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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 08-11-17

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. 220/08 15-17.11.08


  • [01] Antiquities smuggler involved in the stolen Kanakaria mosaics has donated the antiquities he kept in Germany to a university
  • [02] Statements within the framework of the illegal declaration of independence of the breakaway regime in Cyprus
  • [03] Cicek and Soyer addressed the social dialogue meeting of the Turkish Yol Is trade union
  • [04] Ankara is reportedly not very willing to transfer more money to the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [05] Sanlidag said their most important problem is not being able to schedule more flights to the occupied areas
  • [06] Ortam argued that occupied Cypriot land is distributed to Turkish businessmen who support the AKP
  • [07] Cakici accused the CTP of denying its past
  • [08] Eroglu appears certain of his election to the presidency of the UBP
  • [09] Yonluer accused the CTP of forcing the Turkish Cypriots to be in need of the Greek Cypriots
  • [10] British boxer participated in a championship under the TRNC flag
  • [11] Erdogan comments on Cyprus problem in Washington D.C.
  • [12] Cen Ozdemir was elected as co-leader of the German Green Party

  • [13] Columnist in Cumhuriyet: Talat tends to adopt the principle of political equality rather than equal sovereignty
  • [14] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 November 2008


    [01] Antiquities smuggler involved in the stolen Kanakaria mosaics has donated the antiquities he kept in Germany to a university

    Omer Erbil reporting in Turkish daily Milliyet (11.11.08) under the title Puzzling Gesture from the Smuggler writes:

    The world famous antiquities smuggler Aydin Dikmen has donated all his antique works of art he had holding in Germany and Turkey to the Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey.

    In addition to icons, medallions, crosses, medals and decorations worth million of dollars, a great number of archeological artifacts, were put together in the repository of the university.

    The implements which were sent from Germany a week ago as packed parcels were easily cleared from the Customs of Konya Airport.

    It was learned that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism is unaware of the antiquities brought from Germany.

    Aydin Dikmen, because he is convicted for smuggling antiquities, has no licenses as collector. However, his spouse Konstantina is holder of a license.

    Sub-title: They arrived by plane

    Dikmens collection in Turkey is kept in the repository of the Konya Museum in Turkey for years now. Last week 600 items were taken out of the repository under the control of the experts of the museum and handed over to the University. Dikmen has started sending the antiquities he has in his house in Germany. The items which came as packed parcels from Germany by airfreight were cleared from the Customs under the control of the officials of the University.

    The officials of the Selcuk University, whose financial strength forbids them from purchasing this collection, are happy for acquiring this collection.

    The officials said that it is the Ministrys responsibility to enquire about whether the spouse of Mr. Dikmen, Konstantina Dikmen had acquired these items through legal or illegal means.

    The University said that they will exhibit the items at the Science and Literature Museum. However, they will not name the museum after Mr. Dikmen.

    In his turn, Mr. Dikmen made the following statement: We have made the protocol with the University in 1982. The museum will be opened in my name. Around six thousand items were donated to the university without expecting any financial benefit. Part of it I have inherited from my family. If the University does not abide by the protocol, the items belong to me. In that case we will donate them to another establishment such as the Armed Forces.

    Dikmen was arrested in 1966 for some antiquities stolen at Catalhoyuk and Hacilar. He was arrested and imprisoned for a year in Germany for smuggling antiquities.

    Former Minister of Culture and Tourism Atilla Koc answering a motion in 2006 said: Attempts were made to secure the return of the 1100 antiquities of Anatolian origin found among the six thousand items in the possession of the citizen named Aydin Dikmen.

    However, until now nothing has been returned to Turkey.


    [02] Statements within the framework of the illegal declaration of independence of the breakaway regime in Cyprus

    Illegal Bayrak television (14.11.08) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Minister of State in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek and an accompanying delegation are in the Republic to represent Turkey at tomorrows 25th anniversary celebrations of the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. During his visit in the Republic Mr. Cicek paid visits to state and government officials.

    The Turkish Minister of State in Charge of Cyprus Affair Cemil Cicek is in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to represent Turkey at the 25th anniversary celebrations of its establishment. Speaking upon his arrival at Ercan Airport yesterday, Mr. Cicek said the TRNC is a 25 year old young man. Pointing to the importance of the establishment of the TRNC, Mr. Cicek said a lot had been done in the past 25 years, but noted there was still plenty more that needed to be done.

    Mr. Cicek was then received by President Mehmet Ali Talat at the Presidential Palace but no statements were made after this meeting. He then moved on and paid a visit to the Speaker of the Republics assembly Fatma Ekenoglu.

    Here he expressed the joy of being in the Republic and congratulated the Turkish Cypriot people on this happy occasion. For her part, Mrs. Ekenoglu expressed her delight at seeing Mr. Cicek and his accompanying delegation in the Republic for the celebrations. Noting that the Turkish Cypriot people had worked hard with all its institutions to come to where it is today, Mrs. Ekenoglu said Turkey standing by us really lifts our spirits and motivates us as well.

    She also said that Turkey becoming a non-permanent member at the UN Security Council and the Cyprus negotiations process being based around the UN parameters were all positive developments.

    The Turkish Minister of State in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek then paid a visit to Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer.

    Speaking here Prime Minister Soyer said that Turkey has always supported the Turkish Cypriot people in their just cause and noted that President Talat was working hard to achieve a mutually acceptable agreement to the Cyprus problem.

    Soyer said the Turkish government supports a solution which foresees a single international identity, equal status and a partnership state established by two equal constituent states.

    Prime Minister Soyer said we will never make any concessions on the equality of the Turkish Cypriot people, the basis of constituent states and Turkeys effective guarantees on Cyprus.

    During his contacts today Mr. Cicek attended two foundation laying ceremonies in Guzelyurt [occupied Morfou] and Lefkosia and will attend a reception to be given by the Speaker of the Parliament Fatma Ekenoglu this evening.

    Turkish Ministers Saturday agenda includes the ceremony marking the 25th anniversary of establishment of the TRNC, a lunch with Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and a reception given by President Talat.

    Following the reception, Cicek will watch a dress parade reflecting the Cyprus history under the title To Exist. Mr. Cicek will leave the Republic on Sunday after attending the opening of the Social Dialogue Meeting of the YOL-IS trade union in Girne [occupied Keryneia]

    Meanwhile the Secretary-General of the Turkish Presidency Mustafa Isen and the Acting Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly- Meral Aksener have come to the Republic. The two will hold meetings with TRNC government officials and attend Ekenoglus reception tonight. They will then join Mr. Cicek on Saturday. Isen and Aksener will also leave the island on Sunday.

    Meanwhile, illegal Bayrak (14.11.08) broadcast the following regarding the address of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat by which the celebrations started: President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established as a result of the Turkish Cypriot Peoples desire for self-rule.

    He pointed out that this years 25th anniversary celebrations that mark the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus come at a time when the Turkish Cypriot Side is working determinedly to bring about a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.

    `We are struggling hard with the hope that the talks would reach success` the President said adding that a positive result would be beneficial for all.

    Mr. Talat said `those who examine the reasons behind the establishment of the TRNC will see that the Republic was established to prepare the Turkish side to a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation on the basis of political equality`.

    `This is why we are issuing a peace message to Greek Cypriots on the anniversary of our tradition of self-rule` the president said.

    The President said the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus may have only been established 25 years ago, the existence of Turkish Cypriot on the island goes back to 450 years ago.

    Noting that it was a great injustice towards the Turkish Cypriot people to relate the establishment of the TRNC with the 1974 peace operation, President Talat said that people who make such presumptions are denying the existence of the Turkish Cypriot people and are condemning them to become a helpless minority in Cyprus.

    Furthermore, illegal Bayrak (15.11.08) broadcast the following on the celebrations: The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is celebrating its 25th anniversary today with various ceremonies throughout the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Various ceremonies are taking place throughout the Republic to mark the day. Many foreign guests from different countries, including Turkey, are in the Republic to share the joy of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the TRNC.

    President Mehmet Ali Talat kick started the official celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus today with a keynote speech broadcast on Bayrak Radio and Television at noon. A 21-gun salute was also performed simultaneously.

    Todays official celebrations kicked off with a ceremony held at the Lefkosia Martyrs Monument. Wreaths were laid, a minutes silence was observed and the flags were hoisted to the national anthem during the ceremony. Wreaths were also later laid at the mausoleum of the former Turkish Cypriot Leader Doctor Fazil Kucuk.

    Celebrations reached the climax with the ceremony on the Dr Fazil Kucuk Boulevard where speeches were delivered, a series of folk dance shows were performed and a military parade was held.

    In the afternoon, air show was performed by the Turkish Air Forces Acrobatics Team, known as the Turkish Stars over the skies of Girne [occupied Keryneia] harbour.

    Meanwhile, two Turkish War Ships are docked off the coast of Girne as part of the celebrations marking the Republic Day. They are open to public visits between 10am and 4pm.

    The 25th anniversary of the establishment of the TRNC is also being celebrated in the Turkish town of Mersin with various official ceremonies as well as with several social and cultural activities.

    Referring to the speeches of Mr Talat and Mr Cicek during the main ceremony for the celebrations, illegal Bayrak (15.11.08) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat has said that was their responsibility to ensure a safe and secure future for future generations.

    Addressing the main Independence Day ceremony in Lefkosia today, the President said that both he and the Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias possessed the necessary skill and diplomatic power to push for a solution in Cyprus. It is because we are well aware of our power and capabilities that we are hopeful peace and a solution in Cyprus he added.

    Celebrations to mark the TRNCs 25th anniversary climaxed with the main ceremony at the Lefkosia Dr. Fazil Kucuk Boulevard. Speeches were delivered at the ceremony before moving on to the parade.

    The Turkish Minster of State in Charge of Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek who is in the TRNC to take part in the independence day celebrations delivered the first speech at the ceremony. Addressing the crowd, the Turkish Minster said that the Turkish Cypriot people have proven its strength and the TRNC gas become a element of peace and stability.

    Stressing that no one should forget that the Turkish Cypriot people have certain principles regarding a comprehensive solution in Cyprus, Cicek said that the Turkish Cypriots will never abandon those principles.

    Stating that Turkey, for years, has been working, and will continue to work for a just, lasting and sustainable solution in Cyprus, the Turkish Minister of State said that Turkey is never forced to choose between Cyprus and EU membership.

    Pointing out that the TRNC economy has shown immense growth over the last 6 years, Minister Cicek said that the GNP had grown and that this trend towards economic growth should continue.

    Addressing the crowd next, President Mehmet Ali Talat said that the TRNC had left behind a quarter of a century since its establishment and had as a result evolved into a mature state.

    Pointing out that Turkish Cypriots were still tried to be punished for having set up their own state, Talat said we need to ask ourselves at this point. Are the Turkish Cypriot people sentenced to be administered without a state? Would it have been earlier to solve the Cyprus Problem, had the Turkish Cypriot people not created its own administration? More importantly where would the Turkish Cypriots after a solution had they not created their own state and administration?

    Describing the ongoing negotiations as a last chance, the President pointed out that the rights the Turkish Cypriot Side was insisting on where rights they possessed and exercised for hundreds of years.

    The President also said that the Turkish Cypriot people, despite its determination and persistence towards reaching a settlement, were still being unjustly made to pay the price of the non-solution on the island.

    Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot side knew clearly what it wanted out of the negotiations process, Talat said we are working on all fronts to achieve a peace agreement, one that will safeguard the political equality of Turkish Cypriots in all walks of life and guarantee their right to self-administration.

    The President also pointed out that the TRNC had been initially established in 1983 as the Turkish Cypriot leg of a future bi-communal, bi-zonal federal Cyprus Republic.

    The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was not created to reinforce the division on the island, but just the opposite, but to prepare for a federal Republic, as desired by the United Nations, the European Union and the rest of the international community.

    Meanwhile, Ankara Anatolia news agencies reported the following regarding a message by President Gul on 15.11.08:

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul sent a congratulatory message to President Mehmet Ali Talat of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for the 25th foundation anniversary of TRNC.

    Gul said in his message that the solution in Cyprus was based on a new partnership which would be shaped with the equal status of two founder states, political equality and existence of two separate peoples and democracies in the island.

    Gul said that Turkey attached importance and priority to Cyprus issue and struggle of Turkish Cypriot people.

    Gul said that Turkey's efforts would continue to eliminate unfair, inhumane and illegal isolations over TRNC.

    Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agent (14.11.08) reported the following on statements made by Mr Cicek regarding Turkeys EU accession course and Cyprus:

    Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said Friday that his government wished to become a member of the European Union (EU).

    Speaking to the AA in Lefkosia, Cicek said that "nevertheless, we are not in a state to enter the EU at all costs". `

    "We do want to become a full member of the EU. It is our wish and government policy. We do not approach EU membership at all costs. No one can force us to choose between Cyprus or the European Union. When we began our path in 1999, Cyprus was not a requirement of the EU. The negotiations are based on the Copenhagen criteria. There is no topic of Cyprus in the Copenhagen criteria," Cicek stressed.

    If the EU wants to become a strategic power, it can not do so without Turkey, Cicek said. "Everyone must be aware of Turkey's importance. Without the contribution of Turkey, the problems in the Middle East and the Caucasus can not be solved," Cicek said.

    Turkey will not be a burden on the EU but rather will make important contributions to the union, Cicek also said.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak (15.11.08) broadcast the following:

    Messages have been issued by leading statesman and political parties to mark the 24th anniversary of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Messages have been issued by the National Unity Party, the Democrat Party and the Communal Democracy Party, including Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Foreign Minister Turgay Avci.

    In his message issued to mark the day, Prime Minister Soyer underlined the importance and need to stress the Turkish Cypriot peoples political equality at the negotiating table. The progress achieved despite all pressures and isolations is nothing to be underestimated. This is the result of stability said Soyer adding that Turkish Cypriots desired both reunification and a state to administer themselves. He said both these tendencies complemented one another.

    Also issuing a message on the day, Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that younger generations need to be reminded about the difficult conditions in which the Republic was established. Avci said that the 15th of November was a turning point in the history of the Turkish Cypriot peoples struggle for existence and freedom.

    The leader of the main opposition National Unity Party Tahsin Ertugruloglu for his part said that 25 years ago, the Turkish Cypriot people voiced its independence and freedom to the rest of the world. He said that the founding of the TRNC brought the Turkish Cypriot people to an equal status with its Greek Cypriot counterpart In the South. Today, the TRNC, with its constitution and institutions, is an undeniable reality he added.

    The Democrat Party in its message claimed that this year anniversary day celebrations were being held under the shadow of domestic problems and negotiations to reach a federal settlement in Cyprus. The Turkish Cypriot people, apart from the problems created by the isolations, are left to struggle with the chaotic environment created by the government. The DP message said that the aim of all the negative developments was to corner the Turkish Cypriot people into losing faith in their state.

    The leader of the Communal Democracy Party Mehmet Cakici in his message said that every passing day in the absence of a political settlement was against the interest of the Turkish Cypriot people. He said that a just and lasting peace in Cyprus needed to be found as soon as possible. Expressing hope that the ongoing negotiations end positively, the TDP leader said that his party was to contribute in any way it could to the process.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci gave a reception in Ankara on the occasion of the 25th anniversary from the unilateral declaration of independence (UDI). The chief of the Turkish General Staff, Ilker Basbug, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Babacan, many Turkish Ministers and the ambassadors of Pakistan, Oman, Iran, Malaysia and Indonesia to Ankara attended the reception.

    Addressing the ceremony, Mr Avci said that as long as the Turkish Cypriots feel the support of the 70 million Turkish people, they will never be defeated and added: There is a solution process. However, this solution will be equal and just. There are two peoples on the island, two equal states, bi-zonality and the indispensable condition of the Motherlands guarantees.

    He noted that if the Greek Cypriots do not accept this solution, the Turkish Cypriots will continue their way by being strengthened and growing. Moreover, General Basbug expressed the belief that the TRNC will advance to the future without losing any of its gains.

    Mr Babacan said that they will continue together their efforts for the TRNC to advance in all fields and reach the international position it deserves.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the UDI was also celebrated with a reception given at the representation of the breakaway regime in Brussels in the presence of Turkish officials and the 1st Secretary of the embassy of Azerbaijan to Brussels, Dr. Fuad Hummetov.

    The paper writes that the UDI was celebrated in London in the presence of British politicians and the ministers of economy and tourism and internal affairs, Erdogan Sanlidag and Ozkan Murat respectively.

    Moreover, the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat gave a reception at the library of the illegal Near East University in honor of their guests who visited the occupied area to participate in the celebrations for the UDI.

    Under the title They have not kept their promise, Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes newspaper (17.11.08) reports that Cemil Cicek, Turkish state minister responsible for Cyprus, has alleged that the Turkish side and Turkey showed their will for the solution of the Cyprus problem in the referendum of 2004. Therefore, if this dispute is not solved from now on and if it continues, the responsible for this will be the other side, he claimed in statements in the occupied areas of Cyprus during the celebrations for the UDI.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Bakis newspaper (17.11.08) reports that in a written statement issued yesterday, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Turkey, Suleyman Soylu alleged that there are two sovereign and democratic states and two peoples in Cyprus even if the USA and the EU insist on not accepting this.

    [03] Cicek and Soyer addressed the social dialogue meeting of the Turkish Yol Is trade union

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the social dialogue meeting of the Turkish Yol Is trade union has taken place in occupied Keryneia. Addressing the meeting, the Turkish state minister responsible for Cyprus, Cemil Cicek said that many problems remain unsolved because of the lack of dialogue and added that even the most complicated international problems could be solved through dialogue.

    Addressing the same meeting, the self-styled prime minister Soyer said the fact that this meeting is held in the occupied areas in a period when the negotiations for reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem are being conducted gives morale to the Turkish Cypriots. Mr Soyer noted that the state has signed an agreement with a German firm to bring tourists to the occupied areas and that within the framework of this agreement they will give a 50-euro incentive for each tourist. He added that in the end of the procedure 80 thousand tourists will visit the TRNC which is under isolation. He alleged that the Greek Cypriots paid to these firms 90 euro per person in order to prevent them from taking tourists to the occupied areas.

    He noted that during his recent visit to Turkey they discussed the issue of the isolation with organizations such as TUSIAD and TOBB and demanded from them to hold some of their local or international meetings in the occupied areas of Cyprus in an effort to break the isolation.

    Mr Soyer said that their GDP increased from $975 million to $3.5 billion and added that they will further improve it. Mr Soyer reiterated the Turkish views regarding the solution of the Cyprus problem noting that they want political equality, two founding states with equal status and the guarantees of Turkey.


    [04] Ankara is reportedly not very willing to transfer more money to the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (17.11.08), under the title The mothers lamb, reports that the self-styled prime minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and his team continued his contacts with the Turkish Minister responsible for Cyprus, Cemil Cicek on the issue of Turkeys financial aid to the breakaway regime. The paper notes that Ankara is not very willing to transfer more money to the occupied areas of Cyprus. The paper wonders what will happen now in view of the deficits, which are not easy to be covered because of the continuous transfer of population from Anatolia to the occupied area of the island.


    [05] Sanlidag said their most important problem is not being able to schedule more flights to the occupied areas

    Under the title Sanlidag: We will make the flights cheaper, Turkish Cypriot daily Sozcu newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the self-styled minister of economy and tourism, Erdogan Sanlidag said that they are making serious openings for strengthening the tourism market of the TRNC and that they are preparing to open new destinations mainly from Britain. Visiting Turkish newspapers and radio stations in London, Mr Sanlidag said that their main tourism markets are Turkey, Britain and Germany and noted that their most important problem is not being able to schedule more flights.


    [06] Ortam argued that occupied Cypriot land is distributed to Turkish businessmen who support the AKP

    Under the title The plundering continuous, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam newspaper (17.11.08) reports that work has been launched to give new forest land to the owners of Artemis Hotel, who were given hundreds of donums of land in occupied Vokolida area. The paper notes that the businessmen who built Artemis Hotel will not pay taxes for 15 years. The paper notes:

    The practices to turn the TRNC into a paradise of casinos continue. The businessmen supporters of the AKP who were forced to open a 5-star hotel in order to open a casino, are supposedly investing many millions of dollars by taking hundreds of donums of forest land from the TRNC and credits of many millions of dollar from Turkey under the name of serving the tourism.


    [07] Cakici accused the CTP of denying its past

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici has accused the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) of acting in the same way as the National Unity Party (UBP). Mr Cakici said that the CTP has only put make-up on the status quo and makes everything it has been criticizing in the past. Noting that the CTP has denied its past, Mr Cakici argued that the ruling party plays many games in order to prevent the TDP from growing.


    [08] Eroglu appears certain of his election to the presidency of the UBP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (17.11.08) reports that Dervis Eroglu has stated that the fact that the delegates who support him won in occupied Famagusta and Nicosia is a sign for his victory at the forthcoming congress of the National Unity Party (UBP). In statements to Ada TV television, Mr Eroglu argued that he will defeat easily Tahsin Ertugruloglu, his opponent for the presidency of the UBP.


    [09] Yonluer accused the CTP of forcing the Turkish Cypriots to be in need of the Greek Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (17.11.08) reports that Ahmet Yonluer, chairman of the Politics for the People Party (HIS) has accused the self-styled government of convicting the Turkish Cypriots to work and do their shopping in the free areas because it is cheaper and to be in need of the Greek Cypriots. In a written statement he noted that the CTP, which in the past was saying that it did not want the money, the employees and the army of Turkey, now is visiting Ankara in order to be saved from the economic swamp.


    [10] British boxer participated in a championship under the TRNC flag

    Under the front page title The TRNC flag was on the boxing ring, Turkish daily Hurriyet (17.11.08) writes that the British boxer David Haye has participated in a heavyweight championship in London, wearing sports short with the flag of the TRNC, on which the international arena is imposing embargo.

    According to the paper, the 28 years old British boxer moved to occupied Cyprus two years ago and now lives in occupied Kazafani with his spouse and child. My greatest wish is for the world heavyweight boxing championship to take place in the TRNC, David Haye said.

    In its internal pages, the paper gives more details on the event and publishes photos of David Haye on the boxing ring after he knocked out in the fifth round his American opponent, Monte Barrett.


    [11] Erdogan comments on Cyprus problem in Washington D.C.

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.11.08) broadcast the following:

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has once again expressed his countrys full support to the ongoing negotiations process in Cyprus.

    Speaking at the National Press Club on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Washington D.C, the Turkish Premier said that his country supported the negotiations which kicked off on the 3rd of October and that they wanted to feel optimistic about the process.

    Pointing out that Ankara has been supporting a solution in Cyprus since 2004, Erdogan reminded that the Turkish Cypriot side had approved the Annan Plan while the Greek Cypriots had rejected it. Despite this outcome, the Greek Cypriot side was awarded, it was allowed to join the EU and North Cyprus is still be punished he added.

    Stating that the Turkish Cypriot side was attending the negotiations process in good will, he said that a solution was possible on the island if the Greek Cypriot Side will show the same good will.

    Responding to a question, the Turkish Prime Minister said that the Cyprus problem was being set as an obstacle in Turkeys path to EU accession. He said that their only expectation was for this obstacle to be removed and for the accession process to be completed as soon as possible.

    [12] Cen Ozdemir was elected as co-leader of the German Green Party

    Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (17.11.08) reports that the German Green Party has elected Turkish-German politician Cem Ozdemir as its co-leader, making him the first Turk to rise to such prominence in Germany, home to a sizable community of Turkish immigrants.

    The 42-year-old social worker will lead the Greens with Claudia Roth, who was also elected at the partys convention on Saturday in the eastern city of Erfurt. Together I want to fight with you for a society where nobody is left behind, Ozdemir told the cheering crowd.

    The paper also reports that there are some 2.7 million ethnic Turks in Germany, the country's largest minority, representing about 3.3 percent of the population. But while relations between Germans and Turks are generally civil, only five German Turks serve in Parliament and none have joined their party's leadership or Cabinet. And although the Turks have found success in independent businesses and the arts, they have little presence in the management of major German companies.

    Ozdemir and Roth take their posts before next year's national elections, with the Greens polling behind the other two major opposition parties -- the Free Democrats and the Left Party.

    But the Green Party remains influential in Germany, and for seven years until 2005 was the junior member of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroder's coalition government.

    The Greens could find themselves back in power again next year, as neither of the two biggest parties -- the Social Democrats and Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats -- looks likely to win enough support to form a government on its own. The two currently govern together in a "grand coalition."

    On Saturday, the Greens approved a program dubbed a "green New Deal" envisioning more state regulation, with economic growth bound closely to environmental and social welfare policies.

    The paper concludes with Mr Ozdemirs curriculum vitae: Born to Turkish Muslim parents in Swabia, Ozdemir's rise in German politics began in 1994 when he became the first ethnic Turk to win a seat in parliament, just two years after he gained German citizenship. In 2004 he won a seat in the European Parliament in Brussels.

    Ozdemir's Turkish parents emigrated in the early 1960s, looking for good wages and planning to return to Turkey. They stayed, as did many Turkish "guest workers" who came to work in West German coalmines and steel mills. They fueled an economic revival after World War II and are now Germany's largest minority.

    In his youth, Ozdemir learned two dialects of German as well as English, while growing up in a Turkish-speaking household. While attending college, he trained as a social worker. In the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of parliament, he quickly earned a reputation as a charismatic advocate for environmental protection and better education for the working class. He is now married to an Argentinean journalist and has a young daughter.


    [13] Columnist in Cumhuriyet: Talat tends to adopt the principle of political equality rather than equal sovereignty

    Columnist Mustafa Balbay, in his column Agenda in the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (16.11.08) under the title: Last Tango in Cyprus refers to the 25th anniversary of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) of the breakaway regime in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus and criticizes the Global powers for not recognizing the breakaway regime.

    He then refers to the criticism leveled by Erdogan against Rauf Denktas for failing to reach an agreement with the Greek Cypriot side. In his article Mr Balbay asks whether the current administration in the north has been able to make any progress in this regard during the past six years. Noting that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is in favor of enabling Mehmet Ali Talat to do whatever he wants, Balbay says: "Having received this guarantee, Talat tends to adopt the principle of 'political equality' rather than the principle of 'equal sovereignty.' In simple Turkish this reads as follows: The island will become a Greek Cypriot state and the Turks will be represented in the administration according to the ratio of their votes. To undersign such an agreement will be worse than being a sucker."


    [14] From the Turkish Press of 14, 15 and 16 November 2008

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 14, 15 and 16 November:

    a) Reactions to the cancellation of the accreditation of journalists

    In an article in Hurriyet (14.11.08) entitled "Accreditation is not a work permit," Ferai Tinc criticizes the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), government for the cancellation of the accreditation of seven journalists by the Prime Minister's Office. Tinc quotes a report by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which states that accreditation should be regarded as a tool for facilitating a journalist's work and not as a work permit, and congratulates daily Vatan for refusing to bow down to the Prime Minister's Office by offering an alternative reporter. Recalling some of the gaffes lately made by government members and AKP deputies on various issues, she says that Turkish democracy is continuously going downhill.

    Referring to the advice Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered to US President-elect Barack Obama in an interview to the New York Times, Editor-in-chief Ergun Babahan, in his article in Sabah (14.11.08), asks what Obama, in turn, would advise Erdogan. Babahan says that Obama would probably start by advising Erdogan not to cancel the accreditations of journalists and to embrace all parts of the society. Maintaining that politicians as well as the media are wasting energy on picking fights instead of resolving Turkey's problems, Babahan suggests that both the politicians and the media take a step forward and look at the events from the outside.

    Aksam (14.11.08) reports that "while the Prime Minister's Office failed to renew the credentials of seven journalists on the grounds that they did not comply with professional principles," the Press and Information Directorate General of the Prime Minister's Office, (BYEGM), confirmed the decision of the Press Card Committee to accord an "indefinite press card" to Mehmet Gurhan, who was tried in the Deniz Feneri [Lighthouse] case in Germany and sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison. Aksam explains that even though the Press Card Committee is composed of media representatives, its decisions must be approved by the BYEGM. Furthermore, Aksam states that under the press card regulations, such cards should not be given to persons convicted of a crime.

    In Radikal (14.11.08) Murat Yetkin begins his column by listing the latest criticism leveled against Prime Minister Erdogan by journalists -- from the Islamic and secular media alike -- known for their support of Erdogan and the AKP government until now. Yetkin questions the reasons for this criticism coming from "within the fortress," at a time when the local elections are approaching. He goes on the offer the following possible points of discussion in this regard: 1) Circles wanting the government to pursue a principled policy may be upset by Erdogan's efforts to agree on a realistic Kurdish policy with the military. 2) The resignation of Dengir Firat from his position in the party affected Kurdish deputies "who are not under the PKK influence." 3) The view of the Fethullah Gulen community that religion must play a role in the Kurdish policy may run afoul with the "unity of views" between Erdogan and Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug. 4) The recent Alevi demands in the field of freedom of faith runs counter to the picture the Gulen community and the majority of the AKP want to present that freedom of religion consists of freedom for the Islamic headdress alone.

    In an article entitled "Accreditation shame and unprincipled acts", in Today's Zaman (14.11.08) Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes asserts that Prime Minister Erdogan has "provided sufficient and fertile justification for those who accuse [him] of fascism or censorship" in canceling the accreditation of a number of journalists to the office of the prime minister.

    In a column in Istanbul Milliyet (15.11.08), Semih Idiz defends the journalists whose accreditation has been cancelled by the Prime Minister's office and argues that journalists are not obliged to satisfy anyone when they carry out their duties. Criticizing the AKP [Justice and Development Party] concept of democracy, he claims that the way the party treats the media organs strengthens the position of the anti-Turkey groups in Europe.

    In an article entitled "Isolated and spontaneous reactions", in Yeni Safak (15.11.08) columnist Resul Tosun criticizes the office of the prime minister for canceling the accreditation of some seven journalists, asserting that this move has served to legitimize the General Staff's practice of denying accreditation to certain media outlets. He also says that although certain recent acts and statements by Prime Minister Erdogan and his aides suggest that the AKP has abandoned its democratic posture, he perceives these moves and pronouncements as spontaneous reactions to the "unprincipled attacks" against the AKP from the Opposition, bureaucratic circles, and part of the media, adding that for this reason he does not share the view that Erdogan has started to align himself with the Establishment.

    Commenting on the cancellation of the accreditation of seven journalists by the Prime Minister's Office, in Hurriyet (16.11.08) Enis Berberoglu in a 650-word article talks about the steps that he, as the chief of the news desk, will take for replacing the banned journalists. I also have a couple of words for the Prime Minister's Office, says Berberoglu, adding: "You are acting both as the judge and the prosecutor. You have claimed that the correspondents have deliberately written false reports, but you have not filed a complaint against them with the Press Council or with the Reader Representatives. Furthermore you have not applied to the judiciary and you have not filed a suit in association with the reports in question. You were not courageous enough, but eventually a correspondent was obliged to file a suit against you. You have finally forced a journalist and the Prime Minister's Office to resolve their differences at court. Is this nice?"

    Derya Sazak in an article in Milliyet (16.11.08) notes that having published reports that target both the government and the General Staff in association with the Aktutun attack, Taraf is currently facing economic problems due to an advertisement embargo has been imposed on this newspaper. Recalling Erdogan's statement that those who do not like his views on the Kurdish issue are welcome to leave and Defense Minister Gonul's statement in favor of "population exchange," Sazak says: "Where is Turkey going to? The fact that the advertisement embargo has been imposed on Taraf at a time like this raises concerns. It is impossible to talk about freedoms in a democracy that does not allow the survival of newspapers."

    The Prime Minister's Office's decision to cancel the accreditation of certain journalists is wrong and it is the product of an understanding that aims to intimidate the journalists, emphasizes Hasan Cemal in a commentary in the Milliyet (16.11.08). Recalling that such measures had also been taken in the past, Cemal argues that the journalists should question their stands in order to prevent the repetition of such measures. We should ask ourselves whether we embrace the principles of our profession and whether we react against such measures without having "double standards," stresses Cemal, saying: "Otherwise not only the Prime Minister's Office, but also the General Staff will continue to grant accreditations. The military will impose its definitions and patterns on the journalists that it will accredit and it will even train them in its academies."

    b) Hrant Dink murder Investigation and Gonul's remarks

    Columnist Cengiz Candar, in an article in Radikal (14.11.08), makes a connection between the assassination of Hrant Dink and the recent statement by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul on the foundations of the nation-state. Pointing out that there is no need to look for the "deep state" in Dink's murder, Candar says that it is the state itself that is culpable. The report published by the Prime Minister's Inspection Council in connection with Dink murder reveals that both the Gendarmerie and the Security Directorate of Trabzon were aware of a planned assassination against Dink and failed to prevent it. Candar goes on to question whether the Dink murder case will be linked to the Ergenekon trial.

    Also writing in Radikal (14.11.08), Oral Calislar criticizes the recent statement issued by Vecdi Gonul to the effect that if the Greeks and the Armenians had continued to live in Turkey we would probably not have been able to build our nation-state. In a column, Calislar rejects any discussion on the "verity" of this subject, saying that this is just an attempt to "excuse" or "mitigate" a crime against humanity committed by the state. Calislar says that Gonul's viewpoint presents a nationalistic analysis of our history as well as the position of a state that is not willing to confront its history.

    Citing Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul as saying that his comments in favor of population exchange have been distorted by the media, Fikret Bila, in an article in Milliyet (16.11.08) notes that Gonul, during a conversation they had in Estonia explained that "he has merely stated historical facts." Bila quotes Gonul as saying that if Turkey had been defeated in the Independence War, a Greek state would have been established in Anatolia. Bila also says that Gonul rejected the accusations to the effect that he is "racist" and underlined that he is the first Turkish defense minister who has visited Greece and Israel.

    In an article entitled "An assassination plan", in Yeni Safak (16.11.08) columnist Tamer Korkmaz says that a report recently issued by the Inspection Council in the Prime Minister's Office has shown that Hrant Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin, was assassinated as a result of serious negligence on the part of the gendarmerie and the police. He says that the masterminds of Dink's assassination and Ergenekon's role in the armed attacks against Dink and a group of judges from the Council of State can be revealed if a new investigation is launched by using information provided in the Inspection Council's report.


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