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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 10-12-17
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH CYPRIOT AND TURKISH MEDIA REVIEW No. 241/10 17.12.10 C O N T E N T S
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESS
[B] TURKISH PRESS
[A] TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESSToday's Turkish press highlight statements by Eroglu at the congress of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union, accusations by Ozgurgun against the EU for the positions expressed at the recent the General Affairs Council, comments by Alpay Durduran accusing the Turkish side of not wanting a solution, and Mehmet Cakici's criticism of Irsen Kucuk over his statement on the population. An interview by Ozdil Nami with illegal Bayrak television, the beginning of the "trial" regarding the annulment of the decision of the "government" to tax pensions, and other internal issues are also covered by the Turkish Cypriot press today.
 Eroglu: "It is not possible to say that point of agreement in the Cyprus negotiations is close"Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (17.12.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu said the Cyprus negotiations continue, but it is not possible to say that they have come to a point of reaching an agreement. Addressing the 20th congress of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union yesterday in occupied Keryneia, Eroglu alleged that the "TRNC" is a "republic", that he is the "president" of this "state" and that he is carrying out his duty knowing this.
Eroglu noted that another duty he has is to continue the negotiations and reach a lasting agreement which could be accepted by the Turkish Cypriots and allow them to live an honourable life.
"However, until an agreement is reached I will keep saying that the TRNC and its people are sovereign", he said. Eroglu noted that even if some people are annoyed when he says this, he could not deny the "existing realities".
Eroglu alleged once more that a lasting and viable solution could not be found in the negotiations only with the unilateral good will exhibited by the Turkish side.
Eroglu noted that the belief of both the Turkish and Greek Cypriots that an agreement could come up from the negotiations is continuously decreasing. "We cannot ignore this reality and we share this at the negotiating table with our interlocutors," he concluded.
 Eroglu meets Australian diplomatsTurkish Cypriot daily Vatan (17.12.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu received the Australian Special Representative for Cyprus Ambassador David Ritchie and the Australian High Commissioner to Cyprus Evan Williams, at the so-called presidential palace. No statements were made.
 Eroglu: "Developments in tourism are pleasing"; More Turkish than Turkish Cypriot businessmen benefited from the incentives for investmentsTurkish Cypriot daily Gunes (17.12.10) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu described pleasing the fact that the bed capacity in the field of tourism increases every day in the occupied areas of Cyprus, as a result of the cooperation between Turkey and the breakaway regime, and the loans granted by the Development Bank of Turkey.
Addressing the 20th congress of the Turkish Cypriot Hoteliers' Union yesterday in occupied Keryneia, Eroglu asked Turkey's Aid Delegation not to direct these incentives only to the area of occupied Vokolida.
Noting that the participation of the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture in international fairs where the "TRNC" will be advertised will significantly contribute to the tourism of the "country", Eroglu said the "presidency" and the "prime minister's office" will continue to make the necessary contribution to the sector.
Addressing the congress, Bekir Karaduman, tourism attach? at the so-called embassy of Turkey to the occupied part of Cyprus, explained the efforts exerted and the projects prepared for the development of tourism in the occupied part of Cyprus. Karaduman said 48% of the loans and incentives given by the Turkish government in the tourism sector of the occupied areas of Cyprus have been used by Turkish Cypriot investors and 52% by Turkish investors.
 Ozgurgun reacts to the conclusions of the EU General Affairs CouncilAccording to illegal Bayrak television (BRT ? 16.12.10), the so-called foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun said that "the European Union is making a huge strategic mistake by presenting solely Turkey as responsible on the Cyprus issue". In a written statement, Ozgurgun reacted against the enlargement conclusions of the EU General Affairs Council which implied that Turkey was the side to make efforts towards a solution.
Ozgurgun pointed to the fact that Turkey has always given its support to Cyprus negotiations and criticized the EU for continuing to adopt an unjust and biased stance. He said that it was the Greek Cypriot side which tried to complicate and slowdown the negotiations process. "Turkey on the other hand supported proposals that could add momentum into the process," he noted.
As illegal BRT reported, Ozgurgun explained that creating an understanding that the Cyprus problem could be resolved just with Turkey's active support harms the solution process. "The EU waits for Turkey to open its air and sea ports to use by the Greek Cypriot Administration at a time it, itself, fails to keep its promise to Cyprus Turks on the removal of isolations. This is double standard," Ozgurgun added.
 Debate on the "foreign ministry 2011 budget"Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (17.12.10) reports that self-styled TRNC assembly approved by majority last night the 29,860,057 TL 2011 budget of the so-called ministry of foreign affairs.
Responding to statements during the debate for the 2011 budget of the "ministry", self-styled minister of foreign affairs Huseyin Ozgurgun said that the "ministry is the Turkish Cypriot leader's back bone and supports him at all levels in the negotiations. He explained that within the framework of lobbying activities, the "Promotion Department" conveys news on the Cyprus issue daily to 20,000 recipients, while it maintains 20 "representations" and 17 "honorary representations". He also said the "ministry" cooperates with NGO's and associations.
Ozgurgun also said that the General Secretary of the Organization of the Islamic Confederation (OIC) Ekmelettin Ihsanoglu is expected to attend the higher education forum of OIC member countries to be held in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus between April 13 and 16, 2011.
Sibel Siber, so-called deputy of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), also speaking at the debate, stressed the importance of lobbying. She said that the European Parliamentary high-level contact group for the Turkish Cypriots faces a lot of problems.
Commenting on the ongoing negotiations for a Cyprus settlement, Siber said that more than 700 persons have applied to the "Immovable Property Committee" ("IPC"), adding that the right of application right to the "IPC" should also be given to the Turkish Cypriots and not just tell them to "wait until the solution". She also said that the right of individual exchange should be given to the Turkish Cypriots.
The leader of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP) Turgay Avci stressed the importance of the "foreign ministry", adding that if there is no Cyprus settlement, then more "representations" will be opened either under the name "TRNC" or "Cyprus Turkish State".
 Nami: "The opening of Varosha would be a serious mistake"Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (17.12.10) reports that Ozdil Nami, former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat's advisor, said the opening of the occupied closed city of Varosha before a comprehensive solution is reached would be "a serious mistake". In statements yesterday to illegal Bayrak television, Nami expressed the view that if disagreements on the property issue are overcome, the solution of the Cyprus problem will come close.
Nami noted that if the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu does not reverse the agreements reached during Talat's period, there will not be many problems in the negotiations, apart from the property chapter.
Asked whether President Christofias wants a solution, Nami replied that "wanting is different from acting and exerting efforts for this".
Claiming that it is "unnecessary" to go over all the chapters in the negotiations, Nami said: "The actual problem is in the property. The Turkish side made a good proposal in New York. However, when it returned to Cyprus, it succumbed to the Greek Cypriot side. They should concentrate on the property."
Noting that he does not expect much from the forthcoming meeting in Geneva, Nami said if there is a deadlock, either the UN will launch a new process after one year, or the process will be postponed for an indefinite time. "And this will bring on the agenda integration of the TRNC with Turkey," he argued.
Nami alleged that President Christofias achieved a "victory" in New York because he got rid of the time limit and the arbitration. He accused the Turkish side of not insisting on the proposal it submitted and of giving an advantage to the Greek Cypriot side.
Finally, Nami described as "tragicomic" the announcement regarding the achievement of progress on the chapter of the economy.
 Durduran criticizes proposal for the use of TLAccording to Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (17.12.10), the member of the executive committee of the New Cyprus Party (YKP) Alpay Durduran, commented in a written statement on the proposal to use the Turkish Lira (TL) currency after Cyprus settlement is reached. He said that this is obviously an effort to jeopardise the negotiations and to challenge the international community which supports them.
Durduran said that this proposal shocked the Greek Cypriot side, adding that it was expected that it would not have been accepted but the proposal was made anyway. So, he continued, this shows that an agreement is not desired, adding, however, the Turkish Cypriots expect a solution.
 Cakici asks for a population censusTurkish Cypriot daily Ortam (17.12.10), in its front page under the title "Cakici: A population census under the supervision of international observers", reports that the leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici said that "it is unacceptable for the prime minister Irsen Kucuk not to know the population and to make statements like 'our populations is more than 600,000'."
Cakici proposed that a population census is carried out under the supervision of international observers.
 Pensioners' chairman: "Turkey does not understand us"Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (17.12.10) reports on yesterday's court hearing of the case filed by pensioners against the so-called government of the breakaway regime, seeking cancellation of provisions in the law to cut pensions. The Pensioners Coordination Committee and Turkish Cypriots Pensioners Society chairman, Mustafa Tolga, called the government to suspend implementation of the law, and seek a way out. He argued this law constitutes regress to 1956. There have not been any cuts in pensions since then.
Furthermore, also Tolga said that Turkish Cypriots are misunderstood in Turkey. "This must be explained in the mother land and the people of Anatolia, with the cooperation of the Turkish Cypriots" he said. Tolga added that Turkey's financial contributions are not "donations". This is a national cause, he said, and Turkey along with the "TRNC" people are waging a common struggle the main hardships of which are faced by the Turkish Cypriots. Tolga also said that such a small country provides job opportunities, health facilities and settlement opportunities for thousands of Turkish citizens, and this must be explained directly and honestly to Turkey.
 Columnist assesses relations between the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish settlers; Reference to HAKUnder the title "Tomorrow it could be very late for us", Turkish Cypriot columnist Ahmet Tolgay assesses relations between the Turkish Cypriots and the illegal Turkish settlers in his column in daily Kibris (17.12.10). Referring to the "discrimination" which allegedly exists between the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish settlers, Tolgay argues that the fact that this "discrimination gained acceleration" is not something which could be ignored, because of the risks it bears.
Tolgay says, inter alia, the following:
"?The fact that the associations [of the people of] Turkish origin established an organization named 'People's Justice Council' (HAK) with the allegation of 'struggling against discrimination in the country' is a clear indication of the dimensions of the discrimination. The first thing which is taken into consideration for the people who join this organization is their place of birth?"
Tolgay argues that "pessimistic thoughts are raised" because of the fact that such an organization came up at a time when the debates on the uncontrolled flow of illegal population from Turkey and its negative influence on the resources in occupied Cyprus are intensified.
"Gathering under the identity of the 'Turk from Turkey' and discriminating in order to search for your communal rights is in itself discrimination," he notes pointing out that the uncontrolled flow of illegal population violates the rights, the resources and the system belonging to all the "TRNC citizens", which includes the settlers from Turkey. He alleges that the settlers who came to the occupied part of Cyprus in 1975 have become the same with the Turkish Cypriots.
"?The citizens of this country have become so sensitive in the face of consecutive negative developments and the fait accomplis imposed on the social structure that they have even started to see incitement by Ankara in the fact that part of the people from Turkey are organized under the roof of HAK," writes Tolgay and adds that in the past Ankara did not tolerate initiatives by Turkish settlers to establish separate political parties.
He argues that even the fact that Ankara remained silent this time, following the establishment of HAK, "is situation which raises concern". He says he knows that in the past Ankara was "seriously suggesting" to the Turkish settlers to join the existing Turkish Cypriot political parties and notes the following: "Very well, what is happening now? We think that HAK is turning into a political party and the political discrimination is from now on being reflected to the election platforms. And we worry about this."
Togay expresses the view that the policies of Justice and Development Party (AKP) cause "serious concerns" in the Turkish Cypriot community. Pointing out that those criticizing Ankara's policies in Cyprus were very few in the past, the columnist notes that the number of those complaining of these policies increases continuously and blames the AKP policies for this development. He concludes saying that this situation should end before giving "dangerous trump cards" which could be used internationally by the "enemies of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots" who are pleased with these developments.
[B] TURKISH PRESSThe beginning of the "Sledgehammer" case, Turkey's PM participation for the first time in the Shiite celebration Ashura and his statement that "all citizens of Turkey are first class citizens," warnings by the speaker of the Turkish National Assembly to members of the BDP party for using the Kurdish language, the Memorandum of Understanding between Turkey and MERCOSUR countries, the current situation in Greece and future economic implications for the EU, and other internal issues are main stories covered in today's Turkish press.
 Davutoglu: "The Middle East peace talks are similar to those in Cyprus"Ankara Anatolia news agency (16.121.0) reported from on statements by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during a press conference in New York, who said that Turkey's demands from Israel are obvious. Davutoglu said Turkey is demanding apology and compensation from Israel regarding an attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, and Israel is well-aware of that obvious demand and attitude. "The Republic of Turkey has the power to protect the rights of its own citizens, and therefore, we expect Israel to make a clear apology and pay a compensation that satisfies the families of the victims," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu also said Iraq's normalization is one of the main targets of Turkey's foreign policy. The failure in establish of a new government in Iraq for seven months is a political abnormality Davutoglu said, and underlined the importance Turkey attached to the formation of a strong Iraqi government which would cooperate with Turkey. "Turkey attaches great importance to Iraq's becoming a respected country in international arena and a peaceful country with its neighbours not only for our national interests but also for regional stability," Davutoglu said.
Davutoglu defined the United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution that lifted sanctions on Iraq, excluding some exceptional circumstances, as significant and expressed the hope this would be beneficial to Iraqi people. "Thus, Iraq is returning to international arena, and we can say that a bright future is ahead," he said.
On Cyprus and Middle East, Davutoglu said it is difficult to get a result in the ongoing Cyprus talks if the two parties do not demonstrate a strong will for peace, arguing that the Turkish Cypriots have an absolute will for a settlement. However, the Greek Cypriot administration is trying to take its time with negotiations, Davutoglu said. Davutoglu said it is not possible to continue talks forever, and also the Middle East peace talks are similar to those in Cyprus. "The parties should have a will for peace irrespective of how well and how much good will the UN and the United States have," he said. Davutoglu expressed the hoped winds of peace would blow in Cyprus and Middle East in 2011.
Another topic Davutoglu talked about was Turkey's non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2009-2010. Davutoglu said Turkey fulfilled its international responsibilities in the best way in those two years, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other UN executives thanked Turkey for its contributions to global peace during its non-permanent membership. Minister Davutoglu outlined Turkey's contributions to the UN, saying that the country will host the Fourth Conference of Least Developed Countries in May 2011. It will also be the seat for the regional headquarters of the UN Population Fund. "We want to make Istanbul a centre of international peace initiatives, and the UN has a positive approach in principle," he said.
During their meetings, Davutoglu and Ban discussed the ongoing Cyprus negotiations, Iran's nuclear programme controversy, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, and Middle East. The Turkish foreign minister said he expressed Turkey's expectation that a UN commission investigating the Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla would work more efficiently.
On the sidelines of his visit to New York, Davutoglu met Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj of and Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Davutoglu said he is planning to visit Bosnia-Herzegovina in coming months. Zebari thanked Turkey for its positive and constructive contributions, and reaffirmed that Iraq is determined to start work to improve its relations with Turkey once a new government is formed.
 Trial on Sledgehammer coup plot kicks off in TurkeyTurkish daily Today's Zaman (TZ ? 17.12.10) reports that in a decisive move to challenge subversive plans against the civilian authority and the rule of law, Turkey started trying nearly 200 active duty and retired members of the armed forces on Thursday on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. The trial concerns the Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan, a suspected coup plan devised at a military gathering in 2003 that allegedly sought to undermine the government in order to lay the groundwork for a military takeover.
TZ reports that "most of the 196 suspects were present during yesterday's hearing at the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court in Silivri. All 196 suspects are accused of a failed attempt to destroy Parliament and overthrow the government. Such a charge calls for a jail sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment.
The paper adds that one of the suspects, retired general Dogan, "argued there was nothing illegal in the seized Sledgehammer documents and that his remarks at a 2003 military seminar were manipulated. The Sledgehammer coup plan is believed to have been prepared during a military seminar in March of 2003. The seminar was held only months after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power.
According to the plan, the military was to systematically foment chaos in society through violent acts, among which bomb attacks on the Fatih and Beyazit mosques in Istanbul. The plot allegedly sought to undermine the government to lay the groundwork for a coup d'?tat. The military, which overthrew three governments since 1960 and pressured a conservative government to step down in 1997, has denied such a plan.
Yeni Akit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak, whose name was on a 'to be assassinated' list allegedly prepared by Sledgehammer plotters, applied to the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court yesterday to become a co-plaintiff in the case. According to the coup plan, coup plotters hoped to have 19 journalists assassinated and have 36 others arrested and to 'make use of' 137 others in fomenting public support for the coup. Many other journalists are expected to become co-plaintiffs in the Sledgehammer case."
 "Italy blames EU for no progress in Turkish bid"Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (17.12.10) reports that during a question and answer session at the Media Forum organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told a group of Turkish journalists that there have bad results recently [because] not a single chapter opened in Turkey's EU negotiations during the Belgian presidency, despite the efforts of the presidency. Frattini said he wanted to see at least the chapter on competition policy opened, "if not, the energy chapter, which is also extremely important," he noted, stressing that "European interests should be seen as equally important as Turkish interests." "It [full membership] is not a gift to Turkey. It is something of common interest to both Turkey and the Europeans."
The paper adds that the Italian foreign minister dismissed allegations that Turkey is moving away from Europe and turning its attention to the Middle East. "I do not think Turkey is moving away from Europe. I do believe Turks still understand how important it is to remain on the negotiations track with the EU. Turkish leaders still see that it is much better to be in the club," he said. "Turkey is both a European and a regional power whose close links with Middle Eastern countries can provide added value to our efforts to stabilize the region," Frattini further noted. With respect to Turkey's relations with Iran, the Italian foreign minister emphasized that Turkey is playing "another good role" by trying to persuade Iran to negotiate with the international community for a peaceful solution to its controversial nuclear programme.
Reiterating Italian support to Turkey's membership talks, Frattini rejected arguments that Turkey should be left out of the EU because it is a predominantly Muslim country. "We focus on dialogue and understanding in the Middle East. Many European states have doubts. They ask, 'How is it possible for a Muslim state to become a member of the EU one day?' I have been one of the strongest defendants [of the EU being loyal to its] Christian roots. And it is exactly because of this that I say Turkey should become a full member of the EU provided it fulfills the Copenhagen criteria," Frattini explained. (...)
 Turkey's defence projectsAccording to Ankara Anatolia news agency (AA ? 16.12.10), Turkey's Defence Industry Undersecretary Murad Bayar said that Turkey is currently pursuing 250 projects worth 26 billion USD. 24% of these projects are domestic development, 57% joint production, 10% direct procurement and 9% consortium, added Bayar who spoke at "Defence Industry Technology Share Seminar" in Ankara on Thursday.
Bayar said that the Defence Industry Undersecretariat (SSM) undertook modernization of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and development of the defence industry. He noted that three billion USD was spent for the defence industry in 2010. Bayar said that SSM aims to increase productivity as well as the rate of meeting the needs with domestic means, and also develop by-industry.
Bayar said that all land vehicles are produced in domestic industry. He added that all of the surface platforms are also met by domestic industry. Bayar said that the aspiration is to accomplish domestic design and production of air vehicles, however he noted that this necessitated very difficult technologies. Noting that the first step of production of national warplane was taken yesterday, Bayar said that it was a 10-15 years of target, adding that only 5-6 countries in the world are doing this.
Deputy chairman Tanil Kucuk of the executive board of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) said that Turkey ranks 4th in Middle East and 5th in Europe regarding military expenditure. Kucuk said that the production of defence industry, which was 2.8 billion USD in 2009, reached three billion USD in 2010. He added that TOBB is ready to support domestic defence industry.
 Turkey signs memorandum with MERCOSUR and a deal on double taxation with BrazilAnkara Anatolia news agency (17.12.10) reports the Turkey and members of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) signed a Memorandum to Establish Political Dialogue and Cooperation Mechanism. Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis and competent ministers of the MERCOSUR countries signed the Memorandum in the Brazilian city of Foz Do Iguacu, as part of the 40th MERCOSUR summit and ministerial meeting.
Based on the Memorandum, ministers of Turkey and MERCOSUR will get together once every two years and hold discussions on human rights, disarmament, illegal migration, human trafficking, organized crime and counter-terrorism.
"Turkey has thereby become the second country to date to have established such cooperation framework with MERCOSUR", the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release yesterday.
MERCOSUR was founded on March 26, 1991 by the Treaty of Asuncion, and is a customs union between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the movement of goods, people, and currency. "MERCOSUR, representing a total population of around 240 million and a national income amounting to 2.5 trillion US Dollars, is, due to the political integration activities and programmes implemented, one of the most prominent integration models in its region," the MFA said. In addition, the MFA statement said that the trade volume between Turkey and MERCOSUR member and associated states combined is around 2.9 billion US Dollars in 2009. This figure rose to 3.3 billion Dollars in the first ten months of 2010, representing a 43% increase from the same period of the year before.
"Turkey is also conducting exploratory negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with MERCOSUR. Having concluded two rounds of talks so far, Turkey is looking forward to launching and swiftly concluding FTA negotiations with MERCOSUR in 2011," the MFA said.
Moreover, as it was reported, an Agreement on the Prevention of Double Taxation between Turkey and Brazil was signed by Egemen Bagis and Brazil's Foreign Minister Celso Amorim.
 Turkish and Russian companies sign cooperation agreement in trade of oilAnkara Anatolia news agency (16.12.10) reported from Istanbul that Turkey's Calik Holding signed an agreement with Rosneft for cooperation in trade of oil. Chairman of the Executive Board of Calik Holding Ahmet Calik and President of Rosneft Eduard Khudainatov signed the agreement on behalf of their companies.
The signing ceremony was attended by Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yildiz and Russian Deputy Premier Igor Sechin.
Calik Holding and Rosneft, Russia's state oil company, have agreed to establish a partnership company for oil trade in Turkey and the Mediterranean. The new partnership will work for oil trade in the Mediterranean and distribution of oil in Turkey. Calik Energy and Rosneft will also work in selling oil to naval vessels.
 HighlightsFollowing are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 16 December 2010:
a) Turkey-EU relations
An editorial in Hurriyet Daily News.com faults the government for failing to open the competition chapter with the European Union during Belgian presidency. Arguing that signing up to EU rules on "state aid" was probably viewed as a "bad bet" in election year, the editorial maintains that opening the chapter that would move Turkey toward compliance with EU competition rules "was too much for the government." The EU rules on state aid actually allow governments a great deal of latitude for political largesse, notes the editorial, concluding that "all that Turkey was really asked to do was agree to a bit of transparency in government procurement rules and abide by EU-accepted priorities in the direction of state aid."
b) Turkish army entering Iraq
Taraf carries a report by Melih Altinok about Turkish army's deployment of troops in Northern Iraq last May without notifying the government. According to the report, the United States "directly intervened" and asked the Turkish government to immediately abort the operation and the cross-border operation was suspended at the last minute.
c) "Israeli missiles on Aegean Islands: against whom?"
Yeni Safak columnist Ibrahim Karagul asserts that Israel is employing an "isolation strategy" against Turkey which entails military partnership with Georgia, rapprochement with Azerbaijan, and defence agreements with Balkan countries in response to Turkey's efforts to project its influence across a broad region from Central Asia to the Balkans, the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea, and Pakistan to North Africa and establish economic, political, and military partnerships with other regional players. He asserts that as part of its effort to create an "enemy bloc against Turkey," Israel is signing new defence agreements with Greece, adding that Israeli delegations are emphasizing the "Turkish threat" and trying to "revive historical prejudices" against Turkey in every country they are visiting nowadays. He also claims that under the circumstances, the tension in Turkish-Israeli relations created by the Israeli raid on a Turkish ship en route to the Gaza Strip some time ago will never subside because what is in question is a "fundamental and ever-deepening crisis."
d) "Sledgehammer brought before court"
In his article in Hurriyet, Mehmet Y Yilmaz criticizes the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) decision to remove Judge Zafer Baskurt from the Sledgehammer trial and appoint him to another court two days before the trial begins.
e) CHP congress/intraparty opposition
Mehmet Ali Birand in Hurriyet Daily News views the ongoing struggle within the Republican People's Party (CHP) prior to the party congress and asserts that "the greatest imbalance in politics in Turkey is the weakness of the opposition." Prime Minister Erdogan is collecting the votes while opposition parties are unable to meet expectations, maintains Birand, noting that "latest surveys show votes for the AKP [Justice and Democracy Party] could be expected to total around 46%." Accusing former CHP leader Deniz Baykal and former Secretary General Onder Sav of "manoeuvring in order not to lose their influence in the party," Birand urges Baykal "to stop these fights."
In his column in Cumhuriyet, Bekir Coskun criticizes the ongoing intra-party disputes in the CHP and maintains that the 42% of the voters are not interested whether the members of new party administration will be determined by "bloc list" or "sheet list." What these people expect is that the CHP becomes an alternative to the AKP.
Milliyet's Kadri Gursel points out that the CHP congress on 18 December is critical in terms of the change within the CHP as well as the upcoming 2011 general elections Qursel quotes Enver Aysever, CHP Party Assembly member who was elected last May, as saying that "this congress is about the fight between those seeking to govern the party and those seeking to govern Turkey". Gursel also conveys the three major issues that are crucial according to Aysever: intra-party democracy, electing names who stand out in the struggle for societal peace, (including a non-Muslim) to the party assembly, and party's need to create politics and projects based on social issues that concern Turkey rather than making politics solely based on laicism as an ideology. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION