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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-02-09

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 briefed Elders on the Cyprus talks
  • [02] Eroglu holds meeting with foreign officials
  • [03] Eroglu talks with Gul and Davutoglu over the phone; Eroglu to meet political party leaders
  • [04] Serdar Denktas: protesters cannot be persecuted simply to satisfy Ankara
  • [05] The secret services reportedly been ordered to identify banner holders
  • [06] Cakici on Erdogan's reaction on Turkish Cypriots
  • [07] Columnist comments on Erdogan's statements: The Turkish side will not take effective steps for a solution
  • [08] "Is the government Ankara's goal?" 9. AKP's Huseyin Celik comments on Erdogan-Talat's meeting
  • [09] AKP's Huseyin Celik comments on Erdogan-Talat's meeting
  • [10] Dincolgu calls on the "Turkish Embassy" to occupied Cyprus to clarify its stance on the latest developments
  • [11] Data on the number of registered cars in the occupation area
  • [12] Oman Sultanate delegation holds contacts in occupied Cyprus

  • [13] "Cicek: Friday they were swearing, Monday they took the money"
  • [14] Political leaders comment on Erdogan's statements
  • [15] Turkish and Bahraini investment agencies signed a MoU
  • [16] "Turkish military breaks silence on unearthed bones"
  • [17] Caglayan says US sanctions on Iran not binding on Turkey
  • [18] Turkey's National Security Policy Document of 2011 announced
  • [19] "Parliament suspends talks on sack law, to take up judicial reform"
  • [20] Highlights


    Today's Turkish Cypriot papers focus on further reaction by Turkish Cypriot and Turkish politicians to the statements made by Turkish PM Erdogan on the demonstrations in the occupied areas of Cyprus. In addition, Turkish Cypriot leader Eroglu's separate meetings with the Elders' Group, UN's Downer and USA's Ubrancic, as well as his telephone conversations with Turkish President Gul and FM Davutoglu are reported. Moreover, statements by Serdar Denktas and Mehmet Cakici on the latest developments, the contacts of a delegation from Oman sultanate on education matters, data on the number of registered cars in the occupied areas, and other internal issues are covered by the press.

    [01] Eroglu briefed Elders on the Cyprus talks

    According to illegal Bayrak website (08.02.11), Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met on Tuesday with Elder's chairman Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dr Gro Brundtland who are in Cyprus to support the launch of a new documentary film on the missing persons called "Cyprus: Digging the past in search of the future".

    While the Elders' chairman expressed the group's support for a bi-communal solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of political equality, Eroglu said that the Turkish Cypriot side is doing all it can to reach a settlement on the island.

    Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, Desmond Tutu said the meeting with Eroglu was positive. Pointing out that this was the 4th visit of the Elders to the island, Tutu said that they are pleased to have been informed about developments since their last visit. Underlining the importance of working together and establishing dialogue between the two sides in order to reach a solution, he said that they want to encourage both sides to continue the process.

    For his part, Eroglu said that he informed the group on the latest developments and conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side's desire for a settlement.

    "We travelled to Geneva with a practical plan to overcome and settle existing differences on the basis of current realities. We tried to explain to the UN Chief that a settlement is not possible with the efforts of one side alone", Eroglu added.

    On the same issue, Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (09.02.11) reports that Eroglu also said that the Greek Cypriot side does not embrace a meeting with the guarantor countries and that a meeting with the UN Secretary-General is expected in March.

    [02] Eroglu holds meeting with foreign officials

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (09.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu had separate meetings yesterday, at the illegal presidential palace, with the UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer and the US Ambassador to Cyprus Frank Ubrancic. No statements were made after the meetings.

    [03] Eroglu talks with Gul and Davutoglu over the phone; Eroglu to meet political party leaders

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (09.02.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu had a telephone conversation with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul yesterday. During their 30-minute talk Eroglu and Gul exchanged views and thoughts on the recent developments in the occupied areas of Cyprus. According to the paper, it was underlined that nothing should be allowed to damage the historic ties and cordial relations between Turkey and the occupation regime.

    In addition, the paper reports that Eroglu also had a telephone conversation with the Turkish Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, mainly on the Cyprus problem and the latest development in the occupied areas.

    Moreover, the newspaper reports that Eroglu will meet once more on Friday afternoon with the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot political parties represented in the so-called assembly, in order to continue the discussion on the recent developments in occupied Cyprus.

    [04] Serdar Denktas: protesters cannot be persecuted simply to satisfy Ankara

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (09.02.11) reports that Serdar Denktas, leader of the Democratic Party (DP), said that the "TRNC", "which has a separate democracy and habits" cannot contravene its "constitution" and take "legal action" against those who carried banners in the 28 January, rally, simply to satisfy the government in Ankara.

    In statements yesterday during a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce, Denktas noted that there are no provisions for "legal sanctions" on such issues in this "country". He added: "According to our constitution, it is not possible to enact a new law in order to try past offences. Therefore, it is not possible to act against the law and the constitution in order to satisfy the Ankara government. How could this be punished in our circumstances? In any case, the people censure the small group which carried such banners. Everybody knows how many votes this movement receives in the elections, despite all the reaction. People try them and sentence them in their consciousness. This is the democratic mentality here. And we have no intention to change it. We are also annoyed with such things from time to time, but the mentality of 'take them, arrest them, try them and send them to prison' does not exist in our country".

    Denktas said nothing goes well in the occupied areas of Cyprus and added that the economic measures had not any positive influence on the economy. He noted that there are problems in engaging in a dialogue with the "government". He accused the "government" of having the mentality "I do whatever I want" because it has 27 "seats" in the "assembly". He argued that the "government" ignored all the proposals submitted by his party.


    [05] The secret services reportedly been ordered to identify banner holders

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (09.02.11) reports that the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has not apologized for insulting the Turkish Cypriots describing them as "servants", is still furious and is going too far. The paper writes that action has been launched for the punishment of those who carried the banners against Turkey during the rally on 28 January. Orders have been given to the "Civil Affairs Directorate", as the secret services are called, to identify the persons whom Erdogan examined one by one in the film of the rally and opened a file on them.

    Erdogan insists on taking to "court" and punishing those who carried the banners against Turkey, writes Afrika and refers to the address made by Erdogan yesterday at the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) parliamentary group meeting.

    The paper wonders what the stance of the European Union (EU) with regards to Erdogan's behaviour.


    [06] Cakici on Erdogan's reaction on Turkish Cypriots

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (08.02.11) under the title "It Hurts" reports that the leader of the Communal Democracy Party (TDP) Mehmet Cakici described Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent statement related to the Turkish Cypriots as "inappropriate, painful, and unacceptable".

    In a written statement, Cakici said "Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is incorrectly informed by his bureaucrats in north Cyprus, has made unfortunate and painful remarks based on wrong information" and noted: "Unfortunately, nor the government in north Cyprus informs Erdogan on the realities".

    Cakici asserted that Erdogan's argument that "the low ranking employees are paid TL10,000 per month in north Cyprus" is a joke and noted that it confirmed that the Turkish prime minister is not informed on the realities. He said: "An insulting style based on wrong information is unacceptable".

    Stressing that no one has the right to describe the Turkish Cypriots as a people who are being fed, Cakici asserted, "We neither want to be fostered nor fed by anyone. I wonder Erdogan would use the phrase 'I pay you' if a quarter of the population in Turkey organized a meeting similar to the one we held on 28 January".

    Asserting that the meetings in the squares by tens of thousands of Turkish Cypriots, who object to social, political, cultural, and economic impositions, have conveyed the necessary message, Cakici said: "Reacting to the tens of thousands of people who took to the streets to call for communal existence, Cemil Cicek and Recep Tayyip Erdogan made insulting remarks. Cicek said that 'they [the protesters] are like people in south Cyprus' and Erdogan said that 'they [the protesters] cooperate with south Cyprus in their activities.' Their remarks are similar to their way of thinking".

    Recalling Erdogan's remarks describing the meeting as a 'provocation', Cakici asserted that Erdogan should realize that the statement he made was a 'provocation', and noted that it might lead to turmoil between Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot people.

    [07] Columnist comments on Erdogan's statements: The Turkish side will not take effective steps for a solution

    Under the title "Time for action", Aysu Basri Akter comments in her daily column in Turkish Cypriot Yeni Duzen newspaper (09.02.11) on the recent statements by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Cyprus. The columnist writes that the Cyprus problem "preserves its place on the agenda of the media and the politics in Turkey", where the election campaign is warming up. Akter notes that the opposition strongly criticizes Erdogan, while the members of the AKP back him, and reports that Erdogan "reproved the opposition yesterday" by saying that "Cyprus is our national cause, let no one use Cyprus for their own petty interest".

    Akter continues:

    "It is obvious that the 'national cause of Cyprus' will once more prevail in the elections in Turkey over a configuring nationalism and a possessive language. Very well, what does this show? What is happening on the island is not important as long as the steps to be taken or are taken on the Cyprus issue do not coincide with Turkey's interests. And with this language the Turkish side will not take effective steps for the solution for a long time to come. Otherwise, a politician who is prepared for a solution would not put himself into an owner's position eliminating his own statements in the international field.

    As Milliyet newspaper's writer Kadri Gursel said last night speaking on a television channel, 'Erdogan sees Cyprus as [Turkey's] 82nd province and behaves in this manner. He wants to do in Cyprus what he does in the other 81 provinces'".

    The columnist argues that the "Erdogan crisis", as she describes the developments after the statements made by the Turkish Prime Minister, showed once more that the "first and basic thing" which the Turkish Cypriot community should do is defend its own home. She notes that the trade unions and the opposition parties, which protested against the economic package, "showed that the problem is not only financial".

    She says Erdogan will not apologize to the Turkish Cypriots and even if he apologizes, this will not change the existing reality and the basic view, because "the Cyprus problem will not be solved soon".

    Akter notes, inter alia, the following: "All structural problems of Cyprus are obvious today... And all the political parties, from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) to the Social Democracy Party (TDP), tasted the reality of being the government and yet not being able to govern. "


    [08] "Is the government Ankara's goal?"

    Under the above title, Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (09.02.11) comments on the latest developments in the occupation regime after the rally of January 28 and writes that this is an interesting period in the "country" adding that it is not clear at all what will follow.

    The article says this is the first time a Turkish Premier blames openly the "President and the government of the TRNC". It is pointed out that Cemil Cicek and other ministers and MP's, followed suit. The paper adds that this caused comments of the kind that Ankara does not want the "TRNC government" and the "TRNC president". Wondering what will happen, the paper comments that the country continues down the road of uncertainty?.

    Under the sub-heading "What will be Talat's position?" the paper writes that interesting scenarios emerged following Talat's meeting with the Erdogan, adding that Talat has been burdened with new duties. It is not clear what Talat's position is! Whether he will continue to be the second president", the paper writes adding that pressure is exerted on Talat to return to the CTP. If he does, the country may go well. However, the paper adds, Talat's goal is not this, pointing out that there are still three years until the next presidential elections."


    [09] AKP's Huseyin Celik comments on Erdogan-Talat's meeting

    Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (09.02.11) reports that the assistant chairman of AKP Huseyin Celik, in his statements during AKP Executive Board's meeting yesterday in Ankara, commented on the recent meeting between the Turkish Premier Erdogan and the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. Celik pointed out that Talat is a former president and is a very important personality in the political scene. He said the latest developments were discussed during the meeting. He added that Erdogan shared with Talat his displeasure on this issue.


    [10] Dincolgu calls on the "Turkish Embassy" to occupied Cyprus to clarify its stance on the latest developments

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (09.02.11) reports on statements of Enver Dincoglu, chairman of the "Turkish Cypriot Refugees and Solidarity Association", in which he called on the illegal ambassador to occupied Lefkosia to listen to the voice of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as regards the tension experienced in the occupied areas of Cyprus in the last days.

    Evaluating the latest development in occupied Cyprus, Dincoglu expressed the belief that the problems could be solved by taking the NGOs seriously. Referring to the uneasiness felt by the "refugees", he stated that for this reason, a campaign to collect signatures will be launched. He added that efforts are being made to bring the "Turkish Cypriot people" and the "citizens coming from Turkey" against each other, stating that trying to divide and split the people is the most harmful and treacherous act.

    He added that the "Turkish Embassy" to occupied Cyprus has to clarify its stance on the issue. "Keeping silent and being indifferent is in fact supporting what is going on", Dincoglu added.

    [11] Data on the number of registered cars in the occupation area

    Under the title "The second place is ours", Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (09.02.11) reports that the occupation regime holds the second place in the world in the number of vehicles per head.

    According to data given by the "Motor Vehicles Registry Department", even though the occupation regime is not recognized, it holds the second place in a total of 142 countries worldwide in the number of vehicles per head. The number of registered automobiles has reached 238.839. The number is much higher if the number of unregistered cars is also considered.

    Moreover, citing estimates by the "State Planning Organization" (DPO), the permanent residents up to the end of 2009 were 285.356, the paper makes the assumption that if this figure is 290.000 today, then the number of motor vehicles per 1000 of persons is 823, while in the USA is 842.


    [12] Oman Sultanate delegation holds contacts in occupied Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Vatan (09.02.11) reports that a delegation from the Ministry of Higher Education of the Sultanate of Oman is having contacts in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus. According to the report, the delegation, headed by the ministry's under-secretary Dr Abdullah Al Sarmi, paid a visit to the chairman of the "Higher Education Planning, Evaluation, Accreditation and Coordination Council" (YODAK), Dr Hasan Ali Bicak. Al Sarmi stated that cooperation between Oman and the occupation regime will be beneficial. He said the two sides agree on cooperating on issues regarding quality assurance in higher education as well.

    For his part, Bicak said that "YODAK" gives great importance to the quality in higher education and that efforts continue to this end, adding that they are in contact with institutions providing international quality accreditation to universities.


    Premier Erdogan's calling for the prosecution of opposition figure over remarks regarding the military, Turkey's Statistics Authority on industrial output in Turkey in 2010 reaching a record figure - a 13.1% increase, compared to the previous year, traces of oil found in the Black Sea and Turkey's desire to become self-sufficient in oil production by the year 2023, loans given to Turkish companies in Egypt which had been cut off from their progress payments due to political turmoil in the country, and other internal issues are the main topics in today's Turkish press.

    [13] "Cicek: Friday they were swearing, Monday they took the money"

    Under the above title, Fikret Bila in his column in Turkish daily Milliyet (09.02.11) reports on statements by the assistant Prime Minister, Cemil Cicek. Cicek described the rally as shameful and supported that the slogans used were agreed prior to the rally with the Greek Cypriot side.

    Cicek said that it is upsetting that there was a "Greek Cypriot flag" but no Turkish flags, and no one reacted. "Secondly, the rally was broadcast live by the public television and thirdly the Turkish Republic was insulted as the Turkish army was described to as an occupation force and guilty of war crimes", said Cicek who was annoyed by the fact that no Turkish Cypriot former "officials" reacted to this. Thus, the writer argues, he justified Erdogan's statements ?which targeted only the ones who used the slogans, as Cicek claimed, and not the 260,000 "TRNC nationals"- by saying that had "TRNC officials" condemned the events promptly, then Erdogan would have not felt the need to make his statements.

    Cicek also argued that Turkey strengthened "TRNC" and its existence saying that while in the past "TRNC" was represented only in Turkey, today it is present in 18 countries. In the past, when the Cyprus issue was discussed in the Council of Europe, "TRNC parliamentarians" could not enter the building, whereas now they participate in the General Assembly and deliver speeches. In the past, the "TRNC president" could only visit Turkey and the UN, whereas now he is invited to many countries.

    Cicek also supported that the objective of the demonstrations is the budget deficit in the TRNC, which amounts to 600 million Turkish Liras (approximately 300 million euro). He said that part of it will be covered with the financial support from Turkey, but wondered how the remainder 250 million TL can be covered, if not by cutting on expenditure. He said the Turkish Cypriots insulted Turkey on Friday January 28, but on Monday 31 they received their 13th salary with the 145 million TL that came from Turkey. He also said that "TRNC nationals" have no idea about Turkey's contributions, that there is a huge "public" sector which does not function, and although they insult Turkey, they do not contemplate abolishing the 13th salary. Cicek concluded saying: "Turkey does not say 'Let's force money in their pockets', and wondered whether Turkish Cypriots will sacrifice a cent?"

    [14] Political leaders comment on Erdogan's statements

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (08.02.11) reports on statements of various political leaders commenting on Erdogan's statements that the Turkish Cypriots were receiving Turkey's handouts.

    Devlet Bah?eli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) speaking in his party's weekly parliamentary group meeting yesterday said the following: "The fact that the prime minister lost his nerve and went into a rage while using severe language regarding our Cypriot brothers and sisters, is important in shedding light on his true intentions. I would like to declare that we strongly condemn the prime minister's words that insult our Cypriot brothers and sisters by suggesting they receive handouts, and belittling the administration that was voted in power. Whether he likes them or not, all of our Cypriot brothers and sisters are important to us. Northern Cyprus will continue its existence as an inseparable part of Turkey, and all the aid they receive rightfully belongs to them like their mothers' milk. Politicians will never have enough power to question that," said the MHP chief.

    Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal K1l1?daroglu said only five to 10 of the 40,000 protesters had banners targeting Turkey. According to the CHP chief, Erdogan s  degrading words targeted all Cypriots and not just those protesting.  Mr Prime Minister, don t you ever look in the mirror? Didn't your minister go to Dubai to sign a $1 million grant? What would you say if they said you were receiving handouts? You consider all help as 'giving handouts.' What about the Turkish citizens to whom you give coal and food to [prior to elections]?" asked K1l1?daroglu, who also said that Cyprus is more developed when it comes to Turkey, and its Political Parties Law is more transparent, adding that civil servants in the territory have the right to go on strike.

    According to Turkish daily Hurriyet (09.02.11), Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) also reacted to Erdogan's statements. The vice-chairman of BDP, Gultan Kisanak speaking in her party's parliamentary group said that Erdogan's statement that the Turkish Cypriots are supported financially by Turkey, defines a landlord-farmer relationship, where the landlord owns all the land and provides enough food only to feed their wives and who also expects their subordination. "Cyprus people are not tenant farmers, nor do they want a landlord," said Kisanak.

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet (08.02.11) reports under the title "Erdogan's threatening behaviour cannot be accepted" refers to a written statement by the general chairman of the Equality and Democracy Party (EDP) Ziya Halis. The statement said that AKP's government and the PM's behaviour is that of a patron and a sign of the patriarchal and imperialist understanding of the motherland-daughter land relationship. He added that this approach will not save the north from international isolation and said: "The road to a bi-zonal, bi-communal, multi-language, multi-cultural, multi-religion, multi-identity, democratic and united Cyprus Federation for sure does not go through such behaviours."

    [15] Turkish and Bahraini investment agencies signed a MoU

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (09.02.11), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Crown Prince Al Khalifa of Bahrain, who is currently in Ankara on an official visit.

    At a joint news conference following the meeting, Erdogan said that Turkey's political, military, economic, commercial and cultural relations with Bahrain have been further improving day by day, adding that chairmen of Turkish and Bahraini investment agencies signed a memorandum of understanding. He said that Crown Prince Al Khalifa and himself agreed to strengthen the political dialogue.

    Referring to commercial relations between the two countries, Erdogan said that Turkey-Bahrain trade volume rose to 244 million USD in 2010 from 150 million USD in 2009. "We aim at taking some steps to increase our trade volume in parallel with our excellent political relations", he said.

    Al Khalifa said there were ten Turkish banks in Bahrain, and Bahraini banks should also have branches in Istanbul and Ankara.

    [16] "Turkish military breaks silence on unearthed bones"

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 08.02.11) with the above title reports that the Turkish Gendarmerie General Command on Tuesday broke its weeks-long silence on human bones found last month in a mass grave in eastern Anatolia and said officials had been informed about the buried bodies.

    In a written statement posted on its official website, the Gendarmerie General Command said the bodies of 15 members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who were killed in clashes in 1999 were buried in the area after autopsies were performed with the knowledge of public prosecutors. "The bodies were buried after the proper licences were obtained," the statement said.

    Bones belonging to at least 20 people were unearthed in the Mutki district of the eastern province of Bitlis in early January in an area used as a landfill for a gendarmerie station.

    The excavations were sparked by information provided by relatives of the missing people, who stated they had known of the locations since the 1990s but were afraid to speak out. Twelve skeletons were uncovered on the first day of the dig, while the remains of eight more were unearthed later.

    [17] Caglayan says US sanctions on Iran not binding on Turkey

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (08.02.11), Turkey's state minister for foreign trade Zafer Caglayan, speaking to reporters Tuesday, said: "The U.S. sanctions on Iran only bind the US itself. Turkey will follow the UN orders over its own sanctions on Iran".

    Caglayan said Turkey and Iran had a long-standing relationship with "its roots deep in the history. And we have no such duty as defending Iran on behalf of the country". He added that Turkey is sensitive over peaceful use of nuclear energy, adding however that Turkey opposed any such of nuclear power other than for peaceful purposes.

    Caglayan recalled that the US included in a black list three companies with Turkish partners making business with Iran, adding that those companies sold Iran aluminium and high quality steel. "There are no bans imposed by Turkey on those companies. There are strict rules as to how companies operate in Turkey. Turkey is a rule of law", Caglayan said.

    He also said Turkey has a trade volume of 10 billion US dollars annually, adding that the two countries aim at boosting that figure to as high as 30 billion USD.

    [18] Turkey's National Security Policy Document of 2011 announced

    Turkish daily Sabah (04.02.11), under the title "Exploitation of religion' included in defense strategy", reports that the Ministry of Defence announced its 2011 strategy within the framework of the updated National Security Policy Document (MGSB).

    In the new version of the MGSB, which is known as the Red Book, religious reaction had been removed from the list of domestic security threats and replaced by exploitation of religion. In the document, which draws attention to the necessity of strengthening the deterrent role of the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK], ethnic nationalism has been removed from the elements of threat and micro-nationalism has been added. Micro-nationalism means for an individual to stress, rather than the supra-identity that is accepted by society and which functions as a sort of umbrella, his own sub-identity, to express this and demand rights for it, and later to tend toward separatist movements. In contrast to ethnic nationalism, in micro-nationalism, those who do not possess the same identity as an individual are excluded. The other elements of threat in the Ministry of National Defence's Strategy Document, which was prepared in accord with the views of the TSK, are listed as follows: micro-nationalism, terrorism , weapons of mass destruction, virtual attacks, Piracy on the high seas, organized crime, illegal migration, exploitation of religion, energy supply security, global climate change, support to peace.

    The "Strategy Document" signed by Minister of National Defence Vecdi Gonul stressed that the TSK will continue to take part in security activities conducted under the auspices of international organizations. In the document, which noted that Turkey's national defence policy is based on Ataturk's principle of "peace at home and peace in the World", it was stated that participation will be shown in all international activities that support peace. Turkey's Defence Policy was explained as follows in the document:

    - To defend the country's independence, its national sovereignty, its territorial integrity, and its national interests,

    - To take an active role in collective defence mechanisms, and to fulfil its responsibilities within the scope of NATO,

    - To contribute, within the framework of international law, to peace, stability, and security in its region and in the world, and

    - To take every sort of measure to prevent conflicts and crises.

    [19] "Parliament suspends talks on sack law, to take up judicial reform"

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 09.02.11) with the above title reports that Turkish Parliament yesterday put talks on "the sack law" -- a term commonly used in Parliament to describe a package of unrelated revisions to laws that are lumped together for the purpose of fast-tracking legislative changes -- on hold and decided to begin debating a bill that aims to overhaul the high judiciary.

    The judicial reform bill seeks to address Turkey's long-standing problem of case overload. The judiciary's workload turned to a major crisis earlier this year when a law amending Article 102 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) went into force. The law limits the period of arrest to a maximum of 10 years for inmates who are awaiting a decision from a court of first instance, or, if they have already been convicted, from an appeals court.

    The new measures seek to lighten the burden of the high judiciary, which has to deal with an over-growing number of appeals cases. The changes bring the total number of chambers in the Supreme Court of Appeals to 38 from 32 and increase the number of Council of State chambers to 15. A total of 197 new judges will be hired in the two judicial bodies. The new chambers will also take on the responsibilities of the Military Supreme Administrative Court (AY0M) as well as those of the Military Supreme Court of Appeals.

    [20] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press of 8 February 2011:

    Unrest in Egypt

    In an article in Hurriyet entitled "Democracy doctrine in Turkish foreign policy, Hurriyet columnist Sedat Ergin describes Ankara's call for democracy in Egypt as the "the most important result of the Egyptian crisis for Turkey's Middle East policy." Recalling that not only Prime Minister Erdogan but also President Gul used every opportunity to express their willingness to see "freedom, democracy, good governance, transparency, accountability, and gender equality" in the Islamic world, Ergin says that particularly the speech Erdogan delivered in his party group meeting on 1 February will be a reference for the change in the Turkish politics. However, he says, the improvement in Ankara's foreign policy is likely to become a "consistency test" for the Erdogan administration, adding that, Turkey will be expected to adopt a similar approach in all crises in the region. Pointing out that similar democratic movements are likely to be seen in Iran as well, Ergin asks whether "Ankara will be brave enough to side with the democratic forces in that country."

    In an article in Taraf entitled "Secular Turkey model," columnist Temel Iskit finds Turkish analysts' assessment of the "social structure and political movements" in Egypt and the Middle East "superficial" and says that the basic reason for this situation is "Turkey's indifference to the Middle Eastern countries for many years." Referring to a poll conducted by TESEV on Turkey acting as a role model for the Middle East and Egypt, he asserts that "Turkey's Muslim identity, economic power, and democratic regime" are the main factors that make it a model country in the region, but not its secular structure. He goes on to argue that the Egyptian and Tunisian people do not care about secularism as they have suffered from their pro-military secular regimes so far.

    Debate on the presidential system

    In an article in Zaman entitled "Does Erdogan want to be a second Putin?", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for what he describes as his irrational and illogical insistence on a presidential system despite objections from President Gul, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, Speaker of Parliament Mehmet Ali Sahin, constitutional law experts, and opposition parties. He links Erdogan's calls for a shift to the presidential system to "psychological" factors, asserting that the prime minister apparently wants to replace Gul as president and enjoy added powers. He adds that Erdogan's political aspirations seem inexplicable in light of his recent remarks calling on Mubarak to step down and reminding him of the vanity of political ambitions by noting that "we are mortals and a two-cubic meter pit is where we will all go eventually as Muslims."

    Batum's remarks against TSK

    Fikret Bila of Milliyet asserts that Republican People's Party [CHP] deputy leader Suheyl Batum's harsh criticism of the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] has placed the opposition party in a difficult position. Recalling that Batum described the TSK as a "paper tiger," Bila asserts that those remarks were taken as an indication of the CHP's pro-coup stance regardless of CHP leader Kilicdaroglu's efforts to change this image. Bila notes that Batum opposed the circles that assessed his remarks as a call for a military coup, recalling that his father had been removed from power after a military takeover. He said his aim was to have the former chiefs of the General Staff protect their institution against the unfair accusations and actions levelled at the TSK and some of its members. According to Bila, it is still unclear whether CHP leader Kilicdaroglu will stand behind his deputy regardless of the remarks that harmed his efforts to create a new image for the CHP.

    Radikal columnist Murat Yetkin says in his article that a "respected professor of constitution" should have refrained from making such a comment on the military. He asserts that Kilicdaroglu might be trying to tolerate his colleagues' remarks as part of the CHP plan to address the voters on a "broader spectrum," however, he adds, the party should realize that freedom of speech does not mean that party members can announce their personal views as the official views of the party.

    Star carries an article by Mustafa Karaalioglu who also criticizes CHP's Batum for his controversial remarks. Karaalioglu says that the politicians who urge the military to take action against the civilian administration and call on the people to resist have no value anymore, adding: "Neither the military will turn into a tiger nor the people will take to the streets just because some desperate politicians asked them to do so." Stressing that Turkey will be dealing with the preparations for a new constitution after the general elections, he wonders whether the CHP will be able to contribute to that process with an academic like Batum.

    Yeni Safak columnist Abdulkadir Selvi asserts that Suheyl Batum's recent statement saying that the Turkish military has turned out to be a "paper tiger" is part of a strategy that is intended to enable Batum to come forward as a potential candidate for CHP leader in place of Kemal Kilicdaroglu following the general election in June by obtaining the support of neo-nationalist segments of society that are angry at the Turkish military because it has not toppled the ruling AKP in a coup. Selvi also urges Kilicdaroglu to expel Batum from the CHP, in this way using the "historic opportunity" provided by Batum's remarks to prove the sincerity of his recent statement announcing that he would be the first person to confront army tanks head on in the event of a coup.

    Yeni Akit columnist Serdar Arseven criticizes the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for responding to Suheyl Batum's "insults" and "slander" against the Turkish military in an "extremely polite manner." Recalling how the TSK issued a "very sharp statement" against the ruling AKP on 27 April 2007 warning it about the way primary school girls were made to wear religious attire and sing hymns at a n event organized in the southeastern province of Urfa, Arseven asks whether the TSK regards Suheyl Batum's "words of abuse" against the military as being less serious than examples of what it perceived as a reactionary threat to the regime in 2007.

    Zaman columnist Mumtazer Turkone argues that statements by CHP deputies urging the people to take to the streets to show resistance to the Government's plans to pass a new judicial bill and Suheyl Batum's "disgusting" remarks intended to "provoke" the TSK into staging a coup are aimed at destabilizing Turkey so that it could not serve as a model to the Arab world and the popular pressure for democracy and freedom in Egypt could be prevented from having a "domino effect." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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