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

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. 128/08 08.07.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Babacan asked for the opening of a trade office of the breakaway regime in Bangladesh
  • [02] Thirty five trade unions went on a general warning strike yesterday on the issue of the index-linked salary
  • [03] The UBP, the DP and Rauf Denktas united against the solution procedure of the Cyprus problem
  • [04] Talat said that the single sovereignty and the single citizenship are not disputable
  • [05] The self-styled mayor of occupied Keryneia is holding contacts in Singapore
  • [06] The Fourth International North Cyprus Billiard Tournament will start tomorrow in the occupied areas
  • [07] A Turkish Cypriot scout leader will participate in the 38th World Scouting Conference in South Korea
  • [08] A Turkish Cypriot team will participate in the Masters Championship in Slovenia
  • [09] Ada TV television and Ada FM radio started their broadcasting yesterday
  • [10] Gen. Yasar Buyukanit emphasizes the key role of the EU and NATO in regional security and welfare
  • [11] First open hearing of Armenian journalist's assassination case begins
  • [12] New coup plot has been revealed
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [13] Why is the Turkish military involved in politics?
  • [14] From the Turkish press of 7 July 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Babacan asked for the opening of a trade office of the breakaway regime in Bangladesh

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.07.08) reports that the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Babacan, who is in Malaysia in order to participate in the D-8 summit, met yesterday with his counterpart from Bangladesh, Mr Iftihar Ahmed Chowdhury and asked from him the opening of a trade office of the TRNC, (breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus), in his country.

    Under the title Babacan: Let a TRNC trade office be opened in Bangladesh, Kibris writes that Mr Babacan told Mr Chowdhury that the breakaway regime has opened trade offices in 10-15 places and urged him for such an office to be opened in Bangladesh as well.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Thirty five trade unions went on a general warning strike yesterday on the issue of the index-linked salary

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.07.08) reports that 35 trade unions of public servants, workers and teachers went yesterday on a general warning strike protesting against a draft-law prepared by the self-styled government for changing the index-linked salaries. The strike was held in the entire occupied area of Cyprus.

    The chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), Guven Varoglu, speaking on behalf of the strikers, said that the trade unions will declare today to the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer, that they will go for a strike for an indefinite period of time, if the government submits the draft-law regarding the index-linked wages to the relevant parliamentary sub-committee.

    He said that they also decided to hold a rally today in front of the building of the so-called assembly.

    Meanwhile, some political parties expressed their support to the struggle of the trade unions. The general secretary of the National Unity Party (UBP), Nazim Cavusoglu issued a written statement congratulating the employees and noted that they showed the necessary reaction against the Republican Turkish Party Freedom and Reform Party (CTP-ORP) government. Mr Cavusoglu called on the government to resign.

    Furthermore, the chairman of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici expressed his support to all the trade unions which went on general strike yesterday protesting the efforts for abolishing the index-linked wage. Mr Cakici visited also some places where the strike was held heading a delegation of his party. The United Cyprus Party (BKP) and the Politics for the People (HIS) Party also expressed their support to the protesters.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (08.07.08) refers to the issue under the title If it continues like this, the government will collapse. The paper notes that some trade unions have also put forward their demands regarding the Cyprus problem. Birtan Aktolga, chairman of BES, stated that they are struggling not for taking the government under control, but for the Turkish Cypriots to take the political power in their hands completely.

    The self-styled prime minister Soyer stated that while the strike should be the last weapon to be used in a country, it is being used as the first weapon. According to Mr Soyer, using the strike in such a manner, deals a blow to the rights and freedoms.

    Afrika reports also that eleven environmental organizations issued yesterday a written statement and urged the government to undertake a campaign on the issue of the environment. If this government, instead of solving the existing problems, creates new problems every day, it should resign before causing more disaster, argued the organizations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The UBP, the DP and Rauf Denktas united against the solution procedure of the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.07.08), under the title They have rolled up their sleeves, reports that while yesterday the trade unions went on strike, Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) visited his father, Rauf Denktas and Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP).

    According to the paper, there are some allegations that the three men started to discuss the new ruling partnership. The paper notes that they consider as threat the stage at which the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem reached today and they stated that they will exert efforts to stop the procedure.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (08.07.08), under the title The situation is difficult, refers to the statements made by the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas during his meeting with Mr Serdar Denktas. Rauf Denktas said that the only way out of the tunnel they have entered in the Cyprus problem is the submission [to the will of the Greek Cypriots]. He noted that he felt astonished when he read the Turkish Cypriot leader Talats statement to the Greek Cypriot Alithia newspaper.

    He added: Talat is saying that the TRNC is one of the founding states, but he is also saying that the TRNC will be a province. I do not think that the Greek Cypriots will accept such a thing.

    Mr Denktas expressed his satisfaction for the fact that the UBP and DP are meeting again and noted: The events experienced during the election period have passed. Now is the time to act together for the sake of the national cause. In his statements, Mr Serdar Denktas said that Mr Talat has given the opportunity for the Osmosis plan of president Christofias to enter into effect.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan newspaper (08.07.08) refers to the issue under the title We will show a strong reaction against Talat and reports that Mr Serdar Denktas said that they would evaluate with the UBP how they will act until the Talat-Christofias negotiations which will start on 1 September.

    (I/T.)

    [04] Talat said that the single sovereignty and the single citizenship are not disputable

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (08.07.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat has stated that the Turkish Cypriots have not abandoned their sovereignty and added that the single sovereignty does not mean sovereignty of the Greek Cypriot side.

    In statements last night to journalist Osman Kurts program on illegal Bayrak television, Mr Talat said: The partners of the sovereignty are these two people. Furthermore, in which place of the world are there two sovereignties? From 1997 until the Annan Plan was submitted in 2002, the Turkish side pursued the policy of confederation, but now everybody knows that confederation is not a complete solution. The UN as well does not approve this and consider it to be wrong.

    Mr Talat said that the single sovereignty and the single citizenship are not disputable. He noted that the agreement will be submitted to the approval of the two separate peoples before being put into effect and this shows that there are two sovereign peoples in this agreement.

    Mr Talat noted that some parties oppose the efforts for the solution for political reasons. He said that the issue of the single sovereignty and single citizenship will be discussed in detail during the negotiations. Mr Talat accused the Greek Cypriot side of frequently changing its tune during the work of the Committees and complained of the Greek Cypriots trying to change a text agreed in previous meetings.

    Mr Talat expressed the belief that president Christofias is under pressure on some issues by his coalition partners. The important thing is for the substantial negotiations to start, he said adding that on 1 July they agreed on the timetable of the negotiations, but they decided not to make statements on this issue.

    Mr Talat said that their relations with Turkey are special and Turkey has never interfered directly in the Cyprus problem. He added: The issue of Turkeys interfering in our affairs is a complete lie. Of course we consult each other. Of course we hold meetings frequently.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The self-styled mayor of occupied Keryneia is holding contacts in Singapore

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (08.07.08), under the title Big interest in Singapore for the delegation of the Keryneia Municipality, reports that Sumer Aygun, mayor of the occupied city of Keryneia, has met in Singapore with the ambassador of Turkey, Ahmet Bulent Meric.

    Mr Sumer Aygun and the delegation from Keryneia, who are visiting Singapore to participate in the World Cities Summit, held various contacts.

    During their meeting with Mr Meric they discussed the political situation in Cyprus and made an evaluation on what could be done regarding the development of the relations between Turkey and Singapore and the TRNC and Singapore.

    Mr Aygun met also with experts in the fields of tourism, who have made Singapore the most wonderful region of the world and invited these experts to Keryneia. An agreement in principles was reached on the issue, reports the paper adding that Mr Aygun met also with the six most important tour operators of Singapore, who posed him many questions regarding Cyprus and Keryneia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The Fourth International North Cyprus Billiard Tournament will start tomorrow in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.07.08) reports that the Fourth International North Cyprus Billiard Tournament will start tomorrow in the occupied areas. The tournament will last four days and is organized by the self-styled North Cyprus Billiard Federation.

    Besides Turkey and the TRNC, 80 athletes from the following eleven countries will participate in the tournament: Serbia, Austria, Israel, Finland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Norway and Hungary.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] A Turkish Cypriot scout leader will participate in the 38th World Scouting Conference in South Korea

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (08.07.08) reports that Celal Izcibayar, UK Turkish Scouting chairman will participate in the 38th World Scouting Conference which will take place in South Korea between 11 and 19 July 2008 with the participation of the chairmen of scouting organizations from 156 countries.

    Mr Izcibayar is the leader of the Turkish Cypriot scouts in London and will participate in the Conference in the delegation of the Republic of Turkey. Mr Izcibayar is expected to address the Conference. He will inform the participants about the Turkish scouting and the so-called restrictions, embargoes and isolations imposed on the TRNC scouts for many years.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] A Turkish Cypriot team will participate in the Masters Championship in Slovenia

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (08.07.08) reports that a Turkish Cypriot team will participate in the Masters Championship which will take place in Slovenia between 20 and 30 July. Besim Erdenay, Huseyin Ozgurgun, Alkan Degirmencioglu, Huseyin Altinor and Hasan Kasap will represent the Turkish Cypriots in the games.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Ada TV television and Ada FM radio started their broadcasting yesterday

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (08.07.08) reports that Ada TV television and Ada FM radio started yesterday their broadcasting under the roof of Star Kibris Media Group. The paper reports that soon they will be broadcasting through satellite to the whole world.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Gen. Yasar Buyukanit emphasizes the key role of the EU and NATO in regional security and welfare

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (08.07.08) reports the following:

    Turkeys top general yesterday emphasized the key role of the European Union in regional security and welfare as well as the similar role played by NATO, at a Balkan summit of military chiefs held in Antalya.

    Chief of Turkish General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said the stability and partnership agreements signed by the EU with regional countries are important developments which should be taken note of while delivering a speech at the opening session of the Second Meeting of Balkan Chiefs of General Staff in the town of Belek.

    In summary, I wholeheartedly believe that political and security problems with growing conflict potential have been left behind thanks to both NATO and the EUS policies on spreading security, welfare and stability toward the east and also thanks to examples of unity like we have displayed here today, Buyukanit was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

    Gen. Henri Bentegeat, the chairman of the EU Military Committee, Giampaolo Di Paola, the head of the NATO Military Committee, and chiefs of general staff of Romania, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in the conference, which was scheduled to end later in the day. The first such conference was held in Greece in April 2007 and was also attended by Buyukanit.

    [11] First open hearing of Armenian journalist's assassination case begins

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.07.08) reported the following from Istanbul:

    A Turkish court in Istanbul began on Monday the first open hearing of Turkish-Armenian journalist's assassination case. This is the sixth hearing at the Istanbul Criminal Court regarding the case of assassination of Hrant Dink, the editor-in-chief of Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos.

    Monday's hearing is the first one to be open to the press and other people who want to observe it. The former five sessions were closed to the press since suspect O.S. was a juvenile. Nineteen suspects, eight of whom are in prison, are tried in the case.

    A member of European Parliament of Turkish origin said before the hearing that those who were countering racism and discrimination were standing beside each other today.

    The democratic, secular, bright and European Turkey case, backed by Hrant, is not over yet, parliamentarian Cem Ozdemir said. Ozdemir also said that those who killed Hrant Dink were those who did not want such a Turkey.

    Dink was shot dead outside the offices of his Agos newspaper in Istanbul in January, 2007. Police arrested the gunman and a suspected associate who was identified as Yasin Hayal.

    The trial began in July 2007. Prosecutors have asked for a prison term of 18 years up to 24 years for Dink's assassin and lifetime sentences for two key suspects, Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal, for inciting to the murder.

    [12] New coup plot has been revealed

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (08.07.08) reports the following:

    The investigation into Ergenekon, a dark neo-nationalist organization with former senior army generals and journalists among its members seeking to engineer a coup against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government, has revealed that in 2004 Turkey narrowly escaped three potential coups d'état, one more than had previously been reported by the media.

    Newspapers yesterday reported that documents seized during last week's raids in the Ergenekon investigation suggested that in addition to two coup plans, codenamed Sarikiz (blonde girl) and Ayisigi (moonlight), a third one by the name of Eldiven (the glove) was also in the works.

    A document titled "Eldiven" found in the home of Gen. Sener Eruygur, a former force commander of the gendarmerie currently under arrest on charges of founding and being a leader of the Ergenekon terrorist organization, shows in great detail the third coup attempt previously unknown to the media and the prosecution. Eldiven, according to reports, appears to be an extension of the failed Sarikiz and Ayisigi coup plots.

    The plan's introduction states that "there is discordance within the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK]" on the matter of supporting coup plans and proposes remedies to get over this "obstacle."

    The main purpose of Eldiven is to "shape the TSK, Parliament, the bureaucracy and local governments and rewrite the Constitution, the entire legislation and the National Security Policy Document." According to the plan, cell organizations of people from different segments of society would be formed. These would be unaware of each other's existence and work without knowing the real aim they serve, although they would all be serving the same ultimate purpose.

    The plan also writes in detail what kind of psychological warfare tactics would be used to shape public opinion. The first stage of the plan consisted of ensuring consensus nationwide. The plan sought to shape the decisions to come out of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) by talking to journalists and having them publish the ideas of generals currently active in the military. The plan also planned to use the effectiveness of then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in shaping YAS.

    Like the two other plans revealed before it, Eldiven also hoped to rely on media support and on financially supporting some of the media organs to publish news that would exhaust liberals or democrats and move public opinion to support the army's plans.

    Meanwhile, Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, when asked a question on the Ergenekon operation following a meeting yesterday of the chiefs of general staff of Balkan countries in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, declined to comment, saying he would only take questions about the chiefs of general staff meeting, NATO, security and EU relations.

    Subtitle: A short history of Turkey's coup leaders

    Turkey has seen three coups in the last five decades, but no commander has ever been prosecuted or convicted for overthrowing the civilian government until now. Kenan Evren, the retired general who staged the 1980 coup, is currently enjoying retirement in a southern resort town and keeping himself busy with painting.

    In a sign that this may be changing, retired Gen. Eruygur, currently the chairman of the Ataturkist Thought Association (ADD), which helped organize mass anti-government demonstrations last year, and Hursit Tolon, a former commander of the 1st Army Corps, were arrested after testifying in court during their time in custody.

    The two were taken into custody on July 1 as part of an investigation into Ergenekon, a gang suspected of having planned a shooting at the Council of State in 2006 which resulted in the death of a senior judge; an attack on the Istanbul headquarters of the Cumhuriyet newspaper; and even the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was gunned down by an ultranationalist teenager over a year ago.

    Eruygur is being mentioned as a key accomplice along with three other force commanders in a diary allegedly kept by a former navy commander detailing failed plans to overthrow the AK Party.

    Eruygur was a leading figure among the organizers of so-called republican rallies held ahead of July elections last year in protest of the AK Party government. His name was also mentioned in documents leaked to the press proving the existence of the two failed coup attempts, Ayisigi and Sarikiz, plotted when Eruygur was still in the military. Tolon was known for making frequent appearances at symposiums and conferences organized by ultranationalists. This is the first time generals of such high rank are being detained in Turkey.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [13] Why is the Turkish military involved in politics?

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (07.07.08) published the following commentary by Sahin Alpay:

    The military in Turkey has intervened in politics at least five times since the introduction of multiparty politics in 1950. The military has recently begun to behave almost like a political party.

    There are speculations that it is the military which has prompted the chief prosecutor to demand the banning of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), in power since 2002. Two weeks ago a plan devised by the military authorities on how to affect the behavior of the judiciary, the media, civil society and others and a secret meeting between the commander of the army and the vice chairman of the Constitutional Court was leaked to the press. Last week two retired four-star generals were arrested in the latest round of arrests of retired officers, journalists, academics and businessmen for allegedly plotting a military coup. All these are different manifestations of the military's recent involvement in politics.

    Why is the Turkish military so deeply involved in politics despite nearly 60 years of democratic rule? There are two main theories about this. One theory maintains that the military regards itself as the owner of the Turkish state. Being strongly committed to a very authoritarian form of secular nationalism (i.e., Kemalism) and being intent on preserving the privileges they have in the kind of tutelary democracy existent in Turkey, they are not willing to let elected politicians run the country all on their own. This is why the military is running the country from behind the scenes while outright military rule has become increasingly unlikely.

    According to the other theory, the elected politicians' failure to assume their responsibilities, their total disinterest and ignorance of defense and security issues and more importantly the lack of commitment among them to the principles of a democratic regime based on the rule of law are the real reasons why they have not been able to establish democratic control over the military and still want to use the military against each other in political rivalry.

    My position on this question is that not only the first but also the second theory helps us understand the civilian-military balance in Turkey. In defense of the latter theory let us examine the behavior of elected politicians since the crisis over the election of the president by Parliament in April 2007.

    The main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), has not only been resisting since 2005 all reforms initiated by the AKP government to broaden basic rights and freedoms, it has been actively inciting the military to intervene in the political process on its behalf. Its aging leader, Deniz Baykal, is suspected of having pinned his hopes for coming to power on an interim military regime.

    The other opposition party, the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), not only opposes all reforms toward broader freedoms, it is doing its best to bring about confrontations between the state elite and the AKP government, in hope of electoral gain. MHP leader Devlet Bahceli has recently displayed his disrespect for democratic principles by calling on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign and the AKP to dissolve itself before the Constitutional Court does so.

    Mesut Yilmaz is a former prime minister whose Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) was wiped out of politics in the 2002 elections. He has been tried for high corruption at the Constitutional Court, the case against him being dropped thanks to an amnesty law that came to his rescue. The same Yilmaz recently said the following: "The Turkish Army cannot be expected to return to its barracks. Closing down parties may be a primitive measure, but has to be preserved in Turkey. The AKP has spoiled a golden chance." Politics does not, however, tolerate a vacuum and Yilmaz is therefore getting ready to fill the vacuum.

    A seven-time former prime minister and the ninth president of Turkey, Suleyman Demirel, who was twice toppled by military interventions and banned from politics between 1980 and 1987, is in a thinly veiled way supporting the closure of the AKP and the ban from politics of both President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan, accusing them of confrontations with state institutions and for failing to run the country in harmony. Some observers suspect that Demirel smells of an opportunity to be re-elected as president.

    Do I need to provide further evidence for the argument that politicians in Turkey are still far from being committed to the basic principles and values of democracy?

    [14] From the Turkish press of 7 July 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 7 July:

    a) Turkish-Armenian Relations:

    Welcoming the thaw in Turkish-Armenian relations in an article in Milliyet, Semih Idiz predicts that certain obvious circles might be opposed to the hope of improvement in bilateral ties as represented by the photograph taken of President Gul together with his Azeri and Armenian counterparts in Astana. What we can now describe as the "Ergenekon point of view" was previously observed in the court case filed against Orhan Pamuk and in the prevention of the "Armenian conference" that was supposed to be held at Bogazici University, the writer notes, adding that there is a corresponding point of view in Armenia as well. Describing that point of view as the vindictive one, Idiz believes that it is the archenemy of the search for conciliation between the two countries. In conclusion, the writer stresses the need for courageous leaders for the positive picture in Astana to develop into something more meaningful.

    Assessing the invitation extended by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to President Gul in a column in Sabah, Erdal Safak asks whether this development can trigger normalization in bilateral relations and the opening of the borders that have been closed since 1991. Stating that this is not an easy task, the writer divides the problems between the two countries into two categories. Pointing that the first category consists of Armenian claims of genocide, the writer notes a softening in the Armenian position on the issue since the election of the new president. Referring to the second category as the Armenian occupation of the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Safak stresses that so long as this issue is not resolved in a way that will satisfy Azerbaijan, Turkey will neither open its borders to Armenia, nor will it establish diplomatic ties. The writer adds: "Gul is well aware that it is not easy to go beyond the framework or the red lines determined by this reality." The writer views the solution as follows: "The Minsk Group, which was established in a bid to find a solution to the Karabakh problem and of which Turkey is a member, should force the parties to reconcile, and should even condemn them. Otherwise, a very bloody war in the not so far future between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh will be inevitable, as warned by the 'International Crisis Group.'"

    b) Economy:

    A report in Hurriyet summarizes the Turkey section of the OECD Economic Outlook report for 2008. According to the OECD report, the unfavorable international conditions and domestic political uncertainty have increased the country's risk factor.

    According to an article by Irem Koker in Hurriyet, the latest detentions in the Ergenekon investigation coupled with the closure case filed against the AKP have frightened foreign investors. The writer predicts uncertainty in Turkish markets given the increasing political tension.

    PL/


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