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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Cypriot and Turkish Media Review, 11-03-30

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 claims that the population in the occupied part of Cyprus exceeds 400 thousands
  • [02] Eroglu reiterates the allegation that the breakaway regime is a "separate state" and will hold its own population census
  • [03] Eroglu alleges that the current situation in Cyprus "is not bad"
  • [04] Ozgurgun received Turkish delegations from Kastamonu
  • [05] Talat: "We agreed on the population census"
  • [06] Chairman of Settlers Association: "We came here to create a homeland"
  • [07] UBP members in London accuse Elcil of treason
  • [08] Denktas met with the Turkish Youth Federation
  • [09] So-called agriculture and natural resources minister in Turkey for contacts
  • [10] DP censures TUSIAD's report of proposals on a new constitution in Turkey
  • [11] Sanlidag joins DP
  • [12] Akca will start his duties on the 1st of April
  • [13] "DAU" to organise an international financial congress

  • [14] Davutoglu in London meeting on Libya
  • [15] Erdogan in London; Cyprus problem also in the agenda
  • [16] Halonen said Finland has always supported Turkey's EU membership
  • [17] V-4 countries support Turkey's accession to the EU
  • [18] DSP and BCP joined forces for election
  • [19] OYAK plays new card to avoid legal restrictions
  • [20] Tens of thousands march for mass graves in southeastern Turkey
  • [21] Turkey targets Indonesia and Malaysia for defence exports


    Statements by Dervis Eroglu on the issue of holding a simultaneous population census in Cyprus, meetings of the Turkish Cypriot leader with various organizations, the reaction by the chairman of the Turkish settlers' association Enver Dincoglu to statements made by Sener Elcil in Brussels, the intention of UBP's London branch to take "legal action" against Sener Elcil because of the same statements, criticism by the DP against Turkey's TUSIAD because it expressed the view that the Cyprus problem is an obstacle in Turkey's EU accession course, and other internal issues are the main topics in the Turkish Cypriot press today. The papers refer also to statements by Huseyin Ozgurgun and Rauf Denktas on the Cyprus problem, the visit of Zorlu Tore to Ankara to meet with Cemil Cicek, and statements by former "minister" Erdogan Sanlidag, who resigned from the ORP and joined the DP.

    [01] Eroglu claims that the population in the occupied part of Cyprus exceeds 400 thousands

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (30.03.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has said that it is estimated that the population in the occupied part of Cyprus exceeds 400 thousand persons. In statements to Kibris TV yesterday, Eroglu said it seems that an agreement will not be reached soon in the Cyprus negotiations. He noted that six chapters exist in the negotiations and these chapters should close before a referendum to be held on the island. Eroglu said no chapter has been closed and added that only in the chapter of economy the sides reached convergence.

    Referring to the issue of the population census, Eroglu alleged that the "TRNC" is a "state" and possesses the "institutions" and the knowledge to carry out its own population census. He said a census could be held on the same day with the Greek Cypriot side, but reiterated that the Turkish Cypriot side opposes to a joint population census. Pointing out to the importance of urgently holding a population census for solving the problems that exist in the occupied area of the island, Eroglu recalled that he had met with the "State Planning Organization" last week and discussed the issue of holding a population census.

    Eroglu claimed that the population census is not on the agenda in the Cyprus negotiations, but the Greek Cypriot side wants a joint population census. He said that the breakaway regime has been carrying out "elections" for many years and does not lack the ability of holding its own census. "We will count the population. We will prepare questions regarding our population structure using international methods", he added.

    Eroglu alleged that the population living in the occupied part of Cyprus is around 200 thousand persons and noted that 40 thousand foreign workers with "work permit" also live there. He noted that the number of these persons and their families reaches 160 thousands. Pointing out to the existence of students, army officers with their families and some persons who live illegally without a permit in the occupied areas of Cyprus, Eroglu noted that the total population, including these people, is estimated to be over 400 thousands.

    Eroglu said it would not be possible at this stage for a population census to be held without implementing a curfew. He claimed that it is not possible to give a clear number of people from Turkey who should stay on the island in case a solution is reached and added that this will be possible when the structure of the population is known. He reiterated that the settlers from Turkey, who were born, grew up and got married in the occupied area of Cyprus, could not be sent back to Turkey.

    Eroglu recalled that both leaders, who are negotiating now to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, had voted "no" to the Annan Plan. He alleged that President Christofias rejected the plan because he thought that the land returned under Greek Cypriot administration was not enough.

    Referring to the issue of the "cabinet" reshuffle, Eroglu said that some debates were caused after "prime minister" Irsen Kucuk stated that he would change the "cabinet". He noted that Kucuk should soon take a decision on this issue without listening to what everybody says. He noted that the "government" is not at ease because problems exist in the "country" and added that he wants the "government" to be successful in its work. He said the "government" should exert more efforts and take some measures.


    [02] Eroglu reiterates the allegation that the breakaway regime is a "separate state" and will hold its own population census

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (30.03.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the "TRNC", as he described the breakaway regime in the occupied areas of Cyprus, is a separate "state" and could count its own population.

    In statements yesterday during a meeting with the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Industry, Eroglu reiterated that the population census is not a matter that concerns the Cyprus talks and claimed that the sides should trust each other's population census.

    Responding to a question regarding the statement reportedly made last week by President Christofias that the situation in the Cyprus talks is critical, Eroglu said "there is no critical matter". He noted that no one of the six chapters in the negotiations has been closed and that "we are far from going to a referendum".

    Recalling that the issue of holding a population census was discussed last week in the Cyprus negotiations, Eroglu alleged the following: "Each country will hold its own population census. The TRNC is a separate state. We have a separate people and a separate administration. We have enough staff to count our own population".

    Eroglu described as "strange" President Christofias' proposal for holding a joint and simultaneous population census in both sides of the island.

    Replying to another question, Eroglu said that the population census of the breakaway regime will have certain standards and that they will submit these to the UN. He noted that observers from many countries, and mainly from the EU, attended previous "elections" in the occupied area of Cyprus. He concluded: "Let the observers come. In any case, we are inviting them, let them come. We have nothing to hide, we fear no one. The UN could carry out its monitoring duty".

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily Ortam (30.03.11) refers to the above statements under the banner front-page title "Why are you afraid?" and reports that the rejection of holding simultaneous population census by Eroglu causes many questions. The paper writes the following: "While the general criteria and the data to come up in a population census do not change from country to country, and the population surveys lie within the scientific field, further increase of doubts is caused regarding the 'ignorance' on the issue of the population in the north, because of the persistent opposition to this issue, which is contrary for the realities to come to light".


    [03] Eroglu alleges that the current situation in Cyprus "is not bad"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (30.03.11) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has alleged that the current situation in Cyprus is not bad and that everybody moves on the island without any incidents and quarrels after the opening of the barricades in 2003.

    In statements yesterday during a meeting with representatives from [the Turkish city of] Kastamonu Mutual Social Aid and Solidarity with the Families of the Martyrs, the Chamber of Trade and Industry and the Rotary Club, Eroglu claimed that the Greek Cypriot side, which is not obliged to reach an agreement on the Cyprus problem, "should be directed towards an agreement" by the European Union and the international community.

    Eroglu expressed the following views: "If the world left us alone, perhaps an agreement could have been reached a long time ago. If the Greek Cypriot side was not accepted in the EU, it would feel the need of reaching an agreement with us. Today we live under embargoes and the UN Security Council has a Resolution saying that the TRNC should not be recognized. The Greek Cypriot side has these advantages and we have these disadvantages. Therefore, the Greek Cypriot side is not obliged to reach an agreement".

    Eroglu alleged also that if the Turkish invasion in the island had not taken place, no Turk would have existed in Cyprus today.

    Asked by one of his guests whether there is hope for an agreement on the Cyprus talks, Eroglu said that if there was no hope, the negotiations would not continue, but added that the two sides have different expectations. He noted that the Turkish side wants to live in peace and security in its own area and added: "Both we and motherland Turkey have as much rights as they [Tr. Note: the Greek Cypriots] have on this island. If these rights are accepted, we could reach a lasting agreement".

    Asked by another guest whether the current situation could not continue and whether this situation is bad, Eroglu replied: "It is not bad. Actually, the gates [Tr. Note: the barricades] opened in 2003 in Cyprus. The Turks come and go to the south and the Greeks to the TRNC. There are no quarrels. There are not many incidents. However, the whole world set its eye on Cyprus and says 'negotiate and agree'".


    [04] Ozgurgun received Turkish delegations from Kastamonu

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily Kibrisli (30.03.11), self-styled foreign minister Huseyin Ozgurgun received yesterday a delegation from the Association of Solidarity and Social Assistance of Martyr's families of Kastamonu as well as a delegation of the Chamber of Trade and Industry of Kastamonu.

    Speaking during the meeting, Ozgurgun expressed pleasure for the visits paid to him by the two delegations and referred to the period of 1973 claiming that it was a turning point for Turkish Cypriots.

    Stressing the importance of the "Turkish Armed Forces" (TSK) in Cyprus, Ozgurgun said that if it was not for the Turkish army, everyone is aware of what would happen. He continued by giving as an example the events occurred in the past during the basketball match between Pinar Karsiyaka and Apoel. He also said that the occupation army in the island brought only peace.

    Touching upon the ongoing negotiation process, Ozgurgun accused the Greek Cypriot side for its "intransigent attitude" at the talks and claimed that the Greek Cypriot's side will was always the same, to be unified with Greece.

    Saying that he does not have any hopes at the negotiation table, Ozgurgun reiterated that Turkey and the "TRNC" will never abandon their rights. Pointing out the struggle of the Turkish Cypriots, he said that it is not possible to forget what they experienced in the past and added that their struggle will be longer from now on.

    Ozgurgun continued and stated that even though their "state" is not recognized by the world, still there is a "state" which exist and called on the world to understand that the Turkish Cypriots have equal rights in the island.

    Speaking on his turn, Saduman Sivrioglu, chairman of the Association expressed pleasure for being invited to the occupied areas and expressed the belief that the Turkish Cypriots will succeed in their struggle.

    Sivrioglu assured self-styled foreign minister that the martyrs will continue exerting efforts and support the Turkish Cypriots to their struggle for recognition, as they did in the past.


    [05] Talat: "We agreed on the population census"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis (30.03.11) publishes an interview with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. Answering to questions, he said that the issue of a population census came also in the agenda when he was in the negotiations and that they accepted to conduct a census. However, they would first solve the Cyprus problem, and then, they would conduct the census before the referendum. Thus they would be able to see how correct were their data, and under these realities they would proceed to the referendum.

    Aksed whether Eroglu's rejection of a simultaneous census is a mistake, Talat answered that the Turkish Cypriot side makes mistakes in every issue. Moreover, he said that a census at the moment is not necessary and that the "State Planning Organization (DPO)" can produce the data since they have the census of 2006, they have the immigrant's applications and registries of entry and exit from the "country." Talat concluded saying that either Eroglu or Kucuk do not know about it, either it is a bureaucratic mistake, or they just want to alleviate the public's pressure by conducting a census.

    [06] Chairman of Settlers Association: "We came here to create a homeland"

    Turkish Cypriot daily Afrika (30.03.11) reports that Enver Dincoglu, chairman of the Turkish "Immigrants" Assistance and Solidarity Association issued a written statement criticizing the statements of the Trade Unions in Brussels. Dincoglu said that ugly games are played in the "country" and that certain persons swear the "state," "motherland Turkey" and slander the Turkish Armed Forces. He characterized these persons as "agents" and announced that in the coming days they will seek a recourse to the "law".

    Dincoglu also stated that "immigrants, citizens of TRNC" who for the past forty years consider this land ["TRNC"] as their home, did not come here in order to leave, but to establish a homeland and become owners. He added that after 1974 [when Turkey invaded Cyprus] people coming from Turkey were not forced to do so, but they were brought for the formation of the "TRNC," the security and the economic development. He claimed that "immigrants" also do not want illegal people who are the cause of economic damage and said that soon their signing campaign that started last February will come to an end. "This way we will give an answer to the ones playing games in the TRNC", he said.

    [07] UBP members in London accuse Elcil of treason

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris (30.03.11) publishes a letter that the National Unity Party's London Solidarity Association sent to the "chief prosecutor" of the "TRNC." In their letter, they accuse Sener Elcil general secretary of KTOS that he offended their national and moral values during his speech with the European Parliament's High Level Contact Group with the Turkish Cypriots in Brussels. They accuse Elcil of being a spokesperson for the Greek Cypriots and that his words aimed at extinguishing the "TRNC" and enslave the Turkish Cypriots to Greek Cypriots. "Such intended words and actions are considered a crime by the law in every country of the world" reads the letter and concludes asking the "chief prosecutor" to start an investigation and if a case is substantiated, then Elcil should be brought before justice.

    [08] Denktas met with the Turkish Youth Federation

    Illegal Bayrak Television (29.03.11) reported that a delegation from Turkey's Youth Federation visited the former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktas. The delegation briefed Denktas on an upcoming event to be hosted by the Federation in May and invited him to participate.

    Speaking during the visit, the President of the Turkish Youth Federation Feridun Cevahiroglu explained that the Federation will be organizing a Youth series of events this coming May at the occupied Lefkosia Ataturk Sports Hall. Cevahiroglu said that their aim was to strengthen the bond between the youths of the two "countries" adding that they closely followed the developments in the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus". He then reminded that Turkey is the guarantee of the Turkish Cypriots.

    For his part, Denktas said that he was deeply disappointed with the latest attempts and the rallies made to damage relations between Turkey and the "TRNC".

    He reminded that the Cyprus problem was not a problem which only concerned Turkish Cypriots and reiterated that it is a national cause for Turkey.

    Also, according to Turkish Cypriot daily Volkan (30.03.11) Denktas stated during the meeting that if it was not Turkey, not a single Turkish Cypriot would remain in the island.

    Criticizing the group of trade unionists who travelled to Brussels, Denktas alleged that they went as part of a delegation with AKEL and accused them of collaborating with Greek Cypriots and spreading false propaganda against Turkey and the national cause.

    Touching upon the Cyprus negotiations process, Denktas warned that no matter how sincere the Turkish Cypriot side is at the talks, the true intention and goal of the Greek Cypriot side is to control the whole island and create obstacles in the way of Turkey's membership to the European Union.


    [09] So-called agriculture and natural resources minister in Turkey for contacts

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris (30.03.11) reports that the so-called minister of agriculture and natural resources Zorlu Tore is in Turkey for contacts. According to the paper, Tore, who, as it is claimed, will be one of the first "ministers" to be removed from office during the shuffle of the so-called council of ministers, asked for an appointment with the Turkish State Minister Responsible for Cyprus Affairs Cemil Cicek. As the so-called ministry announced, Tore will also hold contacts in Ankara and Canakkale.

    [10] DP censures TUSIAD's report of proposals on a new constitution in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen (30.03.11) reports that the Democratic Party (DP) censured Turkey's Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) regarding a report published by TUSIAD showing the "TRNC" as an obstacle before Turkey's EU target. Issuing a written statement, DP noted that efforts are exert to turn "the just cause of the Turkish Cypriot people" into an appetizer on the table of the rich ones. As it is, he claimed, in the proposal prepared by TUSIAD on Turkey's new constitution, there are topics that will divide the country.

    DP's announcement, inter alia, reads that in TUSIAD's report, entitled "The expectations of the business world on the new legislation period 2011-2015", there are suggestions regarding the amendment of articles in the constitution that cannot be amended. Moreover, the "TRNC" is portrayed as an obstacle before Turkey's EU target. In addition, as DP stated, in the report it is implied that the "Turkish Cypriot people" should make a concession on an issue that are extremely right.

    [11] Sanlidag joins DP

    Turkish Cypriot dailies Kibris and Halkin Sesi (30.03.11) report that Erdogan Sanlidag, former "economy and tourism minister", former member of the National Unity Party (UBP) and one of the founders of the Freedom and Reform Party (ORP), joined the Democratic Party (DP) officially. As it is reported, during the ceremony organised for his joining to the party, DP leader Serdar Denktas pinned the party rosette on Sanlidag and welcomed him to the "DP family".

    Speaking at the event, Sanlidag expressed his happiness for joining DP and he, inter alia, stated that the current "government" is oppressive and that the only party that is appreciated is DP due to its followed policy.

    On his part, Denktas noted that the party's greatest aim is to come into power alone, during the next "general elections", and that they will move towards this direction. Denktas, inter alia, referring to President Christofias' proposal for "a simultaneous population census", reiterated his view that Dervis Eroglu took the right decision and opposed to the proposal.

    [12] Akca will start his duties on the 1st of April

    According to illegal Bayrak television (online, 29.03.11), Halil Ibrahim Akca will take over his position as the new "Turkish Ambassador" to the occupied part of Lefkosia on Friday, the 1st of April. According to information provided by the "Turkish Embassy" in the occupied area, Akca will present his "letter of credentials" to Dervis Eroglu on Friday.

    [13] "DAU" to organise an international financial congress

    Turkish Cypriot daily Halkin Sesi (30.03.11) reports that the "Faculty of Marketing and Economy" and the "Faculty of Banking and Finance" of the illegal University of Eastern Mediterranean (DAU) are to organise a congress between April 13 and 15. Around 300 financial experts from 63 countries are expected to attend the congress, entitled "International Banking and Financial Perspectives".


    Prime Minister Erdogan's contacts to Iraq are the main issue covered extensively by today's Turkish press. Also, other issues highlighted are Erdogan's official visit to the UK today and reports saying that he will discuss the Cyprus problem with the British Prime Minister David Cameron, a statement by Gul after his meeting with his Finnish counterpart in Ankara, CHP's delegation contacts in Washington, a press conference by Foreign Minister Davutoglu after yesterday's meeting in London about Libya's future, the participation of Turkey in a Libya contact group, the joint proposal made by Turkey and the US about the implementation of the UN Resolutions in Libya, a proposal by Davutoglu to Daron Acemoglu, an economist of Armenian origin to be Turkey's Ambassador in OECD and statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on the population census.

    [14] Davutoglu in London meeting on Libya

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (30.03.11), Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, in a press conference on Tuesday at Turkey's Embassy in London, said that Turkey will have a seat in a contact group that would help Libyan people secure a sound transition process. Davutoglu is in the British capital to participate in an international conference on Libya.

    Davutoglu said that the multinational military operation in Libya will be under NATO's command and control. "Taking action in case of a threat against civilians in Libya would be a military call not a civilian one. The entire mission will be run by military leaders. Measures will surely be taken if civilians came under any threat. But without such a threat, a military action, a bombardment is out of question."

    Davutolgu said Turkey had been talking to Libyan opposition groups, adding that one such contact had recently been held in the Turkish capital.

    Davutoglu also said that Turkey proposed Daron Acemoglu to become its permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris a few months ago, adding that "they can assign anybody whom they believe in his competency to represent Turkey."

    Moreover, the agency (29.03.11) also reports that Davutoglu met Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, in London on Tuesday.

    During the meeting, which was closed to the press, Ashton told Davutoglu that they wanted to work closely with the Arab Union, the African Union and Turkey regarding the Libya issue.

    Meanwhile, Turkey has been working with the U.S. on a paper about Libya for a week. The paper is about a political process which can be shaped in the future period in Libya as well as UN Security Council's Resolution No. 1973.

    [15] Erdogan in London; Cyprus problem also in the agenda

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.11), Turkey's Prime Ministry press centre stated on Tuesday that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would visit London on Wednesday and Thursday upon an invitation by the British Prime Minister David Cameron.

    Erdogan will be received by Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, and hold meetings with Cameron and Deputy Premier Nick Clegg.

    Erdogan will also give an interview to Bloomberg TV the same day.

    Political, economic, commercial and consulate relations between the two countries as well as Turkey's EU membership process recent developments in North Africa and the Middle East, Cyprus and G-20 issues besides many regional and international matters will be discussed during Erdogan's meetings.

    [16] Halonen said Finland has always supported Turkey's EU membership

    According to Ankara Anatolia news agency (29.03.11), Finnish President Tarja Halonen, speaking at a joint press conference with her Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul in Ankara on Tuesday, said that Finland supported Turkey's European Union membership talks, adding that her country would continue to promote Ankara's accession.

    "We do not know why certain countries are so hesitant about Turkey's EU membership. You should continue with the negotiations fast. The EU will be bigger and stronger with Turkey," Halonen alleged.

    President Gul, on his part, said that Finland had always extended support to Turkey's European Union (EU) membership and he believed that Finland would continue on with its support of Turkey in the EU.

    During our talks with Halonen, we discussed bilateral relations and issues pertaining to the EU. We want to boost our economic relations with Finland, Gul said and continued: "We have informed the Finnish President that we want to work with Finland in the energy sector. Finland is one of the most successful countries of the world when it comes to nuclear and alternative energy".

    [17] V-4 countries support Turkey's accession to the EU

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (30.03.11), under the title "From V-4 countries to Turkey: Never lose strategic goal of EU membership", reports that the consuls general of the Visegrad Group (V-4), the regional alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, said that they are supportive of Turkey's accession to the European Union and that Ankara should never lose the strategic goal of EU membership even though there may be ups and downs during the process.

    "We all went through a difficult journey to meet the EU's demanding criteria. These are not easy. There are economic consequences; you have to change legislation; you have to implement new laws affecting the business community; you change your tax system, etc.," said Consul General of the Slovak Republic in Istanbul Jozef Sestak, speaking to Today's Zaman following a round table on March 28 organized by the consuls general of the V-4 countries, under the chairmanship of the consul general of Slovakia in cooperation with the Global Political Trends Center (GPOT).

    "Please be patient, never lose your strategic goal, because you are a European nation and you should be a part of Europe," Sestak said, reminding the participants that the V-4 countries only became members of the EU in 2004.

    Speaking at the roundtable, Consul General of the Czech Republic Irena Krasnicka said that the Central European experience is quite relevant to Turkey, although the latter does not have communist background.

    "We have common experiences as we have all had totalitarian leaders," she said. "Turks feel fine in Central Europe and we feel fine in Turkey. This is a good base for EU-Turkey relations."

    Reiterating the V-4's stance, Consul General of Poland Miroslaw Stawski said that they support the EU's enlargement.

    The consuls general also said that they never forget Turkey's support when they were trying to enter NATO.

    Also commemorating their 20th anniversary at the roundtable, the consuls general of the V-4 were joined by the consuls general of Belgium and Romania in Istanbul and academics who discussed the V-4 and EU enlargement.

    [18] DSP and BCP joined forces for election

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 29.03.11) reports that two Turkish left-wing parties have joined forces in an election alliance in an effort to increase their chance of surpassing the election threshold and entering Parliament ahead of the June 12 election.

    The Independent Republic Party (BCP) headed by Mumtaz Soysal, and the Democratic Left Party (DSP) led by Masum Turker, announced the election alliance in a press conference Tuesday.

    Speaking on behalf of the two parties, BCP deputy leader Turan Gunes said that a group of BCP members would run for deputy positions in the election from the ranks of the DSP.

    Gunes said that their aim is to unite all republican powers and change the current administration of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    DSP leader Turker said that they were also in communication with other parties to make a possible alliance, also calling for an election alliance with other small political parties including the Felicity Party (SP), the Democrat Party (DP), the Independent Turkey Party (BTP), the Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), the Worker's Party (0P), the Homeland Party (YP), and the Young Party (GP).

    [19] OYAK plays new card to avoid legal restrictions

    Turkish daily Today's Zaman (online, 30.03.11), with the above title, reports that the military-run Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK), which recently faced the threat of losing its 50-year privileged position after it violated the rules of the free market economy following an intervention from the Public Procurement Authority (K0K), expects to maintain its position by reducing its ownership share to below 50 percent in nearly 60 affiliates.

    According to information Today's Zaman received from K0K authorities, the military conglomerate recently decreased its share in Bolu Cimento, one of its affiliates in the cement industry, to 49.99 percent and asked that the company be exempt from Public Procurement Law No. 4734 while making purchases.

    Today's Zaman sources from K0K said that the request was approved. OYAK is now expected to follow the same tactic for the rest of its other affiliates. The law stipulates public companies hold fair tenders for procurements.

    Following K0K's intervention, which many say is one of the signs of democratic consolidation in the country, the military holding embarked on intense lobbying efforts at the level of lawmakers as well as at the General Staff. Those efforts, however, were thwarted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's resolute stance -- although they initially proved effective at the Ministry of Defence and the Turkish Parliament as well as at the helm of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

    [20] Tens of thousands march for mass graves in southeastern Turkey

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 29.03.11), with the above title, reports that about 40.000 people marched to Kasapderesi in the province of Siirt yesterday to draw attention to mass graves in southeastern Turkey.

    The bodies of 200 Kurds are allegedly buried in a mass grave in Kasapderesi, which was the first location in Turkey at which bodies were dumped in mass graves in 1989.

    The 40.000 protesters, from Van, Hakkari, Batman, Mardin, ^1rnak, Id1r and other provinces in the southeast Anatolia region, members of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), marched to Kasapderesi, asking for the mass graves to be opened in a just and decent way by public authorities.

     If [the government] do not wish to get involved in the mass grave persecution, the mass graves must be opened in the framework of international law," said Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish BDP, in a statement at the protest.

    Demirtas also replied to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's recent accusations that BDP had tensed up the region for the sake of getting a post, saying that all BDP candidates for the coming elections would quit if the Government meet their requests.

    [21] Turkey targets Indonesia and Malaysia for defence exports

    Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 29.03.11), with the above title, reports that eyeing to expand in new markets, the Turkish defence industry focuses on Indonesia and Malaysia. FNSS, a company largely owned by Turkish company Nurol, is to sell armoured vehicles worth between $300 million and $400 million to the Indonesian Army initially as part of a broader industry relation. The military electronics firm Aselsan also plans to cooperate with the Asian country on wireless devices and other electronic equipment.

    In an effort to cement its position as a major exporter of armoured vehicles and other defence equipment, Turkey has chosen the south-eastern Asian nations of Indonesia and Malaysia as two key target countries.

    Shortly before a planned visit by President Abdullah Gul to Indonesia in early April, senior Turkish procurement officials in mid-March secured a number of defence industry deals, for which official cooperation agreements are scheduled to be signed during the visit.

    "Indonesia and Malaysia are two countries with which we really want and hope to greatly boost our defence industry relations," said a senior procurement official.

    A first cooperation package with Indonesia is expected to cover the sale and joint production of armoured vehicles, wireless devices and rockets. The value of this first package would be between $300 million and $400 million, the Turkish procurement official said.

    The Ankara-based armoured vehicle manufacturer FNSS, a joint venture between Turkey's Nurol Holding and BAE, is expected to provide the Indonesian Army with tracked armoured combat vehicles. FNSS' majority shares belong to Nurol.

    Aselsan, a top military electronics company and Turkey's largest defence firm, is planning to cooperate with Indonesia on wireless devices and other electronic equipment. Roketsan, Turkey's top company specializing in rockets and missiles is expected to sell rockets to Indonesia.

    With Malaysia, FNSS signed the largest single Turkish export deal in history, during a visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to Ankara in late February.

    FNSS signed the $600 million export agreement with Malaysia's Deftech for the design, development, production and logistical support of 257 Pars 8x8 wheeled armoured combat vehicles for the Malaysian armed forces. FNSS earlier sold tracked armoured vehicles to Malaysia.

    "We have a solid cooperation base with Malaysia. In the near future, we plan to work on naval vessels and some other defence equipment with that country," the Turkish procurement official said.

    "Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia are all predominantly Muslim countries, but religion does not play a role in Turkish efforts for arms sales to those nations," said one defence analyst based here.

    Separately, Turkey also seeks to modernize the older F-16s of Thailand, another South Asian country.

    Turkey's defence industry exports greatly have improved in recent years, up from only some $250 million annually, five years ago. The SSM is eyeing the export of defence equipment worth nearly $1.5 billion this year, up from $832 million in 2009. TURKISH AFFAIRS SECTION


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