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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-07-14

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 <>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 132/08 12-14.07.08


  • [01] Statements by Tahsin Ertugrulolgu accusing Mr Talat and the self-styled government of the breakaway regime
  • [02] Cakici reiterates the sincere support of his party to Talat for the commencement of the negotiations in Cyprus and criticizes him for his recent statements
  • [03] Turkish President met with the self-styled ambassador in Ankara on the occasion of the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus
  • [04] Turkish Speaker said their policy on Cyprus will remain the same
  • [05] Erdogan will pay an illegal visit to Cyprus accompanied by six ministers of his cabinet
  • [06] Delegation of AKP is holding contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [07] Soyer said he might reshuffle the government of the breakaway regime in order to solve their problems
  • [08] Pertev stated that the problem of the stone quarries in the occupied areas of Cyprus is political
  • [09] The disputes on the issue of the one-euro entrance fee to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery continue
  • [10] Statements by Mr Andrew Rasbash to the illegal TAK the news agency
  • [11] More illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [12] «Long awaited day in Ergenekon case»
  • [13] Statements by Rauf Denktas regarding the Annan Plan period
  • [14] Turkish PM met with Sarkozy in Paris
  • [15] Turkish FM holds contacts in Paris
  • [16] Iran to assign Ambassador to Ankara

  • [17] From the Turkish Press of 11, 12, 13 July 2008


    [01] Statements by Tahsin Ertugrulolgu accusing Mr Talat and the self-styled government of the breakaway regime

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (14.07.08), under the title The government went bankrupt, early election is a condition, publishes statements by Tahsin Ertugruloglu, chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP), who criticized strongly the self-styled CTP-ORP government.

    Mr Ertugruloglu accused the government of making the people suffer and added: This government should leave its duties, resign and open the way for early election as soon as possible, without losing another day and before making the people suffer more. He alleged that the Turkish Cypriots will stand on their two feet with a new UBP government.

    Commenting on the statements of Mr Soyer, who compared the situation in the occupied areas of Cyprus with the issue of Ergenekon in Turkey, Mr Ertugruloglu said: The prime minister started not to know what he is saying. He is depressed and he is not hearing what he is saying. This is not an accusation which could not be taken seriously. ....

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, Mr Ertugruloglu expressed his worries on and the policy pursued by the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. Alleging that Mr Talat and his team are following a policy with no red lines, Mr Ertugruloglu argued that especially on the issue of sovereignty, an extremely vital mistake has been committed.

    Mr Ertugruloglu warned Mr Talat arguing: If he thinks that he can lead this national cause as if it were his personal cause, his is thinking wrongly. ...I once more want to call him to the right path. I want to remind him that conducting a negotiating process by rejecting the existence of the state of which he is president, by rejecting the sovereign status of the state of which he is president, is tantamount to disrespect to the post of the president of the republic and a constitutional crime. ...He is in an extremely wrong way, if he thinks that a solution could be reached with the Greek Cypriot side by making concessions from the TRNC, by making concessions from our sovereignty. And it is definite that he thinks in this manner. ....

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Volkan newspaper (14.07.08) publishes the statements by Mr Ertugruloglu under the title Either you behave like a president of the TRNC or go. The paper notes that Mr Ertugruloglu addressing to Mr Talat said: Your agreements do no bind the people, your signature is not valid.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.07.08) refers to the statements of Mr Ertugruloglu under the title No one has the right to give away to the Greek Cypriots the sovereignty of the people.


    [02] Cakici reiterates the sincere support of his party to Talat for the commencement of the negotiations in Cyprus and criticizes him for his recent statements

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.07.08) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democrat Party (TDP), has called on the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat to act according to the will shown by the Turkish Cypriots during the referendum on 24 April 2004 and not according to the accusations of the front of the non-solution.

    In a written statement issued on Saturday, Mr Cakici reminded that his party supports sincerely Mr Talat for the commencement of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem. However, he added that they could never support Talats giving concessions from their principles by making steps backwards and speaking ambiguously after the reactions of the anti-solution front.

    Reminding the statement of Mr Talat who argued that the Turkish Cypriots who take a passport of the Republic of Cyprus should be ashamed, Mr Cakici said that Mr Talat is essentially the one who should be ashamed for his words.

    Mr Cakici reminded that when Mr Talat was in the opposition, as leader of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), he strongly opposed the draft-law prepared by the UBP-DP self-styled government to prevent the Turkish Cypriots from taking a passport of the Republic of Cyprus. He noted that Mr Talat with the statement he made the day before yesterday is completely in contrary to his own views and came to the position of rejecting himself.

    Mr Cakici said that having passports of the Republic of Cyprus is one of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots and added that they should benefit from all their rights deriving from the 1960 agreements.


    [03] Turkish President met with the self-styled ambassador in Ankara on the occasion of the anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.07.08) reported the following from Ankara: «Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said Friday a permanent and comprehensive solution in Cyprus is the desire of Turkish Cypriots and Turkey.

    Gul received the Ambassador of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) in Ankara, Tamer Gazioglu, and an accompanying delegation that included veterans of the Cyprus Peace Operation on Friday.

    We hope that a permanent and comprehensive solution would be reached in Cyprus. Whether or not a solution is reached in Cyprus, Turkey will continue to be on the side of the Turkish Cypriots, Gul stressed.

    All guarantees are valid, including those related to economy, politics and security. The motherland will be on the side of Turkish Cypriots forever. Turkish Cypriots want to live in peace and tranquility and want to preserve their freedom. This is their natural right. The world will one day understand that the Turkish Cypriots are on the side of peace and solution in the island. A solution is not possible without seeing the realities in Cyprus. Promises made in the island must be fulfilled. Turkish Cypriots did keep their promise. Those who have made promises to the Turkish Cypriots must fulfill their promises. Regardless of whether the promises are fulfilled or not, Turkey will always be on the side of Turkish Cypriots, Gul said.

    I thank Mr. Gazioglu and his delegation for visiting me on the 34th anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation. The Cyprus Peace Operation ended the pain suffered by Turkish Cypriots for years. Such pain will never repeat in Cyprus. The whole world must know this fact, Gul also said.

    A just solution in Cyprus is a must. We do not demand more than what is our right. We are determined to demand what is our right, Gazioglu said.

    We are thankful to Turkey for its support of Turkish Cypriots in the past and today. Whether or not a solution is reached with the Greek Cypriot administration, the TRNC will live on forever, Gazioglu said».

    [04] Turkish Speaker said their policy on Cyprus will remain the same

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (11.07.08) reported the following from Ankara: «Turkish Parliament Speaker Koksal Toptan received on Friday Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus's (TRNC) Ambassador in Ankara Tamer Gazioglu on the occasion of the 34th anniversary of July 20th Cyprus Peace Operation.

    Delivering a speech in the meeting, Toptan said a policy on Cyprus was put as an obstacle before Turkey in regard to EU accession negotiations from time to time.

    It doesn't matter. Turkey will keep pursuing the policy regarding Cyprus which has been adopted so far, Toptan said.

    Turkish Cypriot people carried out a great struggle under difficult circumstances, he stated.

    Turkish Cypriots who supported the Annan plan showed that they were in favor of peace in the island, Toptan stated.

    There are two states, two peoples, two flags and two democracies in the island. We are glad over ongoing talks between Mr. Talat (President of TRNC) and the Greek Cypriot administration leader, Toptan stated.

    TRNC has made important progress in regard to integration into the world in the recent years, he said.

    In his part, Gazioglu said Turkey always assisted TRNC in its rightful struggle».

    [05] Erdogan will pay an illegal visit to Cyprus accompanied by six ministers of his cabinet

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (14.07.08) 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 accompanied by six ministers of his cabinet.

    According to the paper, Mr Erdogan is expected to give messages of solidarity and peace during his visit. Mr Erdogan announced that he would visit the occupied areas of Cyprus with six of his ministers while addressing the parliamentary group of his party the day before yesterday.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Halki Sesi newspaper (14.07.08) reports that the Medical Faculty of the illegal Near East University (YDU) will be opened on 20 July with a ceremony in which the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will participate. The chairman of Turkeys Higher Education Council (YOK), Prof. Dr. Yusuf Ziya Ozcan will also attend the ceremony.

    According to a statement made by the YDU, the faculty will start accepting students as of the academic year 2008-2009. The five-storey building is located in a closed area of 8.500 square meters.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.07.08) reports that Mr Erdogan will also open the Techno Park of the Architecture and Engineering Faculty of the illegal American University of Keryneia (GAU) and of the Amphitheatre of the so-called municipality of Keryneia.


    [06] Delegation of AKP is holding contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.07.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    «A delegation from Turkeys Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the partys youth branch are holding contacts in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    Within the framework of its contacts today, the delegation paid a visit to the leader of the Freedom and Reform Party, Foreign Minister Turgay Avci and Deputy Leader Erdogan Sanlidag.

    Speaking during the visit Turgay Avci expressed his pleasure for receiving the delegation at the Party headquarters and noted that the contacts the AKP would be having in the republic would be strengthening the ties between the two countries.

    AKP Istanbul Youth Branch provincial President Faruk Kalayci for his part said that the 80 person delegations visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus carried great importance as they had come on the eve of the anniversary of the Cyprus Peace Operation.

    He said for 34 years peace had existed on the island and continues to exist today.

    We will support every step that will be taken to assist the bright future of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, he added».

    [07] Soyer said he might reshuffle the government of the breakaway regime in order to solve their problems

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (14.07.08), under the title Green light by Prime Minister Soyer for the reshuffle of the cabinet, reports that the self-styled prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer gave an interview to the paper and referred to the difficult situation of the breakaway regime and its economy, pointing out to the radical measures that could be taken. For the first time, Mr Soyer said that one way out of the difficult situation could be a reshuffle of the cabinet, notes Kibris.

    Mr Soyer said: The reshuffle here is not about persons. Of course this will also be included in this issue, but at this stage, I as prime minister and chairman of the party, want to discuss in my party what program we will be implementing in the way we will proceed in this hard pressed situation and in an important historic mission such as the Cyprus problem. We will discuss this during the process. During the same period we will discuss this in the community as well, with all the civilian organizations. If as a result of the discussions, which I will hold in my party, a reshuffle or other changes come onto the agenda, we will implement it. This is a whole. That is, you cannot change image by changing only persons. ....

    Mr Soyer said that they have reduced the taxes and managed to increase the income of the state. During 2003 this income was 645 million new Turkish liras and in 2007 went up to one billion 628 new Turkish liras.


    [08] Pertev stated that the problem of the stone quarries in the occupied areas of Cyprus is political

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.07.08) reports that Rasit Pertev, leader of the Peoples Party (HP), stated on Saturday that the problem of the stone quarries in the occupied areas of Cyprus is political.

    Mr Pertev noted that the problem is deriving from the immunity of big companies and persons who work in the above-mentioned sector given by the government.

    Mr Pertev said that the government does not impose restrictions or sanctions to these companies so that they protect the environment and added that the government is definitely refraining from taking such steps.


    [09] The disputes on the issue of the one-euro entrance fee to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (13.07.08) reports that the so-called district officer of occupied Trikomo, Ahmet Cenk Musaogullari said that he filed charges at the police against the occupied Rizokarpasso municipality because it takes one-euro entrance fee to the Apostolos Andreas Monastery without acquiring the permit of issuing receipts.

    The self-styled minister of environment and natural resources, Mustafa Gokmen stated that they are informed about the filing of the charges and are investigating legal dimensions for the issue.

    The director of the so-called antiquities and museums department, Fuat Azimli said the following about the practice applied by the occupied Rizokarpasso municipality: This is a totally wrong practice and I think this totally wrong practice will soon be lifted.


    [10] Statements by Mr Andrew Rasbash to the illegal TAK the news agency

    Illegal Bayrak television (13.07.08) broadcast the following from occupied Lefkosia:

    «The head of the European Commissions Task Force for the Turkish Cypriot community Andrew Rasbash has said that the EU has no intention of withdrawing its proposal on the Direct Trade Regulation.

    Speaking to the TAK news agency, the EU commission official said that the implementation of the Financial Assistance Regulation aimed at the Turkish Cypriot Community was going well and that there was still a year and half until the financial scheme was completed.

    We must now speed up things, he added.

    Reminding that the European Commission had signed 50 million Euros worth of contracts in the North by the end of June within the framework of financial assistance regulation, Rasbash said that tenders had been launched for most of these contracts.

    The head of the EU Commissions Task Force also announced that new programs aimed at developing rural areas of the country will be launched by the end of this month.

    On the issue of the Green Line Regulation, Mr. Rasbash said that the number of people crossing over the green line was at its highest level but also added that there was also a noticeable increase in the trading of goods across the divide despite a slow start.

    The South has imported 4 million Euros worth of goods from the North over the last 3 years. The export figures for the first 6 months of this year alone have exceeded 3 million Euros, he said.

    Rasbash pointed out that the maximum value of goods each individual can carry across the border has also been raised from 135 to 260 Euros.

    The Task Force head also reminded that the fresh fish had been added to the list of goods allowed to be exported from North Cyprus within the framework of the Green Line Regulation».

    [11] More illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (13.07.08) reports that four illegal immigrants from Syria were arrested in Saturday after they entered into the occupied areas of the Cyprus near the occupied Avlona villages.


    [12] Long awaited day in Ergenekon case

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (14.07.08) reports the following:

    The content of an indictment filed against suspects in a case deemed to be one of the most important in the history of the republic is being announced today, officially explaining the accusations behind dozens of detentions and arrests during a yearlong investigation.

    According to information already leaked to the media, the indictment was prepared by three prosecutors led by Zekeriya Oz on Ergenekon -- a crime network including journalists, academics, political party leaders, civil society figures, former and possibly current army officers, including generals, seeking to cause chaos in Turkey and lead to a coup -- is nearly 2,500 pages long. Eighty-five people are being indicted by the document, 48 of whom were jailed during the investigation, which started in the summer of 2007 as a probe into a house discovered in Istanbul being used as an arms depot and which later turned out to be linked to the Ergenekon gang, designated a terrorist organization by the prosecutor.

    According to news reports yesterday, 20 witnesses whose testimonies are in the indictment are referred to not by their names, but by numbers assigned to each one due to concerns about their personal safety.

    The details of the indictment will be announced today by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Aykut Cengiz Engin, who said on Saturday that he would not be sharing the entire content of the indictment with the media but only general information. The 2,455-page document was saved on three DVDs comprising 400 folders.

    The indictment includes failed coup attempts planned by some of the suspects while serving in the military as high-ranking generals. Documents seized in the suspects' offices and homes during the Ergenekon investigation revealed that some retired generals had attempted to stage three coup plans, codenamed Sarikiz, Ayisigi and Eldiven, between the years 2002 and 2004 against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. The indictment, according to yesterday's reports, also mentions a fourth coup plan devised in November of 2002 by a circle formed under the gendarmerie forces called the Republican Study Group, similar to the Western Study Group, formed in 1998 under the naval forces, which was key to an unarmed military intervention in February of that year.

    Retired Gen. Sener Eruygur, the chief of the Gendarmerie Command at the time the Republican Study Group was founded, and retired Col. Hasan Atilla Ugur, the head of an intelligence unit department at the Gendarmerie Command at the time, are currently under arrest pending trial. Levent Ersoz, another senior former general who served as head of Gendarmerie Command Intelligence at the time, is currently wanted by the prosecution. He is believed to be hiding abroad. The indictment claims the group was established by Gen. Eruygur.

    The indictment also claims Ergenekon operations were behind the killing of a senior judge in a 2006 shooting at the Council of State and the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was shot dead by an ultranationalist teenager in January 2007. The prosecutors say the Dink assassination and the Council of State shooting were operations of the group as it planned to stage attacks and murders that would create "chaos in the country."

    In addition to retired generals Eruygur and Ugur, retired Gen. Veli Kucuk, who was the leader of an ultranationalist organization in his civilian life, and Gen. Hursit Tolon, a former chief of the 1st Army, are also currently under arrest. However, they are not the only suspects with a military background. Eruygur also heads a seemingly civil society organization called the Ataturkist Thought Association (ADD), which organized massive rallies against the government in major cities last year. These rallies, the plans of which are detailed in coup plot documents, are now mostly seen as attempts to mobilize the masses to serve the purposes of the coup planners.

    Another public figure in the indictment is Dogu Perincek, head of the Workers' Party (0P), who too has also been under arrest for some time now. Each of the 85 suspect indicted is addressed in five chapters, on average, detailing the nature of the accusations, amounting to a total of 425 chapters on the accused alone. Some of the chapters on the key suspects are as long as 150 pages. The indictment also details the Ergenekon terrorist organization's international links.

    The indictment claims that 0P leader Perincek, retired senior Gen. Kucuk and Sedat Peker, an ultranationalist leader of the underworld who is serving 14 years on organized crime charges and who also has alleged links to the gang, frequently met in foreign countries to have secret meetings.

    News reports also say there will be a separate indictment for Ret. Gen. Eruygur and Ret. Gen. Tolon, who were first detained and then arrested by a court two weeks ago in the last wave of police raids in the Ergenekon investigation.

    The indictment will be presented today to a court which will then decide under the rules of Turkey's National Judicial Network project which higher criminal court will hear the case. Later, the higher criminal court assigned the case will have 15 days to either accept the indictment or return it to the prosecutor's office if there are errors or inadequacies in the indictment. Once the indictment is accepted, the case will start. The court will then hear witness testimonies once again and review the situation of those under arrest. If the court rejects the indictment, the investigation will continue and the prosecutor will have to go over any errors or inadequacies in the text before s/he resubmits the indictment.

    Meanwhile, former Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok, who was in office during the time of the coup attempts of Ergenekon suspects and who made exclusive statements to Radikal daily's Murat Yetkin, said he was forced to resign from his position by the coup plotters. According to Yetkin's account, based on his interview with Ozkok, there was pressure on him to resign and pressure to block Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, then Land Forces commander, from being promoted to chief of general staff. Yetkin wrote that former Gendarmerie Force Commander Gen. Eruygur attempted to be promoted to chief of general staff himself by excluding both Ozkok and Buyukanit.

    Among other Ergenekon suspects currently in jail pending trial are controversial ultranationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, who has filed countless suits against Turkish writers and intellectuals at odds with Turkey's official policies; Fikret Karadag, a retired army colonel; and Sami Hostan, a key figure in the 1996 Susurluk affair in which close links between a police chief, an internationally sought-after mafia boss and a Southeastern Kurdish tribal leader whose people are funded by the state to fight separatist terrorism had been exposed.

    Full list of Ergenekon suspects currently under arrest

    Ret. Brig. Gen. Veli Kucuk, Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek, 0P Secretary-General Nusret Senem, Turkish Orthodox Patriarchate Press spokeswoman Sevgi Erenerol, lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz, National Forces Association President retired Sr. Col. Mehmet Fikri Karadag, retired Maj. Fikret Emek, retired noncommissioned officer Oktay Yildirim, retired Cpt. Muzaffer Tekin, former Cpt. Zekeriya Ozturk, retired Cpt. Gazi Guder, retired noncommissioned officer Mahmut Ozturk, retired noncommissioned officer Orhan Tunc, former Spc. Sgt. Muhammet Yuce, Bekir Ozturk, Murat Caglar, former police officer Aydin Yuksek, writer Ergun Poyraz, Susurluk affair convict Sami Hostan, academics Dean Umit Sayin and Dean Emin Gurses, journalist Vedat Yenerer, Aydinlik magazine Editor-in-Chief Serhan Bolluk, National Channel board member Adnan Akfirat, National Channel Editor-in-Chief Ferit 0lsever, National Channel Izmir Bureau Chief Hayati Ozcan and remaining suspects Hayrettin Ertekin, Mehmet Demirtas, Muzaffer Senocak, Ismail Yildiz, Mete Yalazangil, Ayse Asuman Ozdemir, Huseyin Gazi Oguz, Kahraman Sahin, Erol Olmez, Erkut Ersoy, Huseyin Gorum, Oguz Alpaslan Abdulkadir, Abdullah Arapoglu, Umit Oguztan, Vatan Bolukbasoglu, Muammer Karabulut, Abdulmuttalip Toncer, Selim Akkurt, Hikmet Cicek, Ali Kutlu, Rasim Gorum and Behic Gurcihan.

    Ilhan Selcuk, chief columnist of the Cumhuriyet daily, and former Istanbul University Rector Kemal Alemdaroglu were also detained in the operation but later released pending trial. The court ordered a ban on overseas travel for Selcuk and bi-weekly checks at the nearest police station for Alemdaroglu.

    Close to 30 other suspects in addition to the individuals listed above are being charged with links to Ergenekon.

    [13] Statements by Rauf Denktas regarding the Annan Plan period

    According to Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (14.07.08), the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas disclosed a historic fact as regards the former Turkish Chief of the General Staff General Hilmi Ozkok.

    Mr Denktas said that General Ozkok had complained to him about the then Land Forces Commander General Aytac Yalman and former Gendarmerie Commander Ret. General Sener Eruygur. Denktas said:

    Hilmi Ozkok Pasha had complained to me. He said to me: Your ambassador is in contact with the commanders of the Forces, despite the fact that I am the competent authority for taking decisions. It is the Office of the Chief of the General Staff. I was forced to inform the ambassador that there were complaints about his contacts and he has to be careful. This means that there was something between Ozkok Pasha and the commanders of the Armed Forces.

    Mr Denktas went on and said that prior to the referendum regarding the Annan plan, the Commanders of the Armed Forces sent a message to him telling him that he should not be worried about it because the Office of the Chief of the General Staff will issue a strong statement.

    While we were waiting that strong statement to come out from the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, that is, to say to the people not to say yes, a mild statement came which was like telling us that it is suitable, Denktas noted and said that at that time, General Ozkoks views as regards the Annan Plan were different than the views of the commanders of the Armed Forces.

    He added: This showed that there were differences of views at the level of command and that the message sent to us was not as we were told. I never rejected the Annan plan totally. I said, let us correct the mistakes I have never received instructions from Ankara to the effect: Either accept it all or refuse it.


    [14] Turkish PM met with Sarkozy in Paris

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.07.08) reported the following from Ankara: «Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Sunday EU President France to be loyal to its commitments in accession talks with Turkey.

    French Presidency officials who spoke to reporters on President Sarkozy's meeting with Erdogan said the two leaders discussed Turkey-EU relations, bilateral issues, Middle East peace process, and the dissolution case against Erdogan's Justice and Development (AK) Party.

    Officials said Erdogan had communicated Turkey's expectations from France during its presidency in accession talks with the EU while Sarkozy promised to allow accession talks to run its course. They added that Sarkozy said the negotiation chapters which were ready for review would be opened to negotiation during the French Presidency.

    Officials added that Sarkozy appreciated Turkey's mediatorship between Israel and Syria, and he welcomed Turkey's active participation in the Union for Mediterranean Project.

    Sarkozy reiterated that Union for Mediterranean Project and Turkey's EU bid were totally different issues.

    France which opposes Turkey's full membership to the EU and offers "privileged partnership" instead, announced earlier that it would not object to the opening of two or three chapters to negotiations during its term as EU president.

    France vetoed earlier, opening of the chapters on common fiscal and economic policy as it made direct reference to full membership».

    [15] Turkish FM holds contacts in Paris

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (13.07.08) reported the following from Ankara: «Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who is currently in the French capital city of Paris to attend the Union for Mediterranean Summit, has met Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt of Sweden.

    During the meeting, Moussa expressed the Arab League's uneasiness with some issues included in the final statement of the summit. He also voiced the League's reservations about the way of Israel's participation in the summit.

    Meanwhile, Turkey's EU membership process and the bilateral relations were high on agenda of the meeting between Babacan and Bildt.

    Babacan also held talks with Egyptian businessman Mohamed al-Fayed who paid a visit of courtesy to him. Al-Fayed talked about his desire to make investments in Turkey. Amongst business interests of the millionaire businessman is ownership of the Ritz hotels and Harrods stores».

    [16] Iran to assign Ambassador to Ankara

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (13.07.08) reported the following:

    «Iran has quitted its obstinacy about not assigning an ambassador for Ankara and former Istanbul consul will start duty within the following days.

    Iran has changed its decision to be represented with a second level man in Ankara for years and decided to appoint an ambassador for Ankara. Iran is on the target of the US and the EU due to its nuclear projects. Protocol general manager of foreign ministry of Iran, Huseyin Pour, will start duty as Turkish ambassador in the following days. Pour will ask for an appointment with the president Gul to submit letter of trust».


    [17] From the Turkish Press of 11, 12, 13 July 2008:

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items featuring prominently in the Turkish press of 11, 12 and 13 of July:

    a) Erdogan Visit to Baghdad:

    In an article in Sabah (13.07.08), Soli Ozel views the visit, noting its importance "in terms of the regional strategic equation" since only Iranian leader Ahmadinezhad from among the regional countries has visited the Iraqi capital. Ozel stresses the warm welcome given to Erdogan and praises the Turkish Government for "pursuing policies that are suited to the new realities." He predicts that once the internal turmoil in Turkey is over, Ankara's relations with the regional Kurdistan administration will also change for the better. "Turkey is the only country in the Middle East that can balance Iran politically until Iraq pulls itself together completely," Ozel argues.

    In an article entitled "A Sweetheart Like a Mother and a Place Like Baghdad" Vakit (13.07.08), columnist Muhsin Meric writes about the results of a one-day visit paid by Erdogan to Iraq. Emphasizing that says that Turkey could play a key role in reducing sectarian and ethnic violence in Iraq by taking advantage of its historical ties with other countries in her region, Meric adds that relations between Turkey and the Kurdish Government in northern Iraq could ameliorate as a result of positive atmosphere created by Erdogan's visit.

    According to a report entitled "Iraqi Visa for THY [Turkish Airlines] Emerged From Erdogan's Suitcase" which Zaman (13.07.08), carries, Turkish and Iraqi officials have concluded an agreement for starting scheduled flights between four Iraqi cities and six destinations in Turkey. The report says that Turkish Airlines is expected to launch flights to Iraq soon.

    In an article entitled "A Turkish Festival in Iraq," Bugun columnist (13.07.08) Gulay Gokturk says that a strategic cooperation agreement signed between Turkey and Iraq during Erdogan's visit will turn a new page in relations between the two countries. She goes on to say: "All people who value life rather than death and yearn for peace instead of war should jubilantly welcome that agreement."

    In a summary of the results of Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Iraq under the title "After the Unforgettable 'Baghdad Campaign,'" Cengiz Candar says in his column in Hurriyet (12.07.08) that the visit opened the opportunity for Turkey to partake in Iraq's "tremendous future potential," pointing out that the Kirkuk-Yumurtalik oil pipeline will either be enlarged or a new pipeline build to handle the growing oil throughput, and the natural gas from Iraq's Kurdish region would eventually be connected to the Nabucco pipeline. Candar says this project will bolster Turkey's political and economic power in the region. Also noting that during the visit an agreement was signed to include Turkey in the oil exploration in southern Iraq, Candar says the TPAO [Turkish Petroleum Corporation] would probably conduct the exploration with a consortium as it cannot assume the task alone. Candar says both Turkish and Iraqi side see the energy agreements as leading to a strategic "mutual dependence."

    Erdal Safak explains in his column in Sabah (12.07.08) that the envisaged "integration" between the two countries will be mostly in the sphere of economy, but it will also include educational and military aspect. He quotes Erdogan as saying on the way back from Baghdad that Turkey is also working, presently at a low-level but eventually with accelerated pace, to improve ties with Iraqi Kurds provided that the Kurds recognize the provisions of the Iraqi constitution. Safak also quotes Erdogan as adding that Turkey's policy of making friends in the region will have not only regional but also global repercussions.

    In a report entitled "An Agreement That Will Change the Fate of the Middle East" Yeni Safak (12.07.08) writer Ibrahim Karagul describes Turkey and Iraq's agreement to establish a "High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council," signed during Prime Minister Erdogan's recent visit to Baghdad, as one that not only envisions multidimensional cooperation between the two countries and integration in many fields but also political rapprochement on a regional level as well as joint economic initiatives. He claims that the agreement will allow Turkey to play an important role in the restructuring of Iraq and the future of the region as a whole.

    Assessing Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Iraq in an article in Milliyet (11.07.08), Hasan Cemal views the Strategic Economic Cooperation and Integration Agreement signed between Erdogan and Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki as the "institutionalization" of bilateral relations and as the establishment of a new model in Turkish-Iraqi ties. Cemal quotes Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Behram Salih with whom he had a conversation soon after the signing of the agreement: "This integration is very important. The integration of Iraq and Turkey will facilitate a link between the Gulf and Europe. This integration will, at the same time, pave the way for a common market in the region. In other words, an Iraqi-Turkish synergy might launch a real change toward democracy and prosperity in the Middle East." Conveying the impression that the relations between Mas'ud Barzani and Ankara are developing in a positive manner, Cemal concludes by welcoming the new model of Turkish-Iraqi relations as an "auspicious development that will contribute to peace and stability in the region and in the two countries."

    b) Ergenekon:

    The Ergenekon indictment includes statements by 20 secret witnesses, according to a report in Hurriyet (13.07.08).

    Under the headline "Bloody-handed Ergenekon," Yeni Safak (13.07.07) carries a front-page report which says that an indictment to be issued by a public prosecutor about a shady organization called Ergenekon tomorrow will shed light on various armed attacks and assassinations carried out in Turkey in recent past.

    Taraf (13.07.08) runs a story according to which President Ahmet Necdet Sezer's official donations kept the Ataturkist Thought Association alive. The report by Nevzat Cicek says that the organization was at the brink of bankruptcy in 2006, were it not for the president at the time, Sezer, who donated $221,000 New Turkish Lira from the official presidential budget.

    Under the banner headline "Civil Rather Than Military Courts Should Hear Cases Related to Coup Attempts," Zaman (13.07.08) carries a front-page report which quotes retired General Nursafa Pandar, former Chief Justice of the Military Court of Appeals, as saying that coup attempts such as Blondie and Moonlight fall within the jurisdiction of civil courts despite arguments that such cases should be investigated by military prosecutors.

    In an article entitled "Post-Ergenekon Turkey," Sunday's Zaman columnist (13.07.08) Ihsan Yilmaz urges the government to take precautions because some sections of society will still continue to attempt to derail the government through undemocratic means for at least another decade. He comments: "The oligarchy in the country is weakening fast, but this does not mean that it will disappear instantly or that its members will accept the rules of the democratic game."

    Under the title "There Are Still Many Things To Learn About Ergenekon," Taraf (12.07.08) columnist Yasemin Congar says in her column that the indictment on the Ergenekon case is 2,500-pages and also includes 400 files, adding that she will not be surprised if she learns from the indictment that the gang had also plans to develop nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and had under its control the PKK, IBDA-C, DHKP-C, and Hizbullah.

    In an article entitled "After Ergenekon" Today's Zaman (12.07.08) columnist Mumtazer Turkone asserts that "the Ergenekon indictment ... will have a positive effect on the economy" by removing uncertainties and "illuminating the dark area that increases the burden of risk on the economy."

    c) DTP's Alinak:

    Mahmut Alinak, who has declared his candidacy for the DTP leadership, says if elected party leader he will move the party headquarters to Diyarbakir, according to a Vatan (12.07.08) report. He says he will only keep the party signboard in Ankara.

    d) Columnists Say Sener Has No Chance:

    Commenting on Abdullatif Sener's resignation from the AKP, PM Erdogan has said that those who leave AKP's train cannot board it again and also stand no chance of political success, according to a 100-word Hurriyet (12.07.08) report.

    Commenting on Abdullatif Sener's resignation from the AKP and his plans to launch his own political movement, Mustafa Mutlu says in the first part of his long column in Vatan (12.07.08) that Sener's party will have "zero" chance of success as he lacks charisma, has no support, and above all he does not seem to have the financial support of the United States, without which no party in Turkey could make any impact on politics.

    Mehmet Y. Yilmaz says in his column in Hurriyet (12.07.08) that Sener has no chance of success as AKP still has popular support and will maintain that support even after the closure.

    Ergun Babahan, however, argues in his column in Sabah (12.07.08) that Sener has the support of the TOBB [Turkish Union of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Stock Exchange] and various business circles and Sener's first act would be to form his own parliamentary group once the AKP is banned. Babahan believes those who have lost hope of the AKP want to see Sener succeed.

    Hurriyet English (12.07.08) carries a report, which says: "Turkey's ruling AKP is in talks with another political party to transfer its deputies in case a closure decision comes from the Constitutional Court, instead of forming a new political party, Turkish broadcaster Kanal D reported on Friday. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the leader of Powerful Turkey Party (GTP) Tuna Beklevic held talks on a potential formula if the AKP is closed and reached a deal on the issue, the report added. According to the deal, if AKP is closed by the Constitutional Court, the party would not form a new political party but the existing deputies, who would not be banned by the Court, would be transferred to the GTP, Kanal D said."

    According to a Vatan report (12.07.08), four AKP deputies who were once ANAP members, are on the verge of resignation from the party. The report names the deputies as Ulku Gokalp Guney, Vahit Erdem, Yasar Eryilmaz, and Feyzi Isbasaran.

    A report by Abdullah Karakus in Milliyet (11.07.08) details the results of various polls conducted on Abdullatif Sener's leadership and the party he is expected to establish. According to the poll conducted by Political Researcher, 32.4 percent say that they will vote for the party that will replace the AKP if Sener is the leader.

    According to report in Hurriyet (11.07.08), Sener has stepped up his activities on the establishment of a new party. Offices have been leased in Ankara's Balgat neighborhood in order to coordinate the activities regarding the new party. The report adds that work on the statutes and program of the new party has been concluded and that the petition on the new party is expected to be submitted to the Interior Ministry in mid August or September. Former Deputy Prime Minister Ertugrul Yalcinbayir and former AKP deputy Ersonmez Yarbay are reported to be part of Sener's new team.

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