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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-08

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 "assembly" on the Cyprus problem, refers to the developments after the rally on 28 January
  • [02] Cakici criticises Eroglu
  • [03] Talat briefed Erdogan on the tension in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [04] Cicek criticizes the "administrators" of the breakaway regime for the reaction against Erdogan
  • [05] UBP general secretary on the latest developments in occupied Cyprus
  • [06] Turkish "embassy" refuses to receive a letter for Erdogan from the Trade Unions Platform
  • [07] Panel in Ankara on developments in occupied Cyprus to be organised in Ankara
  • [08] Tatar says the economic measures not explained properly

  • [09] New statements by Erdogan on Cyprus
  • [10] Caglayan expresses full support to Erdogan
  • [11] Celik defends Erdogan's statements
  • [12] Columnists view Erdogan's statements
  • [13] Bagis says US has always supported Turkey's EU bid
  • [14] A survey shows that "secular moderns" favour military coup 'if necessary'
  • [15] Highlights


    Today's Turkish Cypriot papers focus on further reaction to the statements made by Turkish PM Erdogan on the demonstrations in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu's briefing of the so-called assembly on the Cyprus problem and the latest developments in occupied Cyprus, and criticism by TDP's Cakici towards the so-called government. Moreover, Erdogan's meeting with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Talat in Ankara, the continuing protests against the economic measures imposed by Ankara, a panel to be organised in Ankara on Cyprus, and other internal issues are covered by the Turkish Cypriot press today.

    [01] Eroglu briefs "assembly" on the Cyprus problem, refers to the developments after the rally on 28 January

    Under the title "Communal reconciliation should be secured", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu briefed yesterday the "assembly" of the breakaway regime on the Cyprus problem. The closed-door session started at 10.30 and ended at 14.00. Each political party leader had the opportunity to talk for ten minutes. In the last part of the session, Eroglu replied to questions of "MPs".

    In statements after the meeting, Eroglu said he briefed the "assembly" on the Geneva talks and the proposals he submitted before going to Geneva on "Governance and Power Sharing". Eroglu noted that the meeting was a "fine, meaningful and mature one". "All colleagues wish and hope that a viable and lasting agreement is reached", said Eroglu.

    Asked whether he was leaving the "assembly" with confidence on the negotiating process, Eroglu replied positively noting that all parties expressed their views. He added: "Of course, we will continue the negotiations. Even if some different views exist on [the use of] some words, there is not much disagreement. As the negotiator, I could say that they extended their support to me, I could say that their confidence continues".

    Eroglu said that if the tension in the Turkish Cypriot community continues to be high, some problems might be created within the community itself and some "wounds might be opened". Noting that this problem should be overcome, Eroglu pointed out that some words and slogans should be avoided so that relations with Turkey are not harmed. He argued that the banners carried by some persons during the recent rally increased tension in the relations with Turkey. Therefore, he added, when the trade union officials organize an activity, they should carefully consider the persons and the trade unions they will take with them.

    Additionally, Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (08.02.11) reports that statements were made only by Eroglu. According to the paper, Eroglu said it is time for communal reconciliation and expressed the view that some measures should be taken to defuse tension.

    According to Star Kibris, consensus was reached during the meeting on the necessity to take steps towards self-administration of the Turkish Cypriots, preparation of a new economic package and its implementation in consultation with the trade unions. The "MPs" pointed out that the words of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan upset the Turkish Cypriots. They underlined that the "Communal Existence Rally" on 28 January was not held together with the Greek Cypriots. Some opposition "MPs" argued that Erdogan had been misinformed by the "government".


    [02] Cakici criticises Eroglu

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (08.02.11) reports on statements of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) leader Mehmet Cakici following Eroglu's briefing of the "assembly" on the Cyprus problem.

    Speaking to reporters, Cakici said that internal matters, were discussed during the meeting stating that they protested against the statements that the recent demonstrations, are organised in collaboration with "south". As the paper reports, Cakici alleged that the Turkish government is informed on the demonstrations by the so-called government which also provides photographs.

    Cakici said that Eroglu stated during the meeting that he seeks a compromise and that they criticised the process. He added that together with three other parties, a declaration was prepared, demanding withdrawal of the disputed package and the preparation of a new one in line with domestic needs. "If the government does not do this, we demanded its resignation. This is a warning," Cakici noted.

    Moreover, referring to the Geneva meeting, Cakici noted that the "government's" insistence on "two sovereign federal states" at the meeting, ceded a trump card to the Greek Cypriots, by showing to them that the "Turks want a confederation". "This is a view far off the Annan Plan."

    [03] Talat briefed Erdogan on the tension in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (08.02.11) reports that Kibris Postasi newspaper published "important information" on the content of the meeting held yesterday in Ankara between Prime Minister Erdogan and the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat.

    According to this information, Talat briefed Erdogan in detail on the tension created in the occupied areas of Cyprus and explained to him how the Turkish Cypriots see the situation. He told him that there is misinformation from the occupied areas of Cyprus to Turkey. Talat told Erdogan that both sides should stop making statements. Otherwise, he said, this escalating tension will not have positive results.

    Erdogan said it is difficult for him to understand why the trade unions protested against Turkey and not against the "government" of the breakaway regime, which signed the package of the economic measures.

    The paper cites sources according to which Erdogan is "especially sensitive" on the issue of the use of the flag of the Republic of Cyprus in the rally. Talat told him that the flag [Cyprus flag] was not in the plans of the organizers of the rally and that the banners [against Turkey] "overshadowed" the rally and "changed the agenda".

    The sources said Erdogan will shortly ask for a meeting with the trade unions and the party leaders to discuss their concerns regarding the economic package.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (08.02.11) reports that Talat felt the need to get involved as tension increased due to the statements made by Erdogan after the rally on 28 January. The paper writes that Talat himself called Erdogan over the weekend and asked to meet him. The meeting lasted for one hour and 45 minutes. "This tension could bring no benefit to Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots", Talat told Erdogan.

    According to the paper, Talat is planning to hold a number of contacts in the occupied areas of Cyprus to discuss his concerns. He is expected to meet with the "prime minister", Irsen Kucuk, the opposition party leaders and officials from the Trade Union Platform. The paper reports that Talat did not hide his worry that these developments might harm the process of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    Basaran Duzgun, editor-in-chief of Havadis (08.02.11), cites sources of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that "Talat is a good mediator". The columnist notes that Talat will try to "settle the dispute" and points out that in order for Talat to achieve this, Erdogan should do two things. First of all, he should definitely withdraw the word "servants" he used for the Turkish Cypriots, because it is insulting. The second move which Erdogan should do, according to Duzgun, is to immediately deny that he said "I have martyrs, war veterans and strategic interests in Cyprus", because this statement will bring Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots into a difficult situation. The columnist alleges that 'the Turkish side which wants peace and supports solution" in Cyprus will "automatically turn into occupier again".


    [04] Cicek criticizes the "administrators" of the breakaway regime for the reaction against Erdogan

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.02.11) reports that Cemil Cicek, Turkish State Minister responsible for Cyprus and Deputy Prime Minister, criticized the "administration" of the breakaway regime for the reaction of the Turkish Cypriots against the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Cicek said Erdogan was forced to talk because the "TRNC government" remained silent in the face of the accusations against Turkey.

    According to Turkish Hurriyet daily newspaper, Cicek said all countries in the world take additional measures because of the economic crisis. He argued that as soon as the breakaway regime started taking measures, some trade unions and professional organizations, with support from the "south" (as he described the government controlled areas of the Republic of Cyprus), unjustly accused Turkey for this. Cicek alleged that "nasty slogans" were used during the meeting of the Turkish Cypriots where political parties participated, including Serdar Denktas.

    Noting that the "administrators of the TRNC" did not say then that these slogans are an injustice against Turkey, Cicek said that if this had occurred, Erdogan would not need to make a statement. He added: "The anger of our prime minister is against this injustice. It is against the fact that both the current and the previous officials there made no statement in support of Turkey, though they know this is unjust. They all ran away".

    Reiterating the Turkish view that relations between Turkey and the "TRNC", breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, is a relation between brothers and not based on interest, Cicek alleged that the "administrators" of the regime should at least have replied to those who talked like Greek Cypriots. Cicek recalled statements made by the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Rauf Denktas who had said: "We asked Turkey for blood, and it gave it to us. We asked Turkey for life and it gave it to us. We asked Turkey for money and it gave it to us". Cicek added: "Therefore, Turkey has done and continues to do what is necessary for the happiness and the prosperity of our brothers there".


    [05] UBP general secretary on the latest developments in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Gunes (08.02.11) reports on statements of the National Unity Party's (UBP) general secretary, Ertugrul Hasipoglu, who said that the slogans on the banners carried during the demonstration hurt everyone's feelings, adding that Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan made these statements because he too was hurt.

    Speaking at the illegal Bayrak television, Hasipoglu referred to the banners displayed at an event organised in Toodos Mountain by youth branch of AKEL and some Turkish Cypriot parties, saying it was wrong to have slogans targeting Turkey. He added that this reveals the purpose of the event. Hasipolgu said that it was not easy for "Turkish Cypriot people" to come so far, and that this was possible thanks to "Motherland [Turkey]", adding that a large part of the society feels respect towards the "Motherland". Responding to a question, Hasipoglu said that the "government" conveyed the necessary information to the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and that if necessary there will be further consultations in Ankara.

    Hasipoglu inter alia, noted that the so-called attorney general has been asked to examine whether any legal course of action can be taken.

    [06] Turkish "embassy" refuses to receive a letter for Erdogan from the Trade Unions Platform

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.02.11) reports that officials of the Turkish "embassy" in the occupied part of Lefkosia refused yesterday to receive a letter from the Trade Unions Platform addressed to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Platform delegation was not allowed to approach the "embassy" due to the extensive security measures taken by the regime. An official from the "embassy" told the representatives of the trade unions to post the letter to Erdogan.

    The paper reports that around 100 members of the "police" were gathered in outside the "embassy". The paper notes that representatives of Greek Cypriot media were also covering the protest.

    In statements to the press, Guven Varoglu, chairman of the Turkish Cypriot Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), accused the so-called ambassador Kaya Turkmen of not doing his duty. He said he should have received and conveyed the letter to Erdogan.

    Sener Elcil, general secretary of KTOS, noted that "If Erdogan wants a fight, we will fight". He said if the 40.000 participants in the recent rally were not enough for Erdogan, next time the trade unions could gather 80.000 in the square. Elcil added that they asked for a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu to discuss developments in the Cyprus problem with him, but Eroglu did not give them an appointment. Elcil said President Christofias received them and discussed the issue with them.

    Mehmet Seyis, chairman of Dev-Is, criticized the fact that so many "policemen" were standing in front of the "embassy" and the "assembly" despite the fact that the trade unions were not actually holding an activity.

    According to the paper, in their letter to Erdogan the trade unions noted that all peoples have the right of self-administration and of living freely in their country. They said they felt the need "to remind those who usurp the political will of the Turkish Cypriots". They noted that Erdogan could not digest the fact that the people protested against the package of economic and political measures imposed by Turkey.

    The trade unions pointed out that the statements made by Erdogan in Kirgizstan showed clearly how the AKP and Erdogan see the Turkish Cypriots. "You should stop hiding behind the 'yes' vote of the Turkish Cypriots in the 2004 referendum", said the letter recalling the statements made in 1974 by the then Prime Minister Ecevit that Turkey invaded Cyprus to restore the constitutional order of the Republic of Cyprus.

    Referring to Erdogan's call on the Egyptian President to "listen to the voice of the people in the streets and respect the people", the trade unions said: "However, when your turn came, you showed no respect to the rally where tens of thousands participated, or to the will shown in the streets and you tried to present this as shamelessness".

    "This country is ours and we will administer it", concluded the letter.

    Moreover, referring to the security measures taken by the regime, Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (08.02.11) reports that there were 500 "policemen" were for ten representatives of the trade unions.


    [07] Panel in Ankara on developments in occupied Cyprus to be organised in Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (08.02.11) reports that a panel titled "The political parties' view to the developments in the TRNC" will take place in Ankara on Sunday, February 13. As it is reported, the so-called prime minister Irsen Kucuk, Republican Turkish Party ? United Force (CTP-BG) leader Ferdi Sabit Soyer, Democratic Party (DP) leader Serdar Denktas, Communal Democracy Party (TDP) leader Mehmet Cakici and Freedom and Democracy Party (ORP) leader Turgay Avci will participate in the panel, which will be organised by the "Cyprus Turkish Cultural Association" of Ankara.

    [08] Tatar says the economic measures not explained properly

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (07.02.11), during a meeting with representatives of the Economic Organizations Platform, self-styled minister of finance Ersin Tatar said that the proper economic decisions will serve to improve the public's prosperity, stressing the importance of a dialogue between the business sector and trade unions.

    Tatar also said that the Turkish Cypriots are right and that social and economic upheaval is a natural phenomenon which can be overcome by approaching issues in a calm and responsible manner. Noting that the "government" supports dialogue with all segments of society, Tatar said that calls for the resignation of the government made by various circles will not solve anything.

    Commenting on the mass protest rally of 28 January, Tatar said that they have failed to explain properly to the public what the measures aimed to achieve. The Economic Organizations Platform's Chaiman Metin Sadi, for his part, defended the austerity measures, arguing they are necessary for the improvement of the economy.

    Platform member and businessman Gunay Cerkez also highlighted the importance of improving and strengthening dialogue between the business sector and trade unions in order to achieve sustainable solutions to the economic and financial problems faced in the country.


    The respond of Turkey's General Staff to statements by the main opposition party (CHP) deputy chairman Suheyl Batum who likened the military to 'tiger made of paper', the continued reaction in the occupied areas against the austerity measures taken by the government and the criticisms made by Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the launch of an investigation against over 30 state officials on the charge of "organized crime" in connection with journalist Hrant Dink's murder, and other internal issues are the main topics in today's Turkish press.

    [09] New statements by Erdogan on Cyprus

    Turkish daily Zaman (08.02.11, online) reports on its webpage that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that those who protested recently against Turkey in the occupied areas of Cyprus "play into the hands of the Greek Cypriots". Addressing the parliamentary group of his party today, Erdogan strongly reacted against the opposition which criticizes the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on this issue. "No one should exploit the TRNC", he said.

    According to the paper, Erdogan alleged that the banners used in the rally in the occupied areas of Cyprus "are not only inappropriate from the point of view of politeness, but at the same time they harm the interests of the Turkish Cypriots and play into the hands of South Cyprus".

    "We made the necessary warnings before the administrators of the TRNC", said Erdogan accusing the opposition of exploiting these warnings. Erdogan reiterated the allegation that Turkey gave the biggest political, economic and diplomatic support to the breakaway regime during the eight years of AKP rule.

    Erdogan added: "The Cyprus cause was supported in the strongest manner during this period, the TRNC was strengthened during this period, the TRNC became more noticeable in the international platforms during this period and it has always been active in dialogue".

    Erdogan said no one should try to exploit the "TRNC" and use the Cyprus struggle for their own petty interests. Referring to the Turkish opposition, Erdogan noted that he leaves to the judgement of the Turkish Cypriots and the Turkish citizens those who have not taken any steps until today on the "Cyprus cause", who have not sweated over this issue and who do not consider the "Cyprus cause" as their own.

    He added: "Cyprus is our national cause. We shall never abandon this cause and we will continue working with sensitivity to protect the interests of Northern Cyprus as we struggle for a solution. Every initiative in the TRNC which serves the plots of the Greek Cypriot sector and not the Cyprus cause, will find us as it opponents. Turkey is always by the side of the daughter land. Turkey is a guarantor power in the Cyprus issue. It will continue to support its brothers in the TRNC, but it will not permit any speculation. I am saying this clearly..."


    [10] Caglayan expresses full support to Erdogan

    Turkish daily Zaman (08.02.11) reports that Turkey's state minister Zafer Caglayan in a meeting this morning with the Association of Diplomation Reporters, evaluated the latest developments. Commenting on the demonstrations in Cyprus he expressed his support to Erdogan's statements.

    Addressing the members of the association, he said that if they had seen the placards and heard the slogans and if they were in the same position as the Prime Minister they would have had reacted in the same way. He also reiterated that the struggles waged for "TRNC" are known and he does not have to explain the importance "TRNC" has for Turkey. Therefore when he sees in the hands of a fellow countryman in the "TRNC" the flag of the "Greek Cypriot side", there is no justification, no one can explain it to him. Caglayan also said it was not possible to remain indifferent to such excessive expenditure which could destroy the economy of the "TRNC." Caglayan said he supports the Prime Minister all the way, that he should have said more and that, it is not possible to accept what happened.

    [11] Celik defends Erdogan's statements

    Turkish daily Zaman (07.02.11) reports that the assistant chairman of AKP Huseyin Celik commented on Eroglu's statement regarding the recent demonstrations in occupied Lefkosia. Celik said that he expected Eroglu to condemn these "unappealing behaviours and placards" and described Eroglu's reaction as very weak and not satisfactory.

    Celik stated, inter alia, the following: "The Cyprus issue is something that Turkey will never abadon. Cyprus is an important strategic place for us. The people over there are a piece of us. People in the Turkish part of North Cyprus are our brothers? However, like in every place there are always a few elements with bad intentions. It is not possible to include all the people of the TRNC in these marginal groups, to consider that every one participated in these events? Our Prime Minister's statements target these marginal groups and certainly not the North Cyprus Turkish people?"

    "A rally takes place in the TRNC. There are no Turkish flags, no TRNC flags. There are flags of south Cyprus, Greek Cypriot Region?there are insulting, abusive placards. It is not possible to support this? We expect more vigorous and appropriate statements from the TRNC president, prime minister and the parliament spokesperson" said Celik.

    He also argued that in every place of the world, people express their democratic opposition, but this reaction made the Greek Cypriots happy. And if demonstrations in the "TRNC" make the Greek Cypriots happy, then we should think of this, not once but ten times.

    [12] Columnists view Erdogan's statements

    Mehmet Y. Yilnaz in his article in Hurriyet (08.02.11) entitled "Our new export product: advanced democracy," comments on the fact that Erdogan called Eroglu asking for the persecution of the people who used slogans against Turkey. He points out that it is not possible for prime ministers to file court cases against protesters who use slogans they do not approve, or to break their heads using placards they carry. But if following Erdogan's instructions protesters are persecuted, then Turkey will have managed to export its "advanced democracy" to Cyprus. He concludes saying the "TRNC administration" is in a very difficult situation, since it has to either abandon normal democracy and pass to "advanced democracy" or it will have to face the consequences of Erdogan's anger.

    Milliyet's columnist Sami Kohen writes that Turkey's PM Recep Tayip Erdogan created a crisis with Cyprus by using "harsh language". He says that this event has two dimensions: the friction in Ankara-"TRNC" relations has turned into a crisis, and the possible effects that it can have on an international level. Kohen expresses the view that the statement that Turkey is in Cyprus for strategic benefits, will have repercussions on an international level. Kohen believes that this statement "will add another argument to the Greek Cypriots' propaganda that North Cyprus is under occupation and that Ankara wishes to continue this situation."

    Bugun's Gulay Gokturk (07.02.11) is of the opinion that both the slogans chanted during the anti-Turkey protests in the "TRNC" and Erdogan's response to the protests were inappropriate. Looking at the essence of the issue, Gokturk says Erdogan is actually right in implying that the "TRNC" is a parasite state. "No matter how severe it [Erdogan's statement] is, we all know the "TRNC" has been receiving support since 1983 so that it can stand on its own feet although the country cannot produce anything, and it is a state of civil servants that survives thanks Turkish tax payers' money", she says. However, Gokturk thinks Erdogan has no right to point to Turkey's assistance today because nobody in Turkey opposed the creation of a parasite state in the "TRNC" in 1983. "If you perpetuate this situation for years, saying that it is in your national interests, then you have to pay the price. You cannot remind them of your goodness and accuse them of being ungrateful now," Gokturk says.

    According to Vatan's Okay Gonensin, it is a pity that while Turkey aims to resolve its problems with its neighbours one by one, in line with its "zero-problem policy" and even eliminates visa requirements with some countries that were once deemed enemies, the country has not yet covered the distance in solving the Cyprus problem despite the 37 years that have passed. He says Cyprus, which was a battlefield 37 years ago, continues to exhaust Turkey in the international arena. "Over the past 37 years, many problems in various parts of the world, more serious and more painful than the Cyprus issue, have been resolved and people have learned to live together, but the Cyprus problem has not been resolved. Turkey has been paying the price for 37 years," he says.

    Demiray Oral, in Turkish daily Taraf (07.02.11), comments on the Turkish Cypriot demonstrations and the various statements that followed. He compares Erdogan's overreaction to Eroglu's statements and says that Erdogans' statements demote Turkish Cypriots. He writes that Turkish Cypriots never wanted to live under Turkey's administration and they started to voice it out openly. Oral also comments that the mentality of the Turkish state is that this place (North Cyprus) does not belong to the Turkish Cypriots, so if they are not happy they can abandon the island.

    Also Taraf's Ayhan Aktar comments on the economic aid that Turkey has been giving to the "TRNC" and says that the only benefit for Ankara was the fact that it was able to keep the negotiations with the Greek Cypriot side within the guidelines of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign affairs. "Mehmet Ali Talat and Dervis Eroglu continued our state policy, no solution is the best solution. They did what Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, responsible for Cyprus affairs in the FA ministry, said. In short, Ankara placed a mortgage on Turkish Cypriots' political will and placed a milk bottle in their mouth in order to silence them." He describes the latest demonstration as positive, since demonstrations show that Turkish Cypriots are waking up and maybe they will force their governments for a solution. He concludes saying that Turkish Cypriots are looking for the possibilities to establish a common federal state based on political equality with Greek Cypriots, but if this does not work out, they will seek ways for "a civilized divorce."

    Commenting Engin Ardic's article, Sabah's Emre Akoz doubts whether Turkey will withdraw from Cyprus, because by doing so it will lose the regional power profile which is trying to create.

    [13] Bagis says US has always supported Turkey's EU bid

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 07.02.11) reports that Turkey expects the United States to continue supporting the country's European Union bid and help turn it into a more democratic, transparent and contemporary state, according to Turkey's State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis.

    "The US has always supported Turkey's full membership in the EU this support was given by both Republican and Democrat administrations. I follow this support with great gratitude," Bagis said on Monday during a meeting with the new U.S. envoy to Ankara, Francis Ricciardone.

    Welcoming Ricciardone to Turkey, Bagis said he hoped to work together with him to make Turkey a more democratic country especially in the wake of developments in the Middle East.

    Speaking in Turkish, Ricciardone said he was honoured to meet with Bagis. Asked about the US position on Turkey's EU bid, Ricciardone said: "As the U.S., we continuously support Turkey's partnership process with the EU."

    Later in the day, the ambassador paid a courtesy visit to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Diplomatic sources said the two met for nearly an hour and discussed bilateral relations in all their dimensions.

    [14] A survey shows that "secular moderns" favour military coup 'if necessary'

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 08.02.11) reports that according to the latest findings of a monthly opinion poll, a considerable portion of people in Turkey who define themselves as "secular and modern" back anti-democratic actions, with 58.1% of them backing the idea that the military can seize control of the country "if necessary".

    The Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center conducted a survey of people's perceptions on whether "there is government or civil interference in the secular lifestyle." The poll started with 3,880 respondents and continued with 1,225 of them after a "filter question." The question was whether respondents believe that the secular lifestyle in Turkey is in danger. While 53% said "no," 31.6% said "yes." The yea-sayers are considered to be "'moderns" who are "concerned about their lifestyle," according to the poll.

    In response to a question whether the military should seize control of the country "if necessary," 58.1% said "yes" while 37.1% said "no." The remaining 4.8% declined to comment. The survey also showed that an overwhelming majority of respondents consider the military as "protector" of the secular order in Turkey. Asked whether the military protects secularism and the secular order, 71.7% said "yes" and 21.3% said "no." More than 57% said they would not support the idea of removing the AK Party from power through use of force if it is not defeated in elections. Slightly more than 34% said the contrary.

    The poll was conducted over the telephone from Jan. 15-21 2011 among a random national sampling of adults. The margin of error for the overall poll was 2.8% points, with a confidence level of 95.

    [15] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 7 February 2011:

    Erdogan ? Turkish Cypriots

    In an article in Bugun entitled "Who created this parasite state?", columnist Gulay Gokturk comments on the "row" between Prime Minister Erdogan and Turkish Cypriot groups triggered by anti-AKP protests. Gokturk argues "that while Erdogan is justified in 'implying' that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a 'parasite state'," he has no right to "rub it in" because he has never questioned Turkish state policies since 1983 and intended to create a "puppet state" out of North Cyprus. She also calls on Erdogan in ironic terms to explain what he means by Turkey's "strategic interests" in Cyprus.

    Egypt and Turkey

    Ferai Tinc pens an article in Hurriyet in which she maintains that there is a difference between the way the West and the Islamic political movements see Turkey as a role model for Muslim countries. Referring to a New York Times (05.02.11) article which suggests that Turkey effectively integrates Islam, democracy, and a strong market economy, Tinc notes that the West sees Turkey as a "moderate Islamic model." The article, she adds, concerned about scaring away groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood from negotiations, avoids mentioning laicism. Tinc argues that establishing a true balance between religious duties and democratic principles without laicism is not realistic. Neither the differences between Turkish and Egyptian armies, nor Turkey's market economy -- in contrast to the state control applied in Egyptian economy -- has anything to do with moderate Islam, asserts Tinc and accuses the West of seeing an imaginary Turkey created by an "enough for the Orient" approach. Here lies the difference, she maintains and concludes that the West puts forward its own roadmap, whereas the peoples of the Middle East are inspired by Turkey's experience and progress in democratization.

    In his article in Sabah, Omer Taspinar also refers to the New York Times article and the ongoing debate in the United States on whether Turkey can be a role model for Egypt. Omer Taspinar maintains that the good coordination between Washington and Ankara on the Egyptian issue indicates that the United States takes Turkey seriously. Turkey's prestige and "soft power" increases as the Arab world is democratizing, Taspinar asserts, adding that the United States is aware of this and that it wants to benefit from it. He notes that as the autocratic regimes, which do not like the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will fall, Turkey and the AKP will benefit from this wave of democratization in the Arab world. Pointing out that US experts who know Turkey say that a "moderate Muslim Brotherhood" movement that is inspired by the AKP can be a role model for Egypt, Taspinar concludes: "We are entering a new period in which Turkey's importance for the Middle East and the United States will increase further."

    Yeni Akit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes Saudi Arabia for urging Mubarak to stand his ground against the protests. He also argues that the events in Egypt will play into Turkey's hands by causing it to be perceived as a "model country" by regional peoples who are calling for "freedom," that the process started by the events in Tunisia and Egypt will pick up speed as the United States and the West keep trying to reverse the ongoing developments, and that from now on "nothing will be the same for Israel in the region."

    Today's Zaman columnist Ihsan Dagi comments on the "debate" caused by the latest "demands for reform" in the Middle East over Turkey's capacity to offer a viable regional "model." He claims that the AKP [Justice and Development Party] experience has "relevance for the people of the Muslim Middle East" because it "demonstrates that Islamic identity is not in contradiction to democracy and that there is no inevitable clash between Islamic identity and the West, globalization and the market economy." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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