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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-05-29

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.101/07 26-29.05.07

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Soyer thanks German politician for visiting the occupied areas through the illegal Tymbou airport
  • [02] The Turkish Cypriot leadership welcomes the resolution approved by the German Federal Assembly
  • [03] Ekenoglu held contacts in Berlin
  • [04] Turkeys YOK evaluated the illegal universities Turkey established in the occupied areas of Cyprus with Ferdi Soyer
  • [05] The Cyprus EU Association argues that the Turkish Cypriots should adopt the euro; Developments regarding the economy
  • [06] Turkish Cypriot politicians evaluate the developments in Turkey
  • [07] Four Turkish Cypriot organizations demand the establishment of a tourism organization in the occupied areas
  • [08] The goal of the football tournament in London has reportedly been achieved
  • [09] Turkish Cypriot minister admits that the Turkish settlers have lack of culture and quality
  • [10] Avci declares that shortly there will be announcements about investments in occupied Morfou area
  • [11] Ertan Ersan sends a letter to Michael Moller, the representation of the EU and the ambassadors of the USA, Britain and Germany to Nicosia
  • [12] Press conference in Ankara by US Senator Benjamin Nelson and Congressman Edward Whitfield
  • [13] Turkish Assembly Approves 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Articles of Amendment Package
  • [14] A Turkey-EU Troika meeting will take place next Monday in Ankara
  • [15] Turkish journalists met in Strasbourg with leading MEP´s to pre-empt a bad image for Turkey
  • [16] The US President Bush thanked Tayyip Erdogan for the capturing of an Al-Qa'ida commander
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [17] The Turkish press on the possibility of a Turkish military incursion into Northern Iraq

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Soyer thanks German politician for visiting the occupied areas through the illegal Tymbou airport

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the so-called prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer has met with Jurgen Walter, vice president of the German Social Democrat Party (SPD) in the province of Hessen, and stated that the Turkish Cypriots have not departed from their target on the Cyprus problem.

    Mr Soyer claimed that the initiative of the Greek Cypriot side in 1963 to eliminate the two-sided character of the Republic of Cyprus aiming at Enosis, unification with Greece, caused great pain to both sides. Mr Soyer alleged that the efforts of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side for the solution of the problem continue.

    Mr Soyer pointed out that the visit of Mr Walter to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus through the illegal airport of Tymbou has caused the beginning of important developments. Soyer argued that the Greek Cypriot side has been for years distorting the substance of the Cyprus problem in Europe and noted that the recent decision taken at the German parliament constitutes an important ground.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (29.05.07) reports that Mr Walter said that the decision of the German parliament could be a road map for the solution of the Cyprus problem and noted that the Greek Cypriot side exerted pressure on the German Parliamentarians regarding the decision.

    Finally, Turkish Cypriot daily SOZCU newspaper (29.05.07) refers to the issue under the title Our hope is Germany.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] The Turkish Cypriot leadership welcomes the resolution approved by the German Federal Assembly

    Illegal BAYRAK television (25.05.07) broadcast the following:

    The TRNC Presidency has welcomed the German Federal Assembly's approval of the resolution which envisaged the lifting of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People by stating that the decision proves the EU term-president Germany's interest on the Cyprus issue.

    Issuing a written statement today, the Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica said that despite the fact that the resolution generally includes objective facts on the Cyprus issue, it does also include some misperceptions.

    'We shouldn't expect a parliamentary resolution to fit into the Turkish Cypriot Side's view 100 %, as the Turkish Cypriot Side is one of the main actors of the Cyprus issue.

    The Presidential Spokesperson Hasan Ercakica said that the proof of the German Parliament's interest on the Cyprus issue is more important than the actual content of the resolution.

    He expressed the hope that Germany's increasing interest in the Cyprus issue will help create new opportunities for the Turkish Cypriot People in explaining its rightful struggle to the world.

    Mr Ercakica accused the Greek Cypriot Side of playing for time on the Cyprus issue with the aim of maintaining its international recognition as the 'Republic of Cyprus' and using the advantages of its unilateral EU membership against the Turkish Cypriot People.

    He expressed the view that the approval of the draft resolution might help the regression of the Greek Cypriot Side's strategy on the Cyprus issue.

    'I hope the decision of the German Federal Assembly will create new opportunities to provide a comprehensive and just solution to the Cyprus problem as well as to increase the interest of the international community in the Cyprus issue' he added.

    On the same issue, illegal BAYRAK television (25.05.07) broadcast the following:

    Speaking during a press conference, the Parliamentary Speaker said that the approval of the resolution sent a significant message to the European Parliament.

    She said the resolution underlines the view that a solution to the Cyprus problem can only be reached under the United Nations umbrella.

    Stressing her desire for the lifting of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People, the Speaker of the Republics Assembly expressed the belief that the lifting of the isolation will promote to the Turkish Cypriot economy.

    The Greek Cypriot Side will be encouraged to return to the negotiation table once the Turkish Cypriot economy is strengthened further she added.

    Reiterating the Turkish Cypriot Sides willingness for reunification in Cyprus, Mrs Ekenoglu affirmed the Turkish Cypriot Sides commitment towards a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal solution to the Cyprus problem.

    We do everything in our power to achieve this goal and we want the Greek Cypriot Side to do the same she added.

    Answering a reporters question on whether or not the Cyprus issue is an obstacle to Turkeys EU membership, Mrs. Ekenoglu expressed the view that the Cyprus issue will always create difficulties for Ankaras EU accession process and that a settlement on the island will serve to Turkeys interests.

    Pointing out that Turkey will always remain as a guarantor power over Cyprus, the Parliamentary Speaker said that Turkey will open its ports to the Greek Cypriot traffic once the international isolation on North Cyprus is removed.

    Also commenting on the decision, the Social Democrat MP Lale Akgun stated that everyone is in favor of the removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People.

    She expressed the belief that it will be easier to reach a settlement in Cyprus once the North Cyprus economy is developed and the two peoples of the island are allowed to enjoy equal political rights.

    Also speaking during the press conference, the Greens MP Ozcan Mutlu described the decision as a positive and pleasing development.

    Ozcan Mutlu reminded that the struggle for bringing the Cyprus issue onto the agenda had been continuing for years.

    The resolution which aims at contributing to the unification of Cyprus and granting equal rights to the peoples living on the island was approved by a unanimous vote at the German Federal Assembly.

    The resolution also called on "all relevant parties" to take solid steps towards a solution to the Cyprus problem and urged the Greek Cypriot Administration to cooperate with Turkish Cypriot institutions.

    Meanwhile, speaking earlier at a gathering organized by the Turkish-German Businessmen Union with the title Cyprus after the 2004 Referenda, before the approval of the draft resolution, the Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu stated that the Turkish Cypriot People wants a settlement in Cyprus to leave a secure and peaceful future for their children.

    We expect the EU term-president Germany to provide support for the lifting of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot People she said.

    Pointing out that the presence of the Turkish Armed forces on the island is presented as an obstacle towards finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, Mrs Ekenoglu criticized the fact that the Greek Army which is similarly stationed on the other side of the island is not perceived as an obstacle.

    The Speaker of the Assembly emphasized that the Cyprus problem gets more complex as its solution delays.

    Finally, illegal BAYRAK television (26.05.07) broadcast the following:

    Another approval of the decision came from Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer who described the decision as a very significant political decision which will help the Turkish Cypriot People in its struggle for political equality on the international platform.

    Underlining that the decision was made upon unanimity within the German Federal Assembly, Mr Soyer noted however that the decision includes some points which do not totally satisfy the expectations of the Turkish Cypriot People.

    The Prime Minister also expressed the hope that unanimity among the German parties within the federal parliament will help encouraging the parliamentarians in other EU member countries to take similar initiatives on the Cyprus issue.

    Also welcoming the development in a written statement issued on Friday, the TRNC Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said he was pleased to see that the German parliament was interested in the Cyprus issue.

    He however said that inclusion of issues of substance such as property, security and the guarantees, all of which can only be addressed within the framework of comprehensive negotiations, was a negative aspect of the resolution adopted.

    Pointing out that the Turkish Cypriot peoples sole security and safety was guaranteed by the military presence of the Turkish Armed Forces on the island, Foreign Minister Turgay Avci said that proposals in the resolution calling for the withdrawal of all Turkish Armed Forces from Cyprus was absolutely unacceptable.

    [03] Ekenoglu held contacts in Berlin

    Illegal BAYRAK television (27.05.07) broadcast the following:

    The Speaker of the Republics Assembly Fatma Ekenoglu has said that she expects the German Federal Assembly to stand behind the resolution it adopted envisaging the removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    She expressed the view that the easing of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people will in fact encourage the Greek Cypriot Side to return to the negotiating table, pressuring it to work towards finding a comprehensive federal solution to the Cyprus problem on the basis of the political equality of the two sides.

    The Parliamentary speakers words came during a meeting with officials from the junior coalition partner of the German government, the Social democrats, where she briefed them on the latest developments on the Cyprus Problem.

    The parliamentary delegation which has completed its contacts in Berlin is on its way back to the Republic.

    The delegation came together with Social Democrat Party-Berlin State Assembly deputy Dilek Kolat and the partys European policy spokesman Frank Zimmerman.

    Speaking during the meeting, Mrs. Ekenoglu said that it was essential for the European Union to amend its constitution so as to be able put an end to the obstructive efforts of the Greek Cypriot Administration.

    Expressing the belief that Germany, a country which experienced division for many years, may understand well the situation in Cyprus, the Parliamentary speaker reminded that the Turkish Cypriot people had overwhelmingly supported the Annan Plan, despite the fact the plan included several negative provisions, in order to reach a solution and put an end to the uncertainty on the island.

    Criticizing the Greek Cypriot Side for its constant attempts to bring to the agenda the Turkish military presence on the island, Mrs. Ekenoglu pointed to the fact that demilitarization was one of the issues where both sides had reached complete agreement during the Annan Plan period.

    Had the Greek Cypriots accepted the Annan Plan, the island would have been demilitarized as agreed upon she said, adding that a chance had been lost when the Greek Cypriot Side had rejected a settlement.

    She reminded that the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people continued despite the report presented by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan following the April 2004 referendum.

    For his part, the SDP European Policy Spokesman Frank Zimmerman said that his party supported both a solution in Cyprus and Turkeys EU accession.

    He expressed the view that a solution to the Cyprus Problem will remove one of the several obstacles Ankara faces on its path to EU membership.

    Pointing out that that the draft resolution adopted by the Federal German Assembly was an important development, Mr. Zimmerman said that he was pleased to see that the Turkish Cypriot Side welcomed the decision.

    The spokesman also reaffirmed his partys support to work towards encouraging the Greek Cypriot Side to return to the negotiating table.

    Also speaking at the meeting, the Social Democrat Deputy for the Berlin State Assembly, Dilek Kolat said that the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus had taken many bold steps towards achieving a solution in Cyprus.

    Praising the current government in North Cyprus for pursuing policies towards peace, the SDP deputy underlined the urgent need for the removal of the international isolation of the Turkish Cypriot people.

    Touching upon the issue of demilitarization, Ms. Kolat said that the European Union was acting biased and unjust when it came to this issue.

    She said that the European Union should take in to consideration the fact that there is Greek Army troops stationed in South Cyprus as well.

    As part of its contacts in Germany, the delegation met with Deputies and officials from the German Green Party, Federal Parliaments left party, the German Social Democrat Party and Christian Unity Party.

    The parliamentary delegation was also present at the session of the Federal German Assembly where the draft resolution on the Cyprus issue was adopted.

    Later the group attended a conference titled Cyprus after the referendum and The Parliamentary Speaker Fatma Ekenoglu also appeared as a host on TD-1 Television channel.

    The parliamentary delegation which completed its contacts in Berlin is expected to return to the Republic tonight.

    [04] Turkeys YOK evaluated the illegal universities Turkey established in the occupied areas of Cyprus with Ferdi Soyer

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the so-called prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer said yesterday that the illegal universities in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus have a great contribution to the economic and political development and institutionalization of the Turkish Cypriots. Mr Soyer, who made these statements during a meeting with Prof. Dr. Isa Esme, vice president of Turkey´s Higher Education Council (YOK), noted that Turkey has always been supporting the development and strengthening of this contribution.

    Prof. Dr. Esme said that as of the next year they will start conducting external evaluation of the illegal universities in order to secure their development more rapidly. He noted that this is a necessity of the Bologna Process and that they have evaluated the conditions for this.

    Mr Soyer said that the controls of YOK give motivation to the universities and added that they exchanged views with the Turkish delegation on the Bologna Process.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] The Cyprus EU Association argues that the Turkish Cypriots should adopt the euro; Developments regarding the economy

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the Cyprus EU Association has expressed the opinion that the Turkish Cypriots should implement the euro simultaneously with the Greek Cypriots. In a written statement, the association pointed out to the benefits from using a stable currency. The association alleged that there is no relation between using the euro and the Maastricht Criteria.

    KIBRIS reports also that the chairman and the general secretary of the so-called TRNC Development Bank, Sinan Bagdatli and Ahmet Ataner respectively, will participate in the 32nd Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank which will begin today in Dakar-Senegal. The meeting will last until tomorrow and the representatives of 56 Islamic countries will participate in it.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the newly appointed chairman of the soc-called central bank of the breakaway regime, Ahmet Tugay visited yesterday the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and the so-called Prime Minister Ferdi Sabit Soyer. In statements after the meetings Tugay said that he took over a strong central bank and a stable economy.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] Turkish Cypriot politicians evaluate the developments in Turkey

    Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot politicians are closely following the developments regarding the elections in Turkey and a possible operation against Northern Iraq. The general secretary of the Republican Turkish Party, Omer Kalyoncu told the paper that the problems in Turkey must be solved and added that especially in the issue of Northern Iraq the diplomatic means should be preferred instead of the military intervention. He expressed the belief that they will continue their course here in Cyprus whoever comes to power in Turkey and that they should feel at ease.

    The general secretary of the National Unity Party Nazim Cavusoglu said that they should expect that the results of the elections in Turkey will influence the Turkish Cypriots and added that his party believes that the parties in Turkey behave and should behave in an above-party manner regarding Cyprus. He argued that in case of a Turkish intervention in Iraq, there will be no negative development for which the Turkish Cypriots should worry about.

    The general secretary of the Democratic Party, Ertugrul Hasipoglu said that a possible Turkish intervention in Iraq will harm especially Turkey at this stage. He argued that it is seen that a coalition government period will begin in Turkey and it is not possible to guess from now what could happen. He noted that the developments in Turkey might influence negatively the Turkish Cypriots and added that they experienced this in the past.

    The general secretary of the Peace and Democracy Movement, Mehmet Cakici said that the developments in Turkey will influence the Turkish Cypriots both economically and politically. He said that the political structure here has ties with the military and government wing in Turkey and that it will directly be influenced by the developments.

    The general secretary of the Communal Liberation Party, Mehmet Davulcu said that the developments in Turkey will definitely influence the occupied areas of Cyprus.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Four Turkish Cypriot organizations demand the establishment of a tourism organization in the occupied areas

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Tourism Agents Union (KITSAB), the Hoteliers Union (KITOB), the Restaurant Owners Union (RES-BIR), Rent Cars Business Enterprises Union (KAIB) have called on the government and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Talat to undertake initiative for the establishment of an independent tourism organization in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In a written statement issued by the four organizations, it is said that the five star hotels in the occupied areas are empty during the weekends and their only visitors are some groups who want to gamble. They argued that the 2, 3 and 4 star hotels, which carry the burden of tourism for years, are about to go bankrupt and are facing the dilemma of selling their properties and pay their debts.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] The goal of the football tournament in London has reportedly been achieved

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07), under the title The goal has been achieved, we have a new goal, reports that Ontac Duzgun, so-called undersecretary at the prime ministers office, has said that their real goal is their need for having a lasting relationship between the Turkish Cypriots in London and the Turkish Cypriots living in the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus.

    In statements in London where he attended the tournament of the Turkish Cypriot football teams of Cetinkaya and Turk Ocagi from the occupied areas and Akincilar Mehmetcik from the Turkish Cypriot league in London.

    Referring to the tournament he said they are happy to see that it is improving every year and added:

    We are pleased with the interest shown both by the media of our country and the media and the businessmen of London. He noted that they received a proposal regarding the organization of the tournament in the occupied areas of the island as well. He said that there are many other proposals, which they will evaluate.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Turkish Cypriot minister admits that the Turkish settlers have lack of culture and quality

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the Turkish Cypriot Public Servants Trade Union (KTAMS) has expressed its worries about the recent attacks against people working in the health sector in the occupied areas and submitted its demands to the so-called minister of health, Esref Vaiz.

    Mr Vaiz said that those who have committed a crime should be tried. These incidents in our country which cause sorrow are entirely a result of a lack of culture and quality, he said and added: We will evaluate what kind of measures will be taken against those who although they come from abroad and live in this country, behave in an inappropriate manner towards the state officials of this country and attack them. These two incidents have now taught us a lesson.

    The chairman of KTAMS, Ahmet Kaptan said that the attacks were attacks against the honour of the Turkish Cypriots. He noted that those who come to the occupied areas of the Republic of Cyprus to be educated or to work have no right to cause hostility between the Turkish Cypriots and the Turks from Turkey with what they say. He said that they will meet with the so-called minister of labour and demand from him to send away those who upset peace. AFRIKA refers to the issue and publishes the statements of Mr Vaiz under the banner front-page title The confession of the minister.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] Avci declares that shortly there will be announcements about investments in occupied Morfou area

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the so-called minister of foreign affairs, Turgay Avci has alleged that the Turkish Cypriots will not wait for the mercy of President Papadopoulos and that they should work together for the development and the prosperity of the country.

    Referring to the occupied area of Morfou, Avci wondered why those who accuse them now of not supporting the area have not made an investment in Morfou for 30 years. He said that the investments of the government in the area will continue and that the good news on the issue will be announced after a meeting of the council of ministers which will be held in Morfou within the next few days.

    He drew attention to the fact that demands for foreign investments come to the occupied areas and addressing the Greek Cypriots he argued: If you are not ready to share with us, we will continue our way with our investments.

    He alleged that the Greek Cypriots are more fanatic and conservative and pointed out to the influence of the Church. Mr Avci pointed out to the importance of the opening representations of the TRNC, in the three most important countries of the Gulf and added that they will intensify their efforts for increasing their trade relations with these countries.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] Ertan Ersan sends a letter to Michael Moller, the representation of the EU and the ambassadors of the USA, Britain and Germany to Nicosia

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (29.05.07) reports that Ertan Ersan, chairman of the Martyrs Families and Fighters Association, has sent a letter to the UN Secretary-Generals Special representative in Cyprus, Michael Moller, the EU representation on the Island and the embassies of Germany, Britain and the USA regarding the issue of the missing persons. He accused the Greek Cypriot side of politicizing the issue for years and of distorting the truth in its favour.

    (I/Ts.)

    [12] Press conference in Ankara by US Senator Benjamin Nelson and Congressman Edward Whitfield

    ISTANBUL NTV television (28.05.07) broadcast the following from the press conference given in Ankara by Senator Benjamin Nelson and Congressman Edward Whitfield after meeting Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Gul:

    Benjamin Nelson:The relationship between the US and Turkey goes back many decades. It is a relationship of friendship and partnership and I am very pleased with the conversation we had today with the prime minister and minister Gul. We've got many areas where we are in full agreement. The partnership and cooperation over the years, we believe that that's going to continue into the future. And the prime minister made it very clear that where we have some differences of opinion, we will continue to work through those. So I am very pleased that the relationship is as strong as it is and that we will go into next decade with that kind of partnership as well. With that....Edward Whitfield: I am Ed Whitfield of Kentucky and I might talk about some specific areas that we discussed with the prime minister. Before I do that, I will say that we had six members of the House of Representatives and five US senators. And we discussed particularly, the frustration of the Turkish people relating to the PKK terrorism -- a problem in northern Iraq that is being exported into Turkey. There was quite a lengthy discussion about the situation in Iraq -- the overall situation in Iraq. There was also discussion about the Armenian resolution that has been introduced in the US Congress and if it passed the impact that it would have on the Turkish people. We also discussed the Turkish effort to be a member of the European Union and how, particularly, France and Germany appear to have a bias against the EU membership. And also, the importance of reunifying the island of Cyprus. So those were some of the issues that we discussed and it's my understanding that some of you may have a question or two.

    Whitfield: I cannot speak for the administration but we sent the letter because we feel like that the US is asking Turkey not to intervene and yet the Turkish people are suffering deaths because of PKK terrorism. We feel that the US should take some concrete steps to deal with this issue. Then, I would say we are not urging Turkey to take military action.

    Reporter: Did you talk about the US violation of Turkish border?Nelson: We did talk with Turkish officials about the question of the Iraqi-Turkish border and we would hope that conversations will be ongoing so that we are able to resolve the best way to deal with that violation of the Turkish border.Whitfield: We were also told that any violation of Turkish airspace is put upon the military website, that there is not anything unusual about this particular.

    On a meeting between the American delegation and the so-called ambassador of Ankara´s illegal regime in occupied Cyprus, illegal BAYRAK television broadcast the following:

    TRNC Ambassador to Ankara Tamer Gazioglu said that the Greek Cypriot Administration should be reminded that it is not representing the whole island and added that its existing policies only serve towards deepening the division of the island.

    Also speaking, the US Congressman Edward Whitfield said that the US is spending its best of efforts to improve relations with Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

    For his part, the President of the Turkey-US Inter-parliamentary Friendship Grouping Egemen Bagis who is accompanying the visiting delegation reminded that the US delegation has proved its support to the Turkish Cypriot People by landing at Ercan Airport in the past.

    [13] Turkish Assembly Approves 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th Articles of Amendment Package

    ANKARA ANATOLIA news agency (28.05.07) reports from Ankara the following:

    Turkish parliament approved on Monday the first article of a constitutional amendment package regarding general and presidential elections. 368 MPs voted 'yes', one 'no', and one vote has been nullified in a secret ballot for the first article which allows for holding general elections every four years instead of five. The bill would also allow the election of the president by popular vote, lowering presidential term to five years, allowing for another five-year term.

    Meanwhile, Yilmaz Kaya, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said that the ongoing parliamentary debate on the amendment bill "has transformed into a campaign against the president." Mevlit Akgun, Justice and Development (AK) Party MP from Karaman told the General Assembly that President Sezer's justifications for vetoing the amendment were "political rather than legal."

    Turkish parliament approved the second article of a constitutional amendment package regarding general and presidential elections. 361 MPs voted 'yes', one 'no', one 'abstainer' and two votes were nullified in a secret ballot for the second article. The second article allows for "incorporating procedures and basics regarding the presidential election to the duties and responsibilities of Higher Board of Election."

    Parliament adopted the third and fourth articles of a constitutional amendment package.

    The fourth article, which allows for the popular election of the president for a 5+5 years term, was approved by 367 votes in favour and one against. Parliament also approved by 363 to 3 against the third article which sets a quorum of at least one third of total number of MPs as a requirement for parliamentary sessions.

    Turkish parliament approved the 5th article of a constitutional amendment package which sets the presidential election process. 368 MPs voted 'yes', one 'abstained', and one vote was invalid in the secret balloting. A total of 370 MPs participated in the voting.

    [14] A Turkey-EU Troika meeting will take place next Monday in Ankara

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (29.05.07) reports that the Turkey-EU Troika meeting, at ministerial level, will take place next Monday in Ankara. In the meeting will participate the Turkish Minister of Foreign affairs Abdullah Gull, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeier, the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Amado and the Commissioner Responsible for the EU Enlargement Olli Rehn. The issues to be discussed in the meeting will be the latest developments regarding Turkeys EU procedure and the future steps that must be taken from now on, EU-NATO relations, security and the struggle against terrorism, Cyprus and other regional and international problems.

    (CS)

    [15] Turkish journalists met in Strasbourg with leading MEP´s to pre-empt a bad image for Turkey

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (29.05.07) reports that Turkish journalists met in Strasbourg with leaders of the political groups of the European parliament with whom they discussed the latest developments in Turkey. Joost Lagendijk, the co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Commission, stated, inter alia, that the public opinion in Europe is under the impression that Turkey will either become a second Iran or it will be under the influence of the army, if a coup d etat takes place in the country and noted that he tried during last week to pass the view that both these two options will not take place.

    Hannes Swoboda, the chairman of the Socialist Group which is the second largest group in the European Parliament, stated that they support Turkeys membership in the EU but they give importance to two principles regarding Turkey: The first one is that religion should have no influence over secular and public institutions. The second is that they want a democratic Turkey.

    On his part, Graham Watson, who is the chairman of the Liberal Democrats Group, which is the third largest group in at the European Parliament, stated that he believes that AKP tries to establish an Islamic democracy which will be like the Christian Democrats in Europe.

    (CS)

    [16] The US President Bush thanked Tayyip Erdogan for the capturing of an Al-Qa'ida commander

    Turkish daily MILLIYET newspaper (27.05.07) reports the following:

    Just what went on behind the scenes of an operation carried out jointly by the CIA and MIT [National Intelligence Organization] leading to the capture of Abdulhadi al-Iraqi, whom the CIA has been after for a long time, is starting to emerge. Following the capture of Al-Iraqi, whom the Al-Qa'ida terrorism network had tasked in northern Iraq, US President George W Bush reportedly telephoned Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and thanked him.

    According to information obtained, the CIA found out from local sources in Pakistan that Al-Iraqi was going to leave Afghanistan as the organization's leader in Iraq acting on Osama Bin Ladin's instructions. Working out that Al-Iraqi was going to move through illicit channels into Iran and from there to Turkey using a forged passport in the name "Riza Muhammed" the CIA asked MIT to help secure this senior Al-Qa'ida leader in Turkey. The Americans also got in touch with Police HQ and gave information on Al-Iraqi.

    Subtitle: Deportation Formula

    Al-Iraqi entered Turkey at Esendere using the forged passport then travelled via Van to Gaziantep. The Americans requested that Al-Iraqi be handed over to them should he be caught. However, Foreign Ministry officials were not happy with this request. Al-Iraqi, who is said to have been Bin Ladin's driver, was taken into custody along with his family on 16 October. Al-Iraqi said his name was Abdurrahman Yar Muhammed.

    Later on the issue of how Al-Iraq was to be handed over was raised. At the end of deliberations the US and Turkish officials agreed on a "deportation" formula. On grounds that he had entered Turkey on a false passport Al-Iraqi was taken from the immigrants' guesthouse in Yozgat, where he had been staying, to Istanbul. Al-Iraqi was then deported aboard a plane to Kabul that had come from Afghanistan carrying Afghan police officers. No sooner did the plane landed in Kabul than the CIA took Al-Iraqi off to Guantanamo. Officials stated that the United States considered Al-Iraqi "a great threat to the United States."

    Subtitle: Reminiscent Of Reyhani

    The United States carried out a similar agency operation in the 1990s. Wanted for black market money crimes in the United States the Iranian Jafar Reyhani was extradited to this country from Germany after he committed a crime there. As German agents were taking Reyhani to the airport US DEA agents moved in and took Reyhani to San Francisco.

    One of the most important issues of recent days has been US involvement in a similar operation involving senior Iranian official Ali Riza Askari.


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [17] The Turkish press on the possibility of a Turkish military incursion into Northern Iraq

    The Turkish Press on 26, 27 and 28 May 2007 covers extensively the rumours of a possible Turkish military incursion into Northern Iraq, as follows:

    A report by Ramazan Yavuz from Diyarbakir in MILLIYET (26.05.07) notes that "the scope of the 'Operation Sledge' launched by the Turkish Armed Forces in Sirnak and the border of northern Iraq is being expanded" and this is causing "tension." The report continues by explaining that with the increasing expectations of a cross-border operation from Turkey, a group of US soldiers are conducting inspections along the border and Turkish units are situated at zero point at the border.

    In a commentary in HURRIYET (26.05.07), Oktay Eksi faults the government for not having any policies in the fight against terrorism. Referring to PM Erdogan's statements that "no official request was received from the military for submitting a motion to the parliament on an operation into northern Iraq," Eksi writes: "The issue of whether an operation into northern Iraq is right or not is another issue altogether. Everybody knows, though, that it is the government's initiative and its decision to launch an operation into northern Iraq." "Actually one can claim that the button for a military operation may be pushed if one looks at Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's interview to NTV yesterday where he said that 'our patience has ended today.' From what is understood by PM Tayyip Erdogan's emphasis on a need for a 'tripartite cooperation' for an operation is that it will not be realistic to expect it will be any time soon."

    In a commentary in MILLIYET (26.05.07) entitled "Is This Metal Storm?" Guneri Civaoglu makes a parallel between the book named Metal Storm, in which Turks engage in fight with the United States, and the current situation on the northern Iraqi border, where US forces and Turkish Armed Forces are watching each other. Explaining that "de facto the forces of two NATO members are face to face," Civaoglu continues: "There are no hot clashes. But, the borderline is getting warmer."

    Writing in HURRIYET (26.05.07), Ilter Turkmen assesses to what extent an operation into northern Iraq can be dangerous in his commentary entitled "Escalation in Terrorism and Iraq." Suggesting that "such a step should be taken after it is assessed very carefully and in all its aspects," Ilter Turkmen warns of the danger if this issue is "made into a subject for political demagogy among the parties prior to the upcoming elections." He concludes by saying that "issuing calls of intervention into northern Iraq in order to gain an advantage in the elections will be considered crossing over the limits of irresponsibility.

    Writing in REFERANS (26.05.07), Cengiz Candar assesses the risks of a possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq in his commentary entitled "Either Election Campaign or State of War." Pointing out that since the election date was determined the issue of an intervention into northern Iraq was put on the agenda, Candar adds: "It is not unlikely for the elections to fall through in a 'State of War' that will also bring the imposition of a state of emergency in southeast Anatolia."

    Under the banner headline "Northern Iraq Operation in Aegean," YENI SAFAK (26.05.07) carries a front-page report which says that a scenario involving a preventive intervention in an imaginary country lending support to terrorism and encouraging ethnic separatism during a military exercise being conducted by the Turkish Armed Forces in the Aegean region led to speculation that it could be a preparation for a cross-border military operation.

    In an article entitled "Cross-nerve Operation" in YENI SAFAK (26.05.07) columnist Mehmet Seker highlights rumours that the United States could give the green light to a possible Turkish military operation into Iraq although US officials have repeatedly said that a unilateral military action would not resolve any problem while emphasizing that there should be cooperation between Turkey, Iraq, and the United States. Listing alleged US preconditions for a possible Turkish military operation, Seker says: "It will be a one-time operation to be carried out in a pre-defined period and be limited to a small area. Prior approval will be obtained from the United States in addition to the Iraqi Government and the Kurdish Administration in Northern Iraq. If you find it unacceptable, we could call it informing rather than obtaining approval. An intervention to be carried out in such circumstances could only be regarded as a 'cross-nerve operation' rather than a cross-border operation."

    In an article entitled "A Possible Military Intervention into Iraq is Aimed at Concealing the Internal Struggle" in VAKIT (26.05.07) columnist Selahaddin Cakirgil argues that Chief of the General Staff. Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, who had hinted that the recent bomb attack was carried out by the PKK, was embarrassed because it was later discovered that the suicide bomber was affiliated with a communist organization. Cakirgil notes: "Should not he and his colleagues focus on their primary responsibilities rather than expressing opinions about political issues which have nothing to do with the military." He adds that allegations that there is a plan intended to pave the way for a military intervention in Iraq in order to postpone the upcoming general election should not be overlooked.

    According to a report entitled "Turkish F-16s fly Over Northern Iraq for Reconnaissance" ZAMAN (26.05.07) reports that two F-16 fighter planes, which took off from an air base in Diyarbakir, yesterday flew over Batufa and Bawerli regions in northern Iraq and returned to their bases two hours later.

    In an article entitled "How Could we Enter Northern Iraq?" TODAY´S ZAMAN (26.05.07) columnist Abdulhamit Bilici says that the government and the military should avoid creating the impression that there is a disagreement between them over a possible military operation into Iraq which, he notes, offers an opportunity to some circles. Bilici also cautions that "an operation that is not supported by the US and the local Kurdish administration may have irreparable costs for Turkey."

    On his part Fikret Bila views the increasing tension on Turkey's border with Iraq and argues that the United States is monitoring Turkish reconnaissance flights and ground operations with helicopters. In a column in Istanbul MILLIYET (27.05.07) he recalls Washington's opposition to a cross border operation and notes: The arrival of US troops in areas close to the border created the impression that Washington also stands behind its statements militarily. However, he stresses that a clash between the Turkish and US troops would be the last thing Ankara and Washington want. Bila asserts: But, Washington must understand Turkey's point of view on the problem. As far as Turkey is concerned, the PKK is not the only problem. Turkey views the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq as a strategic priority.

    In an analysis also in MILLIYET (27.05.07) on the tension on Turkey's border with Iraq, Guneri Civaoglu recalls the outcome of Turkey's incursions into northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK militants in the past, stressing that the terrorist camps that were hit were evacuated before the operations began. He notes that he cannot express optimistic views on the outcome of a new operation, and asserts: The Baghdad administration was unable to control Northern Iraq in the past. The PKK was isolated in the area. However, the militants now use vehicles to reach the areas they want to go. They freely travel to the towns and villages and they get all the medical and food supplies they need. Behind them stands Mas'ud Barzani, leader of the regional administration, Jalal Talabani, leader of the national administration, and, above all, the United states. Civaoglu warns that anyone who tries to create the impression that the problem will be solved through a cross-border operation will mislead the people.

    Commenting on the military stand on an operation in Northern Iraq, Asli Aydintasbas notes that Chief of the General Staff Gen Yasar Buyukanit will not agree to a symbolic incursion into the area. In a column in SABAH (27.05.07), she claims that Buyukanit is worried about Barzani and wishes to avoid a clash with the peshmerga units in the event of an operation and notes: An operation can be launched only after the United States puts maximum pressure on Barzani. Even if an operation takes place, the country is confronted with an organization that does not hesitate to blindly carry out terrorist activities in the cities. Aydintasbas, argues that the parliament must adopt a resolution on a cross-border operation so that the military forces can take action when necessary, and asserts: The parliament adopted a resolution against Greece's intension to extend its territorial waters to 12 miles in the past. That obstructed the Greek initiative. A decision on a cross-border operation will turn Northern Iraq in the right direction.

    In a report in Istanbul HURRIYET (27.05.07) Ramazan Yavuz says that special teams, village guards, and military unites were ferried to the Bestler Dereler area and the Herekol heights between Sirnak and Siirt. He also says that 30,000 military personnel have taken up position along the border to prevent the infiltration of PKK militants into Turkey through the valleys and other areas.

    Under the title: "Before entering Northern Iraq" VAKIT newspaper (27.05.07) publishes an article by columnist Ayhan Bilgin who asserts that distrust of and resentment at the PKK leadership and its "US and Western supporters" have risen dramatically at PKK camps and among the relatives of PKK militants and that because of this the PKK leadership sees its "only way-out" in getting the Turkish government to "come to the negotiating table at whatever cost." Bilgin claims that "the bloody attack" in Ankara's Ulus district means that the terrorist group has elected "the most disgusting, inhuman, and sinister" means to this end, adding that it would be misleading to see the suicide attack as part of a bid to "draw the Turkish army into the Iraq quagmire."

    In an article entitled "Nightmare Scenarios", YENI SAFAK (28.05.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Taha Kivanc (pseudonym for Fehmi Koru) who outlines a scenario where the Turkish Establishment uses a surge in casualties in the fight against the PKK, increased terrorist threats against Turkey, and the consequent need to carry out a cross-border military operation into northern Iraq as an excuse to cancel the general parliamentary elections on 22 July.

    In an article entitled "Operation in N. Iraq: Division Through Invasion?" TODAY´S ZAMAN (28.05.07) publishes a commentary by columnist Ihsan Dagi who asserts that the Erdogan government is "reluctant" to seek a parliamentary mandate for a cross-border military operation because it feels that the Turkish military is considering establishing a permanent presence in northern Iraq rather than conducting a limited operation.

    In his column in HURRIYET (28.05.07) Fatih Cekirge poses two central questions: "Will the Turkish army raid the PKK office in Arbil?" and "Why did the United States turn Turkey into a target for Al-Qa'ida?" Pointing out that these two questions are interrelated, Cekirge states that both issues pertain to "Turkish-US relations and the Iraq-Iran connection." Cekirge probes the issue of a possible Turkish cross-border operation into Iraq as well as the latest possibly deliberate reports disseminated by the American AP news agency that Turkey handed over to the United States an important Al-Qa'ida figure last fall.

    EG/


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