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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-04-30

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

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No.82/07 28-30.04.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Statement by the Turkish army on the ongoing presidential election process
  • [02] Erdogans reaction to the statement by the Turkish armed forces
  • [03] Erdogan spoke on the phone with the Turkish Chief of Staff
  • [04] Government Spokesman criticizes General Staffs statement
  • [05] Reaction by the Speaker of parliament to the statement by the army
  • [06] Rally by the secularists in Istanbul. Slogans against the government
  • [07] CHP Appeals to Constitutional Court for cancellation of presidential vote
  • [08] Statement by the President of the Constitutional court
  • [09] Gul will not withdraw
  • [10] Reaction by Olli Rehn to the Turkish General staff statement
  • [11] TUSIAD urges for early elections to prevent deterioration of democracy
  • [12] Avcis statements to Ankara Anatolia news agency
  • [13] The Turkish Minister of Transport inaugurated the new power generating unit in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [14] Another illegal protocol was signed by the Turkish Republic and the illegal regime it has set up in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus
  • [15] A conference for struggling with narcotics has been organized in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [16] Mare Monte Hotel has been turned into ruins, while other hotels are being built in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [17] The activities of the illegal universities abroad continue
  • [18] Turkish Cypriot economist sees an economic growth in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [19] Criminal acts are increased in the occupied areas of Cyprus
  • [20] Cyprus Today: Estate agents may challenge new law
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [21] How the Turkish press assesses developments after the statement of the General Staff

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Statement by the Turkish army on the ongoing presidential election process

    The following press release was issued by Ankara office of the Chief of the General staff on (28.04.07) in the website http://www.tsk.mil.tr:

    It is being observed that certain circles that are waging a relentless struggle to erode the founding principles of the Turkish Republic starting with secularism have recently increased their efforts. These activities, which are constantly being brought to the attention of the pertinent authorities in an appropriate manner, encompass a broad spectrum of activities ranging from their wish to question and redefine the founding principles to the creation of alternative celebrations to our national holidays, which are the symbol of our state's independence and the unity and integrity of our nation.

    The people engaged in these activities do not hesitate to exploit our people's sacred religious sentiments, and they work to conceal their true aims by dressing up these efforts, which have become an open challenge to the state, in the apparel of religion. The way they use women and children in particular in the front line of their activities carries striking similarities to the destructive and separatist activities being conducted against our country's unity and integrity.

    In connection with this:

    A Koran recital competition had been organized in Ankara for the same day as the National Sovereignty and Children's Holiday on 23 April, but was cancelled thanks to pressure brought to bear by the sensitive media and public.

    In Sanliurfa on 22 April 2007 a chorus made up of young girls dressed in outmoded clothing that was inappropriate to their ages and at an hour at which they should have long been in their beds was made to recite Islamic hymns with the participation of certain groups from the provinces of Mardin, Gaziantep and Diyarbakir. The true motives and intentions of the people organizing the evening became apparent when they attempted to take down pictures of Ataturk and the Turkish flag.

    Furthermore, there has been disturbing news to the effect that all the school principles in Ankara's Altindag district were ordered to attend a "Sacred Birth Celebration," that Islamic hymns were sung by primary school girls wearing Islamic headscarves during an event arranged jointly by the Denizli Provincial Muftu's Office and a political party, and that despite there being four mosques in the borough of Nikfer in Denizli's Tavas district a sermon and religious talk directed at women were held in the Ataturk Primary School.

    The activities to be celebrated in schools are specified in the pertinent Ministry of Education directives. However, despite the fact that these kinds of events were arranged according to non-directive instructions and the fact that the General Staff notified the pertinent authorities it has been observed that no preventative measures have been taken.

    The fact that the above mentioned activities took place with the permission and knowledge of the authorities whose duty it is to intercede in and prevent them makes the issue all the more serious. It is possible to list more examples.

    This reactionary mindset, which is opposed to our Republic and has no other aim than to undermine the founding principles of our state, has been encouraged by certain developments and rhetoric in recent days and is broadening the scope of its activities.

    Developments in our region are replete with examples that should be heeded of the disasters that can be caused by playing with religion and exploiting faith for political rhetoric and ends. It can be seen in both our country and abroad that when a sacred faith is used to try and carry political rhetoric or ideology it changes into something by taking faith out of the picture. The incident in Malatya can be said to be a striking example of this. It goes without saying that the only condition under which the state of the Turkish Republic may live in peace and stability as a modern democracy is to stand up for the founding qualities of the state as specified in the Constitution.

    It is a clear fact that this behaviour and these actions contradict entirely the principle of "being loyal to the Republic regime in spirit and not in word and of acting in such a way as to show this" as stated by the Chief of Staff in a news conference on 12 April 2007, and that they violate the founding qualities and provisions of the Constitution.

    The question that has come to the fore in the recent run up to the presidential elections is focused on the secularism debate. This situation is being watched in trepidation by the Turkish Armed Forces. It must not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces do take sides in this debate and are the sure and certain defenders of secularism. Moreover, the Turkish Armed Forces are definitely on the receiving end of the debates being argued and the negative commentary, and they will make their position and stance perfectly clear if needs be. Let nobody have any doubt about this.

    In short, anybody who opposes the idea as stated by the founder of the Republic the Great Leader Ataturk of "Happy is the man who says I am a Turk!" is an enemy of the Turkish Republic and will stay that way.

    The Turkish Armed Forces remain steadfast in their unwavering commitment to carry out in full the duties given to them by law to protect these qualities. Its allegiance to and faith in this commitment is certain.

    The public has been respectfully informed.

    [02] Erdogans reaction to the statement by the Turkish armed forces

    ISTANBUL NTV television (28.04.07) broadcast the following:

    Even though it is the weekend, Ankara is busy today. Prime Minister Erdogan is spending his weekend in the capital. Everybody is curious to see how the government will react to the harsh statement issued by the General Staff yesterday.

    Prime Minister Erdogan attended the Red Crescent meeting held here today. After that, he went to his official residence where he is currently meeting with his staff, including presidential candidate and foreign minister Abdullah Gul, National Education Minister Huseyin Celik, State Minister Besir Atalay, Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu, and so on. The prime minister is assessing the situation and the future process.

    Meanwhile, even though he did not give any clear or direct messages regarding the General Staff statement, the prime minister said certain interesting things which were full of implied messages during his speech at the Red Crescent meeting. Here is what he said: ´We know very well that great disasters are not always caused by floods or earthquakes. At times, the countries united will, political unity, and social texture may be subjected to disasters. Our nation paid a heavy price in the past for these political disasters during times of lost confidence and stability. Thank God, our nation does not and will not give a chance any more to opportunists who yearn for and lead to disasters. Our nation and history will never forgive those who may try to hurt or undermine our spirit of solidarity and of mutual assistance or our social texture. We must all realize that´.

    [03] Erdogan spoke on the phone with the Turkish Chief of Staff

    ISTANBUL NTV television (29.04.07) broadcast the following:

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to his official residence following a speech he had delivered in a regular meeting held by the General Assembly of the Turkish Red Crescent early yesterday. Erdogan called the General Staff at noon and said that he wanted to have a telephone conversation with Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit. Shortly afterwards Buyukanit returned his call.

    The Prime Minister who was in a meeting with the ministers went to his office and had a telephone conversation with Buyukanit which lasted around 20 minutes. The Prime Minister later went to the meeting room and shared the content of the conversation with the ministers.

    According to sources, Erdogan said during the conversation that he was deeply concerned because General Buyukanit's statement contained extremely inappropriate conclusions in terms of the relations between the government and the General Staff.

    Noting that anti-secular acts could occasionally occur in different parts of Turkey, Erdogan said that administrative units, public prosecutors, and judges would launch investigations into such acts and take required action.

    Erdogan also asked Buyukanit to share the military's concerns during face-to-face meetings rather than issuing statements, adding that using the proposed method would be more appropriate in terms of relations between establishments.

    Erdogan quoted Buyukanit as responding that the statement should not be regarded as criticism levelled at the government. He said: "We shared our concerns about secularism with the public once again."

    Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin who was interviewed during a live program aired by the NTV said that it was a positive telephone conversation. Sahin said: "Erdogan seemed very relaxed and there was a positive expression on his face.

    [04] Government Spokesman criticizes General Staff´s statement

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.04.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Minister of Justice and government spokesman Cemil Cicek has said: "A statement outlining the General Staff's opinions about various issues was sent to media establishments at midnight and it were also published on the website of the General Staff. The statement was perceived as a stance taken against the government. It would be regarded as unusual even if such a thing were mentioned in a democratic regime."

    Cicek made the following comments in a news conference he held at the main compound of the Prime Minister's Office: "A statement outlining the General Staff's opinions about various issues was sent to media establishments at midnight and it was also published on the website of the General Staff. The statement was perceived as a stance taken against the government. It would be regarded unusual even if such a thing were proposed in a democratic regime.

    "The General Staff is an establishment under the Prime Minister's Office. It would be inconceivable if the general staff in a democracy upholding the rule of law made a statement critical of the government about any issue. The General Staff is an establishment which receives orders from the government and whose responsibilities are defined in the Constitution and laws.

    "According to the Constitution, the Chief of the General Staff reports to the Prime Minister as part of his duties and responsibilities. The timing of the issuance of this text to the media and of its publication in the General Staff's website was meaningful."

    Cicek added: "I would also like to inform you that the Prime Minister and the Chief of the General Staff have had a useful and fruitful telephone conversation."

    "Our government and its departments concerned would not remain indifferent to actions conflicting with our State's fundamental values which are highlighted in the press or raised in different places."

    Cicek held a news conference at the main compound of the Prime Minister's Office.

    Commenting on the statement made by the General Staff yesterday, Cicek noted that the statement captured great attention because it was made during the process of electing the eleventh president. Cicek went on to say: "The statement will be perceived as an attempt to influence the Constitutional Court because it was made amid debates revolving around the Court. I would like to make it clear that our government pays great attention and is concerned about the fundamental and indispensable common values of our State; the unity and territorial integrity of our country; our nation's dignity; and the secular, democratic, and welfare State upholding the rule of law in Turkey more than anybody else.

    "Turkey's national unity and territorial integrity and the Turkish nation's well-being can be preserved only by upholding those values. No act or attitude conflicting with our Republic's fundamental characteristics, Constitution and laws which are occasionally taken by some persons and organizations cannot be endorsed and it is actually not possible to approve of such acts."

    Cicek noted that competent authorities, especially public prosecutors were authorized to launch investigations into such acts without obtaining authorization from any other government authority. He stated: "It is their duty to take required action in such cases. In addition, our government and its departments concerned would not remain indifferent to actions conflicting with our State's fundamental values which are highlighted in the press or raised in different places. It was, therefore, regretful that the text in question included extremely inappropriate comments about the General Staff's relationship with the government.

    "It is essential that all key establishments of our State act more carefully and prudently about such issues in order to ensure that the process of strengthening and modernizing Turkey and raising its democratic standards continues in a satisfactory manner. Otherwise, an irreparable damage would be inflicted on peace and stability in our country and on efforts aimed at strengthening it.

    Primary responsibility for upholding our State's fundamental values rests with the Government. It goes without saying that all establishments under the government are also concerned about this matter because the government is strongly committed to achieve that goal without making any concession. Every problem in Turkey will be resolved in accordance with the laws and rules of the democratic system. Any opinion or attitude conflicting with that understanding would be totally unacceptable. Every person and establishment should facilitate that process. Any attempt to find other kind of solutions would cause great damage to our country and nation and there were bitter experiences in the past."

    Emphasizing that the government was strongly resolved to further strengthen the Republic which he described as a democratic, secular, and welfare state upholding the rule of law, Cicek noted: "Our Republic and democracy are irreversible gains for all of us. We should join our forces to safeguard the fundamental characteristics of our State and to achieve greater progress in the future. We should ensure that our country is better prepared for global competition and to increase the welfare and happiness of our nation rather than wasting our energy as a result of internal debates.

    "In that context we should also thwart efforts made by some people with sinister designs in a bid to create disputes between our government and the Turkish Armed Forces. All people who have responsibilities in that regard should refrain from any act which tarnishes Turkey's international reputation; is incompatible with democracy; and disturbs the Turkish nation. Those who undermine security and stability should be aware that they will also assume responsibility for negative consequences in terms of our national interests."

    Cicek said that he would not respond to questions after the news conference. He noted: "I will not reply any question. But, you may have such a question on your mind. I would also like to inform you that the Prime Minister and the Chief of the General Staff have had a useful and fruitful telephone conversation."

    [05] Reaction by the Speaker of parliament to the statement by the army

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.04.07) reported the following from Istanbul:

    The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) restated its sensitivity concerning secularism. This is natural," said parliament speaker Bulent Arinc on Saturday, commenting on the recent statement by General Staff released on Friday night.

    Arinc answered questions of reporters at Ataturk Airport before leaving for Ankara. Parliament speaker said the TSK expressed its sensitivity regarding secularism once again.

    The TSK has always been sensitive about secularism, activities against secularism and protection of secularism. It restates this sensitivity. We are all sensitive about secularism. We are aware of it as an important principle. So this is what I understand from this declaration," Arinc said.

    [06] Rally by the secularists in Istanbul. Slogans against the government

    NTV television (29.04.07) broadcast that "hundreds of thousands of people" participated at the "Republic Rally," which was organized with the support of "close to 600 civil society organizations." Explaining that the participants "chanted the Tenth Year March after the chanting of the National Anthem," the report adds that "Professor Necla Arat, chairperson of the Union of Civil Society Organizations, said that the wave that rose in Tandogan on 14 April turned into a tsunami in Caglayan today. Arat further said: 'We are here today to defend Turkey's secular structure with determination and courage and stop those who sneakily seek to change the secular regime step by step.'"

    [07] CHP Appeals to Constitutional Court for cancellation of presidential vote

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (27.04.07) reported the following from Ankara: "We have submitted our application about the first round of the presidential election with the signatures of 134 MPs to the Constitutional Court," Onder Sav, secretary-general of the main opposition party Republican People's Party (CHP), said on Friday.

    Replying to questions of journalists, Sav said, "Parliament Speaker Bulent Arinc violated the parliamentary by-law during today's vote. We submitted our application to the Constitutional Court on the ground that today's voting was contrary to the parliamentary by-law and the Constitution."

    "If the Article 102 of the Constitution is read carefully, it is evident that the required numbers of 367, or tho-thirds of lawmakers in parliament, were not present in the first round. This renders the vote invalid. We requested the Constitutional Court to rule the first round voting invalid because there were fewer than two thirds or 367 MPs in the chamber at the time after opposition parties stayed away," he said.

    Sav said, "We expect the Constitutional Court to make a decision till the second round of voting scheduled to be held on May 2nd. If a decision is not made till May 2nd, we will also submit an application about the second round of the presidential election to the Constitutional Court."

    [08] Statement by the President of the Constitutional court

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (29.04.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    We will make a decision either on Tuesday or Wednesday, said Constitutional Court Chief Judge Tulay Tugcu on Sunday regarding Republican People's Party's (CHP) application to the court for the cancellation of the first round of presidential elections.

    Tugcu told reporters that she thinks the rapporteur will present his report to members on Monday. "I think we will examine the report before the second round of election," she added.

    Tugcu noted that Constitutional Court always defends the supremacy of Constitution and law, and makes its decisions accordingly.

    "We consider deciding on application of CHP on Tuesday, but we may make the decision on Wednesday," she noted.

    CHP submitted its application to Constitutional Court about the first round of the presidential election with the signatures of 134 MPs on the ground that the voting was contrary to the parliamentary by-law and the Constitution.

    [09] Gul will not withdraw

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (29.04.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul who has announced his candidacy to become the 11th president has said that that the process of electing the new president was under way and that he would not withdraw his candidacy.

    Responding to a question put by a reporter as to whether or not he would withdraw his candidacy before he left the Foreign Ministry's headquarters, Gul said: "The process continues. Withdrawing my candidacy is definitely out of the question."

    Pointing out that the decision about his candidacy had not been made overnight, Gul said that the decision to announce his candidacy had been made as a result of lengthy consultations and exchange of opinions.

    Gul went on to say: "This process continues. We have to wait for the ruling to be handed down by the Constitutional Court. It would not be appropriate to make any comment or to express any opinion about that issue. The Court will make the most appropriate assessment about the issue and hand down a prudent decision."

    Pointing out that the Republican People's Party [CHP] had submitted an application to the Constitutional Court about the parliamentary procedure followed for electing the new president, Gul said: "The Constitutional Court will render the correct decision."

    In a brief statement he made to reporters about the presidential election before leaving the headquarters of the Foreign Ministry, Gul went on to say: "The process of electing the new president has started and is under way. The CHP, the main opposition party, said after the process had started that it could take the matter to the Constitutional Court. When my candidacy was announced, they took the matter to the Constitutional Court because they had publicly made a binding statement before. Now the case is being examined by the Constitutional Court. It would, therefore, not be appropriate to make any comment or to express any opinion about that issue. The Court will hand down a prudent decision. Thus we must show respect for its decision."

    [10] Reaction by Olli Rehn to the Turkish General staff statement

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.04.07) reported the following from Brussels:

    The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn stated that EU respected Turkish military's professionalism and its valuable contribution to international peace forces, however, underscored that "the military should be aware that it should not interfere in the democratic process in a country which desires to become an EU member".

    Speaking to reporters, Rehn said that they would study General Staff's statement of last night carefully, indicating that he found the timing of such statement "quite surprising and strange".

    Emphasizing that EU was aware of the high importance of a "secular democracy", Rehn said, in the meantime, the respect to democracy and to a democratically elected government were among the basic values of EU.

    "It is important that the military respects the rules of the democracy and its own role in that democratic game," Rehn added.

    [11] TUSIAD urges for early elections to prevent deterioration of democracy

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (29.04.07) reported the following from Istanbul:

    "It is compulsory to hold early general elections rapidly to prevent the actual condition to deteriorate democracy," stated Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) on Sunday, defending that the actual condition-- which was created through the statement of General Staff-- is not appropriate to the democratic practices as well as the ruling party does not care enough the rising concern of society for protection of secular regime.

    In its written statement, TUSIAD noted, "the escalating tension regarding the presidential elections has reached its peak point."

    "It is compulsory to solve the current crisis with sincere participation of all parties without any emotional reactions and through common sense," stated TUSIAD.

    TUSIAD also stated that inseparable integrity of secularism and democracy constitutes the basis of Republic of Turkey.

    [12] Avcis statements to Ankara Anatolia news agency

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (30.04.07) reports that the self-styled minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci, has called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Lillikas to meet him in a third country. In statements to Anatolia news agency, Mr Avci said that the meeting could take place in any country Mr Lillikas chooses and added: Let him come and let us sit, eat, drink coffee and discuss the Cyprus issue. As you remember we would come together with Lillikas in Helsinki during the Finnish term presidency, but Lillikas ran away from the table.

    Mr Avci said that since he came to the ministry, some openings were made on issues such as commerce, finance, maritime business, communication and trade with countries members of the Islamic Conference Organization.

    He stated that their efforts for the resumption of sea journeys between the occupied port of Famagusta and Syria are being exerted. He noted that they have opened a representation in Qatar and that their representative will go there within a few days. He added that they will also open representation in Kuwait and that their preparations are about to be completed on this issue. Another country where representation will open is Oman, he said.

    He pointed out to the importance of the states of the Gulf and noted that his ministry is following a proactive policy. The opening abroad brings voice (to us). It brings results, he added, noting that a delegation will visit Kuwait within the coming days and that he will visit Pakistan in mid May.

    He alleged that President Papadopoulos is working 24 hours a day to prevent the development of the Turkish Cypriots and claimed: Papadopoulos has no other job. He wants only and only to stop the development of the Turkish Cypriots and the TRNC and to stop the economic development, because he knows that with the economic development all the other openings will come.

    Mr Avci reiterated that they are ready for a bi-zonal, bi-communal and just solution based on political equality and the guarantees of Turkey. Responding to a question, he said that he had voted no to the Annan Plan because he was an MP with the National Unity Party and his party was conducting a campaign in favour of the no vote.

    Asked to comment on the tension created between the politicians and the army officials in the occupied areas, Mr Avci said that it would be better if the different perceptions or the problems deriving from being perceived in a different manner were not reflected in the media. He noted that the general elections in the occupied areas will be conducted in 2010 and early elections were out of the question.

    (I/Ts.)

    [13] The Turkish Minister of Transport inaugurated the new power generating unit in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.04.07) reported the following from occupied Keryneia:

    Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim stated that ´Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (TRNC) grew by 53 percent during the last 3 years, adding that the country improved continuously.

    The 70 megawatt - additional unit of Teknecik Power Plant in ´TRNC´ was inaugurated today by Yildirim and ´TRNC's Prime Minister´ Ferdi Sabit Soyer.Delivering a speech at the inaugural ceremony, Yildirim said that Turkey and ´TRNC´ carried out a successful cooperation in areas of energy, infrastructure and transportation lately.

    Yildirim indicated that all the projects inaugurated in Turkey by the Turkish Transportation Ministry, were started in ´TRNC´ at the same time.Meanwhile, Soyer stressed that they would continue to conduct infrastructural investments aiming to minimize the electricity loss in the country.

    The newly established plant, which is one of the biggest investments in ´TRNC´ in recent years, costed nearly 32 million EUR.

    The electricity production in the country will rise from 205 megawatt to 275 megawatt with a 33 percent increase, thanks to the establishment of the additional plant.

    [14] Another illegal protocol was signed by the Turkish Republic and the illegal regime it has set up in the occupied territories of the Republic of Cyprus

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.04.07) reported the following from occupied Keryneia:

    Turkey and ´Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus´ (TRNC) signed a protocol on postal office automation system, which enables better registered postal services, online remittance and collection services between two ´countries'´ postal directorates in Girne on Friday.

    Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim and ´TRNC Development and Transportation Minister´ Salih Usar attended the signing ceremony.Binali Yildirim who stressed the importance of infrastructure in transportation and communication systems said if states cannot become "online states" they do not have a chance of survival. Minister Yildirim continued, "we think whatever is in Turkey should be in ´TRNC´ as well. That is why, we think of all projects as collective projects."

    ´TRNC Minister´ Usar said the postal services in ´TRNC´ will reach a standard with the automation system that will start operating in 6 months.The automation system foresees an investment over 800,000 USD. In the framework of the protocol, new software will be introduced in postal units in ´TRNC´, personnel will be trained, and a computer network will be established in 8 post offices.

    [15] A conference for struggling with narcotics has been organized in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (30.04.07) reports that Ferdi Sabit Soyer, self-styled prime minister of the breakaway regime, addressed the first Conference for Struggling with Dependence under the title German Model in the Struggle with Dependence. Mr Soyer said that they are ready to cooperate with south Cyprus, as he described the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus, in a joint struggle against narcotics.

    Furthermore, Dr. Leon Pflug, one of the German participants in the Conference, said he liked the activity for various reasons and that one of these reasons is the hospitality and sincerity of the Turkish Cypriots. He noted that he would be pleased if new opportunities are created for strengthening the cooperation which came up with the Conference.

    (I/Ts)

    [16] Mare Monte Hotel has been turned into ruins, while other hotels are being built in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (30.04.07) reports that occupied Mare Monte Hotel has been turned into ruins because of the lack of interest. The hotel is neglected for a period of three years by its owners, which is the EVKAF religious foundation. The paper notes that Mare Monte will be transferred for a long period to Net Holding, but the approval of the assembly is needed for the transfer.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot weekly CYPRUS TODAY newspaper (28.04.07-04.05.07) reports that a 30 million-dollar hotel has been built in the occupied area of Agios Epiktitos village. The paper notes that the hotel under the name of Malpas is built by Resat Altinor, who spent four years on the project and still harbours ambitious plans for further development, including a proposed new track to Buffavento Castle and even a cable car link to whisk guests to the mountaintop ruin.

    (I/Ts.)

    [17] The activities of the illegal universities abroad continue

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (30.04.07) reports that according to a statement issued yesterday by the illegal Near East University (YDU), the university will represent the TRNC in a conference which will take place in the Spanish city of San Sebastian between 20 and 22 June. The sponsor of the conference will be IEEE Computational Intelligence Society, reports that paper.

    Meanwhile, KIBRIS (28.04.07) reports that the illegal American University of Keryneia (GAU), which is a part of the US educational structure, has been represented in USA International Education Assembly, which took place in Kansas / Missouri.

    Furthermore, KIBRIS reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat met on Friday with two professors from the Spanish Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid. Professors Maria Fernandez Alonso and Ricardo Santa Maria Martin were briefed by Mr Talat on the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side on various issues.

    (I/Ts.)

    [18] Turkish Cypriot economist sees an economic growth in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (30.04.07) reports that the economist Necdet Ergun has evaluated the economic developments in the period after the referendum on the Annan Plan and argued that this is a period of growth which will continue for many more years. In an interview with the paper Mr Ergun noted: All that is needed for us is not to make mistakes in the country and not ruin the legitimate ground that is giving us life. After remaining committed to these, I believe that the strength of the growth in the country will change and be sustainable.

    [19] Criminal acts are increased in the occupied areas of Cyprus

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (30.04.07) reports that the criminal acts are being increased in the occupied areas of the island. The paper notes that official numbers show that there is lack of success in the internal security.

    According to the data given by the paper, 9.519 criminal acts were recorded in 2006 and 2.341 in the first four months of 2007. Most of the crimes (3.658) were conducted in Nicosia in 2006. Crimes such as murders, rapes, thefts, wrongful seizures and drug trafficking were committed in the occupied part of Nicosia.

    (I/Ts.)

    [20] Cyprus Today: Estate agents may challenge new law

    Turkish Cypriot weekly CYPRUS TODAY (28.04-04.05.07) newspaper reports the following:

    New legislation introducing tight controls on the ´TRNC´s´ estate agencies has received final presidential approval, but leading representatives of the industry say some of its provisions are still unclear.

    The Estate Agents´ Union is preparing to challenge the law in the Constitutional Court if it is not satisfied with the fine print still to be published, which includes elements such as the position of foreign-owned agencies, and whether long-standing firms are exempt from taking an exam now required of would-be-agents.

    Chairman of the union Hasan Sungur says parts of the legislation are unworkable, while other details are still far from clear. There is also opposition to the professional indemnity bond required of agents under the new law.

    Lawyer Munur Doratli said there was much that needed amendment in the new legislation, one element being the bond payment. Another point is that someone cannot operate as an estate agent if they have a relative working in the Land Registry. This is against the Constitution.

    The union convened a meeting of foreign estate agents in Girne yesterday evening, to explain the new law and canvas opinion. Another meeting of union members is to take place at the Chamber of Commerces Mustafa Cagatay Hall, Lefkosia, on Wednesday at 6pm.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [21] How the Turkish press assesses developments after the statement of the General Staff

    The Turkish Press on 28 and 29 April 2007 gives wide coverage and assesses as follows the statement issued by the General staff warning over secularism:

    In a report entitled "A Very Strong Statement from the General Staff," HURRIYET (28.04.07) carries the text of the military statement and outlines the assessments made by two columnists Oktay Eksi and Tufan Turenc. It quotes Eksi as saying that the statement highlights the General Staff expectation that a president who is "loyal to the principles of the republic in deeds, not in words" should be elected. The columnist expresses the hope that those who are involved in the election process should correctly understand the message. Meanwhile, Turenc is cited as stressing that the General Staff needed to adopt a "clear stand" because the steps taken [by the government] were in conflict with the previous warnings of the military.

    In his column in Hurriyet (28.04.07), Oktay Eksi asserts that the General Staff statement should be seen as an "ultimatum" rather than a "tough warning." He adds that the statement is targeting those who "condone" and even "encourage" the reactionary movements in the country. Pointing out that the military expressed its uneasiness over the possible transfer of the presidential office to an "anti-secular" leader, the columnist says that Turkey will have to hold "snap" elections after that ultimatum and the new president will be elected by the new parliament.

    YENI SAFAK (28.04.07) publishes a report entitled "General Staff's Statement about Fundamentalism," which highlights the statement issued by the General Staff late Friday. According to the report which gives a full text of the statement the General Staff emphasized that it was one of the parties to ongoing debates over secularism while criticizing some groups for exploiting people's religious sentiments and flagrantly challenge the State through celebrations and meetings regarded as an alternative to national days. Noting that the Turkish Armed Forces is concerned about the developments, the statement says: "The Turkish Armed Forces will take a clear stance and attitude when it considers it necessary. Nobody should have any doubt about that."

    Daily ZAMAN (28.04.07) highlights the General Staff's statement expressing its concerns about an anti-secular campaign in a report entitled "General Staff's Statement About Secularism". The report also says that the socialist and liberal groups in the European Parliament criticized the General Staff's statement.

    Under the banner headline, "Democracy is the Only Way," YENI SAFAK (29.04.07) publishes a front-page report which asserts that the "surprising statement" posted on the General Staff's Web site on Friday night has come under fire from political parties, NGOs, and the general public, with all sections voicing support for democracy against the warnings issued by the military.

    Also front-paged is a report in YENI SAFAK (29.04.07) entitled "Tension Front Sides with National Will, Too," which outlines remarks by opposition leaders Deniz Baykal, Mehmet Agar, and Erkan Mumcu "emphasizing" the need for a "civilian solution" to the problem signified by the General Staff statement. According to the report, Baykal, Agar, and Mumcu "could not remain indifferent to the democratic reactions to the General Staff statement."

    In an article entitled "No to the Military", YENI SAFAK columnist Ali Bayramoglu censures the General Staff statement as "an attempt to issue an ultimatum" and refers to the statement as one that is "politically meaningless," "without a social basis," and "illegitimate from a legal viewpoint." He claims that the statement amounts to "an open threat to stage a coup and intervene in politics" in order to "defend the Cankaya bastion at all costs and not to allow this state base to be claimed by the political domain." He also lauds the Government statement yesterday as an unprecedented act of defiance against a coup attempt in Turkish political history and makes references to the late Boris Yeltsin, who obstructed a military takeover in Russia through a speech on top of a tank in 1991, in calling on Turkey to "oppose anti-democratic attempts by forming democratic fronts."

    In an article entitled "An Inexplicable Business", YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru poses such questions as why the military did not issue its latest warnings before the start of the presidential election process if the aim of the General Staff statement is to intervene in the election and whether the blatant quality of the statement as an act of intervention will not place the Constitutional Court under a cloud in connection with its forthcoming ruling on the CHP's appeal against the first round of the presidential election if, as the Government spokesman maintained, the aim of the statement is to influence the said ruling. He also claims that an early election has become inevitable in the wake of the latest developments in Ankara.

    In a commentary entitled "Was the General Staff Statement Unexpected?", Murat Yilmaz, of YENI SAFAK, a political scientist, criticizes the General Staff's latest statement as "a new manifestation of the military's defiance of the civilian and democratic administration," which, he asserts, has been continuing ever since the Semdlinli incidents during the term of office of previous Chief of Staff Hilmi Ozkok.

    Under the banner headline, "All-out Reaction," VAKIT newspaper (29.04.07) publishes a front-page report which lauds "political parties, NGOs, unions, and intellectuals" for "reacting sharply" to the General Staff statement and getting across the following message: "The TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] is not authorized to control politics. Military statements intended to influence the judiciary will harm democracy."

    In an article entitled "Are You Aware that the Republic is in Danger?" VAKIT columnist A. Ihsan Karahasanoglu asserts that the General Staff statement has demonstrated that the Republican regime actually faces a threat, as the CUMHURIYET newspaper has been warning for some time, but in a sense different from Cumhuriyet's threat perceptions. Karahasanoglu expresses his "firm" belief that the TSK statement was posted on the General Staff's Web site by groups other than those authorized to represent the Turkish military at the highest level and claims that the statement amounts to an actual threat to the democratic and law-based quality of the Republic.

    In an article entitled "A Midnight Statement and the ANAP's Suicide", VAKIT columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that Motherland Party, (ANAP), leader Erkan Mumcu has committed political "hara-kiri" in "siding with putschists" against the "national will" in response to the General Staff statement. Dilipak claims that "civilian opposition" to the possibility of a coup might strengthen in the days to come depending on the ruling AKP's stance and urges the Government to act in a "determined," "courageous" and "responsible" manner, taking care not to act "impulsively." He also advises the AKP to issue regular bulletins in English and Arabic to inform international political organizations, NGOs, and the media about developments in Turkey from now on.

    Under the banner headline, "Time To Act Responsibly for Democracy," ZAMAN (29.04.07) runs a front-page report which asserts that Turkey faces a historic turning point in the wake of the release of the latest General Staff statement on the night of 27 April. The report highlights the following remark from the Government statement yesterday: "It is unthinkable for the General Staff to issue statements against the Government in a democratic and law-based state."

    In an article entitled "Democracy is the Only Way", ZAMAN columnist Mustafa Unal asserts that the latest General Staff statement is "unacceptable in any country where democratic rules are in effect." He also draws attention to some of the "oddities" regarding the "midnight" statement such as its "timing," the absence of a political atmosphere in Ankara commensurate with the "harshness" of the statement, and the "problematic" wording of the statement as exemplified by what he refers to as the lack of a logical connection between different paragraphs, which creates the impression that it was drawn up by more than one person.

    In an article entitled "A Wrong Calculation", ZAMAN columnist Mumtazer Turkone censures the General Staff's "midnight statement" as a bid to "influence the political competition" over the presidential election and calls on authorities to launch a probe into the statement and "punish" those responsible for it. He also claims that any changes that might occur as a result of this statement in the political balances governing the presidential election will play into the hands of the ruling AKP by consolidating the AKP's public image as a "chronically wronged" party.

    MILLI GAZETE newspaper (29.04.07) publishes a commentary entitled "Whoever Betrayed This Cause" by Zeki Ceyhan, who interprets the ongoing events regarding the presidential election as meaning that those who abandoned the Virtue Party to establish the AKP are paying the price for their act of "betrayal".

    In an article entitled "Talking About the General Staff With a Friend in the AKP at Night", BUGUN columnist Hakan Aygun asserts, based on a three-hour "on-line" conversation with "a very important name" in the AKP, that Prime Minister Erdogan's "inner circle" is discussing convening Parliament today to disclose the Government's decision to call an early election without waiting for the Constitutional Court to render its ruling but that the AKP leadership is worried that this might be perceived as an act of defiance.

    EG/


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