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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-03-21

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 reiterates that Turkey's guarantor role is an indispensable condition
  • [02] Bagis on the Cyprus problem; Comments by Turkish Cypriot politicians on Bagis's statement
  • [03] Reactions by Turkish Cypriot politicians against the military operation in Libya
  • [04] Ozgurgun will deliver a speech in the British House of Lords
  • [05] Letters sent to EU official by the tradesmen association
  • [06] BKP to participate in a conference in Brussels
  • [07] Elcil: The Trade Unions' Platform will hold an activity in Brussels; TURK-SEN will not participate
  • [08] The occupation regime protested against bringing religious books in the occupied areas
  • [09] Nevruz celebrations organized by Kurdish settlers
  • [10] Data regarding child births in the occupied northern part of Cyprus

  • [11] Turkey pirouettes as Libya is assaulted
  • [12] Journalists in Turkey march again for colleagues' freedom
  • [13] Erdogan calls on Saudi Arabian companies to invest in Turkey
  • [14] Russian giant to build four hydro-plants in Turkey
  • [15] A joint urban warfare exercise in Istanbul
  • [16] Highlights


    Eroglu's statements on the Cyprus problem and Bagis's on Turkey's EU bid and the Cyprus problem, reaction statements by Turkish Cypriot politicians against the military operation in Libya, reports that Ozgurgun is to deliver a speech in the House of Lords, a press release from the "foreign ministry" on the confiscation of religious books, BKP's participation to a conference in Brussels, Nevruz's festival celebrations in the occupied areas, letters sent to EU officials by the tradesmen association in the occupied areas and other internal issues are some of the main stories highlighted by the Turkish Cypriot press today and over the weekend.

    [01] Eroglu reiterates that Turkey's guarantor role is an indispensable condition

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 18.03.11), during a commemoration ceremony at the Bogaz Martyrdom to mark 18th of March- the 95th anniversary of Air, Land and Naval Victories achieved in Turkey's city of Canakkale, and to commemorate the martyrs, Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu signed the special book.

    Referring to the Cyprus negotiations process, Eroglu wrote that Turkey's active and effective guarantee is a sine qua non for Cyprus Turks.

    "We are living freely on this land today as a result of motherland Turkey's support. Our priority goal at the negotiations table is to protect the right of free living which was granted to us by the martyrs" he wrote.

    Eroglu noted that the Turkish Cypriot side is working towards the achievement of a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem that will prevent the reoccurrence of the bitter experiences of the past.

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 18.03.11), on his return to the "presidential palace" after the meeting with Cyprus President Christofias, Eroglu told reporters that the Turkish Cypriot side put forward clear-cut proposals on the issue of citizenship.

    "But divergences between the two sides continue on the issue. The possibility of solving these divergences will be taken up by our special representatives when they meet next week", he said.

    Noting that both sides have sensitivities on the issue, Eroglu stated that there has been no certainty on whether to hold another tripartite meeting in the near future with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

    Moreover, illegal Bayrak television (online, 20.03.11) reports that Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, addressing the general assembly of the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry, said that it is not possible to continue with the negotiations process forever.

    He said: "The day the Greek Cypriot side understands that an agreement tailored for its own needs will not be accepted, is the day an agreement will be reached on the Cyprus problem."

    Eroglu said that although the Greek Cypriot side is shying away from an agreement at the moment, efforts to find a solution to the Cyprus problem were continuing. He also reiterated his proposal of a quintet meeting that would take up every subject on the Cyprus problem.

    Referring to the economic situation, Eroglu said that he fully supports the dialogue between the "government" and opposition parties in order to solve the economic problems in the "country".

    [02] Bagis on the Cyprus problem; Comments by Turkish Cypriot politicians on Bagis's statement

    Illegal Bayrak Television (online-19.03.11) reported that the Turkish Minister of State and the Chief Negotiator with the European Union Egemen Bag1s has said that Turkey is expecting a fair treatment as concerns the Cyprus problem.

    Bag1s touched upon the Cyprus problem during his contacts in Washington and said neither he, nor his party or any other politician or political party would give up Cyprus for the sake of the European Union, however he said they will not give up the EU for the sake of Cyprus because Turkey has legal theories and rights on both issues.

    Noting that it was a double standard to put the Cyprus issue as a precondition for Turkey but not for the "Greek Cypriot Administration" for EU membership, Bag1s reminded that the Greek Cypriots had prevented peace in Cyprus by refusing the Annan plan.

    He also stressed that Turkey expects the EU to be fair on Turkey s negotiations process, on the visa issue, on fighting with terrorism and on the Cyprus issue.

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Haberdar (20.03.11), several politicians in the occupied areas commented on Bagis's statements.

    Kutlay Erk, CTP general secretary referred to Bagis's statements and said that he believes that the scenarios about "who will give up what" are wrong. He said that the Turkish Cypriots do not want the separation of the island and he called on Turkey to continue its policy and support the ongoing process for finding a solution of the Cyprus problem. He added that the EU will do what is necessary as soon as it will notice that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots follow a policy in favor of the solution.

    Also, commenting on statements by Bagis, Ertugrul Hasipoglu, UBP general secretary said that they agree with Bagis and reiterated that Turkey and the "TRNC" are like "flesh and nail". He said that the Cyprus problem is a national cause and added that it is the Turkish Cypriots who support mostly the solution of the Cyprus problem and not the Greek Cypriots.

    Also, Huseyin Angolemli, "MP" with Communal Democracy Party (TDP) in occupied Famagusta commented on Bagis's statements and said that Bagis speaks without thinking. He said that for years now, the Turkish Cypriots go ahead with the political support of Turkey and added that he does not understand the worries of Bagis. He then pointed out that there will not be any interest for Turkey if the Turkish Cypriots become members of the EU.

    Reminding the period of the Annan plan, Angolemli said that there was an article saying that "if a solution is found in Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots would establish a joint state and thus they would vote in favour of Turkey's accession to the EU". Thus, during that time Turkey is supposed to be the most realistic ally of this statement, he said.

    Referring then to the unilateral accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU and the fact that it opposes to the accession of Turkey to the EU, Angolemli reminded also the fact that Greece and France are also against Turkey's EU accession and said "I consider that Bagis speaks without thinking first".


    [03] Reactions by Turkish Cypriot politicians against the military operation in Libya

    Under the title "It is unacceptable", Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.03.11) reports that Turkish Cypriot politicians have reacted to the bombing of Libya by the international coalition after the decision of the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone over that country. The five parties represented in the "assembly" of the regime described the "UN intervention" as "unacceptable" and said they wish for it to end.

    The leader of the National Unity Party (UBP) and self-styled prime minister, Irsen Kucuk said they worry that a "new Iraq" will happen in the Mediterranean. "We wish that no other purposes are served under the pretext that the innocent Libyan people will be protected", he added. Referring to the use of the British military bases in Cyprus during this operation, Kucuk said that this was wrong and contrary to the reason for which the bases are in Cyprus.

    The general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Kutlay Erk said they do not think that the intervention in Libya is correct even though it is carried out under the UN umbrella. He pointed out that a war is taking place and noted that using the British bases in Cyprus in this operation is wrong and contrary to the reason for which the bases are in the island.

    The chairman of the Social Democracy Party (TDP), Mehmet Cakici said that the military intervention in Libya is a "human drama" as big as Kadaffi's actions against his own people. He noted that it is not possible for them to approve what is happening. Referring to the use of the British military bases in Cyprus during this operation, Cakici said that the British bases have been turned into a place for carrying out such operations in the Middle East and added that this is "one of the elements which induce the non-solution in Cyprus".

    The general secretary of the Democratic Party (DP), Bengu Sonya, expressed the view that it is "nonsense" to say that the intervention is held to save the Libyan people. Sonya asked the international community to question the role of the UN and argued that absolutely no country is secure with this behavior. Referring to the British bases in Cyprus, Sonya said that the bases are used by the USA and added that this is wrong.

    The vice-president of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), Mustafa Gokmen recalled that Kaddafi had declared ceasefire after the decision of the UN Security Council and described as "wrong" the bombing of Libya without taking into consideration this statement. He argued that the decision to launch an operation against Libya was taken for the sake of oil. He expressed the view that the use of the British bases in Cyprus in this operation is not good for the island, noting that Cyprus might become "part of the game" because of its geographical position.


    [04] Ozgurgun will deliver a speech in the British House of Lords

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.03.11) reports that Huseyin Ozgurgun, self-styled minister of foreign affairs of the breakaway regime, will deliver a speech on Wednesday, 6 April, in the House of Lords of the British Parliament. According to the paper, the meeting, which will take place in room 4A of the House of Lords, will be hosted by Lord Maginnis, who is known as being "close to northern Cyprus".

    In his speech, Ozgurgun will evaluate the latest developments on the Cyprus problem and he will brief the participants on the Cyprus talks.

    A statement issued by the "London Representation" of the breakaway regime notes that Ozgurgun will participate as "guest of honour" in the activity, which will be organized under the auspices of the "Group of TRNC's Friends" in the British Parliament.


    [05] Letters sent to EU official by the tradesmen association

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 18.03.11), the chairman of Asmaalti and Arasta Tradesmen Association [Tr. note: shop owners in the Arasta shopping areas-area within the walls of occupied Lefkosia] Tanju Muezzinoglu has sent letters to high ranking EU officials, calling for the removal of the "embargoes and restrictions enforced against the Turkish Cypriots".

    Letters were sent to the EU Commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Parliament (EP) Jerzy Buzek, the Deputy President of the EP and coordinator of the High Level contacts group for relations with Turkish Cypriots Libor Roucek and the European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule.

    In the letter Muezzinoglu calls "for the removal of all embargoes enforced against Cyprus Turkish merchants and businessmen".

    [06] BKP to participate in a conference in Brussels

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (19.03.11) reported that according to information acquired by the United Cyprus Party (BKP), the party is to participate at a conference in Brussels entitled "Cypriots create their common future".

    According to the paper, the conference is to be organized on March 23 by the European Parliamentary Group (GUE/NGL- European United Left /Nordic Green Left). BKP is to be represented at the conference by Izzet Izcan, BKP's General Secretary, and Salih Rustu, Education Secretary.

    As the paper reports, in the framework of his visit to Brussels, Izcan will also have contacts with several EU officials and European MP's and will participate at the protest which is to be organized by Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions in front of the European Parliament's building.


    [07] Elcil: The Trade Unions' Platform will hold an activity in Brussels; TURK-SEN will not participate

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.03.11) reports that the Trade Unions' Platform has announced that it decided to hold an activity in Brussels in order to carry to the European capital the "will expressed at Inonu Square" on 28 January and 2 March 2011. In a statement issued on behalf of the Platform, Sener Elcil, general secretary of the Primary School Teachers' Trade Union (KTOS), said they will also hold contacts with EU officials. Elcil is expected to hold a press conference today on the issue.

    Meanwhile, Arslan Bicakli, chairman of TURK-SEN trade union, stated that the activity in Brussels is not a joint activity by the Trade Unions' Platform. TURK-SEN is one of the unions which have established the Platform. Bicakli said a proposal had been submitted during the meetings of the Platform for holding such an activity in Brussels, but the Unions could not agree and therefore they took no decision on the issue. He added that this activity will be held by some trade unions, which are members of the Platform. He noted that the Platform will continue its activities against the economic package until a result is achieved.


    [08] The occupation regime protested against bringing religious books in the occupied areas

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 18.03.11), the self-styled foreign ministry protested to the Greek Cypriot side's attempt to bring religious books into the occupied areas through "illegal ways" by informing the United Nations Peace Forces in Cyprus on the issue.

    According to a press release by the self-styled foreign ministry, it's been alleged that "the Greek Cypriot leadership has recently increased its planned and coordinated smearing campaigns against the Turkish Cypriot side". The press release also said that "the books were prevented from entering the TRNC as the authorities were not informed accordingly and this is contrary to the legislation".

    [09] Nevruz celebrations organised by Kurdish settlers

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris reports that yesterday's celebrations for Nevruz took place in occupied Vathylakas village. The celebrations were organised for the first time by the "TRNC East and Southeast Cultural Association." Speaking during the event the chairman of the association Ismet Ilkhan said that settlers of Kurdish origin who came to occupied Cyprus after the 1974 invasion had no chance to meet before and that this was realized thanks to the association which was founded last year.

    Ilkhan said that the aims of their association are to unite the Kurdish people of the area, revive customs and traditions and look for solutions to common problems. He also said that the event was organized due to the Nevruz celebration, the biggest holiday in their culture, and wished for peace and friendship for all the people of the world.

    Also, so-called ministers of finance Ersin Tatar and agriculture Zorlu Tore participated in the celebrations. Tore stated that they are all people of the same nation and that different cultures should not separate them from each other.

    [10] Data regarding child births in the occupied northern part of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (21.03.11) publishes the results of a research regarding child births in the "TRNC." According to the research, the growth of the real estate sector and the boom in birth rate are connected. Comparing data from 2002 until 2009, it appears that the highest number of births was in 2007, with 4.009 children being born. In 2009, when the real estate sector took a dive, only 2.556 children were born.

    From the given statistical data more boys than girls were born in the 8 year period and that the majority of the births occurred during the summer months. Specifically the yearly numbers of births are as follows:

    Year Total Births

    2002 2.338

    2003 2.572

    2004 2.987

    2005 3.208

    2006 3.611

    2007 4.009

    2008 3.888

    2009 25


    Main issues in the Turkish newspapers during the weekend are the recent developments in Libya and statements by the Turkish Premier Erdogan addressing the Jeddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia where he called on the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to leave office. In addition, the contacts of the Turkish EU Negotiator Bagis in the USA, a statement by the State Minister for Foreign Trade Caglayan that the Turkish contractors undertook a total of 517 projects worth 20.3 billion USD in 48 countries in 2010, the Nevruz Festival celebrations held in various Turkish provinces, and other internal issues were also covered by the press.

    [11] Turkey pirouettes as Libya is assaulted

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.03.11) with the above title reports that Turkey is changing its tune on intervention in Libya, saying it will make the necessary contributions to the no-fly zone it previously opposed amid hints that it might participate in a possible NATO operation to stop the crisis in the North African country. Libyan leader Gaddafi had been 'warned... to respect his people's will,' Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

    Turkey is quietly trying to shift its position on outside intervention in Libya, which it previously opposed, suggesting that it approved a NATO plan that includes both military and political measures.

    Gaddafi should have stepped down a long time ago, Erdogan said Sunday, adding that Turkey cannot remain indifferent to the developments in Libya. He said he had urged the Libyan leader to appoint a President with popular support in an effort to end the crisis in his country. "He has already passed that period, he is contradicting himself," Erdogan said in Jeddah. "I had warned Gaddafi to respect his people's will", he stressed.

    The shift in Turkey's position in favour of the Western-led military operation was announced by the Foreign Ministry late Saturday in a written statement. It said Turkey would make the necessary and appropriate national contribution to implement a U.N. no-fly zone over Libya and measures to protect the civilians.

    "Within this framework, the necessary preparations and studies are being made in coordination with civil and military authorities," the ministry said, without specifying how Turkey would contribute.

    Ankara had expressed reservations about a no-fly zone, but after the U.N. Security Council decision authorizing military action, Erdogan and the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the resolution was binding on all countries. They urged Gaddafi to implement a cease-fire immediately.

    "There has been no shift in our position," a senior Foreign Ministry diplomat told the Daily News. "We have expressed our opposition to a military intervention since the very beginning and today we say the same."

    The situation in Libya has reached a dimension not desired by Turkey, Erdogan said in a televised speech in Jeddah. "We respect each country's territorial integrity in our region," he said and stressed: "We hope the military intervention will come to an end as soon as possible and Libya will [regain] stability."

    Meanwhile, Hurriyet Daily News (20.03.11) also reports that the leader of the main opposition party has expressed support for the international air operation in Libya while calling on the North African country to move toward a more democratic regime.

    "No administration should exert pressure on its own people and shoot them. If the United Nations has passed such a resolution, then this [operation] has gained international legitimacy, Kemal K1l1cdaroglu, leader of the Republican People s Party (CHP) told reporters Sunday. He added that the Turkish government s softening stance on military intervention is  not wrong in this framework.

    Yasar Topcu, leader of the ultranationalist Great Union Party (BBP), has meanwhile urged the government not to allow the international coalition forces to use Turkey s 0ncirlik air base to attack Libya.

    [12] Journalists in Turkey march again for colleagues' freedom

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.03.11) reports that Journalists' associations in Turkey have again taken to the streets of the capital amid growing concerns about the deterioration of press freedom.

    "We are here today because we are concerned that the people's right to information act is being precluded," Ercan Ipekci, the rotating president of the Platform for the Freedom of Journalists, said in his speech during a demonstration held on Saturday.

    "Freedom of the press will totally be abolished if journalists are counted as members of a terrorist organization because of their journalistic activities," he said, demanding that the arrested journalists be released pending trial. "Release them in the name of the law, of universal principles and values, of reason and of conscience," Ipekci said.

    [13] Erdogan calls on Saudi Arabian companies to invest in Turkey

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (20.03.11), speaking at the Jeddah Economic Forum in Saudi Arabia, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the reforms carried out in Turkey as well as the country's active policies in the international arena contributed both to Turkey's and the region's prosperity.

    Erdogan said Turkey's national income had grown by more than 3 times in the last 8 years and reached 730 billion USD, while the country's exports had increased to 132 billion USD in 2008 and amounted to 114 billion USD during the global economic crisis.

    Erdogan said Saudi Arabia made a substantive amount of investments in Turkey, adding that the number of companies with Saudi partners had exceeded 200 and the capital stock had reached 2.5 billion USD.

    Erdogan said that the foreign trade volume between Turkey and Saudi Arabia had amounted to 4.7 billion USD in 2010, but such figure was not sufficient.

    "We would like to see all our Arab brothers invest in health, tourism, energy, construction, industry, agriculture and all other sectors in our country. You can all be sure that the doors will be wide open to you," he added.

    Referring to the visa exemption agreements Turkey has signed with Syria, Jordan and Libya, Erdogan noted that talks were also underway with Saudi Arabia to lift visas.

    [14] Russian giant to build four hydro-plants in Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (20.03.11) reports that the Russian energy systems machine-building company OJSC Power Machines is to build four hydroelectric power plants in Turkey with an energy-generation capacity of nearly 940 megawatts.

    This Russian leading company in the power-plant industry has concluded a pre-agreement in Turkey to build four hydroelectric power plants. The company wants to build the technical infrastructure of these projects, which adds up to at least $1 billion of investment, according to anonymous officials from the State Waterworks Authority (DS0).

    The Russian giant intends to build a 180-megawatt plant at the Yusufeli Dam in the north-eastern province of Artvin, a 600-megawatt plant at the Gerze Dam in the northern province of Sinop and a 90-megawatts plant at the Kavaktepe Dam in the south-eastern province of Kahramanmaras. The company also wants to build a 70-megawatt hydroelectric power plant at the 0ncir Dam in the south-eastern province of Siirt.

    [15] A joint urban warfare exercise in Istanbul

    According to Ankara Anatolia (18.03.11), Turkish, Afghan and Pakistani armed forces are set to hold a joint urban warfare exercise in Istanbul on March 19-26.

    According to a press release aired at the web-page of the Turkish General Staff, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan had agreed to conduct the exercise during a tripartite summit meeting on December 24, 2010 in Istanbul.

    The press release said that the military exercise will take place at the Infantry Brigade School Command in Tuzla district in Istanbul, noting that the aim of the military exercise was to improve friendship, cooperation and confidence among the three countries.

    [16] Highlights

    Following are summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish Press of 18-20 March 2011:

    Arab unrest, Libya, UN resolution

    "The UN resolution is aimed at setting the scene for the occupation of Libya", Yeni Akit (19.3.11), columnist Mehmet Kocak criticizes the UN resolution on Libya as a plan to occupy Libya on the pretext of protecting the Libyan people and ejecting Al-Qadhafi from power. He claims that the forces behind the resolution attach importance to Libya only because of the natural resources available in the region, adding that this is obvious from the way they are "discussing how oil revenues in Libya will be distributed in the restructuring period" rather than how the resolution will be implemented. He also claims that Germany, India, Russia, China, and Brazil are trying merely to obtain "a greater share of the pie" in abstaining from the resolution.

    "Al-Qadhafi's weapons from Turkey?", Milli Gazete (19.3.11) columnist Mustafa Ozcan comments on a statement by Abdel-Hafez Guka, Deputy Chairman of the Provisional National Council in Benghazi, asserting that Turkish-flagged ships are delivering weapons to Al-Qadhafi. Ozcan describes the statement as one that potentially gives the lie to Prime Minister Erdogan's remark that "we are not one of those countries whose interest in Libya has to do with oil or arms trade." He also argues that Erdogan's statements on Libya are "far from being comprehensible," adding that his remark urging Al-Qadhafi to name a successor in his place is a case in point.

    Under the banner headline "Like the Gulf," Yeni Safak (20.3.11), carries a front-page report which asserts that Al-Qadhafi's "stubbornness" led to "disaster" in Libya yesterday when France, the United States, Britain, Italy, and Canada unleashed a series of air and land attacks "as in the Gulf war against Iraq" "before the ink on the UN resolution dried." According to the report, the operation to "liberate" Libya resulted in the killing of dozens of lives on day one.

    "So much for western ethics," Yeni Akit (20.3.11), carries a front-page report which slams Western leaders like Berlusconi and Sarkozy who "used until recently to kiss Al-Qadhafi's hand for the sake of oil" for starting to bomb military targets controlled by Al-Qadhafi "now that their interests have been compromised." According to the report, the operation against Libya has exposed the West's "imperialist face" once again

    "Liberated Libya", Yeni Akit (20.3.11) columnist Cuneyt Arvasi lambastes the countries taking part in the international military operation against Al-Qadhafi for "preparing for a new invasion campaign on the pretext of siding with the rebels in Libya." He recalls how the earlier campaign to "liberate" Iraq resulted in "some 1,5 million killings, 450,000 rapes, extensive plunder of Iraq's oil reserves and everything else down to people's rings, the abduction of tens of thousands of children," etc. He proceeds to claim that the operation has brought Turkey with a historic choice between "supporting the West's occupation plans or opposing these plans violently on political platforms on behalf of the worldwide Islamic community."

    "Giving Al-Qadhafi the opportunity to recover his strength", Yeni Akit (20.3.11), columnist Mustafa Ozcan accuses the United States and the "global system" of acting like Al-Qadhafi's "secret partner" in "not taking any measures" to eject him from power through a coordinated international response to the ongoing events in Libya. He claims that the United States has abandoned the Arab revolution to its fate because it is "ideologically" opposed to the "spirit" of these revolutions and is worried that they will lay the groundwork for Islamist governments in the region or "uncontrollable" countries like Somalia.

    "Turkey's 'moral politics' in Libya: seduction by analogy?", assistant professor of international relations Saban Kardas, writing for Sunday's Zaman (20.3.11), argues that Prime Minister Erdogan's "categorical objections" to international sanctions against the Al-Qadhafi administration in Libya suggest how misguided "analogies" between former US operations against countries like Iraq and Afghanistan and "humanitarian intervention" in countries like Libya have tended to shape Turkey's strategic thinking in recent years.

    "Operation against Libya and eclipse of the mind", Bugun (20.3.11), columnist Erhan Basyurt calls attention to what he describes as the dilemma with which the international military operation against Al-Qadhafi forces Turkey is facing. He asserts that Turkey can afford to neither allow Al-Qadhafi to "massacre" his own people nor watch from the sidelines when an international coalition resorts to military action with the ultimate purpose of ousting a political leader and installing a new administration in his place. "What Turkey needs to do is to make sure the Libyan people are saved from tyranny with minimal losses as soon as possible and Libya is restructured based on its own dynamics rather than under a mandate."

    Nuclear power plants

    "Public opinion and nuclear energy", Yeni Safak (19.3.11), columnist Kursat Bumin argues that the nuclear "disaster" in Japan has enhanced public awareness of the potential destructive implications of nuclear energy to such a degree that it will be impossible from now on for governments to discuss and determine nuclear issues without taking public opinion into account. Bumin criticizes a recent "unfortunate" statement by Prime Minister Erdogan that defended nuclear energy and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant project by comparing the risks posed by nuclear energy to dangers associated with using LPG tanks, driving over viaducts, or applying cosmetics. He also criticizes the ruling Justice and Development Party, AKP, for not conducting opinion surveys to find out how Erdogan's "insistence" on the said project is affecting the government's popularity.

    "Let us give up nuclear energy and set an example to the world", Zaman (19.3.11), columnist Sahin Alpay relates how the nuclear "apocalypse" in Japan has already led countries like China, Germany, and France to shut down their nuclear facilities or suspend or revise projects to establish new nuclear power plants. He goes on to blast the Turkish Prime Minister for "comparing the risks posed by nuclear power plants to the risks caused by the use of LGP tanks" in a statement that suggested how "unconcerned" the government is about the potential dangers of nuclear energy despite the lessons from Chernobyl and Fukushima. He also asks how Erdogan can assume responsibility for the risks of establishing nuclear plants in Mersin and Sinop and whether the decision on this matter should not rest with the people living in these provinces.

    "The issue of nuclear power plants", Bugun (19.3.11), columnist Nuh Gonultas criticizes the Erdogan government for what he describes as it's "less than rational" resolve to build a nuclear power plant some 25 kilometers away from a fault line in Mersin following the nuclear "disaster" in Japan.

    "Nuclear threat", Milli Gazete (20.3.11), columnist Zeki Ceyhan comments on the latest debate between supporters and opponents of nuclear energy sparked by the emergence of a "nuclear threat" in Japan following the recent earthquake in that country. He argues that preventing the implementation of projects to set up nuclear power plants in Turkey would not make this country safe against the risks associated with nuclear energy because Turkey is surrounded on all sides by countries that have nuclear plants.

    Ergenekon probe, "Malatya massacre," arrest of journalists

    In a commentary entitled "Ergenekon's summit", Today's Zaman (19.3.11), writer Mumtazer Turkone comments on a recent decision by Ergenekon prosecutors to investigate allegations that the "massacre" of three Christians at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya in 2007 was part of a conspiracy to "lay the groundwork for an eventual military takeover or rig or manipulate the 2007 presidential election." Turkone also argues that the ongoing "efforts" to portray the recent arrest of some journalists in the Ergenekon probe as a "blow to freedom of the press" are nothing but "Ergenekon propaganda."

    "Ergenekon and the Malatya massacre", Today's Zaman (19.3.11), columnist Orhan Kemal Cengiz expresses the hope that the recent detention of some 20 people including the former gendarmerie commander of Malatya as part of the Ergenekon probe over charges of involvement in the "Malatya massacre" in 2007 "will bring us close to uncovering the real network behind" the murder of three Christian missionaries in Malatya, "which I believe was part of a greater plan to create chaos and bring Turkey to the verge of another military coup."

    "Ergenekon's summit", Today's Zaman (19.3.11), columnist Abdulhamit Bilici takes issue with some of "our colleagues" over their accusation that the prosecution of a number of journalists as part of the Ergenekon investigation is a government effort to establish an "empire of fear."

    Kurdish question

    "Where do we stand toward a solution to the Kurdish issue", Yeni Safak (19.3.11), columnist Yasin Aktay comments on the results of a recent "workshop" on the Kurdish question at the Institute of Strategic Thought. Cataloguing some of the highlights of a report drawn up at the end of the workshop, he notes that the government's "democratic overture" is a milestone in the efforts to address the Kurdish problem in the sense that it signifies a "change in the state paradigm" that will assign the status of a footnote to all future steps in this regard. He accuses "Kurdish politicians" of aggravating the effects of the Kurdish problem in "pretending" as though no headway had been made toward meeting Kurdish demands and "expecting the state to take all the necessary steps." He also claims that no solutions that preclude the recognition of the right to education in the mother tongue will satisfy Kurdish demands.

    Turkey's next President and Prime Minister

    "The post-Erdogan era", Today's Zaman (19.3.11), columnist Abdullah Bozkurt asserts that the people's voice party leader Numan Kurtulmus is likely to emerge as a powerful candidate for Prime Minister if and when Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes Turkey's next President. He claims that Kurtulmus, while being an "outsider," is "not a complete stranger to the AKP ranks and file and has a strong appeal in the party base. He follows the same path as Erdogan, albeit with quite distinct personal traits."

    Interview with the OIC Secretary-General

    Yeni Safak (20.3.11), publishes an interview entitled "Tunisia and Egypt need leaders" with Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Conference, OIC, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Responding to a question about the latest events in the Arab world, Ihsanoglu refers to the "process" that has started in Egypt and Tunisia as a revolution without leaders, adding that in order for such revolutions to take their natural course, leaders should emerge and wage a successful struggle against the current system in such countries. He also discloses that there has been a decrease in the number of insults against the Prophet Mohammad and Islamic symbols in Europe since the OIC waged a struggle against anti-Islamic publications by establishing the "islamophobia observatory."

    European Parliament report on Turkey

    "Finding the right balance", Sunday's Zaman (20.3.11), columnist Joost Lagendjik criticizes Prime Minister Erdogan for his reaction to the European Parliament's latest report on Turkey, asserting that Erdogan is "doing his utmost to prove his critics right, who have been saying for a long time that one of his main shortcomings is his inability to cope with criticism." TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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