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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-05-30
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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. 102/08 30.05.08
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Talat on political equality in an interview to EuronewsIllegal Bayrak television (29.05.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:
The TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that political equality of the two sides is crucial for the Turkish Cypriot People in a new partnership state to be formed in Cyprus.
In an exclusive interview with Euronews, President Talat explained that it was not numerical equality, but the effective participation in the decision making process which the Turkish Cypriot Side is demanding.
Asked what were the main obstacles in the way of a political settlement, the President said the Greek Cypriot Orthodox church and the former Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos whose party is still a coalition partner in the current Greek Cypriot government, posed as the major obstacles in the way of a settlement.
'The problem with the Greek Cypriot Side is the projectionist forces position', he said.
Touching upon the property issue, the President said there were three options under which the property issue could be solved, compensation, exchange or restitution, all of which would be included in the provisions of any future agreement.
Asked to comment on whether or not Turkey was using the Cyprus Problem as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with the European Union, Mr Talat said that contrary to this view, it was actually some members of the EU, particularly the Greek Cypriot Administration which were using the issue against Ankara.On the presence of Turkish troops on the island, the President said that 650 Turkish and 950 Greek soldiers will remain on the island according to the 1960 treaties of guarantee and alliance.
'The problem is this: If you go on the streets and ask Turkish Cypriots whether they want Turkish troops to stay or not, 95% of them will approve their presence. Why? Because of mistrust, so the presence of Turkish troops is very crucial and very important for Turkish Cypriots, even if this is a symbolic number', he added.
He noted that the Turkish Cypriot Side had the full support of Turkey.
 Izcan met with Talat and stated that the solution of the Cyprus problem cannot come out of the blueTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08) reports that the chairman of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), Izzet Izcan, along with some officials of his party, visited yesterday the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. No statements were made after the meeting.
In a written statement following the meeting Mr Izcan noted that the solution cannot come out of the blue and that the working groups and the technical committees must work hard and produce a good result in order for the ground to be prepared for the solution of the Cyprus problem. In the announcement it is also added that the working groups and the technical committees are facing some problems and Mr Izcan called on the two leaders to intervene and if they deem necessary to be the heads of the technical committees and the working groups so that the problems may be overcome.
 An information centre will be established in the presidency, in order for more detailed information to be given to the Turkish Cypriot partiesTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08) writes that Mr Talat informed the Turkish Cypriot parties about the meeting he held with President Demetris Christofias on the 23rd of March. Mr Talat announced that an information centre will be established in the presidency, in order for more detailed information to be given to the Turkish Cypriot parties regarding the development of the process for the solution of the Cyprus problem.
 The Young Cyprus Association was established in occupied CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08) writes that a new organization under the name Young Cyprus Association was established in occupied Cyprus. The new association, which was established under the main slogan Independence and non-alignment gave a press conference yesterday in which it noted that they keep the same distance from youth which come from every other youth organization in the island and that the young persons of Cyprus, who have different identity and culture must aim to live in the island peacefully and without losing their own culture.
 The accommodation capacity of the hotels in occupied Cyprus in the year 2012, will be 30-35 thousandsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08) writes that Turgut Muslu, the self-styled director of the tourism planning department, of the economy and tourism ministry, stated that the accommodation capacity of the hotels in occupied Cyprus in the year 2012, will be 30-35 thousands. Mr Muslu, stated that the accommodation capacity in occupied Cyprus is today 15.832 and that there are 130 tourist establishments. He also said that 45 more tourist establishments are under construction.
Mr Muslu was speaking at a press conference for the advertising campaign which started for occupied Cyprus on the 20th of May in Ankara, under the name The real Mediterranean. As he stated the campaign will also continue in Kayseri (Kaisaria) and Antalya.
 The Turkish Cypriots who have cancer have no other choice than seek treatment in the Republic of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08) writes that the chairman of the Cancer Patients Assistance Association chairman, Raziye Kocaismail, stated that the Turkish Cypriots who have cancer have no other choice than going to south Cyprus (the Republic of Cyprus) in order to seek treatment. Mrs Kocaismail, who was speaking at a press conference for the 15th anniversary of the Associations establishment, also said that the government must build an organized hospital for the cancer patients in occupied Cyprus.
 Mr Taye-Brook Zerihoun described the new peace initiative as 'encouraging'Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.05.08) reported the following from occupied Lefkosia:
A UN envoy to Cyprus described Thursday the initiative and commitment displayed by Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to start extensive talks in the island as encouraging.
Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), held a press conference in Lefkosia on the occasion of the 'International Day of UN Peacekeepers' on Thursday.
During the conference, Zerihoun said the recent developments in the island gave UN many reasons for hope, UNFICYP spokesperson Jose Diaz said in a written statement.
'The leaders of the two communities have shown determination to move the peace process forward, and we are privileged to assist them as they advance on this worthy cause', Zerihoun said.
Upon a question on whether it would be realistic to expect Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders to engage in peace negotiations within the next month, Zerihoun said, 'I think they are the only ones who can determine the degree to which it is realistic or not'.
'We are encouraged by the initiative and commitment the two leaders have shown', he said.
Zerihoun also said that there had been an appreciable progress in the process since the two leaders' meeting on March 21st.
He said the leaders were the masters of such process and added, 'We are here to help and encourage them'.
President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias met at the buffer zone on March 21st. The two leaders agreed to set up working groups and technical committees to make preparations for extensive talks for the solution of the Cyprus issue.
 DP held a sit-in strike outside Dome hotel in occupied KeryneiaTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (30.05.08), under the title A sit-in strike from DP at Dome hotel, reports that the Turkish Cypriot political party DP (Democratic Party), held yesterday a sit-in strike outside the Dome Hotel in occupied Keryneia to protest against the transfer of Dome Hotels administration from Vakif foundation to the Dayanisma Turism Ltd, which consists of the hotel workers and the Union of tourism workers. DP started its demonstration yesterday morning with a march to the Dome hotel holding placards and shouting slogans, No to the green fascism and There is no justice in this hotel. During the sit-in strike, the DP strikers demanded the resignation of the so-called government. No one could enter the hotel during the demonstration. The leader of DP Serdar Denktas, the General Secretary of DP Ertugrul Hasipoglu and the so-called mayor of occupied Lefkosia Cemal Bulutoglulari were among the demonstrators.
 The Turkish army will recruit 20,000 NCOsAnkara Anatolia news agency (29.05.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish defense minister said Thursday that they would employ 15-20 thousand senior noncommissioned officers, bringing the total number of senior noncommissioned officers to 60 thousand.
Speaking at the Parliamentary National Defense Committee meeting, Vecdi Gonul said: 'Charge of those carrying out their compulsory military service in anti-terror operations received criticism from the public opinion. We are trying to overcome this problem. With a new arrangement, we will provide high-ranking officials with a movement freedom. Those noncommissioned officers will be employed in different places in the course of time. They will also be able to take civil posts in state institutions without any tests'."
 On the CHP official who was reportedly tappedIstanbul Haber Vaktim website (26.05.08) publishes the following unattributed report under the title: "Vakit tracks down Onder Sav":
Vakit has obtained very important details about the 'friendly conversation' between Onder Sav, Secretary General of the CHP [Republican People's Party] who came under fire for advising an old-aged member of his party desiring to make a pilgrimage "not to give his money to Arabs because Muhammad may not subsequently let him go," and Governor Ali Serindag who visited him.
Sav, Secretary-General of the CHP which is responsible for the deep state's operations in the National Assembly, drew strong criticism because of his impudent remarks. The following parts of the conversation between him and the Governor capture attention:
- They made critical comments about the Prime Minister, ministers, some religious communities, and their leaders.
- They discussed whether or not the Minister of Interior to whom the Governor reports was a member of a religious community.
- A minister is sharply criticized for attending the funeral of the leader of a religious community and the Governor confessed that he had declined to attend the funeral in order to protest the Minister.
- They discussed how the CHP could collaborate with certain government officials so that it could increase its popularity and what it should do in order to win the upcoming local elections.
Some highlights of the "inappropriate conversation" between Sav and former Bolu Governor Ali Serindag who was recently transferred to the headquarters of the Interior Ministry are given below:
The CHP official and the Governor discuss the CHP's election strategy:
Sav: How is the political atmosphere in Bolu?
Governor: There are serious obstacles that you will have to overcome. But, it would not be right to give up simply because there will be difficulties.
Sav: Are there committed and skillful people who are capable of organizing political campaigns supported by voters?
Governor: There are a few people capable of doing that. But, you should take into consideration that their number is limited.
Sav: What is your opinion about Bolu especially from political perspective? What could be done there?
Governor: The CHP is highly popular in Bolu. We saw that the CHP polled higher especially in municipal elections. The CHP could be successful if a serious campaign is organized in Bolu. It could even win the election.
He criticized the Prime Minister
Governor: The Prime Minister secretly spent several days in Bolu and it was also reported by the press. I was not informed about his visit.
Sav: Were you serving as Bolu Governor when that happened?
Governor: Yes, I was. There was no information about the Prime Minister and I was not informed too.
Sav: Did you guess that he could be in Bolu?
Governor: Journalists and some people asked me whether I could confirm reports that he was in Bolu. I had doubts, but I had not been informed. I had no idea.
Sav: The Prime Minister went to Bolu and the Governor was not informed. Is not that interesting? After all, he has private body guards.
Governor: A photographer from Dogan News Agency took his picture the next day. I was only informed afterwards. Of course the Prime Minister might have wanted to take a rest there. He, however, should have called before his trip or not hidden it.
Sav: The second option, I mean not hiding would be reasonable
Governor: We are not speaking about an ordinary person. He is the Prime Minister. Something else happened before that. There was a funeral in Bolu. I am speaking about the funeral of the sheikh of a religious community who was buried in the garden of his home in accordance with a Cabinet decree issued at midnight. We were informed about the program of the Minister. I mean that we were aware that he would attend the funeral.
Sav: Really? What happened?
Governor: The Minister and some MPs arrived (Minister of Forestry Veysel Eroglu, Felicity Party leader Recai Kutan, and Metin Yilmaz, Yuksel Coskunturk, and Fatih Metin, all MPs from Bolu, attended the funeral of Haci Ahmet Palazoglu, the son of Naksi and Kadiri sheikh Surmeli Muhammed Muhittin Haki Hodja in January. He is referring to that funeral). I also had to attend. But, I thought that I should not attend it because of my official title. I concluded that it would not be appropriate for me to attend that funeral although I should have complied with official traditions. In short, I decided not to go there because I thought that a governor should not be present in such events.
Sav: It was interesting to hear that the Minister attended it. Furthermore, it was the funeral of a religious community.
Governor: He was the leader of that community. We are working in such circumstances. We were informed about the Minister's program which also included such a funeral.
Sav: Of course such things should not happen. It would certainly be difficult and demoralizing for an official who ascribes importance to laws and official traditions. A governor should not face such a situation.
Sav: Could the Minister of Interior have any link with that religious community or [Fethullah] Gulen? Do you know anything about that?
Governor: There are rumors. But, they have not been confirmed.
 Turkish Interior Minister denies CHP tapping allegationsAnkara Anatolia news agency (29.05.08) reported the following from Ankara:
Turkish Interior Minister has firmly rejected the main opposition Republican People's party's (CHP) allegations that security forces tapped its headquarters. Besir Atalay, in response to a speech by CHP Deputy Chairman Hakki Suha Okay about bugging of one of CHP executive's office, said: 'I charged prosecutors to deal with the issue. They have launched an administrative investigation. I also propose to set up a parliamentary committee with the participation of all political parties to inquire into tapping events'."
'Illegal tapping is nothing but violation of human rights. Our government aims at fighting against it. We do not need conspiracies or dark plans. We advocate a more open society, freedom and human rights,' he said.
Turkey's main opposition party claimed that security forces bugged party headquarters after a private conversation between CHP SG Onder Sav and a former governor was published in the 'Vakit' newspaper.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 From the Turkish Press of 29 May 2008Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press on 29 May:
a) Wiretapping Claims: A high-ranking official from the Security Directorate has denied any involvement in the wiretapping incident in the offices of Onder Say, the deputy leader of the Republican People's Party, CHP. According to a report in Milliyet, the official has said that Security Director General Oguz Kagan and Interior Minister Besir Atalay were briefed on the issue and that the position of Onder Sav within the CHP should be assessed.
According to another report in the same daily, CHP deputy leader Onder Sav has said: "I am hundred percent sure that the state, an organ within the security or the intelligence organization, or a network within that organ has been doing the wiretapping."
Describing the wiretapping of a conversation between CHP's Sav and a governor as an "extremely serious scandal" in an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol says: "The fact that the transcript of the conversation was leaked to the daily Vakit, which is known for its ideological stand and fanaticism, inevitably raises the suspicion of a "religious link."" Speculating whether the wiretapping was the doing of "religious" personnel within the security establishment or whether it was aimed at provoking the religious-secular tension in the country, Akyol argues that so long as the incident remains obscure it will be open to interpretations and will further encourage illegal wiretapping. Sympathizing with CHP leader Deniz Baykal's harsh reaction to the incident, Akyol says that the government, which claims to safeguard freedoms, should have shown "an active reaction" and should have launched an internal investigation to uncover whether the wiretapping was done by "elements" within the police or the National Intelligence Organization, MIT.
Referring to the same wiretapping incident in an article entitled "Baykal's Justified Reaction" in Milliyet, Fikret Bila writes: "Justifiably, Baykal expects the prime minister to react and to do whatever is necessary." Bila goes on to convey Baykal's reaction to the conviction of Prime Minister Erdogan's close friend for trying to bribe a CHP deputy.
Criticizing the silence of the prime minister in the face of the wiretapping incident in the first section of his column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz argues that Erdogan should have taken immediate action. Stressing the need for an extensive investigation in a bid to expose the culprits, Yilmaz warns the prime minster that if those who have committed this grave crime go unpunished, in the future he might be the victim of wiretapping.
Finding the CHP reaction to the wiretapping incident justified in an article in Sabah, Ergun Babahan stresses that, however, a social democratic party should show the same reaction when illegalities in the country are directed at ordinary citizens. Censuring the CHP for not reacting to evidence that the police force and the Gendarmerie were trying to cover up the Hrant Dink assassination, Babahan reminds the reader that the CHP maintained a similar silence regarding the Malatya massacre and the Semdinli incidents. Pointing out that the CHP record on human rights is far from being lustrous, the writer concludes by stating that "if the CHP wants to be convincing in its struggle against illegality, then it should show the same determination regarding the Hrant Dink assassination, the Malatya massacre, and the Ergenekon gang."
Questioning how far the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), can go to hold onto the government in an article in Vatan, Gungor Mengi argues that the evidence against the AKP is piling up. The rejection of the interpellation regarding the ATV tender, the conviction of Erdogan's close friend on charges of bribery on behalf of the AKP, and the recent wiretapping incident have caused an atmosphere of lack of trust in the public, the writer writes, urging the government to find the culprits. Referring to Baykal's remarks that he will be submitting an interpellation to the National Assembly regarding the wiretapping incidents, Mengi advises him against such a move because, he adds, the AKP majority in parliament does not permit the Assembly to exercise its duty of supervision. Instead, Mengi counsels the CHP leader to request a parliamentary investigation, assuming that the government will be hard pressed to reject such an appeal.
Assessing the wiretapping incident in an article in Radikal, Murat Yetkin draws attention to the various questions that have been raised as a result of this incident such as whether there is a technical wiretapping unit within the Security Directorate other than the Intelligence Directorate, whether this unit has state of the art technological equipment, and whether personnel to such units are chosen based on their political inclinations. The writer finally asks whether the vehicle claimed to have been following Constitutional Court Acting President Paksut belongs to such a unit and whether the two incidents are related. Yetkin underlines it is in the interest of democracy and the welfare of the government to find answers to these questions.
Under the banner headline, "Ear Infection," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which says that Republican People's Party, (CHP), leader Deniz Baykal's claim that their private conversations are being tapped has caused a stir in political Ankara. The report calls attention to the "significant timing of the allegation," which "has followed in the wake of the scandal caused by [CHP Secretary-General Onder] Sav's unseemly remarks about the Prophet and Prime Minister Erdogan's unveiling of the GAP [Southeastern Anatolian project] action plan."
In an article entitled "You explain your own guilt first", Vakit columnist Ali Ihsan Karahasanoglu asserts that regardless of whether Onder Sav's conversations have been bugged illegally, Sav should explain whether he held a "political" conversation with a state governor in his office and discussed with him what the CHP should do to be successful in the next elections.
In an article entitled "Even more serious than a regime crisis", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal compares the wiretapping tactics attributed to the Erdogan government and the AKP's "systematic efforts" to turn the news media into a government mouthpiece to some of the practices of the Hitler regime. He asserts that just like the AKP, Hitler came out of the ballot box but that he no sooner rose to power than he abolished the election system and established an authoritarian regime. He also claims that the AKP is resorting to the German dictator's propaganda strategies in laying accusations against CHP officials whose conversations are said to have been bugged rather than taking steps to smoke out the "wiretapping gangs" within the state.
b) Southeast Anatolia Project: Assessing Prime Minister Erdogan's Southeastern Anatolia Project, (GAP), in a column in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal stresses the two dimensions of the GAP Action Plan. Pointing out that one dimension is the election angle and the AKP desire to get hold of the Diyarbakir and Batman municipalities in the upcoming local elections, Cemal maintains that the second dimension of the plan is credibility, arguing that the regional people have seen many plans unveiled but never completed and would only be convinced through actions and not words. Noting that it would be wrong to dismiss the package on grounds of credibility, Cemal defends the current package saying that from the viewpoint of resources, timetable, and seriousness its structure inspires more confidence than the previous packages. Pointing out that opening the doors to prosperity is not sufficient to resolve regional problems, Cemal underlines that it is also "necessary to find democratic solutions to the identity problems of the Kurds."
Applauding the GAP Action Plan in section of his column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz believes that it is possible to execute it provided the financial resources are channeled to the appropriate targets. Warning that, however, these measures are insufficient to resolve the separatist terror issue in the region, Yilmaz writes: "We know from the Basque and Catalan examples that there is no direct link between ethnic demands and poverty. The terror problem in the region can be overcome through the democratic expression of the ethnic identity."
Describing the Southeast Action Plan as the most important project of the last 25 years in an article in Radikal, Hasan Celal Guzel stresses that the social and educational aspects of the plan are "extremely important." Pointing out that the security aspect and the unitary characteristics of the nation were not compromised in this plan, Guzel calls on those who want to close down the AKP and to impose a political ban on Erdogan to reconsider the situation in the light of this plan.
In Cumhuriyet Mehmet Farac, on the other hand, believes that this plan, which he describes as a lame one, is unrealistic. In an article, Farac claims that the social and economic realities will not enable the plan's implementation, adding that its announcement nine months before the elections indicates that it aims at mustering the regional votes.
In an article entitled "The Govt's GAP Initiative should be understood correctly", Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan argues that the Erdogan government has given "a very important political message" by disclosing a "concrete" action plan on the GAP project complete with funding and a timetable. He also underlines the significance of Prime Minister Erdogan's reference to the undertaking as "a social restoration and brotherhood project."
In an article entitled "The most recent meaning of the GAP Project", Bugun columnist Ahmet Tasgetiren argues that it would amount to "choking Turkey" to "block Prime Minister Erdogan's path" by closing down his party at a time when he has taken steps to carry out an action plan on the GAP project that is expected to end terrorism by providing employment for some 3,8 million people in the southeast.
 Column in Zaman wonders whether the final decision on Cyprus rests with the elected or the appointed in TurkeyIn an article entitled Cyprus seen from Athens, Turkish daily Zaman newspaper (29.05.08) publishes an article by its columnist Sahin Alpay. Commenting on his visit to Cyprus between May 9-11 and the meeting with President Christofias, Mr Alpay writes that President Christofias spread positive wind after his election to the Presidency with the promise of solution. Mr Alpay goes on: At the March 21st meeting regarding the resumption of the negotiations between the two sides, we had seen President Mehmet Ali Talat carrying an undemonstrative optimism, but the statements that Mr Christofias gave to us disappointed us. According to Christofias, the negotiations have reached to a deadlock, because the philosophies of the two sides were not compatible. Therefore, he wanted to meet Talat on May 23rd.
The columnist continues and asserts that there is cautious optimism about prospects for a solution to the Cyprus issue and that while an actual settlement might not be forthcoming; there will be a major price to pay from now on for the side that leaves the negotiating table. He goes on to argue that the question now is what Ankara would do if the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders came to an agreement on everything, adding that unlike Athens, which is known to have left matters to Christofias' discretion, Ankara cannot speak with one voice on Cyprus and that it is an arguable question whether the final decision on Cyprus rests with the elected or the appointed in Turkey. What a sorrow situation on the part of the Turkish Republic which still cannot give an answer to this, Mr Alpay adds.
The commentary supports that in Athens, there is no wavering regardless of who has the political power. Furthermore, between the ruling New Democracy Party and the main opposition PASOK party there is also agreement on the subject of the continuation of good relations with Turkey. It is considered that the softening that began in 1999, did not bring a solution for either the Cyprus problem or the bilateral issues, but at least the relations between the communities gradually are getting better.
 Guls presidency is also challenged in TurkeyUnder the above title The New Anatolian newspaper (29.05.08) publishes the following commentary by Ihour Covik:
Last week opposition Nationalist Action Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said the tug of war between the government and the judiciary is getting out of hand and asked for the president to intervene as an honest arbitrator. Under ideal conditions this is exactly what was required but unfortunately the situation in Turkey is far from ideal.
The president is regarded as an apolitical person who is the balancing factor between the executive, the judiciary, legislative body and last but not least the military. Turkey remains a semi democracy where the military directly or indirectly has a say.
In the past the military would intervene directly and make its voice heard challenging the elected government and parliament. However, as time went by and Turkey headed for European Union membership things changed. The military preferred to remain behind the scenes and use subcontractors like the judiciary and the academicians to challenge the government.
Today the judiciary is directly challenging the government and the supremacy of the parliament. However, the fact that the judiciary does not really consider Abdullah Gul the president is another serious drawback. A section of the Turkish society and not only the judiciary feels Gul is not their president and cannot represent them.
Gul, as president has to circulate among elite circles and attend special functions. Yet, we see with sadness that these circles hardly treat him as the head of state and respect his office accordingly.
So even if Gul accepted opposition leader Bahcelis call to intervene to end fight between the government and the judiciary would that do the trick? We doubt it. On the contrary we have suspicions that select representatives of the judiciary may not even attend such a gathering.
So we all have to remember that it is not only the government who faces a challenge in Turkey. Even President Gul faces this challenge.