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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-02

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. 82/08 01-02.05.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered 1st May celebrations
  • [02] Member of the legal delegation at the ECHR Zaim M. Necatigil said that 1400 cases opened against Turkey by the Greek Cypriots could be referred to the Immovable Property Commission
  • [03] A delegation from the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus is holding contacts in Syria
  • [04] Talat briefed political parties
  • [05] Avci said that the statements by Archbishop Chrysostomos II regarding the destruction of the holy places and churches in the occupied areas aimed at tarnishing Turkeys image
  • [06] Mr Talat elaborates on the issue of the Turkish colonizers
  • [07] UBP´s red lines to Ban Ki-moon in a letter
  • [08] Yonluer accused the occupation regime that the only thing it wants from Turkey is money
  • [09] Gul special guest to the central European States summit
  • [10] Davutoglu is holding contacts in Iraq
  • [11] Joint press conference in Ankara by Erdogan and Lithouania´s Prime Minister
  • [12] Turkey and Turkmenistan Signed Economic Protocol
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [13] Internal uncertainties impede success on foreign policy issues
  • [14] From the Turkish press of 30 April and 1 May 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] How the Turkish Cypriot press covered 1st May celebrations

    All the Turkish Cypriot newspapers report today (02.05.08) about the Labor Day celebrations in the breakaway regime in which Greek Cypriot parties and trade union representatives took part as well.

    Under the title Double celebration, Kibris reports in its first page that the 1st of May Labor and Spring Day was celebrated yesterday in occupied Cyprus by two different organizations, for the first time. Two different demonstrations and rallies were organized, the first one took place in the morning at the Ataturk Square and the second in the afternoon at the Inonu Square in occupied Lefkosia.

    The first event, which was organized by the 1st May Organizing Committee, started at the Ataturk Square and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Soyer, participated in it. Ferdi Sabit Soyer, some ministers, some MPs and representatives of trade unions, associations and institutions also participated in the peaceful march. Speeches at the meeting were delivered by the chairman of DEV-IS Trade Union, Mehmet Seyis, the chairman of BES Trade Union, Birtan Aktolga and the representative of PEO Trade Union, Demetris Christodoulou.

    The event, which took place in the afternoon was organized by the Cyprus Peace Platform. The peace march started from the Ankara Caglayan Park and ended at the Inonu Square. Among the persons who addressed the second gathering were Ilias Joachim, representative of DEOK Trade Union, Costis Achniotis, on behalf of the United Cypriot Teachers Platform, Praxoula Antoniadou, on behalf of EDI, Lefteris Georgaides from PEO-AKEL common delegation and Tevfik Yoldas from the Cyprus Peace Platform. The representatives noted that a common struggle must be waged in order for a solution of the Cyprus problem to be reached and Cyprus to be united again.

    Afrika reports on the same issue under the title Here it is the 1st of May and notes that the 1st of May was celebrated in Cyprus in three different events: One took place in south Cyprus and two in north Cyprus. The paper writes that Mehmet Ali Talat and Ferdi Soyer participated in the celebration which took place in the morning and in which many persons participated, while the opposition organized its own rally in the afternoon. AFRIKA notes that Turkish Cypriots participated in the 1st May celebrations in south Cyprus as well.

    Halkin Sesi reports on the same issue under the title the 1st of May was split into two.

    The paper writes that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, stated that the unity and the democracy of the Turkish Cypriot people must not be overshadowed by anyone. Mr Soyer was speaking at a program of the Canal T television channel where he evaluated the developments in occupied Cyprus on the 1st of May Labor Day.

    Vatan reports on the same issue under the title Everybody wants to become a hero and writes that Mr Soyer strongly criticized the fact that two separate 1st of May events were organized in occupied Cyprus.

    Star Kibris writes that while in (occupied) Cyprus the 1st of May Labor Day was celebrated with enthusiasm, the celebrations in Turkey were overshadowed by clashes between the Turkish police and demonstrators at the Taksim Square in Istanbul.

    Kibris reports that the chairman of the Peoples Party (HP), Rasit Pertev stated that the 1st May Labor day was celebrated with sour because of the high unemployment in occupied Cyprus which is between 10-25%.

    (CS)

    [02] Member of the legal delegation at the ECHR Zaim M. Necatigil said that 1400 cases opened against Turkey by the Greek Cypriots could be referred to the Immovable Property Commission

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.05.08) reports that former so-called attorney general of the breakaway regime and member of the legal delegation which defends Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) regarding property cases, Mr Zaim M. Necatigil, has said that 1400 cases opened against Turkey by the Greek Cypriots in the ECHR could be referred to the Immovable Property Commission as domestic remedy.

    Mr Zaim M. Necatigil said that the ECHR which earlier considered admissible 23 applications by the Greek Cypriots again put them on its agenda and asked the Turkish governments views as regards the compensation demands made by the applicants.

    Mr Zaim M. Necatigil further said that the ECHR will study the so-called Immovable Property Commissions effectiveness and will decide whether it is an active and effective domestic remedy according to the European Human Rights Convention. He said that in case the ECHR considers it an effective domestic remedy then all the 1400 cases opened in the ECHR which are pending could be referred to the Immovable Property Commission.

    (MHY)

    [03] A delegation from the illegal regime in occupied Cyprus is holding contacts in Syria

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.04.08) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Cypriot tourism sector representatives have come together with representatives of Syrian tourism sector at a workshop in the Syrian city of Latakiya.

    Officials from the two sides exchanged views on ways of increasing the tourism traffic between the two countries.

    The Undersecretary for Ministry of Economy and Tourism Hasan Kilic told reporters before the start of the workshop that relations between North Cyprus and Syria are improving swiftly and expressed the hope that bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector will be expanded to include all fields.

    For his part, the Syrian Chamber of Navigation Secretary General Tahsin Sheikh Shehadeh expressed the belief that the workshop will be successful.

    TAABB Tourism and Traveling Agency Director Zeina Taabb said his country will keep its doors open to tourism sector representatives from the TRNC.

    Today, members of the TRNC delegation went on to Halap where they will have inspections at historic places.

    A TRNC delegation made up of officials from the Foreign Ministry, Economy and Tourism Ministry, representatives of tourism agencies and hoteliers is in Syria for a promotional trip.

    Deputy Prime Minister- Foreign Minister Turgay Avci who is also flying to Damascus tonight - will join the TRNC delegation on Thursday.

    In addition Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu (02.05.08) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci, went to Syria heading a delegation in order to have some high level contacts in Syrias capital, Damascus. Following his high level contacts, Mr Avci will receive information by tourism agents and hotel managers who were having contacts in Syria. Mr Avci is escorted by the general director of the ministry of foreign affairs, Ahmet Erdengiz and the political consultant, Rasih Resat. Mr Avci is returning from Syria today.

    (CS)

    [04] Talat briefed political parties

    Illegal Bayrak television (01.05.08) broadcast the following:

    As working groups and technical committees established in Cyprus to prepare the ground for fully-fledged negotiations continue their work, the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat met with leaders and representatives of political parties with seats in the parliament.

    During the meeting, the President informed the political parties on the latest developments concerning the Cyprus issue. He will also be attending a special session of the Republics Assembly next week to inform MPs on the latest developments. Yesterdays meeting at the Presidential Palace was attended by representatives from the Republican Turkish Party, Freedom and Reform Party, the National Unity Party and the Communal Democracy Party.

    In a statement at the end of the meeting, the CTP Leader- Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said the work being carried out by the working groups and technical committees will prepare the ground for effective negotiations which are expected to start between the two leaders of the island in June.Mr Soyer added that there has been a positive atmosphere in general despite of some differences. He reiterated his partys goal towards reaching a lasting settlement in Cyprus on the basis of the UN parameters by the end of 2008.

    For his part, the ORP Leader- Foreign Minister Turgay Avci underlined the need for starting comprehensive negotiations and expressed his partys full support for a settlement. Mr Avci also called on the Greek Cypriot side to put an end to its recent negative statements.

    The UBP MP Irsen Kucuk also stated that he explained to the President his partys concerns over the work being carried out by working groups and technical committees.

    The TDP Leader Mehmet Cakici, for his part, said that the new process should not be seen as the last chance for a solution and added that the Turkish Cypriot People will continue to make headway towards a settlement and the European Union.

    [05] Avci said that the statements by Archbishop Chrysostomos II regarding the destruction of the holy places and churches in the occupied areas aimed at tarnishing Turkeys image

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (02.05.08) reports that the self-styled foreign minister of the breakaway regime Turgay Avci, commenting on the statements made by Archbishop Chrysostomos II regarding the destruction of the holy places and churches in the occupied area, claimed that these accusations were unfounded and they are aimed at tarnishing Turkeys image. He said: This is part of a smearing campaign directed against Turkey. Mr Avci further alleged that despite the fact that the Cyprus government precludes the Turkish sides receiving financial assistance from international organizations, the occupation regime was doing its best to protect and maintain historic monuments in the Turkish occupied part in the Republic of Cyprus.

    (MHY)

    [06] Mr Talat elaborates on the issue of the Turkish colonizers

    Moreover, Halkin Sesi newspaper (01.05.08) publishes statements made by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, on the live program of Genc TV Island Morning. Upon reminded that the issue of the Turkish origin TRNC citizens is brought continually on the agenda by the Greek Cypriot Administration, Mr Talat said:

    The Greek Cypriot side is repeating certain issues because they are discussed a lot among the people. However, I think that they are aware of our tolerance level on these issues as well. First of all we cannot make such a cheap bargaining issue of our citizens who live in this country for 30, 35, 40 years. They must be aware of this. I think they know. Mr Talat went on and added the following: Four years passed since the 24th April referendum and not everyone can sit and wait for the Greek Cypriot site to get ready for the solution.

    (MHY/CS)

    [07] UBP´s red lines to Ban Ki-moon in a letter

    Illegal Bayrak television (30.04.08) broadcast the following:

    The leader of the main opposition National Unity Party Tahsin Ertugruloglu is holding contacts with Turkish officials in Ankara. The UBP leader met with the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister - The Minister of State also in charge of Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek today. During the meeting, the UBP leader explained, what it calls, and his partys red lines concerning the Cyprus issue. Mr Ertugruloglu said he handed a copy of a letter which includes the UBPs `red lines` on the Cyprus issue to Mr Cicek.

    The UBP letter was earlier sent to President Mehmet Ali Talat and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Mr Ertugruloglu also met the Leader of the main opposition Republic Peoples Party Deniz Baykal and the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party Devlet Bahceli.

    He also had discussions with the Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan.

    The delegation will return to the TRNC tomorrow afternoon.

    [08] Yonluer accused the occupation regime that the only thing it wants from Turkey is money

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (02.05.08) reports that the former Mufti Ahmet Yonluer, who is the chairman of the Politics for the People (HIS) party criticized the government of the occupation regime stating that the only thing the government wants from Turkey is money. Mr Yonluer stated that Turkey is going through some difficult times recently and noted that Turkey is sacrificing its men both inside the country and in Iraq. He said that Turkey which is a strong state in the Mediterranean Sea and pays a huge price trying to safeguard peace in the region, was next to the Turkish Cypriots in all the difficult times and it will continue to do so. However neither Mehmet Ali Talat, nor Ferdi Soyer or any other official bothered to send a message of condolence to Turkey for all these martyrs and heroes it has lost recently.

    (CS)

    [09] Gul special guest to the central European States summit

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.05.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul left for Macedonia [FYROM] on Thursday to attend the 15th Summit of Presidents of Central European States.

    Prior to his departure, Gul told reporters at Ankara's Esenboga Airport that he would visit this country upon an invitation from Macedonian President. Gul said he would attend the summit to be held in Macedonian city of Ohrid from May 1st to 3rd as the special guest of President Branko Crvenkovski of Macedonia, and he would deliver a speech.

    Gul said he would also hold bilateral talks with some of participating presidents in which reciprocal relations as well as regional and international problems would be discussed.

    Later, President Gul will proceed to Skopje on May 3rd. In Skopje, he will meet his Macedonian counterpart Crvenkovski and exchange views on Turkey-Macedonia relations, regional and international developments. Gul is also scheduled to receive Macedonian parliament speaker and prime minister.

    "Turkey considers Macedonia a country in the middle of the Balkans, assuming an important role to maintain peace stability and welfare," Gul added. "Turkey has always supported endeavors of Macedonia to integrate with the European-Atlantic institutions, within the framework of NATO's 'open door' policy," Gul said.

    During the visit, an agreement will be signed by the two countries to cooperate in dealing with aftermath of natural disasters. "I believe that this visit will add new momentum to co-operation and bilateral relations with Macedonia," Gul added. President Gul is expected to return home on May 4th after visiting the Ottoman-era sites in Macedonia.

    President Gul, along with German President Horst Kohler, was invited to the summit as special guest. It will be the first attendance of Turkey at the summit which will bring together heads of state of 18-member countries (Albania, Austria, Belarus, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine).

    Established in 1989 as an intergovernmental forum for political, economic and cultural cooperation among member countries, CEI's main objective is to assist central and eastern European countries in their EU membership process by contributing to their democratization.

    [10] Davutoglu is holding contacts in Iraq

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.05.08) reported the following from Baghdad:

    A Turkish delegation, led by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan's chief adviser Ahmet Davutoglu, met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Thursday. Maliki told the Turkish delegation that the Iraqi government was eager to boost relations with Turkey and improve cooperation in all fields, diplomatic officials said.

    "Security significantly improved in Iraq following the operations conducted by our security forces against illegal gangs and organizations and it led to a positive atmosphere to carry out several projects on industry, trade, education and service," Maliki was quoted as saying.

    He said this year would be a year of reconstruction in Iraq and expressed his will for Turkish role in these projects, adding that Iraq wants to establish good relations with the world, especially with Turkey, diplomats said.

    Maliki also expressed pleasure over Turkey's support to the Iraqi government. Diplomats said Davutoglu reaffirmed Turkey's support to Iraq's fight against terrorism and projects to reconstruct the country.

    [11] Joint press conference in Ankara by Erdogan and Lithouania´s Prime Minister

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Lithuania's Prime Minister Gediminas Kirkilas said on Wednesday that Turkey was one of the most important partners of his country both in the region and in NATO.

    He said that Lithuania supported Turkey's EU membership.

    Kirkilas held a joint press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

    He said that Turkey and Lithuania had always worked together within NATO, and expressed hope that the two countries would also continue to cooperate after Turkey joined the EU.

    Kirkilas said that they discussed economic issues with Erdogan and stressed the importance of cooperation in energy area.

    Referring to the tourism area, Kirkilas said that holiday places in Turkey were very attractive for Lithuanian tourists.

    [12] Turkey and Turkmenistan Signed Economic Protocol

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.04.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish and Turkmen authorities signed Joint Economic Committee protocol in the capital Ankara on Wednesday.

    Speaking at the signing ceremony, Turkish Industry & Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan said this protocol showed that both countries were eager to boost the cooperation in the areas of trade and economy.

    The protocol also presented common views on seeking for new methods to increase trade volume and organizing activities for promotion of the two countries, he said.

    "Both countries also reached consensus on other matters. Some of them are starting talks on boosting cooperation in the areas of oil and natural gas, transferring electricity energy from Turkmenistan to Turkey and easing transit transportation between the two countries," Caglayan said.

    New decisions would be made and new projects will be developed in 2009 for improvement of bilateral relations, he said.

    Turkmenistan's Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for Trade, Commerce, Textiles & Customs Hojamuhammet Muhammedow said the two countries had sound administrative and economic relations and signed more than 100 agreements in the areas of economy, education and culture so far. Nearly 500 Turkish companies have been operating in Turkmenistan and more than 800 projects of these companies were approved, Muhammedow said.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [13] Internal uncertainties impede success on foreign policy issues

    Under the above title Today´s Zaman newspaper (01.05.08) publishes the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    A case pending at the Constitutional Court that seeks to close the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and ban 71 politicians, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, has been adversely affecting high-priority foreign policy issues such as Cyprus, relations with Armenia and Turkey's role as a mediator between Syria and Israel.

    Added to the concerns is the possibility of US President George Bush ordering an attack on Iran. This move has been supported by Israel in the run up to the November 2008 presidential elections and will inevitably have a negative effect on neighboring Turkey. Turkish diplomatic sources are concerned that Bush and his hard-line neocons may pursue adventurous policies such as striking Iran before leaving the Oval Office.

    Iran is nervous over increased pressure exerted by the UN and the US against its alleged plans to enrich uranium to build nuclear weapons. It has continued provoking the Shiite majority in Iraq in an effort to further undermine any possible stability in the country.

    In the midst of emerging dangers in the surrounding region, Turkish political stability has been put at risk by attempts to close the ruling party over charges of compromising the country's secular character.

    The strength of the ruling party in managing foreign policy issues successfully has been weakened by the closure case, according to a senior Turkish diplomatic source. He also stressed that ongoing Turkish incursions into northern Iraq to crack down on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) has been playing a factor in hampering Turkish efforts to start reconciliation efforts with Iraqi Kurds as well as prospects for addressing Kurdish grievances in Turkey's Southeast.

    "Ongoing Turkish incursions through air strikes do not seem to be meeting with the expected success either, as we have been hearing frequent news of the deaths of Turkish soldiers as a result of the fight against the PKK," the same diplomatic source said.

    A possible Israel-supported US strike on Iran and the case against the ruling AK Party will affect the success of Turkey's role in starting negotiations between Syria and Israel over a peaceful resolution of the decades-old dispute over the strategically located Golan Heights.

    The situation is not too dissimilar with respect to Cyprus. Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat has already been confined to his room for trying to maneuver and take courageous steps in finding a solution to the divided island. Pressure has been exerted on him by Turkish nationalists within the state who see any move as a Cyprus sell off.

    To strengthen Talat's hands against the Turkish opposition and against the Greek Cypriot administration, he needs to feel the strong backing of the Turkish political leadership. But the AK Party may not be able to give that strong support to Talat due to the closure case that has been threatening its existence.

    On the economic front, rising unemployment means Turkey desperately needs foreign capital inflow and successful privatizations to prevent any devastating economic effects from affecting the country.

    The general uncertainty in the Middle East region over a possible US strike on Iran as well as further escalation of intense violence in Iraq, in addition to Turkey's domestic problems stemming primarily from the case against the AK Party raises questions about how successful Turkey can be with its main foreign policy problems.

    It is not wrong to assume that the months remaining until 2009 will be lost months for Turkey on foreign policy matters. However, we should still not totally underestimate Turkey's role as a facilitator in attempts to bring Israel and Syria to the negotiating table, since both sides have publicly accepted Ankara's goodwill offers.

    [14] From the Turkish press of 30 April and 1 May 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 30 April and 1 May:

    a) Closure Case Against the AKP: In an article entitled "Europe's fine tuning," in Milliyet (30.04.08) columnist Sami Kohen analyzes the EU's approach to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP. Noting that the EU needed to fine-tune its stance on the case by adding secularism to democracy among its priorities in response to criticism voiced in Turkey, Kohen says that democracy is still more important than secularism as far as the EU-member countries are concerned because secularism is not one of the issues on their own agenda. He says: "Clearly, Europe and Turkey are not in the same wavelength about this issue. Nonetheless, our European friends say that Turkey is the only Muslim country which can maintain both democracy and secularism."

    In an article entitled "We should focus on what is said rather than who has said it," in Milliyet (30.04.08) columnist Fikret Bila reiterates that he will not disclose the name of the influential politician within the AKP who said in an interview that the AKP could take steps in order to dispel concerns about secularism unless the said politician consents to it. Bila also notes that the AKP should prefer taking confidence-building steps aimed at eliminating concerns about secularism rather than heightening tension by amending the Constitution in order to limit the Constitutional Court's powers to ban political parties and submitting the amendments to a referendum. He comments: "Those steps may not change the decision of the Constitutional Court. But, it will relieve the public."

    A report entitled "AKP's Countdown for Defense" in Sabah (30.04.08) says that AKP leadership has not made its final decision as to whether it should file a formal request for additional period for submitting its defense to the Constitutional Court by 2 May. Noting that lawyers who are drawing up the defense held a meeting with Erdogan who is reportedly not in favor of seeking an additional period because the prolongation of the judicial process could exacerbate Turkey's economic problems.

    In an article entitled "The closure case, the United States and the EU," in Turkish Daily News (30.04.08) columnist Cengiz Candar says that both the United States and the EU toned down their criticism about the closure case and analyzes the reasons behind the change in their stance on the matter.

    He says: "AKP has also various enemies in Washington. They are behind the statements gradually linking 'laicism' more with 'democracy.'"

    In an article entitled "What is Erdogan waiting for?", Vakit (01.05.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak warns that the AKP could disband quickly if the current rifts within the party triggered by the closure lawsuit lead to panic. He claims that the process started by the closure case will continue irreversibly, adding that what is at issue is not merely a confrontation between the Turkish Gladio and the AKP but a "covert war involving globalists, the EU, the United States, Russia, and Israel." He also asserts that the ongoing developments in Turkey have established that leaders require more than just "charisma" to be able to manage political affairs and urges Erdogan to make radical changes to the cabinet and party administration and replace certain high-level bureaucrats.

    Under the headline, "AKP defense refers to Venice, Copenhagen criteria," Zaman (01.05.08) publishes a front-page report which provides the following highlights from the AKP's defense in the closure case: 1. The lawsuit is political. 2. National Education Ministry directives are subject to State Council review. 3. The headscarf proposal was prepared together with the Nationalist Action Party, MHP. 4. MPs cannot be accused on the basis of their legislative activities. 5. The accusations against Gul in the indictment are contrary to the Constitution.

    In a commentary in Zaman (01.05.08) entitled "European criteria in party closures", Professor Ergun Ozbudun of Bilkent University argues that it is a requirement not only of Turkey's membership in the Council of Europe and its international commitments but also of Article 90 of the Constitution that in rendering its ruling in the closure case against the AKP, the Turkish Constitutional Court take account of the EU criteria that make party closures conditional on the use or espousal of violence for the purpose of destroying democratic principles.

    b) Sale of Sabah and the ATV: A report entitled "Bahceli cautions government about the possibility of trial by High Tribunal in connection with the sale of Sabah and the ATV" in Hurriyet (30.04.08) quotes Nationalist Action Party leader Devlet Bahceli as saying that the government instructed two state-owned banks to lend loans to the Calik Group in order to fund its purchase of Sabah and the ATV. Bahceli cautioned government officials, who may cause public funds to be lost as a result of such transactions, will eventually be brought to trial.

    In an article entitled "Is it not too late?" in Hurriyet (30.04.08) columnist Cuneyt Ulsever describes the loan lent by Halk Bank and Vakifbank to the Calik Group as a scandal. He says that the State Audit Agency should audit the accounts of those two banks while the Radio and Television High Council should launch an investigation into the Qatari company which owns a minority share in the Turkish company owning Sabah and the ATV.

    According to a report entitled "Savas: A dossier which will take the Prime Minister to the High Tribunal is being drawn up" in Hurriyet (30.04.08), Vural Savas, Honorary Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals claimed that a dossier which also includes the Calik Group's acquisition of Sabah and the ATV is being drawn up by judicial authorities, adding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be tried by a High Tribunal in connection with the case.

    In an article entitled "Return to an old habit," in Milliyet (30.04.08) columnist Metin Munir says that the government pressured the two state-owned banks to lend a loan to the Calik Group because private banks refused to lend a loan to the group due to its poor credit rating. Pointing out that Erdogan's son-in-law is the CEO of the Calik Holding and his elder brother is the new boss of the ATV and Sabah, Munir says: "There are signs showing that factors other than financial considerations have played a role in the Qatari state fund's decision to establish a partnership with Calik."

    In an article entitled "AKP roulette," in Vatan (30.04.08) columnist Gungor Mengi describes AKP leaders' alleged involvement in the transaction as Russian roulette and cautions that they could eventually be tried by a high tribunal. He comments: "Is Prime Minister Erdogan trying to deceive people or himself? It is certain that what he has said about Sabah and the ATV would not save him if he eventually appears before a high tribunal because he is distorting facts."

    c) US Turkey - Iran

    In an article entitled "What does the United States expects of Turkey about Iran?" in Radikal (30.04.08) columnist Murat Yetkin summarizes comments made by Gregory Schulte, US Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Agency about US policy concerning Iran's nuclear program during an interview with a group of Turkish journalists in Ankara. Yetkin says: "Of course the pressure being put by the United States on AKP leadership which is trying to cope with problems resulting from the closure case cannot be compared with pressure put by the fragile government led by Bulent Ecevit about Iran early in 2002. But, it is interesting that there are higher expectations of the AKP about Iran during this period amid its open efforts to solicit international support against the closure case."

    A report entitled "US seeks more solidarity from Turkey against Iran" in Turkish Daily News (30.04.08) summarizes comments made by Ambassador Schulte who is quoted as saying that Turkey should join other countries in sending common messages to the Iranian leadership.

    In an article entitled "Regional tension builds up", in Yeni Safak (30.04.08) columnist Fehmi Koru asserts on the basis of information received from Gregory Shulte, the US envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, that the United States has started to tighten up on Iran and that Washington is not ruling out military measures against Tehran. Koru proceeds to relate some of the particulars of a meeting at the US Embassy he attended together with Shulte, Ambassador Ross Wilson, and three other journalists.

    In an article entitled "Noose around the neck", in Today's Zaman (01.05.08) columnist Fehmi Koru argues that there is a "huge gap" between Turkey and the United States' policies on Iran and that Washington expects "action rather than words" from Turkey in relation to Tehran.

    d) Turkey´s Mediation between Israel and Syria:

    In an article entitled "Israel and peace" in Zaman (30.04.08) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici expresses the hope that Israel's recent attack on civilian targets in Beit Hanun will not have the same negative effect on Turkey's latest bid to broker an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement as did the killing of Sheikh Yasin on Turkey's Mideast peace efforts in 2004.

    Under the headline, "Israel and peace?" Milli Gazete (30.04.08) publishes a front-page report which highlights the Felicity Party's "sharp reaction" to the ruling AKP's bid to mediate in the dispute between "the terrorist Israel" and Syria "at the United States urging."

    Remarking that for the first time Turkey will assume the role of mediator -- rather than accelerator or facilitator -- between Israel and Syria, Semih Idiz of Milliyet (01.05.08) suggests that this is a difficult task. He states that the solution of the Middle East problem depends on issues like the 1967 borders, the future of the Palestinian refugees, and the dismantling of Jewish settlements; and Israel has not indicated that it is ready to take steps on these matters. Moreover, he says, Israel will not renounce the Golan, which is what Syria wants.

    In an article entitled "The cost of peace for Turkey", in Yeni Safak (01.05.08) columnist Akif Emre calls attention to the "timing" of the recent calls for an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement. He argues that Washington's "active interest" in an Israeli-Syrian settlement cannot be linked merely to concerns about Israel's security, adding that Damascus would be asked to review its relations with Iran in return for a peace agreement with Israel because the "strategic" Syrian-Iranian relationship is the greatest obstacle to the US-Israeli axis. He also asserts that the termination of the Syrian-Iranian alliance in the name of peace would paradoxically place Turkey in a very difficult situation in the sense that an attack on an isolated Iran would entail certain US demands from Turkey. He concludes by warning that Turkey's mediation in the Israeli-Syrian dispute would backfire for this reason.

    d) Reports of rift within AKP:

    Under the banner headline, "AKP under siege by sowers of discord," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that in the wake of the launch of closure proceedings against the AKP, certain forces have started a campaign to discredit the AKP and create a rift within this party. The report cites "the increase in the number of reports in cartel newspapers that attack Islamic values" as well as former Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener's disclosure that he is laying the groundwork for a new party among the manifestations of this effort.

    In an article entitled "It is almost like a second 28 February", in Vakit (30.04.08) Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya asserts that the same forces that divided the True Path Party, DYP, by having Husamettin Cindoruk abandon the DYP to establish a new party, are now trying to use Abdullatif Sener as a means of dividing the AKP. Karakaya draws parallels between the ongoing developments and some of the events that preceded the 28 February process and argues that the allegations of child molestation against Huseyin Uzmez are serving as a psychological factor complementing the political operation against the AKP just in the same way as the arrest of Muslim Gunduz, on charges of abusing a young woman sexually, functioned to prepare the ground for the 28 February process.

    In an article entitled "A so-called scornful greedy man", in Today's Zaman (30.04.08) Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes sharply criticizes the AKP administration for the "political indecisiveness" it is showing in not taking steps to "kick" Abdullatif Sener out of the AKP because of his latest statements. He also censures Sener as a "puppet of the opposition powers."

    EG/


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