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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-05-03

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.84/07 03.05.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Kalyoncu says that the Turkish Cypriot side has submitted a new package of proposals regarding the 8 July procedure
  • [02] The illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines filed a lawsuit against the British government regarding the direct flights
  • [03] The breakaway regime takes decisions on the development of occupied Trikomo area
  • [04] Soyer comments on the developments in Turkey
  • [05] Pertev is departing for Brussels today to discuss the Direct Trade Regulation
  • [06] Ercakica keeps on accusing the Greek Cypriot side
  • [07] Information about the illegal migrants who use the occupied areas as transit for Europe
  • [08] CTP will be represented in the meeting of the Socialist International in Napoli
  • [09] Illegal Tymbou airport will be renovated
  • [10] A British trade union supports the lifting of the so-called embargoes on the areas of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops
  • [11] Turkish Constitutional Court decision on the presidential elections leads to internal politics change. Developments after the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court
  • [12] More scenarios on developments after the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court
  • [13] SABAH: Ankara is locked on to Kanadoglus criteria
  • [14] Lawyers divided over who should be the acting president
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [15] From the Turkish press on the current political situation in Turkey

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Kalyoncu says that the Turkish Cypriot side has submitted a new package of proposals regarding the 8 July procedure

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), Omer Kalyoncu has said that the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat has submitted a new package of proposals to the Greek Cypriot side regarding the 8 July procedure. In statements to illegal Bayrak television, Mr Kalyoncu noted yesterday that in the proposals the Turkish Cypriot side expresses its views on how the process should work.

    He said that the Turkish side expects a reply on these proposals and accused the Greek Cypriot side of making statements to the Press and making every kind of manipulations when there is something negative for them. Mr Kalyoncu accused also the Greek Cypriot side of trying to make the 8 July procedure to be forgotten and pointed as example for this the effort for mediation by the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    He argued that the Greek Cypriot side exerts efforts in the direction of abolishing the reality that the Cyprus problem and its main topics should be discussed and solved between the two communities and of turning the issue into a problem between Turkey and the Greek Cypriot side.

    Meanwhile, in statements to illegal TAK news agency, Mr Kalyoncu said yesterday that the Turkish Cypriot proposals have been submitted last week by Mr Pertev, the Turkish Cypriot leaders advisor, to Mr Tzionis, the head of the diplomatic office of President Papadopoulos. Referring to the content of the proposals, he noted that this is related to the way of work and the scope of the working groups and the technical committees.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] The illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines filed a lawsuit against the British government regarding the direct flights

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the illegal Turkish Cypriot airlines and CTA Holidays Ltd, its tour operator in Britain, have filed a lawsuit against the British government regarding the direct flights between Britain and the occupied part of Cyprus. According to a statement issued by the illegal airlines, the lawsuit was filed in the British courts on Monday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] The breakaway regime takes decisions on the development of occupied Trikomo area

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the self-styled council of ministers held its meeting yesterday in occupied Trikomo. The spokesman of the council, Salih Usar said that the government works for the better organization and institutionalization of Trikomo, just like it does for the other occupied regions. He noted that within this framework they opened tenders for the construction of some buildings.

    Mr Usar noted that they decided to give plots of land to 240 young persons. The total area to be distributed is 19 donums (Tr. Note: a land measure of 1000 square meters). He said that 500 tons of water per day will be provided from Vokolida area to Trikomo and that works are under way for the construction of a desalination project in the area. The refinery will also satisfy the needs of the tourism area to be established in occupied Vokolida.

    Mr Usar said that they decided to restore the marina in occupied Keryneia and pointed out to the importance of this decision for the yachts which will participate in the 18th Eastern Mediterranean Yacht Rally which will be organized in May.

    Meanwhile, in statements before the meeting during a visit to the police station in Trikomo, Mr Soyer said that soon a radar system will be operating in the area of Kantara on Pentadaktylos mountains and with this radar they will be able to control better the smuggling in the area.

    (I/Ts)

    [04] Soyer comments on the developments in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the self-styled Prime Minister Soyer has referred to the developments in Turkey and said: The relations between the TRNC and the Republic of Turkey do not change with governments. If in Cyprus there are people who see the future in politics, they have to draw the support from the will of the Turkish Cypriot people first.

    Furthermore, Turkish Cypriot daily VATAN newspaper (03.05.07) reports that Mr Soyer said that Turkey will overcome the problem regarding the elections, with its vast democratic experience. In statements yesterday before the meeting of the council of ministers, he replied to questions and said that the solution process of the Cyprus problem, Turkeys EU accession course and their so-called democratization process will continue in the direction of the will of the people.

    He noted that some time might be lost in the Cyprus problem because of disputes in the internal politics, but expressed the view that no change will take place in the basic arguments.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Pertev is departing for Brussels today to discuss the Direct Trade Regulation

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (03.05.07) reports that Mr Rasit Pertev, the Turkish Cypriot leaders advisor, is departing for Brussels today in order to discuss the Direct Trade Regulation with officials of the EU. Armagan Candan, responsible for EU affairs in the self-styled presidency, and Erhan Ercin, responsible for the EU Coordination centre of the self-styled prime ministry, will accompany Mr Pertev.

    According to the paper, the next meeting between Mr Pertev and Mr Tzionis, the head of the diplomatic office of President Papadopoulos, will take place on Monday.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Ercakica keeps on accusing the Greek Cypriot side

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (03.05.07) reports that Hasan Ercakica, spokesman of the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat, said yesterday that recently the Greek Cypriot side increased its efforts in the direction of leaving out the Turkish Cypriot side and of having contacts with Turkey in various manners. In a written statement, he alleged that this is part of the strategy of the Greek side to leave the Cyprus problem unsolved.

    Mr Ercakica claimed that those who want to play the role of a mediator should undertake initiatives in the direction of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides. Alleging that the Greek Cypriot side tried to assign the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs with the duty of a mediator between Turkey and the Greek Cypriots, Ercakica claimed:

    The fact that the Greek Cypriot side, which knows very well that these futile efforts gave no results in the past and there is no possibility of them giving results in the future, undertakes such initiatives and demands this insistently from other countries is part of the strategy of leaving the Cyprus problem unsolved. Mr Ercakica alleged that the Greek Cypriot side thinks that it will not be able to solve the Cyprus problem in the direction of its own interests under the existing circumstances and that is why it is trying to render the 8 July process ineffective.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Information about the illegal migrants who use the occupied areas as transit for Europe

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (03.05.07) reports that 130 persons were arrested during the first four months of 2007 while they were trying to enter illegally into the occupied areas of Cyprus. The majority of the illegal migrants (129) come from Syria, reports the paper noting that these people intended to use the occupied part of the island as transit point in order to cross over to the Republic of Cyprus, which is a member of the EU.

    Fourteen persons were arrested in 2007 for helping the illegal migrants. The number of the migrants who entered illegally into the occupied areas was 301 in 2006, 111 in 2005, 359 in 2004 and 174 in 2003.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] CTP will be represented in the meeting of the Socialist International in Napoli

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENIDUZEN newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) will be represented in the committee of the Socialist International for the Mediterranean Sea. The meeting will take place in the Italian city of Napoli between 4 and 5 May. Kutlay Erk, CTPs foreign relations secretary, and Unal Findik, member of the foreign relations office of the party, will represent the CTP in the meeting in which delegations from 160 countries will participate.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Illegal Tymbou airport will be renovated

    Turkish Cypriot daily SOZCU newspaper (03.05.07) reports that after the agreement for the privatization of the illegal airport in occupied Lefkoniko area, the attention now is turned to the illegal Tymbou Airport. According to the paper, it is claimed that the self-styled council of ministers decided to build a new runway, an additional terminal building and improve the parking place for the cars.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] A British trade union supports the lifting of the so-called embargoes on the areas of Cyprus occupied by 40,000 Turkish troops

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (03.05.07) reports that the biggest trade union in the communications in Britain, CWU, has decided to support the Embargoed Group which had been established in London aiming at the lifting of the so-called embargoes applied on the Turkish Cypriots.

    Mr John Baldwin, a CWU official, has said that they were very pleased from supporting the Embargoed and added that the Turkish Cypriots did nothing to deserve the international isolation which they face for 40 years. The paper reports that the CWU has 250.000 members and supports the efforts for the lifting of the embargoes on the peoples of many countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Palestine.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Turkish Constitutional Court decision on the presidential elections leads to internal politics change. Developments after the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court

    Turkish daily TODAYS ZAMAN newspaper (03.05.07) reports that Turkey has found itself in the midst of a flurry of changes that have the potential of transforming the basics of its political system after the Constitutional Court made a controversial decision on Tuesday and annulled the presidential election.

    The government has submitted a proposal to Parliament for general elections to be held on June 24 instead of November 4. It is also pushing for a package of key constitutional amendments that would allow the people, not the lawmakers, to elect the president for consecutive two five-year terms, reduce the government's term from five years to four and decrease the minimum age for election to Parliament to 25.

    The Constitutional Court cancelled the first round of the presidential election, held on Friday, saying the vote was in violation of parliamentary bylaws and the Constitution because less than 367 deputies were present. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) criticized the decision, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying it was a "bullet fired at democracy," and on Wednesday proposed a new timetable for the presidential election.

    The new election, however, is unlikely to proceed, because the opposition parties are standing with their decision to boycott the election. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is the sole candidate running in the election. The AK Party suggested in its new timetable that the first round be held Sunday May 6, the second round on May 9, the third on May 12 and the fourth and final round on May 15. AK Party officials had originally decided on Thursday for the first round of voting. Gul said late Tuesday he would not press ahead with his candidacy if he again fails to win the necessary support in the first round.

    With the new presidential election seemingly set to fail, the AK Party expects the package of constitutional changes to move forward and thus open the way for the election of the next president by popular vote. The second-biggest opposition party in Parliament, the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), vowed to support the changes, while the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) demands election of the new president by the Parliament. CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal slammed the AK Party's plans for election of the president by the people as an attempt to introduce a "caliph" in Turkey.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking after a Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting on Tuesday night, said they were also discussing the possibility of introducing a two-round process for parliamentary elections and pledged to risk a battle for the changes, saying the AK Party would even dare a referendum to this end.

    Within this framework, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.05.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    "If a quorum of 367 is not reached on Thursday at the general assembly, other rounds of voting will not be held," said Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul, candidate for Turkey's 11th president, on Wednesday.

    Gul stressed that, under the present circumstances, it is the best option to hold the general elections immediately. Asked if the general elections may take place on June 24th, Gul noted that if this date is technically possible, then "yes, it will take place on June 24th".

    Yet, on 2 May 2007, Turkish NTV and the semi-official news agency Ankara Anatolia (AA) carry continuous reports on the discussions under way at the High Election Council, Higher Board of Election (YSK), and the Assembly on the timetable of the early elections.

    In this regard, AA reports that the "YSK proposes July 22nd as date for general elections" and adds: "We have determined that the general elections can be held on July 22nd," Higher Board of Election (YSK) Chairman Muammer Aydin said.

    Later on, AA reports that "YSK Chairman Muammer Aydin said that they informed the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee on their view that general elections could be held on July 22nd."

    Furthermore, Ankara Anatolia news agency (02.05.07) reports the following from Ankara:

    The constitutional amendment bill lowering the eligibility age to 25 in the anticipating general elections, which is expected to be held on July 22nd, was adopted at the Parliamentary Constitutional Committee on Wednesday.

    Accordingly people of 25 years of age will be able to stand as candidates in the general elections.

    On the other hand, the bill also allows (the names of) independent candidates to appear on the combined ballot papers.

    The bill will be debated in the Parliamentary General Assembly on Thursday.

    [12] More scenarios on developments after the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court

    Under the title Here are the four scenarios Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (03.05.07) reports in its first page about the possible scenarios, after the Constitutional Court in Turkey cancelled the first round of voting for the presidential elections.

    According to the first scenario, 367 MPs will be present at the new first round of the presidential elections, which will take on the 6th of May. This way the ruling Justice and Development Partys (AKP) candidate, Abdullah Gull, will manage to become the next president of Turkey.

    According to the second scenario, the necessary number of MPs will not participate in the first round. Therefore the procedure of the elections will be stopped and the government will have to go for early elections. In this case, the issue of the Constitutional amendments regarding the election of the President directly by the public and the reduction of the service of the deputies will come on the agenda.

    According to the third scenario, the government will go for a referendum for the issue of the amendments of the Turkish Constitution, along with general elections. In this case the people in Turkey will decide whether there will be constitutional changes.

    According to the fourth scenario, no changes will take place as regards the constitution and general elections will take place in Turkey, with the existing legal framework.

    Within the same framework, Turkish daily TODAYS ZAMAN newspaper (03.05.07) reports that underscoring that they will pay due respect to the Constitutional Courts decision, Erdogan said Republican Peoples Party (CHP) leader Baykal had tried to influence the courts decision by his remarks, which was unfortunate for him.

    However, Baykal did not lend support to Erdogans concerns about decreasing the age of eligibility to 25, and said this issue should be discussed after deciding on whether or not to hold early elections.

    Unlike Baykal, Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) leader Erkan Mumcu backed Erdogan. The only thing to do in order to avert the current crisis is to introduce a constitutional amendment that will allow election of the president directly by the people, he said. We are determined on this issue, and we hereby announce our unconditional support of such a constitutional amendment. ANAVATAN will give unconditional support to a constitutional amendment to ensure this. This will not be limited to the 5+5 formula or the direct popular vote proposal. All the reforms for democratization that would be presented as part of the 10th Constitutional Amendment Package will be unconditionally supported by ANAVATAN. Thus, we can say that the crisis over the presidential election rounds has ended.

    True Path Party (DYP) Chairman Mehmet Agar also agreed that the president should be chosen through popular vote.

    Moreover, Young Party (GP) Chairman Cem Uzan paid a visit to former President Süleyman Demirel to request him to take the initiative for election cooperation, which may become an alternative to the government, while the partys Deputy Chairman and Istanbul Deputy Emin Sirin proposed that Baykal cooperate in the approaching general elections. Emin Sirin said the GP can cooperate with the DYP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well. Sirin will meet with Baykal again in the future.

    On the same issue, CHP leader Deniz Baykal, speaking at the meeting of his partys parliamentary group, called on the Democratic Left Party (DSP) to merge with his party, based on the common principles and close history that they share.

    Moreover, the CHP yesterday filed a new petition with the Constitutional Court in which they claimed that it is unconstitutional to vote on the AK Partys motion for holding the presidential election between May 6 and 15 at the plenary session of the Parliament before deliberations at the Parliaments Advisory Board. The CHP argued that the Parliament cannot conduct legislative activities during the presidential election process, considering it unconstitutional to enact the constitutional amendment bundle proposed by the prime minister.

    On the other hand, the Constitutional Court on Wednesday issued an angry statement lashing out at both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and main opposition leader Deniz Baykal for their comments on its decision annulling the presidential election because less than 367 deputies were present at the voting session.

    Commenting on the cancellation of the vote, Erdogan told his deputies at a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) that a "bullet has been fired at the heart of the democracy." Baykal, for his part, received criticism when he said in a statement made before the court announced its ruling on Tuesday that the country would fall into conflict if the court does not annul the first round of the vote -- held on Friday.

    Separately, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutors Office on Wednesday launched an investigation into Baykal for attempting to influence those carrying out judicial duty and the fairness of a trial.

    Under Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article 277, which makes it a crime to influence judicial processes, Baykal could face up to four years in prison, while under Article 288, which defines attempting to influence the fairness of a trial as a crime, he could be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

    (C/S)

    [13] SABAH: Ankara is locked on to Kanadoglus criteria

    Turkish daily SABAH newspaper (03.05.07) reports under the above title that everybody in the Turkish capital Ankara is vividly awaiting what the former Turkish Supreme Court Attorney General Sabih Kanadoglu would say as regards the political crisis that was created following the Constitutional Court ruling of the first round of Presidential elections by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The paper reports that when months ago Mr Kanadoglu said that for the first round 367 deputies should be present no one took him seriously and today everybody is awaiting for what Mr. Kanadoglu would say.

    Mr. Kanadoglu summarized his views in five points as follows:

    The parliament cannot take early election decision because the election process did not stop in the parliament. The Constitutional Court simply stopped going from the first round to the second round. This process cannot stop. And if until 16 May the election is not completed then there will be new elections. Therefore, as long as the election process for the president continues the parliament cannot take early election decision.

    This parliament cannot amend the laws and the Constitution because if on 16 May it cannot elect the president then this parliament dissolves itself.

    The new rounds are against the Constitution because according to the Constitution between each round there must be three full days and not three days. The days are fixed for the election. They are 6-9-12-15 May. If on 6 May the necessary number 367 is not secured then it is not possible to hold the next election on 9 May.

    Arinc cannot deputize the President, since the parliament will be dissolved because it will not be able to elect the president on the given date. As a result Mr Sezer will continue to be the president.

    The Constitutional Court passed a decision which will be precedent in the rules and regulations of the parliament and the Constitution.

    (MHY)

    [14] Lawyers divided over who should be the acting president

    Under the above title TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (03.05.07) reports the following:

    Those who opposed FM Abdullah Gül's candidacy for president, claiming that he was not committed to secularist principles, might have to put up with another name from the same background -- none other than Parliament Speaker Bülent Ar1nç.

    The government decision to call early elections came after a Constitutional Court ruling declared last Friday's presidential vote to be invalid. Experts have now started to vehemently discuss who shall be presiding temporarily over the country's top post between A. Necdet Sezer's term in office ending on May 16 and the formation of the new Parliament, and whether or not the people -- if the constitution is changed accordingly -- will vote in a new president.

    Former Constitutional Court President Yekta Güngör Özden and legal expert Professor Zafer Üskül insist that Parliament Speaker Ar1nç should temporarily take over the post, according to the constitution. However legal professors Ergun Özbudun and Süheyl Batum, in a different interpretation of the constitution, say outgoing Sezer s term should be extended.

    Former Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals Sabih Kanadolu, who was first to voice the legal speculation about the number of deputies needed in Parliament during presidential polls which ultimately caused the Constitutional Court to annul the first round of the presidential election that began on Friday, also defends that Ar1nç should take over the post until the country s next president is voted in.

    The duality stems from two articles in the Constitution. Article 102 states that the former president should continue to serve until a newly elected president is voted in for the post. Article 106 states that in cases when the presidential seat is vacant without the Parliament having elected a new president, the parliament speaker takes over the post as the acting president until a new nominee is elected. Former Constitutional Court President Özden, known as a staunch Kemalist and critical of the government defends that the constitution clearly states that Ar1nç should be acting president until the next presidential vote. Personally, I am not only against Mr. Ar1nç being the parliament speaker, but also against even his being a member of Parliament. However, this is my personal opinion. This is not personal, but constitutional.

    Constitutional Professor Cem Eroul from Ankara University s Political Science Department however says Article 106 goes into force in cases of death or resignation. In the current case legal experts should turn to Article 102, which stipulates that the current president should stay in office until a new one is elected. Professor Mehmet Turhan from the Law Department of Bilgi University also agreed with this view, saying anything else would be a forced argument.

    Subtitle: Ar1nç: The president s term ends May 16 In related developments, Ar1nç in a press meeting he held yesterday, stressed that the current president s term in office was due to end on May 16. According to the constitution, the president is elected for a seven-year term. I wish we could elect Sezer one more time, he said sarcastically. President Sezer and the government have clashed horns over bureaucratic appointments and implementation that the president considered to be pro-religious over the past seven years.

    In response to a persistent reporter s question whether he would be taking over the post, Ar1nç uttered in an angry tone, Well you can preside if you want to.

    Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Istanbul deputy Burhan Kuzu, who is also a law professor, explained to our correspondent that the different interpretations of the constitution stemmed from a contradiction between an expression in the text of the Constitution and the explanation on that article. When you read the text, the presidents term ends on May 16. If you read the articles explanation, then Sezers term should be extended. In other words, there is outright contradiction between the actual text of the provision itself and the explanation. In this case, it looks like enforcing Article 106 would be the better idea.

    Kuzu also said that clarifying this point would not be as difficult as electing a president, and expressed his opinion that Parliament can find a settlement to the problem rather quickly.

    Some members of parliament from the AK Party are also divided over who should be the acting president until a nominee is finally voted in. AK Party Deputy Chairman Mir Dengir F1rat defends that Sezer s term should be extended while Gaziantep deputy Nurettin Akta says that, if one read Articles 102 and 106 not as two separate articles but as a single one, it became very clear that the parliament speaker should become Turkey s acting president when Sezer s term ends on May 16.

    Another AK Party legal expert, Diyarbak1r deputy Cavit Torun, said if Sezer remained in the post after May 16: Turkey would have to face serious exploitation of law and chaos. This would be an occupation of the seat. All the decisions he will take would later be considered as never having taken place.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [15] From the Turkish press on the current political situation in Turkey

    Following are extracts from May 2, 2007 reports and commentaries on the political developments in Turkey regarding the election of the 11th President:

    In an article in MILLIYET, Fikret Bila sums up Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's views expressed during a chat with various journalists in a program broadcast on TRT. According to Bila, Gul is not considering withdrawing his candidacy for president in the aftermath of the court ruling. Gul says: I believe we will try another round." If the necessary quorum is not attained in another round, then Gul thinks that early elections should be held as soon as possible. Gul also believes that the president should be elected by the people and not by the parliament. Pointing out that this is his personal view, Gul says that he will submit this proposal to his colleagues. Referring to the Constitutional Court ruling, Gul says he was not surprised. On the Tandogan and Caglayan rallies, Gul does not understand why there are still people who are suspicious of his party's intentions, adding that it is the duty of the Justice and Development Party, the AKP, to explain its stand better. On allegations that the AKP made various proposals to opposition parties to achieve the 367 quorum in parliament, Gul denies them saying that had the AKP resorted to such tactics he would have been elected president by now.

    Assessing the court ruling in a column in REFERANS, Cengiz Candar says that this decision has relieved all the parties including the AKP. Pointing out that the ruling will generate a "problem of constitutional law," the writer says that he will dwell on the political and not the legal aspect of the ruling. Enumerating the various AKP moves he disagrees with, Candar adds that, however, opposition to the government cannot be carried out "under the shadow of the bayonet." The writer believes that a communal consensus should be reached about upholding the democratic regime in the aftermath of the Constitutional Court ruling.

    Assessing the mass rallies held in Ankara and Istanbul in a column in MILLIYET, Metin Munir says that the people are in search of their party. Arguing that with the exception of the AKP there are no political parties in the real sense of the word in Turkey, Munir says that the Republican People's Party, the CHP, is deceiving itself in the belief that it is the initiator and organizer of these rallies. The writer continues: "These rallies were as much against the CHP as they were against the AKP." Describing the rallies as "maybe the most significant political development in recent years," Munir lauds them as a promise of hope for the future and calls on the people to demand that Baykal and "his politburo" resign. Accusing Baykal and his team of "paralyzing democracy," the writer concludes by expressing the hope that the people will eventually find their party.

    Airing similar views in an article in SABAH, Hincal Uluc says that the people gathered by the hundreds of thousands at Tandogan and Caglayan Squares in Ankara and Istanbul seeking their leader. In his column entitled "Secular Turkey is searching for its Leader," Uluc writes that the message conveyed to the secular forces at the rallies was to unite. The rallies were also a declaration of the participants' intention to resolve the country's problems in a democratic manner, through elections, adds Uluc. Ruling out CHP leader Baykal, Nationalist Action Party leader Bahceli, True Path Party leader Agar, and Motherland Party leader Mumcu as possible candidates to lead the secular movement, the writer stresses that the secular front should find its leader before going to elections.

    HURRIYET´S Tufan Turenc, assessing the mass rallies and the subsequent statements made by AKP leaders in a column, states that these statements show that the AKP members failed to understand the significance of these rallies. Pointing out that this "blindness" caused by power is the factor that drags countries to disasters, Turenc argues that has the AKP sought a conciliation with the opposition from the very start it could have avoided the current tension. Commenting on the government stand regarding the May Day celebrations, Turenc says that the AKP thus proved that it is not even remotely democratic.

    Under the banner headline, "Law ends here, nation to have last word," YENI SAFAK publishes a front-page report which says that the Constitutional Court has upheld the 367 parliamentary quorum requirement for the presidential election "under the shadow of" the General Staff statement and main opposition Republican People's Party, (CHP), leader Deniz Baykal's warnings of "conflict." According to the report, the new round of the presidential election is going to be held tomorrow.

    In an article entitled "Do you want a civil war", YENI SAFAK columnist Ibrahim Karagul sees the recent rallies held with the participation of "hundreds of thousands" "in the name of protecting secularism, the regime, and the country's integrity" as the harbinger of a major social fragmentation that is more serious than the scenario of a military takeover raised by the recent General Staff statement. He warns that what is felt as social polarization over the issue of secularism today might lay the groundwork for an ethnic and sectarian "civil war" in the near future.

    In an article entitled "You cannot live with rumours", YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru calls on Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit to hold a news conference to respond to certain "rumors" in Ankara and explain whether he ever talked with Prime Minister Erdogan about presidential nominees, who penned the General Staff's "midnight statement," whether he knew such a statement would be released, whether certain civilians were advised beforehand of the issuance of the statement, and whether Turkey came to the brink of an actual military coup on the day of the first round of the presidential election.

    Under the banner headline, "A Travesty of Justice," VAKIT publishes a front-page report which censures the Constitutional Court's ruling yesterday in favor of the CHP's appeal as a "political" decision taken with the votes of nine justices appointed by President Sezer and former President Suleyman Demirel.

    In an article entitled "The ruling is one rendered on a purely legal basis", VAKIT columnist Serdar Arseven asserts that the Constitutional Court's decision upholding the CHP's appeal will serve to promote "bipolar politics" in Turkey, with the AKP trying from now on to win at least 367 seats in Parliament and the CHP basing its election strategy on an effort to thwart this plan.

    Under the headline, "Constitutional court puts lock on presidential election, knot to be untied by nation," ZAMAN runs a front-page report which censures the Constitutional Court ruling on the CHP's appeal as a decision that has made it practically impossible for parliaments to elect a president.

    In a commentary entitled "A Government of Justices", Associate Professor Mustafa Sentop of Marmara University asserts that the Constitutional Court's decision in favour of the CHP's appeal, taken "under the shadow of a military memorandum," has plunged the country into "serious uncertainty." Sentop refers to the ruling as the culmination of a process whereby the judiciary has been assuming the powers of the legislative and executive organs of the state and argues that this situation presents "the greatest threat to the Constitutional system."

    In an article entitled "The 367 Coup", ZAMAN columnist Mustafa Unal asserts that "dark clouds" are hovering over Turkish democracy these days, with certain people cited as potential candidates for prime minister or cabinet posts in scenarios of an interim government beginning to make their presence felt in the capital. He claims that the "crisis" that has escalated in the wake of the release of the latest General Staff statement cannot be managed any more and that the only way for Turkey to ride out the current "turbulence" would be to hold an early election without delay.

    Under the headline, "The people have the say in a democracy," MILLI GAZETE carries a front-page report which quotes Felicity Party, (SP), leader Recai Kutan as saying that the tension created in the presidential election process and the resulting "chaos" have created the impression that there is a "handicapped democracy" in Turkey.

    In an article entitled "Can an early election prove a solution?" MILLI GAZETE columnist Zeki Ceyhan argues that in demanding an early election, the opposition is failing to take account of how the Erdogan government will translate "the military's [recent] intervention in civilian administration" into popular support for the AKP by representing this party as the victim of the latest General Staff statement.

    Finally, in an article entitled "A social democrat annoyed by democracy", MILLI GAZETE columnist Abdulkadir Ozkan calls for the prosecution of CHP leader Deniz Baykal for his attempt to "put pressure of the Constitutional Court" by warning of conflict in the event of the rejection of the CHP's appeal.

    EG/


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