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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-17

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. 113/08 14-17.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talats interview to Vatan newspaper
  • [02] PACEs Rapporteur Joachim Horster held contacts in occupied Cyprus
  • [03] EU eases Green Line restrictions
  • [04] Soyer accused KTOS of giving false data on the numbers of Turkish origin students in occupied Cyprus
  • [05] The Martyr Lieutenant Caner Koneli 2008 Search and Rescue exercise is taking place in occupied Cyprus
  • [06] Avci to attend the 35th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC in Uganda - A delegation of businessmen also went to Kampala in order to attend the OIC Business Forum
  • [07] Chess teams of three High Schools to participate in the 3rd Europe Scholl Groups Chess Champions in Bulgaria
  • [08] Top foreign commanders visit Turkey
  • [09] Turkeys account deficit raised to 50,1%
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [10] U.S. think tank outlines four scenarios on Turkeys way out of the crisis
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 June 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talats interview to Vatan newspaper

    Istanbul daily Vatan newspaper (13.06.08) publishes the following interview with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat under the title: Cyprus would also be affected in the AKP is closed. I am very concerned:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat reached an agreement with Greek Cypriot leader Demetrios Christofias on establishing a bizonal and bicommunal United Federal Republic of Cyprus based on political equality at the meeting of the two leaders on 23 May. Now speculation is under way in the island on whether the negotiations will resume on 21 June. Talat spoke to Vatan about the winds of change in Cyprus.

    Question: Each time you sit at the negotiating table with the Greek Cypriots, what comes to your mind? A) We will leave the table once again without any gains; b) we will solve the problem once and for all; or c) we cannot win anything without concessions.

    Talat: My goal is the second that is to solve the problem once and for all. The problem has indeed remained unresolved for too long and it is becoming more intractable the longer it stays unresolved. This is the most appropriate time to do it.

    Question: Why?

    Talat: The south has a leader who the entire world believes wants a solution. However, if you ask me, his desire has not yet been clearly expressed. This is because, in the 2004 referendum, the current Greek Cypriot leader Christofias waged a "no" campaign in order to make the solution more concrete. In my opinion, Christofias is not innocent. He is in fact blameworthy. Nonetheless, this year he ran his election campaign on a solution platform.

    Question: How is Christofias different from Papadopoulos?

    Talat: Papadopoulos would not even negotiate sharing power with Turkish Cypriots. He did not come even to have a cup of coffee, let alone sit at the negotiating table. Christofias is of course very different. We met twice officially since he took over. He is a leader who is much more open to a solution.

    Question: Are there still problems between the [mainland] Turks who settled in the island after 1974 and the native Turks on the island?

    Talat: There are always tensions between cultures. It is true that this has happened with us also. It has been a long time and over that time the differences between the Turks who settled here and Turkish Cypriots have vanished. Today, we have problems with people who come here from Turkey to work or who enter Cyprus as tourists and then commit various crimes. Seventy to 80 percent of the inmates at the central prison in the TRNC are from Turkey.

    Question: Would all these problems occur if the Turkish army had withdrawn after its intervention in 1974?

    Talat: If it had withdrawn after an agreement was reached, the Cyprus problem would have been resolved. However, I do not know if they ever got that chance. It might have been difficult in the circumstances of that time. After all, the Greek Cypriot side must also have been willing to do this. After an agreement, the army could have been withdrawn in some appropriate manner and those who would stay could stay. This would have solved the Cyprus problem.

    Question: Are you concerned that the AKP [Justice and Development Party] may be closed?

    Talat: If there is any instability in Turkey, it would mean that we would be in deep trouble over here, not just in economic terms, but also politically. We cannot make any progress at times when Turkey is unstable. For that reason, I am naturally concerned. I would like this problem resolved as soon as possible.

    [02] PACEs Rapporteur Joachim Horster held contacts in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title The Council of Europe is doing some sounding, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.06.08) reports in its first page that the Cyprus Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Joachim Horster, arrived in Cyprus for contacts.

    In the framework of his visit Mr Horster met with various Turkish Cypriot politicians. He held a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat but no statements were made after the meeting. He also met with the self-styled speaker of the TRNC assembly Fatma Ekenoglu at the Parliament building. After the meeting Mr Horster stated, inter alia, that he is not in Cyprus as a UN Official but as a PACE Rapporteur and added that the PACE wants to be an assistant so that the two sides may find a way to speed up the negotiations for the solution of the Cyprus problem. He also stated that the Council of Europe is very pleased that the negotiations started with a new shape and a new hope.

    On her part, Mrs Ekenoglu stated, inter alia, that she is satisfied over the presence of a Turkish Cypriot representative at the Council of Europe. She also stated that the negotiations between the two leaders in Cyprus are continuing and added that there are issues that distress the Turkish Cypriots, like the so-called isolation of the Turkish Cypriots. She referred to the UN Secretary-Generals latest report on Cyprus on the sense of isolation felt by the Turkish Cypriot community, and she said that isolation is well beyond a feeling. It is a reality being faced in all fields of the life.

    Mr Horster also met with the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Soyer who stated that the Turkish Cypriot side is determined for the solution of the Cyprus problem. On his part, the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci who also held a meeting with PACEs Cyprus Rapporteur of the Council of Europe , stressed the importance of Mr Horsters report on Cyprus and added that his visit is very important for the island as well.

    Finally, Mr Horster held meetings with the leadership of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), the chairman of the National Unity Party UBP, Tahsin Ertugruloglu, and also with other Turkish Cypriot politicians.

    (CS)

    [03] EU eases Green Line restrictions

    Under the above title Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.06.08) reports the following:

    EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to ease the economic isolation of the Turkish Cypriots via adopting certain amendments to its Green Line Regulation, which was approved back in 2004.

    The measures "aim at enhancing trade and economic integration on the island," the EU ministers said in a statement, adding that they would help "support" both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in finding a negotiated settlement to end the 34-year division of the island.

    The EU said the rules would lift duties on agricultural products and ease restrictions on companies that carry out services across the so-called Green Line border between the two communities. The limit on personal goods carried by visitors crossing the line also will be raised from 135 euros ($207) to 260 euros ($399) to encourage economic integration.

    In April 2004 the European Commission proposed the regulation of direct trade and financial assistance to reward the Turkish Cypriots for their willingness for reunification. Yet the EU's direct trade proposal was apparently suspended in 2006 when EU member states agreed to decouple it from a financial aid scheme, without a hint as to when the direct trade regulation would again be taken up.

    As of yesterday night, Lynn Pascoe, UN undersecretary-general for political affairs, was scheduled to arrive on the divided island to take stock of preparations for peace talks between the rival Greek and Turkish communities. He will today meet separately with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

    Also yesterday, Joachim Horster, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) rapporteur for Cyprus, had talks with Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials, in preparation for a report he is expected to present to the PACE president in autumn.

    [04] Soyer accused KTOS of giving false data on the numbers of Turkish origin students in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (17.06.08) reports in its first page that the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Soyer replied to the statements of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) regarding the students in occupied Cyprus and gave other data regarding these students. KTOS has carried out a research last week among students in the kindergartens and the primary schools in the occupied areas according to which the Turkish Cypriots are becoming a minority in occupied Cyprus.

    Commenting on the issue Mr Soyer, who said that he wants to correct the wrong data given by KTOS, stated, inter alia, that according to the data given on February 2008 by the National Education and Culture Ministry, 52.31% of the students in occupied Cyprus are TRNC citizens, 20.37% are children of mixed marriages and 27.37% are children of Turkish citizenship. Mr Soyer said that all the students who study in the TRNC are our children and our students and added that no one will attack the democratic union of the Turkish Cypriot people in the name of their own, small accounts.

    Referring to the statement of Mr Soyer Afrika reports on the issue in its first page under the title We are asking Soyer and notes that the self-styled prime minister chose the easier way to refute KTOSs arguments accusing it of racism and giving the examples of Barak Obama and the players of the European Football Championship in order to support his views. The paper asks Mr Soyer the following questions:

    Is it not a crime to transfer population from abroad to a country after military occupation?

    Where else in the world are houses, building plots and citizenships distributed to the population which was transferred?

    Is it not a betrayal to a country, to transfer population from abroad double the size of the local population?

    Reporting on the same issue Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.06.08) writes that Mr Soyer noted that irrespective of their nationality, all the children in occupied Cyprus are our children and our students and that categorizations based on religion, nations and races will not be accepted. Mr Soyer also accused KTOS of giving false data.

    (CS)

    [05] The Martyr Lieutenant Caner Koneli 2008 Search and Rescue exercise is taking place in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (17.06.08) writes that the Martyr Lieutenant Caner Koneli 2008 Search and Rescue exercise is starting today. The exercise will take place between 17-19 of June.

    (CS)

    [06] Avci to attend the 35th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of OIC in Uganda - A delegation of businessmen also went to Kampala in order to attend the OIC Business Forum

    Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (17.06.08) writes that the self-styled foreign minister, Turgay Avci, went to Kampala, Uganda to attend the 35th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is taking place between 16-18 of June. Mr Avci will have bilateral discussions with foreign ministers of OIC member countries. He will also have a meeting with the OIC Secretary-General Mr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

    In addition a delegation of businessmen also went to Kampala in order to attend the OIC Business Forum which is being organized jointly by the Ugandan Government, the OIC Secretariat and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    (CS)

    [07] Chess teams of three High Schools to participate in the 3rd Europe Scholl Groups Chess Champions in Bulgaria

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.06.08) reports that the chess teams of the Eastern Mediterranean College, the Canakalle High School and Canbulat Ozgurluk High School will participate in the 3rd Europe Scholl Groups Chess Champions which will take place in Varna, Bulgaria between 20-29 of June. As the paper writes, 43 school teams from 11 countries will participate in the competition.

    (CS)

    [08] Top foreign commanders visit Turkey

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.06.08) reports the following:

    The Turkish capital yesterday hosted top commanders from Britain, Chile and Russia who paid official visits to the country at the invitation of their counterparts.

    Russian Navy Adm. Vladimir Sergeyevich Vysotskiy, who was appointed commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy in September 2007, paid his first visit abroad under his current title to Turkey.

    Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit was meeting with Gen. Oscar Izurieta Ferrer, commander-in-chief of the Chilean army, at General Staff headquarters, while Naval Forces commander Adm. Metin Atac had talks with Vysotskiy at the navy command during the same hours. Later in the day, Air Forces commander Gen. Aydogan Babaoglu met with Britain's Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy at air force command.

    As Atac greeted Vysotskiy with a military ceremony, the navy band made a gesture to the visiting commander by playing the well-known Russian song Kalinka. For his part, Vysotskiy said he wanted bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia to reach to the level of a bilateral strategic partnership. During their four-day stay in Turkey, Vysotskiy and the delegation accompanying him will also visit the Golcuk navy base.

    Russian media recently reported that Moscow has been planning to expand its strategic interests in international waters and that it could also set up a naval base in the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian navy has been operating a logistics support facility in Syria's Tartus port since the Soviet era, and about 10 Russian warships and three floating piers are currently deployed there, reports noted. Russian specialists are expanding the port and building a pier in nearby El-Latakia.

    [09] Turkeys account deficit raised to 50,1%

    Turkish daily The New Anatolian newspaper (16.06.08) reported that the Turkish Central Bank (CB) in a report issued on Thursday said that the current account deficit soared up to 4.8 billion USD in April.

    The hike marked a 50.1% increase over the same period last year, when the figure was 3.2 billion USD. The account deficit increased 35.2% in first four months of 2008 and stood at some 16.8 billion USD from 12.4 billion USD last year, CB wrote.

    Net foreign direct investments decreased to 47.3% in the first four months over the same period last year and dropped to 4.6 billion USD. Last year's figure was 7.6 billion USD.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] U.S. think tank outlines four scenarios on Turkeys way out of the crisis

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (16.06.08) publishes the following commentary:

    Faced with a difficult dilemma due to the ongoing closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the United States should underscore its strong support for Turkish democracy, according to a report by a prominent U.S. think tank.

    In developing its position the U.S government needs to tread lightly lest perceived interference in Turkey's internal affairs provoke a counterproductive nationalist reaction, advised the recently released report by the Pittsburgh-based RAND Corporation.

    Sponsored by the U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, the report, entitled The rise of political Islam in Turkey, was penned by Angel Rabasa and Stephen Larrabee. It examines the ascent of the AKP to power and discusses four possible scenarios for Turkey's future and their implications for American foreign policy.

    According to Rabasa and Larrabee, the United States has a strong stake in a stable, democratic Turkey and in the success of a political model that showcases the coexistence of a ruling political party rooted in Islam and secular democracy. An unstable Turkey wracked by internal dissension would make it even more difficult to stabilize Iraq and enhance regional stability in and around the Persian Gulf, said the report.

    The U.S. approach would be more likely to be effective if it were carried out in coordination with the European Union, the report continued. Given the sensitivity of the issue of Turkish membership in Europe, the U.S. should quietly support Turkey's EU membership bid behind the scenes and avoid overt pressure. At the same time, Washington needs to recognize that Turkish membership in the EU would have an impact on American-Turkish relations in the long run given that Turkey's foreign policy would be likely to become more Europeanized over time, according to the researchers.

    Alternatives to Incirlik

    Turkey's growing interests in the Middle East are likely to make Ankara wary about allowing the United States to use its military facilities for Middle East and Persian Gulf contingencies, except where such operations are clearly perceived to be in Turkey's interest, predicted the report. The United States cannot, therefore, automatically count on being able to use Turkish bases for its operations and should look for alternatives as well.

    Armenian resolution

    If the resolution supporting Armenian claims of genocide were to pass, the Turkish government could come under domestic pressure to take retaliatory action, possibly curtailing American access to Incirlik and other Turkish facilities. The passage of a resolution recognizing World War I-era killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans as genocide will do nothing to foster Turkish-Armenian reconciliation, maintained the researchers, urging the executive branch to work closely with the congressional leadership to keep the issue from poisoning relations with Ankara.

    More U.S. pressure on Iraqi Kurds

    The United States needs to deal more resolutely with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, terrorist attacks against Turkish territory, according to the report, which added that closer military and intelligence cooperation with Ankara against the PKK needs to be followed up by other concrete steps. In particular, the United States needs to put greater pressure on the Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, to crack down on the PKK and cease its logistical and political support of the group.

    However, the report added that the PKK threat cannot be resolved by military means alone. While a tough anti-terrorist program is an important component of a long-term strategy to defeat the PKK, it must be combined with social and economic reforms that address the root causes of the Kurdish grievances. In addition, America should encourage Turkey to enter into a direct dialogue with the KRG leadership. There can be no long-term stability on Turkey's southern border without accommodation of the KRG. This does not mean that Turkey should recognize an independent Kurdish state, but it does need to reach an understanding with the KRG, whose cooperation is essential to reduce the PKK threat, said the report.

    In a different column Turkish Daily News (16.06.08) publishes the following four scenarios seen by RADD as possible:

    Scenario 1: The AKP pursues a moderate, EU-oriented path

    The AKP keeps its power and bars Islamic impulses in its domestic and foreign policies. Public expressions of religiosity occur, but no attempt is made to introduce Islamic law. There is more room for discussion on sensitive issues like the Kurdish and Armenian questions. The AKP simultaneously pursues pro-EU policies and seeks the expansion of ties with the Middle East. This seemed to be the most likely scenario until the closure case.

    Scenario 2: Creeping Islamization

    The AKP pursues a more aggressive Islamic agenda, boosts ties with Syria and Iran, downgrades ties with Israel, and suspends accession negotiations with the EU, by using its full control of executive and legislative powers, appointments of judges and university rectors, and even by influencing personnel decisions in the military. But this scenario is unlikely since it would spark military intervention and run against the general opposition to Islamic rule among the Turkish people and their choice of a secular state. It also would hamper the credibility of the AKP, which is still committed to EU membership.

    Scenario 3: Judicial closing of the AKP

    The Constitutional Court shuts down the AKP, increasing the possibility that the party emerges under another name, as happened when Islamic parties (like the Welfare Party) were closed in the past. The closure decision would deepen the crisis, and damage the Turkish experiment of coexistence of an Islam-rooted party and secular democracy. The AKP's closure would also spark disaffection among the Kurds, who support the AKP to a great extent. Finally, Turkey's prospects of EU membership, already facing serious obstacles, would be further jeopardized.

    Scenario 4: Military intervention

    Tensions increase to the point where the military intervenes, deciding that the AKP crosses important lines. This scenario has two variants; one is a soft-coup that involves military mobilization to socially pressurize the AKP to force its resignation, the other leads to a direct intervention that would end in the removal from government and disbanding of the party. But the military surely remembers the consequences of the midnight memorandum of April 27, which increased popular support for the AKP.

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press on 14, 15 and 16 June 2008:

    a) AKP closure case: In an editorial entitled "Paranoia," in Hurriyet (14.06.08) columnist Oktay Eksi argues that a report which appeared yesterday in Taraf Turkish daily, about a meeting between Osman Paksut, deputy chief justice of the Constitutional Court, and Chief of the Ground Forces General Ilker Basbug on 4 March 2008 indicated that the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP), and its supporters are overwhelmed by paranoia because of the closure case brought against the party.

    A report entitled "They have been caught in the act" in Taraf (14.06.08) says that Paksut and Basbug confirmed Taraf's report that they held a meeting at the headquarters of the Ground Forces Command. The report also says that information about the meeting was leaked by an unidentified officer working at the headquarters.

    In an article entitled "What a statement," in Taraf (14.06.08) columnist Ahmet Altan draws attention to Paksut's statement that he had met with Basbug three times. He says: "He congratulated the general on his appointment in their first meeting. He offered his congratulations for the ground operation in northern Iraq in the third one. But, he does not remember why they held their second meeting and what they talked about in that meeting. We have a justice of the Constitutional Court who does not remember what he talked about with the Commander of the Ground Forces and he has the power to decide the country's fate." Altan says that their source who leaked information about the meeting is currently working for the General Staff.

    In an article entitled "Constitutional law," in Hurriyet (14.06.08) columnist Ilter Turkmen says that a solution should be found in order to prevent further damage to political stability in Turkey after the Constitutional Court's decision to annul recent constitutional amendments related to headscarf. He concludes by saying: "The headscarf issue was the main reason behind the closure case. Considering that this matter has been resolved as a result of the Court's ruling, the Constitutional Court may dismiss the request for the AKP's closure or only opt for a sanction such as preventing the AKP from receiving financial assistance provided by Treasury."

    According to a report entitled "High-level midnight meeting with lawyers about defense" in Sabah (14.06.08), the AKP decided to submit its written defense to the Constitutional Court on Monday after it was finalized in a meeting attended by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 12 June.

    In an article entitled "Once upon a time, a military officer and a judge had a tête-à-tête meeting" in Yeni Safak (14.06.08) columnist Ali Bayramoglu calls attention to a "significant detail" concerning the meeting between Osman Paksut and Ilker Basbug, asserting that all the security cameras at the entrance and exit gates at the Land Forces Command were turned off and that the command staff floor was emptied of extraneous personnel before the meeting. "Why do you think? Would you believe under the circumstances that the Constitutional Court acted independently [in agreeing to hear the closure case or annulling the amendments to Articles 10 and 42 of the Constitution]?"

    In an article entitled "As if what we have witnessed were not enough", in Yeni Safak (15.06.08) columnist Kursat Bumin says that Paksut's visit to General Basbug, ostensibly for offering his congratulations on a military operation in northern Iraq was very inappropriate. He says: "If Paksut cannot help thinking about those issues that he listed (northern Iraq, regional Kurdish government, etc.) in his statement and is so eager to share his experience about those issues, he should not have opted to become a judge in the first place."

    Under the banner headline "You must resign," Vakit (15.06.08) carries a front-page report which says that Paksut who, it notes, made contradicting statements about issues discussed in his secret meetings with Basbug should resign in the face of mounting criticism.

    In an article entitled "The defense in four volumes," in Sabah (16.06.08) columnist Yavuz Donat says that the pleading to be submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party, to the Constitutional Court consists of four parts, including a foreword focusing on developments witnessed in the field of democracy and freedoms and the possible consequences of the closure case, a second part mostly authored by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and second and third sections containing comments made by AKP deputies and officials who are proposed to be subjected to political restrictions. Donat says that the 300-page document will be referred by the Constitutional Court to the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals who will later make a verbal statement before the Constitutional Court.

    b) EU Vote's Implication for Turkey

    In a column in Milliyet (15.06.08), Osman Ulagay comments on the significance of the no vote cast by the Irish voters with regard to the Lisbon Treaty. Pointing out that many European voters have a problem with the "EU and Brussels bureaucracy," Ulagay argues that the situation presents a pessimistic outlook in terms of Turkey's EU accession. He says that "it will probably not be easy for an EU that has not reached consensus among its member on how it will be governed to accord priority to future enlargement."

    Also commenting on the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in a column in Sabah (15.06.08), Erdal Safak points out that there are those who propose a "privileged partnership" for Ireland. "This is not the only bad news for Turkey," Safak remarks, adding that the developments indicate that the EU enlargement process will be suspended. Safak concludes that Turkey will pay a "heavy price" for the Irish no vote. He further poses the rhetorical question of whether it will be good or bad for Turkey to encounter less European intervention.

    In an article entitled "Turkey will benefit from the outcome of Irish referendum," in Milliyet (16.06.08) columnist Semih Idiz analyzes the possible consequences of the rejection of the Treaty of Lisbon in a referendum held in Ireland. He says that every development which hinders further transfer of national sovereignty to Brussels could be regarded as positive from the standpoint of Turkey which is known to have serious concerns about the issue, albeit it can slow down Turkey's accession talks with the EU. He says: "Facing an EU which is not homogenous in terms of political, economic, and military structure would play a more influential role in determining the depth and shape of its integration with the EU. In short, Turkey would prefer an 'a la card' EU to one offering 'table d'hote.'"

    EG/


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