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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-08-06

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] Downer met with Bulutoglulari
  • [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference
  • [03] Strikes continued yesterday in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] Statements by Eroglu on the Koran lessons and the economy
  • [05] TDP criticizes the cancellation of the licenses of Turkish Cypriot athletes who participated in games in the free areas of Cyprus
  • [06] Statements by Cavusoglu at occupied Pergamos village
  • [07] Data regarding the Consumer Price Index for July 2009 were announced
  • [08] The Turkish Foreign Ministry opposes to the twinning of Kadikoy and Agios Rentis
  • [09] Sahin was elected as the 24th Parliament Speaker
  • [10] Berlusconi will attend Turkey-Russia agreement ceremony in Ankara
  • [11] Russian Deputy Premier held trade talks in Ankara

  • [12] On the illegal exploitation of the properties of EU citizens in the occupied by Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [13] From the Turkish press of 5 August 2009


    [01] Downer met with Bulutoglulari

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.08.09) broadcast the following:

    The UN Secretary-Generals Special Advisor Alexander Downer has said he would like to see the UN Secretary-General in Cyprus as soon as possible.

    The UN Envoy also said that the UN was ready to take on a more active role in the ongoing talks if the two leaders wanted. The UN Special Advisors words came during a visit to the Mayor of Lefkosa Cemal Bulutoglulari this morning.

    Speaking during the visit, the UN Special Advisor Alexander Downer said that the aim of the visit was to hear about the issues of the city and to talk about the ongoing Cyprus negotiations process.

    Expressing the view that local governments play an important role in the overall general political process, Downer said that it was his duty to hold contacts with significant figures on both sides of the island.

    Responding to a question as to whether or not the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon was planning a visit to Cyprus later this year, the UN Special Envoy said that there was no exact time set for a visit by the Secretary-General but that he would like to see him come before too long.

    Asked if the UN was prepared to take on a more active role in the negotiations in the second phase of the talks, Downer said that the UN was ready to support the process to the extent the leaders wanted.

    He said that the UN had given a good deal of support to the process and would be ready to extend that in the coming phases of the talks.

    For his part, the Mayor of Lefkosa Cemal Bulutoglulari said he was pleased to receive the UN Special Advisor.

    Briefing Downer on the history of the Lefkosa Turkish Municipality, Mayor Bulutoglulari pointed out that the Lefkosa Municipality was founded on the basis of the 1960 constitution of the former Republic of Cyprus.

    Explaining that a large number of joint projects were being carried out with the Greek Cypriot Municipality in the South, Bulutoglulari said he was pleased to work with Greek Cypriot Mayor Eleni Mavru. I hope this cooperation will be extended in the future, he added.

    Touching upon the Cyprus Problem, Mayor Bulutoglulari said that President Mehmet Ali Talat was doing his best for a settlement but that his task was not easy. The Cyprus Problem has been carrying on for more than 40 years. I hope that the two leaders will solve the Cyprus Problem this year. We are supporting their efforts he said.

    Bulutoglulari also said that a settlement would have a positive impact on the economy. He complained that the people of the TRNC were feeling a double fold impact of the global financial crisis because of the embargoes.

    The Lefkosa Mayor also said that he and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Eleni Mavru were ready to do all they could for a solution in Cyprus.

    [02] Statements by Ercakica during his weekly press conference

    Illegal Bayrak television (05.08.09) broadcast the following:

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moons support to the Cyprus negotiations process is very important. That was the message given by Presidential spokesman Hasan Ercakica today during his weekly press conference. He said as the Turkish side we fully support the active role of the United Nations during the process.

    Hasan Ercakica gave his weekly press briefing at the Presidential Palace this morning and informed the press about the development on the Cyprus negotiations process.

    He announced that during tomorrows meeting between President Mehmet Ali Talat and the leader of the Greek Cypriot Administration Dimitris Christofias the first phase of the Cyprus negotiations process is expected to be concluded.

    During tomorrows meeting the exact methodology and the program of the negotiations process that will be followed during the second round of talks is hoped to be decided on also, said Ercakica.

    Explaining that the Turkish side will be taking full advantage of the break that is to be given to the talks between the 6th of August and the 3rd of September, the Presidential spokesman said that they will be informing the political parties at the TRNC Parliament and officials of the Republic of Turkey of the developments and exchange views regarding the process.

    Meanwhile referring to the works being carried out at the Yesilirmak (occupied Limnitis) crossing point, Hasan Ercakica said tomorrow an exercise will be carried out regarding the emergency crossings of ambulances.

    An ambulance from the TRNC and one from the South will be crossing over tomorrow, said Ercakica and added that in the meantime the UN has been conducting the necessary research for the construction of the road that will be built in the area.

    He also announced that a subcommittee is meeting today to discuss the prevention of the television and radio frequency problems that are being experienced between the North and the South of the island.

    Answering journalists questions at the end of the briefing, the Presidential spokesman said that a date hadnt yet been made as to when President Talat and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will meet but he did confirm that President Talat and Dimitris Christofias may be meeting with the UN Secretary-General in New York or at another location.

    Reiterating that the Turkish side gave great importance to the United Nations active role during the Cyprus negotiations process, Mr. Ercakica said the UNs support to the second phase of the Cyprus talks that will begin on the 3rd of September is very important for the continuation of the Cyprus negotiations process.

    Upon being reminded of the remarks made by the US Ambassador to Cyprus Frank Urbancic Mr. Ercakica said the Presidency too had found these statements worrying that is why it had requested the original statement made by the US Ambassador so they could further evaluate the remarks.

    Ercakica added that at the end of this evaluation it had become clear that the US Ambassador had not used such an expression directly.

    [03] Strikes continued yesterday in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.08.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) went on a four-hour warning strike yesterday morning at the illegal Tymvou airport, demanding the withdrawal of the decrees with the power of law regarding the inflation-related salary and the over-time payments. The paper writes that 1500 persons, including foreign tourists, were affected by the strike.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (06.08.09) reports that the chairman of KTAMS, Ahmet Kaptan told Ada TV television yesterday that in case the UBP government does not withdraw the decisions it has taken as a result of imposition by Ankara on the issues of the inflation-related salaries and the overtime payments, KTAMS will go on strike for an indefinite period of time together with all the trade unions.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (06.08.09) refers to the situation under the title Action and Chaos. The paper notes that nine flights were cancelled because of the strike at the illegal Tymvou airport.

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (06.08.09) further reports that the trade unions of the workers at the customs, Guc-Sen, decided for its members to continue not going to work outside their working hours. Guc-Sen officials met yesterday with the self-styled minister of finance, Ersin Tatar who suggested the reduction of the over-time payments from 700 thousand Turkish liras per month to 400 thousand. The trade union demanded the withdrawal of the decision of the council of ministers, did not accept Tatars suggestion and the customs workers did not go to work yesterday afternoon.

    Under the title Step backwards on the over-time payments, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.08.09) reports that while the approval of the decree with the power of law regarding the over-time payments was expected yesterday at the council of ministers, the government made a step backwards and decided to make some improvements to the decree. The paper points out that the trade unions are strongly reacting against this decree. The spokesman of the council of ministers, Huseyin Ozgurgun stated yesterday that the body corrected some points in the decree which were not understood and caused reaction because of the way they were written or read.


    [04] Statements by Eroglu on the Koran lessons and the economy

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika newspaper (06.08.09) reports that the self-styled prime minister, Dervis Eroglu finally broke his silence regarding the Koran lessons and stated yesterday that they will put the Religious Affairs Directorate into action and prevent the courses organized by persons who are not appointed by the regime. In statements yesterday before entering the meeting of the council of ministers, Mr Eroglu said they are against the Koran courses or the religious culture and ethics lessons by hodjas of mosques at places where the regime has not determined.

    Referring to the economic situation of the occupied areas of the island, Mr Eroglu said that the economy started to be revived with the measures his government has taken. He argued that they started to fulfil the pledge they had given on the issue of taking measures for making the occupied areas of Cyprus cheaper and the indication for this is the fact that the cost of living is -2.8 this month.

    Referring to the issue of the overtime payments, Mr Eroglu said that that if a government is not in a position of paying 100 trillion Turkish liras for over-time to the employees, then it should certainly take some measures and added that they are aware of the fact that unnecessary over-time payments are being made. He noted that the over-time payments have not been abolished by his government, but taking measures against the unnecessary over-time payments is a must.


    [05] TDP criticizes the cancellation of the licenses of Turkish Cypriot athletes who participated in games in the free areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (06.08.09) reports that Mehmet Harmanci, deputy general secretary of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), has issued a written statement regarding the decision of the so-called Turkish Cypriot Shooting Federation to cancel the license of the Turkish Cypriot athletes who have license to participate in games in the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus. Mr Harmanci described this decision as a blow to the determination of the Turkish Cypriot youth to progress and the prospect to develop itself.

    Noting that with this decision the embargoes on the Turkish Cypriot youth will be increased further, he argued that this decision is a result of the mentality of completely narrowing the circle. Mr Harmanci said that many Turkish Cypriot athletes participate in games in the free areas of Cyprus, not only in shooting and added that these athletes have many successes. He argued that the decision threatens the Turkish Cypriot youth which struggles to be opened to the world.


    [06] Statements by Cavusoglu at occupied Pergamos village

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (06.08.09) reports that the self-styled minister of agriculture and natural resources, Nazim Cavusolu visited the occupied Pergamos village yesterday accompanied by a delegation of high ranking officials from his ministry in order to listen to the problems of the people living there.

    In his statements, Mr Cavusoglu said that unless the government takes measures, in view of the fact that the population of the livestock decreased by 20.000 during the past three years, the population is increasing and the number of the livestock is reduced by 500-600 every month, people will turn to the smuggling of animals or to buying meat from the free areas of the island or other countries. He noted that the animal producers will not experience difficulties because the state bought animals and as long as the state does this, the price of the livestock will not be reduced.


    [07] Data regarding the Consumer Price Index for July 2009 were announced

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (06.08.09) reports that according to data announced by the so-called State Planning Organization (DPO) regarding the Consumer Price Index for July 2009, health was the sector where the highest increase was observed among the main groups of products and services. According to a statement issued yesterday by Guner Mukellf, chairman of DPOs Statistics and Research Office, health services increased by 0.6% compared to last month.

    The consumer price index was decreased by -2.3% compared to last month, while it changed by 0.8% in comparison to December of the year 2008 and by 3.6% in comparison to July of 2008. According to the previous month, increase was observed in the following main groups of products and services: health services 0.6%, housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels 0.3% and miscellaneous goods and services 0.1%.

    According to the previous month, decrease was observed in the following main groups of products and services:food and non-alcoholic beverages 7.3%, clothing and footwear 4.3%, furnishings, household equipment and routine household maintenance 0.7%, recreation and culture 0.4% and communication 0.3%.


    [08] The Turkish Foreign Ministry opposes to the twinning of Kadikoy and Agios Rentis

    The Editor-in-Chief of the Turkish daily HÜRR0YET newspaper (06.08.09) Erturul Özkök under the title Secret Diplomatic war in Kad1köy writes in his column how the Turkish Foreign Ministry intervenes and opposes to the twining decision of Kad1köy municipality of Istanbul with Agios Rentis municipality of Athens. The Turkish Foreign Ministry is opposing to the twining because there is a monument dedicated to the Armenian genocide at the main square of Agios Rentis.

    Erturul Özkök writes that the Turkish FM wrote three letters to the Kad1köy municipality and in three occasions the municipality ignored the letters and went ahead with the twining preparations. Mr. Özkök concludes by asking: Let us see which diplomacy- the official or the peoples diplomacy would win?


    [09] Sahin was elected as the 24th Parliament Speaker

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.09) reported the following:

    Mehmet Ali Sahin of the Justice & Development (AK) Party was elected as the 24th Parliament Speaker on Wednesday.

    Sahin was elected in the third round of vote by getting 338 of the votes. Ilhan Kesici of the Republican People's Party (CHP) got 103 votes, Munir Kutluata of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) got 66 votes and independent lawmaker Kamer Genc got one vote. There were nine empty votes and one vote was invalid. Sahin will be in office for two years.

    Democratic Society Party (DTP) MP Hasip Kaplan, who was also running for parliament speaker, withdrew his candidacy on Tuesday.

    In the first round of vote, Sahin won 315 votes, Kesici got 96 votes, Kutluata's votes were only 70. Kaplan won 25 votes and Kamer Genc gained 11 votes. In the second round, Sahin won 322, Kesici won 96, Kutluata got 71, Kaplan gained 20 and Kamer Genc won 8 votes.

    [10] Berlusconi will attend Turkey-Russia agreement ceremony in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.09) reported the following:

    Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will attend the signing ceremony of an agreement which will be signed between Turkey and Russia in Ankara on Thursday. The agreement will be signed within the scope of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's one-day visit to Turkey.

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Putin at Prime Ministry residence; and the agreement will be signed after the meeting. Berlusconi will also attend the ceremony. Erdogan and Putin will discuss economy and energy topics and ways to boost cooperation as well as enhance relations between the two countries.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu earlier paid visits to Russia.

    [11] Russian Deputy Premier held trade talks in Ankara

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (05.08.09) reported the following:

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Ivanovich Sechin said on Wednesday that a delegation would come from Russia to Turkey in the coming days to hold talks on Turkey's agricultural exports to Russia and visit poultry factories in the country.

    Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan had a meeting with Russian Deputy Premier Sechin and his delegation at Foreign Trade Undersecretariat in the capital Ankara.

    After the meeting, Sechin said that he hoped that problems in regard to Turkey's poultry exports to Russia would be solved with visit of Russian delegation to Turkey.

    Recalling that an iron-steel plant would be built in Iskenderun with Turkish-Russian partnership, Sechin said the mentioned project was worth 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.

    Turkish State Minister Caglayan said that they held fruitful talks with the Russian delegation. 'Turkey considered Russia an important strategic and trade partner', Caglayan said.

    The 9th term meeting of the Turkish-Russian Joint Economic Commission was held in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Wednesday. Turkish Energy & Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz and Russian Deputy Premier Igor Ivanovich Sechin participated in the meeting.

    Delivering a speech in the meeting, Sechin said that Russia was ready to cooperate with Turkey in any area and his country attached a great importance to enhancement of commercial relations with Turkey. Trade volume between Turkey and Russia has been on the rise since 2005, he said.

    "Despite global economic crisis, the relations between the two countries keep boosting. Prime ministers of the two countries are playing key roles in improvement of relations," Sechin said.

    Replying to a question, Sechin said Turkish and Russian authorities would sign nearly 15 agreements on several matters including energy, agriculture, education, culture, customs, and space research after approvals by premiers of the two countries.

    Energy Minister Yildiz said in his part that agreements which would be signed by prime ministers of Turkey and Russia on Thursday would be a turning point in bilateral relations. Russia was ranked the first in foreign trade of Turkey, he said.

    "Trade volume which had been 4.5 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 has become 38 billion U.S. dollars in the recent period. We aim to increase the figure between the two countries to 100 billion U.S. dollars in next four years," Yildiz said.


    [12] On the illegal exploitation of the properties of EU citizens in the occupied by Turkish troops territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    Under the title: Turkish Cypriots complain about Greek harassment, Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review (05.08.09) publishes the following by Reeta Paakkinen from occupied Keryneia:

    The Turkish Cypriot tourism sector is considering starting legal proceedings against Greek Cyprus for what they see as harassment of their business partners abroad. The issue reached the Italian parliament in June, when a local MP called the letters from Greek Cypriot representation an intimidation campaign.

    For harassment of their overseas business partners, the Turkish Cypriot Tourism and Travel Agencies Association, or KITSAB, and the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Association, or KITOB, are considering starting legal proceedings against the Greek Cypriot government.

    Presenting several letters from Greek Cypriot embassies in European Union countries and Lebanon to local travel companies marketing holidays in northern Cyprus, KITSAB and KITOB presidents said the Greek Cypriot approach contradicts the U.N.-mediated peace talks.

    In late June, the issue reached the Italian parliament. Marco Perduca of the Radical Party said the letter the Greek Cypriot Embassy in Rome sent to Italian tour operators amounted to an intimidation campaign in which the Italian government should support Italian entrepreneurs who bring tourists to northern Cyprus.

    Undermining tourism

    This time we have had enough of the Greek Cypriot campaign to stop tourism to Turkish Cyprus. Germany, the U.K., Lebanon, Romania, Sweden. Wherever we go, the Greek Cypriot government follows and calls for our business partners not to cooperate with us, Özbek Dedekorkut, president of KITSAB, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

    A letter from the Greek Cypriot Embassy in Rome to Italian tour operators, seen by the Daily News, conveyed the image that a holiday from Italy to northern Cyprus could lead one into legal trouble by stating, in Italian: We remind that Tymbou [Ercan] Airport is in the occupied area. In addition, it is operating outside the IATA authority in a way that is outside the law. Arriving in Cyprus through that entry point can lead to fines according to the laws of Republic of Cyprus.

    Another letter seen by the Daily News was from the Greek Cypriot Embassy in Beirut to a local tour operator in Jounieh, Lebanon, dated June 5. The letter presented the local travel agency the possibility of legal charges in case his company brings tourists to northern Cyprus.

    It has come to the attention of this Embassy that your travel agency is currently in the process of establishing a tourist holiday package involving destinations in the Turkish-occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. As a consequence we hereby wish to inform you that some of your actions are violating both the legislation of the Republic of Cyprus a member state of the European Union and international law in such a way that it may be cause for taking legal action against you and your company. We also advise you to refrain from launching a sea line with a destination in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    The letter had an official reference number and was signed by Charge dAffaires Kyriacos P. Kouros, who could not be reached when the Daily News contacted him about the authenticity of the letter.

    Harming Turkish business

    Although there is no legal basis for stopping people from travelling to northern Cyprus, travel companies abroad become unnecessarily concerned, he said. Greek Cypriot representatives are trying to scare local businesses abroad, and this harms us. They do not have the right to threaten our business partners like this, Dedekorkut said.

    The Greek Cypriot campaign is affecting our marketing, especially in Europe, said Mehmet Dolmaci, president of KITOB. Greek Cypriots are making it clear they dont want to cooperate or share tourism income here. Cyprus is not solely a Greek island Turkish Cypriots also have the right to live here. Whatever we try to do, they try to stop it. This seems to be their biggest job not to find a solution but to try to pressure us to leave Cyprus for better income elsewhere.


    Maintaining isolation is contradictory to peace talks, according to Maurizio Turco, a member of the Italian Parliament and a colleague of Marco Perduca in the Italian Radical Party. Turco said attempts to hamper the growth of tourism in northern Cyprus are in dire contrast with the ongoing talks. The Greek Cypriot side is talking with Turkish Cypriots about a comprehensive settlement, yet at the same time their representations are trying to stop tourism to northern Cyprus. This is just not right, Turco told the Daily News in late July in Kyrenia.

    We should bring the issue to the worlds attention. [Turkish Cypriot president] Mehmet Ali Talat should also point this out to [Greek Cypriot president] Dimitris Christofias and make it clear this is not right, Turco added.

    According to Turco, the letters the Greek Cypriot Embassy in Rome sent have been noted in the Italian parliament. This issue should really be discussed on the EU level, he said. Member states should come together to discuss the isolation of northern Cyprus. But because of the veto Greek Cyprus has, this is difficult.

    It was a mistake to accept Greek Cyprus in the EU after it turned down the Kofi Annan Peace proposal, said Turco, who earlier served in the European Parliament. There should have been first a peace deal, and only then entry for the whole island into the EU.

    [13] From the Turkish press of 5August 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 5 August 2009:

    a) Kurdish issue

    Viewing the government's Kurdish overture in an article in Milliyet, Hasan Cemal underlines that "this is the first time in 30 years that the Ankara government is trying to cook something serious regarding the Kurdish problem in the state kitchen." Underlining the government's "serious intentions" on the issue, Cemal believes that the government should be aided in this quest for a solution because the efforts of the state and the government alone are not sufficient to being about a solution. Urging the Republican People's Party, CHP, the NGO's, the business world, and the universities to contribute to the government efforts, Cemal sums up his two-day contacts with government and presidential officials in Ankara as follows: "A determination and a goodwill is being formed in Ankara with regards to placing the Kurdish solution on the right track and bringing the PKK down from the mountains." Cemal concludes by assessing the decision of Prime Minister Erdogan to meet with Democratic Society Party, DTP, leader Ahmet Turk as a "positive development from the viewpoint of achieving peace in Turkey."

    Commenting on the workshop Interior Minister Atalay organized with a group of columnists to hear their views on the Kurdish issue in an article in Milliyet, Metin Munir finds this attempt superfluous since no problem in the world has been resolved by columnists and since the views of these writers are known to all. Seeking the views of Hasan Cemal on the Kurdish issue is like seeking the views of the Pope on the issue of birth control, writes Munir, arguing that the minister organized this meeting because he had no clue as to what step to take next. Munir continues: "Had there really been a 'Kurdish overture,' it would have been announced by the prime minister or the president himself and not by the interior minister." Questioning how there can be a Kurdish overture without talking to the Kurds themselves, Munir doubts that a solution can be found without talking to the DTP and to Abdullah Ocalan. Underlining that there cannot be a unilateral peace, Munir argues that refusing to accept Ocalan and the DTP as respondents does not negate that they are the respondents, likening the government to an industrialist who is trying to end a strike without talking to the unions and the workers. In conclusion, Munir maintains that the government is pretending to make an overture because of domestic and foreign pressure on the issue.

    Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok, who was unable to attend the workshop organized by Minister Atalay with the participation of various columnists on the Kurdish issue, relates a luncheon he attended with the minister and Enis Berberoglu. In his article, Ozkok writes that the minister believes in his mission, adding that a similar workshop will be held in the Southeast. Although the minister was reticent about the concrete details of the overture, the impression Ozkok received at the luncheon was that the first step will be the closure of Mahmur Camp in north Iraq and the return to Turkey of the 11,000 Kurds currently residing in the camp. Assessing the stand of the interior minister as "constructive and harmonious," Ozkok dismisses the branding of the journalists who participated in Atalay's workshop as "traitors," adding that certain people will have to risk being called traitors if this process is to succeed.

    Assessing the meeting to be held between the prime minister and the DTP leader in an article in Vatan, Okay Gonensin writes: "With this meeting, the DTP is being included in the 'process.' This 'inclusion' means that it is also sharing the responsibility. The discussions regarding a 'respondent' have, thus, ended..." Now the DTP is obligated to convince the PKK to disarm itself, argues Gonensin, adding: "The government, well assessing the expectations of the people, has demonstrated a 'political will' and, by including the DTP in this will, has shown that it wants to share responsibility on the issue." Explaining that the first expectation of the people is a cease-fire, Gonensin believes that the public, which is observing the PKK and Imrali with this expectation, will support the Kurdish solution process if the possibility of its realization increases. The first duty that befalls the DTP following the meeting with the prime minister today is to convey a message of optimism to the Turkish people and to announce that it will exert efforts to bring the PKK militants down from the mountains, writes Gonensin, concluding that the "obstructive activities" of the CHP on the issue are not welcome by the public.

    A report entitled "They made a start for Kurdish" in Taraf says that the Religious Affairs Directorate is holding a series of consultations and meetings about the possibility of permitting sermons and preaching in Kurdish at mosques in cities mostly populated by Kurds. According to the report, another step that the Directorate plans to take is to publish the Kurdish version of the Koran.

    In an article entitled "'Good things' will happen in three phases," Taraf columnist Yasemin Congar says that the Turkish government's plan to resolve the Kurdish question may be implemented in three phases comprising confidence-building measures, steps aimed at convincing PKK guerrillas to lay down their arms and to return to their homes, and constitutional amendments which, she notes, may be postponed until after the general election in 2011.

    In an article in Ozgur Politika, Gunay Aslan views the circumstances behind Turkey's Kurdish overture. Pointing out that the military operations carried out against the PKK must come to an end for a successful overture, Aslan maintains that the Turkish government will give a "positive reply" to the Kurds. "The internal and external circumstances have developed," asserts Aslan, and adds that Turkey, seeking to assume "a new mission" in the region, is compelled to resolve the Kurdish issue. Aslan argues that Turkey chose to reach an agreement with the United States on the Kurdish issue and that therefore Turkey is taking constructive steps in bilateral ties with the Kurdish government in Iraq. Aslan concludes that Turkey's "Kurdish overture" is a positive step toward its democratization.

    In an article entitled "Why is Erdogan meeting with the DTP?", Zaman columnist Mustafa Unal asserts that the Erdogan-Turk meeting today will make a positive contribution to the Government's effort to solve the Kurdish problem. He also calls on the DTP leader to maintain his "sensible" stance signalled by his remarks announcing that "we will act with a sense of our share of the responsibility for ensuring the launch of a peaceful process and the continuation of this overture policy."

    In an article entitled "MHP already playing with fire", Today's Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar lauds the Government's latest bid to address the Kurdish question as "a kind of Turkish glasnost." He also accuses MHP leader Devlet Bahceli of creating "risks of civilian unrest and community violence between nationalist Turks and Kurds" in charging the AKP with treason in connection with this initiative and threatening to take upon themselves to fight the PKK "if the state forces were to retreat from the 'mountains'.

    Finally in article entitled "Can a settlement be lasting as long as the United States is not driven out of the region?", Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan comments on claims of US involvement in the ruling AKP's "Kurdish overture." He argues that if these allegations are true, it would not be realistic to expect any "well-meaning" domestic projects to be brought to fruition as long as the United States and other "imperialist" powers fail to be effectively prevented from creating discord in the region.

    b) On the decisions of the Supreme Military Council

    According to a report entitled "The codes of the Supreme Military Council, YAS: The soldiers have claimed their members who were involved in the Ergenekon process" by Aydin Dogan in Milliyet, Navy Colonel Dursun Cicek, who was accused of being the architect of a military plan to topple the government, could not be promoted to the rank of admiral with the reason given being that there was no vacant admiralty. The report adds that Colonel Levent Gorgec, who was interrogated within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation, was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and Air Marshal Ridvan Uluguler, who was also faced with various accusations, has been promoted to the rank of air chief marshal.

    A report on the YAS decisions entitled "Appointments that disturb the AKP (Justice and Development Party)" in Radikal states that Lt Gen Aslan Guner, who had left the protocol line in order not to shake the hand of Hayrunnisa Gul, the wife of the president, has been promoted to the post of Deputy Chief of the General Staff. According to the report, the promotions of Gorgec and Bekir Kalyoncu, who has been described as "the TSK, Turkish Armed Forces, link of Ergenekon" by various media organs, have also disturbed the AKP.

    Under the banner headline, "It is this mentality that brings discredit on Military," Vakit carries a front-page report which slams the high command of the Turkish Armed Forces, (TSK), for engaging in a "hunt for reactionary officers" in the army at the recent Supreme Military Council, (YAS), meeting and not taking any measures against elements within the TSK with links to the "terrorist Ergenekon network." According to the report, the YAS expelled three "pious officers" from the army while not adopting any sanctions against a number of lieutenants arrested on charges of planning assassinations against senior generals and admirals.

    c) On Putins visit to Turkey

    In an article entitled "The Eurasian fault line and partnership with Russia", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul describes Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to Turkey starting tomorrow as an event that is "extremely important" not only from the viewpoint of energy issues but also in terms of its potential to provide clues about the future of bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia and about the way these two "inheritors of empires" look at one another and the future.

    He goes on to argue that Ankara's relations with Moscow can potentially determine the nature of Turkey's relations with the Caucasus, Central Asia, Black Sea countries, and "even partially" with the Middle East. He concludes that if Turkey is to turn from a "frontier country" into a central player with strong relations with both the East and the West, "we need to realize that we should look in every direction, be interested in everything, abandon our old rhetoric and construct our own sentences, and quit prescribed relationships in favour of a policy for establishing relations based on our own interests."


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