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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 03-09-16

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 <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.175/03 16.09.03

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Chauvinistic groups will prevent the activities of a Bi-communal Youth Forum.
  • [02] Efforts by the right-wing parties of the pseudostate to form a political alliance.
  • [03] Controversy in Turkey over military involvement in efforts to revise the Higher Education.
  • [04] The Turkish Human Rights Association is against Turkeyīs sending troops to Iraq.
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [05] Copenhagen criteria vs the HEB mess.

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Chauvinistic groups will prevent the activities of a Bi-communal Youth Forum

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (16.09.03) reports that according to information received by the paper yesterday, ^”chauvinistic and fanatic groups^‘ will try to sabotage the activities of the Bi-communal Youth Forum which will take place today.

    As the paper writes the members of the Bi-communal Youth Forum, which consists of various Party Youth Organizations and Associations, will gather today at 17:30 at Kugulu park in occupied Nicosia and will make a ^”Youth March^‘ to Ledra Palace hotel, in the buffer zone. The paper reports that it is possible that these groups will attack the marchers during the march.

    A similar march will take place by youth organizations from the free areas of Cyprus to the Ledra Palace hotel.

    [02] Efforts by the right-wing parties of the pseudostate to form a political alliance

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (16.09.03) the right- wing parties of the pseudostate, which do not support a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the Annan Plan, made the first step for an alliance for the forthcoming ^”elections^‘.

    The paper writes that the right-wing parties have already started having contacts and discussing the issue. Yesterday the first step was made by the Cyprus Justice Party (CJP), which had a meeting with the leader of the National Unity Party (NUP), Mr Dervis Eroglu, who reacted positively to the invitation addressed to his party from CJP for ^”determination of common goals and a common platform for struggle^‘.

    The paper also reports that the contacts between the right-wing parties will become more intense in the next days, starting from today. Our Party (OP) and Nationalist Justice Party (NJP) will visit today the Justice and Peace Party, while the leader of CJP will meet today with the leader of the Democratic Party (DP), Mr Serdar Denktas.

    There is also the thought that these parties participate in the ^”elections^‘ under a common ballot, however, this has been seen negatively by the two parties of the so-called coalition government the NUP and the DP, the paper concludes.

    [03] Controversy in Turkey over military involvement in efforts to revise the Higher Education

    Turkish Daily News (16.09.03) reports that the Turkish General Staff defended a controversial meeting between Land Forces Commander Gen. Aytac Yalman and university rectors that took place amid stiff opposition from universities against government plans to revise codes regulating higher education.

    A statement from the General Staff said that the meeting between Yalman and rectors of eight universities had come under its cognizance.

    The meeting earlier this month between a top commander and university rectors who oppose government plans to overhaul the Higher Education Board (HEB) regulations has drawn criticism, as many analysts have said it paved the way for the military to intervene in education affairs, a civilian area.

    The General Staff statement said: "It is natural that developments pertaining to the national education system, which is of vital importance for Turkey, are followed by the General Staff."

    The national education system is the most basic institution that directs the country's future, it went on to say.

    The government has recently enacted a set of reforms to curb military influence in public life as part of its efforts to fulfill membership criteria set by the European Union.

    The EU has cited military influence as one of the most serious deficiencies on the part of Turkey to fulfill membership criteria.

    The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has one representative in the HEB. University rectors have opposed the proposed changes to the HEB regulations, saying they were a part of government efforts to introduce an Islamic agenda into the university system.

    The government has denied these charges, saying it was trying to bring transparency.

    The military did not hide its interest in the proposed changes: "It is believed that all concerned institutions of the state should take the proposed law to change the HEB law seriously," the statement said.

    "The Turkish Armed Forces wholeheartedly agree that education in Turkey is conducted in line with Kemal Ataturk's principles and revolutions, contemporary principles of science and education and under supervision of the state, as stipulated in Article 42 of the Constitution."

    [04] The Turkish Human Rights Association is against Turkeyīs sending troops to Iraq

    According to Turkish Daily News (16.09.03) the members of the Human Rights Association (IHD), who launched a march from Istanbul on September 12 against the sending of Turkish troops to Iraq, arrived in Ankara.

    IHD Chairman Husnu Ondul stated that sending troops to Iraq would change the fraternity between Turkish and Iraqi people into grudge and enmity.

    Ondul said that the government should not send troops to Iraq otherwise Turkey would be a part of the invasion.

    IHD Vice Chairman Eren Keskin said that the main purpose to launch a march from Istanbul to Ankara was to prevent Turkey from sending troops to Iraq and influence public opinion.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [05] Copenhagen criteria vs the HEB mess

    Under the above title, Turkish Daily News (16.09.03) publishes the following commentary by Ilnur Cevik::

    A crushing majority of Turks agree that the university system that was created by the junta after the 1980 coup has led to the current mess in our higher education and cannot meet the challenges of the 21st century where universities have to be an integral part of a contemporary society.

    The universities churn out graduates in the millions who simply cannot debate, cannot research and cannot even defend a view. The university system is a reaction to the deadly events of the past and has been modeled to dissuade students from being involved in any form of politics, to shut the doors to associations and prevent real academic work. Of course there are exceptions. We have very bright university graduates who have managed to clear the hurdles of this repressive system but they are too few to mention. The lucky ones are of course those who can get the golden opportunity of going abroad and graduating at universities in a free and academically productive environment.

    Everyone agrees that the system has to change and the law that has created the supervisory body for the universities to be overhauled. This means the Higher Education Board (HEB) which was the byproduct of the 1980 coup should be restructured and the laws that created it should be rewritten. In its current form HEB is not worthy of a democratic country.

    Turkey is going through a meaningful reformation process that we hope will bring our system on par with the democracies of the European Union. We have accepted the Copenhagen criteria and we have mobilized our resources to legislate sweeping reforms against all odds.

    Now the EU member states as well as the Commission are watching closely how we will implement these reforms that is crucial if we want to get a date for the commencement of accession talks at the end of 2004.

    So, under these conditions it is only normal for the Justice and Development Party (JDP) to push for the changing of the HEB law. What is abnormal is the rather strange and forceful resistance displayed by some HEB members and some university presidents who think repression and authoritarian rule is the only way to run our universities.

    Are they concerned that they will lose their jobs? Or are they a part of the conservative establishment that has managed to block any meaningful reforms in Turkey for the past two decades? Whatever their reasoning is we feel they are making a terrible mistake by dragging in the military into this debate.

    They have to be aware that developments in Turkey are closely watched abroad and people are not naive. When the head of HEB and some university presidents visit the Land Forces commander, people can put two and two together and know that this was not a friendly get together to view the stamp collection of the general. It is clear that they are trying to get the military to put pressure on the government. The military is being misled that the reforms for universities are religious inspired and aim to serve Islamic fundamentalists. Can't the HEB people digest the fact that the role of the military in politics and domestic affairs is being phased out?

    We all have to be aware that with this HEB mess we are being put to test on how we apply our reforms. So it does not help when the military makes a statement saying it will continue to get involved in domestic affairs by monitoring the university system.

    Has anyone heard the Dutch military talk about the university system in the Netherlands?

    /SK


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