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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-06-23

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. 117/08 21-23.06.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Leaders to meet July 1st. Agreement on six measures
  • [02] Statements by Babacan on the Cyprus problem from Kampala
  • [03] Talat stated that the transfer of population from Turkey in occupied Cyprus is not a war crime
  • [04] Avci concluded his contacts in Kampala
  • [05] Kampala Declaration on Cyprus
  • [06] Soyer: Starting negotiations is the most fundamental element of patriotism
  • [07] Statements by Erk from Berlin
  • [08] UBP delegation in Brussels for contacts
  • [09] Forty four illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested in occupied Rizokarpasso
  • [10] The number of divorces increased in occupied Cyprus
  • [11] Gul on Turkeys candidacy for UNSC
  • [12] Military pincers to Cyprus as well
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] From the Turkish Press of 20, 21 and 22 June 2008
  • [14] Columnist in Turkish Daily News critical of Turkeys lobbying for UNSC seat while violating UN obligations

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Leaders to meet July 1st. Agreement on six measures

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.06.08) reported the following:

    Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders will meet in July, envoys of the two leaders said on Friday.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias will have a meeting on July 1st, the envoys also said.

    Talat's envoy Ozdil Nami and Greek Cypriot envoy George Iacovou met at the Ledra Palace Hotel in the buffer zone in Lefkosia. At the end of their meeting, they made public the measures the technical committees agreed to take.

    Holding a press conference after their meeting, the two envoys said the leaders will meet on July 1st within the scope of the March 21st agreement.

    The committees reached a compromise on six measures, including educational and training programs on preservation of cultural heritage, road safety, mutual passage of ambulances, establishment of a joint health committee, environmental training and projects on waste product management.

    Talat and Christofias agreed late in March to resume negotiations aiming at a settlement of the Cyprus problem, and their envoys later agreed to set up a number of working groups and committees in an initial attempt to lead the way for substantial talks.

    [02] Statements by Babacan on the Cyprus problem from Kampala

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.06.08) reported from Kampala that Turkey's foreign minister stressed on Friday the need for strong political will in order to solve the Cyprus problem.

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said that a solution could be found in Cyprus with the strong political will of the two parties.

    "Also third parties should behave carefully and responsibly," Babacan told reporters in Kampala, Uganda--where he participated in the foreign ministers meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)

    Babacan said that Turkey's aim was to ensure a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible and that international organizations should approach the problem sensitively.

    On Turkey's role in its region, Babacan said that the OIC demanded that Turkey should deal with regional problems more closely and contribute more to the solution of problems.

    Before speaking to reporters, Babacan visited a Turkish boarding school named "Turkish Light Academy."

    Forty teachers, including 8 Turks, are working in the secondary school. 450 boys are having education in the Turkish Light Academy.

    [03] Talat stated that the transfer of population from Turkey in occupied Cyprus is not a war crime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (23.06.08) publishes replies by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, to questions Yeni Duzens readers asked in its internet side.

    Asked if the return to the Republic of Cyprus is an alternative, Mr Talat replied that there is no such alternative.

    Asked if the transfer of population from Turkey is a war crime, Mr Talat stated: If Turkey had committed such a crime there could have been all sorts of international decisions on this issue by now.

    Mr Talat denied that he received his authority from Ankara, and stated he received his authority from the Turkish Cypriots who elected him. He also refuted the statements of the Greek Cypriot side on the issue.

    To a question about the establishment of a Turkish union, in which Turkey, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and a recognized TRNC will be members, in case Turkey will not become member of the EU, the Turkish Cypriot leader said that such a thing is not on the agenda for the time being and added that the priority now is the solution of the Cyprus problem.

    Replying to a question regarding the issue of properties, Mr Talat stated that this issue will be solved with compensations, exchange of properties and to a degree with return of properties.

    To a question about his anger towards the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Cyprus and the United Kingdom, Mr Talat stated that in the agreement there were elements which were not agreed between him and President Demetris Christofias on the 23rd of May.

    (CS)

    [04] Avci concluded his contacts in Kampala

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.06.08) reported the following from Kampala:

    Turkish Cypriot foreign minister called for "an immediate start of peace talks" aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. Negotiations must start immediately. It is impossible accept any pre-condition for the two leaders to talk, Turgay Avci said.

    Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a foreign ministers' meeting of the Organization for the Islamic Conference in Ugandan capital, Kampala, Avci also urged the European Union to live up to its word to lift economic isolations on the Turkish Cypriots, which he said would force the Greek Cypriot side to sit at the negotiation table.

    The Organization of the Islamic Conference has given the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) the status of a constituent state, making the TRNC an observer member of the organization.

    On Mr Avcis contacts illegal Bayrak television (21.06.08) broadcast that the self-styled Deputy-Prime Minister Foreign Minister, Mr Turgay Avci, came together with Qatars Foreign Minister Ahmad Bin Abdallah Al-Mahmud.

    During the meeting the two foreign ministers agreed to accelerate works aimed at improving trade, sports and cultural relations between the two countries. They also exchanged views on the TRNC Representation office opened in Qatar.

    Al-Mahmud, who invited Avci for a visit to Qatar, expressed his support for the solution of the Cyprus problem and stressed the need for encouraging Greek Cypriots for a solution.

    He also pointed to the importance of supporting the lifting of the Turkish Cypriot Peoples isolation.

    Mr Avci also met with his Albanian counterpart Lulzim Basha and Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh Tidiane Gadio.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his delegation came together with Mr. Avci and his delegation at a dinner last night.

    During the dinner, they evaluated the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.06.08) broadcast that Mr Turgay Avci evaluated his contacts in Kampala in a written statement after his return to the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    In his statement, Mr Avci said that relations which have been neglected for years have been improved with contacts and initiatives being made recently.

    Stating that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has begun hosting the OIC meetings and events, Mr Avci announced that the Forum titled Tourism in Islamic World will be held in the occupied areas in October 2008.

    He also reminded that the final communiqué of the 35th session called on the international community, including OIC member countries, to take concrete steps towards putting an end to the international isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriot People.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot Vatan newspaper (23.06.08) reports that the self-styled foreign minister, Turgay Avci, returned to occupied Cyprus from Kampala, Uganda. Mr Avci, who went to Uganda in order to attend the 35th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), evaluated his contacts in Uganda in a written statement.

    Mr Avci stated that the relations between the TRNC and the OIC countries have been improved with contacts and initiatives being made recently. He also said that the result of the efforts made were the opening of the representation office in Qatar, and the efforts regarding the opening of representation offices in the Sultanate of Oman and Kuwait, to come to the final stage.

    [05] Kampala Declaration on Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.06.08) reported the following from Kampala:

    The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) called on Friday for an end of isolation of Turkish Cypriots.

    The foreign ministers meeting of the organization ended in the Ugandan capital of Kampala after a "Kampala Declaration" was adopted. In the declaration, the organization reiterated its commitment to a fair solution of Cyprus problem.

    "The organization once more reaffirms its solidarity with its Muslim brothers in the North Cyprus," the declaration said.

    The declaration called on the international community, including OIC member states, to take concrete steps to end the isolation of Turkish Cypriots. Also, the OIC member states voiced their support for peaceful solution of the Arab-Israeli dispute, and welcomed the signature of the Doha Agreement that solved the political crisis in Lebanon.

    The declaration also supported efforts to ensure national compromise among all Iraqi people, and emphasized the importance of preservation of Iraq's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity.

    In the declaration, the organization condemned the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and called on the international community to extend more assistance to the Afghan government and people.

    The organization said that member states had the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and also said that the Iran nuclear energy controversy should be solved through peaceful means.

    The OIC member states condemned Armenia's aggressive attitude towards Azerbaijan, and asked Armenia to withdraw from the Azerbaijani territories immediately and without precondition. In the statement, the organization also condemned all acts of terrorism, and underlined the importance of cooperation against terrorism.

    The members also condemned Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslims, and called on the international community to take efficient measures to prevent them.

    [06] Soyer: Starting negotiations is the most fundamental element of patriotism

    Illegal Bayrak television (21.06.08) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer has called on the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias to start comprehensive negotiations with President Mehmet Ali Talat.

    The Premier also reminded of the UNs responsibility for appointing a special representative to Cyprus and starting the negotiations process as soon as possible.

    Speaking during a visit paid to him on Friday, Mr Soyer defined the Cyprus problem as the fundamental problem and said the TRNC government will continue its determination towards bringing about a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot side firmly stands behind President Talats signature on agreements reached between Talat and Christofias, Soyer reminded that the signature foresees a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution to the Cyprus problem which will be envisaging a government of partnership to be established by two constituent states of equal status.

    He called on Mr Christofias to stand behind on his own signature and give a start to comprehensive negotiations- who he said was earlier saying that supporting such a federal solution was a form of patriotism.

    Prime Minister Soyer said starting negotiations is the most fundamental element of patriotism.

    [07] Statements by Erk from Berlin

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.06.08) broadcast that Mr Talats advisor Kutlay Erk said new conditions should not be continuously brought to the table in the new solution process.

    Mr. Erk was speaking at a meeting held in German capital Berlin titled A new hope for Cyprus. The meeting was organized by the Southeast-European Society and the German Cyprus Forum at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

    We are not the reason for the non-solution of the Cyprus Problem. The Turkish Cypriot side will do its best for a solution and it expects the Greek Cypriot Leader Demetris Christofias to respond in the same way` Mr. Erk said. Stating that a new era has kicked off in Cyprus following the Talat-Christofias meeting in March, Erk said the two leaders in Cyprus formed a common vision and understanding. Underlining the need for the urgent start of negotiations, Mr. Erk urged the UN and other parties involved in the process to encourage the Greek Cypriot Side to work constructively towards a settlement.

    Also present at the meeting, the Leader of the Greek Cypriot Democratic Rally Party (DISY)-Nikos Anastasiades said both sides on the island had made mistakes in the past but steps must be taken for the future without getting stuck in the past. The two sides can gain great achievements once the good will is there, he added.

    Also speaking, an official from the German Foreign Ministry- Peter Wittig expressed Germanys support for a solution to the Cyprus problem and highlighted the importance of improving relations between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots as well as reducing tension between the two sides. The new negotiations process in Cyprus is different from the previous ones in the sense that it is now the two sides on the island who are shaping the talks on their own, Wittig said. The German official added that the real negotiations will be started, during which critical issues of the Cyprus problem will top the agenda, once working groups complete their works.

    [08] UBP delegation in Brussels for contacts

    Illegal Bayrak television (22.06.08) broadcast that a delegation from the main opposition National Unity Party (UBP) is in Brussels headed by its leader Tahsin Ertugruloglu for contacts.

    In a statement issued, the UBP leader said that their contacts in Brussels will be of a similar nature to those held earlier in Germany.

    We shall be exchanging views and briefing our counterparts in Brussels on what needs to be done in order to achieve a just and lasting solution to the Cyprus Problem on the basis of the political realities on the island he said.

    Ertugruloglu also said that UBP was a centre right party which supported the idea of full EU membership from the very beginning.

    [09] Forty four illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested in occupied Rizokarpasso

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.06.08) reports in its first page that 44 illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested yesterday afternoon at the Golden Sand shore in occupied Rizokarpasso. The illegal immigrants were all male between 18-44 years old.

    (CS)

    [10] The number of divorces increased in occupied Cyprus

    Under the title One thousand six hundred eighteen (1.618) children victims of divorce, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.06.08) reports in its first page that according to activity reports of the supreme court in occupied Cyprus, one thousand five hundred sixty nine (1569) couples divorced during the last three years and notes that one thousand six hundred eighteen children, were the victims of this development.

    According to the paper in the year 2005, four hundred eighty nine (489) couples divorced who had all together five hundred twenty seven (527) children, in the year 2006 five hundred twenty three (523) with five hundred fifty one (551) children and in the year 2007 five hundred forty eight (548) with five hundred forty children.

    (CS)

    [11] Gul on Turkeys candidacy for UNSC

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (20.06.08) published an article by Turkish President Abdullah Gul under the title: Why Turkey should have a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council:

    In the article Mr Gul argued that Turkeys membership in the Security Council will be meaningful not only for itself, but also for the wider region and added: As a member of the Security Council, we will be ready to offer many possibilities provided by Turkey's strategic disposition, accumulated knowledge and insight of, as well as historical and cultural ties with these regions, to the service of the council in the deliberations and decisions regarding these problems. Turkey's membership in the Security Council will have implications reaching further than her wider region as well. With Turkey's active interest in and influence on the global issues facing the whole international community, from terrorism through poverty to extremism, the council will be better equipped to deal with the numerous challenges of our era.

    On Turkeys financial assistance to developing countries Mr Gul said:

    Believing that it is the common responsibility of the international community to assist to the best of our abilities developing countries to overcome the difficulties they face, Turkey is rapidly emerging as a donor country, disbursing significant development, technical and humanitarian assistance in recent years. The total amount of Turkish in-cash and in-kind humanitarian assistance has exceeded $250 million since 2005. The total official and private sector development assistance provided by Turkey in 2007 is estimated to be around $2.5 billion. In this context, Turkey pays special attention to the needs of the least developed countries. The ministerial Conference of the Least Developed Countries hosted in Istanbul in July last year is a concrete expression of our desire and determination to raise the awareness of the international community regarding the development-related concerns of these countries.

    On promoting Turkey's role in energy Mr Gul added:

    Turkey is geographically located in close proximity to 71.8 percent of the world's proven gas deposits and 72.7 percent of oil reserves, in particular those in the Middle East and the Caspian basin, forming a natural energy bridge between the source countries and consumer markets. Major pipeline projects in operation or under construction are enhancing Turkey's role as an important transit country on the Eurasia energy axis and as an energy hub in the region. As a member of the Security Council, Turkey will be in a position to highlight the intrinsic ties between energy and development, placing the need for energy security higher on the United Nations agenda.

    Referring to the Alliance of civilizations initiative, the Turkish President said: Turkey co-sponsored, along with Spain, the Alliance of Civilizations Initiative, which has now become a project of the United Nations. If elected to the Security Council, Turkey will endeavor to bring this perspective into the work of the council. Reform of the United Nations is yet another issue on the agenda of the international community. As the most appropriate place to find common solutions to our global problems, it is incumbent on the member states to furnish the organization with the necessary means and structures, so that it can live up to this task.

    [12] Military pincers to Cyprus as well

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (23.06.08) reports in its first page that while the closure case of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey is going forward rapidly, the swords are drawn in Turkey. After a secret plan of the Turkish General Staff (TSK) was published by the Turkish Taraf newspaper, a major battle has started. The secret plan of the General Staff which is dated from September 2007, envisages bringing into line the TSK which has lost its vigor. The plan which has been carried out for nine months now is reflected in Cyprus as well.

    The paper reports that the law suit for insult which has started against AFRIKA, and the issue of which is published in the latest issue of the Turkish Aktuel magazine, is within this framework. The most important articles of the plan envisage that the chairmen of high-level judicial organs act in parallel with the TSK and that the members of the press and media channels will be manipulated and turned into sympathizers via ongoing contacts.

    (CS)


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] From the Turkish Press of 20, 21 and 22 June 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 20, 21 and 22 June:

    a) The role of the Turkish army in politics

    According to a report by Tahsin Aksu in Milliyet (20.06.08), a group of organizations, among them the Democratic Society Party, (DTP), and the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed, Mazlum-Der, have launched a campaign under the banner "70 Million steps against a coup." The report adds that actions will be staged throughout the country within the framework of this campaign during the entire year.

    According to a report in the Turkish Daily News (21.06.08), the Chief of the General Staff has denied approving a plan targeting to bring judges, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and celebrities under the influence of the Armed Forces as claimed by the daily Taraf.

    Summarizing the army action plan in an article in Milliyet (21.06.08), Derya Sazak argues that even if this document uncovered by the daily Taraf is in the form of an "internal study" it reveals a "covert" interference in Turkey's domestic and foreign policies. The writer goes on to state: "It reveals efforts to cripple democracy 'through the judiciary' by curbing the sphere of activity of a party that has come to power with 47 percent of the votes." Maintaining that the Chief of the General Staff is trying to topple the AKP government through a "judicial coup," Sazak writes: "Since in this era a military coup cannot be launched, the soldiers are trying to achieve this via public opinion."

    Commenting on the army action plan in a article in Hurriyet (21.06.08), Ertugrul Ozkok says that, having read the entire document, he sees nothing abnormal with 70 percent of the activities mentioned in it and adds: "They can be assessed within the framework of public relations and propaganda activities an army that is waging a struggle against terror is obliged to conduct." Noting that, however, it is difficult to explain the remaining 30 percent, Ozkok, in the last section of his article, focuses on the principle of secrecy that such institutions are bound to safeguard. The writer continues: "This incident, which is a success for a journalist, can, for an army, turn into a 'security weakness' that should most seriously be dwelt upon."

    In an article in Sabah, Muharrem Sarikaya details an interview he conducted with Chief of Staff General Buyukanit who denies the existence of the action plan published by the daily Taraf.

    Analyzing the army action plan published by the daily Taraf in a column in Radikal (21.06.08) Murat Yetkin argues that the denial of the implementation of such a plan is not much of a consolation. Pointing out that we should be concerned about a General Staff understanding that wishes to see the Turkish Armed Forces engage in activities similar to that of a political party, Yetkin then focuses on the secrecy aspect, likening the General Staff to a sieve and asking whether other secret documents find their way into the hands of other countries.

    In an article entitled "Mesut Yilmaz's side", in Yeni Safak (21.06.08) columnist Fehmi Koru comments on what the Taraf daily has claimed to be a General Staff "action plan" to restructure politics in Turkey and Former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's remarks in the European Parliament asserting that the Turkish military would never intervene in politics if it did not perceive any separatist or reactionary threats to the regime. After calling attention to what he describes as the similarity between the sensitivities of the Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, underlined by Yilmaz and certain aspects of the "action plan" attributed to the General Staff, Koru asks Yilmaz whether the Turkish military gave credence to his own assurances as former prime minister against threats to secularism and how come military-government tensions similar to those occurring today took place under his own government if the TSK trusted his word.

    In an article entitled "Denying the obvious", in Yeni Safak (21.06.08) columnist Yasin Aktay asserts that the General Staff's denial of the military "action plan" disclosed by Taraf has failed to dispel the concerns caused by the Taraf report because the plan is nothing but an exact narrative account of the "nightmare" Turkey has been experiencing for months. Dogan accuses a "criminal organization" that "perceives the majority of the people as an enemy" of trying to use all state institutions including the TSK as a means of carrying out certain "insidious" aims. He also calls for participation in a protest march in Istanbul today against a possible military coup.

    In a commentary in Zaman entitled "A fear Republic and an imaginary center", Lutfu Ozsahin, a political philosopher, argues that the recently disclosed military "action plan" to bring the judiciary into line with the TSK can only serve to destroy the republic, democracy, the rule of law, and even concepts associated with secularism such as freedom of speech and freedom of religious faith and conscience.

    In an article entitled "Is Turkey a military republic?", in Zaman (21.06.08) columnist Ahmet Turan Alkan argues that while the Taraf report about a military restructuring project aimed at taking the judiciary under the TSK's wing, use journalists as a means of discrediting opponents of the military, manipulate opinion leaders, etc could be totally "fabricated," nobody is in a position to maintain that "such things cannot happen in Turkey" or deny the link between the allegations in the report and some of the current happenings in Turkey. He proceeds to recall "how as recently as less than ten years ago, high judicial officials used to be invited to the General Staff to receive briefings and how they never seemed offended by this in the name of the independence of the judiciary." He also claims that the Taraf report "exposes the innards of what we call the military tutelage regime."

    In an article entitled "Is that the only reason?", in Milli Gazete (21.06.08) columnist Zeki Ceyhan blasts Mesut Yilmaz for maintaining that the Turkish military will never "return to its barracks" as long as the threat of separatism and religious reactionism continues. He asks Yilmaz whether the army could really intervene in politics if the governments and opposition parties in Turkey cooperated in opposing military takeovers. He also asserts that it is because politicians like Yilmaz keep "knocking on the door of the military" that the TSK is unwilling to stay out of politics.

    According to a report in Taraf (22.06.08), the army action plan, the existence of which was denied by the Chief of the General Staff, is being implemented. Explaining how the plan is being implemented step by step, the report goes on to detail the reaction of the various sectors to the army plan.

    Commenting on the army action plan published by the daily Taraf in an article in Sabah (22.06.08), Ergun Babahan says that this document helps us understand the behind-the-scenes attempts being made against democracy." Conceding to the need to fight against terror in the country, Babahan notes that, however, "this country has a Kurdish problem that should be solved through democratic methods. The people living in that region are our citizens."

    In an article in Vatan (22.06.08), Gungor Mengi says that he expected a more convincing response from the Chief of the General Staff regarding the claims made by the daily Taraf. Commenting on the response that there is no such official document or plan that has been endorsed, Mengi asks whether there is a plan that has not been endorsed but is, all the same, being implemented. Finding it natural for the army to exert efforts to exalt its image especially at a time when a struggle is being waged against terror, Mengi points out that what is important is the method used in this process, adding: "The claimed document entails measures that can be considered a crime in a democratic state of law. Have these been implemented; we have a right to know." Focusing on the Chief of Staff declaration that "there is no such official document or plan approved at the command level among the records of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff," the writer wonders if there is a plan that has not been approved and, if so, how this document has been leaked.

    A report entitled "Nobody is convinced" in Yeni Safak (22.06.08) says that a statement issued by the Turkish General Staff which denied a report that it had devised a plan to manipulate public opinion in line with its own views was interpreted by some newspapers and observers as a "shy denial" tacitly admitting the existence of the plan.

    In an article entitled "A coup is better than democracy," in Vakit (22.06.08) columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak draws attention to allegations that some members of the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK), have devised plans against the ruling party and some NGOs which they regard as their adversaries. He asks: "Will not the President, Parliament, government, Ministry of Defense, judiciary, and the military do anything about those allegations? If that document and the allegations are unfounded, would people conducting a campaign aimed at discrediting the TSK go unpunished?" Dilipak also argues that the statement issued by the General Staff was a tacit admission of the existence of the document, adding that it should have announced that an investigation would be launched into the allegation and those found guilty would be punished.

    In an article entitled "Will not the document be investigated simply because it was not approved?" in Vakit (22.06.08) columnist Ihsan Karahasanoglu criticizes the General Staff for not announcing that an investigation has been launched into the plan which, he says, was tantamount to a tacit attempt to cover it up. He asks: "Does not that document which describes the activities of the legitimate government as crimes warrant a probe in order to find out who has prepared it notwithstanding whether or not it was approved?" Karahasanoglu also argues that the authors of the document as well as whom he describes as their "sycophants" in the media should be brought to trial.

    In an article entitled "Is the TSK an association?", in Zaman (22.06.08) columnist Mumtazer Turkone says that the document leaked to Taraf showed that the Turkish Armed Forces was deeply involved in politics as an organization competing against political parties. He comments: "There is an alarming situation due to several reasons. Firstly, the democratic system could not survive due to the presence of a military deeply involved in politics. Secondly, the military which is mainly preoccupied with designing politics while neglecting its duties cannot ensure the country's security." Turkone adds that the statement issued by the General Staff in response to Taraf's report was not satisfactory. He says: "We are waiting for a satisfactory response. A public prosecutor must launch an investigation or the General Staff should inform us about the source of the document or Parliament should intervene."

    In an article entitled "White army's burden," in Sunday's Zaman (22.06.08) columnist Ihsan Yilmaz says that the alleged military memorandum reflects the conclusion that the military should use indirect methods for interfering in politics. He comments: "Without seeing the recent memo, any honest analyst on Turkey could already see what the oligarchy, with its business, media, military and bureaucratic elites, has been trying to do: cutting across the grain and trying simply to stop society by imprisoning it to their ideological cage, which is not only a heavy burden; it is also a mission impossible."

    In an article entitled "Who are those opponents of the TSK?", in Milli Gazete (22.06.08) columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan cautions that attempts aimed at dividing the nation into two opposing camps depending on their positive or negative views about the military would be more dangerous than a plan allegedly drawn up within the General Staff. He stresses that expressing concern about the military's attempts to manipulate politics should not be interpreted as a hostile stance toward the armed forces.

    b) Islamization

    Criticizing the statement Foreign Minister Ali Babacan made at the 5th Turkey-EU Intergovernmental Conference in Luxembourg in an article in Hurriyet (20.06.08), Tufan Turenc asserts: "Babacan is not the spokesman of the Justice and Development Party. He is the Foreign Minister of the Turkish Republic. Unfortunately..." Detailing the minister's religious background, the writer goes on to note an incident in Egypt where the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel in Cairo was threatened by the Egyptian Tourism Ministry of being reduced to the status of a two-star hotel because the hotel owner reported to be a Saudi Sheikh had banned the serving of alcohol in the hotel, an example he believes should be followed in Turkey. Warning of the dangers of an Islamic way of life, Turenc details various installations affiliated with the National Assembly where alcohol is banned. Arguing that these installations are still operating in line with the instructions of former Assembly Speaker Bulent Arinc , Turenc concludes by saying that "this atmosphere of extreme religious understanding is gradually spreading" because of the AKP government.

    Criticizing the draft law adopted by the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee granting extraordinary concessions to the Youth Forum to be established by the Conference of Islamic Organization, ICO, in his article in Milliyet (20.06.08), Melih Asik agrees with CHP deputy leader Onur Oymen who describes this new organization as "a state within a state." The writer questions why so much authority is being granted to an organization that AKP officials claim will have the duty of organizing conferences.

    Commenting on the remarks made by Higher Education Council, (YOK), President Yusuf Ziya Ozcan to the effect that the religious vocational schools are poison, in an article in Hurriyet (21.06.08), Ertugrul Ozkok agrees with the YOK president that they should be closed because, he notes, "an impression has been formed in a majority of the country that these schools nurture this country's religious political personnel." The writer, however, believes that "at least a solution should be found by planning the careers of students still receiving an education in these schools."

    c) Attack against Iran

    In an article entitled "Could Israel attack Iran?, in Vakit (20.06.08) columnist Ahmet Varol argues that it is only because the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has been interpreted as a defeat of the current Israeli administration against the Palestinian resistance that "Zionists" have started to engage in saber-rattling against Iran and that Israel is much too engrossed in a number of serious domestic issues and "got its fingers too badly burnt" in threatening war against some of its neighbors in recent times to be able to confront Iran militarily these days.

    In an article entitled "As Israel moves toward the end," in Vakit (22.06.08) columnist Ayhan Bilgin predicts that Israel will soon launch a military attack against Iran's nuclear facilities, barring a sudden change of mind which may result from unexpected developments. Noting that Israel and other countries supporting it have completed their preparations, Bilgin says: "Interestingly, Israel believes that waiting would be more risky than attacking. It feels that it is about to reach the end of the road and believes that delivering unexpected and destructive blows to Iran's nuclear and military capabilities while issuing a veiled threat to other countries in the region is the only option." Bilgin adds that an Israeli attack against Iran would be tantamount to suicide.

    [14] Columnist in Turkish Daily News critical of Turkeys lobbying for UNSC seat while violating UN obligations

    Istanbul Turkish Daily News newspaper (21.06.08) publishes the following article by Cengiz Aktar under the title: A nightmare country for refugees:

    We observed World Refugee Day on Friday. Among these uprooted people, those who end up in Turkey were making newspaper headlines until lately only if they drowned in the Aegean Sea while attempting to flee to Greece. But now, they are coming back on the agenda due to the ill-treatment they receive at the hands of those in Turkey who are supposed to protect them.

    Forced to drown:

    Two months ago, a statement released by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, read that on April 23 Turkish authorities had attempted to forcibly deport 60 people of various nationalities to Iraq through the Habur (Silopi) official border crossing in Sirnak province in southeastern Turkey. When Iraqi border authorities refused to admit 18 Iranian and Syrian nationals, Turkish police took the group, which included five Iranian refugees recognized by the UNHCR, to a place where the river Tigris separates the two countries, and forced them to swim across. Four men, including one Iranian, drowned as a result, their bodies were not recovered. After the Turkish seas, refugees now drown in Turkish rivers, too!

    Recently, illegal immigrants and refugees kept in the Admission and Protection Center for Foreigners in Kirklareli in northwestern Turkey ran riot. A leader was spotted immediately among them but unfortunately the man named Adam Terry died in the tailspin. Nobody knows how he died. Earlier on, several claims of torture in the center had been raised in both the local and national press. Although this is not at the same magnitude as the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal in Iraq that we all got furious about, the mentality is similar.

    Speaking about Iraq, Turkey, talking big about religious brotherhood, is the least cooperative neighboring country in opening its doors to Iraqi refugees, 2 million of whom have sought asylum in neighboring countries. The Iraqis broke a record in the category of refugees who were refused entry to Turkey. Amongst the 2 million Iraqis who fled to neighboring countries, 1.2 million went to Syria, 750,000 to Jordan, and only a mere 5,951 to Turkey.

    Let me remind here, Turkey is lobbying hard for non-permanent membership at the U.N. Security Council. But on the other hand, it is acting as if this membership has nothing to do with international obligations under the U.N. umbrella. Ironically the most pathetic side of the failure to keep up with international standards is to ask mistreated refugees' home countries for their support for our membership at the U.N. Security Council.

    Not merciful but lawful

    Being merciful is said to be one of our countless merits. Although these humane qualities are typical pre-modern behaviors, they reflect what makes us different when compared to dry-hearted people in developed countries. Hospitality, giving out, tolerance and congeniality are some of the qualities Turkish people are proud to show. However, these behavioral patterns do not depend on any universal rule except those of communities.

    So, after some point, showing such behavior is arbitrary and at the discretion of individuals, like donations, charities, zakat (giving alms in Islam) and protection. The official forcing Iranian refugees to swim across the river is certainly a man of these values but he is not a man of profession. Just for this very reason, citizens of this country and foreigners alike need to be protected by law not by charity.

    EG/


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