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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-05-11

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.90/07 11.05.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Pertev: The Direct Trade Regulation will be discusses at COREPER on 15 May
  • [02] Turkish public servants illegally visit the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to be briefed on the Cyprus problem
  • [03] Lisbon Recognition Convention approved
  • [04] The Turkish Parliament approves the constitutional amendment; Developments in the internal politics of Turkey
  • [05] Anatolia news agency takes over the presidency of the TSCNA
  • [06] The first nuclear plant in Turkey to be built by 2015
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [07] From the Turkish press on the deliberations in the political parties towards parliamentary elections
  • [08] What will happen in the elections?
  • [09] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses the developments in Turkey
  • [10] «Why can´t Turkey be considered European?»

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Pertev: The Direct Trade Regulation will be discusses at COREPER on 15 May

    Illegal BAYRAK television (10.05.07) broadcast the following:

    The Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev has announced that the Direct Trade Regulation will be discussed by a sub-committee of COREPER- the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union on Tuesday, the 15th of May.

    Speaking on BRTs Sabah Haber this morning, the Presidential Undersecretary said the trade regulation will then be discussed by COREPER itself.

    He said the EU would appear insincere if it delayed the implementation of the Regulation further.

    Presidential Undersecretary Rasit Pertev stated that the EU Term-President Germany was still continuing its works on the Direct Trade Regulation.

    He said that Germany was hiding its cards but added that these would come to the surface during the meeting of COREPERs sub-committee on the issue.

    Germany will either bring a conclusion on the issue of direct trade or will leave it to the next EU term-president Portugal but we want to see a conclusion before Germanys term-presidency ends as we are well aware of Germanys powerful status and command over the issue he added.

    Mr Pertev also pointed out that it would be a disadvantage if the issue was left for Portugals presidency as it has become clear that Portugal would give priority to other issues.

    Expressing the view that the Direct Trade Regulation was only a beginning step towards lifting the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people, he said direct trade was a minimum right that should be granted to Turkish Cypriots.

    The Presidential Undersecretary pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot People has been waiting for three years to be granted such a minimum right and said that the EU would appear insincere if it delayed the implementation of the Regulation further.

    [02] Turkish public servants illegally visit the occupied areas of Cyprus in order to be briefed on the Cyprus problem

    Illegal BAYRAK television (10.05.07) broadcast the following:

    A group of high level Turkish public servants participating in a diplomacy course offered by the Turkish Middle East Public Administration Institute are in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for contacts.

    The group is in the TRNC on an education tour to learn more on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem.

    As part of its contacts in the Republic, the group was received today by Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer and Foreign Minister Turgay Avci respectively.

    Speaking during the visit, Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer said that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus which were located in unstable region were required to cooperate, and establish a firm dialogue in order to succeed in achieving their common interests.

    Pointing out that a peoples struggle for existence as well as the its relations with other countries can change in accordance with global change, the Prime Minister said that a nations main aim was to maintain its national sovereignty and integrity while at the same time strengthening its economic, social and democratic ties with other countries .

    He added that the overall aim was to serve the people in the best possible way.

    Explaining that the Turkish Cypriot people supported a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution based on the political equality of the two sides as envisaged in the 1977-79 High level agreements, the Prime Minister said that the struggle in that direction continued.

    He said that the only way the Turkish Cypriot people can succeed in winning that struggle is to strengthen its economic, social and political institutions.

    Meanwhile the group was also received by Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Minister Turgay Avci.

    Briefing the group on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem, Mr Avci said that the Greek Cypriot Administration was using its EU membership to raise difficulties for the Turkish Cypriot people but despite all its efforts it still failed to hinder the economic growth of North Cyprus.

    Explaining that economic assistance and investments coming in from Turkey were being channelled to develop the North Cyprus economy and infrastructure, he stressed that economic development and a strong economy will allow the Turkish Cypriot people to integrate with the rest of the world.

    Also speaking at the meeting, the General Director of the Turkish Middle East Public Administration Institute Prof. Turgay Ergun said the aim of the groups visit was to gather first hand information on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.

    [03] Lisbon Recognition Convention approved

    According to Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (11/05/07), the so-called assembly in the Turkish occupied part of the Republic of Cyprus has approved the bill regarding the approval of the Lisbon Recognition Convention which will pave the way to the so-called universities in the occupied area to get recognition for their diplomas within the EU.

    (MHY)

    [04] The Turkish Parliament approves the constitutional amendment; Developments in the internal politics of Turkey

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (10.05.07) reported the following from Ankara:

    The Turkish parliament approved Thursday all seven articles of a constitutional amendment package re-arranging the process for presidential and parliamentary elections.

    The package was approved in a secret ballot by the votes of 376 lawmakers in favour with one against it.

    The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) did not attend the amendment package vote while all 19 lawmakers from the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) gave support to the package.

    The package allows for popular election of the president and reduces the term from seven to five years, allowing the president to run for a second five-year term.

    General elections will be held every four years and the Higher Election Board will have the authority to determine rules of the presidential election.

    According to the package, the president will remain in office till his successor is elected.

    The absolute majority will be required in the first round of presidential election. If the absolute majority cannot be reached in the first round, the second round vote will take place on the ensuing second Sunday. Two candidates, who win the highest number of votes in the first ballot, will attend the second round. The candidate who gets the most of the valid votes will become the president.

    If only one candidate attends the second round, the vote will be held as referendum. The candidate will be elected the president after getting most of the valid votes.

    Political parties which pass a threshold of 10 percent in the most recent general elections will be able to nominate a joint candidate.

    A quorum of at least one third of total number of MPs is required for parliamentary sessions.

    According to the seventh article, if the amendment package is submitted to referendum, it will be voted as a whole.

    The temporary 19th article, within the 6th article, also envisages the implementation of the new arrangements pertaining to election of the president, in the election of the 11th president.

    Meanwhile ANKARA ANATOLIA (10.05.07) reports also that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that the constitutional amendment package will be submitted to the President again if it is vetoed.

    "With this package, the Turkish nation will overcome the impasse," he said while replying to the questions of reporters.

    Following the approval of the constitutional amendment package in the Parliament, Erdogan thanked to all Justice and Development (AK) Party MPs, the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) group and the independent parliamentarians.

    Furthermore, according to ANKARA ANATOLIA (10.05.07) the Grand Unity Party (BBP) denied the news reports claiming that BBP will run for general elections under the roof of another party, and that efforts are underway for such a coalition.

    BBP stated that it will run for election under its own name and emblem, noting that they do not hold talks with any political parties.

    Earlier in the day, Felicity Party [SP] Deputy Chairman Sevket Kazan said, "we have talks with BBP. I think these talks will yield results." Asked about the details of a possible electoral coalition with BBP, Kazan said, "in case of such a coalition, the union will be under the roof of Felicity Party. Another option is out of question."

    Finally, Turkish daily TODAY´S ZAMAN newspaper (11.05.07) reports the following on the decision by the deputies of the DTP to enter the elections as independent candidates:

    The decision by deputies of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) to enter the elections as independent candidates will give them the opportunity to establish a parliamentary group in the wake of the general elections.

    However success in this strategy depends on good planning, as the Parliament on Thursday passed a law that makes the task of independent candidates harder. Should they succeed in making it to Parliament, how they will act in the Parliament is another question.

    The DTP -- which hopes to have 37 deputies in the next Parliament, meaning it will far exceed the 20 deputies necessary to form a parliamentary group -- held a meeting in Diyarbak1r on Monday and Tuesday in order to discuss its election strategy. The party decided that its deputies are to campaign as independents, that at least 40 percent of the candidates will be female and that election committees will be formed to plan local voting strategy. In addition they will not nominate any candidate from among the DTP mayors.

    The DTP also decided that former Democracy Party (DEP) deputies Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Doan, previously imprisoned on terrorism-related charges, will also be nominated as candidates, despite the uncertainty surrounding their legal situation. The decision of DTP to run as independent candidates is based on the former experience of the party in failing to pass the 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation, despite the party's success in garnering a very high number of votes in certain cities with predominantly Kurdish populations. In the 2002 elections the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP), a predecessor of the DTP, received about 60 percent of the votes cast in Diyarbak1r, but was not able to enter parliament as their overall haul was only 6.2 percent nationwide.

    However, with independent candidates -- who do not face the same 10 percent barrier -- and good planning, the DTP believes it can have up to five deputies from Diyarbak1r alone. The good planning mentioned here refers to strategic voting to ensure that the Kurdish voters elect as many independent candidates as possible, rather than just giving a smaller number of candidates a greater majority.The initial plan of the Kurdish groups was to distribute enough candidate name tags to the voters in order to guarantee the election of as many deputies as possible. But the Parliament made a constitutional amendment on Thursday making it harder for independent candidates to run in the elections and use this strategy. In the past voters could use these tags (on which the name of the independent candidate is written) to vote, but now the names of the independent candidates must be placed in the unified ballot, where voters will need to find their preferred candidates and vote for him or her. This might lead to voter confusion, especially when there are several independent candidates for the same constituency, and in a region where illiteracy is still very much a reality.

    Other parties are planning to nominate independent candidates from cities that are DTP strongholds. But high-ranking officials at the DTP are claming that their party organization is strong enough to cope with these challenges. DTP Deputy Chairman S1rr1 Sak1k told Today s ZAMAN that they will form election committees in every constituency to make plans so as not to waste votes.

    The members of these committees won t be candidates themselves , said Sak1k. We are aiming for at least five deputies from Diyarbak1r. In order to succeed in this the committee will make geographical and mathematical calculations , continued Sak1k, while denying that they will separate votes on basis of gender. We didn t decide on the system of organizing the voters yet , Sak1k stated.

    Earlier news was leaked to the press that the DTP was to ask female voters to vote for a particular candidate and male voters to vote for another. But this system would have guaranteed only two deputies, the main reason Sak1k did not favour it. An alternative method highly popular with party members is to group the voters according to their ages for different candidates.

    Subtitle: Possible candidates

    Apart from organizing voters, the DTP is running also after celebrity candidates. There were some rumors that Gülten Kaya, wife of deceased singer Ahmet Kaya, and Gencay Gürsoy, head of the Turkish Doctors Union (TTB), would be among their candidates. But Sak1k believes that it is too early to declare the candidates.

    But it seems to be certain that DTP co-chairmen Aysel Tuluk and Ahmet Türk, and former DEP deputies Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Doan will be among the candidates. Speaking to TODAY´S ZAMAN, Türk pointed out that the files against these names are in the Supreme Court of Appeals.

    According to us there is no obstacle for them to be candidates as the decision about them have not yet been finalized. The decision about their candidacy will be made by the Supreme Election Board (YSK), Türk said.

    According to Turkish law people convicted for crimes of terrorism are not eligible to be elected to the Parliament. The former DEP deputies have not yet been convicted but their position is still under discussion. The YSK must issue notice of candidates ineligibility by June 20.

    The DTP is also not going to nominate its current mayors, declared Sak1k. They came in order to serve and they still have projects to complete , he stressed. Diyarbak1r Mayor Osman Baydemir, already a symbolic name among the Kurdish youth, confirmed that he won t be a candidate. Baydemir believes that other DTP mayors will follow his lead.

    Subtitle: How they will act?

    The DTP not only needs to decide how to organize its voters in order to enter the Parliament, but also on how to behave in the Parliament if the independent candidates are elected. In the 1991 elections the Peoples Labor Party (HEP), another predecessor of the DTP, formed an election coalition with Social Democratic Peoples Party (SHP) and managed to win 19 seats in Parliament. But at the swearing-in ceremony Leyla Zanas insistence on using Kurdish aroused a reaction by the Parliament and the turmoil ended with the closure of the party and brought about the imprisonment of its deputies.

    One of those 19 deputies was Selim Sadak, a member of the DTP Central Executive Board (MYK). Sadak said on Thursday that they will not attempt to use Kurdish. We dont think shouting slogans in the Parliament is the correct thing to do. We will work for the democratization of Turkey. We want to be a party of Turkey, Sadak said.

    Tar1k Ziya Ekinci, a prominent Kurdish intellectual, evaluated the strategy of the DTP and said that he does not think the party will repeat the same mistakes. Many years have past and they are able to realize the realities of Turkey , Ekinci told TODAY´S ZAMAN, pointing out that if the DTP nominates Turkish intellectuals and charismatic names in big cities like Istanbul and Ankara they might have a chance to win seats from those cities as well.

    [05] Anatolia news agency takes over the presidency of the TSCNA

    ANKARA ANATOLIA agency (10.05.07) reported the following from the Turkish city of Karaman:

    Anadolu Agency (AA) has taken over the rotating presidency of the Association of Turkish Speaking Countries News Agencies (TSCNA) from Turkish News Agency-Cyprus (TAK), said TAK DG and Executive Board Chairman Emir Ersoy on Thursday.

    Taking the floor at the general assembly of TSCNA in the central Turkish city of Karaman, Ersoy reminded that the Association was established in Ankara in 1992 and held its first general assembly meeting in 1993.

    Indicating that the Association had meetings in the past 15 years in Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ersoy said more intensive and closer cooperation is essential between the members.

    New decisions will be made at today's meeting that would envisage new activities to enhance cooperation. The Anadolu Agency has taken over the rotating presidency from TAK. I would like to congratulate Mr. Hilmi Bengi, Director General and Head of the Executive Board of the Anadolu Agency, Ersoy said.

    On the other hand, editor-in-chief of Kazakhstan Information Agency QAZAQPARAT Zharylkap Beisenbanily said Turkish history dates back to 10,000 years ago according to several researches made by European and American scientists.

    As Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, our preparatory efforts are under way to adopt Latin alphabet. Tatars are carrying on their efforts for it as well. If we succeed it, our connection with the Turkish communities will be stronger. News agencies will be the key for this purpose, Beisenbanily said.

    Nadir Momunov, DG of Kyrgyz News Agency Kabar, said his country has friendly relations with Turkey, noting that these relations should be improved.

    Meanwhile, DG Salih Melek of Turkish Directorate General of Press and Information said Anadolu Agency's efforts for cooperation with Turkic Republics are critically important to improve relations.

    Following the speeches, the general assembly ended. The Anadolu Agency has taken over the rotating presidency of the TSCNA.

    During the general assembly, it was decided to transmit news reports in Turkish, English and Russian languages to the world public opinion through web-sites: "www.tkaonline.org", "www.tkaweb.org", "www.tkahaber.org".

    TSCNA-member news agencies also decided to exchange news reports, organize mutual training programs and increase technical cooperation means.

    The next general assembly will take place in Baku in which Azerbaijan will take over rotating presidency from Turkey.

    [06] The first nuclear plant in Turkey to be built by 2015

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (10.05.07) reported from Ankara that Okay Cakiroglu, chairman of Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK) said that

    the first nuclear power plant of Turkey will be built by 2015" .

    Mr Cakiroglu who informed the parliamentary commission members on the global warming, argued that the nuclear plants are necessary for reducing the amount of carbon dioxide emitted to atmosphere.

    Kyoto Protocol is not enough to prevent global warming on its own, stated Cakiroglu and added that nuclear energy emits very little carbon dioxide compared to other types of energy.

    "We will build our first nuclear plant by 2015. We have the necessary know-how for this" said TAEK chairman.

    Commenting on the disposal of nuclear waste he claimed there is a misunderstanding in the public opinion regarding this issue. "Turkey cannot produce 1 gr of nuclear waste before 2029 if it establishes a nuclear plant 5 years from now", said Cakiroglu adding, a technique for disposing the waste might be found by that time.

    Referring to the "16 percent accident hazard" mentioned during the discussions regarding nuclear plants, Cakiroglu said this percentage is erroneous.

    "There are 436 nuclear plants in the world. The only accident was Chernobyl" said he.

    TAEK chairman Cakiroglu noted that there is a huge demand for nuclear energy in the world, and Turkey should make a quick decision on the matter.

    The global warming commission will start writing a report regarding the issue as of Friday.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [07] From the Turkish press on the deliberations in the political parties towards parliamentary elections

    On 10/05/07 the Turkish press focuses on the work that started into political parties to prepare their programmes, lists of candidates and their election campaign. The first opinion polls also started to be published.

    Following is a selection of reports and commentaries:

    A report in MILLIYET says that Republican People's Party, (CHP), Chairman Deniz Baykal asserted that he sees the bureaucrats resigning from their posts to run in the general elections as AKP candidates as evidence of partisan appointments made by the ruling Justice and Development Party, (AKP). Prime Minister Erdogan is said to have denied Baykal's accusation. Meanwhile, the report adds, Erdogan is encouraging female party members to participate in the general elections.

    A report also in MILLIYET writes that the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party is planning to propose Rakel Dink, the wife of the assassinated Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, to run in the elections as an independent deputy from Istanbul. The report notes that former Democracy Party deputies Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan, and Selim Sadak are also preparing to run in the elections but that the High Election Board, (YSK), is expected to make the final decision on their candidacy. It says that the party aims to establish a group in the National Assembly with the independent deputies after the elections.

    Another report in MILLIYET by Sukran Pakkan says that the Freedom Party Chairman Yasar Okuyan and former Motherland Party Deputy Ilhan Kesici are planning to run in the general elections as CHP candidates if the CHP and the Democratic Left Party, (DSP), decide to establish an election alliance.

    MILLIYET also reports that former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz will announce his candidacy in Rize. It says that Yilmaz has not yet disclosed whether he will participate in the elections as an independent candidate or a Democrat Party candidate.

    The weekly Tempo magazine carries an article on the outcome of a public opinion poll conducted by the A&G Research Company. According to the poll results, the AKP will come to power by securing the 41.3 percent of the votes. The poll shows the CHP as the second leading party, which will be able to enter the parliament with a 14.4-percent public support.

    MILLIYET newspaper publishes an interview with DSP's Rahsan Ecevit by Fikret Bila on the recent efforts to form an election alliance between the CHP and the DSP. Stressing that the "unification of forces" will carry the left-wing parties to power, Rahsan Ecevit, however, adds that those who work for such an alliance should adopt a "more serious, more realistic, more moderate, and more tolerant" approach. Criticizing the AKP for pursuing an "oppressive" policy, Ecevit says: "A reactionary system will mostly affect women. Our women have realized that we are being dragged into a shar'iah regime and that they took to the streets. They have already established the unification of forces against reactionism." The Turkish Armed Forces is also uneasy about the current situation in Turkey, she adds.

    In an article in HURRIYET, Ahmet Hakan outlines his interview with MHP Deputy Chairman Oktay Vural on the party's views regarding the recent rallies and the elections. Hakan says that despite the fact that political observers describe the MHP as a "nationalist" and an "extremist right-wing" party, Vural asserted that the MHP will become a "centre party" in the next elections. He is quoted as saying that his party will continue to support Turkey's "unitary structure, the nation state, the republic, and the supremacy of law" as a centre party. Hakan says that according to Vural, the MHP did not officially support the mass rallies that were held in Ankara's Tandogan Square and Istanbul's Taksim Square, but that some of the party supporters might have attended the rallies to protest against the government. Vural also accused the CHP for trying to take advantage of those demonstrations, he adds.

    Hurriyet columnist Ertugrul Ozkok focuses on the 2-hour meeting held by Prime Minister Erdogan and Chief of Staff Gen Buyukanit in the aftermath of the General Staff's "memorandum" and Abdullah Gul's decision to withdraw his presidential candidacy. Ozkok says in his column that it was interesting to observe that "not even a single piece of information has leaked from this meeting." Besides, none of the relevant parties have tried to "manipulate" it, he adds. According to Ozkok, both the General Staff and the government should brief the public on the meeting in order to prevent certain circles from spreading a rumour about a "secret agreement" between the two sides.

    A commentary by Orhan Karatas in Ortadogu newspaper comments on the recent international developments that might affect the interests of Turkey. Arguing that the AKP government is controlled by President Bush, whose "mental capabilities are really debatable," the columnist asserts that he sees the increasing terrorist and separatist movements in the country as the outcome of the ruling party's unsuccessful foreign policy. He also accuses the AKP of trying to "mislead" the public with regard to French President Sarkozy's approach on Turkey's accession to the EU. He asserts that what the ruling party tries to do is to create the impression that the French leader will "realize the facts" and change his stand when he comes to power. He urges the government to admit and announce that Turkey's "EU dream is over now." Also criticizing the AKP for failing to respond to Barzani's threats, Karatas says that the MHP is the only party, which can rule the country with "honourable" and "decisive" policies.

    In an article entitled "A New 28 February Process", YENI SAFAK columnist Ibrahim Karagul continues to draw attention to "the similarity between the [domestic] power struggle" conducted against the ruling AKP by "Turkish hawks" "under the name of a secular-Islamist debate" and "the campaign waged by [US] neo-cons [against the Erdogan government] in the past few years." He claims that US neo-cons want Turkey's "Islamist sections" to be openly declared an enemy and that of these, Daniel Pipes is a person "brainless enough to describe Tayyip Erdogan as being more dangerous for the world than Usama bin Ladin." Karagul also argues that while the neo-cons appear to be acting against a presumed "threat of Islam" as they did during the 28 February process, their real agenda is northern Iraq "this time."

    In an article entitled "Getting the Maths right", YENI SAFAK columnist Fehmi Koru advises the AKP and CHP administrations to "definitely take into consideration the fact that "short-tempered" supporters on each side who are "easily provoked" into staging street demonstrations do not make up any more than 20 percent of their respective voters and that it is the remaining 60 percent consisting of more temperate people that will decide who wins in the next elections. He claims that both the AKP and the CHP will be mistaken to think that they will obtain "at least 50 percent of the vote" based on the impression that "everybody is angry."

    Under the banner headline, "Here are [the CHP's] backyard products," Vakit publishes a front-page report which asserts that the CHP's candidates for the next parliament include many high-level bureaucrats from the judiciary and the academic world, a situation, according to VAKIT, which belies main opposition leader Deniz Baykal's remarks accusing the AKP of stacking bureaucratic positions with its own supporters.

    In an article entitled "What a Pity", Vakit columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak asserts that the recent General Staff "memorandum" released in the name of "hitting the AKP," "has brought discredit on virtually all institutions" including the Turkish military itself, the opposition parties, the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly, and the Office of the President aside from damaging democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and Turkey's international image.

    In an article entitled "Which Center-Left?", ZAMAN columnist Sahin Alpay takes issue with references to the efforts to form a CHP-DSP [Democratic Left Party] alliance as an initiative to establish unity on the centre-left. He argues that "centre-left" is a term used in any democratic country to refer to socialist, social democratic, and labour parties affiliated with the Socialist International, that centre-left parties are those that espouse the protection and promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms including the rights and freedoms of ethnic and religious minorities on the basis of a libertarian democracy and market economy, and that neither the CHP nor the DSP can have anything to do with the centre-left in this sense.

    Finally in an article entitled "A crazy coach", Milli Gazete columnist Suleyman Arif Emre asserts that by directing increasingly harsher criticisms against the ruling AKP instead of censuring this party in a moderate and convincing way and pursuing a serious-minded opposition policy, CHP leader Baykal is advertently causing the Erdogan government to act like a runner benefiting from a sudden high dose of dope in a race in which he was lagging behind. Emre claims that the recent "Republican" rallies, the legal cases against an AKP presidency filed with the Constitutional Court, and "the General Staff memorandum threatening a coup" are earning fresh support for the Erdogan government at a time when it had begun to fall into discredit.

    [08] What will happen in the elections?

    Under the above title, columnist Hakan Aygun expresses the following views in his article in Turkish daily BUGUN newspaper (08.05.07):

    What will happen in the elections?

    Four political parties will participate in the elections: AKP [Justice and Development Party], CHP [Republican People's Party], DP [Democratic Party], and MHP [Nationalist Action Party].

    The DP and MHP having seats in the parliament will mean that the outcome of the voting will definitely lead to the establishment of a coalition.

    It is quite clear that the AKP and the CHP will direct their election campaigns against each other. It seems that particularly the CHP and, of course, the AKP will be the two parties that will mostly gain from the competition. That is because we have observed that "rising secularism" has recently replaced the "rising political Islamic trend," which began in the 1990s.

    Opposition is an instigating factor. As a natural process, the two DP parties [True Path Party-Motherland Party], and MHP, which lost some of their votes to the AKP in the last elections, must have made an effort to pull themselves together. That is a very strong possibility which should not be underestimated. Although the AKP will compete with the CHP, its "main struggle" will be against the center-right parties.

    We will all see whether polarization or the "third alternative" will be successful.

    Will the AKP secure more votes to return or will it lose from its strength? As far as that is concerned, the performance of particularly the True Path Party [DYP]-Motherland Party alliance will be important.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "targeted the CHP and ignored the other political parties" in his last election campaign. He was successful. It now seems that adopting a similar tactic will be difficult, but it will still be effective.

    It has been observed that DYP leader Mehmet Agar and Motherland Party leader Erkan Mumcu are planning to target the CHP and AKP in their election campaigns. In view of that, the possibility of the "third alternative" gaining strength must not be underestimated.

    The question now is: Will we have a coalition or a single party government after the elections? The MHP will be the determining factor. The MHP, headed by Devlet Bahceli, is like a closed box. To say it more clearly, I will be watching particularly the MHP votes when counting begins at night on elections day. I believe that I will be following the most interesting and surprising elections in my professional life as a journalist.

    I am certain that Turkey will gain, regardless of what the outcome of the voting will be! I wish success to all the political parties, provided that they do not deviate from "fair play!"

    I took some paper and a pen to predict the possible results of the voting. I tried to determine the highest and the lowest votes the political parties might get. The difference between the lowest and highest number of votes the DYP-Motherland Party alliance might get looked like a "precipice" in my mind. But making early predictions is not restricted:

    AKP: 28-26 percent

    CHP: 19-27 percent

    DP: : 15-30 percent

    MHP: 8-13 percent

    What will happen after the elections are held?

    We may expect a single party government if only three political parties are elected to the parliament. If we draw up a list of the parties that might come to power, then we will see that the AKP has a better chance of establishing the new government.

    We should be prepared for a coalition if four political parties are elected to parliament.

    The possibilities that might be expected from a four-party parliament are:

    A CHP-DP-MHP alliance: 70 percent

    An AKP-DP coalition:

    A CHP-MHP coalition: 15 percent

    A coalition between the AKP and CHP and a coalition between the AKP and MHP is impossible. Can you imagine, a CHP-MHP coalition could not even be dreamed of in the 1970s. However, the two parties stand close together at the present time. A CHP-AKP coalition might be on the agenda after two or three elections are held in the future. In view of that, focusing on the developments in the world with a more flexible approach will be useful.

    [09] Columnist in MILLIYET assesses the developments in Turkey

    Under the title Loss of Blood in AKP? Guneri Civaoglu assesses the developments in Turkey in Turkish daily MILLIYET (10.05.07):

    The Cankaya [Presidential] issue has now been "deferred." Turkey has become fixated on the ballot boxes of 22 July.

    Now public opinion polls are the order of the day.

    Yesterday, two such polls were being discussed. According to a study conducted in 16 regions with participation by 17 faculty members at 16 state universities, the gap between the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and the CHP [Republican People's Party] has narrowed.

    Not because the CHP has made any sudden gains, but because of the AKP's having lost votes... In the 2002 general elections, the AKP had garnered 34.3 percent of the votes, and the CHP 19.4 percent.

    But according to the survey sponsored by the Union of Political Sciences Faculty Graduates, the AKP's share of the vote has now fallen to 27.7 percent, and that of the CHP to 18.1 percent... If the margin of error is taken into account, the CHP votes were unchanged. But the losses of the AKP were 9.6 percent.

    If the 2004 Provincial General Assembly elections are taken as the base, the AKP's losses are even greater. A drop from 42 percent to 27.7 percent is indicated, meaning a loss of 15 percent.

    The tension in the AKP, and its efforts to amend the Constitution, should be interpreted in light of this poll.

    Subtitle: Second Opinion

    It is important, in the field of medicine, to get a "second opinion" for doctors' diagnoses.

    The study by SONAR coincides - largely - with the proportion of the vote that the Union of Political Sciences Faculty Graduates survey ascribes to the AKP: 29.4 percent.

    And the study that we had had Kanal D [television] conduct also showed that, in the next election, the AKP would get approximately 30 percent.

    In other words... According to SONAR, the AKP has declined by approximately 5 percent of its level of support in the 2002 general elections, and by approximately 15 percent of the proportion of the vote that it got in the 2004 local elections.

    On the other hand...

    SONAR's findings regarding the other parties, and particularly the CHP, are different.

    The CHP appears at 14.08 percent, the MHP [Nationalist Action Party] at 12.18 percent, and the DYP [True Path Party] at 12.07 percent.

    These figures indicate that at least four parties would surmount the 10-percent threshold and make it into the National Assembly.

    SONAR's real surprise is its putting onto the agenda the claim that the Young Party [GP] would overcome the threshold, with 10.07 percent...

    Add to this the decision of the DTP [Democratic Society Party] to enter the elections with independent candidates, and the determination that, in this situation, it would be able to send 20 to 30 parliamentary deputies to Ankara...

    If, in this way, five parties apart from the AKP are represented in the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly], a truly difficult "equation with many variables" emerges.

    Indeed, the percentages in the SONAR survey could even, in this equation with many variables, shift to a coalition government apart from the AKP via alliances between the CHP and the DSP [Democratic Left Party] and between the DYP and ANAP [Motherland Party], which have combined to form the DP [Democratic Party].

    The criterion of "justice in representation" provided for in the Constitution would thus be reflected in the National Assembly. The votes remaining outside it would fall substantially, but it appears that the principle of "manageable democracy," that is, "stability," would be considerably hampered.

    I think that society as well will perceive this, and that, in the period ahead, the public opinion polls will register somewhat different pulses.

    Subtitle: The Bonsai Economy

    In all of this smoke and dust, the market has not entered into chaos.

    The economic indicators, when compared with earlier political fluctuations, are much more stable.

    But... It is essential when looking at this to avoid incorrect assessments and exaggerated optimism.

    Because... The global economy is in its most favourable phase of recent years.

    All of the world's stock markets, and even the markets of the developing countries, are surging higher.

    Money is virtually "pouring out everywhere."

    Turkey has, unfortunately, not shared in this.

    It has satisfied itself with merely "preserving its situation."

    Whereas if the Presidential [election] process had been managed a bit more intelligently, the IMKB [Istanbul Stock Exchange] would have made record gains.

    The interest shown by foreign capital in privatizations such as the Halk Bank has been proof of this.

    The valuations of the companies listed on the stock exchange could have been at least 20 percent higher than today.

    But unnecessary and inordinately greedy impositions have, unfortunately, caused a "bonsai economy."

    Subtitle: Window Dressing Candidates

    The political parties' "star search" for 22 July has begun.

    Most of these [candidates] will be "window dressing."

    All of the parties have gone after the "thick as a brick" personalities of the glamour press. Particularly the parties outside the AKP...

    The AKP has done a "damage assessment" and, in order to improve its image, has adopted the principle of "one female candidate from every province"...

    But behind the window, it is putting up individuals who represent the core of its own mentality...

    It is treading safely by utilizing figures with a mindset that matches that of its constituency.

    This consistency is insufficiently present in the other parties, however.

    But the seats in politics and the tables of nightclubs are in different forums. The opposition ought to be able to see that the AKP has not been able to persuade the public with its prominent personalities used for the sake of "decoration." »

    [10] «Why can´t Turkey be considered European?»

    Under the above title TODAY´S ZAMAN (11.05.07) publishes the following commentary by Etyen Mahcupyan:

    Ever since the possibility of Turkeys EU membership entered onto the agenda, certain circles in Europe have expressed their worries that Turkey is on an Islamic trajectory and used this concern to oppose our EU membership. But as the AK Party administration has clearly shown, Turkish Muslims, or the majority of the devout groups, see a future on the horizon that includes the EU. The Muslims in this country want Europes democracy and its secularity.

    As for those who call themselves secular in this country, to put it mildly, they are a bit confused. Some of them are quite openly anti-EU. These groups of educated, up-to-date and modern people are unable to digest either the democracy or the secularity with which Europe beckons. While Turkish Muslims have swiftly adjusted to a global world view, the secularists are moving with the same speed into a shuttered, introverted state, becoming nationalisms street soldiers.

    The reason for this strange state of affairs, so difficult for Westerners to grasp, is the identity crisis in which Turks find themselves. The Turkish citizenry feels that the state ideology lacks a firm basis and is neither functional nor meaningful. With a state that functions based on the citizenship formula of Turkish and secular, because there has been no creation of a real society, these concepts in particular have begun to wear down, showing themselves to be empty. Whats more, because the secular factions have had no basis for identifying citizenship outside these narrow parameters, they have managed to maintain their own standing only by linking their own identities more and more with the state. In this way, terms like modern and contemporary have begun to be vehicles for misleading those secular factions who, fearing the society at large, have edged closer and closer to the state. They have begun to perceive devout Muslims as a threat simply because of their faith. Today, when you look at Turkish society, you see religious Muslims who would like to be European citizens, and across from them, a secular faction saying, If you dont resemble us, its impossible.

    The secular factions arrogant response to the demands from devout Turks for equality underscores all the problems with the citizenship project run and implemented under Turkish state sponsorship and the system that has been woven around it. It would be incredibly helpful if only EU authorities would scrape away their baseless religious fears with regards to Turkey and instead examine what sort of republic and what sort of democracy this nation has. When looked at from inside European political culture, if the majority in a country dominates a minority, systematically violating their rights, then you cannot call this country a democracy. As it is, the situation with the Kurds, Alevis and non-Muslim Turkish citizens and what they have experienced for years on end has already shown that Turkey is not a democracy. But the situation is not this simple, either, because in our nation we also have a situation wherein the bureaucratic minority reigns over the majority. To wit, a spectrum that includes forced party closures, the shutting down of imam-hatip religious vocational schools and the banning of headscarves underscores the fact that the majoritys natural, individual rights have been violated, and whats more, it has all been done in the name of the state. This, despite the fact that in a republic the state should at least culturally and ideologically reflect the majority. The essence of the concept of a republic is that its state should reflect the choices of the people, not of one person or group in particular. For this reason, then, when considering the situation in Turkey, there is only one thing to say, which is that our nation is not a republic in terms of any European political tradition...

    So I guess the real question is this: Based on which reason/s will the EU accept a country that is neither a democracy nor a republic as a member? Because while in Turkey there is no threat of Islamism, there are antidemocratic trends that have reached the level of citizenship identity, and it is for precisely this reason that Turkey is not European.

    EG/


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