyet (01.04.08), Guneri Civaoglu explains that even if the court decides to close the AKP and to impose a political ban on its officials, this does not mean that the AKP cannot participate in the coming elections under a different name or that the banned politicians cannot participate in the elections as independent candidates. The writer goes on to note that even if the court does not decide to close the party, the AKP will suffer the consequences of such a process at the ballot box because "a big political crisis 'will encourage secessionist movements, and will exacerbate the economic problems.'" Predicting that the AKP will not sit meekly and wait for the judicial process to end, Civaoglu believes that the government will go ahead with the constitutional amendments. His advice to the ruling party is not to make cosmetic changes just to suit the AKP, but to draw up a new constitution in which freedoms are expanded and the fundamental principles of the Ataturk Republic, primarily the principle of secularism, are guaranteed.
Criticizing the interference of EU officials in his article entitled "Western Style Impertinence" in Hurriyet (01.04.08) Oktay Eksi writes that those who claim that a party that has received 47% of the votes cannot be closed down will have to learn to patiently wait for the conclusion of the case. Eksi, however, is not sure how the EU spokesmen will be taught to keep silent until the end the process. Referring to the veiled threats of EU officials that the accession process might be endangered in the event the AKP is closed, Eksi argues that while Europe failed to tolerate Haider, Turkey is expected to exercise tolerance at a time when a political party is trying to destroy the fundamental principles of the Constitution that brought it to power.
Ozdemir Ince in Hurriyet (01.04.08) also criticizes EU's Olli Rehn for interfering in the Turkish judicial process. In a column, Ince reminds the EU official that, contrary to his claims, parties are closed in Europe as well. Censuring the threats of Rehn who demanded that the Constitutional Court judges not accept the case, Ince asserts that what the EU wants is not democracy but "obeisance and compliance."
In an article entitled "Turkey Lost 2008, Will it Be Able to rescue the EU and Democracy?" in Referans (01.04.08) Cengiz Candar says that with the acceptance of the case the "political crisis" in the country has reached a new stage. Pointing out that greater responsibilities befall the government and especially the prime minister in this new stage, Candar argues that the prime minister should reduce the size of the opposing camp and should establish the widest possible sphere of alliance. Predicting that the process initiated by the closure case will last at least another six months, Candar likens the AKP government to a "lame duck" during this process. Noting that the government will be unable to take strong foreign policy decisions during that period, Candar further predicts that the country will be hit by an economic crisis. Declaring 2008 as a lost year, the writer says that those who wanted to drag the country to this situation do not care about either the EU or the economic crisis, adding: "It is precisely for this reason that Tayyip Erdogan should act in a way that is totally opposed to their direction. In this way, one can clear the path to rescuing democracy with the least possible damage."
In an article in the Turkish Daily News (01.04.08) Mehmet Ali Birand calls on the EU to claim Turkey as its own, warning that "a deeply unstable country with a more Islamized way of life and a much-reduced secular system will pose a big threat to Europe."
In Sabah (01.04.08) Ergun Babahan likens the current situation in Turkey to the 28 February process, writing that democracy will be suspended in the country through the judiciary. Commenting on the court decision to accept the case in an article, Babahan believes that efforts to put President Gul in the suspect's chair is aimed at preventing Gul from becoming the leader of the new party to be formed upon the closure of the AKP. Maintaining that yesterday's voting shows that the AKP will be closed down and that a political ban will be imposed on all the deputies mentioned in the indictment, Babahan adds: "Those who accept that it is ethical to place even the president in the suspect's chair, have the audacity to declare that AKP efforts to amend the Constitution are 'unethical."' Predicting political instability and economic uncertainty for the next two years, Babahan says that attempts to close down the Democratic Society Party, DTP, as well "is a clear indication that we will be facing more serious problems in the southeast as well."
Writing in Sabah (01.04.08), Nazli Ilicak also believes that the AKP will be closed with the votes of at least seven judges. Questioning whether the destiny of a country should depend on seven men, in her article Ilicak writes that now the Constitutional Court will discuss the constitutional amendment on the headdress issue. Predicting that the court will not cancel the amendment but will rule that it does not necessarily signify that the ban has been lifted, Ilicak concludes: "AKP is victorious at the ballot box, but defeated seven to four in court."
In an article entitled "The Meaning of the Ruling" in Yeni Safak (01.04.08) columnist Fehmi Koru expresses the hope that in the wake of the Constitutional Court's decision to hear the closure case against the AKP, events will not unfold as outlined in a recent "sinister scenario" where the Court's ruling leads to an economic upheaval, followed by social disturbances, political assassinations, and eventually a military takeover.
Under the banner headline, "Court Ruling Darkens Turkey's Prospects," Vakit (01.04.08) publishes a front-page report which lambastes the Constitutional Court's decision to hear the closure lawsuit against the AKP as a "judicial coup against Turkey and democracy." Published along with the report is a cartoon which shows a judge who represents Turkey's "militant judiciary" digging a ditch below a "stable" Turkey.
b) Ergenekon Investigation: An article in Hurriyet (31.03.08) by Fatih Cekirge comments on the alleged coup attempts being discussed within the framework of Operation Ergenekon. Stressing that he was "shocked" with the claims indicated in a book written by Star Ankara representative Samil Tayyar, Cekirge says that the book, entitled "Ergenekon," details certain force commanders' alleged plans against the government during former Chief of the General Staff Hilmi Ozkok's term of office. He also says that the book highlights an "unbelievable" conversation between Gen Ozkok and Gen Aytac Yalman, the then commander of the Land Forces. Tayyar's claims become more important as the commanders remain silent in the face of the allegations, he concludes.
In an article entitled "Gangs and Willing Deception", in Yeni Safak (31.03.08) columnist Yasin Aktay cites the "abundance" of people who subscribe to the "nonsensical" view that the police investigation against the Ergenekon network is aimed at "avenging" the closure lawsuit against the ruling AKP as an indication that "the Ergenekon gang has many more accessories and abettors than we tend to believe." Aktay asserts that instead of putting pressure on the Government to crack down on criminal gangs, as he claims a main opposition party would be supposed to do, the Republican People's Party, CHP, is actually opposing the police probe into Ergenekon. He also accuses Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya of being "voluntarily deceived" by Alparsan Aslan, the gunman in the attack on a number of State Council justices, in treating Aslan's statement as evidence against the AKP in the closure case against this party.
Yeni Safak (31.03.08) publishes on interview entitled "Government Has Realized How Reckless Putschists are" with Alper Gormus, the Editor-in-Chief of the Nokta daily, which was closed down after publishing what it claimed to be the "coup diary" of former Commander of the Naval Forces Admiral Ozden Ornek, according to which the Turkish army was preparing a coup in case the Annan plan was accepted in 2004. Responding to Mehmet Gundem's questions about the possible link between Ornek's diary and the Ergenekon network, Gormus asserts that the "authentication" of the documents published by Nokta is bound to have implications for the ongoing lawsuit against the editorial board of this magazine.
In an article entitled "The Kurdish Question and Current Political Crisis" in Today's Zaman (31.03.08) columnist Ihsan Dagi argues that the closure case against the AKP and the efforts of "the Turkish Gladio (Ergenekon) to prepare the ground for a possible anti-Western military coup" are intended to obstruct "the increased possibility of a grand solution to the Kurdish issue."
A report in Vakit (01.04.08) entitled "Ergenekon Gets What It Wants," claims that the Constitutional Court's acceptance of the indictment against the AKP has confirmed claims that some of the suspects in the investigation against the "terrorist" Ergenekon put pressure on the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court to launch closure proceedings against the AKP.
c) Turkey Loses EXPO 2015 Bid: Assessing the reasons why Turkey lost the EXPO 2015 bid in an article entitled "Why Did Izmir Lose?" in Milliyet (01.04.08) Can Dundar writes that the activities to promote Izmir were conducted in the "Turkish style." Criticizing the fact that the organization began too late in the game compared to that of Milan, the writer further blames the various frictions and quarrels among the organizations involved in the promotion campaign. Censuring the recent decision to sacrifice a 1,800-year old historic Roman health centre in Bergama in favor of a dam, Dundar says that the Bureau of International Exhibitions, BIE, could not trust the sanitary arrangements in a city that failed to safeguard its historic heritage pertaining to health.