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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-03

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. 104/08 03.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talats interview to Milliyet paper
  • [02] Usar on the privatization of the illegal Lefkonoiko airport
  • [03] Avci admits that a company owned by his brother is involved in the tender for a desalination plant in the occupied Famagusta area
  • [04] Self-styled MP to attend the meeting of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of PACE
  • [05] A meeting for launching a project of the management and protection of six areas in the occupied part of Cyprus was held yesterday
  • [06] Curcafer said that the construction sector in the occupied areas needs 40.000 workers and bringing workers from abroad is inevitable
  • [07] YAGA aims to complete its five-year investment strategy until the end of 2008
  • [08] Turkey and the breakaway regime are preparing a two-year promotion plan of the tourism for the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [09] More than 41.000 students and 3.700 teachers in the occupied areas are about to begin their vacations
  • [10] The Turkish President Gul will visit Japan upon an invitation of the Japanese Emperor
  • [11] Turkey to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change
  • [12] Survey conducted on peoples vote shows the ruling AKP losing ground
  • [13] Babacan to hold contacts in Washington
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [14] What will Babacan do in Washington?
  • [15] Ankara pulling out all the stops for UNSC bid
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 02 June 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talats interview to Milliyet paper

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (31.05.08), under the title A limited desire for a solution, published the following interview with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat that he granted to the papers foreign news editor Kadri Gursel:

    In the joint statement issued following the meeting held last Friday between the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and the TRNC President Mehmet Ali Talat, the strengthening of the principle of equality between the two peoples was an important gain for the Turkish Cypriot side. However, another clear result of this meeting was that the negotiations will not start on the 21st of June. The real reason for this delay is that Christofias is facing a front that is against a solution, and leading that front are those in the coalition partnership.

    President Talat replied to Milliyet's questions at this sensitive juncture on the prospects for a solution and how it affects Turkey:

    Q: It became clear when you met with Christofias last Friday that comprehensive negotiations will not start on June as was envisaged. What is the problem?

    A: My impression is that the conditions in the Greek Cypriot side are not appropriate at this moment to start negotiations on the 21st of June. I would like to underline that these conditions are completely subjective. Particularly, there is a rejection front in the south, and it is a pity that it is actually the partners of Christofias... For this reason, they object to a lot of Christofias' wishes and they react against him because he (Christofias) has shifted radically from Papadopoulos' positions.

    Because he is criticized by his partners, Christofias faces various difficulties. In my view, these (difficulties) are based on the approach, there is not much progress; we cannot start on that date.

    The negotiations as far as we are concerned can begin on 21st June. When we come together, we will express again our belief for proceeding with the start of talks on 21st June. We will try to persuade them. We hope that we will agree.

    Q: It seems that you are hopeful for a solution within 2008.

    A: I said that the Cyprus problem can be solved by the end of 2008, I still think that there is this probability. However much the Greek Cypriot side sees this deadline as hasty, I think that is reasonable.

    It can be in 2009, it can be in 2010, but the sooner it will be, the less harm there will be for us. As a community, as a country. Because, every day that passes, relations between the two peoples get worse. Every day that passes without a solution creates uneasiness for the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Q: Do you think that there can be a quick solution?

    A: I think is possible.

    Q: Has Christofias reference to the principle of equality made you have more hopes?

    A: Of course, the acceptance of equality is really important and essential for us.

    Q: If Talat and Christofias do not solve the problem, what will happen?

    A: If the two leaders, who want solution and are known for their past work for a solution, cannot solve it, then the solution after this will be very difficult.

    Q: You were in Brussels a few days ago and you met with EU officials. Did you get the impression that they can pressure the Greek Cypriots?

    A: Indeed, that it was what I want. I said that at this moment the Greek Cypriots do not have enough motivation for a solution and in order to make certain of this, you must encourage them; they are your members...

    Q: When you said there is not enough motivation, did you mean Christofias?

    A: The Greek Cypriots in general... Because their situation is not like ours. They are EU members; they are recognized by the world, so their problems are a lot fewer than ours. We have serious problems that stem from the isolation and the fact that we are unrecognized. We want a solution and we must want it, they must also have a discussion. Some Greek Cypriot politicians can say that the current status quo is a solution. In other words, for some the present situation is not an uncomfortable situation. If we look at it overall, the desire for a solution on the Greek Cypriot side was always at a lower level than on our side. For this reason, we said that the Greek Cypriot side should be encouraged. They (foreigners) understand it and they acknowledge it. They say that they will give any kind of support. But of course, they have always said that. And now that they say it, there is no guarantee that they will do it.

    Q: Will the Greek Cypriots continue to obstruct implementation of the regulation regarding direct trade and the lifting of the isolations? Have these issues been discussed?

    A: These issues are in the jurisdiction of the technical committees. The technical committees are concerned with day-to-day problems. Particularly, the economic and trade relations will come on the agenda of the technical committees; it came, but it is really soon to evaluate this issue... If there is an atmosphere that the Cyprus problem will be solved, then I think that their (Greek Cypriots) stance will be more moderate on this issue.

    Q: For the continuation of Turkeys process to enter the EU, there is a condition to open 8 (negotiation) charters that are temporarily suspended because Turkey did not open its ports to Greek Cypriot vessels. ... Is it expected that the EU, during Turkeys process, will put pressure on the Greek Cypriot side to lift its objections on the above matter? Has this issue come on the agenda in Brussels?

    A: We put this issue on the agenda. Of course, we bring it up on every occasion. They said that they understand us. To tell the truth, I dont know what they do and how efficient they will be. But, to what degree their stance favors us, or however much they try to support us, in the end they are prevented from doing so because of the known European solidarity.

    Q: Lets say that (Cyprus reunification) negotiations start in the summer and go well. Within this process, will issues like direct trade, aid and (lifting the) isolation, not be cast aside? It would be an issue of reunification of the island in the short run. All these issues would then be unimportant.

    A: There is this probability, but of course, we dont want this.

    Q: What do you want? Do you want all these to be dealt with immediately?

    A: Of course. We explain that the lifting of the isolation will also help solution efforts and achieving stability. We also believe that with the lifting of the isolation, the Greek Cypriot side will realize that the policy of isolation has not helped achieve anything.

    Q: By the end of 2009, the EU will assess whether or not Turkey has applied the additional protocol and will then decide. If until then Turkey has not been shunned for another reason, and until that date Turkey has not opened its ports, it will be more difficult for Turkey at that point to continue its negotiations. What is your recommendation to Turkey?

    A: This is an issue of calculation. They will assess what we and Turkey gained and what we lost, and according to these (factors) they will decide. Our wish, of course, is the opening of the Turkish ports.

    Q: Today, you are against this.

    A: Of course, definitely.

    Q: But in case negotiations proceed in a positive way, your stance may change in the future.

    A: If we do our calculations, appropriate formulas can possibly be developed. Above all, I'm not saying 'open'. We must not exclude anything. One thing may be wrong today, but the same thing can be right in the future.

    Q: Do you feel today the support of the AKP government, as you did in 2004?

    A: Of course we sense the support of the government. The government supports us. Not only the government, but actually all institutions support us.

    Q: It seems this support is not expressed very loud...

    A: Possibly.

    Q: To what do you attribute this?

    A: The government is the one that should express it loudly and the government supports us.

    Q: It's my impression that this support is not so wholehearted.

    A: Perhaps it is because there is no excitement in the atmosphere. If this (excitement) comes, then it will be (wholehearted).

    Q: At this moment there is a political agenda that is leading Turkey to breakdown. The case to close down the AKP has started; there is a very difficult internal political situation in Turkey. How do you contrast this situation in Turkey against this picture of division?

    A: We do not intervene in the internal politics of Turkey. This is how we govern. We try to be as distant as possible. We are in touch with the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Presidency and the Prime Minister. When we find an opportunity, we try to make a meeting with the opposition possible.

    Q: If the AKP is closed down, how will this affect (Cyprus) settlement negotiations?

    A: Every instability in Turkey affects the solution talks. The closing down of AKP will have an effect. Our biggest supporter is Turkey itself. If our biggest supporter is not in a position to support us, then it will weaken us.

    (DPs)

    [02] Usar on the privatization of the illegal Lefkonoiko airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that Salih Usar, self-styled minister of public works and transport, stated yesterday that there is nothing wrong which would necessitate the non-advancement of the tender regarding the opening of illegal Lefkonoiko airport for private administration for fifteen years. In statements at a press conference yesterday, Mr Usar argued that the demand of the businessman Asil Nadir is groundless.

    Mr Usar said that the tender for the airport was not prepared by the central tendering commission, but through a special commission and added that the contracts were prepared jointly by his ministry and Turkeys General Directorate for Administrating Airports.

    He noted that according to the evaluation of the commission and a decision by the council of ministers, the Cyprus Aviation Services Ltd (CAS) company, which has been established in Britain, was considered appropriate for leasing the airport. He said that the above-mentioned company could not be registered in the occupied areas, because another company with similar name, the Cyprus Airport Services Ltd (CAS), was already registered. Therefore, a new company was established under the name of Castlegate Aviation Ltd, said Mr Usar noting that neither Asil Nadir nor any Greek Cypriot were among the shareholders of CAS.

    He argued that the shareholders of CAS are David Harry Millham, James Aitcheson Beveridge, Charles Andrew Poppstone and Tomas Quinn. Mr Usar said that in case CAS had won the tender the Portuguese Espirito Santo Bank would finance it with the sum of 35 million pounds sterling. This information was conveyed to the tendering commission with a letter by the general director of the bank in Britain. Mr Usar said that the fee paid to the state from the leasing will be one million and 737 thousand Euros plus VAT for the first year with a 3 % increase every year.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (03.06.08) refers to the issue under the title Anger by Usar towards the police and reports that Mr Usar was angry with the general directorate of the police which had given to Mr Asil Nadir the documents with the names of the visitors to the occupied areas of the island. Usar described this behavior as attack on the personal rights. Asked to comment on self-styled prime minister Soyers statement that he was very excited because Mr Nadir won the tender, Mr Usar said that these words do not bind his ministry.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (03.06.08) refers to the same issue and notes that Lefkonoiko has been privatized but the debates do not end. The paper covers the issue under the title The demands of Nadir are groundless.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Avci admits that a company owned by his brother is involved in the tender for a desalination plant in the occupied Famagusta area

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, has said that the Turkish side will remain at the negotiating table for a solution, in spite of the developments. In statements to Kanal T television, Mr Avci alleged that the way foreigners view Cyprus has changed because they see in the occupied areas a separate assembly, a separate administration and a developed country.

    He said that in spite of the difficulties, the relations of the TRNC with Syria have reached a good point and added that these relations will be strengthened in the fields of tourism, sports and trade.

    Referring to the monument for the Armenian genocide inaugurated by president Christofias recently, Mr Avci alleged that this was not the first action of the Greek Cypriots against the Turks.

    Replying to the accusations against him because his brother, Said Avci, has allegedly been involved in the tender of a desalination plant in the occupied area of Famagusta, Mr Avci said that the tender was given to a consortium of three firms from the occupied areas and one from Israel. The Israeli firm possesses 60 % of the shares of the consortium, while the Turkish Cypriot firms have the remaining 40%, he said and added: The company owned by my brother has only 13 % of the 40 % portion.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Self-styled MP to attend the meeting of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of PACE

    Illegal Bayrak television (02.06.08) broadcast the following:

    The Guzelyurt MP Mehmet Caglar is representing the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus at the meetings of the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

    (PACE). The meetings of the Committee are taking place in Paris.

    During his stay in the French capital, Mr Caglar will hold discussions with delegations of various countries on the Cyprus issue.

    [05] A meeting for launching a project of the management and protection of six areas in the occupied part of Cyprus was held yesterday

    Under the title They met for Natura 2000, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that the European Commission, the Polish consortium which signed an agreement for preparing detailed plans for the management and the protection of six special protected areas in the occupied part of Cyprus and representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community held a meeting yesterday for launching the project.

    A contract of 1.5 million Euros has been signed with the consortium headed by NIRAS IC Sp. Zo.o Company, notes the paper adding that after a possible agreement in the Cyprus problem, the above-mentioned six areas will most probably become a part of Natura 2000 Zone.

    Addressing the meeting, Ivanka Todorova, responsible for the project for the European Commission, said that the project will be within the framework of the 259 million-euro aid to the Turkish Cypriot community and the aim is to encourage the economic development of the community. She noted that the protected areas were determined by the EU Commission with the cooperation of Cyprus and added that an agreement was signed between the Commission and Cyprus on 19 May.

    Mrs Todorova said that the administrative plan of the potential Natura 2000 project which will be implemented for the above-mentioned six areas will be prepared and the necessary infrastructure measures will be taken. She noted that these works should be completed by November 2009. Mrs Todorova said that the fact that Turkish Cypriot officials expressed their commitment for the implementation of the project is important.

    Ersever Beyaz, responsible for the projects at the so-called EU coordination centre of the prime ministers office, said that the project for protecting the environment is one of the subchapters of the environmental harmonization strategy of the Committee for Rearranging the Environment established at the coordination centre of the self-styled prime ministers office. Beyaz noted that the country needed such a work and added that they will take aid on technical issues such as the infrastructure and capacity development.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Curcafer said that the construction sector in the occupied areas needs 40.000 workers and bringing workers from abroad is inevitable

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (03.06.08) reports that with the beginning of the construction season, house painters, plasterers and skilled workers from Turkey are coming to work in the occupied areas of Cyprus, while the Turkish Cypriots prefer to work in the free areas of the Republic where the salaries are more satisfactory.

    According to information acquired by Anatolia news agency, the salaries in the occupied areas are twice as high compared to those paid in Turkey.

    Taking into consideration the stagnation in the constructions sector in Turkey, the needs of the growing construction sector in the TRNC cannot be met in spite of the thousands of Turkish construction workers who rush into the daughter land, writes the paper arguing that this is due to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot workers prefer to work in the free areas of Cyprus where the salaries are more satisfactory.

    The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Union, Cafer Gurcafer said that the Turkish workers are very advantageous for them. He added that 4.500 Turkish Cypriots work in the constructions in the free areas, while the need in the occupied areas for the same sector is around 40.000. He alleged that it is not possible to satisfy this need from the local market and added that bringing workers from abroad is inevitable.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] YAGA aims to complete its five-year investment strategy until the end of 2008

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that the Investment Development Agency (YAGA) has published a report with the results of the various workshops, public opinion polls and conferences which it organized within the framework of its efforts to form a strategy for the development of the investments in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    According to the paper, YAGA aims to complete its five-year investment strategy until the end of 2008. The obstacles for the investments were established and proposals for solutions were developed at a workshop of YAGA under the title Investments as a Means of Sustainable Development with the participation of 19 people.

    The participants concluded that the investments are obstructed by problems such as the lack of economic vision and strategy, the relations with Turkey, the planning and the laws, the insufficient infrastructure, the political uncertainty, the bureaucratic structure, the monetary stability and financial records, the human resources etc.

    They said that the most important problem is the lack of vision and the fact that the economic targets are not obvious. The second problem, according to the participants in the workshop, is the dependency on the aid of Turkey and the fact that the aid is not used effectively.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Turkey and the breakaway regime are preparing a two-year promotion plan of the tourism for the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that the self-styled ministry of economy and tourism and Turkeys Ministry of Culture and Tourism are preparing a two-year plan for the promotion of the tourism of the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    The self-styled minister of tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag, who met yesterday with a delegation from Turkey headed by Ozgur Ozaslan, general director of Turkeys Ministry of Culture and Tourism promotion, said that they would make a plan and work for the promotion of the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] More than 41.000 students and 3.700 teachers in the occupied areas are about to begin their vacations

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.06.08) reports that the kindergartens and primary schools which are bound to the self-styled ministry of education and culture will distribute the student progress reports on 13 June and the secondary schools on 17 June.

    According to the paper, after these dates about thirty six thousand students and more than three thousand teachers in the public schools will begin their summer vacations. The vacations of more than five thousand students and about seven hundred teachers of the private kindergartens, primary and secondary schools will also begin at the same time.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The Turkish President Gul will visit Japan upon an invitation of the Japanese Emperor

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.06.08) reports that the Turkish President Abdullah Gul will leave for Japan on Tuesday as the guest of Japanese Emperor Akihito.

    Turkish state ministers Kursad Tuzmen and Mehmet Simsek as well as high-level bureaucrats will accompany Gul in Japan.

    Turkish-Japanese relations had started after Turkish Ertugrul Frigate sank on September 16th, 1890 on its return from Japan. Ertugrul Frigate had been sent to Japan to present a medal of Ottoman Empire to Japanese emperor. Admiral Osman Pasa and 581 sailors died in the disaster. 69 survivors of the accident were taken care by Japanese government and then brought back to Turkey by a Japanese delegation.

    The relations between Turkey and Japan strengthened when 215 Japanese citizens, who were trapped in Tehran during Iran-Iraq war in 1985, were rescued with a private flight held by Turkish Airlines hours before the city was bombed. Year 2003 was celebrated as "Turkish Year" in Japan. Turkey also declared 2010 "Japanese Year". Japan recognized Republic of Turkey on August 6th, 1924.

    Gul, during his visit, will focus on economy and commerce. Turkish-Japanese Business Forum will be held in Tokyo and Investment Forum will take place in Osaka on the occasion of Gul's visit.

    Turkish delegation will brief Japanese businessmen about investment opportunities in Turkey.

    Trade volume with Japan has been changing between 2.5-4 billion USD since 2000. 42 percent of the products, which Turkey exports to Japan, is food; 23 percent is machinery and transportation vehicles, and 16 percent is textile.

    Turkey exports tuna fish most to Japan. Turkey exported 55 million USD of tuna fish to Japan in 2005; this figure rose to 64 million USD in 2006. Turkey imports industrial products from Japan mostly.

    [11] Turkey to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on climate change

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (03.06.08) writes that the Turkish Cabinet in its yesterdays meeting decided to submit for parliamentary approval a proposal that would make Turkey a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. So far, 176 countries are signatory to the protocol. Kyoto Protocol has been on the countrys agenda for ten years since Turkey did not sign it, for special reasons, in the beginning. The decision has been announced yesterday by the Deputy Prime Minister, Cemil Cicek.

    (ML)

    [12] Survey conducted on peoples vote shows the ruling AKP losing ground

    Turkish daily Radikal newspaper (03.06.08) publishes a survey conducted by the A&G Survey Company for the Credit Suisse, an institution of the Swiss Banking, between 24-25 May 2008 on the public support the Turkish political parties would have received if elections were held today. The survey conducted in seven geographical regions, covered 33 provinces, 109 districts and 134 cities and villages. The sample was 2386 citizens above the age of 18, of whom 1173 were women.

    The results of the survey are as follows:

    Justice and Development Party (AKP): 39,7%

    Republican Peoples Party (CHP): 19,4%

    Nationalist Action Party (MHP): 17,1%

    Democratic Society Party (DTP): 6,5%

    Felicity Party (SP): 3,4%

    Democratic Party (DP): 3,3%

    Democratic Left Party (DSP): 3,1%

    Young Party (Genc Parti): 2,3%

    Motherland Party (ANAVATAN): 1,1%

    Other: 4,1%

    Total: 100%

    The above result on peoples vote emerged after a section of the population equal to 29,3% and which has stated itself as undecided, has been distributed to the political parties.

    Comparing the results of the present survey to the results of the latest elections held in Turkey in 22 July 2007, the ruling AKP party losses approximately 7% of its power. Based on the election result of 2007, AKP received 47% of peoples vote.

    (ML)

    [13] Babacan to hold contacts in Washington

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.06.08) reports that Turkey's Foreign Minister, Ali Babacan, departed for the United States on Monday evening. Babacan will hold talks in Washington, D.C. and New York.

    Ali Babacan will meet U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman and members of the U.S. Congress while in Washington.

    Babacan will deliver a speech at the Atlantic Council, a think-tank organization.

    Ali Babacan will proceed to New York after completing talks in Washington. He may attend an international conference on AIDS in New York.

    Following his talks in the United States, Babacan will travel to France to attend an international conference on Afghanistan.

    In addition, Turkish daily Sabah (03.06.08) referring to the same issue reports that Mr Babacan is expected to express to his interlocutors Turkeys satisfaction with the cooperation in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), while he will explore the U.S. stance on the issues of Iraq, Syria Israel and Iran. The contacts of the Turkish FM in the American capital are starting today.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] What will Babacan do in Washington?

    Under the above title Turkish Zaman newspaper (02.06.08) publishes the following article by columnist Ali H. Aslan:

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan is coming to Washington this week for an official visit. The Minister's visit will begin on Tuesday, and will end next Monday. The long period set aside for it shows the importance that the government ascribes to relations with the United States.

    As for the most important thing making the visit significant in terms of timing, it is the fact that it coincides with the closure process [of the ruling Justice and Development Party - AKP] in Turkey, which could cause instability in both domestic and foreign policy, and occurs during a period in America when brainstorming has intensified regarding what will be done regarding Iran.

    The American government has responded generously to Minister Babacan's requests for appointments. In addition to sessions with Vice President [Dick] Cheney and Secretary of State [Condoleezza] Rice, there will be meetings with the Secretaries of the Treasury and of Energy. (A meeting with the Defense Secretary has not yet been firmed up.) Washington is doing all that it can in order to insinuate that it ascribes importance to contact with Ankara at every level. The Americans are also preparing to bring the high-level bureaucrats who will accompany the Minister together with their counterparts. (In visits to Washington, the lists of members of the guest delegation generally reach the Americans a bit late. But if these are determined earlier, the organization of the visits can in fact be much more productive.)

    The Babacan visit is a new link in a series of visits between Ankara and Washington that have intensified recently. Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan had come here last November, and President [Abdullah] Gul in January, both with large delegations. Babacan had accompanied both of them. Erdogan's visit had largely been devoted to persuading President [George W.] Bush regarding military cooperation against the PKK in Northern Iraq. Indeed, there came from it first the sharing of real-time intelligence, and then the surgical air operations. As for Gul's visit, it was stamped by discussions over comprehensive solutions for terrorism. The Americans, who won the hearts of the Turkish side thanks to the military support they had, even if belatedly, provided, found in themselves the courage to address as well the political, social, and economic aspects of the problem. Well, then, what will the main theme of Babacan's visit be?

    The Kurdish issue, with its domestic and its foreign dimensions, will doubtless once again be one of the main agenda items. The Americans will express appreciation for Turkey's openings toward the Kurdish administration in Northern Iraq. They see the Southeastern development project announced by Prime Minister Erdogan as a positive step, if it can be implemented. But they are not all that optimistic regarding cultural rights. Classical issues, such as Iraq, Middle East peace, Turkey's initiative to bring peace between Israel and Syria, Cyprus, energy, the EU process, reforms, the religious freedoms of minorities (but not the majority), and the closure case will also be discussed. But in my view, the thing that will truly put its stamp on the discussions this time will be the Iran question. Each side will try to take the pulse of the other. Yet another priority issue on which there will be a reciprocal taking of pulses is the closure case, which is expected to have major reverberations in Turkey's domestic and foreign policies.

    In this context, the most important of Babacan's meetings is his appointment with Vice President Cheney. Because Cheney comes at the head of those in Washington who are suspicious of the government's Iran policy, and who most believe the allegations regarding the AKP's being anti-secular.

    Babacan already speaks quite frequently with Secretary of State Rice, both face to face and by telephone. And the contacts and relationships between the ministries represented by Rice and Babacan are considered good. But the situation with Vice President Cheney is very different.

    Cheney has no productive channels of communication with Ankara, despite [Turkey's] being one of the major poles in the Bush administration's foreign policy. Moreover it is said that, in his latest visit to Ankara, he was not happy following his meetings with Prime Minister Erdogan and with General Staff Chief [Yasar] Buyukanit. When he did not hear from Erdogan what he had hoped to hear regarding Iran, or from Buyukanit what he had hoped to hear regarding Afghanistan, he was evidently disappointed. Babacan will try to repair the communication problems with Cheney.

    I say communication problems, because there is in fact not much difference, from the strategic aspect, in the ways that Ankara and Washington view Iran. Neither country wants an Iran with nuclear weapons. There are only tactical disagreements. Unlike the United States, Turkey seeks to approach its neighbor Iran in a positive way. It is seen that the American State Department, and intelligence circles, are more understanding and cool-headed in response to this. But there does not exist, in every corner of the American administration, the most positive interpretation regarding Turkey. Some lobbies, uncomfortable with the religiosity of the AKP leaders, and seeking to reduce the international support for the government, are spreading malicious stories here, such as that the government is not taking a hard position because of its ideological closeness to the Tehran regime. And among those who have been the most influenced by tendentious assessments of this sort are Cheney and some of his advisors.

    The same propagandists have also been able to get some people to believe the lie that the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] are closer to the US line on Iran than the government is. And in this way, an effort is being made to assure foreign support for the continuation of the dominant role that elements of the state outside of politics, such as the military, have in Turkey. It thus falls to Babacan to explain to his interlocutors that there exists inter-institutional agreement on Iran policy, that there is nothing else that Turkey will be able to do aside from the UN-approved sanctions, and that this should not be perceived as anti-Americanism.

    High-level contacts of this sort can contribute to preventing the repetition of communications problems similar to those that happened during the process leading to the Iraq war. The American and Turkish governments must openly and sincerely express, in concrete terms, just what they expect from each other, particularly in terms of Iran and democracy. Questions that are not taken up directly with official counterparts cannot be easily resolved by intermediaries and middlemen. Babacan's Washington visit is a timely initiative in terms of the government's breaking the influence of lobbies engaged in malicious misrepresentation. But there is still a great deal more that needs to be done.

    [15] Ankara pulling out all the stops for UNSC bid

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (03.06.08) reports the following:

    Despite having already gained sufficient support, Turkish officials have been conducting continuous talks with their counterparts abroad for the country's bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council for 2009-2010, taking into consideration the fact the UN General Assembly will hold the related election by secret ballot.

    Ankara has been running for one of the non-permanent seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group on the UN Security Council for the 2009-2010 term. Austria and Iceland have declared that they are also running for the same seat. Turkey, which has undertaken many UN missions in the 62 years since it became a founding member of the body, already gained support from at least two-thirds of the UN General Assembly's 192 members for the elections on Oct. 7 during the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly.

    "Turkey has never been closer to succeeding with its bid when compared to its earlier candidacies for the same seat," diplomatic sources said yesterday, in an apparent reference to Ankara's candidacies for the terms 1993-1994, 1997-1998 and 2001-2002.

    Its candidacy for each of these terms was withdrawn before elections for various reasons. The candidacy for 2002-2002 was pulled due to the 1999 Izmit earthquake -- a 7.6 magnitude quake that struck northwestern Turkey, and leaving approximately half a million people homeless.

    "Nevertheless, our efforts will continue until the very last minute because we are aware of the strength of our competitors as well. The fact that we have gained sufficient support either via verbal and written mutual support agreements or unilateral support doesn't mean that the election outcome is assured. At the end of the day, it is a secret ballot," the same diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity, emphasized.

    As part of its intense efforts for the bid, 10 Turkish special envoys have visited 67 countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region, some of whose areas do not have any Turkish diplomatic missions, since January 2006 and increased its visibility with international organizations by sending representatives to international gatherings and also hosting international gatherings. These efforts will continue until the very last moment, with leaders conducting telephone diplomacy in the last 20 days before the voting date.

    Ankara had announced its candidacy back in July 2003. It had previously held a non-permanent seat in 1951-1952 and 1954-1955. Most recently, it shared a non-permanent seat with Poland in 1961.

    Following almost half a century without holding a seat, Ankara now wishes to put its assets and experience at the service of the world community by becoming a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

    "Bridging continents and cultures for peace, prosperity and justice," is one of the key mottos of Turkey's campaign for its bid. This motto also reflects Turkey's dedication to making significant contributions to intercultural dialogue as it is an active sponsor of the UN-led Alliance of Civilizations initiative.

    "Whatever the outcome of the election is, it will be positive for Turkey's multidimensional foreign policy stance," the diplomatic sources said, bringing to mind the fact that due to frenzied diplomatic efforts for the UN bid, Ankara recently met with visiting leaders of countries that were not previously very well known by the public. Turkey's plans for deepening its relations with African countries via almost two dozen new diplomatic missions in the latter are also expected to increase its chances for gaining a temporary seat on the UN Security Council.

    Ankara believes that becoming a temporary member of the UN Security Council will position Turkey to better inform the international community of its stance on many controversial issues, particularly its position on the divided island of Cyprus.

    [16] From the Turkish Press of 02 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press on 2 June:

    a) Reports About Wiretapping, Allegations: In an article entitled "We need more evidence," Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz says that leadership of the Republican People's Party, CHP, should apologize to the public and resign if new evidence to be gathered about the CHP's allegation that Secretary General Onder Sav's office was wiretapped show that Sav's conversation with a governor was recorded by a Vakit reporter because Sav had forgotten to turn off his mobile phone. Yilmaz says: "They must resign not because they do not know how to use a mobile phone, but because they have messed up and do not know how an opposition party should act." He also repeats his claim that police chiefs and high-ranking bureaucrats who have connections with the Gulen community have been appointed to key positions in the Federal Police Department and the Ministry of Interior.

    In an unattributed editorial entitled "In the wake of a scandal," Milliyet says that the CHP put itself in a difficult position by hastily accusing the government of instructing the police to wiretap Sav's office without waiting until conclusive evidence is found. It notes: "An action to be taken by the CHP about its Secretary General could be a step aimed at mending resulting damage." The editorial also accuses pro-government newspapers of exploiting this incident for attacking and intimidating independent media.

    In an article entitled "What Sav should do," Radikal columnist Haluk Sahin argues that Sav should tender his resignation because he has made two serious blunders one after another. He says: "Furthermore, Sav's resignation and the appointment of a young and dynamic politician as secretary general could prepare the ground for a long-awaited transformation within the CHP."

    In an article entitled "Pro-Gulen police chief heads intelligence department," Hurriyet columnist Fatih Cekirge quotes CHP leader Deniz Baykal as saying that Basri Aktepe who heads the Technical Department of the Telecommunication Agency which is responsible for monitoring communication was among police chiefs believed to have links with the Gulen community according to a report drawn up by the Federal Police Department in 1999. Baykal also says that he will soon bring up the matter in the Turkish Parliament.

    A report entitled "Police department: We have authorization to monitor, not to wiretap" in Hurriyet highlights a statement issued by the Federal Police Department which emphasized that a recent court order authorizing it to monitor telecommunication devices as part of the ongoing fight against terrorism does not include authorization to wiretap telephones.

    Another report entitled "Gendarmerie authorized to wiretap" in Hurriyet says that the Gendarmerie General Command also obtained a court order to monitor all telecommunication devices across Turkey. It says that Telecommunication Agency appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeals on the grounds that gendarmerie was not authorized to monitor telecommunication devices in areas which fall within the powers of the Federal Police Department.

    In an article entitled "Every citizen should file a lawsuit," Vatan columnist Okay Gonensin criticizes the government for remaining silent in response to allegations that the police have been authorized to wiretap all telephones in Turkey which he describes as a horrible situation. Stressing that the statement issued by the Federal Police Department was not satisfactory, he comments: "This practice which is rarely seen even in most primitive and authoritarian regimes clearly shows that those who govern the country in Ankara regard their all citizens as potential criminals. Thus, people who were curious to know what a police state actually means now have an answer."

    Under the headline, "What obstinacy," Vakit carries a front-page report which slams Republican People's Party, CHP, Secretary General Onder Sav for "not apologizing and expressing repentance for his brazen remarks about the Prophet Mohammad" and "turning a deaf ear to calls for his resignation" in the wake of the refutation of his claim that his office has been bugged.

    According to a front-page report entitled "Gendarmerie Empowered To Monitor Entire Country," it has been found out that not only the police but also the gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization, MIT, have been authorized to monitor telephone conversations countrywide.

    b) Closure Case Against the AKP: According to a report entitled "AKP to submit its defense within 15 days" in Taraf, the AKP will submit to the Constitutional Court its defense in response to the opinion of Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals about the closure case against the AKP by mid-June before the expiry of the one-month period granted to the AKP. The report quotes Erdogan as saying in his party's meeting that they want the Constitutional Court to hand down its ruling as soon as possible in order to dispel uncertainties ahead of the local elections in 2009 and to restore political and economic stability.

    A report entitled "How Will the Political Picture be Shaped if the AKP is Closed Down" in Vatan highlights the results of an opinion poll conducted by Metropoll which indicated that there will not be a change in voter preferences if the AKP is eventually banned by the Constitutional Court. According to the report, 48.8 percent of the respondents interviewed in 26 provinces said that they would vote for a political party supported by Erdogan.

    Under the headline, "A signal from Erdogan would be enough," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which outlines the results of a Metropoll survey suggesting that if the ruling AKP is shut down, some 48,8 percent of the electorate will vote for whatever party Prime Minister Erdogan supports.

    In an article entitled "Check out these news stories", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak calls attention to reports asserting that prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who is conducting the investigation into the Ergenekon network, enjoys less official protection than Supreme Court Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, who filed the closure lawsuit against the AKP. Dilipak also claims that the "death threats" that Oz is receiving in connection with the Ergenekon probe should prompt a government investigation into how prosecutors Ferhat Sarikaya and Sacid Kayasu were taken off their respective investigations into the Semdinli incident and the 12 September coup, adding that the ruling AKP should face its own responsibility for allowing the "deep state" to prevent several prosecutors from pressing ahead with critical investigations against certain "gangs" within the state.

    In an article entitled "What is at stake: Secularism?", Today's Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi asserts that "authoritarian groups" including "bureaucratic and civilian elements" are trying to set the stage for a military takeover" similar to the 17 May, 1960 coup because they believe, as did the architects of the said takeover, that "too much democracy erodes the power of the state elite ..."

    c) Race for DTP Leadership: A report entitled "Alinak is First Candidate for DTP Leadership" in Radikal says that Mahmut Alinak, former head of the DTP's provincial branch in Kars province, has announced his candidacy for the leadership of the DTP. In a written statement he issued yesterday, Alinak said that he would use both Turkish and Kurdish in correspondence with government agencies and pursue a policy aimed at encouraging civil disobedience rather than establishing dialogue while conducting a campaign for a general political amnesty if he is elected as DTP leader in the upcoming national convention in July.

    Another report entitled "DTP seeks candidates for leadership" in Radikal says that DTP deputy Ahmet Turk, Murat Bozlak, former leader of the now-defunct People's Democracy Party, and Tuncer Bakirhan, former leader of the now-defunct Democratic People's Party, are among possible candidates who are expected to vie for the party's leadership in the DTP's national convention.

    d) Turkish Air Strikes in Northern Iraq: In an article entitled "Two shocks among PKK ranks," Hurriyet columnist Fatih Cekirge says that the regional government in northern Iraq informed Turkish authorities after a recent air attack targeting PKK camps in northern Iraq that around 80 PKK guerillas, including those wounded had taken refuge in the headquarters of local forces in the region. Cekirge says that the PKK guerillas were questioned by Turkish and Kurdish officials and the majority of 20 guerillas who were later extradited to Turkey were subsequently released. Cekirge notes that this incident showed that the PKK would no longer receive support from the regional government in northern Iraq and the United States.

    e) Bill Submitted to the French Parliament: In an article entitled "Article about Turkey in French constitution," Hurriyet columnist Ferai Tinc criticizes the Turkish Government for not making diplomatic efforts to prevent the French Parliament from ratifying a bill aimed at amending the Constitution and holding a referendum about the admission of countries with a large population such as Turkey to the EU.

    In an article entitled "Tension with France stems from France, not from Turkish Media," Milliyet columnist Semih Idiz cautions that tension between Turkey and France arising from French President Sarkozy's opposition to Turkey's admission to the EU may escalate if French Parliament ratifies the bill on referendum.

    EG/


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