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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-07-11

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. 131/08 11.07.08

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Erdogan is expected to visit illegally the occupied part of Cyprus in order to participate in the celebrations for the anniversary of the Turkish invasion
  • [02] Mehmet Ali Talat will meet with the UN Secretary General
  • [03] Talat: I am faithful to my oath. I am trying to make the TRNC to live, to strengthen and upgrade it; Statements by Talat to Ada TV
  • [04] Statements by Talat to Radio Vatan; Talat: The issue of guarantees cannot be negotiable for us
  • [05] Serdar Denktas thanks Talat for his statements on the issue of sovereignty
  • [06] The spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they expect the effective guarantees of Turkey to continue in Cyprus
  • [07] Claudia Roth has announced that she will not visit the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [08] Nami said he and Mr Iacovou established that more than ten of the technical committees have come extremely close to a result
  • [09] The CTP established that the conditions now are more appropriate in comparison with the past for the achievement of the goal of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus
  • [10] The Turkish Cypriot Peace Association was received yesterday by President Christofias
  • [11] The breakaway regime charges one-euro fee for entering the Apostolos Andreas Monastery
  • [12] Murat said that the holders of right for 913 rural plots of land at 45 locations have been determined
  • [13] Debate between Soyer and Eroglu in the assembly
  • [14] Fifty four out of sixty eight stone quarries on the occupied Pentathaktylos Mountain are active
  • [15] The self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation will hold a meeting with FIFA in Zurich
  • [16] Nine British boxers and middle weight world boxing Champion David Haye arrived in occupied Cyprus for training
  • [17] ECHR finds Turkey guilty on the Greek orphanage case
  • [18] Turkey and Iraq signed strategic cooperation agreement
  • [19] Ankara welcomes Armenias proposal for normalisation of relations
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [20] To understand AKP
  • [21] From the Turkish Press of 10 July 2008

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Erdogan is expected to visit illegally the occupied part of Cyprus in order to participate in the celebrations for the anniversary of the Turkish invasion

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to visit illegally the occupied part of Cyprus in order to participate in the celebrations for the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island on 20 July 1974. Invoking reliable sources the paper writes that Mr Erdogan is expected to arrive in the occupied areas on 19 July for a short visit.

    The paper notes that in statements to a newly established TV station, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat had said that the visit of Mr Erdogan on 20 July to participate in the celebrations would give them strength. Furthermore, with this visit, he added, they would feel the support of Turkey once more.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Mehmet Ali Talat will meet with the UN Secretary General

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat will meet with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki - moon in Berlin on 15 July at 14:00 o clock. The meeting will take place after a demand by the Turkish Cypriot leader and an invitation by the UN Secretary - General. Talat and Mr Ban will discuss the recent developments in the Cyprus problem. Talat will return from Berlin on the same day.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] Talat: I am faithful to my oath. I am trying to make the TRNC to live, to strengthen and upgrade it; Statements by Talat to Ada TV

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that in statements to Nazmi Pinar, journalist of Ada TV television, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat said yesterday that he does not accept the establishment of two provinces in Cyprus. He noted that in his statements to the Greek Cypriot Alithia newspaper he never referred to two provinces.

    I never accepted the provinces. The translator translated it wrong, he added. Responding to the accusations of those who allege that he wants the elimination of the TRNC and that he is committing a constitutional crime, Mr Talat said: I am faithful to my oath. I am trying to make the TRNC to live, to strengthen and upgrade it.

    Mr Talat alleged that the former President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos had a very bad record on the issue of the solution of the Cyprus problem and argued: A drowning man will clutch at a snake. And the world clutched at Demetris Christofias.

    Mr Talat said that on 1 July they discussed with President Christofias, besides the single sovereignty and the single citizenship, issues like the territorial integrity and the demilitarization.

    There was a debate on the issue of where the sovereignty is deriving from. We wanted the sovereignty to derive from the two peoples. Christofias did not accept it. I did not make a step backwards. He claimed that the equality of the two peoples was proved with the referendum of 2004 and alleged that this is also included in the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

    Mr Talat said that the issue of the sovereignty deriving from the two peoples is a red line for the Turkish side. He said that they insisted on this issue and that upon their insistence this was included in the text of the joint statement. We will complete its content during the comprehensive negotiations. It is only a decision in principle at the moment, he added.

    Referring to the fact that Turkish Cypriots have taken passports of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Talat claimed that this is the issue for which they should feel most ashamed.

    He said: It is a shameful situation for me. I consider it a humiliating situation, but I am showing understanding to it. He said that for him there was never an issue of acquiring a passport and added: The Greek Cypriot administrators boast with the passports they gave to Turkish Cypriots. This is a thaw. That is why I am saying that we need an urgent solution.

    Commenting on the memorandum between the Republic of Cyprus and Britain, Mr Talat said that this dealt a great blow to the trust of the Turkish Cypriots towards Britain.

    Furthermore, Mr Talat touched upon the developments in Turkey and pointed out that Turkey has been experiencing a big crisis. He said that the AKP is trying to protect the stability in the country even in these most difficult conditions. He noted that the AKP has to face with tolerance the unjust attacks.

    There is a slightly politicized judicial system, army and media in Turkey. Therefore, being in politics in Turkey necessitates caution, he said.

    Referring to the debates regarding the index-linked wage, Mr Talat criticized the self-styled government of the breakaway regime and said: The government is to blame. It made too many increases without calculating inflation, without planning for the future. That is, it acted in populism.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) refers to the same statements of Mr Talat and reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader argued that the fact that the Turkish Cypriots are doing their shopping from the free areas of the Republic is causing damage to their economy. He alleged that the Greek Cypriots who visit the occupied areas are not shopping, even though the products are cheaper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] Statements by Talat to Radio Vatan; Talat: The issue of guarantees cannot be negotiable for us.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader visited yesterday the Civil Defence organization. In statements after the visit to Radyo Vatan, the radio station of the organization, Mr Talat said that the sovereignty means equal partnership and equal participation, that the issue of sovereignty is being discussed from the point of view of peoples or communities and that this is very important.

    Mr Talat said that on 1 July the two leaders agreed in principle that the two peoples living in Cyprus are equal and not the two constituent states. He noted that they did not discuss the issue in detail and added that the comprehensive negotiations will take place starting from the point that sovereignty is equally deriving from the two peoples.

    He said that the date of the commencement of the comprehensive negotiations will be set on 25 July and added that in the end of the comprehensive negotiations either there will be a solution to the Cyprus problem or the reasons of the non-solution will be understood.

    Responding to a question, Mr Talat said that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots have agreed in the direction of negotiations in the Cyprus problem on the basis of the Annan plan. There is no disagreement on this issue, he added.

    Asked whether the issue of guarantees has been discussed at the technical committees and the working groups or during his meetings with President Christofias, Mr Talat replied: The issue of guarantees cannot be negotiable for us. The continuation of the system of guarantees is very important for us. We want the guarantees of Turkey.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Serdar Denktas thanks Talat for his statements on the issue of the sovereignty

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (11.07.08), under the title Thanks from Serdar Denktas to Talat, reports that Serdar Denktas, chairman of the Democratic Party (DP) has said that with his statements yesterday morning on a TV program, the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat has lessened the worries of the great majority of the people by shedding light on the issue of sovereignty.

    In a written statement issued yesterday, Mr Denktas thanked Mr Talat because of his statement that the sovereignty derives from the two peoples.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] The spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they expect the effective guarantees of Turkey to continue in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that Burak Ozugergin, spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated yesterday that they expect the effective guarantees of Turkey to continue in a solution to be reached on the Cyprus problem. Responding to a question during his weekly briefing to the press, Mr Ozugergin reminded that Turkey believes that 2008 offers a window of opportunity for a comprehensive solution in Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Claudia Roth has announced that she will not visit the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the co-chairperson of the German Greens Party, Claudia Roth has announced that she will not visit the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to participate in the celebrations for the 34th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of the island. In statements made on the issue, a spokesperson of the Greens Party said that Mrs Roth never had the intention of going to north Cyprus.

    Furthermore, the member of the Greens Party and vice president of the assembly of the province of Hamburg, Nebahat Guclu, who has been invited to the occupied areas, stated that he would not be able to respond to this invitation because Mrs Roth will not visit the occupied areas. Yesterday the Turkish Cypriot press reported that Mrs Roth would visit the occupied areas of Cyprus at the invitation of the speaker of the assembly, Fatma Ekenoglu.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Nami said he and Mr Iacovou established that more than ten of the technical committees have come extremely close to a result

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that Ozdil Nami, representative of the Turkish Cypriot leader, who met yesterday with the Presidential Commissioner, George Iacovou, told the illegal Bayrak television that he and Mr Iacovou established that more than ten of the technical committees have come extremely close to a result. He said that they began the preparations of the Christofias Talat meeting on 25 July.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] The CTP established that the conditions now are more appropriate in comparison with the past for the achievement of the goal of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the council of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) convened the night before yesterday and discussed the Cyprus problem and the problems experienced in the economy in the occupied areas. The party expressed its full support to the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and the government for the rapid commencement of comprehensive negotiations and these negotiations to result in a federal solution.

    The party argued that it is a precondition that the announcement of the date on which the comprehensive negotiations will start to be made during the meeting between Mr Talat and President Christofias on 25 July. According to a statement issued by the party, the CTP established that the conditions now are more appropriate in comparison with the past for the achievement of the goal of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation in Cyprus formed by two constituent states with equal political status. The party expressed the opinion that those circles who oppose the solution and reacted against the single sovereignty and the single citizenship, aim at preventing the commencement of comprehensive negotiations.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The Turkish Cypriot Peace Association was received yesterday by President Christofias

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that a delegation from the Turkish Cypriot Peace Association was received yesterday by President Christofias. The chairman of the Association, Huseyin Celal stated after the meeting that they were very satisfied from the meeting which was held in a sincere climate. Mr Celal said both leaders are a chance for peace, that for the first time such big changes are taking place in our country and that we are closer to peace than ever.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] The breakaway regime charges one-euro fee for entering the Apostolos Andreas Monastery

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the self-styled mayor of the occupied Rizokarpaso village, Mehmet Demirci has stated that the one-euro fee for entering the Apostolos Andreas Monastery is taken so that fodder and water is purchased for the stray donkeys living in the area.

    Asked whether the monastery is a place of worship and whether a fee is taken from such places, Mr Demirci said, inter alia, the following: There is no relation with worship. Many tourists are going there to see a historic monument. More Turkish Cypriots than Greek Cypriots are coming and they are also paying a fee there are even some who pay more money when they hear that we are taking an entrance fee for the donkeys.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Murat said that the holders of right for 913 rural plots of land at 45 locations have been determined

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that lots were drawn yesterday at the self-styled ministry of internal affairs for the distribution of rural plots of land to young people living in the occupied village of Chatoz. The self-styled minister of internal affairs, Ozkan Murat said that the holders of right for 913 rural plots of land at 45 locations have been determined.

    In a written statement issued by the ministry, it is noted that Mr Murat said that another 100 Organized Sheepfold Areas were added after 2004 to the already existing ones. He noted that until today the buildings which constituted a danger have been demolished in 148 villages and they have been cleaned from rubbles. Mr Murat added also that the water system of 87 villages has been changed and asphalt has been laid at 120 villages.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] Debate between Soyer and Eroglu in the assembly

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (11.07.08) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said yesterday at the assembly that they have not made a step backwards on the issue of the index-linked wage. Replying to the accusations of Dervis Eroglu, self-styled MP with the National Unity Party (UBP), Mr Soyer said that they have increased the GDP of the breakaway regime to 3.5 billion US dollars and added that their aim is to reach Malta and achieve economic growth.

    Mr Soyer noted that while before the year 2004 only 369 kilometres of road were built, the three-year period that followed 495 kilometres of main roads were built.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports that Mr Eroglu said that the situation in the country is not encouraging and criticized the government on many issues. Mr Eroglu criticized also the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat for accepting the single sovereignty. Mr Eroglu asked where this will be deriving from and alleged that the Turkish Cypriots are suffering because of this.

    (I/Ts.)

    [14] Fifty four out of sixty eight stone quarries on the occupied Pentathaktylos Mountain are active

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) continues its reference to the environmental disaster caused by the stone quarries on the occupied Pentathaktylos Mountain and reports that the damage reached tremendous dimensions. The paper writes that 54 out of the 68 stone quarries on Pentathaktylos Mountains are active.

    Eighteen of these quarries are located on the side of the mountain overlooking Nicosia.

    In spite of the workshops, the meetings and the discussions held with the civilian organizations on the ways by which the problem could be overcome, the conclusions of these contacts have not been implemented and no improvement of the situation has been made, notes the paper.

    (I/Ts.)

    [15] The self-styled Turkish Cypriot Football Federation will hold a meeting with FIFA in Zurich

    Under the title The official invitation came from FIFA: Adal is going to Zurich Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (11.07.08) reports in its sport pages that the Turkish Cypriot Football Federation (KTFF) received an official invitation from FIFA to go to Zurich in order to hold a meeting with officials from FIFA. The Turkish Cypriot delegation will be headed by the chairman of KTFF, Omer Adal. In the meeting KTFF will convey to FIFA the problems of the football in Cyprus, writes the paper. The meeting will be held in the end of July.

    (C/S)

    [16] Nine British boxers and middle weight world boxing Champion David Haye arrived in occupied Cyprus for training

    Turkish Cypriot Weekly Cyprus STAR newspaper (11-17.07.08) reports that Cruiserweight world champion David Haye had prepared for his heavy weight championship fight in the occupied Kazafani village. Following this, other 'various weight' boxers also came to occupied Cyprus on Thursday of last week, subsequent to the advice given to them by Hayes manager, Adam Esref Cevdet who is of a Turkish Cypriot origin. British television media and press officials have also come with the boxers. In his exclusive statement to the Cyprus Star, Adam Esref Cevdet said that he had the objective of making 'Northern Cyprus' an important venue for training for the world of boxing. Cevdet said: 'the weather, the sun, the organic agricultural produce of the country and the slow-paced life of Northern Cyprus makes it an ideal place for training for boxers. David Haye became the world champion by training here' he said.

    [17] ECHR finds Turkey guilty on the Greek orphanage case

    Turkish Daily News newspaper (10.07.08) reported the following:

    The European Court of Human Rights, or ECHR, Tuesday found Turkey at fault in the court case the Fener Greek Patriarchate filed regarding the ownership of an orphanage on the biggest of Istanbul's Prince's Islands, Buyukada. The ECHR adjudicated that Turkey has violated Article 1 of the First Protocol of European Convention of Human Rights. The ECHR's verdict over monetary indemnities will come at a later date. Turkey has the option to appeal the verdict and take the case to the Grand Chamber. During the Nov. 27, 2007 hearing in the ECHR, the Turkish government's lawyer had said, The property that has become the subject of conflict was allocated as a Greek orphanage in 1902 and that the ownership belonged to the Orphanage Foundation. He had added that the view that the Patriarchate claims ownership rights to the orphanage by its own will and for a temporary period was not correct. He had said, The Patriarchate has never been the user or proprietor of the property in question. The application will prove to be void and should be refused when it is taken into consideration that properties allocated to foundations or charitable organizations cannot be used outside their allocation purposes or as private properties. The Patriarchate's lawyer on the other hand, had said the issue should not be seen solely as a property issue but that it was also a violation of rights against minorities. He had said that the property on Buyukada that belongs to the Greek Orphanage Foundation was in fact a property of the Patriarchate and that the Foundations General Directorate that has taken a decision to the contrary had been mistaken. In its application to the court, the Patriarchate had claimed that a violation of human rights took place by giving the property it owned to someone else and that this violated Article 1 of the European Convention of Human Rights' First Protocol.

    [18] Turkey and Iraq signed strategic cooperation agreement

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (11.07.08) reports about the visit the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan paid to Iraq under very tight security measures. Mr. Erdogans visit was kept secret until his plane touched down at Baghdad airport, for security reasons. In Baghdad, the Turkish Prime Minister met with his Iraqi counterpart Nouri El Maliki. At the end of the meeting the two men held a joint press conference, during which they announced the agreement signed on the establishment of High Level Strategic Council. According to the agreement, the prime ministers will meet once a year; the ministers involved three times and the technical delegations four times a year. During the press conference, reports the paper Mr. Erdogan thanked the Iraqi administration and the Kurdish Administration in northern Iraq for the support they have enjoyed in their struggle against the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK).

    (MHY)

    [19] Ankara welcomes Armenias proposal for normalisation

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (11.07.08) reports the following:

    Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan's open call to Turkey to launch "a fresh start" in relations between the estranged neighbours has found a positive response in the Turkish capital.

    'The time has come for a fresh effort to break this deadlock, a situation that helps no one and hurts many. As president of Armenia, I take this opportunity to propose a fresh start -- a new phase of dialogue with the government and people of Turkey, with the goal of normalizing relations and opening our common border,' Sarksyan said in an opinion piece published Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.

    In response to a question at a weekly press conference held in Ankara, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Burak Ozugergin said firstly that Ankara has received Sarksyan's formal invitation to President Abdullah Gul via official channels to visit Yerevan for a soccer match in September.

    'We will assess the invitation,' Ozugergin said.

    Armenia and Turkey will play against each other in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Sept. 6 in a qualifying match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in South Africa.

    'We are heeding normalization concerning relations with Armenia. The Armenian president has had certain statements resound in the international community,' Ozugergin said when reminded of the content of the opinion piece by Sarksyan.

    'We have learned that he said that there is no other alternative than normalization of the two countries' relations. If this [statement] is so, we agree with these suggestions. As a matter of fact, there had been exchange of letters right after the elections in Armenia. These elements are also in those letters. Accordingly, if it [the statement by Sarksyan] is true, then we are responding with pleasure these statements by Sarksyan,' Ozugergin said.

    'There is no real alternative to the establishment of normal relations between our countries. It is my hope that both of our governments can pass through the threshold of this new open door. We cannot expect tangible progress without such structured relations. Only through them can we create an effective dialogue touching upon even the most contentious historical issues,' Sarksyan said in his opinion piece.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [20] To understand AKP

    Under the above title, Radikal newspaper (07.07.08) published the following commentary by Oral Calislar:

    What kind of a party is the AKP [Justice and Development Party]? Is it an Islamic or a conservative-liberal organization? Considering its large basis, it can be said that it is a conservative party. Considering its program, it can be described as a conservative-democratic organization to a certain extent. The party administrations policies show that the party is moving to become a centrist organization. Considering its founding cadres, it can be described as a pragmatic party which supports changes but adopts a conservative and Islamic approach from time to time.

    It will be recalled that former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the defunct Welfare Party, viewed the Western countries as an evil group in the past. However, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his colleagues decided to consider the EU as one of their main targets. Some of the nationalist and conservative circles describe the AKP initiatives as an approach that significantly distances Turkey from Islam and its Turkish roots. Some of the Islamic circles view the AKP as an organization that is portrayed as an Islamic party for the sake of unity in the left and right-wing factions.

    Although the AKP is a traditionally Islamic organization, it is now moving to become a centrist party. Considering that, it would be logical to say that it makes initiatives for modernization and liberalization rather than moving ahead for democratization. While encouraging the closed Islamic or conservative communities in the rural areas and the city suburbs to open to the modern world, the AKP makes an effort to also persuade them to participate in the changes.

    The municipalities took over the administration of the conservative sectors. Changes took place at the high administrative levels in bureaucracy. Those circles influenced the economy. The developments changed Turkey's face. Meanwhile, rural and conservative groups placed the central administration under their control. While Turkey changed them, they, too, changed Turkey.

    The AKP came to power in a structure that was established after the military coup on 12 September 1980. The party used various laws, such as the Election Law, Political Parties Law, and the Turkish Penal Code, and institutions, such as YOK [High Education Council], RTUK [Radio and Television Supreme Council], and MGK

    [National Security Council], as a political and legal back garden to strengthen its position. However, democracy did not exist in its approach. It acted with the concept of authoritarian state.

    The AKP complied with the existing structure to a certain extent. It used it as much as possible, in a way that served its needs. It tried to strengthen its position by making changes whenever it clashed with the system.

    The AKP, which maintained a traditional and secular approach and supported modernization, opposed the EU calls for reforms. Believing that democratization would pose a threat to its administration, it resisted the calls for reforms. It adopted a conservative approach. Consequently, it hesitated and failed to make the necessary decisions. It showed that it was unable to internalize the plans for reforms and democratization, which it agreed to realize after it was encouraged by the EU to do so. Meanwhile, the party suffered from many problems, such as the Cyprus and the Kurdish problems. Consequently, it established an alliance with those who support the status quo, believing that it would be able to deal with the situation. However, they took action as soon as they realized its weakness.

    Is the AKP capable of establishing a sharia state? The number of those who would respond to the question by saying yes is gradually diminishing. It has been observed that a moderate approach exists in the party administration at the present time.

    Is the AKP a democratic organization? Saying yes will be difficult. What is important in the AKP is the party leader and mission. The present political culture and legal system strengthens the party's structure.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a pragmatic and charismatic leader. Although he has conveyed messages that he is inclined to reach an agreement with the pro-status quo elements, he is capable of acting in accordance with the changing conditions. He realizes the needs of the people more so than the other leaders. He does not fail to convey the message that he is open to changes because he has been through an era of changes and resignations from political parties in the past.

    [21] From the Turkish Press of 10 July 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of July 10:

    a) Attack on US Consulate

    According to a report n Milliyet, police forces are assessing information that the attack outside the US Consulate in Istanbul on 9 July was launched by the Selefi group that is believed to share the same views with al-Qaida. The report then goes on to detail the developments in front of the Consulate as recounted by eyewitnesses.

    Another report in the same daily states that Erkan Kargin, one of the assailants who was killed at the scene of the attack, left for Iran through the Agri gate in September of 2006 through legal channels and returned to Turkey via Istanbul's Ataturk Airport in May of 2007. During his time abroad, Kargin is believes to have travelled from Iran to Afghanistan where he studied the Selefi philosophy and was trained in terrorist actions. According to the report, rumors to the effect that Raif Topcil, another assailant, was questioned by the United States at Guantanamo Bay and that he was released a month ago have yet to be confirmed.

    According to a report in Milliyet, Osman Dagli, one of the traffic policemen who was injured in the attack launched against the US Consulate, complained to the police commissioner who came to visit him at the hospital where he is being treated that he asked to enter the Consulate grounds after having been injured in the incident, but that US officials denied him entry. The report adds that Istanbul Security Director Celalettin Cerrah was angered at the fact that help was not extended to the injured policeman. Commenting on the fact that US marines and security officials insistently refused to open the doors of the Consulate to the injured policeman, as recorded by the security cameras, Cerrah said: "This is not possible. It is incomprehensible."

    A report by Okan Konuralp and Arda Akin in Hurriyet focuses on speculations that the attack might be in retaliation against the death of Abdul Fettah, who was killed in an armed clash between al-Qaida and US forces in Kandahar five days ago. The retaliation speculations are based on the fact that both Fettah and Erkan Kargin, one of the assailants in the attack on the US Consulate, are reported to have been born in Bitlis in 1982. It is also believed that the assailants met Fettah and Lutfi Serin, also killed in the Kandahar clash, during their training in Afghanistan.

    According to a report in Ortadogu, a recent message saying "speed up the terror" conveyed by the youngest son of Osama Bin Ladin through the internet has increased speculation that the assailants acted upon that message

    Commenting on the possibility that the attack on the US Consulate was launched by al-Qaida in an article in Hurriyet, Oktay Eksi condemns those who shed blood in the name of "religion" and adds: "Then they claim that the religion in whose name they have shed blood requests 'love and toleration' from everyone." Recalling official statements to the effect that al-Qaida has been destroyed in Turkey, Eksi believes that these claims are over optimistic. In conclusion, the writer calls on citizens to be vigilant and to report even their slightest suspicion to the security forces and on the state to approach more seriously to the warnings of its citizens.

    Criticizing the security measures in front of the US Consulate in the second section of his column in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz questions whether a police officer with only two years experience in the force should have been appointed to guard the Consulate. The writer adds that had the police officer been especially trained to guard such places, then he would not have come out of his bullet-proof booth to expose himself to firearms. Arguing that negligence has led to a grave mistake, the writer dwells on the weakness of the police force to deal with incidents of terror and shows the assassination of Hrant Dink as another example.

    Recalling the various terrorist incidents in Istanbul during the last few years in an article in Hurriyet, Yilmaz Ozdil mockingly calls on the governor and the police chief of Istanbul to wiretap the terrorists from time to time if it is not too much trouble. In conclusion, the writer says that they have no time to pursue terrorists because they are busy receiving dignitaries in airports, counting Sinan Aygun's Euros, and attacking citizens with pepper gas.

    Assessing the attack launched against the US Consulate in an article in Sabah, Emre Akoz believes that this "amateurish" attack, though launched by al-Qaida elements as claimed, was not a typical al-Qaida action. Speculating that "the 'concrete target' was the Security and that the 'address of the message' was primarily the United States," Akoz believes that the message the perpetrators are trying to convey to the United States is the following: "Do not support the government, they cannot protect you. You will be the target of an attack." Akoz goes on to adds that this can also be viewed as a punishment to the Security Directorate that has managed to uncover Ergenekon.

    Condemning terrorist incidents in an 800-word article in the Turkish Daily News, Yusuf Kanli notes the very strong connection between the Istanbul attack, the Agri kidnappings, and the current atmosphere of uncertainty created by the closure case against the Justice and Development Party, AKP, and the "Ergenekon" investigation which has been continuing in a fashion that has turned this country into an "empire of fear." Pointing out that "such despicable acts of terrorism must multiply the resolve to stand against terrorism," the writer calls for urgently boosting security around foreign missions and economic establishments as terrorists may attempt to take advantage of the atmosphere of uncertainty in the country.

    In an article entitled "Al-Qa'ida or Ergenekon? Pay Attention to Who is Behind", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul suggests a link between the attack on the US Consulate General in Istanbul yesterday and the ongoing "deep political crisis" in Turkey, "the efforts being made to eject the incumbent government from power," the latest operations against Ergenekon, and scenarios of a bomb attack in Istanbul's Taksim Square that would inflict a heavy civilian toll. He also argues that more important than the identity of the perpetrators of yesterday's attack is the question of who masterminded this assault.

    In an article entitled "Where is All This Headed?", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak draws attention to allegations that the armed assault on the police officers guarding the US Consulate General was carried out by "hired killers" in retaliation for the recent police operations against Ergenekon and that the Ergenekon network is cooperating with criminal groups in neighboring countries in staging such attacks in a bid to prepare the ground for a military coup.

    In an article entitled "Terrorist Attack", Milli Gazete columnist Hasan Unal asserts that more attacks of the sort staged against the US Consulate General in Istanbul can be expected as the possibility that the standoff between the United States and Iran will turn into a hot conflict increases, adding that it is highly likely that "groups financed by Iran or see their raison d'etre as carrying out terrorist attacks on US assets will create a blood bath in our region." He also warns that the Turkish citizenship of the perpetrators suggests that there are "sleeping [terrorist] cells" in this country that could "cause much headache" in the event of a US-Iranian military conflict.

    A report in Milliyet states that Ethem Sancak, the owner of the daily Star and Haber 24 TV who is known for his close ties to Prime Minister Erdogan, is also being interrogated within the scope of the Ergenekon investigation.

    A report by Bahar Kilicgedik in Taraf states that the Ergenekon organization has established a team to assassinate Prosecutor Zekeriya Oz who is in charge of the investigation. While security measures regarding Oz and his family have been increased, the report adds that the Security Directorate has stepped up its activities to apprehend those in the hit team.

    ES/


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