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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 07-06-28

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.123/07 28.06.07

CONTENTS

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] More on Talat´s contacts in Sweden
  • [02] Soyer argues that with the establishment of the Property Compensation Commission they blocked the intention of the Greek Cypriot side to force Turkey to make concessions
  • [03] A new so-called attorney general is appointed
  • [04] All of them are guilty
  • [05] Murat says the first houses to be given with the mortgage model will be built in Varosha and Morfou
  • [06] A Polish Member of the European Parliament argues that the Turkish Cypriots should be given the observer status in the EP
  • [07] Koran courses will be transferred to the schools in the occupied areas of Cyprus upon a demand by Prime Minister Erdogans AKP
  • [08] CTP to be represented in a meeting of the Socialist International in Geneva
  • [09] Serdar Denktas says that his party was thrown out from the former government because of its statements on the Cyprus problem
  • [10] The US support Turkeys full membership to the EU
  • [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

  • [11] The problem is a problem of occupation
  • [12] Columnist in Todays Zaman assesses a possible coalition between Turkeys CHP and MHP parties
  • [13] The Turkish Press on the forthcoming elections
  • [14] New Turkish play on energy chessboard

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] More on Talat´s contacts in Sweden

    Illegal Bayrak television (27.06.07) broadcast the following:

    President Mehmet Ali Talat, who is continuing his contacts in Sweden as guest of the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, has asked the countrys support for the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation.

    The President met the Swedish Foreign Minister at a working dinner last night during which the two leaders discussed the latest developments on the Cyprus issue, as well as the Turkish Cypriot Peoples relations with the EU and the removal of its international isolation.

    Speaking to reporters after the dinner, President Talat said that

    Mr Bildt knows the difficulties being experienced by the Turkish Cypriot people very well and that he expressed support for the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation.

    For his part, Mr Bildt underlined the need for the immediate start of negotiations aimed at providing a solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The President and the Swedish Foreign Minister evaluated the latest developments on the Cyprus issue during their discussions at the working dinner.

    Answering reporters questions at the end of the dinner, President Talat said that the Greek Cypriot Administration has the opportunity to explain its own views on the Cyprus issue in all the EU institutions thanks to its unilateral EU membership.

    Calling his talks with the Swedish Foreign Minister as very useful, the President stressed that his contacts in the country gave him the opportunity to explain the Turkish Cypriot Peoples perspective on various issues and its response to the views being expressed by the Greek Cypriot Administration.

    Mr Talat stated that the impact of the international isolation on the Turkish Cypriot People was also discussed in detail and that Mr Bildt expressed his full support for the implementation of the Direct Trade Regulation.

    Also speaking to reporters at the end of the dinner, Mr Bildt described his meeting with President Talat as very useful and said they discussed a variety of issues, including the Gambari process and Turkeys EU membership negotiations.

    Answering a question on direct trade with North Cyprus, he reminded that the issue has been discussed within the EU in detail since the beginning of 2007 and expressed the belief that the regulation would be passed.

    On the Gambari Process, he stressed the need for removing the difficulties being faced in the implementation of the process, adding that it should not be too difficult to be solved.

    As part of his contacts in Stockholm, the President visited the grave of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme who was assassinated in 1986.

    Later, the President came together with media representatives and briefed them on the latest developments on the Cyprus issue.

    The President also held bilateral meetings with members of the Swedish Parliament, Bjorn Hamilton and Urban Ahln.

    Tonight, Mr Talat will attend a reception to be given in his honor by the Turkish Ambassador to Stockholm.

    [02] Soyer argues that with the establishment of the Property Compensation Commission they blocked the intention of the Greek Cypriot side to force Turkey to make concessions

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.06.07) reports that in statements yesterday before the meeting of the council of ministers, the so-called prime minister, Ferdi Sabit Soyer criticized the draft-law which came onto the agenda of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Cyprus and prohibits the exchange of properties. He argued that such a law would be contrary to the human rights.

    Noting that this draft-law came onto the agenda after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) accepted the so-called Property Compensation Commission of the breakaway regime, Soyer alleged that the fact that an EU member-state tries to deal a blow to the individual property rights is unacceptable. He claimed that this decision is contrary to the human rights of the Greek Cypriot people.

    Replying to questions, Mr Soyer said that they are working on the establishment of a committee which will be responsible for the investments and the formation of a centre of the lands where investments will be made. He noted that they will also establish an investment agency.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily HALKIN SESI newspaper (28.06.07) reports that addressing a conference under the title The Star of the Mediterranean Sea: The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mr Soyer said yesterday that with the so-called Property Compensation Commission, which they established in full agreement with the Turkish government, they blocked the intention of the Greek Cypriot side to force Turkey to make concessions by paying 40 billion dollars as compensations in the property issue and dynamite Turkeys EU accession course and its international relations.

    The conference was organized jointly by Turkeys Young Businessmens Confederation (TUGIK) and Referans newspaper and hosted by the TRNC Young Businessmens Association at the premises of the illegal Near East University. Mr Soyer alleged that the most important element for contributing to the solution of the political problem of the island is the promotion of the economic development.

    As long as it is developed in this manner it will extremely contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem, he added. Soyer noted that the property issue, which plays important role in the economy, is one of the factors created by the non-solution. He argued that this issue is a part of the comprehensive solution of the problem.

    He alleged that in case they do not exert efforts for the solution of the property issue while waiting for the comprehensive solution in Cyprus, the Greek Cypriot side will manipulate the property issue, lead the Cyprus problem to a deadlock and to a solution in its favour and come to the position of being able to deal a blow to the Turkish Cypriot economy.

    (I/Ts.)

    [03] A new so-called attorney general is appointed

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.06.07) reports that Osman Talat Enginsoy was appointed yesterday by the Higher Attorneys Council as the new so-called attorney general, in the place of Akin Sait who is retiring. He was born in Lefka village in 1943.

    (I/Ts.)

    [04] All of them are guilty

    Turkish Cypriot daily AFRIKA newspaper (28.06.07), under the above banner front-page title All of them are guilty, reports that the general directorate of the police has finally issued a statement on the bribery and misuse of authority allegations, which are the main topic in the Turkish Cypriot press for many days.

    The paper reports that Ahmet Ozcag, the director of Variant Company, will be arrested as soon as he returns to the occupied areas of the island. AFRIKA publishes the text of the decision of the council of ministers taken on 9 May 2007 regarding the leasing of 620 donums of land (Tr. Note: a land measure of about 1000 square meters) in occupied Vokolida area to Variant Ltd for a period of 49 years.

    The so-called ministry of environment was authorized for the leasing agreement. The council of ministers had taken its first decision on the issue of allocating land to Variant Ltd in Vokolida on 11 April 2007, notes AFRIKA.

    In that decision it was noted that the land was given for the building of golf courses. Afterwards, the decision was amended and a five-star hotel or a first class holiday village was added to the golf course. Meanwhile, new plots of land were also added to the 620 donums.

    The paper notes that while the decision is signed by Mr Soyer and it is obvious that all ministers are responsible for it, an effort is exerted to show the ORP as the sole responsible for doing this in return of bribery.

    Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRISLI newspaper (28.06.07) reports that according to what Ahmet Ozcag, the director of Variant Company has said, his company had not submitted to the state any document necessary for the allocation of the land. It has not even submitted an application for taking the land. However, the businessmen who want to be given land for tourism purposes have to wait for months.

    Moreover, Turkish Cypriot daily SOZCU newspaper (28.06.07) reports that two to three weeks before the establishment of the CTP-ORP coalition government 400 donums of land in occupied Rizokarpasso had been given to Ozkom Company, which is said to belong also to Ahmet Ozcag.

    (I/Ts.)

    [05] Murat says the first houses to be given with the mortgage model will be built in Varosha and Morfou

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.06.07) reports that the so-called minister of internal affairs, Ozkan Murat has stated that their target is for the mortgage system to begin within one or two months. This system of granting property was adopted by the assembly after the submission of a draft-law by the government aiming at providing houses to people with middle level income. Mr Murat said that the first houses, which will be given with this model, will be built in Varosha and Morfou.

    According to Mr Murat, the citizens will be acquiring houses by paying instalments, as if they were paying rent. Plots of land will be given to young couples in the rural areas and afterwards houses will be built in the manner which the state will project. Plots of land all over the occupied area of Cyprus will be given within the framework of the new system.

    (I/Ts.)

    [06] A Polish Member of the European Parliament argues that the Turkish Cypriots should be given the observer status in the EP

    Turkish Cypriot daily STAR KIBRIS newspaper (28.06.07) reports that the Polish Member of the European Parliament (EP), Ryszard Czarnecki has stated to the ABHaber website that the Turkish Cypriots should be given the observer status in the EP. He said that the relations established between the EP and the Turkish Cypriots with the creation of the Contact Group are important. He also expressed his support to Turkeys EU membership.

    (I/Ts.)

    [07] Koran courses will be transferred to the schools in the occupied areas of Cyprus upon a demand by Prime Minister Erdogans AKP

    Turkish Cypriot daily ROTA newspaper (28.06.07) reports that the Koran courses which started last year in the mosques in the occupied areas will be transferred to the schools as of this year. Under the title The Turkish Cypriots of the future will be educated, the paper notes that this development took place upon a demand by the ruling in Turkey Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    The paper notes that the minister of education who comes from the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) and the head of religious affairs department, who is known for his closeness to Prime Minister Erdogan, are preparing to educate the Islamist Turkish Cypriots of the future. The effects of the elections which will be conducted in Turkey on 22 July are upsetting the TRNC, points out ROTA, underlining that the trade unions of the teachers have opposed to this development.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] CTP to be represented in a meeting of the Socialist International in Geneva

    Turkish Cypriot daily YENI DUZEN newspaper (28.06.07) reports that a delegation of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) consisting of Unal Findik, CTPs secretary for international relations and Kutlay Erk, member of the international relations bureau, will participate in the meeting of the Socialist International which will take place in Geneva between 29 and 30 of June. The paper notes that the CTP continues making the voice of the Turkish Cypriots heard in this organization which has more than 160 members.

    (I/Ts.)

    [09] Serdar Denktas says that his party was thrown out from the former government because of its statements on the Cyprus problem

    Turkish Cypriot daily KIBRIS newspaper (28.06.07) reports that the leader of the Democratic Party (DP), Serdar Denktas said yesterday that they had no meeting with the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) regarding the establishment of a new coalition government and added that his party could participate in a new government under the precondition of making reforms.

    Referring to the Cyprus problem, he alleged that they should re-evaluate the situation and determine a new target and added that the model of two different administrations inside the country and one common administration abroad could be experimented with. He argued that his party was thrown out from the former coalition government because it made such statements.

    (I/Ts.)

    [10] The US support Turkeys full membership to the EU

    Turkish daily HURRIYET newspaper (28.06.07) reports that the US wishes that Turkey continues exactly in the same way its negotiation process to become full member of the EU, with the condition that Turkey does not digress from its path and the reforms and does its homework well.

    Sarkozy will go; he will not sit forever in that chair (position). You will do exactly what you did before and will continue the road, a US source told HURRIYET. The fact that Sarkozy, who does not hide that he is against Turkeys membership to the EU, prevented the opening of the chapter on economic and monetary policy, worried the US which thinks that the reason for the not opening of the chapter is Sarkozy, writes HURRIYET. If Chirac was in power, three chapters would have been opened, the US sources believe. The USA conveyed this view to France, writes the paper which notes that the US source stated to HURRIYET: We support Turkey.

    (CS)


    [B] Commentaries, Editorials and Analysis

    [11] The problem is a problem of occupation

    Under the above title Turkish Cypriot AFRIKA newspaper (28.06.07) publishes the following commentary by Salih Celebioglu in the column Round Table:

    The voice on the telephone was so very serious as if a secret was conveyed to me:

    You have seen, have you not the incident with the disclosed bribery of millions?

    - I have not seen it, I only read about it in the press.

    - Is it not the same? Why don´t you follow it up?

    - Who follow it up, me?

    - Yes you. Are you not writing articles? You are a writer in Afrika newspaper. Is it not your duty to shed light on this and similar incidents?

    - No, I said, it is not!

    - What do you mean, it is not?

    - My dear friend, once you read about the incident, it means you know the essence of the affair. The man got up and declared to the world from television the following: For this job I gave two million bribe and at the final phase of it I will give two more million (dollars). Everything is there, wide open. This country has a police, it has an attorney-general. On top of them there is a tame government. It is their duty to shed light to this affair. Besides there is nothing to bring to light!

    The man says clearly: I gave bribe.

    He admits that he committed a crime.

    What fact will you bring out of this situation? In this case the greater share of responsibility falls on the attorney-general.

    - Very well, but there is not anything at all that can be made on your part?

    - I did not understand what you mean by anything. If you mean to carry out investigation on where, how, when and under what conditions it happened, whether the money was given by hand, or to search whether the money taken were deposited in a bank account without any problem, no this is not my job! This is the attorney-general´s job. I write articles and express my ideas. There are those who like it and those who don´t.

    However, it is not my job to carry out investigation work!

    - How will the country be salvaged if you do not research and disclose these intrigues, party favouritisms, the governments action to consolidate the establishment and the robberies?

    - Let us first clarify one issue. You said country, which country? The north of Cyprus?

    - That is, I wanted to say TRNC.

    - You say TRNC, but I say the North of Cyprus. In this North Cyprus today there is only one serious problem. And this problem did not start yesterday.

    It started in 1974. And its name is occupation problem, we say.

    The other problems you cited, such as the robberies, the crimes, the lack of power on behalf of the government, the looting of the land and, the problem affecting you, the bribery, are problems created intentionally for the sole purpose of diverting attention away from the occupation problem.

    - What does it mean ´I did not understand exactly what you want? Can you say it more openly?

    - Of course I can say it. Look here. Do you have a say in North of Cyprus?

    - No.

    - Very well, who has a say here?

    - The army.

    - The army, whose army?

    - Turkey´s army.

    - Nice, that is to say the North of Cyprus is kept under the occupation of troops sent from Turkey since 1974. Is this the situation?

    - Roughly speaking, yes

    - There is no roughly speaking. Either it is so, or it is not.

    - Right, it is as you said, but this bribery what relation does it have with the occupation?

    Now we are going to the crux of the matter. For year unprecedented detective incidents happened in this country. There were unprecedented scandals. In each incident that happened we stood in bewilderment; and we wondered as though we were living in a normal order. We always turned our attention to that direction. We have directed our rage and violence against those whom we believed that they are the governance.

    Why?

    Was the government responsible for all those that happened? Of course it wasn´t. But the wheel should have turned this way, and so it revolved that way.

    -That is?

    - That is the gist of problem is this: Each occupation force, can maintain its will on the territory it occupied in one way. Divide and Rule.

    On Dismember and administer. Or as Azeris say separate and pardon.

    Whatever name you give, the path will not change. The occupiers who do not follow this path, they cannot hold on the occupied territories even a single day. What does the occupier do in order to reinforce this path? It finds puppets who will obey to him. He ties them down from their stomach. He makes them to establish governments with lavish salaries. That they have never received in their whole life. Ballot boxes were established and elections have taken place. Then groups were created under the name ´elected´ and non-elected. The Parliament was established.

    That is a major trick that is being played against the people.

    This is the first stage of the plot, the second stage will continued tomorrow

    [12] Columnist in Todays Zaman assesses a possible coalition between Turkeys CHP and MHP parties

    Under the title: The CHP and MHP: A joint nationalist foreign policy front, Turkish daily TODAYS ZAMAN newspaper (28.06.07) publishes the following commentary by Ihsan Dagi:

    The Republican Peoples Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) used to be in violent opposition to one another, with each representing distinctly different social and ideological poles.

    But today as part of the post-election scenarios, a coalition of these two is being promoted, which is quite unlikely according to public opinion surveys in which the CHP seems to earn 20 percent of the vote while the MHP is just over 10 percent, in contrast to the 40 percent that supports the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

    Anyhow it is worth looking at the details of the positions, policies and visions of these two that serve as the ground on which a projected coalition government is being contemplated.

    The MHP election manifesto starts with an assertion that the Turkish state is on the verge of total collapse under the assault of globalization forces aligned with some domestic actors. This is an alarmist political stance shared and repeated many times by the president and the chief of General Staff. Advocating an aggressive foreign policy, the MHP visualizes Turkey like an iron fist in regional and global politics. It is clear that the MHP is sick and tired of the EU as it calls for a break in negotiations. Along with the claim that Turkish national interests were surrendered to the EU, the MHP describes EU-Turkey relations with terms like bullying, imposition and blackmailing.

    On Iraq the MHP is of the view that there is an imminent threat to Turkey emanating from northern Iraq and thus conditions for self defense, as allowed by the UN charter, have arisen. The MHP regards an intervention in northern Iraq as both necessary and legitimate and does not seem to have any respect for Iraqs sovereignty or territorial integrity. Iraq, and particularly its north, are viewed as the backyard of Turkey. We know that these are views that are not alien to the views and wishes of high-level state bureaucracy.

    The CHPs views on foreign policy as displayed in its election manifesto overlap in perspective and proposal with those of the MHP. The CHP supports EU membership in principle, but criticizes the recent form of the relationship, which resulted in meeting the political Copenhagen criteria and the beginning of accession negotiations, characterized as submission to and political bullying by the EU. The CHP also declares its dissatisfaction with the negotiation framework document, the terms on which accession negotiations are conducted, terming it unacceptable. On the EU therefore, the CHP seems to be close to the MHP in its calls for a break in the negotiation process.

    The government is criticized by the CHP for not having the guts to intervene in northern Iraq. It is strange that the main opposition party that claims power in upcoming elections resorts to such an approach rather than a rational, sensible and responsible one. In its election manifesto the CHP declares its intention to invade a sovereign country if it comes to power in the government. I think this is a unique election promise by a so-called social democrat party, and that the Socialist International should take note of it. On northern Iraq policy, the CHP follows the leader of the MHP who called on the military to be ready to intervene in northern Iraq after the elections since the MHP is coming to power.

    On Cyprus the CHP shocks many by arguing that the Annan plan was accepted in 2004 by the people of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) because of pressure and bullying. It is worrisome that a free and democratic referendum is described as an occasion when people were forced to vote for approval. Moreover a free and democratic presidential election in which people voted with 56 percent for the current pro-solution president, Mehmet Ali Talat, is portrayed as a plot to sacrifice Rauf Denkta. All these alarm me about the commitment of the CHP to the idea, process and institution of democracy. I am worried that CHP leader Deniz Baykal may declare the result of the upcoming elections unacceptable, simply because he will not be voted in to government.

    From the CHPs election manifesto it is sure that the party wants to keep Turkish-American relations at a critical suspension. Fanning nationalist sentiments, the CHP challenges the US on its Iraq policy and threatens it with non-cooperation in the future unless its Iraq policy is changed. It seems that under a CHP government Turkish-American relations would deteriorate further.

    A general illiberal attitude toward foreigners is also discernable in the CHPs manifesto. The CHP asserts that property sales to foreigners will be re-regulated so as not to threaten national security -- assuming that such a practice is a threat to national security. This reflects security centricism, protectionism and even an element of xenophobia.

    A joint nationalist foreign policy stand of the CHP and the MHP illustrates that the main dividing line in Turkish politics is between those who advocate globalization, EU membership, open society and market economy and those who are skeptical of all these. Otherwise how can we explain the applause of Ilhan Selcuk, a national socialist editor of the daily Cumhuriyet and a frequent visitor of the sitting President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, for the MHP?

    [13] The Turkish Press on the forthcoming elections

    The Turkish Press on 27 June 2007 covers the activities of the political parties on the forthcoming elections, as follows:

    HURRIYET´S columnist Oktay Eksi comments on a Prime Ministry statement denying a Hurriyet report on the Justice and Development Party, (AKP), election platform promising to solve the headscarf problem before the elections in 2002. Stressing that the denial should have been made by the AKP officials, Eksi says in his column that according to the present laws, the Prime Ministry does not have the "right and authority" to make a statement on behalf of a political party. Commenting on the election platforms announced by the political parties, he says: "We have observed that the Republican People´s Party, (CHP), and the Nationalist Action Party's, (MHP), election platforms give priority to 'determination against terrorism.' Meanwhile, the AKP's election platform focuses on 'economic development and welfare' and stresses the matter of 'democratization' in an unconvincing way." He concludes by saying that the CHP and the MHP promise to fight against corruption while the AKP mentions the issue briefly.

    Also in HURRIYET, columnist Tufan Turenc criticizes the ruling party for using the presidential elections as a political tool for its election campaign. Recalling that in its election rallies the AKP complains about efforts to prevent the Erdogan administration from electing the new president, Turenc says in his column that PM Erdogan, Foreign Minister Gul, and Parliament Speaker Arinc failed to finalize the election process successfully for the sake of electing a "religious president." He also criticizes the ruling AKP for "freezing" the Cyprus problem and launching an initiative for the opening of Koran courses in north Cyprus. Claiming that the AKP failed to pursue a successful foreign policy, he wonders whether Erdogan will be able to challenge the US expectations conveyed by Richard Holbrooke that Turkey should avoid intervening in northern Iraq, open its border with Armenia, reduce the number of troops in Cyprus, and refrain from establishing favorable relations with Iran.

    In an article under the title: "Deniz Baykal and Cem Uzan: Look who is talking", VAKIT Editor-in-Chief Hasan Karakaya responds to Republican People's Party, leader Deniz Baykal's remarks accusing Prime Minister Erdogan of "getting engaged with the political extensions of the PKK" [in not ruling out a coalition with the Democratic Society Party, DTP] by pointing out that "it was Mr Baykal's own party" which "got hitched, never mind got engaged, with the PKK's political extensions" when the Social Democratic People's Party, SHP, established an alliance with the People's Labor Party, HEP, in 1991. Karakaya also questions the sincerity of some of Young Party, GP, leader Cem Uzan's pre-election messages by pointing out that Uzan's father and brothers, who are being sought by Interpol in connection with unpaid Imarbank debts, have been "at large" for "1,409 days."

    In an article entitled "Polls", VAKIT columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak predicts that the AKP will come first in the elections followed by the CHP, the MHP, the GP, and the DP in a descending order, with only the AKP and the CHP appearing poised to pass the ten-percent threshold easily. He argues that the election results will not entail radical changes in Turkey's foreign policy and economic policies and that President Sezer, CHP leader Baykal, and Kemalist, neo-nationalist, and nationalist groups will have their work cut out to advance their agenda.

    In an article entitled "What are the AK Party and the CHP promising in foreign policy?" TODAY´S ZAMAN Editor-in-Chief Bulent Kenes contrasts the "depth, strength, and confident tone" of the section on foreign policy in the AKP's election manifesto with what he presents as the laconic and inconsistent quality of the CHP's foreign policy perspective as outlined in its own election manifesto.

    In a article entitled "A new era for our Kurds?" TODAY´S ZAMAN columnist Yavuz Baydar finds it "doubtful" that "Kurds" are "ready for a new attitude" as they prepare to send independent representatives to Parliament and urges "foreign friends of Kurds and Turkey - that is to say 'genuine friends' -" to "tell Kurdish candidates that the sole example of the way to a better future is in Bulgaria. Kurds have to start paying attention to the successes of the Turkish minority there - and work peacefully and patiently."

    Under the banner headline, "Felicity [Party] means dignity while the others mean dishonor," MILLI GAZETE runs a front-page report providing highlights from a "long" interview with "National View leader" Necmettin Erbakan which "has established that the 22 July election is not one about who governs the country well but one that means a matter of life and death."

    In an article entitled "You are not on their agenda this time at all" MILLI GAZETE columnist Zeki Ceyhan claims that the Erdogan government's election manifesto provides no answer to the expectations of "our friends who remain hopefully committed to the AKP," noting that the manifesto does not include any promises even to change the Higher Education Council, YOK, law or lift the restrictions on Islamic headscarves. He asserts that AKP voters will have no right to complain this time if they fail to draw the correct lessons from this situation and act accordingly.

    [14] New Turkish play on energy chessboard

    Under the title New Turkish play on energy chessboard TURKISH DAILY NEWS newspaper (27.06.07) publishes the following report by Barcin Yinanc:

    Russias assertive campaign to derail Turkeys plans to become a major energy transit hub has the Turkish government rethinking its decision to suspend talks with Moscow on building a second natural gas pipeline parallel to an existing one with the aim of carrying Russian gas to Israel and even India.

    The energy re-think emerged yesterday on the sidelines of a summit of Black Sea states, known as the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC). The summit brought leaders to meetings Monday in Istanbul, which included Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he and Turkish leaders began to reshuffle the players on the regional energy chessboard. (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=76898)

    To date, the King on that chessboard has been a Russian pipeline beneath the Black Sea, known as Blue Stream, with the terminus in the northern coastal city of Samsun. The Russians have been urging a parallel pipeline, Blue Stream II but Turkish officials have been wary, preferring a strategy that will bring Central Asian gas into the pipeline mix, effectively challenging Russias monopoly on the gas transit to Europe. But diplomats attending the meeting told the Turkish Daily News that the political winds are shifting, and conversations at the summit revealed a new willingness by Ankara to play the game by Russias rules. (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=76898) (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=76898)

    By reviving that plan, Ankara aims to deviate Russian gas from European markets to the Asia-Pacific region, and curb Russian ambitions of tapping gas export markets in Europe, said one insider source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Recently, Turkey suspended plans for extending Blue Stream II after Russia signed a deal with Greece and Bulgaria to build an energy pipeline between a Bulgarian port on the Black Sea and Alexandroupolis on Greeces Aegean cost effectively cutting Turkey out of the deal. (http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php?enewsid=76898)

    But Turkey signaled a revision of that decision during a meeting between Russias Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan. Separately, Putin met with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

    The meeting came on the heels of a series of deals sealed by Russia this year to scuttle the Nabucco project, a plan to link Caspian fields to Europe via Turkey and reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

    A plan by Gazprom and Italian Eni for a pipeline taking Russian gas to western Europe, one threatening the Nabucco project led by Austria, was unveiled on Saturday. The 990 km South Stream pipeline will come ashore in Bulgaria, then branch to Austria and Slovenia in one direction and southern Italy in another. Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan agreed a landmark gas pipeline deal, to transport Turkmen gas to Russia via Kazakhstan in May. The deal represented a major triumph for Moscow and a setback for Nabucco.

    Russians are not against the construction of the Nabucco pipeline. But they dont want any alternative to Russian gas being transported via this East-West corridor, because they do not want to loose their influence in the European market, said a Turkish diplomatic source. We will try to divert Russian gas from the East-West corridor to the North -South corridor, said the same source.

    Use North-South instead of East-West corridor

    The Turkish Premier Erdoan talked to Putin about plans to build a natural gas pipeline linking Samsun on the Black Sea coast to Ceyhan, on the Mediterranean coast, the TDN learned. We are then planning to extend the pipeline to Israel and from there it could be extended as far as India, Erdoan was quoted as saying by Turkish sources. This implies a revision of Turkey s earlier decision to shelve the Blue Stream II project.

    Erdoan also made clear that Turkey expects Russian participation in a separately planed Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline for oil. Russia has so far been unwilling to transport its oil via Samsun-Ceyhan. According to Turkish sources Putin remained silent when Erdoan voiced his views on the energy corridor issues. Putin and Erdoan also met in a private tete-a-tete, the details of which are not known.

    Putin Don t discriminate against Russian firms

    The Russian president s talks with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Necdet Sezer focused on economic relations. Putin complained about the exclusion of Russian firms from Turkish bids. Dont discriminate against Russian firms, said Putin to Sezer, according to diplomatic sources. But Sezer replied that the judiciary is independent and can interfere in any privatization scheme, a reference to an early Turkish-Russian partnership that was canceled by a court order. The Turkish judiciarys decision should not be interpreted as a political attitude toward Russia, Sezer told his Russian counterpart, emphasizing the fact that Russian firms are not the only foreign firms affected by such domestic decisions.

    The Turkish Zorlu Group participated in the tender in 2004 for the privatization of Turkey s biggest petro-chemical complex, Tüpra. The winning bid resulted in 65.76 percent for Zorlu, in partnership with Russian Tatneft for a price of $1.976 billion. However, the tender that was approved by the Privatization High Commission (ÖYK) was cancelled upon the decision of the Council of State.

    The facility ultimately was successfully privatized last year. A consortium of the Koç conglomerate and Shell Group of Companies won that tender in September last year for a price of $4.14 billion. The bid by the Koç-Shell partnership was 80 percent above the market price and three-and-a-half times higher than the first tender price.

    EG/


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