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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-13

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. 112/08 13.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] The Turkish Cypriot side submitted a document with its views regarding the developments in the working groups and the technical committees
  • [02] Turkish Cypriot journalist argued that the British will undertake an initiative so that the reaction to the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus is stopped and the climate becomes milder
  • [03] Reactions to the problem of the broadcast of three Turkish television channels
  • [04] Avci criticized Mrs Bakoyianni for her statement regarding the guarantees noting that the guarantees of Turkey are indispensable for them
  • [05] Data regarding the villas and the tourism installations constructed in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [06] Basin Sen is participating in the general assembly of the EFJ
  • [07] A Turkish Cypriot billiard team participated in the European cup in Slovakia
  • [08] Turkish MPs and Dutch Justice Minister discussed about Cyprus
  • [09] Ihsanoglu talks about OICs new chapter
  • [10] Parties ready for probable early election
  • [11] Turkish-Arab Economic Forum kicked-off in Istanbul
  • [12] Turkish parliament allow property sell to foreigners
  • [13] Korean Land Forces Commander was decorated in Turkey
  • [14] MIT budget for 2008 announced
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] How to deal with Turkeys bureaucratic sovereigns
  • [16] From the Turkish Press of 12 June 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] The Turkish Cypriot side submitted a document with its views regarding the developments in the working groups and the technical committees

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot side has submitted to the Greek Cypriot side a new document regarding the results of the deliberations of the technical committees. The document was given yesterday by Ozdil Nami, advisor of the Turkish Cypriot leader, to George Iacovou, Presidential Commissioner.

    According to information acquired by illegal TAK news agency from Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Nami and Iacovou met yesterday for one and a half hours at the Ledra Palace hotel and evaluated the recent political developments and the work in the technical committees and the working groups.

    Mr Ercakica said that the work of the technical committees and the working groups is continuing and added that the Greek Cypriot side has not yet submitted any document regarding the evaluation of the results of this work.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Turkish Cypriot journalist argued that the British will undertake an initiative so that the reaction to the memorandum between the UK and Cyprus is stopped and the climate becomes milder

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that its journalist Kerem Hasan, who participated in the reception given by the British High Commission to Nicosia on the occasion of the 82nd anniversary of the birthday of Queen Elisabeth the Second, asked the British High Commissioner, Mr Peter Millet what he meant by saying that a new page is opened in the relations of the two countries with the memorandum between the UK and the Republic of Cyprus.

    According to the paper, Mr Millet told Mr Hasan that the UK and Cyprus are together in the EU and they want to work together on many issues. However, we also want to work with the Turkish Cypriot community, he added. According to the paper the fact that Mr Millet gave an irrelevant answer to the question of the Turkish Cypriot journalist drew the attention.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot columnist Mete Tumerkan, writing in Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that he also attended the above mentioned reception and had the opportunity to talk with Mr Millet. Mr Tumerkan argues that the British are surprised by the reaction of the Turkish Cypriot side to the memorandum and that they actually were not expecting such a reaction.

    They will undertake an initiative within the coming days so that this reaction is stopped and the climate becomes milder, he notes. Mr Tumerkan alleges that it is obvious that with the memorandum an effort is made to strengthen Christofias against his internal opponents and thus Christofias to act more comfortably at the negotiations.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that the so-called Turkish Cypriot National Existence Council placed yesterday a black wreath at the door of the office of the British High Commission in the occupied part of Nicosia, in order to protest for the memorandum signed with the Republic of Cyprus.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that the rectors of the five illegal universities of the occupied areas of Cyprus expressed yesterday their reaction to the memorandum signed between the UK and the Republic of Cyprus. They alleged that with the memorandum Britain accepted the isolation implemented against the universities in the TRNC.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Reactions to the problem of the broadcast of three Turkish television channels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (13.06.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs, has alleged that the memorandum signed last week between the UK and the Republic of Cyrus and the problems to the three Turkish television channels, NTV, ATV and Avrasya TV (ART) which cannot be watched clearly in the occupied part of Cyprus because of a powerful transmission by a channel in the free areas of the Republic, are tantamount to dynamiting the solution of the Cyprus problem. In statements yesterday he said that the so-called Higher Transmission Council (YYK) and the self-styled ministry of foreign affairs are working on the issue and a protest was made, but the protest in writing is not enough.

    Mr Avci said that in case the Greek Cypriots do not stop interfering, the Turkish Cypriot side will interfere in the frequency.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that Ilkay Diren, chairperson of the YYK made yesterday a statement to the illegal TAK news agency on this issue and said that they held a meeting yesterday with officials of illegal BRT television and discussed urgent measures. Diren called on the Greek Cypriots to come to reason and to return their transmission frequencies to the situation which existed before.

    Moreover, Kibris reports that the situation was also criticized yesterday by the National Unity Party (UBP), which accused the government of the breakaway regime of not standing upright against the Greek Cypriots.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Avci criticized Mrs Bakoyianni for her statement regarding the guarantees noting that the guarantees of Turkey are indispensable for them

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.06.08) reports that the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Dora Bakoyianni who arrived yesterday in the island, said that there is no need for guarantees in a reunified European Cyprus.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (13.06.08) covers Mrs Bakoyiannis statements under the banner front-page title The support to Turkey is not an open cheque. The paper notes that Mrs Bakoyianni said that the support of Greece and Cyprus is sincere for Turkeys accession to the EU, but Ankara should fulfil all the criteria demanded by the EU.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that Turgay Avci, self-styled minister of foreign affairs criticized yesterday the statement made by the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Dora Bakoyianni who said that the guarantees and the intervention rights are old fashioned.

    Asked to comment on this statement, Mr Avci said that the guarantees of Turkey are indispensable for them. He argued: If there is good will, if there is no ulterior motive, no one should worry about the guarantees of Turkey, Greece and Britain. However, if there is ulterior motive, if the decade of the sixties is still considered, this means that we are right.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Data regarding the villas and the tourism installations constructed in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08), under the title Four thousand villas are like hotels, reports that the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers Union (KITOB), Turhan Beydagli has said that the foreigners who buy houses in the occupied areas of Cyprus rent these houses to tourists, especially coming from Britain and Germany.

    In statements yesterday, Beydagli pointed out that this is harming the hotel sector in the occupied part of the island. He noted that especially the two and three-star hotels are suffering great loses. He said that there are around four thousand villas which are rented to tourists and used as hotels. He pointed out that this is tantamount to sixteen thousand unregistered hotel beds.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that a construction site consisting of eleven villas in the occupied Trikomo area has been closed down by the Construction Council and the municipality of Trikomo, because they were built by unregistered contractors who also had not acquired a permit. It was established that the villas were built by a company named Pamfilia Constructions in an area of 2000 square meters.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (13.06.08) reports that Turgut Muslu, director of the so-called tourism planning office, has said that there is no boom yet in the number of tourists who visit the occupied areas of Cyprus but there is a boom in the number of the hotels. He noted that while in the year 2003 there were 115 tourist installations with the capacity of 11.550 beds, this number reached 127 installations and 13.453 beds in 2006. Last year, he added, these numbers exceeded 130 and 15.000 respectively.

    There are eleven five-star installations in the occupied area with the capacity of 6.274 beds. Furthermore, another 45 installations are under construction with the capacity of 10.883 beds. When these installations are completed the bed capacity will exceed 25.000. Referring to the occupied area of Vokolida, Mr Muslu said that it was determined as Tourism Investment Area, that one out of the thirteen tourism investments was completed and entered into service, while another four are being built there.

    When all the investments are completed the area is expected to have the capacity of 16.000 beds. He said that regarding the efforts for developing the guesthouses in the villages, six buildings in the area of Karpass were restored and the construction of another eight buildings has begun.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Basin Sen is participating in the general assembly of the EFJ

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.06.08) reports that a delegation from the Turkish Cypriot Press Workers Trade Union (Basin Sen) will participate in the general assembly of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) which will take place in Berlin between 13 and 15 June. The head of the three-person delegation of Basin Sen will be Kemal Darbaz, chairman of the organization.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] A Turkish Cypriot billiard team participated in the European cup in Slovakia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (13.06.08) reports that the young national team of the TRNC in billiard has returned from Slovakia where it participated in the 2008 European Young Teams Cup, where it played matches, inter alia, with the teams of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Hungary. The Turkish Cypriot team won six out of the fifteen matches it played.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Turkish MPs and Dutch Justice Minister discussed about Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.06.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirch Ballin met members of Turkish Parliament's EU Adjustment and Justice Committees in Ankara on Thursday.

    EU Adjustment Committee's chairman Yasar Yakis said during the meeting that the support, which the Netherlands extended to Turkey's EU membership process, increased when compared to previous years.

    Yakis also expressed Turkey's views regarding Cyprus and Armenian issues. He recalled European Council's decision to lift pressures on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in 2004, and said that this decision bound Greek Cypriot administration, too. Yakis said that the Netherlands should put pressure on Greek Cypriot administration to apply the decision.

    Yakis said that Turkey was against qualifying 1915 incidents as genocide. He asked the Netherlands to make Armenia accept Turkey's conciliatory proposal about the issue.

    Justice Committee acting chairman Hakki Koylu also said that although PKK and DHKP-C were accepted as terrorist organizations in the EU, Turkey's judicial demands against those organizations were not met by several EU countries and other countries.

    Ballin expressed pleasure over contribution of Turkish citizens to the Netherlands in economy and culture.

    Ballin said that the Netherlands supported direct trade between the EU and TRNC, adding that direct trade between Armenia and Turkey should be made, too.

    [09] Ihsanoglu talks about OICs new chapter

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.06.08) reported the following from Baku:

    The secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has said that the organization's charter was changed is a summit three months ago, and member-states adopted a modern and broad-minded charter. In an exclusive interview with the A.A, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, who is currently in Baku, Azerbaijan to attend the conference on Increasing Women's role in Intercultural Dialogue, said, the organization carries out deep-rooted and radical works. For instance, a human rights commission will be established. There are also very significant scientific and technological projects. We are working on several programs to put universities in OIC-member countries among the world's best 500 universities.

    We aim at developing economic cooperation among the member states. We work to increase the trade volume up to 20 percent from the current 13 percent, he said.

    Some member countries demanded the OIC to form a peace force of Islamic countries. We need to make some decisions for such a force, he added.

    [10] Parties ready for probable early election

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.06.08) publishes the following report:

    If the Constitutional Court closes down the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and imposes a political ban on at least 26 of the 38 deputies cited in a lawsuit filed by the chief prosecutor, an early election will become inevitable in the fall. Under current laws, local elections currently scheduled to take place on March 29, 2009 will be held simultaneously with the early elections.

    Political parties have started political campaigns in consideration of the possibility of early elections. Although not even one year has passed since general elections were held on July 22, 2007, Turkey is discussing the possibility of holding early general elections. Despite the AK Party frequently noting that it considers early elections a last resort, they may become inevitable.

    The courts decision to annul constitutional amendments designed to lift a long-standing ban on wearing headscarves at universities has changed the expectations of AK Party legal experts on the pending closure case. The experts expect the court to deliver a similar ruling on the closure case, and even the most optimistic AK Party members, considering these developments, note that it is very unlikely the Constitutional Court will not close down the party.

    The legal experts anticipate a verdict by mid-July because the court takes a recess between July 31 and Sept. 1. If a decision is not made by July, it will be postponed to September or October.

    AK Party officials expect the court to act quickly and make a decision and even continue reviewing the file during the recess. In a statement issued on March 14, 2007, Constitutional Court Chairman Hasim Kilic noted that the judges may continue reviewing the case during the break, if necessary. Under Article 78 of the Constitution, early elections have to be held if 5 percent (28 deputies) of parliamentary seats (550 seats total) have been vacated. Currently, Parliament has 548 deputies, meaning interim elections have to be held if 26 deputies are removed from office by the Constitutional Court. Under the said article, elections have to be held on the first Sunday after 90 days elapse following the loss of 5 pct of deputies.

    The process will be initiated not only by the AK Party closure case but also by a similar case filed against the Democratic Society Party (DTP). In the DTP case, the prosecutor is asking for a political ban on 10 deputies. A verdict for this case is expected sometime in the summer.

    Speaking to Todays Zaman, AK Party parliamentary group leader Nihat Ergun, who notes that his party is avoiding discussing early elections, says: We would like to move on. The game will be over if no resolution is found to this latest crisis. In such a case, the only way to begin anew is through elections. Hopefully Turkey will not be taken to this point.

    If the court decides to close down the AK Party, the decision will also concern local elections. Under Article 127 of the Constitution, local elections will have to be held simultaneously with general elections if holding local and general elections is essential. The said article provides for local elections to be held one year before or after if they can be combined with early general elections.

    However, the Higher Election Boards decision on elections is also important because it holds the authority to determine the election date. Its decision is vital because it is the official body that governs and runs elections, meaning it will have the final word on whether the said elections will be held simultaneously.

    [11] Turkish-Arab Economic Forum kicked-off in Istanbul

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.06.08) reports the following:

    Turkish and Arab leaders have stepped up efforts to develop economic ties between their countries and called on their businessmen to deepen cooperation and expand investments in their respective markets at a high-profile gathering in Istanbul.

    Economic and trade relations between Turkey and the Arab world are getting stronger, but they are still behind realizing their full potential, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday at the opening of the 3rd Turkish-Arab Economic Forum, a two-day event. The prime minister invited Arab businessmen to invest in the sectors of construction and energy in Turkey. He specifically invited businessmen from Arab countries to participate in Turkey's major planned tenders for the privatization of Turkish Airlines (THY), Turkey's Alcohol and Tobacco Monopoly (TEKEL) and the state-owned Halkbank.

    The forum, organized by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group in cooperation with Turkey's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DE0K) and the League of Arab States, promises to be a major regional business and economic event, at which a select group of speakers and participants from Turkey, the Arab world and other countries are exploring market opportunities and joint ventures in their respective markets.

    For the first time since its launch, the forum this year also became a platform for a special high-level meeting of Turkish and Arab political leaders to discuss the future of Turkish-Arab political relations and ways to improve coordination on major regional and international issues. The prime ministers of Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar and Somalia and the deputy prime minister of Iraq addressed the opening session of the forum yesterday. Ministers from participating countries and about 600 representatives of private sector companies from Turkey and the Arab countries were also present, as were senior officials from the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB).

    Turkey and the Arab world today are at a major juncture that is rich with opportunities and the potential for a deepening of mutual economic relations and cooperation and a widening of investments and financial ties.

    Erdogan praised the progress of the Turkish economy over the past five years and lamented that the Arab countries have not sufficiently benefited from the opportunities that this transformation offers to foreign investors.

    Powered by increasing industrial production and exports, an expanding services sector and a large inflow of direct foreign investment, Turkey has posted solid growth averaging around 7.2 percent annually since 2003.

    But Turkey's importance goes beyond that to its growing strategic stature as a major military power, its role as a voice of moderation in the region and as an essential route and hub of energy supplies to the West and a potential member of the European Union.

    Erdogan said Turkey's efforts to join the EU were of critical importance for the stability and peace in the region and asserted that Turkish membership will set an example for the peaceful coexistence of different cultures.

    The Arab world is also going through a full-fledged process of structural change and economic reform that is being carried forward on a historically unprecedented and rising tide of oil surpluses. The impact of these developments has been evident through strong economic growth across the region, growing demand for consumer and capital goods, a rush toward new development strategies and plans, a massive order book of projects in the Gulf countries and increasing competition for foreign investment and know how.

    Alongside all that, the rise of new, enormous sovereign funds, notably those of Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Qatar has made these and other Gulf countries major players in regional and international direct investments, as well as in world financial markets.

    Syrian PM: Syria attractive centre for investments

    Syrian Prime Minister Naji al-Otari, addressing the forum, also invited participants to invest in his country, saying the Syrian tourism and industrial sectors offered particularly attractive opportunities. He said the Syrian government was taking steps to encourage private sector investments and added that investors will soon begin to reap the fruits of the government's reform efforts.

    On relations with Turkey, he said authorities from the two countries were working to boost the capacity of border crossings and set up trade centres near the border. Plans are also being drafted for joint ventures in international markets and reducing customs procedures to a minimum at the border, the Syrian prime minister said.

    Turkey and Syria have taken significant measures to develop cooperation after the two countries buried past hostilities and launched a rapprochement in recent years. They are now cooperating in political and economic areas and Turkey has been mediating between Israel and Syria for peace talks for the past year.

    Israel has a major chance to establish peace with its neighbours and the Arab world, said Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad at the forum, calling on the Jewish state to work for peace and allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The Palestinian leader praised Turkish mediation between Syria and Israel and said his people looked up to Turkey, a country where Islam and democracy coexist, as a source of inspiration. The Palestinian government wants to stay away from religious fundamentalism and extremism, he said.

    Iraq wants strategic cooperation with Turkey

    Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh said in his address that Iraq was recovering quickly from an authoritarian regime and the US-led war that toppled it become an economically prosperous country integrated with its region and the international community.

    This new Iraq, which is now projecting a $70 billion yield from oil revenues in 2008, sees Turkey as a "strategic partner," he said, and emphasized that without cooperation from other countries it cannot meet its huge infrastructure needs on its own. He invited Turkish companies to take part in restructuring and construction projects and promised they will be given special treatment. We are determined to rebuild the Iraqi economy and democratic institutions, Saleh said. We see Turkey as a strategic partner and when I say it, I mean it. This is a strategic choice and Iraq wants to go ahead with it.

    Qatari Prime Minister Hamad Bin Jasim Bin Jabir Al-Thani was also optimistic about prospects for Turkish-Arab cooperation. There are wide opportunities for cooperation between our countries. I hope there will be even more productive cooperation between Turkey and Qatar in the coming period, he said.

    Somali Prime Minister Nour Hassan Hussein said investment environment was improving in his country after a deal between the government and the opposition ended a political crisis. Somalia's 330-kilometer-long Indian Ocean coast promises to be the world's biggest fishing area, he said. The country is also open to future cooperation with foreign countries in building and operating oil refineries.

    Unakitan warns Arabs against investing in US

    Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan urged Arab officials participating in a Turkish-Arab business forum in Istanbul to choose Turkey as the venue for their investments, warning them that the money they invest in the West could be lost because Western countries were preoccupied with channelling money from the oil-rich Arab world to deal with ongoing financial turbulence.

    Your money is your money; you can do whatever you want with it, Unakitan said in a speech at the 3rd Turkish-Arab Economic Forum. But these guys will leave you bankrupt. Is there any point in taking the money to the United States, investing there? Turkey is just next to you. Nobody's money will be lost here. Failure to repay debts has never happened here.

    Unakitan encountered difficulty in correcting a gaffe he made during his speech, using a Turkish phrase about Arab hair to refer to a messy situation. Things turn into Arab hair while trying to fix other things, he said at one point. Realizing his mistake, he then tried to correct it, saying the phrase stemmed from the fact that Arabs' hair is thick. Look at me, I have no hair at all, he said.

    [12] Turkish parliament allow property sell to foreigners

    Under the above title Hurriyet newspaper (12.06.08) reports the following:

    The Turkish parliament approved late Wednesday a government bill that allows sale of property to foreigners following the annulment of a similar law by the Constitutional court.

    According to the bill, foreigners will be not allowed to purchase property in irrigation, agricultural, religious, cultural, archaeological, strategic and specially protected areas, as well as areas protected for their unique characteristics such as energy resources and mines, and flora and fauna reserves.

    The bill authorizes the Council of Ministers to change the percentage --not more than 10 percent-- taking into consideration the significance of towns in terms of infrastructure, economy, energy, environment, culture, agriculture and the like.

    Housing Minister Faruk Nafiz Ozak said Turkish people own 220,000 properties in Germany; however, the number of properties sold to foreigners was 65,000 in Turkey, at the parliamentary session held for the bill.

    Not even one inch of land in the Southeastern Anatolia Project region was sold to Greek nationals. Seventy-two Israeli nationals have a total of 100 immovable properties in Turkey. And, there are no foreigners buying real estate around the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, he said when the opposition criticized the bill.

    The Ministry of Public Works and Settlement temporarily halted Turkish property sales to foreigners at the beginning of April inline with a Constitutional Court ruling three months prior.

    [13] Korean Land Forces Commander was decorated in Turkey

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (12.06.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Land Forces Commander Gen. Lim Choung Bin of South Korea has been decorated with the Turkish Armed Forces Medal of Merit for his contributions to improvement of relations between the two armed forces and the two countries. Gen. Lim who is currently paying an official visit to Turkey, met Turkish Land Forces Commander Gen. Ilker Basbug.

    Speaking at the meeting, Gen. Lim said that the medal bestowed by the Turkish Armed Forces would further strengthen the ties between the republics of Turkey and South Korea, and it would also make a valuable contribution to justice and peace in the world.

    [14] MIT budget for 2008 announced

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (13.06.08) reports that for 2008 a budget of 423.5 million New Turkish Liras (217.5 million Euro) has been allocated in order to cover the needs of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT). This money will be distributed in personnel salaries, security forces payments, purchasing of property and maintenance services and investments.

    (ML)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [15] How to deal with Turkeys bureaucratic sovereigns

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (13.06.08) publishes the following commentary by Ali H. Aslan:

    President Bush was exactly right in speaking supportively of Turkey's EU membership both privately and publicly at the US-EU summit.

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spent considerable time on EU negotiations and reforms with her Turkish counterpart, Ali Babacan, in Washington last week. These are clear signs of how much the US government cares about Turkey's EU membership. But is that enough? I'm afraid not. More can and should be done, especially during these crucial times.

    The US has always been a catalyst in Turkey's EU process, with most of the action coming behind the scenes. We know the ongoing reform process is a US goal in itself, because it transforms the Turkish system into a more Western and globalization friendly one. Before Turkey finally started full membership negotiations in 2005, the EU dream never seemed to be so tangible. However, it might turn into a nightmare, given the current domestic opposition trends in the EU and Turkey. Therefore, it is high time for supporters of Turkey's EU process to put their utmost energy behind the bid, and that certainly includes the US.

    The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) may have disappointed reformers by losing focus on the issue, especially after the shock of Cyprus' admission as a full member in 2004. But the resentment toward the Erdogan government should not keep the US and other supporters of EU process from seeing a more serious, perhaps fatal, blow to Turkey's modernization path -- namely the Turkish establishment's masterminded process against political and economic liberalization that would eventually harm the country's chances of becoming a full EU member.

    Many people in the West might think the current political crisis in Turkey is essentially about a conflict over secularism and religion. That's not exactly true. At the heart of the deep conflict in Turkey lie efforts to halt Turkey's EU process, which acts as an anti-Christ to illiberal political-economic-social designs of the Turkish statist establishment.

    Military coup plans by several top generals in 2003-04 were proven by credible press reports and police investigations. Was it a coincidence those plans were prepared, but luckily unsuccessful, during a period when Turkey was undergoing the most aggressive EU reforms? An explicit military intervention would not only kill the Turkish support for the Annan plan in Cyprus, which was the reason put forward, but more importantly shut Turkey's doors to full membership negotiations for the foreseeable future.

    Why does the statistic establishment not like the European Union project? If you listen to them, they would say they fear that Turkey's national sovereignty would be undermined. In fact, what they mostly hesitate to give up is their own sovereignty. Tell me, how many European democracies have such a "sovereign" military, judiciary and the like?

    Bureaucratic sovereignty from democratic control, facilitated by monopolistic business barons, has been the major problem with the Republic of Turkey from the outset. Many domestic crises are a result of the clash between bureaucratic sovereigns and democratic forces. Turkey's bureaucratic sovereigns are committed to blocking the EU path because in the West bureaucracies are less relevant and more accountable to elected officials. Ironically, they do everything in the name of a distorted and outdated interpretation of the ideas of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who, I'm sure, would enthusiastically support Turkey's EU membership as a major milestone in his modernization project if he were alive today.

    The European Union is more courageous and frank when it comes to acknowledging Turkey's systemic problems. Yet the EU's insincere attitude (at least some of the member countries, such as France and Germany) vis--vis Turkey's membership diminishes their credibility and impact. The US, on the other hand, which still enjoys great influence in Turkey as the global leader despite deep resentment, plays a whole different game. It wants to have it both ways. Pursuing realpolitik goals, they refrain from being seen as clearly choosing sides between bureaucratic sovereigns and democratic forces in Turkey. I'm sure most of the American hearts go out to democracy, but they are still hedging their bets.

    The AK Party's major sin in the eyes of the bureaucratic sovereigns is less about their religiosity. There are religious groups who are beloved by the secularist establishment because they don't challenge the oligarchic sovereignty. The AK Party frustrated the oligarchs by committing to irreversible EU reforms. Furthermore, the newcomer elite, who are from formerly underrepresented segments of society, have now started claiming bureaucratic and other important positions in the system, first and foremost the office of the presidency. The bureaucratic sovereigns feel state institutions, as if they own them, are being infiltrated or captured. Perhaps the AK Party stepped on the brakes in the EU process because they didn't want to further intimidate these circles. But if that's the strategy, obviously it didn't work, because bureaucratic sovereigns seem dedicated to killing the slightest idea of democratic reforms once and for all.

    Turkey is now stuck with a desperate cycle of crisis and is faced with the serious risk of the EU ending negotiations. Anyone who takes Turkey's reformation process as seriously as the US should be more proactive. The direness of the situation might require using more assertive language, which includes criticism of Turkish bureaucratic sovereigns and their comrades. That should be done before we hit the point of no return, to which we are getting closer.

    [16] From the Turkish press of 12 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 12 June:

    a) Constitutional Court decision on headscarves: An article by Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok opposes the Justice and Development Party, AKP, argument that the Constitutional Court exceeded its powers by the ruling supporting the headscarf ban in universities. Stressing that the 47 percent public support the ruling party received in the past elections does not give the government "the right to do whatever it wants," he urges the country to overcome its internal disputes by focusing on the solution of significant problems, such as the EU bid, the Cyprus problem, the Kurdish issue, and economic reforms.

    In an article entitled "There is more to secularism than meets the eye", Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu accuses the Turkish bureaucratic establishment of exploiting an emphasis on secularism as a means of protecting its privileges and ideology, controlling the public domain, and maintaining a "cultural caste system" and exercising tutelage over society. He also claims that as it is practiced in Turkey, secularism does not denote a principle but an identity policy, adding that this is one of the most conservative policies ever known to this country since it recognizes every new social, political, and economic input into the system as a potential threat to what is deemed the ideal order.

    In an article entitled "Democracy or secularism?", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone criticizes the Constitutional Court's latest ruling as a "suicidal" attempt to suspend democracy in the name of protecting secularism. In calling attention to what he presents as the fallacy of this endeavour, Turkone argues that it is impossible to conceive of secularism as being separate from democracy and that since the equality principle is common to both democracy and secularism, protecting democracy means protecting secularism. He also asserts that secularism in Turkey faces a serious threat not from democracy but from those who are using it as a lever to defend their minority interests.

    b) AKP's Camuroglu resigns

    An article by Sukru Kucuksahin of Hurriyet says that AKP's Alevi deputy Reha Camuroglu has resigned as the advisor of the prime minister by accusing Erdogan of failing to fulfil the promises he made to the Alevi community. According to the article, Camuroglu asked Erdogan to explain why Alevis have never been appointed to high-ranking positions and why the Alevi investors have not been awarded contracts in public tenders. He is said to have criticized the government for being indifferent to Cem Houses [Alevis' prayer houses]. The columnist concludes by saying that Camuroglu's resignation created a credibility problem for Erdogan and the AKP.

    EG/


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