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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-04-29

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. 80/08 25-29.04.08 C O N T E N T S

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkey´s National Security Council met. Cyprus was discussed in detail
  • [02] Gul handed over the decision of the NSC to Talat; Reactions to Talats statements in Turkey
  • [03] Cakici and Izcan criticized Talat and Ankara
  • [04] Addressing ASAM in Ankara Talat said: If we cannot find a solution by 2012, we can conclude that a solution in the island is not possible
  • [05] Speech by Talat at the Cyprus Turkish Engineers´ and Architects´ Union
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot delegation is in Brussels for harmonization talks
  • [07] Avci wants a solution based on two founding states
  • [08] Avci comments on the Greek Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretarys statement
  • [09] Reactions to reported statements by Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou
  • [10] A delegation of tour operators from Kosovo is currently visiting the occupied areas
  • [11] Turkey´s competition council has evaluated the illegal regime´s competition bill
  • [12] CTP delegation attended a socialist international meeting
  • [13] Babacan: TRNC will soon open representation office in Oman
  • [14] A delegation of YDU held contacts in Sudan and signed protocols
  • [15] 11th Eurasia Economic Summit to host high-ranking representatives from the free and occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [16] Turkish diplomatic sources and officials close to the ongoing talks in Cyprus assess the stance of the Greek Cypriots and the sine qua nons of the Turkish side
  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 26, 27 and 28 April 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkey´s National Security Council met. Cyprus was discussed in detail

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    We have evaluated the results of cross border operations against the terrorist organization in north of Iraq, said the Turkish National Security Council (MGK) after today's meeting at the Cankaya Presidential Palace in Ankara.

    Issuing a statement following Thursday's meeting, the MGK stated that Turkey will continue to take measures against terrorists that pose a threat to Turkey's peace and security.

    "We went over the developments in Iraq in general and affirmed the importance of Turkey's holding talks with all Iraqi groups and entities," the MGK statement said.

    "The new process in Cyprus, that began on March 21st, 2008, was also discussed in details," the MGK statement also said.

    [02] Gul handed over the decision of the NSC to Talat; Reactions to Talats statements in Turkey

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (26.04.08) reports that the Turkish President, Mr Abdullah Gul, handed over the decision taken the day before yesterday by the National Security Council (NSC) to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, whom he met in Ankara. The paper notes: As it is known, instead of the position for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation which was pursued during the Annan Plan period, the recent National Security Council decision, which is of historical significance, has for the first time put forward the position of the principle of a solution based on two states and declared to the world its red lines in a clear manner.

    According to the paper, the following is being mentioned in the text of the decision, which Gul handed over to Talat: The new procedure of 21 March 2008 which started in Cyprus was discussed in detail. Within this framework, it was stressed that Turkey sincerely supports the efforts for reaching a just and lasting solution in Cyprus, that the solution will be based on the realities in the island, the existence of two separate peoples and two separate democracies, that it is essential for the bi-zonality, the political equality of the two sides, the equal status of the two founding states and the parameters of the new partnership state to be preserved and that the Treaties of Guarantee and Alliance will remain valid.

    The paper publishes also the statement made by Mr Talat at the Eurasia Strategic Research Centre (ASAM) noting that Mr Talat has finally said in Ankara what the Turkish Cypriot people wanted to hear from him. The paper covers the issue under the title The TRNC must be recognized even for 24 hours when the point of an agreement is reached. The paper notes that the NSC decision and this statement of Talat were met with a great joy among the Turkish Cypriot people who defend the TRNC.

    Meanwhile, Yeni Volkan (28.04.08) publishes a shocking document, as the paper describes it, which reveals that in 1968 a group of UN experts appointed by the then UN Secretary-General, U Thant under his special representative for Cyprus, prepared and submitted to Mr Thant a confidential document which was suggesting that for the creation of a federal Republic a Turkish Cypriot state should have been established and recognized at least for 24 hours. The document was found in the archives of late Osman Orek, former Minister in the Republic of Cyprus. The document was also published on 3 June 1983 in the Turkish Cypriot daily newspapers Soz and Kibris Postasi, adds Yeni Volkan.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.04.08) refers also to the decision of the Turkish NSC under the title Support from the NSC to the solution process. The paper publishes the same text as mentioned above in Yeni Volkan.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (25.04.08) covers the decision of the NSC under the title Support to the efforts for a solution by the NSC. The paper notes also that Mr Talat stated in Ankara that they are aiming at the commencement of a negotiations process in June and described this process as the last chance for a solution.

    Referring to the same statements of Mr Talat Afrika reports that Mr Talat said that the solution should be reached by 2012 when the Republic of Cyprus takes over the term presidency of the European Union.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Cakici and Izcan criticized Talat and Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (28.04.08) reports that referring to the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talats statements that this effort will be the last chance for the solution of the Cyprus problem, Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), argued yesterday that every day which passes without a solution to the Cyprus problem is against the Turkish Cypriots. Knowing this, he added, they want to reach a comprehensive, just and lasting solution as soon as possible. However, the communities, not Mr Talat will decide whether this will be the last chance, he pointed out in a statement issued by the press office of his party. Mr Cakici said that by evaluating the new process as the last chance Mr Talat is insistently stressing the division.

    He noted that the policies to be pursued during the new process have been once again been determined in Ankara and added that Mr Talat visited again Ankara without taking the views of the Turkish Cypriot political parties. He reminded that the officials from Ankara are continuously stressing the two separate democracies, the two separate religions, two separate sovereignties and two separate states and noted that these statements are not the address of the solution to be found in Cyprus. Mr Cakici called on Mr Talat first to be in full harmony with the will of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (2604.08) reports that Izzet Izcan, General Secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), has said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat has lost himself so much that he demands the recognition of the TRNC as Turkish Cypriot founding state in a possible solution of the Cyprus problem. Mr Izcan accused Mr Talat of pursuing an inconsistent and hesitant policy. Mr Izcan noted that the fundamental policies regarding the Cyprus problem are determined in Ankara and that the Turkish Cypriot community is just being informed about them.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Addressing ASAM in Ankara Talat said: If we cannot find a solution by 2012, we can conclude that a solution in the island is not possible

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (24.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said Thursday that negotiations to begin (with the Greek side) in late June are last chance for a solution in Cyprus.

    Speaking at a conference hosted by the Center for Eurasian Strategic Studies (ASAM) in Ankara, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that his government wants to find a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    "We will do whatever is necessary for a solution and remain optimistic," Talat stressed. "Once the negotiations begin in late June, it would be very difficult for both sides to stand up and leave the negotiating table. It would not be possible for either side to leave the negotiating table as this is really the last chance for a solution," Talat said.

    "Although working groups and technical committees began working in Cyprus, this does not show that everything is going well and smoothly," Talat said. "Our general approach is to establish an entity based on two founding states in which the two peoples are politically equal. The partnership state will function with the equal participation of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. This state will be functional via a 'virgin birth' method," Talat said.

    "We will continue working with good will and intention. We hope that we will succeed. If we do become successful, this would eradicate the uncertainty in the future of Turkish Cypriots, eradicate the concerns and fears of the Greek Cypriots and end the Cyprus problem of Turkey in its relations with the European Union (EU) and the world in general," Talat said.

    "If we can not find a solution to the Cyprus problem by the year 2012, we can conclude that a solution in the island is not possible. At that time, the international community will need to re-evaluate the realities," Talat also said. The Greek Cypriot administration will assume EU's rotating presidency in 2012.

    [05] Speech by Talat at the Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects Union

    Illegal Bayrak television (26.04.08) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has described the current situation in Cyprus as not perfect but at least better when compared to the darker history of the past years.

    The Presidents statement came during a speech he delivered at the 48th regular general assembly meeting of the Cyprus Turkish Engineers and Architects Union this morning.

    Touching upon the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, the President said the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias and him have surprisingly taken initiatives towards a settlement within a month only, adding that he could not do all this with Tassos Papadopoulos in one and a half years.

    Mr Talat noted that a new process of solution has kicked off in Cyprus following the presidential elections in the South in February and that Mr Christofias is following a positive approach towards the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Reminding that Mr Christofias and him agreed on the need for a settlement during their meeting in March, the President said the agenda of working groups and technical committees were set within this context.

    `The Turkish Cypriot side has always favored the establishment of a common agenda between the two sides and this has finally been possible with Mr Christofias. This is a very significant step`, he said.

    President Talat said however that some sides are trying to bring some difficulties into the new process and reminded that Mr Christofias and his special aide George Iacovou are being accused of negotiating the Annan Plan by these sides.

    Reminding that the Turkish Cypriot People approved the Annan Plan with a 65% majority, the President stated that he still has faithfulness towards the Plan and it will be very normal to bring the Plan back on the table.

    `However, I have never said that we have been negotiating the Annan Plan. What I want is to negotiate a plan which will be mutually acceptable` Talat stressed.

    Expressing disappointment over the fact that the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People is still continuing, President Talat said the difficulties put forward on the implementation of the EU Financial Aid Regulation for Turkish Cypriots during Mr Papadopulos term in office are still present and added that European diplomats who want to pay visits to him are still facing some interference.

    [06] Turkish Cypriot delegation is in Brussels for harmonization talks

    Illegal Bayrak television (28.04.08) broadcast the following:

    A delegation from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security is in Brussels to attend a presentation on `Social Politics and Employment`.

    The 20-member delegation is headed by the Labor Office Director Ismet Lisaniler.

    During the presentation which was organized as part of the efforts aimed at harmonizing North Cyprus to the EU, a comparison will be made between the practices in North Cyprus and the EU on social politics.

    At todays discussions, the delegation will be briefed on the EU social policy directives and implementations.

    On the second day of the discussions, the Turkish Cypriot delegation will inform the European Commission about the practices in North Cyprus on the same issues.

    [07] Avci wants a solution based on two founding states

    Illegal Bayrak television (26.04.08) broadcast the following:

    Deputy-Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci has said that the main objective of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is to create policies towards finding a lasting and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem and work towards lifting the unjust isolations of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Speaking during a special event organized by the International Federation for Economic and Cultural Relations in Istanbul last night Mr. Avci noted that the Turkish Cypriot people has been exposed to unjust international isolations for many years.

    Explaining that Turkey has been in support of Turkish Cypriot people for more than 40 years, he said Turkey is the only supporter of the TRNC without remuneration.

    He stated that a possible solution on the island should be based on bi-zonality, political equality of the two communities and the partnership of the two founding states.

    He also added that the guarantorship of Turkey is inalienable in this process.

    [08] Avci comments on the Greek Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretarys statement

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.04.08) reports that the self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime Turgay Avci, commenting on the Greek Foreign Ministry Permanent Secretarys statement that there should be no guarantor powers in a possible solution of the Cyprus problem, said: The objective is to deprive the Turkish Cypriot people of its most important support. In a written statement Mr. Avci said that the Turkish Cypriots will definitely reject an agreement in which Turkeys guarantorship right is watered down or removed. It is obvious that the EU cannot be a guarantor power. He repeated the Turkish sides known claims that the Turkish Cypriots could live in peace only with the active guarantorship of Turkey.

    (MHY)

    [09] Reactions to reported statements by Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou

    Illegal Bayrak television (25.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The deputy-Prime Ministry Foreign Ministry has criticized the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister for his offensive statements against the Turkish Cypriot People.

    In a written statement today, the Ministry complained that Marcos Kyprianou has been issuing disappointing statements instead of contributing to the new process started in Cyprus with the 21st March Agreement reached between the two leaders.

    The Ministry criticized Kyprianou for his statement published in a Greek Cypriot newspaper in which he referred to the issue of guaranties as an issue of the past and expressed the view that a new partnership will be built on the Republic of Cyprus, which it said, turned to a Greek Cypriot Republic in 1963.

    `Under no circumstances, the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will accept to be patched up to the Greek Cypriot State`, the statement from the Ministry said.

    It also warned that insistence in showing the Greek Cypriot State as an address to a solution in Cyprus would cement the division of the island.

    On the same day illegal Bayrak broadcast the following:

    The main opposition National Unity Party has said that the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will never abandon the state and sovereignty they have established.

    In a written statement, the UBP said that the principles of sovereign equality and security were red lines which need to be safeguarded at all times.

    The UBP said a condition put forward by the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Marcos Kyprianou demanding the continuation of the so-called Republic of Cyprus and the removal of Turkeys affective guarantee, clearly proved that the Greek Cypriot Side did not want a new settlement.

    The party also strongly reacted to Kyprianous words that it is within their red lines for any new state to be the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus and that it was unacceptable for an EU country to need the guarantees of third countries and that the issue of guarantees was history.

    The UBP also stated that together with the Turkish Cypriot people, it will continue to wage a democratic struggle to protect, uphold and develop the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    [10] A delegation of tour operators from Kosovo is currently visiting the occupied areas

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.04.08), the self-styled minister of economy and tourism Erdogan Sanlidag had a meeting with a tour operators delegation from Kosovo who are currently visiting the occupied areas. Mr. Sanlidag expressed his satisfaction seeing a Kosovo delegation in the occupied area.

    (MHY)

    [11] Turkey´s competition council has evaluated the illegal regimes competition bill

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (29.04.08) reports that a delegation from Turkeys Competition Council arrived in the occupied area to take part in seminars and conferences as regards the bill protecting the competition. The so-called bill is before the self styled assembly waiting approval.

    The Turkish delegation arrived in the occupied area with the invitation of the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce. The Turkish delegation headed by Prof. Dr. Nurettin Kaldirimci, will hold meetings and discuss with the interested people the experiences of the Turkish Competition Council as regards the Competition law and they will make evaluations.

    (MHY)

    [12] CTP delegation attended a socialist international meeting

    Illegal Bayrak television (28.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The Republican Turkish Party-United Forces, (CTP) which attended the meetings of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee, has explained to its collocutors that the Turkish Cypriot Side wanted to reunite Cyprus by establishing a new partnership based on the political equality of two constituent states.

    The party also told its collocutors that this objective could be realized under the aegis of the United Nations.

    CTP Foreign Affairs Committee members Unal Findik and Kutlay Erk represented the party at the meetings of the Socialist International Mediterranean Committee took place in Beirut between the 25th and 26th of February.

    During their stay in Beirut, members of the CTP-BG delegation also held bilateral meetings during which they explained latest developments in Cyprus to their collocutors.

    [13] Babacan: TRNC will soon open representation office in Oman

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (27.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's Foreign Minister said that "the flow of direct capital into Turkey will decrease in 2008".

    Speaking to a group of journalists on the way to Ankara from Oman, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that "undoubtedly, the global economic fluctuation will have an impact on the flow of direct capital into Turkey. Developments in Turkey's domestic issues will also have an impact on capital flow into Turkey".Direct capital that entered Turkey in 2007 was 22 billion USD, Babacan said.Reminded about the issue of headscarf in Turkey, Babacan stressed that "sooner or later, this issue would have come to Turkey's agenda. Turkey could not continue with such a ban on headscarves in universities".

    In regard to Turkey's EU process, Babacan noted that Turkey developed a new strategy after eight chapter headings were blocked due to the Cyprus issue at the beginning of 2007.

    "We will make 188 new laws and make 576 secondary adjustments by the year 2013," Babacan said.

    Touching on his visit to Oman on Saturday, Babacan said that Turkish contractors assumed projects worth two billion USD in Oman. "I have tried to secure new projects for Turkish businessmen in Oman," Babacan emphasized.

    "The Turkish-Omani business council convened twice last year. We have signed agreements with Oman to prevent double taxation and preserve mutual investments. We requested closer relations in the issue of security and invited the defense minister of Oman to Turkey," Babacan said.

    "Oman is helpful on the topic of Cyprus. Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) will soon open a representation office in Oman. Oman supports Turkey's EU process," Babacan said.

    "We must develop our relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a body comprised of six countries. We are working on a free trade agreement with the GCC," Babacan also said.

    [14] A delegation of YDU held contacts in Sudan and signed protocols

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (28.04.08), the illegal Near East University (YDU) signed a cooperation protocol with the Sudanese government. The paper reports that a delegation from the YDU headed by the Dean of the university Dr. Suat I. Gunsel went to Sudan as guests. During their visit in Sudan, they met with state and academic officials.

    As a result of their contacts, a protocol was signed with the State Minister of Sudan Prof. Dr. Abudlrahman Musa Abakar. According to the protocol twelve Sudanese students will receive full scholarship every year from the illegal Near East University.

    Dr. Suat briefed Mr Abakar regarding the latest developments on the education field of the university and invited the State Minister to visit the occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Mr Abakar said that he will visit the YDU during the second week of May, adding that the Sudanese government will include YDU to its list of universities from which Sudanese students can select.

    Meanwhile, Dr Suat will also sign protocols with the Universities of Khartoum and Alfashir. YDU delegation will attend today as guest of honour the graduation ceremony of Alahat University. It has also been decided that a joint international conference with Alahat University will be held in the campus of YDU in November.

    It has also been announced that the YDU has opened an official representation in Sudan.

    (DPs)

    [15] 11th Eurasia Economic Summit to host high-ranking representatives from the free and occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (27.04.08) reports that high-ranking officials from the North Cyprus and the South Cyprus will participate in the 11th Eurasia Economic Summit which will take place in Turkey between 1-3 May 2008.

    Mr. Akkan Suver, General Secretary of the Marmara Foundation which is hosting the event, stated that the United Nations has dedicated the year 2008 to Dialogue and added: Special importance will be given to this issue. High-ranking participants from Israel, Palestine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kosovo, Serbia, North Cyprus and South Cyprus have been invited to discuss on this issue and contribute to regional and global peace.

    According to the paper, 21 ministers and 108 foreign guests from 35 countries will participate in the Summit and among the topics to be discussed are energy, economy and peace issues.

    (ML)


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [16] Turkish diplomatic sources and officials close to the ongoing talks in Cyprus assess the stance of the Greek Cypriots and the sine qua nons of the Turkish side

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (28.04.08) publishes the following column by Serkan Demirtas under the title: "Sine Qua Non of Cyprus Talks: Security and Alliance Treaties":

    It's pretty certain that the peace talks in Cyprus will be as like they were in 2004, which resulted in the Greek Cypriots' rejection of the reunification of the island under the roof of "United States of Cyprus."

    What we witness is that the Greek Cypriot people are not ready for reunification. Furthermore the new administration is not yet very much organized for the talks either, diplomatic sources, familiar with the ongoing process told the Turkish Daily News.

    The process got underway on March 21 between the presidents of the two communities, Mehmet Ali Talat and Demetris Christofias under the auspices of the United Nations secretary general. Talat who was in Ankara for official meetings said the talks would start late June this year and end by the end of this year, in a conference last week.

    Diplomatic sources in Ankara do cautiously express some hope for the talks arguing that the new president of the Greek Cyprus signaled that he would be much more flexible than the former leader during the negotiations. Many unsaid matters were said by Christofias. But that is not enough for us to believe that the new government is fully committed for the solution, sources said.

    While Talat arrived here for talks, the country's main security board discussed the new peace process on the island and announced its "sine qua non" parameters: Political equality based on the existence of two equal founding co-states, the continuity of the guarantor and alliance treaties that will enable keeping Turkish troops on the island.

    Turkey's National Security Council (MGK) has also emphasized the need to keep the bi-communal nature and recognize the "realities" of the island.

    Greek Cypriots voiced their intension to negotiate the guarantor and alliance treaties in a way to lead to the demilitarization of the island. Furthermore they have a different view on equality. As a European Union member they highlight the European definition of equality, that is the equality of individuals, sources told the TDN.

    No backtracking on guarantor treaty

    But Turkish officials are committed to stand firm on not making any compromise on keeping the treaties of guarantor and alliance valid and unchanged, to provide Turkish Cypriots political equality, to improve the property rights and to make permanent directives from the EU as a primary law. One of the most sensitive directives for Turkish Cypriots is the one that restricts property purchase by wealthy European countries, especially Greek Cypriots.

    We will for sure raise this issue with Brussels when the time comes. We'll make clear to them that there will be no deal without this, sources said.

    Fate of the Annan Plan?

    One uncertain point is how the Annan Plan would be used during the talks as many from both sides expressed opposition to the blueprint. Not the plan itself but its philosophy would be useful. Obviously there are some points in the plan that we have to improve to our advantage, sources said. One of these points is property rights and citizenship.

    Thousands of Turks who settled on the island after the 1974 intervention are subject to lose their citizenship. "Greek Cypriots also fabricated many citizenships from Greece. Their status will also be in our agenda, sources stated.

    Many Greek Cypriots who campaigned in favor of the Annan Plan in 2004 have now changed their minds, according to sources. As there will be no time pressure and no parties intend to give the mission of arbitration to the U.N. secretary general, the negotiations will be more thorough than the one in 2004, they added.

    [17] From the Turkish Press of 26, 27 and 28 April 2008

    a) Mediation Between Israel and Syria: In Milliyet (25.04.08) Samih Kohen pens a commentary announcing that Turkey is now an official mediator between Israel and Syria, even though the mediation effort has been going on for some time. Noting that this is a difficult mission, Kohen stresses the importance of the fact that Turkey is playing the main role in this process. After explaining the intricacies of the conflict, the columnist quotes former President Carter who recently said that "85 percent agreement" has been reached on some of the critical issues. "That is great news," Kohen says, "and this means that the process - which has only been officially disclosed now -- is going well..."

    In Sabah (25.04.08) Erdal Safak charges that Turkey's mediation effort began back in 2004. In an article, he stresses that it would be wrong to expect the two sides to sit down to negotiations from today to tomorrow. He also warns that the secret Israeli-Syrian accord may collapse if the congressional testimony on Israel's raid on the nuclear reactor in Syria humiliates the latter or places Israel in a difficult position.

    In a column in Istanbul Radikal (28.04.08), Ceyda Karan views the reasons for the latest maneuvers on the Golan Heights. Recalling Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Damascus at the weekend, she notes: The Syrians are not hopeful. That is why al-Asad believes that only the United States can sponsor the negotiations process and initiatives should wait until the new US administration comes to power. In fact, al-Asad's disclosure on the secret bargaining with Israel through Turkey can be said to be a kind of retaliation against the US administration in connection with the Israeli air attack on al-Kibar installations on 6 September 2007. Concluding, Karan says: What is the objective behind the diplomatic maneuvers on the Golan Heights if they are not related to peace between Israel and Syria? Or, are they related to Iran?

    Yusuf Kanli supports Prime Minister Erdogan's initiative to mediate between Syria and Israel for peace. In a column in the Istanbul Turkish Daily News (28.04.08), he asserts: Turkey is widely regarded as a friend and ally. Besides, other would-be brokers have far more recent stains on their credentials as brokers.

    In an article entitled "It is too early to be hopeful", in Zaman (28.04.08) columnist Mehmet Yilmaz argues that in the absence of "details indicating the strategic positions of Israel and Syria," it is too early to see Prime Minister Erdogan's disclosure that "Israel is ready to withdraw from the Golan Heights in return for permanent peace" as the herald of a peace agreement between Israel and Syria. He asserts that "ceding territory in return for peace is one of the most difficult decisions to make for Jews."

    In an article entitled "Dangerous liaisons and Turkish indifference", Today's Zaman (28.04.08) columnist Omer Taspinar argues that "if Turkey is to play a role as a mediator between Syria and Israel," it should "pay more attention to ... the political storm in Washington over North Korea's alleged assistance to Syria in building a nuclear reactor."

    b) National Security Council Meeting: The New Anatolian (25.04.08) carries a story on the latest meeting of the National Security Council, MGK, on 24 April. The MGK said in its statement that it is important to talk to all the groups and entities in Iraq. According to the story, "Turkish official sources said the mention of 'entities in Iraq' was a direct reference to the Kurdistan Regional Government which is led by Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.

    According to a report entitled "MGK gives green light to northern Iraq" in Cumhuriyet (26.04.08), the Turkish Government plans to hold talks with the regional Kurdish government in northern Iraq in a process consisting of four phases after the last meeting of the National Security Council which opened the door to direct talks with Iraqi Kurds.

    c) Discussion on Islamization:

    In an article entitled "Has political Islam collapsed?" in Vakit (25.04.08) columnist Sibel Eraslan comments on author Olivier Roy's "insistent" emphasis on the need for Muslims to "integrate" with the West. Eraslan claims that while at its face value, being integrated appears to be "more humane" for Muslims than being "shackled and whipped" as they used to be by Western colonialists, Roy's stress on "integration" nevertheless masks a terrible discriminatory attitude toward Muslims that amounts to saying, "Hey you, eastern guy, you must adapt yourself to me or face the consequences."

    In a commentary entitled "The big picture: Ethnic Challenges in Post-AK Party Turkish Politics" in Today´s Zaman (25.04.08), Mehmet Kalyoncu, "an international relations analyst and author of "A civilian response to Ethno-religious conflict: The Gulen Movement in Southeast Turkey," argues that if the AKP "avoids being shut down by going for an early election" in June, it can win a landslide victory that could leave it alone in Parliament with "independently elected pro-Kurdish DTP deputies", adding that such a situation "would only exacerbate the political instability," leading to "civil unrest" which would take its toll on citizens of Kurdish origin.

    In an article entitled "The coup dilemma", Today's Zaman (25.04.08) columnist Etyen Mahcupyan argues that "secularism, as imposed and perceived in Turkey today, is an extension of an authoritarian mentality" and "irreconcilable with democracy" for that reason.

    In an article entitled "A preposterous hijab fashion show" in Milli Gazete (25.04.08) columnist Mehmed Sevket Eygi slams "certain Islamists and modern Muslims" for holding a "hijab fashion show" featuring "notorious" models known to have taken part in swimsuit fashion shows. He criticizes certain "very religious Muslim men" for "watching the show with interest and pleasure" and listening to the models' shoes "tap tap, tap" on the runway before he goes on to assert that "Islam has not seen such disgrace throughout its 1,400-year history."

    In an article under the title "Our green girls" in Vakit (26.04.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes "our babes," young women who wear headscarves and are dressed in chic and trendy outfits, as "a different version of the Aysun family" [referring to Aysun Kayaci, a famous model who has come under the spotlight because of her remarks questioning shepherds' right to vote in an election]. Dilipak claims that such women appear to be "walking around like genes chosen to be cloned" as part of an effort to transform the character of Muslim headscarves and Islamic veiling in general. He also asserts that hijab fashion shows are serving to empty religious veiling of its meaning.

    Under the banner headline "Islamic promises," Yeni Safak (27.04.08) carries a front-page report which quotes Deniz Baykal who was reelected as the leader of Republican People's Party, CHP, yesterday as saying that "azan and mosques will be free in Turkey and people will be able to go on pilgrimage freely, which Yeni Safak describes as a sign of the CHP's complex about religion.

    In an article entitled "The real reason behind the attack against Sabah and ATV", in Milli Gazete (27.04.08) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan criticizes some columnists for expressing concerns about the sale of Sabah and ATV television station to the Calik Group which partnered with a Qatari company in order to close the deal. Arguing that those columnists are actually concerned because of the involvement of an Arab company, Ozkan comments: "Their main fear which they cannot hide is that Turkey could turn its face toward the Muslim word because of this or that reason. In other words, their fears stem from Islamophobia."

    Writing in Istanbul Hurriyet (28.04.08), Ahmet Hakan strongly criticizes the pro-Islamic press for failing to report the arrest of daily Vakit columnist Huseyin Uzmez for raping a 14 year old girl. Pointing to Yeni Safak, Zaman, Star, Bugun, and Vakit, he asks: How can you ignore such a development? How would you have reacted to such a development if it was created by a columnist in one of the cartel newspapers? When will you be able to give up your approach, which creates the impression that you live in an Islamic ghetto and act with a tribal Islamic mentality? The Islamic sector will continue to suffer in the future because of perverted imams, rapist columnists, and polygamous traders?

    In an article entitled "The Uzmez affair distresses us" in Vakit (28.04.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that while there is nothing defensible about the crime [of child molestation] imputed to Vakit writer Huseyin Uzmez, trying to use the claims against Uzmez as a means of denigrating devout groups, as, he says, part of the news media is doing, is "no less despicable" than what Uzmez is alleged to have done. Dilipak expresses the hope that the charges laid against Uzmez will turn out to be part of a "conspiracy" and recalls how "similar incidents" took place before the 28 February process.

    In an article entitled "[The Prophet:] even if the thief were my daughter Fatima" in Vakit (28.04.08) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya accuses some young women who wear Muslim headscarves of playing into the hands of the secularist "minority" in acting like "free girls" by publicly holding hands with their boyfriends, smoking cigarettes, "belly dancing" on certain television programs, and "trying to hug who knows which singers at pop concerts." Karakaya claims, explaining "our stance on the Huseyin Uzmez affair," that "we will never defend anybody who has committed theft, harassment, or any other wrong or disgusting act even though he may be one of us." He also expresses his conviction that the accusation against Uzmez is the result of a "foul conspiracy."

    Under the headline, "Religion is life," Milli Gazete (28.04.08) carries a front-page report which slams the mainstream Turkish news media for "attacking religion as a bull will attack a red rag. ... Certain media outlets have placed religion, our most important social force, in their crosshairs in a move that amounts to a most dangerous and stupid act of provocation against national unity."

    In an article entitled "Now what" in Milli Gazete (28.04.08) columnist Afet Ilgaz argues that the recent "marginal" dress trends seen among girls wearing Islamic headgear are the result of years of wrong guidance for these girls that has taken the form of warning them against dressing themselves like "housekeepers," urging them to wear chic and fashionable religious clothing, and use headscarves designed by foreign fashion houses.

    d) Sale of Sabah and ATV : A report entitled "AL Walaeel of Qatar Replaced With Lusail" in Milliyet (26.04.08) highlights a press release issued by a British PR company which said that the name of the Qatari company which acquired a 25% interest in Turkuvaz, a member of the Calik Group which took over Sabah and ATV television station, was Lusail International Media Company. The press release noted that the Qatari partner of Turkuvaz was named as Al Wasaeel in an earlier statement issued by the Calik Group because of a translation mistake.

    In an article entitled "A Sabah story," in Milliyet (26.04.08) columnist Guneri Civaoglu says that clear answers must be provided in order to clarify Sabah's new owner and its shareholding structure. Pointing out that the transaction was overshadowed because of allegations about the bidding process, close relations between the Prime Minister and Calik Holding's CEO in addition to a contribution made by a Qatari company, Civaoglu says: "It seems that the sale of Sabah and ATV will heighten prevailing tension in politics."

    In an article entitled "A Halal scandal," in Hurriyet (26.04.08) columnist Bekir Coskun attacks Gul, Erdogan, and some members of the Cabinet for playing a role in the sale of Sabah and ATV to the Calik Group. He says: "It was an interesting transaction carried out ostensibly to recover funds siphoned off in the past because they were sold in a bidding in which there was no other competitor, $750 million was borrowed from state-owned banks, and the rest was provided from Qatar. How could this be reconciled with good governance and Islam?"

    In an article entitled "Reporters without Borders," in Hurriyet (26.04.08) columnist Ertugrul Ozkok criticizes an unidentified Sabah columnist for issuing a veiled threat to other newspapers which highlighted allegations about the sale of the newspaper. Stressing that they are not upset because Sabah and ATV have been sold to the Calik Group, Ozkok comments: "Yeni Safak, Zaman, Vakit, Star and now Sabah is added to the list. What difference would it make if there is one more or less? We only want fair competition and emphasize that the details of the sale should be made public. The sale of media establishments has always been contentious issues and some of them led to trials by the High Tribunal in the past."

    EG/


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