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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 06-10-04
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From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.191/06 04.10.06
[A] NEWS ITEMS
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
[A] NEWS ITEMS
 Hasan Ercakica admits that the problems Turkey has created in Cyprus is affecting its EU courseIllegal Bayrak television (03.10.06) broadcast the following:
The presidential Spokesman Hasan Ercakica has said that the Cyprus Issue was hampering relations between Turkey and the European Union.
He said the situation was having an adverse effect on efforts towards finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem.
The Presidential Spokesmans words came during his routine weekly press briefing at the Presidential Palace in Lefkosia.
Speaking during the press conference, Mr Ercakica reminded reporters that the Republic of Cyprus had originally gained its independence on the 16th of August 1960 and not on the 1st of October as celebrated by the Greek Cypriot Administration (government of the Republic of Cyprus) last Sunday.
He said that the fact the Greek Cypriot Administration had celebrated its independence on the 1st of October clearly demonstrated that the current Republic of Cyprus was not the same partnership state that was established in 1960 that had been founded on the basis of the London, Zurich and Lefkosia agreements.
Pointing out that the Cyprus Problem was constantly being linked to Turkeys EU accession process, Mr Ercakica said that this was negatively affecting efforts towards finding a settlement on the island.
Pointing to the fact that Finland-which holds the current EU term presidency, had presented the two sides on the island with a set of proposals aimed at averting a crisis in Turkeys EU accession process over Cyprus, the Presidential spokesman reminded that President Talat had received the Finnish Ambassador to Cyprus earlier in the week to discuss the issue.
He said that the Turkish Cypriot Side will revaluate the proposals once they are drafted into final form by the Finnish Ambassador after receiving feedback from the two sides.
Referring to the ongoing international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people, Mr Ercakica drew attention to the fact that the Greek Cypriot leader Tassos Papadopoulos had tried during his address to the UN General Assembly to portray the harsh international isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots as a mere exaggeration.
Mr Ercakica also described the Greek Cypriot leaders attempts to use Turkish Cypriot individuals who benefit from public health services in the South as propaganda material, as ugly.
Answering a reporters question on the contents of the meeting held between President Mehmet Ali Talat and Georgios Karacaferis - a member of the European Parliaments High level contact group for the Turkish Cypriot community, the Presidential spokesman said that the meeting was not held for a special purpose.
Mr Ercakica said that all aspects of the Cyprus Problem were taken up during the meeting.
(Tr. Note: The Turkish side is trying to persuade the world that the forced eviction of the Greek Cypriots from their ancestral homes and properties and the usurpation and sale of these properties to the British and other foreigners is isolation of the Turkish Cypriots, when 200,000 Greek Cypriots are isolated through the force of arms by more than 40,000 Turkish troops from their homes for more than 32 years).
 Mr Talat continues to brand the Turkish crimes against the Greek Cypriots as isolation of the Turkish CypriotsIllegal Bayrak television (03.10.06) broadcast the following:
President Mehmet Ali Talat has stressed the need for the unjust international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot Side to be lifted as soon as possible.
Commenting on the speculative news reports that Ankara was ready to negotiate the European Union term President Finlands proposals on Cyprus, the President said that negotiating would not necessarily bring about the acceptance of a proposal.
Mr Talat was speaking during an audience yesterday evening at a visit paid to him by a non-governmental organization opposing the possible handover of the control of Magusa (occupied Famagusta) port to the European Union
As for the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People, President Talat reminded that the European Union and the United Nations had earlier called for the lifting of the isolation, when the Greek Cypriot Side rejected the Annan Plan.
Pointing to the imbalanced demands by the Greek Cypriot Side, Mr Talat said the issue of isolation has been drawn into a very wrong point.
Reminding the international communitys decision aimed at ending the unjust punishment of the Turkish Cypriot People, Mr. Talat said it is high time these promises are put into practice unconditionally.
He expressed concern that agreeing to share the control of the Magusa (occupied Famagusta) port would amount to Turkish Cypriot People renouncing its own rights.
(Tr. Note: The term unjust isolation of the Turkish Cypriots is nothing but the implementation of the international law and the UN Decisions against Turkey, which through the force of arms of 40,000 fully equipped Turkish troops, cleansed ethnically the occupied areas from everything Greek.
 Erdogan met Blair in London. Statement by Blair: We are doing all we can to prevent a crisis linked to the Cyprus issueIstanbul NTV television (03.10.06) broadcast the following:
In London, Prime Minister Erdogan and British Prime Minister Blair discussed the EU, Cyprus, Iran, and the Middle East problem.
The Erdogan-Blair meeting lasted about one hour and 20 minutes. The two leaders met alone for about 20 minutes. They discussed Turkey's ties with the EU on the first anniversary of the accession talks. Erdogan thanked Blair for his support in this regard. Blair said: We are doing all we can to prevent a crisis linked to the Cyprus issue. The two prime ministers also discussed Iran and agreed that the diplomatic negotiations must go on. Blair stressed the importance of Turkey's dispatch of troops to Lebanon, and he exchanged views with Erdogan on the developments in the Middle East.
 Olli Rehn is holding contacts in AnkaraIllegal Bayrak television (03.10.06) broadcast that the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn is continuing his contacts in the Turkish capital Ankara.
Speaking at a press conference, Mr Rehn said that he supported the EU term president Finlands latest initiative on the Cyprus Issue. Mr Rehn stated that all sides concerned to the Cyprus problem were fully aware of the seriousness and urgency of the issue and were trying to find the way for a solution. Describing the initiative as an encouraging move towards ending the current deadlock on the island, he said that Finlands proposal has not yet been rejected by the two sides in Cyprus.
Responding to a question on the content of proposals, Mr Rehn said that it would be wrong for him to reveal the details of the proposal at this moment as it was Finland which currently holds the EU term Presidency that was in charge of mediating the initiative between the two sides.
On Mr Rehnīs contacts in Turkey Ankara Anatolia news agency (03.10.06) reported that Mr Olli Rehn on Tuesday took the floor at a meeting in Ankara on "European Social Model and Syndicated Rights in EU Negotiation Process" arranged by Turk-Is (Confederation of Turkish Employees' Trade Unions).
Addressing the meeting Mr Olli Rehn inter alia said: "I am glad to be today in Ankara for the first anniversary of the EU's accession negotiations with Turkey. The 3rd of October 2005 was a historic day. The decision opened up the process towards Turkey's accession to the EU and it implied a qualitative change in our relations, as your country has since then no longer been a candidate but a negotiating country.
It should not be surprise to any that there is an on-going debate on enlargement in the EU as well as in Turkey. Such a debate is normal and healthy. And you should not expect it to stop: it will accompany the process until the very end, and even beyond.
In the EU, this debate is wide. Voices have been raised requesting a pause to enlargement. There are those who have concerns about issues such as the effect on the labour market or the costs for the present Member States. There are some who wonder how EU will function with Turkey as a member. But this debate is not Turkey-specific, it has to do with the Union itself.
However, it is also perfectly normal that, every time we welcome a new member to our family, we want to ensure that the house is comfortable and functional for everybody. In other words, the EU must be able to effectively continue to deliver its policies. This is nothing new, but has been the challenge of all previous enlargements.
The EU is a complex organization. We have our institutional framework, within which the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission play their distinctive roles. We are a Union of 25 Member States, each of them with their democratically elected Government, its elections, its politicians who express their views in the context of their national debate.
We should welcome this debate and meet arguments with counterarguments, myths with facts, and, inertia with action. Turkey's best response is a rock-solid, resolute commitment to reforms that would allow the country to meet the conditions for accession.
Let there be no misunderstanding on the strategic value of our common project. Europe needs Turkey as a key player, as a bridge and as a proactive moderator. Turkish accession should set a powerful counter-example to the alleged 'clash of civilisations'. Turkey is, also, essential for the stability and security of one of the most unstable and insecure regions in the world. Turkey's strategic significance was once again illustrated by its decision to take part in the UNIFIL mission in Lebanon.
On Article 301, Mr Rehn said: "Freedom of expression must be brought fully in line with European standards. There have been altogether some 70 cases against journalists, authors, publishers and citizen activists for supposedly "insulting Turkishness", but in reality expressing non-violent opinions. The prosecutions have been done on the basis of Article 301 of the penal code. We pointed out the loophole already when the new penal code was prepared, but our advice was not taken into account. The recent ruling of the Court of Cassation on the Hrant Dink case set a jurisprudence which keeps freedom of expression under threat in this country. The judicial proceedings have a chilling effect and damage the important work carried out by journalists, intellectuals and activists. It is high time that Turkey brings the penal code into line with the European Convention on Human Rights."
On the reform process and the Customs Union Agreement Protocol Mr Rehn noted: "We appreciate the reforms Turkey has carried out in the recent years. But as a friend of Turkey, I want to be frank and open with you, as friends always should be: the pace of reforms has slowed down in the past twelve months.
The expectations have risen since Turkey became a negotiating country on October 3rd last year. It is therefore all the more important that new initiatives are taken and tangible progress is still achieved before the Commission will present its report on November 8th.
Since signing the Additional Protocol of the Association Agreement in July 2005 as a condition to open the accession negotiations, Turkey has not moved towards its implementation. It has not removed obstacles to the free movement of goods, including restrictions on transport links with Cyprus. Y et, this is a legal, contractual obligation Turkey has made."
Ankara Anatolia (03.10.06) reported also from Ankara that during a joint press conference with Salih Kilic, the chairman of Turk-Is (Confederation of Turkish Employees' Trade Unions) Rehn stated that he is visiting Turkey for three reasons, and listed them as ensuring cooperation among social partners and showing the importance they attach to the NGOs; marking the first anniversary of start of Turkey-EU entry talks. "And, thirdly I am here because I don't want this first anniversary to be the last one," he said.
On the recent initiative launched by EU Acting President Finland regarding Cyprus, Rehn said that this initiative has not been rejected by any party so far, and noted that all parties are trying to find a solution as they have seen the seriousness of this matter.
Rehn refrained from detailing this initiative, but he said, "I don't want to be too optimistic but this is an encouraging situation."
On Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit's remarks about fundamentalist threat and asked if he sees such a threat, Rehn said that they have great respect to the professionalism of the Turkish Armed Forces, but underlined the importance of reforms for democratization of the civilian-military relations.
Stressing that recognition of the Armenian genocide is not a precondition before Turkey's membership, Rehn said that such historical issues should be solved within Turkey, and underlined the importance of discussion of this matter by Turkey and Armenia.
Later in the day Mr Cemil Cicek, Turkish Minister of Justice, met the European Union (EU) Commissioner in charge of Enlargement Olli Rehn in a meeting that lasted about 75 minutes.
"We discussed developments that took place after the beginning of entry negotiations on October 3rd, 2005," said Cicek. "Turkey has made some sincere reforms in regard to EU for some time."
Cemil Cicek indicated that Turkey has made some impressive reforms that must be taken into consideration in an EU report to be published on November 8th. "Mr Rehn and I discussed mutual expectations in our meeting today," stressed Cicek.
Meanwhile, Rehn underscored that he had a very constructive and friendly discussion with Cicek. "Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code limits freedom of expression and interpretations of certain laws pave the way for limitations on freedoms," said Rehn.
"We had a very open, comprehensive and constructive discussion on the freedom of expression in Turkey. This open dialogue will continue," stressed Rehn.
Rehn added that he will continue similar dialogues with the Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul on Wednesday.
 Turkish Minister of State on Turkeys occupation of Cyprus and Turkeys EU courseIllegal Bayrak television (03.10.06) broadcast the following:
The Turkish Minister of State-Deputy Prime Minister Abdullatif Sener has said that the Cyprus Issue should not interrupt or become part of Turkeys EU accession process.
The Turkish Minister of State was speaking on the Cyprus problem at a joint press conference held in Brussels with the President of TUSIAD Omer Sabanci.
Speaking at the conference, Mr Abdullatif Sener said that the European Union should encourage the Greek Cypriot Administration to take steps towards finding a solution to the Cyprus Problem.
He added that that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus were always in favour of find a solution on the basis of UN proposals and the Annan Plan.
Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot people continued to suffer under the harsh and unjust international embargoes imposed on it, Mr. Sener said that it was high time for the international community, primarily the European Union, to keep its promises and to ease the isolations on North Cyprus.
(Tr. Note: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is the illegal regime Ankara has set up in the properties of the evicted and massacred by the Turkish army Greek Cypriots as a result of which the UN Security Council and other international bodies have called on the civilized world to avoid any actions that would legitimize the faits accomplis of the Turkish army).
 The EU Commission Representative in Ankara replies to BuyukanitAnkara Anatolia news agency (03.10.06) reported the following from Ankara:
Freedom of expression, religious freedoms, and civilian-military relations are political criteria that Turkey should fulfil, as all other member states have done, said Hansjoerg Kretschmer, the head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey.
Appearing on a live broadcast on Turkish private NTV channel, Kretschmer underlined the importance of progress in political criteria, and said that Turkey has to do more.
Kretschmer noted that EU's stance towards civilian-military relations is obvious, and he expressed his views about this matter in a meeting held by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), when commenting on yesterday's remarks of Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukkanit at the War Academies.
Recalling Buyukkanits words that "the army has a different role in Turkey", Kretschmer said: "There are two different positions and views. And the commanders said that the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) is different from the armies in the EU. We will see if it changes within the negotiation process. Civilian-military relations are important in the EU process, and it should be solved. I think that it is possible."
Kretschmer expressed belief that Turkey will fulfil all required criteria, adding: "I am hopeful and optimistic. I think that Turkey will be successful at the end of the process."
On the Armenian genocide allegations, Kretschmer said that it is not one of the accession criteria but it can be effective within the general framework of the accession process.
Kretschmer noted that the Turkish government is determined and willing to make more reforms.
Commenting on the views that the EU is trying to divide Turkey, Kretschmer said: "It is even impossible to talk about Turkey's division. Political criteria are for the best interest of Turkey and the Turkish people."
 Soyer: Lawsuits for the bankrupted banks will be filed in October; Akinci: This is not the first time that Turkey interferes in the politics in occupied CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (04.10.06) writes in its first page, that the programme of the new self-styled government in occupied Cyprus is being discussed at the assembly since yesterday.
The paper notes that the discussion was not completed due to the fact that the National Unity Party (UBP) and the Democratic Party (DP) did not participate in the assembly yesterday. The government programme will be put to a vote of confidence tomorrow.
The government needs at least 26 votes in order to gain a vote of confidence. The paper also notes that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, the self-styled prime minister made yesterday an important announcement at the assembly regarding the banks that were bankrupted in the past and this issue was on the agenda along with the discussion for the government.
Soyer stated that they will intensify the process and that they are aware of the reality that the entire lawsuit will not be valid unless the cases are opened by the middle of October. Soyer reminded that the state has the right to bring a lawsuit against the owners of the banks which were acquitted, with the cases which will be opened. He also stated that they are under huge pressure to take action now since action was not taken at the right time.
Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (04.10.06) reports that Mustafa Akinci, the chairman of the Peace and Democracy Movement stated, inter alia, that the Turkish Cypriots must demand to rule themselves.
Mr Akinci, who declared that he will not give a vote of confidence to the new government, called for early elections. Mr Akinci stated that this is not the first time that Turkey interferes in the politics in occupied Cyprus and gave examples of previous interferences. Mr Akinci also stated that the results of the census must be announced clearly and noted that the future can be planned better this way.
 Turkish diplomatic sources say that no proposal has been submitted in writing by the Finnish term presidency of the EUInvoking Turkish diplomatic sources, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (04.10.06) writes that the proposal of the Finnish EU term presidency, aiming to prevent a port crisis, was not presented in a written form to Ankara, but Finland has only been taking soundings on the issue. According to these sources there were various imbalances in the Finnish proposal. Among these are the issue of the opening of the Famagusta port and the occupied closed city of Famagusta which Turkey considers to be part of the final solution of the Cyprus problem.
Furthermore, KIBRIS writes also that the Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Erkki Tuomioja, stated that the issue of south Cyprus could be a problem for Turkeys EU procedure. Mr Tuomioja noted that great difficulties would be created if Turkey did not recognise the Ankara Agreement. He went on and said that the Armenian genocide is not a condition for Turkeys EU membership.
 Democratic Party senior official is seeking support for party protest against the self-styled coalition governmentTurkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (04.10.06) reports that a Democratic Party (DP) committee under the chairmanship of party General Secretary, Mr Ertugrul Hasipoglu, paid separate visits yesterday to the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Industry and to the self-styled Turkish Cypriot Trade Union of Civil Servants, asking for support for their protest against the current political developments in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus.
During his visits, Mr Hasipoglu said Turkish Cypriots had experienced in the past the same foreign political interventions, but It is the first time that the TRNC was exposed to such a degree of intervention. He added that in the past no intervention had reached such dimensions.
Commenting on information published in the official Gazette in Turkey on 28 September in regard to Turkey recognizing Cyprus relative to its EU Customs Union, Mr Hasipoglu said that if this decision is true, then Turkey can interrupt at any moment its relationship with the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
 Turkish Cypriot Trade Unions oppose to the change of the demographic structure of the occupied part of CyprusTurkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (04.10.06) reports that the chairmen of three Turkish Cypriot trade Unions have stated that creating places where workers brought from abroad could find a shelter is a human duty, but someone must examine how right it is to make shelters for these people.
Commenting on the announcement made recently by the illegal ambassador of Turkey to occupied Nicosia, Mr Aydan Karahan, who had said that shelters will be built for the workers who are brought from Turkey, the heads of Dev-Is, Hur-Is and Turk-Sen expressed the opinion that bringing workers without knowing where they work and building shelters for them is not right.
Mehmet Seyis, chairman of the Federation of Revolutionary Workers Trade Unions (Dev-Is), said that the employers have the responsibility of building shelters for the workers they bring to the occupied areas after securing work permit. Noting that bringing workers without knowing where they work and building shelters for them is not right, Mr Seyis stressed: The Embassy of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish Municipality of Nicosia must first fulfill their fundamental duty. Bringing workers to the country without control will damage the demographic structure. Bringing workers into our country in an uncontrolled manner, making them house owners and securing shelter to their families will damage the demographic structure. The persons who bring workers from abroad have the responsibility of securing shelters for them. Another important element that must be taken into consideration while registering workers is the demographic structure when workers from abroad are brought.
Ozay Andic, chairman of the Northern Cyprus Federation of the Turkish Cypriot Workers Trade Unions (Hur-Is), said that the necessary work for registering the illegal workers have been made since July 2005, but according to some information there are still many workers who are not registered and some others who have been registered and are not included in the system. He argued that building shelters for the workers brought from abroad is a human duty, and added: I believe, however, that there will be problems during the registration of the persons who will be sheltered in the place to be constructed. I do not accept the opinion that by making shelters to the people, registering these persons will be possible. I think that the illegal workers problem must be taken up as a whole. We believe that better measures must be taken regarding this issue.
Arslan Bicakli, chairman of the Federation of the Turkish Cypriot Workers Trade Unions (Turk-Sen), said that no shelter has been built until today for the workers brought from abroad and because there was no shelter these people live under inappropriate conditions and in the constructions. Noting that how right it is to build shelters for these persons must be examined, Mr Bicakli added: The biggest problem on this issue is employment and the second is the housing problem. The people living and working in our country have a housing problem. Solution must be found in general to the housing problem. .
 Mandatory Religious Classes were brought to the ECHR by AlevisAnkara Anatolia news agency (03.10.06) reported the following from Strasbourg:
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) debated on Tuesday mandatory classes in religious culture and ethics at elementary and high-schools in Turkey.
In the two-hour hearing, the lawyer of the Turkish government stated that the obligatory religious courses are in line with ECHR's by-laws, while the lawyer of the applicants said that "these obligatory courses are against the principle of secularism."
The ECHR will make public its verdict on a later date.
Hasan Zengin and his daughter Eylem Zengin, who are adherents of Alevism, applied to the ECHR in 2004, arguing that "Turkey is violating Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and Article 2 of the Protocol No. 1 (right to education)".
Zengin had earlier applied to Turkish courts, asking them to exempt his daughter, who was attending the seventh grade, from lessons in religious culture and ethics, but could not get any results.
In this application to Turkish courts, Zengin argued that the course in question was incompatible with the principle of secularism, and that the lessons, which were based on the teaching of Sunni Islam, were not neutral.
Zengin said that religious culture and ethics is a compulsory subject in Turkish primary and secondary schools under Article 24 of the Turkish Constitution, and argued that "the way in which religious culture and ethics is taught in Turkey infringes upon Miss Zengin's right to freedom of religion and her parents' right to ensure her education in conformity with their religious convictions".
 Retired General speaks about readoption of the conditions of the Serves AgreementIstanbul HURRIYET newspaper (02.10.06) publishes an interview with Retired General Edip Baser, Turkey's Coordinator in the struggle against the PKK.
Mr Baser, who was the first general with a Phd degree in the Turkish Armed Forces, inter alia said:
National awareness is undergoing rapid erosion. Circles that are in favor of the shari'a and circles that support separatism are working hand-in-hand to this end. And it is certain that the EU will not accept our membership before we readopt the conditions of the Sevres Agreement. Look at the conditions that they have recently placed. Look at what they include -- from Pontus to the Assyrians. Who gives them this courage? This means that this is the way we appear to them. The Turkish Republic has not been established so easily. Greece has been waging wars its entire life, but it has not won any victories. It has won territory in times of peace. We are not such a state. We have sacrificed so many martyrs for each and every centimeter square. It is time for the intellectuals who love their state to come to the fore and to take the lead for organizing the people. It is time for the National Forces movement to take action again. I am not talking about weapons and rough force. I am saying that it is imperative for us to regain national awareness and to get stronger.
[B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS
 Columnist complains: The continued influx of Illegal settlers disrupts normal education in the occupied areaTurkish Cypriot journalist Hasan Hasturer in his column in the local Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (04/10/06) dwells upon the situation existing in the schools in general and in the primary schools in particular in the Turkish occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus. He says that north Cyprus these days has become a ship that lacked proper course-chart and with a broken compass.
He describes the composition of the classes in the primary schools and says that something should be done so that pupils from Turkey who are arriving in the occupied area continuously should not face adaptation problems. He says that there is no uniformity in the class, no one observes age limits, pupils come and go in the middle of the school year without any rehabilitation courses at all. He gives an example in a primary school in the occupied Lefkosia where all 550 pupils are of mainland Turkish origin. He says that their behavior is different and they are more aggressive and ready to fight.
He suggests that the teachers in these schools should get salary increase.
He concludes by quoting a primary school teacher who suggested that the occupation regime should organize rehabilitation courses both to the family and the pupil as well.
 How the Turkish Press reacted to General Buyukkanits statementsFollowing are excerpts from commentaries carried by the Turkish dailies on 3 October 2006 about the speech made by General Yasar Buyukkanit, Chief of the Turkish General Staff, during a ceremony held at the headquarters of the Turkish War Academies in Istanbul on 2 October.
Istanbul MILLIYET newspaper carries an article entitled "Tension About Fundamentalism"" by Taha Akyol, who argues that recent statements made by the leaders of the Armed Forces and President Ahmet Necdet Sezer about various threats posed by fundamentalism, "international monopolistic capitalism disguised as globalization," and "universal capitalism" effectively portrayed Turkey as an ailing country rather than one, which is modernizing and opening up to the rest of the world.
Noting that recent academic researches have shown that social change in Turkey is characterized by modernization of Islamist groups rather than fundamentalism, Akyol says that there are only marginal fundamentalist groups. He notes: "Turkey's image as a democratic country should be reinforced rather than being overshadowed in order to wage a successful fight against terrorism. Tension must be alleviated and the situation should be normalized rapidly."
In an article entitled "The Targets of the Speech Made by the Chief of the General Staff," MILLIYET columnist Fikret Bila says that Buyukanit responded to recent statements made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Grand National Assembly Speaker Bulent Arinc, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and criticized the EU and some European countries for their approach to terrorism and the Turkish Armed Forces' role. He concludes by saying: "The issues highlighted by Buyukanit and his style indicated that the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] would not remain indifferent to statements and actions hostile to the secular systems, national unity, and the TSK."
Istanbul RADIKAL newspaper carries an article entitled "Buyukkanit Voiced Strong Criticism", by Murat Yetkin, who says that Buyukkanits speech was full of indirect but strong criticism against the government and mainly focused on secularism, the PKK and the fight against Kurdish separatism and criticism levelled at the Turkish Armed Forces. Yetkin notes that Buyukkanit revealed the sharp disagreement about fundamentalism between the government and the military by emphasizing that there is a fundamentalist threat in Turkey and that all kinds of actions should be taken against that threat.
Commenting on the conclusions drawn from Buyukkanits speech, Yetkin says: "We can assume that the full text of the speech was delivered to US officials prior to the meeting between Erdogan and Bush. US officials (and interested third parties, including the EU) could reach the following conclusions based on the speech: 1. If you are taking the PKK's call for ceasefire seriously and formulating a policy in response, you should know that the TSK will not be a part of that policy. 2. Weakening the TSK's role in the country would also not be in your best interests." Yetkin also points out that Buyukkanit did not criticize the United States in his speech and concludes by saying that Buyukkanits remarks could have serious effects not only on domestic politics, but also Turkey's foreign policy ahead of the presidential election and the general election in 2007.
Istanbul CUMHURIYET daily carries an article entitled "October Began With Very Heated Debates" by Orhan Birgit who comments: "The speech was like a strategy plan carefully devised at the TSK's headquarters and contained lessons for prospective staff officers as well as some organizations describing themselves as non-governmental organizations and groups in Turkey and abroad, which are trying to attack the Turkish army by using the EU as a shield." Birgit criticizes Erdogan for remaining silent in response to what he describes as a salvo of criticism directed at the TSK especially in a report issued by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation.
Istanbul ORTADOGU newspaper carries an article entitled "A Lesson Taught by the Military" by Orhan Karatas, who says: "Buyukkanit made justifiable comments and said the right things. He said what he should say in line with his responsibilities and duties as the Chief of the General Staff and reiterated clearly that this country is not defenceless. Nobody should attempt to draw political conclusions from that speech. There is an undeniable fact: they are tampering with the genes of the Republic of Turkey. Nobody who feels that he has obligations toward the nation and country could remain indifferent to that. The Chief of the General Staff did not remain indifferent and expressed his concerns on behalf of the Turkish Armed Forces, which is the guarantee for the Republic's perpetual existence, and strongly warned those who had overstepped the line."
Istanbul YENI SAFAK daily carries an article entitled "Why Does the Military Have Keen Interest in Politics?" by Mehmet Ocaktan who points out that generals started speaking "loudly" again after Buyukkanits appointment as Chief of the General Staff. He says that the TSK has reverted to its dominant character it inherited from the Ottomans, which is characterized by its desire to have a say in all parts of politics, after the retirement of former Chief of the General Staff Hilmi Ozkok. Ocaktan notes: "I believe that this acerbic style used by TSK leaders recently will undermine its image while offending the public."
Istanbul ZAMAN daily carries an article entitled "Three Speeches on Secularism" by Tamer Korkmaz who criticizes Buyukkanit for saying that there is a fundamentalist threat. He says: "Was there any development indicating that there was a fundamentalist threat or a 'present and imminent risk,' which is a more technical term, observed recently? No, there was not. Thus, attempts to revive the fundamentalist threat can be described as a reflex response aimed at preserving the military's domination in certain areas."
In an article entitled "What Buyukkanit Meant To Say" YENI SAFAK columnist Ali Bayramoglu deals with initial reactions to Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukkanits Military Academy speech which have represented it as one that was not "as harsh as expected" and that did not include open criticism of the Erdogan government. Bayramoglu argues that an "emphasis" on the military's role in politics was the main burden of Buyukkanits speech and that the General Staff Chief's address has provided further proof - along with Land Forces Commander General Basbug's recent statements and Buyukkanits own earlier remarks - of how the top brass of the Turkish Armed Forces are positioning themselves against efforts to restrict the military's role in politics. According to Bayramoglu, the address means that "the Semdinli process is making headway."
In an article entitled "General Buyukkanit and a Different World" YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru argues that Buyukkanits "complaints" about demands for a redefinition of secularism, the "failure" of certain quarters to realize the "serious reactionary threat" facing Turkey, and NATO and the European Union's reluctance to support Turkey's fight against terrorism, can be interpreted as meaning that the Turkish General Staff is not happy with the current trend of the world and the results of globalization. He argues, that if nobody appears to be lending an ear to the TSK's warnings about reactionism, it is because the concept does not have any "global" relevance, adding that the absence of international support for Turkey's fight against terrorism means that the global system does not approve of the methods Turkey is using in fighting terrorism.
VAKIT newspaper publishes a report entitled "Buyukkanit More Sensible Than Sezer," which asserts that General Buyukkanits speech was "more reasonable" than President Sezer's earlier parliamentary address "despite the fact that he [Buyukkanit] talked about an imaginary reactionary threat." The report also claims that some media has been "disappointed" at the fact that Buyukanit did not convey his messages in "very harsh" terms.
Also in an article entitled "Who is Next?" VAKIT columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak criticizes the warnings about reactionism and the emphasis on secularism in President Sezer and General Basbug's recent speeches and General Buyukanit's Military Academy address yesterday and argues that it is not possible to tackle the challenges of the 21st century with the help of concepts and institutions invented or created in the late 19th century and during war years.
Finally, in an article entitled "Which Secularism?" ZAMAN columnist Mumtazer Turkone argues that there is actually a threat facing the principle of secularism in Turkey, adding that it is posed not by religion or the presence of various different faiths in the country but by "reactionary philosophical beliefs, enlightenment concepts dating from the 18th century, a primitive positivism that failed even to outlive the 19th century, and a vulgar scientism."