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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-07-04

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. 126/08 04.07.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Talat stated that if a United Cyprus is going to be established, it is definite that there is going to be single sovereignty and single citizenship
  • [02] Reactions of the Turkish Cypriot parties to the meeting between the two leaders
  • [03] Population in the occupied areas in one and a half year counts 62.000 more people
  • [04] A general strike will take place on Monday by 33 Trade Unions which are protesting against the changes to the salaries Sliding Scale System
  • [05] Talat to address PACE
  • [06] A delegation of the European Liberal Democrats Party will arrive in the TRNC to examine UBPs application to become member
  • [07] Slovenian tourism representatives hold contacts in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] KTOEOS attended a teachers unions meeting in Paris
  • [09] Talat: The most merciless and real embargo is upon the sports
  • [10] Turkey aims to foster its relations with Egypt
  • [11] Gul to meet the Russian President on Saturday
  • [12] AKP presented its verbal defense at Constitutional Court
  • [13] Senior U.S. general in Turkey for talks on PKK
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [14] From the Turkish press of 03 July 2008
  • [15] Is Erdogan's fate connected to the Iranian file?

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Talat stated that if a United Cyprus is going to be established, it is definite that there is going to be single sovereignty and single citizenship

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.07.08) writes that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat, stated: If we want and wish for the solution of the Cyprus problem, if a United Cyprus is going to be established, it is definite that there is going to be single sovereignty and single citizenship.

    Mr Talat made these statements replying to journalists questions about his 1st of July meeting with President Demetris Christofias and the reactions of the opposition parties in occupied Cyprus about the issues of single sovereignty and single citizenship.

    Mr Talat stated that there is not a single example of a state in the world that has two sovereignties and two citizenships and that the issues of how these will be implemented will be discussed during the comprehensive negotiations. He also said that it should not be forgotten that the issue of single sovereignty was mentioned in the discussions for the establishment of the new state and added that in this new state to be established with the Greek Cypriots sovereignty is to be shared by the Greek and the Turkish Cypriots. There is political equality. There is no need for concern, he stated. Mr Talat also said that in the new state to be established the sovereignty will be shared in a partnership frame and the Turkish Cypriots will not become a minority.

    Commenting on the statements of Mr Christofias in an interview to the foreign press that he fights with Mr Talat against the occupation and the dependence on the motherland, Mr Talat said that Mr Christofias is lying. Mr Talat said that he and Mr Christofias have never made any declaration towards this direction and added that now, as well as in the period he was the chairman of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), he had the same differences in opinion with Mr Christofias. Mr Talat said that Christofias' statements aim to get himself out from a difficult situation and to undermine Talats position and relations with Turkey.

    In addition Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (04.07.08 online), under the title Turkish Cypriot leader denies he gave up sovereignty, reports the following: Turkish Cypriots are not giving up sovereignty but rather sharing it in a new partnership with the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat said on Thursday. The sovereignty and citizenship in Cyprus would be single if there is a desire to solve the Cyprus problem, Talat told reporters in Nicosia. Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias agreed on Tuesday in principle that any settlement should involve a single state, with common citizenship for all Cypriots. "We will discuss how to implement a solution in our comprehensive negotiations," Talat added. The Turkish Cypriot press has already begun to criticize Talat for accepting the deal, and there is no assurance Ankara will agree either. He also contradicted a statement made by his Greek Cypriot counterpart to an Austrian newspaper that "Talat and I are making efforts against the occupation and dependence on motherlands". Talat said the Greek Cypriot leader made an ugly attack by saying that "Talat may fight against Turkey," adding that Christofias' comments were made so as to leave the Turkish Cypriot leader in a difficult position.

    (CS)

    [02] Reactions of the Turkish Cypriot parties to the meeting between the two leaders

    The Turkish Cypriot press reports today (04.07.08) about the reactions of the Turkish Cypriot parties to the meeting between the two leaders:

    Under the title Who do you think you are? Volkan writes in its first page that the people is asking this question to Talat, who accepted the single sovereignty and single citizenship and who trampled upon his oath and the constitution. The paper calls on Talat to resign from his post immediately.

    Kibris reports that Serdar Denktas, the chairman of the Democratic Party (DP), responding to the statements of Mr Talat, noted that the statements of the Turkish Cypriot leader, that in the new state the sovereignty will be shared jointly, does not reflect the truth.

    Mr Denktas also stated that the joint sovereignty means that the Turkish Cypriots will become a minority and added that the Turkish Cypriots will never accept the single sovereignty and the single citizenship.

    Volkan publishes in its first page the statements of the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas, who said, inter alia, that the single sovereignty and single citizenship will doom the Turkish Cypriots to the Greek Cypriots control.

    Mr Denktas, who was participating in a program of the Genc TV station, stated that the process which has started after the meeting between Christofias and Talat on the 21st of March is without hope and noted: We are heading to submission. We are going to a dead-end. He also stated that the solution has no hope since Greece and the Church have not changed their positions.

    Kibris writes that the National Unity Party (UBP) called on the self-styled president Mehmet Ali Talat to get out of the road he has taken and to exercise his constitutional responsibilities with consciousness. If he cannot or if he does not want to do this, his resignation will be the best road, the party noted. UBP also accused Mr Talat of forgetting that he is the president and of acting as a party leader.

    UBP, which issued a written statement evaluating the 1st of July meeting between the two Cypriots leaders, and the issue of the single sovereignty and single citizenship also stated that this step, which does not respect the TRNC constitution, does not bind the Turkish Cypriots and called on the Turkish Cypriot people to struggle together so that an end is given to the way things are going.

    UBP also notes that during the meeting Mr Talat accepted single sovereignty and single citizenship in principle, forgetting the oath he took as the person who has the highest post in the TRNC and at the same time he did not manage to get a date for the launching of comprehensive negotiations.

    According to the UBP, at the present time a new partnership can be established which will be consisting of the two independent and sovereign states in Cyprus giving a part of their sovereignty to the common structure. The name of this structure can be anything. This is not important. However, according to us the new structure must start as a confederation and as time passes and mutual trust is established, it can evolve into a federal or even a more progressive structure, the UBP notes.

    UBP also stated that Talat is wrong to believe that the people are in the same point as in the time of the Annan Plan since both the conditions and the people have changed. The majority of the people support the state, UBP notes.

    (CS)

    [03] Population in the occupied areas in one and a half year counts 62.000 more people

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.07.08) under the front-page banner title, In one and a half years 62.000 people more, reports on statements of Mr Mehmet Seyis, chairman of Dev-Is trade union, regarding the population in the occupied areas. According to Mr Seyis, the official data show that in the year 2007, out of a total of 650.875 Turkish citizens and 130.659 other citizens who entered the island (the occupied areas), 41.806 and 12.623 respectively did not leave. This means that only in 2007, 54.429 non-Cypriot people stayed in the island. Moreover, in the first five months of 2008 the number of those staying in the island reached approximately 7.000.

    Mr Seyis expressed his concerns by saying that the economic infrastructure of the country cannot hold this kind of population increase. Mr Seyis stated that this problem, which becomes an issue in education, health, water and electricity insufficiency, employment, demographic structure and the Cyprus problem, must be discussed and solved.

    Furthermore, Mr Seyis stated clearly that he supports the agreement between President Demetris Christofias and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat for a single sovereignty and a single citizenship in a united federal Cyprus. He said that Dev-Is since its foundation date serves and will continue to serve the benefits of the Cypriots in its mission for a solution and peace in Cyprus.

    (EA)

    [04] A general strike will take place on Monday by 33 Trade Unions which are protesting against the changes to the salaries Sliding Scale System

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.07.08) reports in its first page that a general strike will take place on Monday in occupied Cyprus by 33 Trade Unions which are protesting against the changes the government will make in the Sliding Scale System, as regards the salaries. The Trade Unions are asking the withdrawal from the self-styled assembly of the draft law for the Sliding Scale System and warned that they will continue the strike until a solution is given to the problem.

    In statements on the issue Mr Sener Elcil, the chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS) said, inter alia, that the occupation regime faces problems in the budget because the government cannot prevent the increase of the population in occupied Cyprus and added that the deficit in budget is the reason behind the governments stance on the issue of the Sliding Scale System.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (04.07.08) reports on the same issue under the title Life will stop on Monday and writes that the Trade Unions reaction against the government did not stop and because they did not get the answers they wanted from the prime minister Soyer, they decided to go on a general strike on Monday.

    (CS)

    [05] Talat to address PACE

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.07.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, will attend the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) meeting as a speaker. According to the paper, Mr Talat will attend the autumn meeting of PACE as a speaker at the invitation of the President of the Turkish Group of PACE and AKP Antalya parliamentarian, Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu. As the paper reports, Mr Talat will have the chance to explain to the European parliamentarians his thoughts about the Cyprus problem and solution.

    (EA)

    [06] A delegation of the European Liberal Democrats Party will arrive in the TRNC to examine UBPs application to become member

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.07.08) writes that a delegation of the European Liberal Democrats Party (ELDP) will arrive in the TRNC on Saturday in order to examine the application made by the National Unity Party (UBP) to become member of the Party.

    According to information from the UBP media Bureau, Wilfried Derksen, Deputy Responsible for Foreign Relations of the ELDP will be heading the delegation which, during its stay, will have meetings with UBP officials, and will carry out examinations in the UBPs organizations. According to the paper these examinations are taking place prior to the ELDPs meeting next year in Stockholm and writes that the possibilities for UBPs membership are quite high.

    The paper also writes that the decision of knowing better the UBP in order to examine its memberships application, was taken at the ELDPs meeting last year in Berlin.

    (CS)

    [07] Slovenian tourism representatives hold contacts in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.07.08) reports that representatives of the Slovenian Globtour tourist operator have visited the occupied areas at the invitation of the Turkish Cypriot Travel Agents Union (KITSAB). According to the paper, the two Slovenians held a meeting with the self-styled finance and tourism minister Erdogan Sanlidag accompanied by the KITSAB president Ozbek Dedekorkut. At the meeting, the Slovenian representatives expressed their interest in bringing tourists from Slovenia to the TRNC. On the other hand, Mr Sanlidag asked for their support to be able to introduce the TRNC to Slovenia.

    The two Slovenians expressed their will to help with advertisements and asked from Mr Sanlidag advertising material, brochures and CDs. In the meeting it was stated that in order to be able to promote the TRNC to Slovenia, journalists from Slovenias leading newspaper and TV channels will visit the TRNC soon.

    (EA)

    [08] KTOEOS attended a teachers unions meeting in Paris

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (04.07.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Union (KTOEOS) attended a meeting in Paris under the title, International professional techniques and education network organized by French and German teachers unions.

    According to information given by the chairman of KTOEOS, Mr Adnan Eraslan, the meeting was attended by the French SNETAA union, the German BLBS union, the Belgian COC union, the Danish DTL union, the Spanish CSI-CSIF union and the Cyprus (Turkish Cypriot) KTOEOS union. The unions after their meeting issue a joint declaration which refers to six basic points on the professional techniques and their empowerment.

    (EA)

    [09] Talat: The most merciless and real embargo is upon the sports

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (04.07.08) writes that the new administration of the Turkish Football Federation visited the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat and conveyed to him the problems they face which are related to the non-recognition of the TRNC and the embargoes imposed on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Speaking during the meeting Mr Talat stated, inter alia, that the most merciless and real embargo is upon the sports. He went on and said that FIFAs embargo on the TRNC is continuing, despite the fact that this issue does not exist in any of the Resolutions of the UN Security Council. He also stated that from the other side the efforts of the Greek Cypriots for the continuation of the embargo are continuing and that this is not positive for the spirit and the atmosphere of the solution.

    Mr Talat also stated that the issue of the sports is being discussed in the technical committees.

    (CS)

    [10] Turkey aims to foster its relations with Egypt

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.07.08) reported from Ankara the following:

    Deputy Foreign Minister of Egypt Wafaa Bassim met the Turkish Parliamentary EU Adjustment Commission Chairman Yasar Yakis and Turkey-Egypt Interparliamentary Friendship Group Chairman Faruk Bal in Ankara on Thursday.

    Relations between Turkey and Egypt are excellent. I am pleased to see relations developing with Egypt, Yakis said.

    We sincerely wish for Turkey to become a member of the European Union (EU). Turkey will be the voice of Egyptians in the EU. With Turkey's membership, the EU will become a multi-cultural entity, Bassim said.

    Meeting Bassim, Faruk Bal said that the Turkish-Egyptian Interparliamentary Friendship Group is comprised of deputies from different political parties. As two strategic countries in the Middle East, we want to promote our interests in the region.

    Turkey and Egypt are two giant countries in the Islamic world. The two countries are situated in a region of energy sources, Bal said.

    The Turkey-Egypt Interparliamentary Friendship Group works to develop ties between the two countries. You have a special place in my heart. Please have no doubt that Egypt is trying to promote its relations with Turkey and gives high importance to its ties with Turkey, Bassim said.

    After his talks with Turkish MPs at the parliament, Bassim attended a conference at the Eurasian Strategic Studies Center in the Turkish capital. Speaking in the conference, Bassim referred to Syrian-Israeli talks under Turkey's mediation, and said that his country was supporting all initiatives aiming to ensure regional peace.

    Bassim said that the process should not have a negative impact on endeavors to solve Israeli-Palestinian dispute and other regional controversies.

    All problems in the Middle East should be handled as a whole because each issue affected the other, Bassim also said.

    The deputy foreign minister also said that his country appreciated Turkey's initiatives and mediation between Syria and Israel.

    On Iraq, Bassim said that a united Iraq was the only solution. Otherwise, there would be security and stability risks for not only Iraq but also for neighboring countries, the deputy foreign minister said.

    Bassim met Murat Mercan, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Parliament, and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ertugrul Apakan in Ankara.

    [11] Gul to meet the Russian President on Saturday

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (04.07.08) reports the following:

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will hold bilateral talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Saturday in the Kazakh capital of Astana, a Kremlin spokesperson has announced.

    Medvedev will meet with Gul on the sidelines of an official ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of Astana as Kazakhstans capital, Sergei Prikhodko said on Wednesday, when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was participating in talks in Ankara during an official visit.

    Diplomatic sources said that Lavrov, who also met with Gul, in addition to Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, while in Ankara, spoke about the coming meeting with Gül. During their meeting Lavrov and Gül reaffirmed mutual will for continuing bilateral dialogue with senior level visits, the sources said.

    Yesterday Medvedev embarked on a weeklong tour of Asia that takes in four countries, a G8 summit and meetings with a number of foreign leaders. The tour began with a visit to Azerbaijan, where Medvedev was scheduled to have negotiations with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and religious community leaders. The question of energy resource transport routes out of Azerbaijan traditionally comes up during bilateral negotiations, Prikhodko told the ITAR-Tass news agency.

    Azerbaijan has helped weaken Russias grip on Caspian energy by switching its oil exports from a pipeline via Russia to a new link built by a BP-led consortium and connecting it to the Mediterranean Sea.

    We have no secrets, Prikhodko told reporters. We talk about how we see the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [BTC] project, and in Azerbaijan they say they would like to develop other routes, he said.

    The BTC pipeline bypasses Russia and currently pumps 770,000 barrels of oil per day from BPs giant Azeri offshore project to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan via Georgia.

    Moscow wants to convince its former Soviet ally that oil exports headed northward into Russia are more attractive than via a new EU-backed plan which, if built, will ultimately link Central Asian producers to markets in Europe.

    Last month, in top-level talks held in Nakhichevan, regional allies Turkey and Azerbaijan agreed to step up cooperation on energy and vowed to maintain solidarity in their relations. Aliyev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan announced at the time that Azerbaijan would increase natural gas supplies via the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum (BTE) pipeline to allow Turkey to meet part of its gas needs.

    [12] AKP presented its verbal defense at Constitutional Court

    Turkish daily Today s Zaman newspaper (04.07.08) reports the following:

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) yesterday presented its verbal defense in the closure case against it at the country's top court, countering charges that it is steering the country toward Islamic rule.

    Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek and AK Party Deputy parliamentary group chairman Bekir Bozdag began their verbal defense before the Constitutional Court at 10 a.m. and finished at 6 p.m. yesterday. The case in question had been filed by Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, on March 14 seeking closure of the AK Party and a ban on 70 of its high-ranking officials from belonging to a political party for five years, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, a former AK Party member.

    Speaking to reporters after presenting the AK Party's verbal defense in court, Cicek would not reveal any information about the content of the defense dossier but said they told the court why the prosecutors' allegations were not true, legal or possible and why the case should not have been filed, in terms of constitutional law, human rights law and rulings of both the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. From this point on, it is the court that will make the final decision, he added.

    We didn't want this case to remain suspended. We are the ruling party. We said the final word that a governing party would say. We took this stance. We did not wait until the end of deadlines. We acted earlier in many cases, thinking that leaving this case suspended would be risky in many aspects.

    Cicek said a recent Constitutional Court ruling that rejected a request made by the Supreme Court of Appeals chief prosecutor to close the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR) resulted in the collapse of the legal ground for the AK Party closure case.

    The prosecutor had demanded HAK-PAR be closed because its bylaws and program contained provisions that violate the indivisible integrity of the state with its country and nation. However the court had rejected the case, as it could not secure the qualified majority necessary for party closure. The court's decision noted that political parties are "lawful organizations established freely by citizens having similar political views and which they can freely join and from which they can resign at will" and are protected under the Constitution as well as the European Convention on Human Rights. Given the fact that in countries where democracy is adopted with all of its institutions and principles political parties are not banned unless they pose a serious threat to the regime, it is not possible to argue that our Constitution, which has as a goal the attainment of the level of a contemporary civilization, allows for party bylaws and programs that can be treated as manifestations of freedom of speech to be cited as reasons for the closure of parties, it said.

    Cicek and Bozdag later went to AK Party headquarters to brief Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Yalcinkaya made his verbal statement on Tuesday. During his one-and-a-half-hour-long defense, he told the judges that the governing AK Party should be shut down. The AK Party wishes to bring Shariah rule to the country, and Turkey faces a clear and imminent threat in this sense, he stated.

    The Constitutional court rapporteur Osman can will now compile the evidence and statements and prepare his report on the content of the case. After the report is finished, it will be submitted to the 11 members of the high court, and Constitutional Court President Hasim Kilic will determine a court date for the case. According to the Constitution, in order for the top court to ban the AK Party, it needs the approval of a qualified majority, namely seven out of its 11 members. The Constitutional Court can either close the party or deprive it partially or completely of Treasury funds.

    The case has deepened political and economic uncertainty in the country. Istanbul's main share index fell more than 4 percent, bond yields rose and the lira weakened due to global markets and domestic political concerns. The secularist establishment, including army generals and judges, suspects the AK Party of harboring a hidden Islamist agenda. The party, which embraces nationalists, market liberals and center-right politicians as well as religious conservatives, denies such accusations. The EU has criticized the case, and a move against a democratically elected party could hurt Turkey's accession process. If the AK Party is closed and Prime Minister Erdogan removed from power, analysts expect an early parliamentary election to follow.

    Turkish courts have banned more than 20 political parties for alleged Islamist or separatist activities, and a predecessor to the AK Party was banned in 2001.

    [13] Senior U.S. general in Turkey for talks on PKK

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (04.07.08) reports the following:

    Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrived in Ankara yesterday on a one-day visit to discuss cooperation against terrorism with senior military officials.

    This visit is part of the regular ongoing relationship between the United States and Turkey, US embassy officials said yesterday, noting that the visit had been planned for some weeks, and was thus not a surprise as claimed by some Turkish media.

    The Turkish military has regularly attacked outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq since December of last year, and the United States is supporting the operations by providing airspace clearance and intelligence about PKK movements in northern Iraq.

    In February, the Turkish military launched a major cross-border ground offensive, killing hundreds of PKK members and destroying a significant number of PKK camps near the border. The usual military issues are on the agenda of the talks; the ongoing cooperation against the PKK, intelligence sharing and the current situation in Iraq, US Embassy Press Attaché Kathryn Schalow told Todays Zaman yesterday.

    This is the third visit to Ankara by Cartwright since November, ahead of Turkeys first air strike into northern Iraq in order to eliminate the PKK bases there. On November 20, Cartwright, along with Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander of US forces in Iraq, visited Ankara and discussed measures to crack down on the PKK with Turkish Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergin Saygun.

    Cartwrights next visit to Ankara was in February at a time when talks between the United States, Turkey and Iraq were intensified ahead of Turkey s ground incursion into Iraq. Cartwright yesterday met with both Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukan1t and Saygun. In November, following a landmark White House meeting between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President George W. Bush, it was announced that Saygun, his US counterpart, Cartwright, and Petraeus would be part of an intelligence network that will work to wipe out PKK bases in Iraq. The network has been facilitating the flow of intelligence information between the military forces. The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara and much of the international community, took up arms for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeastern region of Turkey in 1984, creating a conflict that has claimed at least 37,000 lives. The European Union and the United States are keen for NATO-member Turkey, which says it is defending itself against a terrorist organization, to keep its attacks in northern Iraq limited to avoid destabilizing Iraq and the wider region. The EU, which Turkey aims to join, has meanwhile urged Ankara to enhance the language and cultural rights of its Kurdish citizens and to do more to develop the economy of the Southeast, efforts toward which have long been hamstrung by the PKK conflict.

    Late in May, Parliament passed a bill allowing the state-owned Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) to broadcast programs in languages other than Turkish, paving the way for broadcasts in Kurdish, Arabic and Farsi. TRT will now be able to allocate one of its stations to 24-hour broadcasts in Kurdish. Commentators say the latest move is an attempt to attract viewers in the mainly Kurdish Southeast away from Roj TV, a station Turkey says is a mouthpiece for the PKK.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [14] From the Turkish press of 03 July 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 03 July:

    a) Developments in the Ergenekon case

    According to a report in Hurriyet, the indictment in the Ergenekon case has been prepared. The report adds that the court chamber that will hear the case will be appointed automatically by the National Judiciary Network Project, UYAP, and will not be given any other cases until April 2009 in a bid to speed up the legal process.

    A report by Ferit Zengin in Sabah claims that based on the documents seized in the sixth wave of Operation Ergenekon, the implementation of the coup plan was supposed to begin within four days, in other words on 7 July. According to the plan, simultaneous illegal rallies were to be staged in 40 cities, 30 hit men were supposed to assassinate important personalities, and an atmosphere of economic collapse would be created to further exacerbate the chaos before toppling the government. Pointing out that the rallies would be organized by the Ataturkist Thought Association, ADD, the report adds that the police would be pitted against the people creating an atmosphere of an armed clash leading to a revolt of the people. Some members of the hit team were supposed to fire into the crowds during the rallies thus provoking the masses. One of the goals of the chaos was to postpone the meeting of the Supreme Military Council, YAS, to be held in August. Retired generals in favor of a coup known as the Ergun group within the Ergenekon organization would, thus, prevent the promotion of military personnel within the group known as the NATOists within the Turkish Armed Forces.

    According to a report by Elvan Ezber in Milliyet, Mustafa Balbay, the Ankara representative of Cumhuriyet who was detained within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation, has issued a statement through his lawyer saying: I do not understand why I am being kept under detention. I am exercising my right to remain silent in order to show the meaninglessness of being illegally detained. Balbay's lawyer Akin Atalay has said that Balbay was given no information other than that he was being detained within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation. Pointing out that his client's detention can be extended up to four days, Atalay adds that no information was supplied as to the charges brought against Balbay under the rationale of the restrictions imposed by the file.

    A report in Ortadogu details the reaction of Mehmet Durakoglu, the deputy chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association, to the detentions. According to Durakoglu, the process in the Ergenekon investigation has exceeded all proportions that might be considered ordinary or normal and that the detentions have also gone beyond a precaution and are bordering on an execution. Stressing that no one is above the law, Durakoglu adds that, however, no one should open the path to lawlessness by using the judiciary. No one should use the judiciary as a tool for his political expectations.

    In an article in Milliyet, Taha Akyol points out the danger of leveling accusations based on indirect links in the Ergenekon investigation, arguing that belonging to the same circles and sharing the same ideology cannot constitute proof of a crime. Akyol calls for moderation and warns against paranoia, adding: Portraying the entire Turkish Armed Forces, TSK, as coupists is wrong. As a matter of fact it was the commanders who caused the coup attempts to fail. The writer goes on to state that it is necessary to conclude the Ergenekon investigation as well as the closure case filed against the Justice and Development Party, AKP, in a manner that will increase our trust in the ideological impartiality of the judiciary.

    Describing his general impression on Turkey's course as a speedy downhill descent on a slippery road in his article in Milliyet, Semih Idiz continues: "The question to which we have no answer is as follows: Where will it lead to and what will happen in the end?' Even the statement made by General Ilker Basbug, commander of the Ground Forces, to the effect that certain people might be hatching a plot aimed against the unity and solidarity of the TSK shows the gravity of the situation. Idiz laments that viewing the judiciary as your judge, my judge and your prosecutor, my prosecutor reveals the severity of the crisis, and recalls the statement issued by AKP deputy leader Dengir Mir Firat soon after the detentions within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation about "respecting the judiciary. The writer asks Firat how the judiciary that was partial in the AKP closure case has suddenly become impartial when it comes to the Ergenekon investigation. Criticizing Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal for his provocative remarks, Idiz writes: It is obvious that the CHP leader, who was secretly delighted about the closure case filed at the Constitutional Court, does not feel the same pleasure regarding the Ergenekon investigation. The judiciary that was 'impartial' in that case is no longer 'partial' now. Maintaining that Mustafa Balbay is innocent, Idiz declares: Be it the closure case or the Ergenekon investigation, we want to believe that justice will prevail.

    In an article in Hurriyet, Cuneyt Ulsever raises various questions regarding the Ergenekon case and says that he cannot prevent himself from detecting a political smell in this case. Quoting pro-government dailies that all the important personalities who were detained within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation were mentioned in the memoirs attributed to retired General Ozden Ornek extracts of which were published in Nokta magazine, Ulsever asks why Ornek himself is not detained. The writer also raises the question of whether the Istanbul chief public prosecutor was aware of the detentions and, if not, whether this is normal. Ulsever finds it suspicious that a statement was issued regarding the Ergenekon indictment on the day that the chief public prosecutor would make his verbal presentation in the AKP closure case. Pointing out that this is the first time in Turkish history that generals are being detained, the writer finds it outrageous that they will not be included in the indictment which, he points out, could not be prepared for 13 months, but would suddenly be ready by the weekend.

    Describing Ergenekon as a team determined to change the course of Turkey and to divert the TSK's priorities from the West to the Russia-China axis, Sabah's Ergun Babahan speculates in his article that had there not been an initiative for 7 July and its aftermath, it might have even been possible to stop the investigation at this stage. Confident that the Turkish judicial system will ask this team, claimed to have aimed at shaping the country in line with their criteria, to account for its deeds within the framework of the laws, Babahan summarizes the events as follows: A group of commanders have exerted efforts to topple the government by sidelining the Chief of the General Staff. The system did not allow this to happen, but legal action was not taken against those in favor of a coup. In conclusion, the writer is certain that the economic development Turkey has achieved and its democratic maturity will enable the country to easily overcome this crisis.

    Commenting on the Ergenekon detentions in an article in Radikal, Ismet Berkan is surprised at the silence of the TSK. Referring to speculations that the Ergenekon issue might have been discussed at the meeting held between Prime Minister Erdogan and General Basbug, commander of the Ground Forces, Berkan admits that he was one of those speculating on the issue.

    Focusing on General Basbug's denial of such a conversation and his appeal to keep a cool head and to act responsibly during this difficult period, Berkan interprets the general's statement as a determination not to interfere in the legal process. Calling on the media to refrain from hurtful and degrading commentaries while covering the developments, Berkan summarizes the events of the last two days as follows: I believe that, as of yesterday, an attempt to stage a coup is no longer a crime that guarantees an exemption from an investigation or a punishment. In other words, whatever the outcome of the Ergenekon case, even the investigation itself has already raised Turkey's democratic standards. We have witnessed a silent revolution.

    Criticizing the hypocrisy of the AKP officials in a column in Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek points out to the quick U-turn in the statements issued by the leading members of the party soon after the detentions within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation. Recalling the insults and accusations leveled against the judiciary in the AKP closure case, the writer says that now all of them have assumed the role of politicians who respect that same judiciary.

    Dismissing as nonsense the argument that the Ergenekon detentions were AKP's revenge against its secular opponents in an article in the Turkish Daily News, Mustafa Akyol argues that it is not the AKP government that is leading this investigation and thus ordering these arrests. It is a group of Istanbul prosecutors, who are, by definition, independent. The writer further finds it strange that those who called for respecting the judicial process in the AKP closure case are now rallying against another judicial process.

    Under the banner headline, A bloody plan, Yeni Safak publishes a front-page report which asserts that some of the documents found in the searches conducted in retired General Sener Eruygur's secret office in Fenerbahce Officer' Club in Istanbul have revealed a plan to lay the groundwork for a military coup by staging assassinations against judicial officials and organizing bloody street protests.

    In an article entitled The judiciary's duty to protect democracy, Yeni Safak columnist Yasin Dogan describes the detention of a number of retired generals in the latest operation in the Ergenekon investigation as an unprecedented development that is crucially important from the viewpoint of not only our legal system but also the history of our democracy. Dogan lauds the operation as a "brave" move that will go a long way toward improving the public image of the judiciary hurt by a number of recent court decisions.

    In an article entitled A crucial touchstone, Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu asserts that the latest developments in the ongoing investigation against the Ergenekon network are part of a hard-fought power struggle between a centralist, insular, and authoritarian group that is opposed to change and a government committed to politics, change, and democracy. He claims that the Establishment could take retaliatory action, adding that the fact that a number of untouchable bureaucrats have been taken into custody must have caused quite a stir within the army.

    In an article entitled Current confusion should not overshadow efforts to unearth coup planners, Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu asserts that if the unprecedented detention of some high-ranking military officials in a police-conducted operation is to mark the start of a period when unconstitutional acts will never again be allowed to take place, the ruling AKP "hould stay strong and extend its political support to the prosecutors who have been acting in a courageous manner.

    [15] Is Erdogan's fate connected to the Iranian file?

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News newspaper (03.07.08) published the following commentary by Jody Sabral:

    Turkey and Iran share the oldest border in the region, and while this has been an advantage for Washington for gathering information on Tehran, it now seems to be backfiring. Energy politics cannot be underestimated when trying to fathom how a democratically elected government can fall from power due to circumstances beyond its own doing. Remember Iraq? Weapons of mass destruction? Is the nuclear threat the same plot? Yes, Iran has a nuclear program, but so does Israel. There are believed to be at least 90 U.S. warheads in Turkey's Incirlik airbase, so doesn't Iran have the same right?

    Subtitle: Natural gas versus threats':

    Last month, the deputy minister for Iranian natural gas was in Turkey to attend a working forum on energy supplies. He graciously gave a transparent presentation of all infrastructure projects that Iran has in the pipeline, quite literally. The pipeline that grabbed most people's attention was the IGAT 9, which plans to carry Iranian natural gas to Turkey from the South Pars gas fields. The aim is to then transport this gas to Europe. Incidentally, at the same conference a U.S. diplomat gave a speech on regional energy cooperation, and said that it should go on without Iran. The diplomat then gave the Washington speech on "Iran is a threat to our national security." But does the United States really believe that Iran is such a threat? U.S. soldiers are stationed just across the Iranian border; there are targets much closer to home than the U.S. homeland. It's no secret that the EU wants to diversify European gas supply, as presently the European community is uncomfortable with being dependent solely on Russia remember the Ukraine gas crisis when Russia cut the gas, and therefore cut the gas to Europe. Gas has been used and will be used as a political weapon, as long as there is no diversification. It is quite understandable that the EU therefore wants to find an alternative supply. Enter the Nabucco pipeline project. This was supposed to solve the issue and bring Caspian gas through Turkey to Europe. However, Russia cottoned on to the fact that they may be priced out of the market and began buying up Turkmen gas at a relatively competitive price effectively pricing Nabucco out of Turkmen gas. So there seem to be problems with supply for Nabucco, not only in coordination by European governments on how to move ahead. Enter Iran. Tehran has been bidding for a supply deal with Nabucco Turkey is supporting that bid. There have been questions over Iranian reliability as Tehran regularly cuts gas to Turkey during the winter months, but Tehran says that as natural gas consumption is on the rise at home Iranian population is roughly 70 million then nuclear energy would secure Iranian gas to world markets because it would afford Iran an alternative form of energy at home. So the question we may now ask is does it really only take a pipeline to send in the U.S. henchmen?

    Subtitle: The US corporatocracy:

    John Perkins is an American author who has just published two eye-opening books on this issue. He claims that the United States is not run by politicians, but by the corporatocracy, which he was a part of for many years. In his books "Confessions of an Economic Hitman and The Secret History of the American Empire, he outlines how U.S. democracy has slowly been corrupted by big businessmen who just can't help but put the bottom line first being company profits that line their own pockets. If this is the case, as most of us are fully aware of (Iraq was an oil war), then it could also be highly plausible that the events unfolding in Turkey have more to do with the Iranian energy file than the Islamic style headscarf. On a popular level, most Turks don't want the closure of the AKP (It won last years elections with 47 percent of the vote), and they also don't care whether the headscarf is worn in universities. Turkey has a strong tradition of secularism and democracy and I fail to see how that would disappear overnight. I do, however, believe that Erdogan may have signed his own expiry date by becoming so cozy to his neighbor, especially in the area of energy politics.

    EG/


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