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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-02

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 to brief the "council of ministers"; Ozersay in Ankara for talks
  • [02] Ersin Tatar: "We will not withdraw the measures"; Angolemli: "Strikes will continue if government does not establish a dialogue"
  • [03] Reactions to the rally of 28 January continue
  • [04] Trade Unions' Platform to announce new measures
  • [05] Hurrem Tulga: "Three and a half businesses per day close the shutters"
  • [06] Cyprus Turkish Bar Association to participate in international tournament under "TRNC" flag
  • [07] A US company coins and sells money of the breakaway regime

  • [08] Fule's spokesperson says Turkey should also be committed to EU process
  • [09] Wittenburg Conference takes up the Cyprus problem
  • [10] Columnist says Turkey has legal obligations it needs to meet on its EU bid
  • [11] Erdogan urges Mubarak to meet his people's demands
  • [12] Turkey is our guiding star, says Kyrgyz Prime Minister
  • [13] Turkey and Australia develop new partnership
  • [14] "Irregular migrants on Nigerian president's agenda"
  • [15] Workers to protest in Ankara against new laws
  • [16] "Debated sculpture in eastern Turkey to be demolished"
  • [17] Highlights


    The main items in today's Turkish Cypriot press are the meeting of the so-called ministerial council chaired by Dervis Eroglu, Ozersay's visit to Ankara in order to inform Turkish officials about the Geneva meeting, the aftermath of last week's rally and statements by Ersin Tatar regarding the economic measures. The papers also cover developments in Egypt, complaints by the Turkish Cypriot Artists and Shop Owners Chamber that businesses are forced to close down, and other internal issues.

    [01] Eroglu to brief the "council of ministers"; Ozersay in Ankara for talks

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (02.01.11) reports in its front page that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu is to brief today the "council of ministers" about the recent developments in the domestic scene, the "government's" work and the Geneva meeting.

    The same paper also reports that Kudret Ozerday, "special representative" of the Turkish Cypriot leader, travelled to Ankara yesterday for contacts with Turkish officials.


    [02] Ersin Tatar: "We will not withdraw the measures"; Angolemli: "Strikes will continue if government does not establish a dialogue"

    Under the title "Package is ok, it will continue", Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (02.02.11) reports on statements by so-called minister of finance, Ersin Tatar about the economic measure taken so far.

    Speaking to ADA TV, Ersin Tatar stated that the economic measures are correct and that they do not intend to step back. He said that they support all the decisions taken and that the efforts aim [to safeguard] the future of the community. He dismissed allegations that the package was imposed by Turkey. He said that Turkey submitted proposals and it was up to them to decide whether to accept them or not.

    Referring to the efforts exerted to establish a dialogue with the trade unions, Ersin Tatar said that their duty is to reach a settlement. He said that though the trade unions are not aware of the situation in the "country", they do not want to step back. He added that it has not been possible so far to establish a dialogue with the trade unions.

    Regarding the "communal existence rally", Ersin Tatar reiterated that it was a show prepared by CTP.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (02.02.11) reports that Huseyin Angolemli, "MP" with the Social Democracy Party (TDP), assessed the recent developments in the occupied areas, and warned the "government" that if it does not establish a dialogue with NGO's the strikes will continue and life will come to a standstill.


    [03] Reactions to the rally of 28 January continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (02.02.11) reports that Vural Turkmen, chairman of the "Cyprus Turkish Fighters' Association", criticized the slogans against Turkey and the fact that a flag of the Republic of Cyprus appeared during the rally on 28 January 2010. In a written statement issued yesterday, Turkmen argued that these actions contribute to the policy of the Greek Cypriots. He said their "association" is ready and has the courage to fight against those who support the single people and single sovereignty in Cyprus. Furthermore, Turkmen criticized the fact that "a party which is enemy of the Turks such as AKEL" greeted the meeting.

    Moreover, Summani Salman, chairman of the "War Veterans' Association" issued a statement yesterday condemning the fact that the rally turned into "an attack against Turkey".

    In addition, the "TMT Association" expressed the view that "the country" cannot be administered by the trade unions. In a statement issued yesterday the "association" argues that "disgusting expressions" were used on the banners in the rally. "We do not want to hear and see again these shameful and intolerable expressions", it warned.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (02.02.11) reports that Mehmet Cakici, chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), described as "ugly" the activity by the so-called "Young Fighters' Association" against the "Baraka Cultural Centre" in order to protest the latter's slogans during the rally targeting Turkey. The paper writes that during their protest, the members of the "Young Fighters' Association" carried a placard with the slogan "Sons of a bitch!" as a reply to the placard of the "Baraka Cultural Centre" and the "Jasmine Movement" which said "Have we been saved? Get stuffed!"

    Cakici criticized the placard of the "association" and said it was unbelievable and could not be tolerated. He noted that those who had this placard written have the same responsibility as those who wrote it. He warned the "pro-solution and democracy forces" not to reply to this provocation.

    Moreover, the paper reports that the United Cyprus Party (BKP) described as provocation the placard of the "Young Fighters Association". In a written statement issued yesterday, the organizational secretary of the party, Abdullah Korkmazhan noted that fascist paramilitary forces were behind this activity.

    Referring to the same activity, Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), said some circles were annoyed with the rally which was attended by tens of thousands of people, and are trying to cast a shadow on it. He noted that the slogan on the banner in front of the "Baraka Cultural Centre" was an insult for all the Turkish Cypriots.

    Moreover, the Cyprus Socialist Party (KSP) noted that the aim of the activity of the "association" was to "threaten, provoke and create enmity". On behalf of KSP, Yusuf Alkin expressed support and solidarity with the "Baraka Cultural Centre".

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (02.02.11) publishes statements by Vural Turkmen, chairman of the "Cyprus Turkish Fighters' Association", saying that the "Young Fighters' Association" has no relation with his "association".

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (02.02.11) reports that Mehmet Ozkardas, chairman of the "Civil Servants" Trade Union (Kamu-Sen), urged the Turkish Cypriots not to support "provocative incidents" such as the banners during the rally and the activity organized by the "Young Fighters' Association". He alleged that both actions served the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Justice and Development Party (AKP).


    [04] Trade Unions' Platform to announce new measures

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (02.02.11) reports that the Trade Unions' Platform met yesterday in order to evaluate last week's demonstrations and to decide on the new actions to be followed. The decisions will be announced tomorrow at 11am, at the Cyprus Turkish Civil Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) with the participation of the Independent Workers' Union Federation (HUR-IS).

    Strikes in the Courts, the Land Registry Department and the Population Registry continued yesterday. Customs' workers and port workers in Keryneia refuse to offer services beyond working hours and the strikes in four schools have been suspended due to the midterm break.

    [05] Hurrem Tulga: "Three and a half businesses per day close the shutters"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (02.02.11) reports that as a result of the course of the Turkish Cypriot economy shops close down everyday. According to data given by Hurrem Tulga, chairman of the Chamber of Tradesmen and Craftsmen, three and a half businesses close down every day as they cannot meet utility bills.

    According to data given by the paper, in occupied part of Lefkosia a total of 251 businesses closed in one year. Of these, 46 were restaurants, 30 cafeterias and 15 entertainment centres. In 2009 and the first three months of 2010, a total of 405 businesses in occupied Famagusta closed down.

    In his statements to the paper, Hurrem Tulga said, inter alia that the global financial crisis has greatly effected the Turkish Cypriot economy and called for measures ensuring that everyone will be able to earn their living.

    Moreover, the chairman of the Restaurateurs' Association (Res-Bir) Ercan Kucuk, told Halkin Sesi that the sector faces difficulties due to the new VAT regulations. He said that the new working hours and the new smoking regulations resulted in a decrease in customers, adding that measures will be taken if their demands are not met.

    [06] Cyprus Turkish Bar Association to participate in international tournament under "TRNC" flag

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (02.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Bar Association visited the so-called tourism, environment and culture minister of the breakaway regime, Kemal Durust. The general secretary of the association, Feyzi Hansel, informed Durust that the Association participated in international football tournaments between bar associations in Turkey and that they also wish to organize similar events in "TRNC."

    Moreover, Hansel announced that the Association plans to participate in an international football tournament in Spain, under the "TRNC" flag. He also claimed that despite their efforts the Greek Cypriot have not managed to prevent them. Durust for his part said the "ministry" supports participation of the association in a multi-national athletic event.

    [07] A US company coins and sells money of the breakaway regime

    Under the title "'Pseudo' trade", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (02.02.11) reports that even though the "TRNC" is not recognized, it has its own money now. According to the paper, a company named "Joel's Coins", the headquarters of which are in California, USA, sells "money of the TRNC" to collectors, over the internet.

    A Turkish Cypriot collector named Sedat Somuncu spotted the advertisement on the companys website and ordered a set of "TRNC coins". He paid 37.5 US dollars for eight coins of five Turkish liras, 2.5 liras, one lira, 50 kurush [Tr. note: One Turkish lira has 100 kurush], 25 kurush, 10 kurush, five kurush and one kurush. Somuncu also paid 14.62 US dollars for postal expenses.



    Erdogan's call to President Mubarak to step down and not resist to the people's demands for change, statements by Natasha Butler, the Spokesperson for the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, on Turkey's EU process and the debate in the EP Foreign Affairs Committee of the draft report prepared by the European Parliament's Rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, are some of the main stories highlighted by today's Turkish press.

    [08] Fule's spokesperson says Turkey should also be committed to EU process

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 01.02.11), under the title "EU not forcing Turkey to choose between EU and Cyprus, spokesperson says", reports that European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule's spokesperson Natasha Butler, speaking to Anatolia news agency (AA) on Tuesday, said that continuation of membership negotiations between Turkey and the EU have a strategic importance both for Turkey and the EU, adding that the EU Commission is committed to Turkey's membership process within the scope of the 2005 framework agreement.

    Noting that Turkey, too, should be committed to the EU process, Butler said that Turkey should exert more efforts to meet the criteria.

    Regarding the Cyprus issue, Butler said that the EU Commission supported efforts for solution of the Cyprus issue, stressing that Turkey's contribution to the solution is important. The EU is not forcing Turkey to make a choice between the EU membership and Cyprus, said Butler, adding, however, that the Cyprus issue has an influence on many political areas. A comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem would have positive impacts on Turkey's accession talks, she added.

    Commenting on Turkish-Armenian relations, Butler said that good neighbourly relations are a part of political criteria which are necessary for EU membership.

    Regarding the views of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the EU needs Turkey, Butler said that the commission is aware of the dynamism of the Turkish economy and people, and it could be an important value for the EU.

    [09] Wittenburg Conference takes up the Cyprus problem

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.02.11), Ankara will host the 4th meeting of the Turkey-Netherlands Conference --also known as the Wittenburg Conference-- during Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal's upcoming visit. The conference was launched under the MoU signed in 2008 between the two countries which aims to enhance relations between the two countries.

    The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in an official statement on Monday that the 4th meeting of conference, co-chaired by the foreign ministers of the two countries, will be held in Ankara on February 2.

    Turkey-Netherlands relations, Turkey's accession to the EU, Cyprus problem and other regional and global topics will be discussed during the meetings.

    [10] Columnist says Turkey has legal obligations it needs to meet on its EU bid

    Columnist Amanda Paul, writing in Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 02.02.11), under the title "Turkey riding high", publishes the following commentary:

    "Turkey is riding high these days, and Turkish diplomacy was in full swing last week. In Brussels there were two Turkey-related events -- the visit by Turkey's chief EU negotiator, Egemen Bagis, and 'Bursa Days', a three-day event to promote the city of Bursa. At the same time, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan was in Davos promoting Turkey's increasing economic and political clout, while the prime minister and others were absorbed with events unfolding in Egypt and elsewhere.

    While Bagis gave assurances that Ankara remains committed to taking the EU medicine, the Bursa Days event also held no surprises vis-?-vis the EU with a familiar message being conveyed: Turkey is going to solve all the EU's problems and Turkey is going to make the EU a real global player. To some degree this is true. If Turkey was already in the EU, its response to what is happening in Egypt and elsewhere would probably have been more robust and influential rather than the weak and wishy-washy effort we have seen so far. The EU is seemingly more interested in discussing the never-ending euro crisis saga. Nevertheless, Turkey should not overplay its hand. Just because it is an increasingly important country, this does not give it the right to dictate how the negotiations should be carried out, which seems to be the case. Turkey has legal obligations it needs to meet, no matter how big and powerful it may believe itself to be. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) needs the EU -- to maintain stable and continuous foreign investment, for the reform process and for its own legitimacy.

    On the Cyprus problem, while the EU as a body may say it desires a solution, some member states are happy to allow the problem to fester because they oppose Turkey's membership. This was clear from the recent visit of Angela Merkel to Cyprus. Following her lead in congratulating the Greek Cypriots for the efforts they are putting into the peace talks, while at the same time condemning Turkey and therefore the Turkish Cypriots for not doing enough, it now seems French President Nicolas Sarkozy is planning to do the same thing with a visit to Cyprus shortly. The EU is supposed to be supporting the UN in their efforts to find a solution. Quite how going to Nicosia and blaming one party is helping the process, I really wonder. It also comes at a time in the talks when both sides need to be more flexible. Merkel and Sarkozy may as well tell Dimitris Christofias, 'No need to make any concessions, keep the island divided and keep Turkey out'. The fact is Turkey in the EU is the best insurance policy Cyprus could ever have for a stable, secure and prosperous future. This is what Sarkozy and Merkel should be saying.

    In Davos, Babacan may have been correct when he said the EU is presently somewhat inward looking. However, I don't believe he was right to claim the EU no longer has an 'open door policy' or that it is a Christian club. Rather, the EU has adopted a "pick and choose carefully" approach to further enlargement. Therefore the door is seemingly closed to big or powerful countries, or countries which have historically been in another big power's sphere of influence. The EU is not brave enough or visionary enough to look beyond this yet. Nowadays the door is wide open for Croatia, Iceland and all the countries of the Western Balkans. If tomorrow Norway or Switzerland decided they wanted in, I doubt there would be any objections. But of course Turkey is not Iceland or Serbia.

    Babacan also accused the EU of being a Christian club. While it is unfortunate that in many EU states it is becoming increasingly socially acceptable to be anti-Muslim, which is very dangerous, I don't think it's fair to say that the EU is a Christian club. There are already 45 million Muslims living in Europe, and with the accession of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and eventually Kosovo (all predominantly Muslim states) this number will significantly increase. Turkey should refrain from playing the Muslim card and rather focus on getting its own house in order, particularly when it comes to the rights of religious minorities.

    Turkey also seems set to take a key role in North Africa as events continue to unfold in Egypt and elsewhere. If Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not on the phone with US President Barack Obama, then it's with EU foreign policy Chief Catherine Ashton or one of the countries themselves. There can be no nation better placed than Turkey to act as a negotiator if the need arises. It also offers an ideal opportunity for Erdogan as he moves into election campaign mode.

    However, let us not forget that amongst all this upheaval in North Africa there was a little noticed protest in northern Cyprus last Friday. Around 30,000 Turkish Cypriots took to the streets to protest austerity measures and ask Turkey to keep its hands off Cyprus. Take note, Ankara."

    [11] Erdogan urges Mubarak to meet his people's demands

    Istanbul NTV private television (01.02.11) broadcast live yesterday the speech by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Justice and Development Party (AKP) group in the Turkish parliament.

    Inter alia, Erdogan said that the Justice and Development Party [AKP] has shown no fear or hesitation in siding with the oppressed and the victims. He urged the Egyptian President "... to listen, to their extremely humanitarian demands. Meet the people's desire for change with no hesitation", underlining that freedoms can no longer be postponed or ignored.

    Expressing the hope "that these incidents come to an end as soon as possible, without leading to great suffering, and that the people's legitimate and sensible demands are met", Erdogan called on the Egyptian brothers "During this entire process of resistance, stay away from arms, but stand up for your history. (...) Democracy and freedoms are not privileges but human rights."

    He further expressed the "wish to see that in Egypt and Tunisia, reforms are carried out, peace and calm are restored quickly, and that unity and integrity remain unscathed", adding that "Turkey will be on the side of Tunisia and the Tunisian people during this critical period."

    [12] Turkey is our guiding star, says Kyrgyz Prime Minister

    In view of Prime Minister Erdogan's official visit to Kyrgyzstan, which begins today, Today's Zaman publishes an interview with Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev. The Kyrgyz Prime Minister said, inter alia, that "Turkey is our North Star, and as Turkey grows and develops, it stands as an example for us. It opens the way forward for its brother nations".

    Atambayev underlines that "Turkey, our brother nation, has always been by our side. Turkey has not withheld a single act of generosity from us". He said that Minister Erdogan's visit will definitely accelerate relations between the two countries, and added: "We see this visit as an expression of support to both the newly formed government and the people of Kargyzstan". The Kyrguz Prime Minister called on Turkish business people to invest in every arena in Kyrgyzstan.

    Atambayev further expressed admiration of Turkey's very active foreign relations with neighbouring countries and other nations. While the rest of the world was shaken by the global economic crisis, Turkey was one of the countries least affected due to the precautions it took, as well as its increasing trade volume with neighbouring countries, he said.

    Asked whether the Turkish Republic can enter into global politics as a new actor Atambayev said: "Turkey has, particularly under the Justice and Development Party [AK], taken many steps towards becoming a member of the EU, and to this end has made many reforms. But the EU is still resisting to accept Turkey as a member, and it persists in coming up with all sorts of reasons for not doing so. I personally believe that a 'Turkic Union' could be formed. I see the official start of the Turkic Cooperation Council, during the summit to be attended by heads of state in Istanbul on Sept. 15, as the first step towards such a union. Though there are six nations involved currently, this number will increase over time, and thus our arenas of cooperation will also widen, and we could, together, become a new global actor. In fact, making an even more radical move, I believe we could form a union that even included Russia. Just as the EU today does not want Turkey in it, it also does not want Russia. Just as we are no longer in the days of the past, relations are also different than they used to be. We could form a very large and powerful union. All we need is to trust in ourselves and each other.

    [13] Turkey and Australia develop new partnership

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (01.02.11), Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd, who is currently in Ankara on an official visit, signed an action plan to develop cooperation between Turkish and Australian foreign ministries.

    Davutoglu said at the joint news conference that Rudd is the first Australian foreign minister paying an official visit to Turkey, besides those who visited Turkey to attend the Anzac Day memorials.

    He said that Turkey and Australia have already been working together in many international platforms such as G-20 and UN. He added that Turkish Airlines would begin flights to Australia by the end of 2011. He told reporters that 2015 will be celebrated as Turkish Year in Australia and 2016 will be declared as Australian Year in Turkey

    Australian Foreign Minister Rudd, on his part, said that both Turkey and Australia have open systems, open economies and active diplomacies, adding that they agreed to develop a new partnership. Rudd said that Turkey undertook a very active role in the Middle East, Caucasus, Central Asia and Balkans and concluded that Turkey was an exemplary country in its region with its modern democracy and sound economy.

    [14] "Irregular migrants on Nigerian president's agenda"

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 02.02.11) with the above title reports that Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is currently in Turkey reciprocating an earlier visit to his country by President Abdullah Gul in July of last year, has the state of Nigerian migrants in Turkey high on his agenda.

    Jonathan is accompanied by 10 ministers and more than 100 Nigerian businessmen. The visit marks the highest-level visit from Nigeria to Turkey in 11 years.

    Although there are no serious problems in relations between the two countries, a consistent roadblock has been Nigeria's refusal to take back the majority of its refugees in Turkey. There are a total of 18,900 people in Turkey officially registered as refugees, the majority of whom are Nigerian citizens.

    Turkey and Nigeria will sign eight important agreements during this visit. One of these is the Agreement on Judicial Cooperation between Nigeria and Turkey, which is key to the successful completion of the Okey trial.

    [15] Workers to protest in Ankara against new laws

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 01.02.11) reports that workers and public employees will meet Thursday in Ankara in protest against the government's proposed laws, labour representatives announced Monday during press statements in all of Turkey's 81 provinces.

    Labour organization members arriving from Istanbul, 0zmir, Diyarbak1r and Trabzon will surround Parliament s premises on Thursday, creating a  chain , the statements said.

     The only will in Parliament is the prime minister s. Thousands are protesting but the government is not paying attention. These laws bring exploitation to the internship system, and they are robbing the unemployment insurance fund , the Workers' Unions (D0SK) head Suleyman Celebi' said.

    Ankara Governor s Office warned in a written statement Tuesday that the protest is illegal and will be stopped by the security forces. Legal measures will also be taken against those who participated in the protests, the statement said.

    In addition to D0SK, the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Turkish Union of Engineers' and Architects' Chambers (TMMOB), and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), also plan to take part in the protest.

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has launched the biggest attack on labour workers and the poor in the history of the Turkish Republic, said KESK chairman DonduTaka C1nar.

    [16] "Debated sculpture in eastern Turkey to be demolished"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 01.02.11) with the above title reports that the Kars Municipality has decided to demolish the hotly debated "Monument to Humanity" sculpture in the city, reported Anatolian news agency on Tuesday.

    During a visit to the eastern province of Kars on January 8, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the 35-meter-tall sculpture "freakish" and called for its removal.

    [17] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 1 February 2011:

    Developments in Egypt/Tunisia

    In an article in Milliyet, Guneri Civaoglu details the role Mubarak had played in preventing a Turkish-Syrian war, adding: "With the fall of Mubarak a void will be created in the Middle East." Recalling the saying that "there can be no war in the Middle East without Syria and no peace without Egypt," Civaoglu argues, however, that even if Mubarak manages to remain in power he will be like "an old African lion" to whose roars no one will pay any attention.

    Semih Idiz writes in Hurriyet Daily News that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was in the dark as to what has obviously been brewing in Egypt. Viewing the concerns of the United States and Israel over the developments in Egypt, Idiz writes: "It is extremely unlikely; therefore, that whoever comes to power in Egypt will be as 'user friendly' for Israel and the US as Hosni Mubarak was." Assessing Turkey's approach to the developments Idiz writes: "How the AKP administration will adjust to the developments in the region remains to be seen. What is certain at this stage is that it was not ready in any way for what is happening in the Middle East. This on its own should be enough to send Turkish foreign policy planners back to the drawing board."

    In an article in Hurriyet Daily News, Mehmet Ali Birand makes a comparison between Turkey and the situation in Tunisia and Egypt, arguing that the major difference is that Turkey has democracy. Noting that the "Turkish democratic model has, to some extent, contributed to Tunisians' and Egyptians' search for their human rights and their efforts to get rid of poverty," Birand concludes: "We are a role model because our democracy works, despite the deficiencies, and thanks to secularism - which some despise or consider eroded. Looked upon from the inside we think we are unstable, but when looked on from the outside people see a Muslim Turkey that is stable and progressively becoming rich."

    Fatih Cekirge of Hurriyet assesses the changing balances in the Middle East and in North Africa. Underlining that Egypt is open to chaos, Cekirge notes that Israel's concern is increasing given the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in the new Egyptian administration, adding that this new situation might force Israel to find a formula to improve its relations with Turkey

    Writing in Hurriyet, Mehmet Yilmaz points out that Turkish government's stand regarding the developments in Tunisia and Egypt is still not known, adding that it is even unable to call on the Egyptian government to resolve the problem peaceful and to listen to the demands of the Egyptian people. He continues: "They found the easy way. Hit Israel, win the hearts of the Arab people, and thus pretend to be the big brother of the Middle East. However, this people's uprising has changed everything." Now the Turkish government is faced with a dilemma between the requirements of their role and its close relations with the other regional dictators, maintains Yilmaz, concluding that the "strategic depth" policy of the government is no longer working.

    Ismet Berkan of Hurriyet views assessments to the effect that the AKP and Turkey are a source of inspiration to the Arab world and to the current developments in Tunisia and Egypt and wonders whether that inspiration should not be based on the principle of democracy and human rights. Criticizing the silence of the Turkish government in the face of these developments, Berkan ridicules the foreign minister and the prime minister, "who are closely interested in the developments within the former Ottoman geography," for finding nothing to say regarding these recent incidents.

    In an article in Radical entitled "Where does Turkey stand on the Egyptian issue?" Cengiz Candar criticizes the quiet and ineffective stand of Turkey in the face of the developments in Egypt, Candar argues that the government's silence on the issue is unacceptable.

    In an article in Zaman entitled "Post-Islamism and the AKP", columnist Ihsan Dagi argues that the riots in Tunisia and Egypt have demonstrated the regional value of Turkey's democratic stability and the "risks" to investors and political allies posed by authoritarian regimes. He claims that Turkey's position as a "model country" will come under the spotlight once again in the process started by the said events, adding that while the importance of Turkey's potential as a model country should not be exaggerated, it would be a mistake to ignore Turkey's influence on regional peoples stemming from its experience with democracy, economic performance, and the relations it has established with the region and the world in recent times. He argues that there is a large Islamic segment in the region that wants to benefit from the AKP experience in Turkey, adding that the AKP's shift from political Islamism to conservative democracy is having an impact on the ideology and strategies of regional Islamic movements. He also argues that "radical political Islam" in the region has been undergoing a "deep crisis" for a long time and that it has started already to be replaced by "social Islam" in a "post-Islamist wave" where authoritarianism is increasingly losing ground to "democratic competition."

    Today's Zaman columnist Ergun Babahan asserts that Turkey should respond to the events in Egypt by "leveraging its soft power" so as to "play a role in the region's healthy transition to democracy, adding that Turkey is "a good example of how Islam and democracy can coexist ..."

    Milli Gazete columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan comments on "concerns" in the West over a possible shift in Mideast states' foreign policy orientation that could be caused by the events in Egypt. He argues that US and Western references to a possible shift in Egypt's traditional alliances reflect the "fear" that the events will cause Egypt to stop functioning like a "cat's-paw of imperialism" as well as paving the way for the establishment of an Islamic alliance against western "colonialists."

    In an article in Bugun entitled "Could the Events in Egypt and Tunisia have an impact on Turkey", columnist Erhan Basyurt criticizes certain political groups in Turkey for the way they are "mixing the wheat and chaff" in expecting the popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia to provoke street protests against the Erdogan government. He argues that the riots in Egypt and Tunisia are intended to press for "democratic rights, freedoms, and prosperity" in two countries where political leaders cannot be replaced in democratic elections.

    Erdogan's presidency

    Columnist Sedat Ergin in Hurriyet argues that the presidential system will set the framework of the discussions regarding the new constitution that will be held in the aftermath of the general elections in June. Viewing Erdogan's desire to become the president and his difficulty in sharing authority, Ergin argues that the symbolic presidential authorities offered by the Turkish parliamentary system are not sufficient for Erdogan, predicting that he will try to expand the authorities of the presidential office in the new constitution to be drawn. If the AKP receives more than 367 votes in the Turkish Assembly in the upcoming elections then it can draw and endorse the constitution it wants, explains Ergin, adding that the AKP can draw up the constitution and submit it to another referendum if its parliamentary seats range between 330 and 367. Noting that in both cases the Constitution will not be based on a communal consensus, Ergin predicts that this situation will further increase the polarization in the country. Ergin concludes: "The most important handicap of these alternatives is that the communal desire for a new constitution will be hostage to Erdogan's search for authority."

    "CHP's call for insurgency"

    Yeni Akit columnist Hasan Karakaya slams a group of Republican People's Party, CHP, deputies for issuing a declaration urging the people - based on what Karakaya describes as a "bogus" speech falsely attributed to Ataturk - to revolt against the Government over its efforts to establish "fascist" rule by passing a bill that will allow it to "seize control of the judiciary." Drawing attention to the "fake" quality of this declaration, Karakaya asserts that it appears to have been wrongly inspired by the riots in Tunisia and Egypt. He adds that what the CHP cannot understand is that the rioters in Tunisia and Egypt have revolted against a "secularist dictatorship," in other words "the Tunisian or Egyptian version of the CHP mentality." He also claims that the only politician that the Tunisian and Egyptian people perceive as a "role model" is Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

    Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone accuses a number of CHP deputies of trying to perpetuate the CHP's influence over the judiciary by establishing a "Mubarak regime" in Turkey through their call on the people to resist Erdogan government's efforts to pass a bill entailing the establishment of new appellate courts and the appointment of new prosecutors and justices. Turkone asks the main opposition party "how it proposes to apply such an anachronistic model of governance in Turkey at a time when the Islamic world has started to get rid of its Hosni Mubaraks." He also argues that the latest wave of riots in the Middle East is aimed at establishing a Turkish model of democracy, that the Nahdha Party led by Rashid Al-Ghannushi has adopted the Justice and Development Party (AKP) as a model, that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt will "imitate" the AKP in defining its political identity, and that Erdogan would win the sweeping majority of votes in any election held in any Middle East country today.

    Election survey

    A report in Star details the results of a survey conducted by ANDY-AR noting that if elections were held today the AKP would receive 48% of the votes and the CHP 25.2%. The report adds that the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) which is envisaged to receive 10.2% of the votes, still faces the risk of not crossing the election threshold. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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