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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-01-07

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <>



  • [01] Eroglu briefs political party leaders; meeting met with Buttenheim
  • [02] The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleges that Turkish citizens who travel to Cyprus are in danger
  • [03] Ozgurgun: service in occupied churches other than on Sundays is subject to permit by the occupation authorities
  • [04] Serdar Denktas says DP will struggle for the rejection of any plan which is against the Turkish Cypriots
  • [05] Reaction against the economic measures continue
  • [06] Atun: an impending plan will bridge the gap between the occupied and the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [07] Cakici puts an end to the discussion on "coalition" between TDP and UBP
  • [08] Turkcell announces two projects to cover telecommunications in entire Cyprus

  • [09] Bagis: Turkey will not make concessions on its Cyprus policy for the sake of its EU bid
  • [10] "Turkey will be in the EU, says Sweden's foreign minister"
  • [11] Istanbul and the occupied part of Lefkosia to be twinned
  • [12] Bagis comments on Greek border fence
  • [13] "ABGS launches media campaign to support for EU bid"
  • [14] "Israel says 'go home' to Turkish construction workers"
  • [15] "New broadcast laws in Turkey to legalize foreign languages"
  • [16] Highlights


    The meeting to be held today between Dervis Eroglu and the Turkish Cypriot political party leaders regarding the latest developments on the Cyprus problem, a warning by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Turkish citizens that they are in danger when they travel to the government-controlled areas of Cyprus, statements by Huseyin Ozgurgun on the prohibition by the regime of the service at Agios Synesios church in occupied Karpass on Christmas day, continuation of the reactions against the economic measures taken by the "government", and other internal matters are the main issues covered by the Turkish Cypriot press yesterday and today. Moreover, the press refers to statements by Serdar Denktas on the Cyprus problem during a visit in occupied Mesaoria area, Mehmet Cakici's press conference in which he put an end to discussions on the establishment of a "coalition government" between UBP and TDP, and two new projects by Turkcell telecommunications' company with the aim of covering telecommunication all over Cyprus.

    [01] Eroglu briefs political party leaders; meeting met with Buttenheim

    According to illegal Bayrak website (06.01.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will meet with leaders and representatives of political parties with seats at the parliament today in order to of exchange views on the latest developments concerning the negotiations process and to evaluate other domestic issues. The meeting will take place at the "presidential palace" at 4.30 pm.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak website (06.01.11) reports that Eroglu, who is making speedy recovery after undergoing heart surgery last month, met with the UN Secretary General's Special Representative to Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim yesterday. No statements were made.

    Eroglu will also meet with the Secretary-General's UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer on Monday.

    [02] The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleges that Turkish citizens who travel to Cyprus are in danger

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.11) reports that the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement warning that the safety of Turkish citizens who travel to the government-controlled areas of Cyprus is at risk.

    The ministry argued that the attacks against the Turks increased in the government-controlled areas of the Republic and that there is reaction against everything representing Turkey, such as flags, money etc.

    It alleges that in the past few years vehicles belonging to Turkish Cypriots are damaged in the free areas of the Republic and that Turkish Cypriot students in the English School in Lefkosia are attacked. The ministry also refers to the injury of a Turkish Cypriot during an anti-racist festival in Larnaka on 5 November 2010 and the incidents after the basketball game between the teams of APOEL and Pinar Karsiyaka in Lefkosia.

    The ministry also warned that cell phones with Turkish SIM card do not work in the government-controlled areas of Cyprus because there is no roaming agreement between the GSM operators in Turkey and their Greek Cypriot counterparts.


    [03] Ozgurgun: service in occupied churches other than on Sundays is subject to permit by the occupation authorities

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.11) reports that Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, claimed that the Greek Cypriots living in occupied Rizokarpaso village carry out their religious duties every Sunday at Agios Synesios church without any restrictions or the need for a permit.

    In statements to Anatolia news agency, Ozgurgun alleged that the "Christmas service crisis", as he described the prohibition by the occupation regime to the Greek Cypriots living in Karpass peninsula to hold a church service on Christmas day, was a "provocation by the Greek Cypriot leadership and the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church" and an effort to "change the agenda".

    Ozgurgun expressed regret about the fact that the US Congress Commission on International Religious Freedoms "accepted as true the groundless Greek Cypriot allegations that no permit had been given" by the occupation authorities for a service in Rizokarpaso on Christmas day.

    Noting that on Sundays the Greek Cypriots living in the occupied areas of Cyprus carry out their religious duties without any restrictions or requirement of a permit, Ozgurgun said that within the framework of the "legislation in the TRNC", church services on days other than Sundays in which persons from the government-controlled areas of Cyprus participate, are subject to permit. He noted that applications for such services should be made "a reasonable period of time beforehand" so that the necessary security measures are taken.

    Ozgurgun noted that the "local authorities" told the Greek Cypriots living in Kaprass that if they wanted to hold a liturgy on Christmas this year they should submit the necessary application in time. He said that this occurred nearly two weeks ago. Nevertheless, he added, the Greek Cypriots made their application over the telephone one day before the service.


    [04] Serdar Denktas says DP will struggle for the rejection of any plan which is against the Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.11) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said that 2011 will not be an easy year either for the internal or the external affairs of the Turkish Cypriots.

    In statements during a visit to occupied Mesaoria area, Denktas noted that the DP expected the "people to defend their state" despite the practices of the "government".

    Denktas expressed the belief that this difficult period and the problems could be overcome by strengthening unity and added that the DP will struggle even alone for the rejection of any plan which will be against the Turkish Cypriots.


    [05] Reaction against the economic measures continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (06.01.11) reports that the Trade Unions' Platform, which consists of 26 trade unions, held its first protest on Wednesday against the economic measures implemented by the "government". The protest was held outside of the self-styled ministry of finance and the Aid Delegation of Turkey's so-called embassy in the occupied part of Lefkosia.

    The Trade Unions' Platform stressed that the economic measures package was imposed by the Aid Delegation of the "embassy" of Turkey and noted that the platform will continue and its actions will increase if the measures are not withdrawn.

    In a speech outside of the "ministry", Arslan Bicakli, chairman of Turk-Sen, said the decisions taken within the framework of the economic measures aim at the annihilation of the Turkish Cypriot community. He referred to the fact that the 13th salary has not been paid, the cost of living allowance has been frozen for six months and to efforts exerted for the privatization of Turkish Cypriot "institutions".

    Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School teachers' trade Union, said Turkey has been helping the Turkish Cypriots in their "struggle against the British administration since 1940" and afterwards against the "Greek Cypriot attacks". He noted that the relation between Turkey and the "TRNC" after 1974 is unacceptable and that "Turkey's Aid Delegation" has been turned into "an unacceptable institution".

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Secondary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOEOS) held a "determination march" towards the "ministry of finance" and the "assembly" yesterday against the economic measures.

    A statement issued by the organization noted that without peace and solution to the Cyprus problem nothing will be improved in the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Adnan Eraslan, chairman of KTOEOS, said they have no other alternative than "overall struggle". He described as "shameful and dishonourable" the statement made recently by the self-styled prime minister, Irsen Kucuk that "Ankara is very satisfied with us", meaning the policy followed by the UBP "government".

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (07.01.11) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) is organizing a protest today against the actions of the self-styled government.


    [06] Atun: an impending plan will bridge the gap between the occupied and the government-controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    According to illegal Bayrak website (06.01.11), self-styled minister of economy and energy Sunat Atun, speaking during a meeting with members of the board of directors of "TRNC Businessmen Association", said that "there will be more vigorous use of resources after achieving a sustainable state budget".

    Commenting on the latest austerity measures imposed by the occupation regime, Atun expressed the belief that "a plan which will help reduce the economic differences between the TRNC and South Cyprus will be implemented in the near future".

    Noting that a strong economy would also have a positive effect on the Cyprus issue, Atun said that "it is important to close the gap in economic issues with South Cyprus".

    The Chairman of the "TRNC Businessmen Association" Metin Sadi, for his part, said "the country is going through a critical period and stressed the importance of reconciliation in order to save the country". He also expressed "his support to the austerity measures taken by the government".

    [07] Cakici puts an end to the discussion on "coalition" between TDP and UBP

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (06.01.11) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), said that no discussions on "coalition government" between TDP and the National Unity Party (UBP) had been held for two months. In statements during a press conference on Wednesday, Cakici noted that this process, which is non-existent in any case, has been closed for the TDP.

    Cakici said during the meeting with the self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk "issues of principle" were discussed such as the control of the [increase of the] population, the reform in the "public sector" and the "judiciary", and democratization. He argued that the UBP acts with the mentality of how it could protect its "power" instead of solving the problems.

    Referring to Kucuk's statement that "the TDP is not ready for a coalition", Cakici described it as an "effort to cover his own shame".


    [08] Turkcell announces two projects to cover telecommunications in entire Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (07.01.11) reports that "North Cyprus Turkcell" ("KKTCELL"), as the Turkish telecommunication company Turkcell is called in the occupied areas of Cyprus, is preparing for a new project directed towards the free areas of the Republic of Cyprus without taking into consideration the reaction by Greek Cypriot officials.

    The paper writes that the company is preparing two new projects, one of which is exclusively directed towards the free areas of Cyprus. The company's general director, Daghan Fellahoglu said these two projects are a response to the "isolation" implemented on the "TRNC" for years in the field of telecommunications.

    Fellahoglu noted that the first project, the value of which will reach two million Turkish liras, concerns two radio link lines with a capacity of 777.6 megabits per second (Mbit/s) between Turkey and the occupied part of Cyprus. In this context, four towers and one dish have been established for Turkey and the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    Fellahoglu said the second project aims at giving "KKTCELL" subscribers the possibility of having continuous communication in the free areas of Cyprus as well.

    He said the aim is not to interfere with the operators in the free areas of Cyprus and added that in parallel to the six stations built in the past, the aim is to establish another four stations (towers) near the Green Line in the areas of Agios Dometios, Mammari, Avlona and Ahna.



    The top stories in today's Turkish press are the visit of Greek Premier to Erzurum and the meeting of President Gul with students' representatives. Milliyet daily publishes in its front page an interview with President Christofias.

    [09] Bagis: Turkey will not make concessions on its Cyprus policy for the sake of its EU bid

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 07.01.11), under the title "EU needs Turkey more than Turkey needs it, says Bagis", reports that Turkish State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis made statements on Wednesday on private Mehtap television,  S?z?n Erdemi (Virtue of Words), hosted by Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief B?lent Kene.

    Turkey and the European Union need each other, but Turkey's need for the union continues to decrease while the union's need for Turkey grows bigger with each passing day, according to Bagis. One day, he said, the EU will look for ways to do away with obstacles standing in the way of Turkey's membership in the union.

    Egemen Bagis also said: "What is behind Turkey's difficulty to open new chapters [for negotiation] is the Cyprus issue or things brought before Turkey in connection with the same issue. Today we have political obstacles to the opening of 17 or 18 chapters. These obstacles will be overcome some day because Turkey and the EU need each other. ? Today Europe is mired in a serious economic crisis. And before them is an economic power they are watching admiringly: the Republic of Turkey.

    Turkey is the 6th biggest economy in Europe and the 15th in the world. While Europe's most successful country, Germany, witnessed an economic growth of 3% in the 2nd half of 2010, the figure was 11% in Turkey. The average age in Europe is 45. It is 27 in Turkey. We have a young and dynamic population. In addition, we have a dynamic market. Turkey will host the leaders of 150 countries in the spring for a summit of less developed countries. And it will assume the term presidency for the summit for the next 10 years. On the other hand, Turkey is the secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] as well as the co-chairman of the Alliance of Civilizations. Turkey is also one of the reputable countries among the G-20 countries. The EU cannot ignore such an active country."

    According to Bagis, Turkey's EU bid is not focused on its aspiration to become a member of the bloc. Rather, it is focused on efforts to raise democratic and economic standards in Turkey. He said Turkey will continue to take steps on reforms included in its national programme regardless of the EU's intentions concerning Turkey's bid for membership.

    "We will change our laws and make our constitution a civilian one that will embrace all citizens of Turkey. And we will take all steps required to adhere to EU standards. It is not important whether the EU opens chapters or not. We will make the necessary reforms. What is important to us is the process itself, but not membership in the union. We want to reach the level required to become an EU member. When we reach that level we may not want to become member of the union, who knows? We may head to a referendum and our public may refuse to join the EU. What is important for Turkey is to reach standards in every field and not lag behind European countries," the minister noted.

    Bagis also said Turkey would not make concessions on its Cyprus policy for the sake of its EU bid. "We will neither abandon Cyprus for the EU nor the EU for Cyprus. ? Our policy is very clear: ports for ports. Let the Greek Cypriots open their ports to us, and we will open our ports to them. The Greek Cypriots should quit acting like spoiled children and launch commercial ties with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [KKTC]."

    In response to a question whether the Turkish nation would still like to see Turkey join the EU, the minister said Turks complain about the insincerity of the EU and about Turkey's efforts for membership. "We regularly conduct surveys on people's thoughts about the EU. Half of our population is positive towards the union, but they do not trust Europeans. Two out of every three Turks, for example, believe that Europeans are not sincere with us. We do not have much to say about this because no other nation has faced so many political obstacles in opening negotiation chapters," he remarked.

    Referring to the incidents after the basketball game in December, the Minister said he found the fine imposed on Apoel "very small" and vowed to pursue efforts in the international arena to seek a greater penalty for the Greek Cypriot fans.

    [10] "Turkey will be in the EU, says Sweden's foreign minister"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 06.01.11) reports that Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, in an interview with Zeynep Dereli for the private channel Skyturk programme "Leaders and Decisions", said: "Turkey is a big player and will have a big impact on the European Union. So, patience and determination, then you will see that has been the case for other countries that have knocked on the door."

    Bildt said Turkey faces some very complicated issues coming out of its own history that need to be addressed in order to become a full member of the EU. He said the EU, having gone through the process of setting up the Lisbon Treaty and now struggling with economic problems, has regained the strategic perspective of enlargement, which he believes had been missing in the past few years.

    Bildt also said: "Turkey is of course particularly important in a number of aspects, it has an economic dimension, and it has demographic potential. But, clearly I say there is a need for reform in Turkey."

    Foreign Minister Bildt, together with Franco Frattini, William Hague, and Alexander Stubb recently penned an op-ed in the International Herald Tribune in support of Turkey's European Union membership.

    [11] Istanbul and the occupied part of Lefkosia to be twinned.

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.01.11), Turkey's most populous city Istanbul and the occupied part of Lefkosia will become "sister cities", Istanbul's Metropolitan Municipality said on Thursday.

    Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas will travel to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus on Friday to sign a protocol with self-styled Lefkosa Mayor Cemal Bulutogullari.

    The move aims to raise international recognition of Turkish Cypriots and "Turkish Cypriot state", exchange of information and experience on business, trade, culture, tourism, preservation of urban and historical heritage, as well as an advanced level of cooperation between young generations in both cities.

    Topbas and his delegation from Istanbul Municipality will also have meetings with Turkish Cypriots leader Dervis Eroglu, self-styled TRNC Assembly Speaker Hasan Bozer and self-styled prime minister Irsen Kucuk.

    [12] Bagis comments on Greek border fence

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (06.01.11), Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis, told reporters on Thursday that Greece's decision to build a wire fence along its border with Turkey was against citizens of third countries trying to go to EU member countries.

    Responding to a question, Bagis said: "There is a process regarding the illegal migrants of different countries who go to Greece via Turkey and from Greece to EU countries. The foreign ministry carried out negotiations on a readmission agreement for four years. We decided with the European Commission the conditions under which illegal migrants would be sheltered and returned to their countries when they are captured. However, the readmission agreement could not be signed as diplomats carrying out talks on behalf of the EU could not agree. Turkey is doing its best on the matter."

    He also said that walls would not change anything and added: "In the past, the illegal migrants passed to EU member counties from Morocco, Algeria and Portugal. They are now crossing the Greek border via Turkey. If you build walls, there will be illegal migrant problem in the EU border with Belarus, Ukraine and Russia. Building walls is not the way to stop an illegal migrant who decided to risk his life." On the contrary, he said there should be cooperation with their countries to provide a better living in their own countries.

    Asked what he would propose to Greece, Bagis said Greece should negotiate with members of EU countries and carry out some studies, adding that the issue would be discussed with Premier Papandreou during his visit to Erzurum. "The EU does not need new walls but needs to break the walls in the brains. It needs to get rid of prejudices. There are many problems in the EU that need to be solved. Turkey is a key country in solution of the problems. They need to build bridges to borders with Turkey, not walls. Turkey will be a very important country for EU to solve its problems", he said.

    [13] "ABGS launches media campaign to support for EU bid"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 06.01.11) reports that the Turkish Secretariat-General for European Union Affairs (ABGS) has initiated production of radio and television spots in a bid to explain to the general public the potential benefits of Turkey's full EU membership..

    The spots, produced as part of the EU Communication Strategy, aim to explain the concrete, positive impact of full EU membership on individuals' daily lives in fields such as women's rights, the environment, social rights and food safety.

    [14] "Israel says 'go home' to Turkish construction workers"

    Under the above title, Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 06.01.11) reports that hundreds of Turkish workers currently in Israel working for Y1lmazlar Holding, have been told to leave the country following the non-renewal of their work permits and visas.

    The workers were asked to leave Israel by Jan. 31, according to a written statement by Y1lmazlar Holding.  This is a new crisis with Israel. Their contracts originally continued until 2015. A written warning from Israel to the workers has left them in a tough situation. [We have] informed the Prime Ministry and the government."

    The 800 workers, who staged a protest Dec. 28 in Tel Aviv, had been working as part of a tank modernization deal between Israel and Turkey since 2002. The company asked also the Turkish government to intervene.

    [15] "New broadcast laws in Turkey to legalize foreign languages"

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 06.01.11), under the above title,

    Turkish Parliament has approved articles that would allow foreigners to own 50% of media companies and would open the possibility to all radio and television stations in the country to broadcast in languages other than Turkish.

    Both legislative articles are part of a bill governing the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RT?K) that is currently being debated in Parliament.

    The ability to broadcast in languages other than Turkish is currently limited to a small number of specially licensed channels, while the cap on foreign ownership of media companies is 25%.

    [16] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 05-06 January 2011

    a) Reaction to Davutoglu's remarks about Turkey's role in the world

    An editorial" in Hurriyet Daily News (5.1.11) endorses Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's recent remarks that Turkey needs to become a "wise country." Noting that cynics can scoff at Davutoglu's naivety, it says: "But we think for the architect of foreign policy of the rising power in the world's most dangerous region, this is a restrained, moderate and intelligent vision that should not be dismissed."

    Hurriyet Daily News (5.1.11) columnist Yusuf Kanli argues that: "Before moving on to 'visionary foreign policy' and becoming a 'wise country' capable of telling others how to resolve problems, perhaps we should resolve some of our own important foreign policy problems such as Cyprus, Armenia relations, and of course outstanding Turkey-Greece problems."

    Milliyet (5.1.11) columnist Sami Kohen describes Davutoglu's remarks about Turkey's future role in the world as "ambitious and aggressive." He comments: "This may be interpreted as overconfidence or an exaggerated mission. It may also stem from his own visionary, committed, and ambitious character. But, it is clear that the profound transformation that Turkey has recently undergone provides confidence and encouragement to him in setting new goals for the Turkish foreign policy. Indeed, the economic and political levels reached by Turkey enable it to come forward as an emerging power in its own region. Turkish diplomats use it for making some bold overtures and moves."

    In an article in Taraf (5.1.11) entitled "Foreign policy squeezed between new and old Turkey," columnist Lale Kemal applauds the ruling Justice and Development Party and Davutoglu for making efforts to free Turkey of shackles around its ankle. Pointing out that Turkey is trying to take advantage of its military capabilities in an effort to overcome problems in bilateral relations with the United States, Kemal cites the following from a booklet distributed at a meeting of Turkish ambassadors chaired by Davutoglu: "So, those capabilities and facilities which ensure that our country is seen by the United States as an indispensable ally should be used for furthering our relations with the United States based on more concrete cooperation."

    Cumhuriyet (5.1.11) columnist Utku Cakirozer argues that Davutoglu's assertion that Turkish diplomats have accomplished a lot in the past eight years conflicts with deterioration witnessed in Turkey's relations with its allies, including the United States and neighbors.

    b) 10-year detention period; judicial system

    Hurriyet Daily News (5.1.11) columnist Mehmet Ali Birand describes as a "cruelty and injustice" a recent ruling by the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals that a person may be detained and be incarcerated for 10 years without conclusive evidence.

    Hurriyet (5.1.11) quotes Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu as saying that the 10-year detention period is unacceptable.

    Hurriyet (5.1.11), columnist Tufan Turenc argues that the extension of the detention period to 10 years is against democracy and human rights. Pointing out that detainees make up 70% of all prisoners in Turkey which, he says, is a ratio unparalleled in the world, Turenc predicts that the European Court of Human Rights will probably overrule the Supreme Court's decision about the detention period.

    Star (5.1.11) columnist Yasemin Congar expresses her discontent with the release of eight detainees linked to Hizbullah, a terrorist organization, due to the expiry of their 10-year detention period, she criticizes the Supreme Court's ruling setting a maximum detention period of ten years which, she notes, has demonstrated that a far-reaching reform is necessary in the judiciary in order to ensure that courts can hand out their judgments rapidly.

    In an article in Cumhuriyet (5.1.11) entitled "Is this a just world?", columnist Hikmet Cetinkaya says that some members of Hizbullah, drug traffickers, and murderers have been released after the Supreme Court's ruling while people, including journalists, intellectuals, politicians, and academics, standing trial due to their alleged links to the Assembly of Communities of Kurdistan and Ergenekon may remain imprisoned for 10 years without being convicted.

    In an article in Radikal (5.1.11) entitled "Justice is bleeding," columnist Murat Yetkin criticizes the government for failing to carry out reforms needed to speed up the judicial process, including the establishment of appellate courts. He concludes: "We have released murder suspects rather than accelerating the judicial process while keeping Mustafa Balbay and Mehmet Haberal who have never fired a single shot or killed anybody on the grounds that they might have been associated with an illegal organization. We are deepening the sense of injustice prevalent among people."

    Vatan (5.1.11) columnist Rusen Cakir says that the release of Hizbullah members has served as a moral support for the organization amid speculation that the organization has decided to focus on legal activities and to become an alternative to the PKK in almost every place where Kurds live and currently plans to establish a television channel and to nominate independent candidates in elections.

    Yeni Safak (5.1.11) carries a front-page report which highlights reactions to the discharge of members of certain terrorist and mafia groups from prison based on a new legislative amendment. The report quotes certain "jurists" as saying that even though the amendment is correct from the standpoint of EU criteria, the release of suspected terrorists indicates problems stemming from the slowness of the judicial system.

    Yeni Safak (5.1.11) columnist Ibrahim Karagul argues that the disappearance of former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ali Riza Askari during a visit to Istanbul some four years ago and recent foreign press reports linking Turkey to alleged Mosad, MI, and CIA attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists, have raised the question of whether Turkey has unknowingly turned into a centre of foreign intelligence operations against its own neighbours.

    Yeni Akit (5.1.11) carries a front-page report which quotes Prime Minister Erdogan as saying that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) is a political offshoot of the Kurdish problem and that it will come to an end when that problem has ceased to exist.

    Zaman (5.1.11) runs a front-page report which asserts that the heavy workload of the Supreme Court of Appeals is responsible for the release of many murder and terrorism suspects from prisons following an amendment to the Law on Criminal Procedures.

    Guneri Civaoglu argues in Milliyet (6.1.11) that the debate over the 10-year detention period boils down to the judicial bottleneck in the country and the insufficiency of judges and prosecutors. Noting that some 3-4,000 more judges and prosecutors are needed, the writer holds the Justice and Development Party (AKP) responsible.

    Mehmet Ali Birand in his article in Hurriyet Daily News (6.1.11) entitled "The sorrowful collapse of the judiciary", views the judicial problems in Turkey and the fact that the Turkish society no longer believes in justice in the country. The writer accuses the government of being a mere spectator to the problems instead of trying to solve them.

    Writing in Hurriyet Daily News (6.1.11), Yusuf Kanli criticizes the slow pace of justice in the country Kanli concludes: "What should be done is clear: Enact a comprehensive justice reform to facilitate justice and speed up the court process."

    In an article in Cumhuriyet (6.1.11), Cuneyt Arcayurek draws attention to the judicial injustice of releasing terrorists and murderers while keeping journalists under detention and wonders why the government, well aware of the consequences of Article 102 of the CMK, failed to take any measures to deal with the slow pace of the judicial process. In response to his own question, Arcayurek expresses the belief that the release of all these suspects was another way for the AKP, which is focused on the 2011 elections, to declare amnesty.

    c) Kurdish issue/ democratic autonomy project

    Taraf (5.1.11) quotes PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan as saying that the PKK's armed forces could be withdrawn to a specific area in June 2011 depending on the outcome of the ongoing talks with the government. He said: "If such a thing happens, they should be under my command."

    Milliyet (6.1.11) columnist Dogan Heper, argues that Turkey has a single problem, that of "division." Heper believes that Abdullah Ocalan announced that "they are not after a separate state and a separate flag" because he fears the extreme reaction the democratic autonomy project will initiate. The writer concludes: "Turkey cannot continue like that. It cannot live with the 'fear' of division. The AKP has been in power for the last eight years but the Southeast is like a 'liberated region.' Our brethren of Kurdish ethnicity who are not pro BDP [Peace and Democracy Party] are living like slaves in that region. They are waging a silent struggle of life and death. If this situation is to end through a civilian will, then a 'provisional coalition' should be established immediately and an end should be put to this extraordinary situation as soon as possible no matter what."

    Hurriyet (6.1.11) columnist Rahmi Turan argues that the real problem of the Kurds is not bilingualism, two flags, an autonomous region, or an independent Kurdistan but unemployment. He dismisses the non-action period, maintaining that it was declared as a result of the harsh winter conditions on the mountains and that terrorist activities will resume in the spring. Noting that erroneous policies have turned Ocalan into a political leader, Turan criticizes the government for negotiating with the leader of a terrorist gang. Underling that terror will not end even if the Kurdish demands are accepted, Turan concludes that in the absence of a political will, the struggle the military and the police are waging against the terrorists will become more difficult.

    d) Turkey and the Arab world

    Today's Zaman (6.1.11) columnist Ibrahim Kalin comments on "increased cooperation" between Turkey and Arab countries partly as a result of a change in Turkey's foreign policy stance which means that it is "rediscovering its forgotten past and forsaken neighbourhood ... in a multitude of ways." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION

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