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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-10-03

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 <>



  • [01] Ankara criticizes the resolution adopted by PACE concerning Cyprus
  • [02] Talat gave interviews regarding his contacts in PACE
  • [03] Talat met with ECHR President on Greek Cypriot properties
  • [04] Talats statements at the illegal Tymvou airport following his contacts is Strasbourg
  • [05] Turkish Cypriot political parties react to the PACE report
  • [06] The arrivals and departures from occupied Cyprus in August
  • [07] Scientists from 25 universities to participate in the 8th National Ecology and Environment Congress organized by the illegal YDU in occupied Cyprus
  • [08] The 3rd International Carob Festival is taking place in the occupied areas of the Republic
  • [09] An area of 200 donums in the vicinity of occupied Larnakas tis Lapithou and Agridaki was turned into ashes
  • [10] The German Foreign Minister referred to the divided Cyprus on the anniversary of Germanys unification
  • [11] Erdogan to go on tour to Central Asian countries
  • [12] Turkeys Foreign Minister to travel to New York for the UNSC bid
  • [13] 2,459 newspapers are operating in Turkey while over 1000 websites have been banned

  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 02 October 2008


    [01] Ankara criticizes the resolution adopted by PACE concerning Cyprus

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (03.10.08) reports the following:

    The Turkish capital has strongly criticized a resolution concerning Cyprus that was adopted on Wednesday by Europe's top human rights watchdog, saying the resolution contradicts established UN parameters as well as an earlier resolution on the same issue by the same body.

    A statement released yesterday by the Turkish Foreign Ministry referred to the fact that Mehmet Ali Talat, the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), addressed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Wednesday and welcomed this fact.

    Talat thanked PACE for providing support for the representation of the elected officials of the Turkish Cypriot people within PACE and informed them of the constructive approach adopted by the Turkish Cypriot side towards a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus issue, the statement said.

    Furthermore, Mr. Talat has voiced his disappointment regarding the report on the 'Situation in Cyprus' and the draft resolution prepared by German parliamentarian Joachim Hoerster, member of the Political Affairs Committee. Mr. Talat's views are also shared by Turkey. The report and its resolution, which have been adopted in disregard to the amendment proposals of the Turkish side, are against the established UN parameters and also contradict PACE Resolution 1376 (2004). We regret this approach, the ministry added, referring to a resolution adopted by the assembly in 2004 and calling for an end to international isolation of the Turkish Cypriots.

    Resolution 1376 was adopted after a UN-led reunification plan was rejected by Greek Cypriots, while it was overwhelmingly approved by Turkish Cypriots in simultaneous referenda.

    The new resolution ignores the principles such as political equality and the equal status of the parties that have emerged during the 40 years of the UN negotiation process and also lacks a solution perspective. Therefore, it is not possible for this resolution to make a positive contribution to the UN negotiation process. Turkey supports the constructive approach of Mr. Talat, president of the KKTC, in establishing a new partnership by two constituent states of equal status, based on political equality, the ministry concluded.

    The resolution in question called on Turkey to respect United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Cyprus and contribute to creating a more constructive climate in the negotiations by reducing, as a confidence-building measure, its military presence in the occupied part of Cyprus; actively seek the establishment of good-neighbourly relations with the Republic of Cyprus, including lifting the ban against entering ports in Turkey imposed on vessels registered in the Republic of Cyprus and on vessels sailing under other flags which enter the ports of the Republic of Cyprus, and to sign a trade agreement with the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with the commitment made by Turkey to the World Trade Organization and its obligations under its Customs Union Agreement with the European Union; cooperate effectively in the efforts to ascertain the fate of the missing persons in Cyprus and to fully implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Cyprus v. Turkey (2001) pertaining to the tragic problem of the missing persons and their families and abide by and fulfil, without any further delay, its obligations and duties stemming from the aforementioned judgment, as well as from the court's other judgments concerning citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, namely the Loizidou and Xenedis-Arestis judgments.

    [02] Talat gave interviews regarding his contacts in PACE

    The Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat spoke with journalists of the two main Turkish Cypriot newspapers who accompanied him to Strasbourg about his contacts in PACE. The interview was published yesterday (03.10.08).

    Kibris publishes an interview that Talat gave to the papers journalist, Hasan Hasturer, who went to Strasbourg to cover Talats contacts in the city. Mr Talat stated, inter alia, that he is optimistic for the negotiations aiming to reach a solution of the Cyprus problem. But I do not even want to think of reaching June 2009 and the period to follow without a solution, he said.

    Mr Talat stated that he was annoyed from the fact that Mr Christofias was announced as the President of the Republic of Cyprus and he was announced as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and that he wanted both of them to be called as leaders to show the political equality of the two sides.

    To a question about the most difficult issue of the negotiations, Mr Talat stated that this is the property issue. As he stated, all the parameters on the issue of administration and power sharing are clarified by the UN, but as regards the issue of property there are no parameters but only proposals and opinions.

    Mr Talat accused the Greek Cypriot side of trying to make Ankara or him, appear responsible for any future deadlocks at the negotiations. Turkey has not created any problem until now. The influence of the non-solution from Christofias who supported Papadopoulos who was against the solution, played a bigger role. According to me the responsible for not having a solution yet is still the Greek Cypriot side, he stated.

    Under the title We are progressing very slowly but we can solve it, Yeni Duzen publishes an interview that Mehmet Ali Talat gave to the papers journalist Tumay Tugyan, who also went to Strasbourg to cover Talats contacts .

    Mr Talat evaluated as very positive his contacts in Strasbourg and expressed his reaction to the PACE report.

    As regards the negotiation progress he said the following: We have serious problems at the negotiations. Therefore, we cannot progress quickly. However, this must not affect our determination for the solution issue. We are moving very slowly but we can solve it, he stated.

    On the issue of the guarantees, Mr Talat stated that had the Greek Cypriot side not said that they do not want guarantees and especially Turkeys guarantees, the Turkish side would not say that they want the guarantees to continue. As he said, he warned Mr Christofias on this issue many times. He said that the side that is in a difficult position on this issue is the Greek Cypriot side because it is the side that wants changes.

    In reply to a question about the relations with Turkey, Mr Talat stated that things are going on well and that Turkey supports an early solution for the Cyprus problem. He also said that Christofias statements that the key to the solution is in Turley, is not right. Mr Talat said that Christofias is using this style in order to camouflage his own efforts to delay progress in the negotiations and that Turkey has no benefit from the delay. This issue is an issue that the Greek Cypriot side has not been able to digest the sharing of power with us, he stated and added that if the Greek Cypriot side accepts the sharing of power with the Turkish Cypriot side, the solution will be easy.


    [03] Talat met with ECHR President on Greek Cypriot properties

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.10.08) reported the following from Strasbourg:

    President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Mehmet Ali Talat, met with the President of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Jean Paul Costa on Thursday.

    Talat and Costa discussed various issues, including cases filed by Greek Cypriots about the violation of their properties in the TRNC.

    During his meeting with Costa, Talat gave information on a compensation commission, established in the TRNC that will deal with the property demands of Greek Cypriots.

    With this commission, the number of cases brought to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by Greek Cypriots will drop significantly and the court would be relieved of a heavy task, Talat told Costa.

    President Talat addressed the general assembly of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Wednesday and stressed that the biggest problem in negotiations in Cyprus has to do with the unwillingness of the Greek Cypriots to recognize the political equality of Turkish Cypriots.

    [04] Talats statements at the illegal Tymvou airport following his contacts is Strasbourg

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (03.10.08) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, returned to the occupied areas of Cyprus yesterday after completing his contacts in Strasbourg. In statements at the illegal Tymvou airport, Mr Talat said, inter alia, that the fact that he made a statement in Turkish at the PACE and the high level contacts he held in Strasbourg make his visit in the city very important. The Strasbourg visit was the most fruitful visit until now. It was an extremely useful visit, he stated.

    Evaluating his contacts Mr Talat reminded that it was the first time that a Turkish Cypriot leader spoke at the PACE and stated that it was very important that he had the opportunity to make PACE to hear the voice of the Turkish Cypriots and to express personally his views on the PACEs Cyprus report for which he said that the Turkish Cypriot side is not very happy.

    Referring further to his statement to PACE, Mr Talat said that it was very important that they had the opportunity to have their voice heard and to use their mother language. In this way we noted that there are two main mother languages in Cyprus, Greek and Turkish, he stated.


    [05] Turkish Cypriot political parties react to the PACE report

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (03.10.08) reports on the statements made by Turkish Cypriot politicians about the Cyprus report prepared by the German parliamentarian- PACE Rapporteur Joachim Horster and was approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The paper writes also that the Turkish Cypriot politicians evaluated also the statement of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Mehmet Ali Talat, at the 4th Ordinary Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg as well as the speech delivered by President Demetris Christofias.

    Mr Tahsin Ertugruloglu chairman of the National Unity Party (UBP) has said that the participation of the « president», as he called Mr Talat, to a PACE Ordinary Session is a positive development but the fact that Mr Talat spoke in an empty conference hall and the fact that the report about Cyprus has been approved, are both considered negative developments. Mr Ertugruloglu criticized also the fact that Mr Talat accepted to go to Strasbourg not with the title of the «president».

    Mr Albay Durduran, the Foreign Relations Secretary of the New Cyprus Party (YKP) hailed the decision of the Council of Europe to offer the chance to the Turkish Cypriot side for having contacts, and said that the participation of Talat in the PACE Ordinary Session is a positive development. He then accused Mr. Talat for some points which have been included in his statement. Regarding the speech of the President Mr. Demetris Christofias, Mr. Durduran has said that he found his speech very positive since it included positive messages. About the Cyprus report, Mr Durduran said that the report is well-balanced and better than he expected.

    The chairman of the Politics for People (HIS) Party, Mr Ahmet Yonluer criticized the fact that Mr Talat went to Strasbourg with the title of the leader of a community and not as a «president». He then wondered how the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will see the Turkish Cypriots after this. He also pointed out that Talat spoke in an empty conference hall.

    Finally, the general secretary of the United Cyprus Party (BKP), Mr Izzet Izcan, called on both leaders to speed up the negotiation process, instead of continuing to speak very much. Regarding the report about Cyprus, Mr Izcan said that this does not leave the Turkish side satisfied.

    In addition, Afrika reports in its first page about the address of President Christofias to PACE and about the statement of Talat to the same body and writes that Christofias spoke like Clerides while Talat spoke like Denktas.

    According to the paper, in his speech Mr Christofias accused Turkey and Talat defended Turkey. Christofias said that Turkey is an occupation force while Talat stated that Turkey is a saviour.

    Afrikas columnist, Mehmet Levent, commenting on Talats statements writes, inter alia, that his statement before the PACE that he would not have been there, that a Turkish Cypriot would not have been left in Cyprus if Turkey had not come to island, reminds him of Rauf Denktas.


    [06] The arrivals and departures from occupied Cyprus in August

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.10.08) writes that 123.516 travellers entered occupied Cyprus in August while 126.409 travellers departed from occupied Cyprus in the same month. According to the relevant report of the self-styled ministry of public works and transportation for August 2008, 779 airplanes arrived at the illegal Tymvou airport and 780 airplanes took off, while 102.203 persons arrived to occupied Cyprus by air and 105.212 persons departed using a plane. In addition 262 ships arrived and 261 ships departed from occupied Cyprus in the same month from the occupied ports of Famagusta, Keryneia and Gastria. According to the paper 21.313 persons arrived to occupied Cyprus by boat and 21.197 persons departed the occupied areas by boat in August.


    [07] Scientists from 25 universities to participate in the 8th National Ecology and Environment Congress organized by the illegal YDU in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (03.10.08) writes that the illegal Near East University (YDU) in cooperation with the Turkish Cypriot Natural Research and Protection Office and the Turkish Biologists Association will host between 20-23 October, the 8th National Ecology and Environment Congress, organized with the support of the so-called environment and natural resources ministry.

    The event shall take place in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus with the participation of scientists from 25 universities.


    [08] The 3rd International Carob Festival is taking place in the occupied areas of the Republic

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan newspaper (03.10.08) reports that the 3rd International Carob Festival is taking place in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus between 1- 5 October 2008 with the participation of the Mayor of Comrat of the Autonomous Territorial Unit of Gagauzia, Nikolay Dudoglu.


    [09] An area of 200 donums in the vicinity of occupied Larnakas tis Lapithou and Agridaki was turned into ashes

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (03.10.08) writes that an area of 200 donums was turned into ashes yesterday when a fire broke out by three children who visited the areas for picnic with their parents and were playing with lighters. In the burned area there were olive trees, pine trees and carob tress. The area is in the vicinity of occupied Larnakas tis Lapithou and Agridaki.


    [10] The German Foreign Minister referred to the divided Cyprus on the anniversary of Germanys unification

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir, on the occasion of the unification anniversary of Germany wrote an exclusive article for Turkish daily Hurriyet (3.10.2008).

    Under the title: Turkeys safest course is the EU, Mr Steinmeir, among others, referred to the Cyprus problem and said:

    Turkey could play an important role in the Middle East or in the nuclear dispute with Iran. Today on our unification day, our thoughts are with Cyprus, the divided island. The solution prospect has never been so near. It is at the distance of an arms reach away. Such chances are created for people to take. For the benefit of human beings, for the benefit of the two communities in the island. And for our European common future.


    [11] Erdogan to go on tour to Central Asian countries

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.10.08) reported the following from Ankara:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go on a tour to Central Asian countries on Friday covering Turkmenistan and Mongolia.

    Erdogan will pay a visit to Turkmenistan in October 3-4, 2008 upon an invitation from Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and visit Mongolia in October 4-6, 2008 upon an invitation from Mongolian Prime Minister Sanjaa Bayar.

    Matters related to relations between Turkey and Turkmenistan as well as regional and international developments are expected to be discussed during bilateral talks and talks between the delegations of the two countries.

    A Turkish-Turkmen Business Council meeting will be held during Erdogan's visit to Ashkhabad, and Erdogan will also meet Turkish citizens and businessmen living and working in Turkmenistan.

    Proceeding to Mongolia, Erdogan will inaugurate 46-kilometer Bilge Khan highway, Orhun Museum, Ataturk's bust, and Ankara Street.

    Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) has undertaken the construction of the Bilge Khan highway that connected Hoso Saydam and Karakurum where Orhun Monuments are situated.

    The Orhun Museum was built to protect the Orhun Monuments, while Ataturk's bust was erected in front of a school named "Mustafa Kemal Ataturk" in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator.

    Erdogan will also discuss bilateral, regional and international matters during his meetings with Mongolian executives.

    The first written scripts of the Turkish language are the Orhun Monuments. They were carved on stones towards the end of the 7th and the first half of the 8th century. The Orhun monuments, which were raised first in honour of Kultigin in 732, then for Bilge Khan in 735 and for Tonyukuk in 720, are still considered masterpieces of Turkish language, literature and history with regard to their content and language.

    The perfection of the language used in the records, which document the social and the political life of the Gokturk Dynasty, proves that Turkish, as a language of letters, has been in use since ancient times.

    [12] Turkeys Foreign Minister to travel to New York for the UNSC bid

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (03.10.08) reports the following from Ankara:

    Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, who was recently in New York to attend the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, will travel to the city again later this month when the UN General Assembly convenes for the election of new members of the UN Security Council (UNSC), the Anatolia news agency reported from New York late Wednesday, citing diplomatic sources.

    Turkey has been competing for one of the non-permanent seats allocated to the Western European and Others Group on the UN Security Council for the 2009-2010 term, with Austria and Iceland also in contention for the same seat.

    The same diplomatic sources also told Anatolia that Turkey's chances were high. They added, however, that efforts should be exerted until the last minute, since the election will be held by secret ballot. Ankara announced its candidacy back in July 2003. It had previously held a non-permanent seat, in 1951-1952 and 1954-1955. Most recently, it shared a non-permanent seat with Poland in 1961.

    [13] 2,459 newspapers are operating in Turkey while over 1000 websites have been banned

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (03.10.08) reports the following:

    Statistics released by the Prime Ministry Directorate General of Press and Information (BYEGM) indicate that Turkey has 2,459 newspapers and that 258 television stations are based in the country, in addition to providing a wealth of other information on electronic communications and entertainment in the country.

    Fifty-five of Turkeys newspapers are national and 23 of them regional, while the country has 2,381 local papers. As for TV, there are 27 nationwide stations, 16 regional stations and 215 local stations. Sixty-five of Turkeys 258 TV stations broadcast via cable and 92 via satellite only.

    According to the BYEGM statistics, 10,458 individuals hold press passes in Turkey. The number of magazines printed in Turkey is 2,522 and there are also 1,043 bulletins published periodically. The total number of periodicals in the country is 6,024.

    The number of radio stations in Turkey has reached 1,087; while 36 of them broadcast nationwide, 100 are regional and 951 of them are local stations. Turkey is also home to 24 news agencies and 33 communication faculties with journalism departments. Five thousand students receive education annually at communication faculties.

    Moreover, Turkish daily Todays Zaman (03.10.08) reports the following:

    The head of Turkey's Telecommunications Board has stated that 1,112 Web sites have been banned in the country since November 2007 following complaints by individuals over inappropriate content on these sites.

    Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Telecommunications Board President Tayfun Acarer said a centre was established within the Postal and Telecommunications Directorate (PTT) on Nov. 23, 2007, allowing people to report Web sites on which they have complaints. He said people also have the option to report their complaints by email or telephone.

    This centre has received a total of 24,598 complaints since its establishment last year. Following these complaints, 1,112 Web sites, 861 automatically and 251 with judicial decisions were banned.

    Acarer said the number of Internet users in Turkey is close to 30 million and, as is the case with all useful things, the Internet can also be used for dishonourable aims. The duty of the state is to protect its citizens and warn them against harmful Internet content.

    He noted that Web site bans are necessary to prevent the public from falling victim to sites with criminal or ignoble intent, noting that the Transportation Ministry established a Web site, to this end.

    Acarer said complaints were filed for the removal of 202 video clips on the popular video-sharing site YouTube mainly because they insulted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

    It is illegal in Turkey to insult Ataturk, a revered figure whose portrait still hangs in nearly all government offices almost 70 years after his death in 1938.

    According to Acarer, 12 Web sites were banned because of prostitution, 51 for insulting Ataturk, 79 for gambling, 415 for exploitation of children and 390 for obscenity.


    [14] From the Turkish Press of 02 October 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 2 October:

    a) Economy:

    Likening the fluctuations in world markets to the fluctuations in the temperature of a patient who is gravely ill, Hurriyet columnist Erdal Saglam believes that "the US Administration is working day and night to find the measures that will put a stop to the crisis and reduce the high fever." Pointing out in his article that the illness is contagious and that it has already spread both to develop and developing countries in Europe and Asia, Saglam writes: "What do you think the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is doing? It is continuing to observe. It is opting to raise the morale of the patient though empty phrases such as 'there is no need for panic' without any medication." Lamenting the fact that this reckless attitude is not confidence-inspiring, Saglam argues that the most crucial medication to overcome this high fever is "confidence in the administration," a medication which the government is unable to provide. Recalling the warnings issued during the last few months for renewing the Turkish-IMF agreement, Saglam believes that the statements being issued by government officials that they will turn this crisis into a window of opportunity is only increasing the fears in Turkish markets. The Ramadan holiday might have been lucky for the markets, but the holiday is bound to end, the writer warns.

    Turkey has not begun to feel the effects of the "financial tsunami" because of the nine-day Ramadan holiday, points out Sabah columnist Erdal Safak in an article. I cannot say that Ankara has put this nine-day break to good use, Safak continues, adding: "However, the problem is not only the financial crisis. One should plan the measures to be taken to reduce to a minimum the damage to be caused in the event the crisis spreads to the real economy." Referring to the assurances given by State Minister Simsek and Foreign Minister Babacan that the Turkish economy is resistant to crises because of its healthy banking system, its foreign currency reserves, and its well planned budget, Safak says that he accepts their arguments, urging, however, government officials to get together with officials from the banking sector to assure them that the political will that will enable them to continue their normal activities is existent.

    Referring to the difficulty world banks are having in turning their investments into cash in an article in Hurriyet in English, Erkan Mumcu questions how Turkish banks will be able to pay their debts as the crisis exacerbates, predicting that in attempts to pay off their debts the banks will cause the exchange rates as well as the interest rates to soar.

    According to a report in Milliyet, exports have increased by 36.42 percent in September of 2008 compared to September of last year. Based on data supplied by the Turkish Exporters Council, TIM, exports reached $12,162,549,000 this September.

    New banknotes and coins, which will be ushered in at the beginning of 2009, will be introduced to the public at a news conference to be held jointly by Prime Minister Erdogan and Central Bank Governor Durmus Yilmaz on 3 October, a report in Sabah notes.

    In an article entitle "An Orphan crisis", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru expresses sympathy with "poor Americans" over what he describes as their inability to tell who is responsible for the latest economic crisis. He describes the recession as the first major crisis of globalization and predicts that it will hit Turkey eventually despite the fact that Turkey is still among the countries that have been least affected by the latest downturn.

    b) Lighthouse Fraud Case:

    Guneri Civaoglu in Milliyet focuses on the remarks made by Justice Minister Ali Sahin to the effect that the Lighthouse fraud case and the verdict of the German court on the issue do not concern him. Praising the integrity of the minister in his article, the writer says that Sahin should have opted for looking into the Turkish links mentioned in the German court verdict. Expressing the hope that the Sahin he knows will yet choose that option, Civaoglu advises Zahid Akman, chairman of the Radio and Television High Council, RTUK, who has been implicated in the German verdict, to resign and to request an investigation.

    Cumhuriyet columnist Cuneyt Arcayurek also comments on Sahin's remarks, holding the minister and the AKP itself responsible for the Lighthouse fraud case because he is happens to be justice minister, because the officials of the Lighthouse Associations in Turkey and Germany are close to the AKP, because couriers such as Zahid Akman have transferred millions of Euros from Germany to Kanal 7's Zekeriya Karaman, and because monies donated to help the poor were transferred to a TV channel in order to serve the political interests of the Islamist sector. The writer then goes on to ask who should be held responsible for the rising poverty in the country while those in power are busy robbing the resources of the country and living it up in luxury.

    Rahmi Turan begins his article in Hurriyet by advising Prime Minister Erdogan the following: "Implement the following even if you make a mistake: Accept-Learn a lesson-Do not repeat!" Reminding the prime minister that he came to power by promising to struggle against corruption and irregularities, Turan believes that he should be the one to set an example to the entire nation. Commenting on the attack launched by Erdogan against the media for reporting on corruption cases, Turan writes: "Reporting on irregularities is not a crime. The prime minister should laud these reports, not be enraged by them." Citing the various corruption cases such as the $1 million bribery scandal involving former AKP deputy leader Saban Disli, the Lighthouse fraud case, the fictitious exports of the Mesas Company owned by AKP's Dengir Mehmet Firat and the heroin cache found in a truck belonging to that company, Turan maintains that the AKP has become a party identified with corruption. The writer goes on to list the questions the public wants answered: Who are the beneficiaries of the recent municipal zoning changes? A few years ago he prime minister claimed that he could not finance the education of his children abroad and the expenses of their studies in the United States were covered by a friend. How come these same children now own yachts and villas? Is it normal for a company whose director general happens to be the son-in-law of the prime minister to receive a loan of $700 million from publicly owned banks? Is it normal for the Calik Group to receive a license to establish a refinery? Turan concludes by calling on the public to learn a lesson from these developments.

    Describing irregularities as the major problem facing the country in an article in Ortadogu, Necdet Sivasli says that it is the duty of all parties and not only of the AKP to struggle against this phenomenon. Pointing out that even the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association, MUSIAD, known for its close ties with the AKP has raised its voice against the recent cases of irregularities, the writer goes on to question why establishments such as the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association, TUSIAD, the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges, TOBB, and the Turkish confederation of Labour, Turk-Is, have chosen to remain silent and not take a stand against these corruption cases. Declaring that deputies and politicians hiding behind their parliamentary immunities have been behind the cases of irregularities and embezzlement revealed so far, the writer advises to either curb or lift the immunities in a bid to achieve clean politics in the country. Recalling the frequent appeals made by opposition Republican People's Party, CHP, leader Deniz Baykal and Nationalist Action Party, MHP, leader Devlet Bahceli to lift the parliamentary immunities, Sivasli accuses the prime minister of ignoring these calls. In conclusion, the writer invites all political parties and NGO's to join in the struggle against corruption.

    With the opening of the new legislative year it has become evident that the government will not pursue a path respective of the people's sensitivities, the path of struggling against corruption, writes Gungor Mendi in his column in Vatan. Predicting that a government that does not meet the people's expectations especially on this issue is bound to fail, Mengi reminds the prime minister his promise of fighting corruption and poverty. The AKP, which has passed into the annals of Turkish history as a party that has committed a constitutional crime against the principle of secularism, is waiting for the right moment to implement constitutional amendments on the issue instead of fighting corruption, says the writer, adding that the remarks made by the justice minister regarding the Lighthouse scandal are the result of a guilty conscience. Criticizing the aid extended by the AKP to the limited income groups prior to the local elections, Mengi argues: "Just as one cannot fight corruption by protecting thieves, neither can one prevent poverty by distributing alms to the poor in exchange for votes. The most positive and honorable way of fighting poverty is to find employment for those people."

    c) Local Elections:

    In his article in Milliyet, Fikret Bila assesses the possibility of an election alliance between the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party, (DSP). Recalling that neither party was pleased with the results of the 2007 election alliance, Bila believes that Sisli Mayor Mustafa Sarigul will be joining the DSP prior to the local elections. Noting that many former CHP and DSP mayors will be following suit, Bila argues that the best way to increase the chances of the left is not an organizational cooperation but one that is based on the will of the voter. The writer advises the candidates in any given region to withdraw their candidacy in favour of the strongest candidate from the left to achieve better results.


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