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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-12-23
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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. 243/09 23.12.09
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Erdogan invited Talat and Eroglu to Ankara. Talat turned down the invitationTurkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (23.12.09), in its front page under the title Eroglu goes alone, publishes an exclusive report that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited together the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and the so-called prime minister Dervis Eroglu to Ankara. According to the paper, Mr Eroglu responded positively to the invitation from Ankara. However, Mr Talat, after thinking it for a while, gave a negative reply. The paper concludes: It is expected that Eroglu, who replied to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogans proposal to send a special plane, I will travel with a scheduled KTHY (Turkish Cypriot Airlines) flight, will fly tomorrow at 18.00 hours to Ankara and will have a tête-à-tête meeting with Mr Erdogan for approximately an hour.
Meanwhile, Kibris paper reports also that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will fly today to Istanbul. According to information the illegal TAK news agency got from the presidency, Mr Talat will provide information regarding the developments in Cyprus to participants during a breakfast to be organized at the Kandilli Club. He will also participate in chat programmes of media institutions. Mr Talat is accompanied by the director of his office, Asim Akansoy. He is expected to return to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus at 19.00 hours.
 The weekly press conference by ErcakicaTurkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (23.12.09) reports that Hasan Ercakica, the spokesperson of the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, said that January is an important month. Speaking in his weekly press briefing, Mr Ercakica said that for the year 2010 to be a year of solution and for the intensified during January negotiations to be turned into a real opportunity, the Greek Cypriot side must do its own responsibility as the Turkish side and the international community to exhibit the necessary interest.
Commenting on the news whether a proposal package has been prepared that would include issues on which the Turkish Cypriot side can show flexibility, Mr Ercakica said that they continue in every level the evaluations with Turkey and they are in consultation in every stage of the negotiation process. Mr Ercakica also said that before the first three-day meetings, there could be an issue of visits to Ankara or to the occupied part of Lefkosia [on the part of Ankara] before January 11.
On the same issue, illegal Bayrak television (22.12.09) broadcast the following:
Presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has once again expressed the hope that the New Year will bring about a solution to the Cyprus problem, and that a solution would be in the interest of the Cyprus Turkish people.
Speaking at his weekly press conference this morning, Mr Ercakica reminded that President Mehmet Ali Talat and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Demetris Christofias met yesterday to re-affirm their commitment to hold six meetings in January.
Referring to a recent statement by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Ercakica said this statement was a clear and effective response to all adverse speculation about Turkeys continued support to the negotiations process in Cyprus, and a crystal-clear sign of Turkeys continued determination to support a solution to the Cyprus problem based on relevant UN parameters.
Hasan Ercakica also responded to what he called negative messages and actions coming from within the TRNC at a time when the negotiations process has been continuing.
Referring to harsh criticisms hurled against President Talat by the Cyprus Turkish Fighters Societys president Vural Turkmen during a remembrance ceremony in [occupied] Lefkosia yesterday, the presidential spokesman said President Talat had refrained from replying to these criticisms only to avoid any disrespect to the martyrs who were being remembered at this ceremony. The Turks of Cyprus had put up their resistance not for the sake of boosting enmity towards Greek Cypriots, but to safeguard and defend their legitimate rights and interests on the island, and to declare to the whole world that they were entitled to equal rights with those of the Greek Cypriots he said, strongly warning against the manipulation of the Cyprus issue in domestic politics.
 Adnan Eraslan accused the self-styled government of changing the history booksTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (23.12.09), under the title They did not change the history books, they changed directly the history, reports on statements made yesterday by Adnan Eraslan, chairman of KTOEOS (Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers Union). He said that the new history books prepared by the UBP government with the title Turkish Cypriot history and not with the title The history of Cyprus cannot be used as a teaching book since their contents are not scientific. Speaking in a press conference held yesterday regarding the new history books, Mr Eraslan said that KTOEOS History Committee which was established in order to examine the history books, reached to the conclusion that the history books with their current form cannot be sent to schools and be used as teaching material since they have a lot of mistakes, misleading information and they are not scientifically based. Mr Eraslan continued by accusing the self-styled government of making hastily changes in the history books which the previous government prepared. He also added that the new history books are far away from the modern, contemporary and civil educational principles.
 Ersin Tatar stated that they received the amount of 330 million TL from Turkey as an additional fundTurkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi newspaper (23.12.09) reports on statements made by Ersin Tatar, self-styled minister of finance. He said, inter alia, that the budget deficit during 2009 when CTP was in power, was 205 million TL whereas after the new government came to the power the budget deficit reached to 470 million dollars, adding that they received the amount of 330 million TL from Turkey as an additional fund. Mr Tatar went on and said that after the government came to power and until today there was a decrease of 10-15% in the interest rate, and this will certainly have a positive effect on the economy. Mr Tatar said also that Turkey will contribute 3 billion TL in three years.
 Gul visited Kuwait. He classified Cyprus among the three important problems of TurkeyTurkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.12.09) reports the following:
Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that Turkish politicians should reevaluate the language that they use in order not to harm Turkeys respected image abroad.
Answering questions from journalists in Kuwait, President Gul said a country which is powerful inside would be powerful outside as well. When asked about Turkeys strong image outside contradicting some troublesome domestic developments, Gul said: If this gap gets bigger, Turkeys image would be harmed. If a countrys domestic politics is shaky, then it would not be presented well outside, he said adding that some politicians use a disturbing style. He also said that there are important problems that Turkey needs to address no matter what government is ruling. Asked about examples to the problems he is referring to, the President said, the problems of the Southeast, Cyprus and Armenian. President Gul also said that everyone should appreciate Turkeys value in a strong appeal to the people of the East and Southeast that We are all a single nation in Turkey.
As he was responding to journalists en route to Kuwait from Ankara on December 21, Gul said that their goal is to boost democratic values and upgrade standards of the country regarding the democratic initiative of the government which includes increasing the citizenship rights of the Kurdish citizens of the country. The initiative was marred by the closure of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP).
We are all a single nation in the country. Everybody has problems, so do I. I dont pretend I dont see the problems. The way to solve the problems is to increase democratic standards. We have to give an opportunity for that. This can be done with cooperation, he said. However, he also said that some people are trying to obstruct the democratization process in Turkey. The president gave the examples of a recent terrorist attack in which seven soldiers were killed and street protests over the past several weeks.
Everybody should be calm. Everybody should stop and think about his or her responsibilities, he said. When asked about the state of the democratic initiative, the president said that everybody should appreciate Turkey. I would especially like to address the people of the East and the Southeast: Everybody should appreciate Turkey. This country belongs to everybody, all of us. We will address its deficiencies together, he said. It is time to unite and time to correct deficiencies, not only in political but also in economic terms. The parts of the country which have been underdeveloped should be developed. Asked about the new party that has replaced the DTP and whether or not he would meet with its members, Gul said he would never discriminate in that regard.
Whether I like a group or not, I do not discriminate as the president. If the party has the votes of the public, no matter whether it has right or wrong policies, this is a matter for the public to decide, not I. I also will not give anybody an opportunity to say, You discriminate against us. But the ones who should learn a lesson from what has happened [with the party closure] are those deputies, he said.
The Constitutional Courts decision to close down the DTP over charges of ethnic separatism continues to be debated in Turkey. The courts decision to close down the DTP has been seen as legitimate because the party did not make any effort to sever ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). But observers also say that this was not the only option for the court and it could have found reasons not to close the party.
Gul went on to say that Turkeys institutions are not in conflict with each other even though there might be some conflicting practices. There can be no conflict between the government and the General Staff, between the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] and the Ministry of Justice and between the military and civilian prosecutors offices, the president said, adding that there might be conflicting practices but only at lower levels. Gul noted that institutions in Turkey cooperate with each other.
 Prosecutor launches inquiry into former DTP leader for praising Abdullah OcalanIstanbul Hurriyet Daily News.com (22.12.09) reported the following from Ankara:
The chief public prosecutor's office in Ankara has ordered an inquiry into the former leader of the disbanded Democratic Society Party, or DTP, for statements he made regarding convicted Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan's role in the decision to keep DTP deputies in Parliament.
After a meeting of DTP members, former co-leader Ahmet Turk announced that the remaining deputies would join the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, while also saying that Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, did not want the DTP members to resign.
According to Anatolia news agency, the inquiry cites possible violations of Article 215, which prohibits "praising crime and criminals," and Article 216 about "public incitement" of hate and hostility.
After the Constitutional Court banned the DTP and 37 of its members on charges of links to the PKK, 19 members were eligible to remain in Parliament. After initially deciding to resign and boycott Parliament, the remaining members decided to join the BDP.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist evaluates whether 2009 was a successful year for Turkeys foreign policyUnder the title EU-Turkey: a successful 2009?, Turkish daily Todays Zaman newspaper (23.12.09) publishes the following commentary by Amanda Akcakoca:
After two years of domestic crises, there were high expectations that 2009 would be a year of political stability and progress. In particular, Turkeys relationship with the European Union was quite dire, with Ankara having put the EU dossier on the backburner for such a long time that most people had started to believe that Turkeys commitment to the process was nothing more than lip service. Therefore, when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Brussels last January (his first trip in years) expectations were raised.
2009 has been an improvement, but it still does not compare to the golden years when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) first came to power (or even prior to that in the last stages of the Bulent Ecevit government). In those days Turkeys commitment was without question, with reforms coming quickly and being passed in Parliament with consensus. The EU was a national project. This is no longer the case, which is the fault of both partners. Nevertheless, the train remains on the tracks -- frankly neither the EU nor Turkey can afford for it to be derailed -- and Turkey has made some efforts this year including finally creating a post for a full-time chief negotiator, Egemen Bagis. He has done a sterling job of traveling all over Europe spreading the word that EU membership remains Turkeys top foreign policy priority. Turkey has also made some inroads with the long list of EU demanded reforms, but many initiatives, for example, efforts to iron out further civil-military relations, have run into trouble and not found support from other parties in Parliament. The main opposition party, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP), continues to claim that the AKP is simply using the EU reform process as a tool to make changes to legislation that have the end result of giving the party more power and influence, one way or another, which they claim is eroding the secular nature of the country. Furthermore, as we head toward the end of the year, it would seem that a number of other projects are also far from being success stories.
The December 11 decision by the Turkish Constitutional Court to ban the Democratic Society Party (DTP) on the grounds that it had become a focal point for terrorism has received very mixed reactions in the EU, where there is concern over the banning of a party that represents a considerable portion of the population that will now be without representation. While banning political parties is actually nothing new in Turkey -- given the DTP itself is the fourth reincarnation of the same Kurdish party, which was banned by the Turkish Constitutional Court during the 1980s and 1990s -- it is hardly a normal activity for a country negotiating EU membership. Furthermore, the EU angle apart, it could not have come at a worse time given that the government has been trying to win the hearts and minds of its Kurdish population through its Kurdish opening. Expectations that had been raised with promises of plans to improve Kurdish cultural and political rights have now come crashing down. With their own party being closed down, frustration will probably increase, and it will be far more challenging to end support for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and may leave many believing that bringing about change through the ballot box is a waste of time.
Erdogans plans for rapprochement with Armenia are hardly on track, either. As time goes by, it seems that ratification of the two protocols aimed at normalizing relations is increasingly unlikely to take place any time soon because of Turkeys insistence on linking it to progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a Russian diplomat told me earlier this week, while the two sides are closer than at any point in the history of the conflict, it would seem they are still very far from reaching an agreement. Indeed it could still be years rather than months away. This was not what Erdogan had been hoping for. Turkey risks losing credibility internationally and secondly may face another surge in Washington to have the genocide bill passed in April 2010. If progress is not made, US President Barack Obama will certainly come under increased pressure from the considerable Armenian lobby to do so. While the process of rapprochement with Armenia is not a matter of life or death for Turkeys accession process, currently it is something the EU has been asking Turkey to do for a long time, and while there may be some sympathy for the complex situation regarding the Karabakh conflict, you will not find many people in Brussels that support Turkeys position in linking the two issues.
As for 2010, the first part will be dominated by Cyprus, and there is already a feeling of dread that a crisis is on the horizon. Cyprus has become the biggest obstacle for Turkeys relationship with the EU. The only way out is to find a comprehensive settlement to the decades-old problem. Failure would have far-reaching consequences for the EU, Turkey and the peoples of Cyprus while success would put new breath into Turkeys relationship and bring peace and increased prosperity to the region.
 From the Turkish Press of 22 December 2009Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 22 December 2009:
a) In the aftermath of Patriarch Bartholomeus statements:
Oktay Eksi, in a column in Hurriyet, views Patriarch Bartholomeus' statement to the CBS television network that he feels like being crucified in Turkey from time to time, arguing that the patriarch's statement can be justified to a certain extent because Prime Minister Erdogan failed to comply with the requests he conveyed to him in connection with the opening of the Orthodox spiritual school in Istanbul and the return of the property which was owned by the Greek citizens but which were transferred to the treasury in the past. Eksi challenges Bartholomeus' remarks that the way the Greek government treats its citizens of Turkish origin must not affect the Greek citizens in Turkey, saying that his argument is baseless.
Commenting on the Greek spokesman's statement that those who are responsible for the Greek minority must attach importance to Bartholomeus' statement, Mehmet Y Yilmaz charges in the same newspaper that Greece is the last country that might have the right to talk about the Greek minority in Turkey. Recalling that that people who live in Western Thrace do not even have the right to say that they are Turks, he notes: "The situation of the mosques and Turkish foundations is shameful for Greece, which is an EU member. Athens is the only capital in Europe which does not have a mosque." Yilmaz argues that Greece and Turkey have been tormenting their minorities and shamelessly accusing each other because of the principle of reciprocity for many years and says: The Greek spokesman's statement must be corrected as follows: Those who are responsible for the minority Turkish people in Greece, must attach importance to their grievances."
b) Turkeys relations with the EU:
According to a report by Guven Ozalp in Milliyet, the EU reluctance to exempt Turkey from visa procedures when the organization has exempted Serbia, Montenegro, and FYROM from the process has made Ankara uneasy. The EU was informed on Ankara's uneasiness on 21 December. The report also says that the Greek Cypriot side's threat to veto the opening of various chapters in the talks that are held for Turkey's accession has made Britain uneasy. London has conveyed the message that the problems between Turkey and Cyprus must be solved by the sides concerned.
Sami Kohen views Ankara's participation with a large delegation in the latest routine meeting on the opening of various chapters in Turkey's talks with the EU as a message that Turkey is determined to maintain the talks. In a column in Milliyet, he writes: The Turkish side is determined to maintain the process, regardless of the fact that it has been disappointed many times. It is true that whether or not Turkey will become a member at the end of lengthy talks is unknown. Nevertheless, it has to realize reforms and enact the necessary laws for adaptation to become a contemporary country. Actually, that is important. Stressing that the initiatives Ankara makes to integrate with the EU urges Turkey to solve its problems and create contemporary conditions for its people, he asks: Is that not a good reason to keep the EU vision alive and avoid fearing the problems?
c) Kurdish problem:
Commenting on the Kurdish overture, Milliyet's Fikret Bile draws attention to Minister of Internal Affairs Bekir Atalay's visit to Baghdad and Arbil, saying that the results achieved in the external leg of the initiative seem to be more favorable. However, stressing that the measures that might be taken against the Presence of the PKK in northern Iraq have not been disclosed, he notes in a column: The United States, Turkey, and the Regional Administration in Northern Iraq taking military measures to force the PKK to come down from the Qandil Mountain is out of the question. Reports say that the leading PKK cadres might be sent away from the area in accordance with an agreement that might be reached between the three countries. But, there is no sign of that from the mountain. On the contrary, the PKK maintains its terrorist activities and the leading PKK members in and outside the area, including Karayilan, continue to make threats." Focusing on the internal situation, he argues that the process confirmed that Abdullah Ocalan is the leader who controls the PKK and its members on Qandil Mountain and that the Peace and Democracy Party, (BDP), will follow the footsteps of the former Democratic Society Party, (DTP). Wondering how the removal of the PKK can be discussed under the present conditions, Bila concludes: "Abdullah Ocalan has strengthened his position. The terrorist organization continues to exist on the Qandil Mountain and in Turkey. On the political front, the BDP has replaced the DTP."
Milliyet's Mehmet Tezkan defends the view that Abdullah Ocalan's position is now stronger than in the past. He writes in a column that observers believe that achieving progress in the effort that is made to realize the Kurdish overture without addressing Ocalan is impossible and notes: Either the government will give up or agree to take Ocalan as an interlocutor. Tezkan claims that Ocalan's ultimate objective is to have southeastern Turkey declared as an autonomous Kurdish region and says: "We must neither exaggerate nor underestimate Ocalan's influence. The Kurdish deputies did not intend to withdraw from the parliament. They bluffed before the closure case against the DTP began. Ocalan's statement that they should remain in the parliament came like medicine for them. It might be said that the cadres on Qandil Mountain put pressure on them to withdraw. But, they complied with Ocalan's call from Imrali Island." Tezkan recalls that the PKK leader has been able to talk only with his lawyers in prison and says: "That was the case in the past and that is the case at the present time. Considering that, why is he said to be more influential than in the past? Let our officials reply to the question."
Yavuz Donat writes in Sabah that four of the leading members of the defunct DTP met with Ufuk Uras, leader of the former Freedom and Democracy Party, in Istanbul on Sunday and decided that the BDP should enter the parliament and establish a group, Ufuk Uras should join the BDP and help it establish a group, and 19 former DTP deputies should join the BDP together with Ufuk Uras. In a 130 word column, Donat also focuses on what defunct DTP leader Ahmet Turk might decide to do in the new era, saying: "Ahmet Turk will first establish a platform. He will then convert it into a foundation. He will try to contribute to the realization of the overture, the solution of the Kurdish problem, and reconciliation. In short, Ahmet Turk will become institutionalized."
Writing in Vatan, Okay Gonensin argues that the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP), made two mistakes when it moved to realize its democratic overture. In a column, he says that the first mistake was the administration's illusion that it would be able to solve a century-old problem within a few months and the second mistake was its decision to have the democratic nature of its democratic overture apply only to the Kurdish citizens. Stressing that the Turkish people want the problems of the Kurds to be solved, he notes: "The AKP has not showed that it will rectify the two mistakes. It has failed to admit that it will not be able to solve the century-old problem within a few months. Furthermore, it ignores the fact that the workers, government employees, young people, students, and the universities need democracy." Asserting that it will be wrong for the AKP to blame the show that was put up by the DTP at the Habur border gate and the demonstrations in the streets if the overture has negative effects on the party when elections are held after one year, he says: The AKP must be prepared to be punished during the voting for failing to realize the mistakes it has made."
In an article entitled "Why is Israel so mad at Tayyip Erdogan?", Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul comments on a Haaertz article by Zvi Ba'rel, who asserts that the ruling AKP's democratic initiative is "likely to fail because it is spearheaded by the wrong man and the wrong party, which is itself suspected of trying to shatter the Kemalist principles that unite the various parts of the population" and that the AKP has "angered" the military by causing it to suspect that it promotes "a religious agenda." Karagul criticizes this article as one that defines the basis of Israel's outlook on Turkey and exemplifies its tendency to "invest in civilian-military and secular-Islamist tensions" in Turkey. He also argues that the reason behind the "anger" at the Erdogan government suggested by this article as well as by Israeli President Shimon Peres' comments on Turkey in a recent interview with the Defense News magazine is Israel's perception that it has lost its ability to control or influence Turkey's domestic and regional policies, polarize its society, and cause it to treat Iran, Iraq, and Syria as its enemies.
In an article entitled "Conditions for Turkey to succeed", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Kemal cites the fact that the Government "has been taken hostage by a military trusteeship regime" as "the underlying reason behind [its] failure to take tangible measures to address the Kurdish problem ..." She also calls attention to "confusion in Ankara over how to handle the PKK leadership" suggested by contradictory statements by the prime minister and the interior minister over whether senior PKK members may be allowed to "find refuge in third countries."
d) Ergenekon investigation and military suicides:
Nazli Ilicak, in a column in Sabah, describes the developments related to the Ergenekon case as a cancerous cell. Claiming that the process has brought to light the existence of various criminal units in National Intelligence Organization (MIT), Gendarmerie Forces, and other military units, she wonders whether they are linked or act independently and says: That is difficult to establish. Thousands of people have been either arrested or interrogated, a large number of documents have been seized, and a large quantity of arms and ammunition has been uncovered. That has created confusion.
Mahmut Over focuses on the reports on the suicide of Lt. Col. Ali Tatar in a column in Sabah, stressing that the Naval Forces Command has drawn attention with the number of suicide cases among its officers. Arguing that suicides are increasing as the Ergenekon investigation brings to light a network of dirty activities, he says: That is the impression among the people. Transparency is needed to change that. So, Chief of the General Staff Gen Ilker Basbug should first concern himself with the developments in the naval forces before he tries to discipline the politicians, academicians, and the media organs.
Under the headline, "ETO looking into making threats," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that recent incidents like the capture of an armed non-commissioned officer in the hospital where Ergenekon suspect Levent Ersoz is being treated, the suicide of Commander Ali Tatar shortly after the police visited him with an arrest warrant in connection with an alleged plan to assassinate a number of admirals, and the apprehension of two military officials on suspicion of making plans to carry out a political assassination as possible manifestations of attempts by the "terrorist Ergenekon organization" [ETO] to threaten some of its members and stage a sensational attack.
In an article entitled "AKP, watch out", Vakit columnist Serdar Arseven quotes several AKP sources including a "Cabinet member" as having told him that whoever within the police force attempts to take action against the Ergenekon network is being "made to regret it" nowadays, that most bureaucratic positions in many ministries are filled by supporters of former governments who would not hesitate to "get even with the AKP" if it were to be voted out of power, and that the recent terrorist attacks, the efforts to create domestic tension, and Democratic Society Party, DTP, statements that make references to Abdullah Ocalan are all intended to pave the way an "Ergenekon-type" government in place of the AKP.
In an article entitled "Terror will only serve the purpose of paving the way for a coup", Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone asserts that Turkey's entire security network should be put on alert before the possibility of major political assassinations if it is verified that the two TSK members detained on suspicion of planning to assassinate Bulent Arinc belong to the military's "Special Warfare" division. He also describes the incident involving these officers as one of several developments that have given rise to increasing suspicions that certain groups within the TSK have started to "level the guns entrusted to them at the people" and that they are planning major "terrorist" attacks in order to set the scene for a military takeover.