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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-11

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. 110/08 11.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] A research by KTOS on the issue of the Turkish settlers
  • [02] More statements by Hasan Ercakica on the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus; Reaction to the UN Secretary-General report on the UNFICYP
  • [03] Statements by Soyer on the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus and the economy of the breakaway regime
  • [04] The chairman of the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association, is visiting Morocco
  • [05] The team of the TRNC Basketball Federation played a match with the National Team of Syria in Istanbul
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot doctors are invited in a conference in Moldavia
  • [07] PACE invited Babacan to an urgent session on the closure case against AKP
  • [08] AKP decided that parliament will not recess until closure case is finalized
  • [09] Establishment of a new party in Turkey
  • [10] Former Kanalturk owner set to take over political party
  • [11] South Korean Chief of Staff to visit Turkey
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [12] "Gendarmerie: Tool for Military to Manipulate Citizens"
  • [13] From the Turkish press of 10 June 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] A research by KTOS on the issue of the Turkish settlers

    Under the title The document that we are being annihilated, we are one out of three, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.06.08) reports that the results of the annual research carried out by the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) among 22.996 students are sad.

    The results of the research showed that the percentage of the students whose parents are both citizens of the Republic of Cyprus in the kindergartens and the primary schools in the occupied areas is 34%, those who are Cypriots because of the origin of the one parent are 9%, those who have double citizenship are 19% and those whose parents are both from Turkey are 37%.

    In statements at a press conference yesterday on the issue, Sener Elcil, general secretary of KTOS, said that the Turkish Cypriots have become a minority in their own country and pointed out that the population which is on the island to work will acquire the right of becoming a citizen of the breakaway regime after five years.

    The process of the annihilation will be intensified with this, he added. Mr Elcil noted that those who are trying to deceive the world by saying that there is no transfer of population to the occupied areas have made this transfer official by registering the illegal workers. He pointed out that the transfer of population prevents the sound planning in the fields of education and health.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] More statements by Hasan Ercakica on the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus; Reaction to the UN Secretary-General report on the UNFICYP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.06.08), under the title Britain has made an ugly bargaining, reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, has once more commented on the memorandum signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom.

    During his press briefing yesterday, Mr Ercakica argued that an ugly bargaining was made between the UK and Cyprus because of the British bases in south Cyprus.

    He alleged that in this bargaining the role of the UK in preparing the reports under the umbrella of the UN was used as well. Mr Ercakica reiterated the view that the memorandum will influence negatively the process for the solution of the Cyprus problem, but added that they are not considering the suspension of the negotiations.

    Noting that Britain is one of the three guarantor powers in Cyprus, Mr Ercakica pointed out that some circles show Britain as responsible for the creation of the Cyprus problem. Asked whether the memorandum aims at creating continuous tension between the two peoples on the island, Mr Ercakica replied that as spokesman of Mr Talat he did not want to answer this question and added: The British policy of divide and rule is a widely spread view in the political history. I do not want to comment on whether the latest developments are an element of this policy.

    Mr Ercakica alleged that the stance of the Greek Cypriot side during the past few weeks is harming the negotiations process. He argued that the Greek Cypriots are exerting efforts internationally to unilaterally spoil the balances of the agreements achieved on 21 March and 23 May.

    Commenting on the reports submitted recently by the UN Secretary-General to the Security Council for the extension of the term of office of UNFICYP, Mr Ercakica argued that the expression used in paragraph 45 regarding the feeling of isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is a serious regression from the strong emphasis made in the previous reports on the so-called isolation. He said that they are expressing their sorrow for this development, which was allegedly an effort to satisfy the Greek Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Statements by Soyer on the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus and the economy of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.06.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has alleged that some forces in the Greek Cypriot side are using delaying tactics on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem and therefore the Turkish Cypriots should keep their cool-headedness and struggle without losing their morale for taking their place as equal side in the international community.

    In statements yesterday morning to Genc TV television, Mr Soyer alleged that with the memorandum signed between the Republic of Cyprus and the UK, the Greek Cypriot side is trying to hide the equal status of the Turkish Cypriots. Britain, instead of pursuing a balanced policy, is following a policy for those who are closer to it. It is pursuing the policy of playing both ends against the middle.

    However, the important thing is the two leaders to keep on the agenda the federal solution which will be formed by two founding states. He alleged that the memorandum is not in harmony with the united Cyprus.

    Halkin Sesi reports also that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has said that the GDP of the Turkish Cypriots increased from 975 million dollars in the year 2003 to 2.5 billion dollars last year.

    In statements yesterday at the opening ceremony of a new branch of Limassol Turkish Cooperative Bank, Mr Soyer noted that this is an important development, but it is never enough. He reminded that the GDP of Malta is 4 billion dollars and added that they should concentrate on achieving this as well.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] The chairman of the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association, is visiting Morocco

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.06.08) reports that Ertan Ersan, chairman of the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association, is visiting Morocco after an invitation of the Federation of Missing Persons in the Mediterranean Sea Area (FEMED). According to a statement issued yesterday by the Association, Mr Ersan is departing for Rabat tomorrow to participate in a conference, inform the participants about the work on the issue of the missing persons in Cyprus until today and hold bilateral contacts.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The team of the TRNC Basketball Federation played a match with the National Team of Syria in Istanbul

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.06.08) reports that the mixed team of the TRNC basketball federation has played a match with the National Team of Syria, which is in Istanbul to hold preparation matches for the Asian Cup. The Syrian team played also with Turkish National Teams. The game with the Turkish Cypriot team took place after the initiative of the Basketball Federation of Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Turkish Cypriot doctors are invited in a conference in Moldavia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (11.06.08) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci met yesterday with Prof. Gheovghe Cioabanu, chairman of the Physicians Union of the Balkans, who is visiting the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to give lectures.

    Prof. Cioabanu was accompanied by the Turkish Cypriot vice president of the Union, Dr. Kaya Bekiroglu. Prof. Cioabanu toured the hospitals and the universities in the occupied areas and invited Turkish Cypriot doctors to the conference of the Union which will take place in Moldova between 16 and 18 September.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] PACE invited Babacan to an urgent session on the closure case against AKP

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.06.08) publishes the following report:

    Parliamentarians at Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, are preparing to discuss an ongoing closure case against Turkey's ruling party at an urgent session later this month, and they announced yesterday that Foreign Minister Ali Babacan has also been invited to the critical gathering, which observers fear could result in a decision to put Turkey back on a list of countries that require monitoring of their democratic practices.

    The proposal to hold an urgent meeting came after a state prosecutor asked the Constitutional Court in March to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on charges of becoming a focal point for anti-secular activities. The proposal was introduced at the initiative of the heads of the assembly's five political groups and approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Bureau during a recent meeting on May 29.

    As of yesterday afternoon, officials at the Foreign Ministry were not able to say whether Babacan would accept the invitation by Strasbourg. The same officials, however, emphasized that the issue is being followed by Ankara at highest level as a state affair.

    Mevlut Cavusoglu, an AK Party member and the head of the Turkish delegation to PACE, said Turkish parliamentarians have been exerting intense efforts for preventing a possible monitoring decision.

    A monitoring process will do serious damage to Turkey and it will be more difficult to get released from that process compared to the past, Cavusoglu told Today's Zaman, noting that he believed that PACE is not aiming to punish Turkey. They aim to help Turkey "overcome ongoing problems without crisis," he added, reiterating that the idea of an urgent debate has not been welcomed at all by Turkey.

    If a decision for holding an urgent debate on a particular country is made, the possibility of that country being put under monitoring procedure is high, Luc Van den Brande, a Belgian member of PACE, told Today's Zaman, noting that the most important reason for holding the debate was the closure case against the AK Party.

    Last week, Turkey's Constitutional Court overturned a constitutional amendment that would have ended a ban on the Muslim headscarf in universities, a move that has widely been interpreted as indicating that the court is positioning itself above Parliament as a legislative organ. The headscarf ruling will play a central role in the closure case against the AK Party -- which has been in power since 2002 and was re-elected last July with an overwhelming 47 percent of the popular vote -- on charges of anti-secular activities. The chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, who filed the case, is also seeking to ban 71 AK Party members, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as President Abdullah Gul, from belonging to a political party for five years.

    In June 2004 PACE decided to end the monitoring of Turkey, declaring that the country had achieved more reform in a little over two years than in the previous decade and had clearly demonstrated its commitment and ability to fulfil its statutory obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe. Then, the assembly resolved to continue "post-monitoring dialogue" with Turkish authorities on a twelve-point list of outstanding issues. Only two other countries, Bulgaria and Macedonia [FYROM], are in the process of post-monitoring dialogue.

    Turkey has been a member of the Council of Europe since 1949, when it undertook to honour obligations concerning pluralist democracy, the rule of law and human rights enshrined in the organization's founding statute. The assembly's monitoring procedure -- which involves regular visits to the country and dialogue with its authorities -- was opened in 1996.

    The PACE Monitoring Committee currently has 11 countries under monitoring procedure: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine.

    During the upcoming debate, the assembly is likely to appoint Brande, who is a member of the Monitoring Committee, as rapporteur for Turkey. Brande acknowledged that he was likely to be assigned to the post and added that this would be clear as of June 23.

    There are criteria set for closure of political parties by the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. We see that these criteria are not met in the case against the AK Party, Brande told Today's Zaman, referring to the fact that according to the principles of the Venice Commission, of which Turkey is a member, a political party can only be banned if it advocates the use of violence or seeks to use violence to overthrow the constitutional order.

    An EU candidate needs to obey rules set by the Council of Europe for protection of democracy and human rights. Speaking frankly, it is not possible for a country under the Council of Europe's monitoring to also be a member of the EU. There is, of course, a mutual interaction between the EU and the Council of Europe, Brande said when asked whether a possible monitoring decision by Strasbourg would have any impacts on Turkey's EU bid.

    Turkey was given EU candidate country status at the Helsinki summit in December 1999, when it was also noted that it would be required to meet the same conditions for accession as other countries.

    Turkey started an expansive reform process after the summit in order to meet the EU criteria and has been engaged in this process ever since. The then-coalition government under the late Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit abolished the death penalty in 2002 as a historic step toward the EU.

    The Copenhagen summit in December 2002 also moved Turkey closer to the EU. The EU Council finally decided that negotiations would start without delay if Turkey met the Copenhagen political criteria by the December 2004 summit, only a few months after PACE had decided to end the monitoring of Turkey.

    Turkey began EU membership talks in 2005, but they have been held back by the continued division of Cyprus, slow progress in EU-mandated reforms and frosty attitudes in some EU countries, such as France. The EU froze eight chapters in 2006 in response to Turkey's refusal to grant trade privileges to Cyprus, which Ankara does not recognize, under a customs union pact with the bloc.

    PACE rapporteur plans to visit Turkey in autumn

    Only a day before an urgent planned debate on Turkey, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will discuss a report concerning the state of democracy in Europe on June 25 during the during the assembly's upcoming plenary session later this month. Constitutional reform is still required in Turkey, with a view to ensuring full compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights, the report notes as a major shortcoming concerning Turkey with respect to the separation of powers and the role of Parliament.

    Serhiy Holovaty of Ukraine, the rapporteur, also said that he planned to visit Turkey in autumn this year in his capacity as chair of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee).

    Holovaty said he would report back to the committee on progress made by Turkish authorities on the 12 issues mentioned in 2004 when PACE had decided to end the monitoring of Turkey, declaring that the country had achieved more reform in a little over two years than in the previous decade and had clearly demonstrated its commitment and ability to fulfil its statutory obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe. Then, the assembly resolved to continue "post-monitoring dialogue" with the authorities on a 12-point list of outstanding issues.

    [08] AKP decided that parliament will not recess until closure case is finalized

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (10.06.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkey's ruling party decided on Tuesday not to go into (parliamentary) summer recess until the closure case against AK Party was finalized.

    In its meeting at the parliament, the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party members agreed to suspend parliamentary recess until the top court made public its verdict about the closure against their party.

    The AK Party group made this decision. In Tuesday's meeting, Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the opinions of the members and the AK Party MPs said that they agree with the decision.

    Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, filed a lawsuit on March 14th, asking the top court of Turkey (Constitutional Court) to close AK Party. He said the party has become the focal point of anti-secular activities.

    In his indictment, the chief prosecutor demanded 71 people, including President Abdullah Gul (a former foreign minister) and Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to be banned from politics for five years.

    On March 31st, the Constitutional Court convened to make a preliminary assessment of the indictment and the judges accepted to open a debate on it unanimously while they voted 7-4 on the part of the indictment related to President Gul.

    Ak Party submitted its preliminary written defence to the court on April 30th, and the chief prosecutor submitted his opinion on the merits of the case on May 30th. Now, the party is expected to submit its defence on the merits of the case. Then, Yalcinkaya will do a verbal statement and AK Party will answer to this. Later the rapporteur assigned by the court will prepare his/her report on the merits of the case.

    In this phase, the chief prosecutor can submit further evidence and AK Party can submit additional material to the rapporteur. Then the report will be distributed to court members for consideration.

    Later Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic will set a date and the court will start hearing the case on its merits. If AK Party requests extra time for its defence, the court will also assess this request.

    According to the Constitution, at least 7 of the 11 members of the court have to vote for closure in order to shut down a political party. In line with Article 69 of the Constitution, the court may instead decide to reduce or cut the financial aid given to this political party from the Treasury.

    [09] Establishment of a new party in Turkey

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.06.08) reports the following:

    The Greens of Turkey, who have struggled to establish their movement in Turkey since the 1980s, will seek to become a political party at the end of this month, with a platform based upon environmental principles and direct democracy.

    This will be the second effort of the Greens to set up a political party; the first came in 1988 and was successful, but the party was closed down in 1994 by the Constitutional Court due to irregularities in the party budget.

    In an interview with Todays Zaman, Greens spokesman Umit Tahin said the organizational structure of the party will be different from others. We will of course fulfil the requirements of the Law on Political Parties, but we will have our own rules, such as a 50 percent quota of women members and rotation of party officials. We will not have a leader, but rather one man and one woman spokesperson, Tahin noted.

    The Greens of Turkey, even before becoming a political party, were accepted as an observer in the European Green Parties Council in 2005.

    The Greens of Turkey have the same platform as many other global Greens -- ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, non-violence, decentralization, community-based economics, feminism, respect for diversity, global responsibility and future focus.

    In their party program, detailed on their Web site, the Greens of Turkey claim that wars were started in order to control water and oil resources in the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia, while Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq were occupied and Turkey is in the middle of all these problems; thus, they say, international politics based on regional cooperation, peace and friendship is necessary. The Greens of Turkey have pledged to cooperate with the Greens of the world to overcome these problems and not to act on the basis of nationalism.

    According to the Greens, Turkey is suffering from human rights violations, military coups and social injustice, all stemming from an authoritarian approach to governing.

    The Greens note that their movement began based on civil society organizations but that in recent years the concept of civil society organizations has been abused. The Greens say they will derive their power from real civil society organizations that are working for democracy.

    The Greens define the existing Constitution as a product of the 1980 military coup and demand that a new, shorter constitution be created that focuses on basic rights. According to the Greens all types of interference in democratic politics should be banned. They note that the new constitution should emphasize that the freedoms of citizens should not be restricted in the interest of the state. They would also like to see restrictions on and civil monitoring of military expenditures along with the abolishment of the National Security Council (MGK). The Greens also want Turkey to withdraw from NATO, the Americans to be prevented from using Incirlik Air Base and the complete demilitarization of Cyprus. When it comes to the EU the Greens are in favour of continuing with the countrys accession negotiations but pledge to work for an EU based on Green principles.

    Regarding the Kurdish question the Greens propose that Turkey must confront the mistakes of the past and recognize the Kurdish identity.

    The Greens will discuss the details of the partys bylaws on June 21 during a meeting in Istanbul.

    [10] Former Kanalturk owner set to take over political party

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.06.08) reports the following:

    Tuncay Ozkan, who recently sold his neo-nationalist and ultra-secularist television network Kanalturk to a businessman close to the government, has announced plans to go into politics as the leader of a political party set up by constitutional law professor Mumtaz Soysal, a former foreign minister and deputy from the Democratic Left Party (DSP).

    Soysal, known for his unyielding nationalism, is best remembered in Turkey for his legal battle that indefinitely blocked the record sale of state telecommunications company Turk Telekom during the prime ministry of Tansu Ciller in 1996. A consortium led by Saudi Arabias Oger Telecom bought a 55 percent stake in the company for $6.55 billion in a privatization auction in 2006, which analysts have said was much lower than what would have been paid had the privatization been completed in a timely manner.

    Soysal -- who currently leads the Independent Republican Party (BCP) -- is prepared to his leadership to the former Kanalturk owner, reports said yesterday. Soysal and founding members will vote on the transfer of the party this Saturday.

    The BCP, which uses a Sunflower as its emblem, was founded by Professor Soysal on July 24, 2002. The first regular party congress was held on July 26, 2003 and the second was held on June 24, 2006.

    Ozkans anti-government broadcaster Kanalturk was sold for $25 million to Turkish Koza Davetiye in May, a decision made under pressure, Ozkan had said in defence of his move. The sale of the station to a pro-government group had drawn fierce criticism from secularists.

    Ozkan had said the broadcaster was in a financial bottleneck and further defended himself by saying he was obliged to make the sale to Koza Davetiye as no social democrats wanted to buy it.

    The former Kanalturk owner has accused the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government of trying to create a media of its own. He is also the founder of a movement, Kac Kisiyiz? (How many are we?), as a platform for nationalist opposition. The movements Web site was bombarded with messages of protest against Ozkan after the sale.

    Koza is the owner of the conservative, pro-government Bugun newspaper. Although a small television station, Kanalturk was the countrys most outspoken anti-government broadcaster and the unofficial media sponsor of pro-nationalist and secularist demonstrations held in 2007 to protest the government.

    [11] South Korean Chief of Staff to visit Turkey

    Turkish Daily News (10.06.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    South Korea's Army Chief of Staff Gen. Lim Choung-bin will visit Turkey June 12 to meet top military officials including Ilker Basbug, Turkey's land forces commander, according to a statement released by the South Korean Army yesterday and reported in The Korea Times. The Turkish military plans to present Lim with one of its top military decorations, and he will also meet with Turkish arms acquisition officials to promote exports of South Korea's advanced weapons systems.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [12] "Gendarmerie: Tool for Military to Manipulate Citizens"

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (10.06.08) published the following commentary by Lale Sariibrahimoglu:

    A fresh report leaked to the press has brought into the spotlight yet another military activity to manipulate politics through the Gendarmerie General Command (JGK), a paramilitary force controlled by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) although in theory subordinate to the Interior Ministry. Turkey's Taraf daily reported on June 7 the existence of a group set up in 2002 following the abolition of the so-called Western Work Group, which had been involved in activities within different segments of society, ultimately leading to the overthrow of the coalition government in 1997 over its alleged plan to infringe upon the country's secular character. According to the Taraf report, the Republican Work Group (CCG) was set up within the JGK, replacing the Western Work Group, following the election of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in the November 2002 elections.

    The new group, established by former JGK commander retired Gen. Sener Eruygur, who currently heads the Ataturkist Thought Association (ADD) -- which was behind the so-called republican rallies of last year to undermine the AK Party -- has been involved in activities to influence politics and the social atmosphere in Turkey.

    Eruygur was appointed JGK commander in 2002, the year the AK Party entered office.

    Not surprisingly, the group's goal has been to overthrow the government that the secular establishment perceived as a threat to the secular order of the nation, utilizing the judiciary and academics as well as other segments of society.

    The Taraf daily cited its source as an unnamed military officer who provided a CD on which information about the CCG is stored in slide shows and text documents.

    Eruygur's name was also implicated in a failed coup attempt called "Ayisigi," according to the alleged diaries of former Naval Forces Commander retired Adm. Ozden Ornek, published in the now-closed Nokta newsweekly.

    The Taraf daily continued its report on June 8, noting that university rectors as well as NGOs have been among those working in cooperation with the CCG.

    The CCG, according to information on the CD, has no legal standing and is not shown as being a part of the TSK's official organizational structure.

    The CCG has initiated a number of activities, reports and events since early 2003. It has blacklisted a multitude of individuals, agencies, schools, civil society groups, business owners and public agencies and their employees for their religious affiliations, Taraf said.

    The latest Taraf report has once again underlined for us the military's ongoing activities, usually using the gendarmerie as a tool, to influence and monitor the public. This activity bears the potential to further destabilize the political atmosphere, as has been the case with the recent court decision on headscarves.

    There has been a deep belief in Turkish society that behind last week's Constitutional Court ruling that a legal change allowing women attending universities to wear headscarves was unconstitutional was a campaign led by the military-led secular establishment.

    The change, proposed by the AK Party in cooperation with the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and passed by Parliament in February, was turned down on the grounds that it violated the principles of secularism enshrined in Turkey's Constitution.

    What has been striking, among other things, is the military's use of the JGK in its campaign to influence citizens from every walk of life with the aim of maintaining its power within the political system.

    This is despite the fact that the JGK's area of jurisdiction and responsibilities far exceed those of its duties as defined by law.

    Theoretically, as far as security, public order services and duties are concerned, the JGK is a military security force operating by all appearances subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in times of peace, and under the command of the Land Forces as part of the TSK in times of war.

    In practice, however, the JGK is a TSK component operating under the command of the General Staff, as confirmed by its duties in the armed forces, organizational precepts, budget, system of promotion, and personnel training and education.

    The fight against domestic threats, as posited by the Constitution, aims at maintaining the order of the state, its democratic and secular nature and its integrity. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, whereas defence against external threats falls under the responsibility of the General Staff and the Ministry of Defence.

    However the TSK also intervenes in matters of domestic security, using the gendarmerie as stipulated by a number of laws and internal memos.

    [13] From the Turkish press of 10 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 10 June:

    a) Closure Case Against AKP: In an article in Radikal, columnist Murat Yetkin views the strategy the AKP plans to adopt in the event of the closure of the party by the Constitutional Court. According to "high-ranking" party officials, he says, the AKP is inclined to establish a new party in 2-3 weeks after the announcement of the ruling. Considering the fact that all the assets of the AKP, including the party headquarters, will be transferred to the Treasury if the party is closed down, the party believes that members working from separate offices can easily communicate via the Internet as the AKP is capable of using all the communication tools very well. Yetkin concludes by citing AKP deputy leader Reha Denemec as saying: "We believe that common sense will prevail and the party will not be closed down. However, in the event of closure, we can easily establish a new organization."

    Under the headline, "Closure lawsuit might cause Turkey to be placed on list of second-class democracies," Zaman runs a front-page report according to which the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly is convening urgently in response to the latest developments in Turkey to discuss whether to relegate Turkey to the category of weak democracies once again.

    In an article entitled "Neocons are about to seize control of Turkey", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul asserts that ultra-rightist forces in the United States that represent "Anglo-Saxon racism" have been carrying out a campaign in the past three years to restructure politics in Turkey with a view to breaking "local resistance" to the occupation of Iraq and a military offensive against Iran and prevent Turkey from developing regional initiatives concerning Lebanon and "Palestine." He cites Michael Rubin's "vituperative" Wall Street Journal article about Turkey that compares Prime Minister Erdogan to Vladimir Putin as a recent manifestation of this endeavour. He also claims that Washington and the Turkish bureaucratic establishment are making a concerted effort to eject the AKP and Erdogan from power.

    In an article entitled "What will you do about the people?", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru asks "interventionist" groups in Turkey that are opposed to the AKP how they would deal with some 16,5 million AKP supporters if this party were closed down, most of its leaders were banned from politics, Abdullah Gul had to step down as president, a new government led by Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal or a "local Putin" were established, and all the restrictions on freedoms instituted during the 28 February process were imposed again. He claims that if the establishment has nothing better at its disposal than social engineering methods to press ahead with its agenda, it would be well advised to recall how such methods failed to achieve their intended results during the 28 February process.

    Under the banner headline, "Recuse the court," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that all public sections are calling on the Erdogan government to either "recuse" [reject] the nine justices of the top court who ruled against the constitutional amendments passed by Parliament or resign en masse. According to the report, the judges in question have revealed their bias against the AKP and are therefore unqualified to hear the closure case against this party.

    In an article entitled "Arinc: Either go the nation or let the nation punish them", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven argues that in the face of the Constitutional Court's latest ruling, there is no point in the AKP continuing to defend itself in the closure lawsuit heard by the top court. He advises the AKP to reject the court, withdraw its defence, and resign from Parliament in order to face the Establishment with an "insoluble problem."

    In an article entitled "Who does sovereignty rest with?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak argues that the Constitutional Court's 5 June ruling has suspended the democratic and republican regime and replaced it with an "oligarchic dictatorship." He claims that the ruling is null and void because it is contrary to international treaties as well as domestic laws. He also urges the Government, Parliament, law associations, and human rights groups to file appeals against the ruling with the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    In an article entitled "This parliament should act like founding fathers", Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi censures the Constitutional Court's latest ruling as a move that is "as absurd as the banning of the printing press" and "an act of rebellion as reactionary as the 31 March uprising" in Turkey [on 13 April, 1909]. He claims that the ruling is a manifestation of the reluctance of the "bureaucratic state" to let the people govern this country. He also calls on the National Assembly to prevent this "violation of [parliamentary] authority by passing a new constitution.

    In an article entitled "Toward a legitimacy crisis", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal slams AKP officials for calling for an "all-out struggle" against the Constitutional Court and making suggestions ranging from suspending the court's latest ruling to drawing up an entirely new constitution. Unal accuses the AKP of trying to suppress all opposition to its rule by controlling the news media and packing the bureaucracy with its own supporters and "not failing to talk about democracy even for a second in doing all this." He also claims that the AKP's response to the top court's recent ruling could compound the ongoing "regime crisis" and give rise to a "legitimacy crisis" amid concerns that this party is trying to exploit the blessings of democracy as a means of ending the democratic regime.

    In an article entitled "How to save Erdogan", Bugun columnist Hakan Aygun asserts that the Constitutional Court could word it reasons for annulling the amendments to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution in such a way as to pave the way for penal proceedings against Prime Minister Erdogan that could disqualify Erdogan from being re-elected as prime minister as an independent deputy after the AKP has been closed down.

    b) Constitutional Court Ruling on Headscarf Ban: A commentary by Milliyet's Sami Kohen says that the Western world displayed a "measured reaction" to the Constitutional Court ruling supporting the headscarf ban when compared to its reaction to the lawsuit against the AKP. However, Kohen adds, that does not mean that the decision was taken as a negative development by certain political and media circles in the West and the Arab world. He asserts that the EU adopted a "cautious" approach toward the Turkish Court's ruling because the EU members do not have a "common standard" on the headscarf issue. That is why, he says, the organization is unable to warn Turkey to comply with the EU norms on that matter. According to Kohen, the reason behind certain Europeans' negative reaction is their assessment of the ruling as a "signal" for the closure of the AKP.

    An article by Radikal columnist Nuray Mert says that she is against the Constitutional Court ruling that annuls the law lifting the headscarf ban in universities. Stressing that she believes the use of headscarf will be allowed in universities regardless of whether or not it is used as a "political symbol," Mert says that everyone has the right to "side with a political ideology" without resorting to violence. However, she also censures the circles that attack the Constitutional Court by saying that the Constitution has become null and void after the recent ruling on the headscarf issue. Warning that none of the countries can tolerate the consequences of such attacks, she says: "Supporting students' right to use headscarf in universities does not conflict with the essence of secularism, but targeting the Constitutional Court because of its insistence on the [headscarf] ban would mean to create a debate over the regime."

    An editorial by Yusuf Kanli of the Turkish Daily News claims that the real reason behind the headscarf crisis is the rift between the supporters of a Western-type democracy and those who try to turn Turkey into a leader in the Islamic world. Kanli notes: "...we have to understand that we are just living through the latest battle in a war of where Turkey will head: East or West? Toward orientalism, or modernity? Integration with democracies of the West? Or, becoming the elder-brother of its geography and the Islamic world?"

    Writing in the same newspaper, Mensur Akgun says in his article that the Constitutional Court dragged Turkey into a serious crisis with its latest decision and created an environment where its legitimacy is under question.

    An article by Mehmet Ali Birand of the Turkish Daily News argues that the court's ruling has nothing to do with law or democracy, adding, the Constitutional Court has made a "political decision to block off the turban, a most significant symbol." However, the ruling will not prevent the strengthening of the AKP, he adds.

    EG/


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