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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-09-25
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 182/09 25.09.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Excerpt on Cyprus from Erdogans address before the UN General AssemblyAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.09.09) reported the following from New York:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that addressing the UN General Assembly referred to Cyprus as follows:
Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus support the efforts for finding a comprehensive solution on the island.
The basis upon which such a solution should be built is right here, under the roof of the United Nations.
If all the parties to the present negotiations were to act constructively, it would be possible to reach a comprehensive solution by the end of 2009. As was the case in 2004, we believe that the UN Secretary-General should play a role in bridging the differences which the parties themselves cannot resolve.
It should be our common objective to submit the solution to be reached to a referendum in the spring of 2010 at the latest.
However, at this juncture, I would like to stress the following point as well: if a solution cannot be found due to Greek Cypriot intransigence, as was the case in 2004, the normalization of the status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will become a necessity which can no longer be delayed.
It is therefore essential to realize that the negotiations cannot be sustained ad infinitum, that the present window of opportunity cannot remain open forever and that efforts must be deployed for the success of the process.
I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize once again that a comprehensive solution to be achieved on the basis of established UN parameters, which will secure the founding of a new Partnership in Cyprus, will enjoy the open support of Turkey as a guarantor power.
A fair and lasting solution in Cyprus will make a major contribution to the transformation of the Eastern Mediterranean into a zone of peace, stability and cooperation. I call upon everyone to do their utmost to help achieve this goal.
In the meantime, the Turkish Cypriot side is still subjected to unfair measure of isolation, despite the fact that in 2004 it accepted all the sacrifices that the Annan Plan entailed. It is not fair to expect the Turkish side to pay the price for a lack of solution. The lifting of such restrictions on Turkish Cypriots will not only remove an unjust practice but also accelerate the process of resolution.
 Talat comments on the statements of Erdogan on Cyprus during the UN General AssemblyAnkara Anatolia news agency (25.09.09) reports the following from New York:
President Mehmet Ali Talat of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) said on Thursday that TRNC had the same views as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who delivered a speech about the Cyprus issue. Erdogan's expressing those views in UN was beneficial and meaningful, added Talat who spoke to reporters in New York.
Noting that the TRNC had been expecting and wanting the international community to show more interest in the Cyprus question, Talat said that the TRNC knew that the international community had an important role in the solution of Cyprus question. He added that the TRNC was working with Turkey in cooperation for solution of the Cyprus question.
Asked when he would meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Talat said that a certain date was not set yet but they would meet in the coming days. Talat said that he held meetings with British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband and Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the UN. Talat noted that he also wanted to meet with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias in New York but Christofias did not want to hold a meeting with him.
The Turkish Cypriot leader will meet with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as well as officials of Turkey's permanent representation at UN.
 How the Turkish Cypriot press covers Erdogans address at the UNUnder the title, Is this your justice world? Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave harsh messages from New York on the Cyprus problem. Addressing the general assembly of the UN, Mr Erdogan reminded that the Turkish Cypriots voted yes and the Greek Cypriots no at the referendum on the Annan Plan in 2004.
He reiterated the Turkish view that those who had given promises to the Turkish side before the referendum did not take into consideration this result and accepted south Cyprus unilaterally into the EU. Mr Erdogan said the target on the Cyprus problem should be for a referendum to be carried out in spring 2010 the latest regarding the solution to be reached. However, in case a solution is not reached again because of the Greek Cypriot intransigence, as in 2004, normalizing the status of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in the international field will become a necessity which could not be postponed, he alleged.
Referring to the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (25.09.09) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister said the negotiations cannot continue forever and added that the current window of opportunity will not remain open forever. The paper covers Erdogans statements under the title The target is referendum in spring.
The rest of the Turkish Cypriot press today covers the issue under the following titles:
Havadis: Let everybody do their part for the solution
Star Kibris: We want justice!
Vatan: Normalizing the status of the TRNC in the international field cannot be postponed now
 Talat meets Miliband and asks Britain to undertake an initiative regarding the Cyprus problemUnder the title, We want Britain to undertake initiative, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met in New York with the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband and briefed him on the ongoing negotiating process in Cyprus.
In statements after the meeting, Mr Talat said Mr Miliband is satisfied with the speeding up of the procedure. He noted that Mr Miliband told him that their faith in the process increased because of this development and asked for more information about the talks. Mr Talat said he told the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs that as of October, they will be meeting with President Christofias twice a week and they will intensify the process by discussing the main issues. Mr Talat noted that he told Mr Miliband that the UN should participate more actively in the process and that they want Britain to undertake an initiative to this end. He also told him that Britain has responsibilities on the solution of the Cyprus problem as a guarantor power and that is why it should behave impartially to the two sides.
Mr Talat said: I told him that they should encourage the sides to intensify the process, that we [the Turkish side] do not need this and that the Greek Cypriot side, because it feels relaxed, is not very willing on this issue, but it could change through the interest of the international community. And I briefed Mr Miliband regarding the point we have reached in the negotiating process at the moment. I explained to him in detail the disagreements between us (with the Greek Cypriot side) on the issue of the executive and of how the presidency will be elected. I said that afterwards we shall pass to the property after discussing some more issues and that property is on our agenda as an important chapter.
Mr Talat said Mr Miliband repeated many times that they are satisfied with the intensification of the process and that they are expecting the solution of the Cyprus problem very anxiously. He noted that Mr Miliband wished him success in his contacts at the UN and told him that they will continue to follow the Cyprus problem closely. Mr Talat said that the British Foreign Secretary told him that his country would do everything possible for the solution of the Cyprus problem and that they will be in contact from now on.
The paper writes that the representative of the breakaway regime in New York, Kemal Gokeri also participated in the meeting. Moreover, Mr Talat met with the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, as well.
 Ozgurgun asks support from Britain in the Cyprus problemUnder the title He asked support from Britain, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Huseyin Ozgurgun has asked for support from Britain. During meetings he held with officials of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Ozgurgun demanded from them to play a more active role in the Cyprus problem. Mr Ozgurgun met with Nick Baird, General Director for Europe and Globalization at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and Stephan McCormick, Chief of the Office for Greece and Cyprus at the EU Directorate. The paper writes that Nick Baird is former ambassador of Britain in Turkey. The so-called representative of the breakaway regime in London Kemal Koprulu and the 3rd Secretary Asan Mullahasan participated in the meetings.
Mr Nick Baird, who returned from his post in Turkey a short time ago, expressed his satisfaction with meeting Mr Ozgurgun in London. During the meeting, they exchanged views on the Cyprus problem. Baird said Britain, as guarantor power, will continue supporting the solution process so that a solution is reached in the island until the end of 2009.
Mr Ozgurgun also gave interviews to media such as the Financial Times and The Economist regarding the Cyprus problem. In his interviews, he alleged that the Turkish Cypriot side supports the solution process fully and added that in case it is understood that the Greek Cypriot side is implementing delaying tactics, they will not wait for the Greek Cypriots forever. Mr Ozgurgun alleged that the main wish of the Greek Cypriots is to exert pressure on the Turkish Cypriots through the isolation so that they accept minority rights. He said that the United Kingdom, as guarantor power has a lot to do on the issue of the lifting of the so-called isolation. He claimed: Reaching to a possible agreement is bound to time limitation. In case an agreement is not reached soon, it will be inevitable for the Turkish Cypriot side to be directed to other alternatives.
Moreover, the paper writes that Mr Ozgurgun also attended an event where a book under the title From the Sultan to Ataturk, by historian Andrew Mango, was promoted under the auspices of the Turkish Ambassador to London Yigit Alpogan.
 Davutoglu continues his contacts in New York; He discussed about Cyprus with Solana and VerhagenAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.09.09) reported the following from New York:
The Turkish foreign minister continued to hold bilateral talks in New York on Wednesday. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had meetings with George Mitchell, the U.S. special representative to the Middle East; Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen; Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov; Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic; and European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Javier Solana, on the sidelines of the 64th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.
Davutoglu discussed developments regarding the Middle East during his meeting with Mitchell, which took place immediately after U.S. President Barack Obama's opening remarks at the General Assembly.
According to diplomatic sources, Davutoglu told Mitchell that he found Obama's speech balanced and he also thought that Obama's bringing up Jerusalem and talking about final solution in his speech were positive. Davutoglu said recent days were a good opportunity to restore peace in the Middle East, and exchanged views with Mitchell about further steps to be taken. The Turkish foreign minister said the humanitarian situation in Gaza was unacceptable, and should be corrected as soon as possible.
During his meeting with Mammadyarov, Davutoglu talked about the recent stage of normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations. The two foreign ministers discussed the protocols, expected to be signed by Turkey and Armenia, at the end of the ongoing internal consultations.
Also, the Azerbaijani foreign minister briefed Davutoglu on their negotiations with Armenia.
In his meeting with Solana, Davutoglu discussed recent developments in the Middle East and Cyprus issue.
Davutoglu said that the door of opportunity in Cyprus could not stay open till eternity, and the problem could be solved till the end of this year if parties showed good will.
In his bilateral meeting with Verhagen, Davutoglu discussed Turkey's European Union (EU) membership process and Cyprus issue.
Also meeting Croatian Foreign Minister Jandrokovic, Davutoglu discussed EU membership as two candidate countries and both ministers underlined importance of cooperation for welfare and stability in the Balkans.
Davutoglu also signalled that Turkey was against political radical movements in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.
In addition, Ankara Anatolia news agency (25.09.09) reports the following:
Turkey's European Union membership bid will be a top priority under Spain's upcoming rotating presidency, diplomatic sources quoted Spanish Foreign Miguel Angel Moratinos as telling his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu. Davutoglu met with Moratinos as part of his talks in New York on the sidelines of the meetings of United Nations General Assembly. Diplomatic sources said Davutoglu and Moratinos also discussed the Alliance of Civilizations and the two ministers reportedly described the project as one of the most successful initiatives of the United Nations.
Davutoglu met with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger who said his country did not set obstacles before Turkish membership and "shut the door on Turkey." The Turkish foreign minister underlined that a chapter on energy issues has yet to open in Turkey's EU accession negotiations despite the Nabucco pipeline project which starts in Turkey and ends in Austria.
Davutoglu met with his Montenegrin, Libyan, Bahraini, Costa Rican, Georgian, Ethiopian and Eritrean counterparts as well on the sidelines of the UN meetings.
 Tatar argues that the basic aim of the negotiations is to take Turkey outside of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that Ersin Tatar, self-styled minister of finance of the breakaway regime, has said that a strong economy is needed for finding a solution based on political equality and added that this issue should be discussed with priority at the negotiating table. In statements yesterday during a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot Employers Trade Union, Mr Tatar noted: The officials, while in an effort to finish this job at the negotiating table and calling for Americas help, should explain openly to the people what will happen with our economy. Mr Tatar described as worrying the latest statements on the Cyprus problem because no one refers to the economy.
Mr Tatar said that sending the refugees back and the return of the properties to their first owner are issues discussed at the negotiating table and argued that there could be no political equality at a place where an economy is not strong. He argued that the Turkish Cypriots will lose everything in case they lose the properties and added: In case organizing the economy in our area is handed over to others, the situation will be serious. In such a situation, no one should expect aid from Turkey, because the basic aim is to take Turkey outside the island. He said that the economy should be strengthened in order to be strong at the negotiating table.
 Cyprus Turkish Platform calls for the creation of a new negotiation teamIllegal BRT television (24.09.09) broadcast the following:
The Cyprus Turkish Platform has demanded the formation of a new negotiation team to act as a multi-party Cyprus Turkish National Council at the Cyprus negotiation process.
In a written statement, the Platforms Press Secretary Huseyin Alasya claimed that the political equality of two founding states as sovereign states was not discussed during the negotiation process and called on President Mehmet Ali Talat to put the Turkish sides sine qua non at the table.
Commenting on the Turkish sides proposals and the statements made by members of the negotiation team, he claimed that members of the team were representatives of certain political ideology and that they were not representing the will of the Cyprus Turkish People. He said they are misleading our people. They are trying to present the election of members of the Presidential Council from the so-called single list as political equality.
 The exports and imports of the breakaway regime decreased in July 2009Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (25.09.09) reports that the imports of the breakaway regime decreased by 50% in July and the exports by 5%. According to data given by the so-called Trade Department, the imports in July 2009 were 85.4 million US dollar, while the exports fell to 6.4 million US dollars. The exports and the imports decreased by 50% and 5% respectively in comparison with the same period of last year. 465 of the imports were carried out from Turkey, which exported to the occupied areas products the worth of which reached to 61.5 million US dollars. 40% of the exports of the breakaway regime (2.3 million US dollars) are to Turkey.
 The breakaway regime is planning for direct trips from occupied Famagusta port to the Lebanon after the electionsTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that 140 tourists have been carried from Syria and Lebanon to the occupied port of Famagusta with ferryboats during the feast of Ramadan. Passengers stated that the trips have made the transportation easier and cheaper for them. The owner of Akgunler firm, Unal Caginer, who organizes the trips, said they faced many problems since 2007 when the trips started. I cannot understand the insistence of the Greek Cypriot side on the isolation, he argued. He alleged that according to the international law, the port of Famagusta still has the status of a port and it cannot be bound to isolation.
Moreover, Ozgur Kanatli, director of the firm in the Middle East, stated that pressure is exerted in order for the trips to stop and added: Syria stood strong. After the elections in Lebanon, when politics stop, we think that we could carry out direct trip between the TRNC and Lebanon.
 Turkey and the occupation regime to pursue a parallel strategy regarding tourism with Middle Eastern and Arabian countries; Tourism agents from Syria and the occupied areas of Cyprus to meet in the beginning of 2010Ankara Anatolia (25.09.09) reports the following from occupied Lefkosia:
Turkish Cypriot tourism minister said on Friday that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) had the most serious relations with Syria among Islamic and Arab countries in tourism area.
Speaking to A.A, TRNC Tourism, Environment and Culture Minister Hamza Ersan Saner said that they would pursue a parallel strategy with Turkey regarding tourism with Middle Eastern and Arabian countries.
Saner said that they were exerting efforts to boost tourism relations between TRNC and Syria. Noting that travel and tourism agencies of TRNC and Syria would gather in the beginning of 2010, Saner said that the agencies would set a schedule about sea cruises and tourist traffic between the two countries during the meeting.
Regarding initiatives of Greek Cypriot administration to stop ferry services between TRNCs Gazimagusa [occupied Famagusta] port and Syrias Latakia and Lebanons Tripoli ports, Saner said that Greek Cypriots also launched initiatives to prevent tourism with other countries such as Romania, Poland and Italy. Saner said that Greek Cypriot administration even could not stand Greek Cypriot tourists plans of vacation in TRNC.
He added that the TRNC would initiate a campaign in Turkey as of January 2010 to encourage people to take a vacation in TRNC.
 Journalists working in well-known Russian media visited the illegal YDUTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (25.09.09) reports that 20 journalists from Russia visited the illegal Near East University (YDU). The paper notes that the journalists came to the occupied areas of Cyprus upon invitation by the Turkish Cypriot Building Contractors Union with the aim of getting to know Northern Cyprus and introducing it in their country. Journalist from the well-known NTV television channel, Komsomolska Pravda newspaper, Moskovskie Novosti and other Russian media organizations were among the participants in the Russian delegation.
 The chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey promotes his recent report at Brookings Institute in WashingtonTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (25.09.09) reports the following:
Former Finnish President and Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari, now the chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey, spoke about his commission's latest report on Turkey, Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle, at a conference at the Washington-based Brookings Institution on Wednesday.
In his address, Ahtisaari said some EU countries had expressed the opinion that Turkey would not be an EU member after the negotiations had started, which was against EU decisions made unanimously at EU summits. Ahtisaari said there were no reasons for Europe to be afraid of Turkey's membership. He said he would not feel uncomfortable if a Turk, such as [then-State Minister for Economic Affairs] Kemal Devris or [Turkish President] Abdullah Gul, presided over an EU meeting.
Touching upon the Armenian issue, he said in Turkey there is now more openness to discuss issues related to Armenia and that he thinks positively about the contribution of intellectuals to this process. Noting the importance of the diplomacy between the two countries started by President Gul's visit to a soccer match in Yerevan, Ahtisaari said, However, decisions made by other foreign parliaments regarding the so-called Armenian genocide harm the peace efforts between Turkey and Armenia and cause hopelessness among the Turkish public. Ahtisaari also said Turkish-Armenian relations will positively affect the entire Caucasus region.
 Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade views economic relations with ChinaAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.09.09) reported the following from Shanghai:
Turkish state minister for foreign trade said on Thursday that the "frozen" relations between Turkey and China started to get warmer nowadays. Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan, who is currently in China to hold a series of talks, met with a group of businessmen in the Chinese city of Shanghai.
Speaking at the meeting, Caglayan said that he did not consider China as a threat, but he saw this country as a land of opportunities. Noting that China was the third biggest importer in the world, Caglayan said the products imported by China from other countries worth nearly 1.2 trillion USD.
Caglayan said Turkey's share in this amount was 1.5 billion USD, adding that such figure should be increased. Calling on entrepreneurs to make business in China, Caglayan said that Turkish officials were ready to extend all the necessary support on this issue.
 ICAO to hold a conference in Istanbul nextAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.09.09) reported the following from Istanbul:
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) will hold the "2009 Aviation Negotiations Conference" in Turkish province of Istanbul between September 28 and October 2.
Around 200 people from 56 ICAO member states will attend the conference to be held at the Istanbul Swissotel. The conference will provide an opportunity for ICAO member states to improve aviation services worldwide and facilitate further cooperation.
The ICAO, a major agency of the United Nations, codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth. Its headquarters are located in Montreal, Canada.
 Agreement to be signed between Turkish and Russia business unionsAnkara Anatolia news agency (24.09.09) reported the following from Istanbul:
The Confederation of Turkish Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP) will sign an agreement to further develop their cooperation.
TUSKON said in a written statement on Thursday that it would sign a cooperation agreement with RSPP representing the high-level Russian business world including companies such as Gazprom, Lukoil and Troyka.
The signing ceremony will take place in Istanbul on Friday. Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz is expected to attend the ceremony. RSPP is an independent non-governmental organization.
The Union has a membership base of over 120 regional alliances and industry associations representing key industries of the economy, including the fuel and energy industry, the machine-building industry, the investment-banking sector as well as the military industrial complex, the building industry, the chemical industry, and light and food industries. The RSPP has in its ranks more than 328 thousand members representing industrial, scientific, financial and commercial organizations and individual members in all Russian regions.
 Another newspaper banned in TurkeyBianet news centre (24.09.09) reported the following from Istanbul:
Less than 1 month after the ban of Gunluk newspaper the court also banned the "Democratic Initiative" newspaper on the grounds of an alleged praise of PKK member Aliye Timur in a news article about his funeral.
The Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court banned the "Democratic Initiative" newspaper. The court claimed that the newspaper "lauded the PKK organization" in a news article about the funeral of Aliye Timur, member of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), entitled "Buried on Bayram". ('Bayram' is the religious holiday at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan)
The court stopped the publishing of the newspaper for a period of 1 month on 22 September 2009 in accordance with the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) article 6/last paragraph, claiming criminal content of news in the 29th issue.
Subtitle: After Gunluk also "Democratic Initiative" banned
President judge Yakup Hakan Gunay said that an investigation by the Public Prosecutor's Office has been initiated about the newspaper's owner and responsible editor in charge Ziya Cicekci. Applying Press Law article 25/2 he decided to confiscate the newspaper's issues.
It is claimed in the decision that propaganda for the PKK was made by including the praise of a PKK member and of the organization in a news article.
Also, Gunluk newspaper was banned for 1 month because of articles and news in the issue dated 26 August 2009. The Gunluk newspaper staff continued publishing when they founded the "Democratic Initiative" newspaper the very next day. The name of the newspaper was chosen in style of the government's "democratic initiative" process which is discussed widely and highly controversially in the current Turkish media agenda.
The Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court banned Gunluk newspaper for 1 month because of alleged "PKK proganda" in some news and articles written by Prof. Dr. Amir Hassanpour from the Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations Department of Toronto University.
After less than a month, the newspaper, now with Eren Keskin as the general publication director, has encountered the same situation.
The start of the newspaper was launched on 26 August. After continuous censorship during the last three years this was the 31st newspaper emerging out of the latest publication ban.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Conviction of journalist and conviction charges against journalists and famous actress Hulya Avsar sparks new debates on press freedom in TurkeyUnder the title, Tayyar sentence proves press freedom still under threat, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.09.09) publishes the following:
The recent conviction of Star columnist Samil Tayyar for two articles he penned on the ongoing probe into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network nested within the state and accused of plotting to overthrow the government, has drawn strong criticism from his colleagues, who expressed concern that freedom of the press and expression have received yet another blow in Turkey.
Such a conviction is not plausible at all. What Tayyar published in his article was an excerpt of the [Ergenekon] indictment. The court ruling has revealed once again the inconsistency of the Turkish judiciary, stated Mehmet Altan, a columnist for the Star daily.
An Istanbul court fined Tayyar and sentenced him to prison time for violating the right to privacy of Ergenekon suspect and journalist Guler Komurcu. The court originally handed down a sentence of one-and-a-half years in jail, but the sentence was delayed and later decreased to one year and three months for good behaviour during the trial. Tayyar will be under judicial supervision for five years and will be imprisoned if he commits a crime within that period.
The columnist was also fined TL 2,610 for libelling Komurcu in the media. Komurcu had filed a court case against Tayyar for two of his columns, published on September 12, 2008 and September 17, 2008, respectively. In the earlier column, Tayyar presented a telephone conversation between Komurcu and Tugrul Turkes, the son of the Nationalist Movement Party's (MHP) former leader, Alparslan Turkes, that is among the evidence in the investigation into Ergenekon. The court did not provide any reasoning for its ruling. Thus, Tayyar does not have the right to seek redress at the Supreme Court of Appeals. I hope an upper court will compensate the mistake, Altan remarked. Tayyar is best known for his columns on Ergenekon, each revealing a shady side of the terrorist organization. He is also the author of two books on the organization.
Tayyar expressed concern that his conviction will set an example for future lawsuits against journalists, which will eventually hinder them producing reports and columns on Ergenekon.
I am sorry for the conviction but not solely in my own name. This ruling threatens all journalists as it will set an example for future suits. I face the risk of being imprisoned for the next five years. The ruling will remain like Damocles' sword over me. It will, unfortunately, have a direct impact on my columns, Tayyar stated.
The journalist stands as the first member of the press who has been punished for penning an article on a document included in an Ergenekon indictment. The indictment has been accepted by the court. I don't understand how it could be a crime to write a column on a document included in the indictment, he said.
According to Tayyar, the ruling came as a threat to all journalists as well as prosecutors preparing the indictments and the members of the court who accepted hearing them.
I am constantly receiving death threats. Some say I will languish in prison when the government is overthrown by a military coup, the journalist added.
Tayyar also claimed that he was offered a bribe of $1 million by a journalist he deemed to have close links to Ergenekon not to write any articles or columns on the organization.
Alper Gormus, a Taraf daily columnist, interpreted Tayyar's conviction as an attempt to play down the Ergenekon investigation. Both sides have shown their [trump] cards. The ruling is not plausible at all. The ruling will pave the way for future complaints or lawsuits against journalists, the columnist noted.
For Sabah daily's Mehmet Barlas, the ruling is a big blow against the freedom of the press in the country. Tayyar is the best journalist who examines all indictments and documents related to Ergenekon. It is a shame to punish him for his efforts. All who advocate the freedom of the press should react against his punishment, he remarked.
However, the freedom of the press and expression in Turkey is not threatened solely by critics of the Ergenekon probe. A highly disputed article of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), Article 301, stands as a major threat for journalists, writers and intellectuals as many of them have been convicted under the article so far. The article criminalizes insulting the Turkish nation.
Charges have been filed recently against Taraf daily correspondent Mehmet Baransu and Adnan Demir, the daily's manager and the representative of the daily's owner, under Article 301 on the grounds that the two openly insulted the military institution of the state, following a criminal complaint by the General Staff. The General Staff's complaint came shortly after Taraf published a suspected military plot aimed at undermining the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the faith-based Gulen movement.
The alleged plan bears the signature of Senior Naval Forces Col. Dursun Cicek and describes a plot to bring down the AK Party and the Gulen movement through framing individuals by planting weapons in their homes and manufacturing false news stories. The plot drew the indignation of many, who lashed out at the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for seeking ways to interfere in politics.
Baransu said such lawsuits are aimed at narrowing journalists' room to manoeuvre and hampering efforts to reveal the truth.
I believe the charges journalists are faced with are part of a silencing campaign. Journalists are writing about illegal bodies, immoral organizations and unlawful acts and they are getting punished for this. I am concerned that the freedom of the press and expression will totally run out in Turkey one day, the journalist remarked. He also advised his colleagues to continue their efforts to help reveal illegal groups and irregularities in the country.
Subtitle: Celebrity Hulya Avsar investigated over Kurdish remarks
The freedom of expression in Turkey is threatened by several other articles enshrined in the TCK. The latest victim of censorship on the freedom of expression is celebrity Hulya Avsar.
The Bakirkoy State Prosecutor's Office has launched an investigation into Avsar over remarks she made regarding the government's Kurdish initiative on charges of instigating public animosity, hatred and enmity.
The prosecutor's office's move comes after an interview with the celebrity on the government's recently launched Kurdish initiative conducted by reporter Devrim Sevimay was published in the Milliyet daily. The prosecutor's office is investigating both Avsar and Sevimay. Speaking to the press outside Anitkabir in Ankara, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk where Avsar had travelled to pay respects with her daughter on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, Avsar answered questions regarding the subpoena she had received from Bakirkoy State Prosecutor's Office regarding her status as a suspect in a criminal investigation.
When I received the subpoena I felt the need to read it over several times --I usually understand the first time I read a document, but I couldn't believe it. How could something like this be, I thought to myself, Avsar said. She described the investigation's opening as the greatest act of contempt ever committed against her in her life. This isn't an opening [the Turkish word for initiative], but a closing, she said.
I spoke about these things [during the Milliyet interview] thinking that we were in a democratic country, Avsar said. There's nothing democratic in Turkey that such an initiative can be taken. It was an interview in which I spoke about my childhood days. And what did they say about it? Instigating animosity, hatred and enmity. I think that this is the greatest act of contempt committed against me in my life. In this situation, how can democracy be spoken about in Turkey? the entertainer reacted. If this is how reaction is expressed to my interview, then no Kurdish initiative can be taken nor any democratic initiative. It's not like we're living in a democratic country in which such an initiative can be started.
In the Milliyet interview, Avsar had explained that she was born to a Turkish mother and Kurdish father, and expressed her concerns over the government's democratic initiative, saying that it could be difficult to convince terrorist operatives of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to lay down their arms.
If, upon the conclusion of the investigation, the prosecutor's office decides to press charges, Avsar could be dealt a sentence of between one-and-a-half and four-and-a-half years in jail if the trial judges find her guilty. She is being investigated under TCK Article 216, which foresees jail sentences of one to three years for presenting a clear and present danger to public security for instigating hatred and enmity between one segment of society and another on the bases of social class, race, religion, sect or regional characteristics. Under Article 218, this sentence would be increased for Avsar for using the press to commit the crime covered by Article 216.