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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-05

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. 106/08 05.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Ercakica said the Turkish side submitted a document to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the progress achieved at the technical committees
  • [02] Ercakica on President Christofias visit to Great Britain
  • [03] Ercakica expressed their satisfaction from the fact that Cyprus withdrew the lawsuits against the EU Commission at the ECJ regarding the implementation of the Financial Aid Regulation
  • [04] Soyer commented on the withdrawal of the lawsuits at the ECJ
  • [05] The Turkish Foreign Minister: There should be consequences if Cyprus negotiations fail this time
  • [06] Izcan said that the demand for two sovereignties and two separate states impeded many efforts towards a solution and it may also destroy the new solution process
  • [07] Statements after a meeting between AKEL and the CTP
  • [08] Talat holds quietly and discreetly meetings with the UBP on the Cyprus problem
  • [09] A Russian-owned ship has been sent away from the port of Trabzon because the company which owns it is registered in Larnaka
  • [10] Yeni Volkan published the results of an opinion poll among students
  • [11] Incentives for shop owners of the within the walls area of occupied Lefkosia
  • [12] The Turkish Cypriot Bar Union is exerting efforts for organizing the World Championship of lawyers in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2010
  • [13] The Socialist group of the European Parliament offers a key role to Turkey in Black Sea and Mediterranean Unions
  • [14] Ball in high judiciary's court for coup diaries case
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From the Turkish Press of 4 June 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Ercakica said the Turkish side submitted a document to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the progress achieved at the technical committees

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08), under the banner front-page title Pascoe is coming, reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, said during his press briefing yesterday that Lynn Pascoe, deputy UN Secretary-General responsible for Political Affairs, is expected to visit Cyprus around 17 June.

    Mr Ercakica noted that the agenda of Mr Pascoe is not known and added that the UN is continuing its work regarding the kind of the discussions that Mr Pascoe will conduct. Mr Ercakica said that the Turkish side is satisfied from the fact that the UN is actively involved in the process, in spite of the fact that there is no demand towards the direction of Mr Pascoes coming to the island.

    Replying to a question, Mr Ercakica said the two leaders will meet in the second half of June but the date of the meeting has not been fixed yet. Referring to the confidence building measures and the discussions between the presidential Commissioner Mr Iacovou and the representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Nami, Mr Ercakica noted that the Turkish side has reminded the package which it had submitted in the past. He pointed out that the opening of occupied Limnitis area crossing point is a part of the package of the confidence building measures and argued that the stance of the Turkish side is clear on this issue.

    Mr Ercakica said also that the Turkish side has prepared a document regarding the progress it considers that it is achieved at the technical committees and submitted this document to the Greek Cypriot side in order to reach a common understanding. He said that these proposals could be turned into a document after the addition of the views of the other side and the package could be submitted to the two leaders for approval and implementation.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Ercakica on President Christofias visit to Great Britain

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, evaluated during his press briefing yesterday, the visit of President Christofias to Great Britain and said that they expect Great Britain to undertake a positive role in the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Everybody knows that Great Britain, which has similar relations with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people, is the country that knows the Cyprus problem best and follows it in the closest manner and that it has a great experience on this issue, added Mr Ercakica.

    He argued that connecting the bilateral relations with the efforts regarding the Cyprus problem under the UN umbrella is unacceptable. Reflecting this expectation expressed in the Greek Cypriot press to the relations with Great Britain will of course influence negatively the role which Great Britain is trying to play and it will not help the efforts for reaching a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, he claimed.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Ercakica expressed their satisfaction from the fact that Cyprus withdrew the lawsuits against the EU Commission at the ECJ regarding the implementation of the Financial Aid Regulation

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, commented yesterday on the fact that the Republic of Cyprus withdrew the lawsuits at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Commission regarding the financial aid of the EU to the Turkish Cypriot community.

    Mr Ercakica expressed their satisfaction from this development and added that from now on they are expecting the Financial Aid Regulation to be implemented in a more determined and quick way. He alleged that the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation is also a precondition. He argued that this stance of the Greek Cypriot side was a result of the demand of a decision to stop all the implementations regarding the Financial Aid Regulation and the rejection of this demand by the Court. He claimed that if these lawsuits had been withdrawn earlier before the Court rejected the above-mentioned demand and the aim was to facilitate the development of the relations of the Turkish Cypriots with the world, it would have been a nice and meaningful message to the Turkish Cypriot people.

    He added: The agreement between the Greek Cypriot side and the EU Commission has been reached with the change of a wording in the contracts. There is no element that worries the Turkish Cypriot side in this change. Therefore, we will continue to contribute to the work of implementing the Financial Aid Regulation, as in the recent past.

    He alleged that the efforts of ending the isolations of the Turkish Cypriots will contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem and added that these efforts should continue. He claimed that the most important part of these efforts is the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Soyer commented on the withdrawal of the lawsuits at the ECJ

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer commented yesterday on the fact that the Republic of Cyprus withdrew the lawsuits at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against the European Commission regarding the financial aid of the EU to the Turkish Cypriot community. In statements before the meeting of the council of ministers, Mr Soyer said that it is a positive sign of correcting a mistake even though with delay.

    He also commented on the discussions which are being carried out recently in the Turkish Cypriot press on the issue of the investments in the illegal Lefkonoiko airport and the marina in occupied Karpass peninsula. Mr Soyer said: It is attracting my attention and I am finding it difficult to understand this hostile stance created among us for the foreign investments during a period when unemployment is at its peak and the Turkish Cypriot economy is expected to enter into a development stage.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The Turkish Foreign Minister: There should be consequences if Cyprus negotiations fail this time

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.06.08) reported the following from Washington: Turkey's Foreign Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Ali Babacan said Wednesday Turkish democracy went through a test last year and Turkish democracy was strengthened.

    Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKON) in Washington, D.C., Babacan said that Turkey will pass the test of democracy in 2008.

    "There is an atmosphere in Turkey that facilitates free discussions. Individuals can freely state what they want and what they do not want. What matters in the long run is the establishment of a democratic culture", Babacan said.

    Answering a question on Cyprus, Babacan stressed that "there should be consequences if Cyprus negotiations fail this time".

    [06] Izcan said that the demand for two sovereignties and two separate states impeded many efforts towards a solution and it may also destroy the new solution process

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that Izzet Izcan, general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP) has said that more decisive steps should be made for a united federal Cyprus based on the common sovereignty of the two communities.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Izcan stressed that the demand for two sovereignties and two separate states impeded many efforts towards a solution and it may also destroy the new solution process. Mr Izcan said: Progress must definitely be achieved within the framework of the working groups and the technical committees so that the negotiations for a comprehensive solution reach to success.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Statements after a meeting between AKEL and the CTP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that a delegation of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) visited yesterday AKEL in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. In statements after the meeting, Omer Kalyoncu, general secretary of the CTP, said that there was progress in the work of the technical committees and the working groups.

    Andros Kyprianou, member of the Central Committee of AKEL, noted that there is relative progress in the working groups, but the same thing could not be said for the technical committees.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (05.06.08) refers to the same issue under the banner front-page title Our will is the early solution.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Talat holds quietly and discreetly meetings with the UBP on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) visited the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat quietly and discreetly after the historic meeting of the party with a delegation from the Democratic Rally Party (DISY).

    In statements to the paper Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, confirmed that on 28 May a delegation from the UBP headed by Mr Ertugruloglu met with Mr Talat at the latters office and discussed the UBP-DISY meeting and the recent developments on the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Ercakica said that the UBP has established a committee regarding the Cyprus problem and added that information is exchanged from time to time with this committee at the presidential palace and the sides are satisfied about this.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] A Russian-owned ship has been sent away from the port of Trabzon because the company which owns it is registered in Larnaka

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (05.06.08) reports that a ship named Boson-1, which anchored in the port of Trabzon in order to carry cement from Turkey to Russia, was ordered to abandon the Turkish territorial waters after it was established that the Russian construction company which appears as the owner of the ship is registered in Larnaka. The ship was ordered to unload its cargo and abandon the Turkish waters and thus the violation of the embargo implemented on the Republic of Cyprus was prevented, according to the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Yeni Volkan published the results of an opinion poll among students

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (05.06.08) reports that a poll has been carried out under the Assistant Docent Dr. Bulent Evre, member of the teaching staff of the International Relations Department of the illegal Near East University.

    The poll was carried out with the participation of 720 lyceum students from schools in the occupied areas of Nicosia, Famagusta, Keryneia, Morfou, Lefka, Kyrthrea, Lefkoinoiko and Lysi.

    Asked whether they think that a solution will be reached to the Cyprus problem, 4.9 % of the participants in the poll said definitely yes, 39 % yes but with difficulty, 13.2 % no, 21 % no, it is impossible and 21.9 % expressed no opinion. Asked what the best solution to the Cyprus problem is, 10.9 % of the students said the continuation of the current situation, 12.6 % the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, 46.6 % the recognition of the TRNC, 5 % a confederation based on two states and 25 % expressed no opinion.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Incentives for shop owners of the within the walls area of occupied Lefkosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (05.06.08) reports that the self-styled minister of internal affairs, Ozkan Murat said yesterday that low interest credits up to 30 thousand new Turkish liras will be given to the shop owners of the within the walls area of occupied Lefkosia. He noted that the applications could be submitted as of next Monday.

    Mr Murat said that about 183 thousand persons crossed over in the 57 days when the Ledra street barricade is open. He reminded that the area within the walls area of the occupied part of Lefkosia has been declared as special tourism area with a decision of the council of ministers.

    Referring to the immigration issue, Mr Murat reminded that a reform has been carried out and that with a decision of the council of ministers those who posses work permit for ten years and live in the occupied areas for fifteen years continuously can take permanent residence permit.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] The Turkish Cypriot Bar Union is exerting efforts for organizing the World Championship of lawyers in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2010

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli newspaper (05.06.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Bar Union, which is participating in the World Championship of lawyers (Mundiavocat), which is organized in Alicande Spain, is exerting efforts for bringing the organization of this championship in the occupied areas of Cyprus in 2010.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The Socialist group of the European Parliament offers a key role to Turkey in Black Sea and Mediterranean Unions

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (04.06.08) reports the following from Brussels:

    European Parliament's (EP) second largest group, the Socialists, proposed Wednesday the EP to give a key role to Turkey in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Unions.

    Deputy Chairmen of the group Hannes Swoboda and Jan Marinus Wiersman, held a press conference in Brussels and introduced their proposal suggesting the "Eastern Partnership" project (covering Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia and Azerbaijan) to be changed as "the Black Sea Union" with the inclusion of Turkey and Russia.

    Swoboda said that the EU would not be able to solve any of its issues without giving a key role to Turkey.

    "Which of its problems can the EU solve without Turkey? Can it secure the energy resources, or diversify its energy supplies? Can it solve the immigration problem, clean the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, protect the regional security and stability? Or solve the Syria-Israel dispute? Or establish dialogue with Islamic states or solve the integration problems of the Muslim population in Europe?" Swoboda said.

    Swoboda said they were fully supporting Turkey's EU bid and pointed out that their proposal was not an offer for privileged partnership.

    "We did not offer the Black Sea union as an alternative to the Mediterranean Union. Poland and Swedens 'Eastern Partnership project' is positive, but it is incomplete as it does not include Russia and Turkey," said Swoboda.

    Also speaking at the press conference, Wiersman said if Turkey could prove how important it was for the EU by playing a key role in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Unions, it would be easier for it to convince the circles who were against Turkey's EU membership in certain EU member states.

    "Then we can say to our people: 'Look, Turkey is providing energy security for us, it is solving the illegal immigration problem for us, and mediating for the solution of the problems at our borders.' Then it will be much easier to convince our people for Turkey's membership," said Wiersman.

    He said Romania, Bulgaria and Greece extended firm support to their project while Turkey and Russia showed positive reaction.

    With this project, Wiersman and Swoboda are proposing a change in the Enlargement Strategy report which will be put to vote at the EP.

    [14] Ball in high judiciary's court for coup diaries case

    Under the above title Turkish daily Today´s Zaman newspaper (05.06.08) reports the following:

    A prosecutor has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeals against a court ruling which dismissed a request to start a probe into whether documents including a plot against the government was indeed written by a retired army admiral, as alleged by Alper Gormus, the former editor of newsweekly Nokta.

    Gormus -- acquitted on April 11 of charges of libel for running a story that featured excerpts on coup plans in Turkey from a diary allegedly penned by a former navy commander -- said yesterday his acquittal was not satisfactory. "We wanted a chance to prove our claims. A path to proving them was blocked with my acquittal, so we were getting ready to appeal that decision. Now, with the prosecutor's initiative as well, I'm glad to see that there is an open path to getting justice," he said in a phone interview with Today's Zaman.

    On the day of his acquittal, Gormus had said that he could not be happy about the situation because there had been no investigation into his revelations about former military commander Adm. Ozden Ornek, who, along with a number of other former commanders, had allegedly been plotting to stage two military coups to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2004. Gormus exposed the alleged coup plot last year, publishing excerpts from a diary reportedly kept by Ornek.

    Asked if he expected the prosecutor to make a move like going to the Supreme Court of Appeals, Gormus said not really but that there had been a chance of that happening because the prosecutor had stressed the importance of the allegations for the public.

    Prosecutor Suleyman Aydin, who applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals on May 14, had previously asked for the further investigation of the diaries and to hear from witnesses, but his demands were rejected by the judge on grounds that the case was solely concerned with libel charges.

    In his appeal this time around, Aydin said the courts acquittal decision was not legally appropriate because the accused was not given an opportunity to prove his charges: Before all the investigations into the ill intentions of the defendant and whether or not there is objectivity, the defendant should have been given the right to prove his charges.

    The prosecutor also indicated that important evidence had been disregarded by the court. The evidence that Aydin stressed is the report about an original CD containing the diary excerpts that was proven to have come from a computer Adm. Ornek might have used.

    Even though Ornek denied the journal published by Nokta belonged to him, a technical investigation conducted by police information technology experts as part of the ongoing Ergenekon investigation -- a probe into an illegal neo-nationalist deep-state group known as Ergenekon -- determined that the digital excerpts were initially copied from a computer at the naval forces headquarters.

    According to unconfirmed reports, the Ergenekon gang was planning a 2009 coup against the government and has links to some influential active generals.

    Ornek, who has reportedly kept a journal since 1957, is said to have recorded details about the former military commanders plan to stage a coup, codenamed Blonde Girl, in 2004, but the plans were abandoned because the plotters could not find support in the militarys lower ranks; the US attitude at the time; and the democratic stance of then-Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok.

    The journal also suggested that gendarmerie commander Gen. Eruygur then planned a coup by himself, code-named Moonlight.

    Eventually, Noktas owner shut the magazine down after a police raid of its offices following the journals publication.

    During one of his trials, Gormus asked the court to bring forward President Abdullah Gul and Ozkok as well as some journalists, particularly Hasan Cemal, who held an interview with Gul when the latter was foreign minister and said coup attempts had been known within the state to provide evidence.

    Aydin also noted Gormus did not have to reveal his source of news according to Turkeys press law.

    In his application to the Supreme Court of Appeals, Gormuss lawyer, Umit Kardas, is demanding an expansion of the investigation into whether or not the coup diaries are genuine.

    As a result, force commanders who have been suspected of planning coups came under illegal protection, the petition stated.

    Even though a number of individuals and groups filed criminal complaints with the Ankara Prosecutors Office, no investigations have so far been launched into the Nokta report.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] From the Turkish Press of 4 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press on 4 June:

    a) Reports about wiretapping allegations: In an editorial entitled "Unlawfulness Permitted by Law," Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi attacks the Federal Police Department for wiretapping telephones under a court order without first fulfilling requirements set forth in laws. Drawing attention to an official statement that a total of 11 agencies had been authorized to wiretap telephones, Eksi asks: "If this is true and the authorization to wiretap is used so arbitrarily, should we forget about 'speaking Turkey' which is essential for democracy?"

    A report entitled "'Eavesdropping' draws angry backlash" in Milliyet highlights opinions expressed by well-known people from different segments of society who criticized the law authorizing the Federal Police Department and the National Intelligence Organization to monitor records covering telephone calls, SMS, and emails.

    In an article entitled "Telephone coup," Milliyet columnist Melih Asik describes powers vested with the Intelligence Division of the Federal Police Department as the biggest scandal in the history of Turkey. He says: "Religious politicians seized the telecommunication sector as the first important stronghold in their ongoing civilian coup."

    In an article entitled "They eavesdrop whole word, not only Turkey," Radikal columnist Turker Alkan says that the prime minister and ministers of a democratic country would resign if their role in a wiretapping scandal was revealed. He says: "But, this is not the case in our country. They prefer to deceive the people by asserting that they only monitor, not wiretap telephones." Pointing out that the CIA is capable of monitoring all telecommunication devices across the world, Alkan concludes by saying: "In other words, the CIA of the United States will wiretap even if our Police Department does not do so and share or decline to share information it obtains with our officials. This is another aspect of globalization."

    Under the banner headline, "Stop Onder Sav," Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that it has been found out that Republican People's Party, CHP, Secretary-General Onder Sav, who "caused a nationwide stir by claiming that his private conversations had been bugged," signed an "immoral agreement" with the Kanalturk television network that allowed the CHP to control 40 percent of Kanalturk in return for $3,5 billion.

    Under the headline, "CHP knocked out," Vakit carries a front-page report which asserts that Onder Sav's phone call records disclosed by the Turkcell GSM Company have established that there was an uninterrupted phone connection between Sav and the Vakit newspaper on 23 May that lasted 2,647 seconds, confirming the latter's claim as to how it was informed of the particulars of a conversation between Sav and a state governor.

    Under the headline, "Baykal falls back on nine year old gang report in trying to save Sav," Zaman publishes a front-page report which lists some of the "grave mistakes" that CHP leader Baykal made in laying "bugging" accusations against a "religious community" in his parliamentary group speech yesterday. According to the report, Baykal based his claims on a report drawn up by a "wiretapping gang" within the police in 1999.

    b) Moderate Islam; Controversy Over Religious Freedom, Headscarf: In an article entitled "Prof. Ali Bardakoglu's Response to Newsweek: We Have Nothing To Do With 'Moderate Islam Project,'" Milliyet columnist Fikret Bila highlights comments made by Religious Affairs President Ali Bardakoglu about a recent Newsweek article which said that a new vision rejecting radicalism in Islam was being devised in Ankara. He quotes Bardakoglu as saying that a group of scholars are reinterpreting Islamic rules so that they can be clearly understood by people, adding that their work is not connected with moderate Islam.

    In an article entitled "There are problems about religious freedom," Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal argues that there are still problems affecting freedom of religion due to what he describes as "top-down secularism" and the government's interference in religious affairs. He also describes criticism leveled against Foreign Minister Ali Babacan for saying that Muslim majority in Turkey also faces problems related to freedom of religion as overreaction.

    A report entitled "ECHR Approves Headscarf ban" in Hurriyet says that the European Court of Human Rights dismissed an application filed by two Turkish teachers who complained that their religious freedoms had been restricted and that they were discriminated against because they were prevented from wearing headscarf in the classroom.

    According to a news story entitled "Turkey: A country of pressures and bans", the Foundation of Scholarly and Cultural Studies, ILKAV, has put together a report cataloguing limitations on the "Islamic identity" in Turkey in response to secularist circles who have criticized Foreign Minister Ali Babacan for saying that Muslims in Turkey face restrictions on their religious rights. The report asserts that ILKAV Chairman Mehmet Pamak, who spoke to Vakit, directed the following questions to those who maintain that Islam can be practiced best in Turkey:

    1. Can fathers in Turkey, who can send their six-year old children to ballet courses, arrange for their 11-year-olds to attend Koran courses?

    2. Can a female summa cum laude student attend the graduation ceremony wearing a headscarf?

    3. Can a mother who wears a headscarf visit her veteran son in a military hospital?"

    In an article entitled "Democratic discussion and the judiciary", Zaman writer M. Naci Bostanci criticizes the way in which the argument that the ruling AKP is a continuation of the National View tradition [represented by political parties led by Necmettin Erbakan] and that it has a hidden agenda to establish a moderate Islamic regime in Turkey is being "elevated to the status of truth" and opposing views are being dismissed as "illegitimate" by the mainstream news media.

    Under the headline, "No justice," Milli Gazete runs a front-page report which slams the European Court of Human Rights' latest ruling against the Islamic headscarf. According to the report, "the European Court invariably turns down appeals against the headscarf ban in Turkey and the closure of political parties like the Welfare Party while upholding appeals filed by communists, separatists, minorities, and gays and lesbians."

    c) EU's Approach to Turkey: In an article entitled "Increasing EU emphasis on secularism," Turkish Daily News columnist Mehmet Ali Birand analyzes the EU's approach to the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party and the secular system in Turkey. He says: "The EU will never really embrace our concept of secularism and will never approve the Kemalist approach. To the contrary, it will require us to adopt our concept to theirs and to see secularism as a part of the democratic system."

    d) Iraq: In an article entitled "Iraq's future," Hurriyet columnist Cuneyt Ulsever cautions that armed confrontations could spread to all parts of the Middle East if the United States pulls out its troops from Iraq in an untimely manner and without making necessary preparations.

    A report entitled "Strategic relationship with Iraq" in Cumhuriyet asserts that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Iraq which is expected to take place later this year will be intended to establish a strategic relationship between Ankara and Baghdad in order to safeguard US interests after the anticipated US withdrawal.

    e) Turkish President's Visit to Japan: In an article entitled "An overture to Japan," Milliyet columnist Sami Kohen says that President Abdullah Gul's official visit to Japan which is scheduled to begin today may prepare the ground for fruitful cooperation between the two countries in different fields.

    f) US elections: In an article entitled "If Obama is to win, Bush will hit Iran", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul claims that a group within the Bush administration led by Vice-President Dick Cheney has been making a "systematic" effort with its "partners" in Turkey in the past three years to have the ruling AKP shut down because it cannot predict how the AKP will react to a possible US attack on Iran. Karagul goes on to argue that a US-Israeli military campaign against Iran this summer would face Turkey with the need to make the toughest decision in its modern history. He also calls attention to claims that President Bush will launch such an offensive as soon as it becomes clear that the Republicans will lose to Barack Obama in the US presidential elections.

    In an article entitled "US versus Iran," Today's Zaman columnist Dogu Ergil discusses whether the Bush administration might "still [be] mulling over air strikes against Iran, which it sees as the main impediment to Pax Americana in the Middle East and the Islamic world."

    g) Kurdish issue: In an article entitled "A Kurdish television channel, Bahceli, and Erdogan", Yeni Safak columnist Hakan Albayrak disputes Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli's assertion that the Erdogan government's project to launch a Kurdish language channel amounts to a gesture toward the militant cadres of the terrorist PKK that heralds the political partition of Turkey. Albayrak claims that a Kurdish language television channel would be "a gesture toward millions of Kurds who are so desperate as to pin their hopes on the PKK." He also argues that in order for "the GAP [Southeastern Anatolian Project] action plan" disclosed by the Government to be successful, it should be accompanied by political initiatives designed to change the current atmosphere in the southeast. He ends by criticizing Prime Minister Erdogan for not maintaining his earlier emphasis on the "Kurdish issue" during his latest visit to Diyarbakir.

    In an article entitled "Active days in Diyarbakir", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal asserts that the $12 billion package unveiled by Prime Minister Erdogan in Diyarbakir has raised hopes of an economic recovery among the populace in the southeast. He also expresses the hope that CHP leader Baykal's visit to Diyarbakir tomorrow will enable the CHP, which is pursuing "hard-line, neo-nationalist policies in Ankara," to develop "a more realistic and people-based policy."

    EG/


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